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Stylus Cleanliness


Some people may say we’re stupid for giving this advice. It puts pay to the wonderful and whacky methods of getting and keeping your valuable stylus in clean and tip-top condition.
Well, there are many products that claim to enhance cartridge performance, clean the diamond within an inch of its life and upgrade the performance of your cartridge, something akin to “a major cartridge upgrade.”
No! No! No! Just get a bottle of isopropyl alcohol, available from your local pharmacist and some cotton buds from boots, or wherever. Dip the bud in the alcohol and give that stylus a good clean using a back to front motion.
This method will blow away the old Audio Technica vibrating stylus cleaner, Clearaudios Diamond Cleaner, and all the other magic stylus enhancement treatments from Walker Audio, etc, etc, etc.
The best and cheapest method for effective and very, very clean vinyl reproductive sound!
 

Four-Way Use of Turntable Belt

If the turntable uses a flat belt, it will be appreciated that there are four ways in which the belt can be placed around the platter and pulley mechanism (i.e. turned both inside out and upside down). A valuable tip is that one of the settings invariably enables a much better sound to be reproduced than the other three settings, so try all four ways that the belt can be used and see which one gives the greater clarity, musicality, depth and width to the sound.
In the case of new belts, it may be possible to find which side should be on the inside by hanging the belt over a finger and seeing which side fits the more closely. This is because belts are made of tubes, then slit open and ground; having, therefore, at one time been in the form of a tube, belts have a natural inner and outer side to them.
Mark the belt accordingly, so that there is a reference for the future should the belt be removed; then, with a finger, apply a little talcum powder to the inside of the belt.(1)

Molecular Distribution.


This idea is going to sound crazy but bear with me because it originated in the factory of one of the most respected companies manufacturing high-end hifi. And this company has a machine that automates the process of implementing this enhancement.

Before connecting any cable to your system, give it a firm, robust shake. Grab hold of one end of the lead and shake it for a couple of minutes before you connect it to your system.

The process must I suppose do something to the molecular structure of the conductors, dielectric or insulation. What that is I do not know, but more often than not it works!

Give it a try. Listen to a cable as it comes straight out of the box; shake it, then listen to it again. Hear any improvement? Yes? Good! No? So what have you lost: five minutes of your day?

The strange thing is that this even works with Toslink cables.(2)


Orientation of support items


All objects have a natural top and bottom, one way up will sound better than the other. Try testing the glass or wooden shelves supporting your equipment, the felt platter mat, any object where you can experiment with the top and bottom side. You will find that when the object is positioned the right way up, the sound will be more natural.

 

Freezing using a domestic deep freezer.

 

Try the freezing experiment using a CD first - they are usually the easiest object to hand. If you have two identical CDs all the better as you can keep one CD as the control (no treatment) and put the other CD through the freezing/slow defrost process.

Place one CD in a plain plastic bag and place this bag in the domestic deep freezer overnight. When you remove the CD from the freezer, allow it to return to room temperature very, very slowly. You can achieve a slow defrost quite easily by wrapping it in a towel or blanket. Listen to the CD which has been through the freezing process first and then see if you can listen to the other (unfrozen) CD with the same pleasure !! Putting the previously frozen CD through the freezing/slow defrost process a second time gives you a further improvement in the sound.

If you have success with freezing a CD, then try putting an interconnect or an AC power cord through the freezing/slow defrost process also.

Also experiment by applying the same freezing/slow defrost process to such as batteries. Again have identical batteries. For experimental purposes the batteries used in remote controls are an ideal battery to use. If the remote control takes two batteries, then you require four identical batteries - two to be put through the freezing/slow defrost process, and the other two to be left as the control ones (non treated). After freezing two batteries, insert them into the remote control and listen to some music for a short time. Then replace the (treated) batteries with the untreated batteries and see if you can listen to the same music with the same pleasure as before !!

***

Although we do not specifically encourage people to put their audio equipment through the freezing/slow defrost procedure some of our customers have done this procedure with success. So, we would like to add a few words of caution for anyone wishing to attempt to freeze their equipment.

