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Improving sound without rig upgrades

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
I know that this may sound a bit funny but I find that you can improve the sound without doing up grades on your rig. Of course, upgrading your rig is best, this is obvious. But there are other things that seem to improve the sound as well. Before I list them, I want to say that these are just my feelings and that it may be different from you. So here are some things that seem to improve the sound without changing the rig.

Dark lighting.
I find that when the room is dark, the music seems more vivid and more dimensional. Maybe it's because my mind is less cluttered with visuals. Kinda like modding a DVD player and diminishing the video quality to improve the sound quality. To my ears, the sound quality has better clarity when it's dark. Maybe I'm insane but I do think that there could be some truth to it. After all, aren't blind people better at hearing things? Maybe this is a myth, I don't know but my hearing seems better when it's dark.

Air conditioned room or cooler temperature.
I dunno what it is but it seems that the sound quality is also more defined when the room is cooler. When it's on the stuffy or heated side, it doesn't quite sound as good. Maybe my ears feel more relaxed when the room is at a cooler temperature.

No alcohol
Maybe this is obvious but I find that drinking decreases the sharpness of my ears. One time I had a violin class in music school and I had 3 martinis before class. When it was time to tune my violin, it was really tough. I realised then that ear sensitivity decreases with alcohol consumption. So I don't think it's the best idea if you are listening in the audiophile mode and drinking at the same time. If you are casually listening and just simply enjoying, then by all means have a few drinks and enjoy the music. Your ears won't be as sharp though.

Essentially, it seems to me that a dark cool room is best for listening and my ears feel upgraded. It could all just be a form of placebo or psycho acoustics but listening just seems best with higher clarity under these conditions.
post #2 of 29
Quote:
No alcohol
You're on your own.
post #3 of 29
I find that when I have a few drinks, not drunk or anything, the music "feels" better...
post #4 of 29
I agree that alcohol decreases the ability to listen critically, but it also allows me to relax a bit and focus on the music. I find my mind wanders so easily it's difficult for me to concentrate on anything. One of my favorite things to do is have a couple of glasses of whiskey and just listen to music for a couple of hours at night.
post #5 of 29
...make sure that AC is not on the same circuit as the rig while running / listening - it's current draw will effect the system's dynamics.
post #6 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snake
...make sure that AC is not on the same circuit as the rig while running / listening - it's current draw will effect the system's dynamics.
Screw that...I can wait 'till the winter for good sound then!
post #7 of 29
I'd think the sound of the A/C running would be more detrimental than the effects on system power.
post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spareribs
Air conditioned room or cooler temperature.
I dunno what it is but it seems that the sound quality is also more defined when the room is cooler. When it's on the stuffy or heated side, it doesn't quite sound as good. Maybe my ears feel more relaxed when the room is at a cooler temperature.
Good luck trying to achieve that with a tube amp.
post #9 of 29
I think you're missing a way of making large, REAL improvements to your sound without upgrading your rig.

Treating your room can make vast improvements in imaging, depth. And it doesn't have to cost more than a few dollars. I invested about $30 in foam used to tame reflections in recording studios (not the fancy, schmancy $100 a piece foam block, but some cheap knock-off stuff). Made a vast improvement in the sound of my room, as my walls are without many pictures or things to reflect the sound and my floors - hardwood. If you have a "bare" listening area and walls or floor like this, consider investing in some acoustic foam. Many people buy tiptoes equipment stands, or speakers with ultra-concrete bracing to cut down enclosure resonance, and never consider that the biggest enclosure is the room you're listening in.
post #10 of 29
good post.
you're correct about the first two points. about alcohol, onething it is a drug. lets go to the extreme side, kids does marijuana and listen to psychedelic rocks. (this is not a encouragement so don't censor me.) intoxication can make you extremely drawn to the rhythm and filter out everything else. then there is the critical listening, at night in the dark. then there are people who can listen to loud metal while doing academic study. all of these are in a way personal and varie. i agree particularly with your style since it allows me to absorb more. pretty much common knowledge, the state of mind influences the intake experience.

late night, quiet is right for me. i have to add the fact that i wont go out my way for some indulgence of a hobby. mastering music, attending live show, one thing, but there is no pleasure in music for me listening at home if i have to force myself to endure something like brightness and sibilance to proclaim i'm stay true to the recording. i would reach for the treble control.

Quote:
Originally Posted by marvin
I'd think the sound of the A/C running would be more detrimental than the effects on system power.
not saying the other way is wrong, but i have to agree with this, by a far margin.
post #11 of 29
Comfortable chair.
post #12 of 29
Going a couple days with no music can make HD201's sound amazing!
post #13 of 29
WIthout upgrading,you can do far worse than just to clean your contacts up. A cheap can of contact cleaner and a few minutes spent making sure all that dusty ming is off your sockets and plugs can make a world of difference. Cheating as it involves buying something, but not really an "upgrade".
post #14 of 29
I'm against the cold air. I like my room warm. Warm up them tubes and amps.

Repositioning is the biggest change you can make. I am referring to moving the speakers themselves. That or trying them in a different room altogether. Very important.
post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shizelbs
I'm against the cold air. I like my room warm. Warm up them tubes and amps.

Repositioning is the biggest change you can make. I am referring to moving the speakers themselves. That or trying them in a different room altogether. Very important.
Yup, I recently got creative with positioning a pair of bookshelf speakers and managed to get them into a much more preferable placement that I didn't think was possible with the table I have. (In other words, I put little side table next to it and put some books on it to equal the levels and put my speakers further out and toe-in, instead of right up against each side of my pc monitor. It has made a huge difference. Some other 'improvements' I have made for free include dealing with the broken binding posts on the back of my t-amp. These things fall apart in 5 minutes. In order to fix it I had to break them off and pull the speaker connections out and really wire them up good and tape it all up. But now it's permanently fixed. Also, I have discovered that a headphone amp can be used a pre-amp and managed to kill two birds with one stone by setting up my MG Head as a pre-amp for the bookshelf speakers.

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