If you DO decide to put any of your audio equipment through this freezing/slow defrost procedure, using your own domestic deep freezer, make sure that the item of equipment is sealed in a plastic bag when placed in the deep freezer. After freezing make sure that the equipment is defrosted very, very slowly by wrapping it in a towel or a blanket for at least a day or two. This will minimise the chance of condensation getting into the equipment. Before connecting the equipment to the AC supply make absolutely sure that the equipment is thoroughly dry - i.e. no moisture or condensation inside or on the equipment.

One specific word of warning.

Any item of equipment which has such as a Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) may not be suitable for putting in a deep freezer, as LCD’s are not good at low temperature.(3)
 

Laser Light Refraction

The easier it is for the laser to read a disc the better and more accurate sound and pictures will be. One element that affects this is the laser scattering light over the disc and there’s a simple way to help reduce this. Get yourself a Violet permanent marker pen – preferably one with a flat edge. Run the pen around the edge of your CD disc two or three times to make sure the Violet is ‘solid’. Put it back into your player and enjoy!

 

Equipment Vibration


Panel vibration on equipment can cause nasty signal interference and create a rather harsh and confused sound due to the microphonic nature of the internal components. Solution: Use our Ringmat Dampers, or Cutom Designs Casework Damper, to effectively reduce the negative impact on the sound.


Correct Cable Dressing


Often overlooked and sometime impossible, this can have audible effects on a high resolution audio system. Keep power cords away from any speaker, analogue or digital cable. (Ensure all leads hang freely, with no undue stress at connector points). Try to keep all power cords on one side of your equipment rack and audio cables on the other. Nylon zipties work very well for this application. This can sometimes eliminate hum and noise and can lower the overall noise floor of your system.


Mains cables
 

Upgrading your equipment’s mains cables is the most important mains upgrade you can make. Fitting one of our Power cords will reduce your mains impedance. Fit one of the more advanced Power cords and you’ll take your system to a whole new level. The sound will be much fuller, with improved balance, giving deeper/tighter bass, clearer midrange and smoother treble.
 
The first cable to replace is the mains cable to your CD or DVD player. The cost is well worth it as the sound and pictures will be so much improved. When you’ve heard their effect, you’ll want to improve the cables to your other equipment as well, Your Turntable, DAC, Pre & Power amps, tuner and TV screen.


You should hear an immediate improvement in the three-dimensional soundstage, that magical area between, behind, and in front of your loudspeakers. The sound should be significantly more open, transparent and alive. Voices and musical instruments should occupy discrete positions in the depth and width of the soundstage. Also listen for the dramatic increase and precise control of the bass response without any apparent change to the EQ settings. Also, listen for the focus and acoustic ambience, or "live" presence in vocals, as well as for cleaner articulation of detail and musical nuance in the mid-range.

 

Why Choose Valves?
 

The "Thermionic Valve" (or Tube) is the original electronic devicedesigned in the 1900s to rectify and amplify signals. the triode patent was filed by Lee De Forest in the USA in 1907...the rest, as they say, is history!

Why do they sound better than semi-conductors?

Some people would not agree with that statement! But, in simplicity, a valve amplifier only requires a few stages to make a powerful sound; whereas tens of transistors - occasionally many more are quite often used. Each device the signal passes through, does add a minute amount of distortion, whilst amplifying multiple signals (i.e. music).
This is called intermodulation distortion, the fewer devices used, the less intermodulation distortion is produced.
With a simple valve amplifier, there may be as few as 5 valve stages from CD player to speaker!

Why can I hear more detail in the music?

This is explained by the lack of intermodulation distortion above. Each instrument is amplified and not distorted nearly as much, enabling more detail to be heard!

What is "valve sound"?

That was the term used when transistor amplifiers were introduced. Many people preferred the more mellow sound of old valve amplifiers, rather than the harshness of transistor amplifiers; this was mainly due to early transistors causing distortion and poor high frequency response of the older 20th century valve amplifiers.
These days, the term "Valve Sound" is not so relevant, as modern high quality valves are manufactured using modern techniques; the amplifiers no longer lack high frequency response and now compte head to head with modern semi-conductor amplifiers.

Why are valve amplifiers so heavy?

This is because they are made on a sturdy steel chassis, and the transformers within the units have heavy steel laminations as well as many metres of 99% pure oxygen free copper wire, in order to produce the purest sound possible!

Are valves reliable?

Yes they are! The average life of a power valve is about 3000 hours, and signal valves can last much longer!



References: 1. J. Rogers, 2. M. Steward. 3. P.Belt