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Can the amount of usage in your local power lines effect the end sound? And if so, why?

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by D2Girls, May 1, 2018.
  1. D2Girls
    Okay so first of all I wanted to say that I don't have preconceived notions already behind the science behind audio. I just had a question. I want to be educated on this matter.

    I feel like my system sounds better at night. I live on a busy intersection in downtown Toronto, and I get the feeling that at night, my music system sounds remarkably better. Is this possible? Is this a thing science can explain? Or is it placebo?

    For the record, I have a high end stereo system, not a headphone setup. I'd like to get one, but anyway that's irrelevant to my question.

    What do you guys think? Can the time of day effect how my system sounds? My theory is that it sounds better at night because there's less people in my local neighbourhood drawing power. And thus the power that gets sent to my system is cleaner. However, I don't know anything about how power works, perhaps I'm only hearing a placebo. I'd just like some answers.
  2. D2Girls
    I wanted to add, the noise floor of my room drops 10-15db at night. Usually it's about 45-50db with all the passing traffic, even moreso if its raining... but at night, the noise floor of my room drops significantly to 35db at times. Perhaps that's another reason why it sounds better at night? I don't know, I actually feel like bass, mids, highs are better, everything sounds more crisp at night. Again, I don't know. Thats why im asking you guys.
    ev13wt likes this.
  3. ev13wt
    The daily noise floor and length of exposure to it, combined with generally being relaxed at night is what I feel it is. When you and your ears are relaxed, it sounds better.

    Easy experiment: take a bath and listen to music via the cell phone speaker. At least 30 minutes. Then, have a cold one and listen to your system. Its going to be the best sound in the world.

    If you don't hear your fridge kick in, you won't hear the other billion in the grid.

    D2Girls likes this.
  4. D2Girls
    That's true, but I don't really feel like its a very adequate explanation why. I really think that unless I can get a scientific explanation, I have to chalk all my perceptions up as placebo... I'll have to give this some more time, I suppose. I lost my job recently, and have been listening to music a lot more lately...

    Re: the fridge, I once had a nightmare that I got a new bachelor apartment. It was the nicest apartment I've ever lived in. Then, to my horror, I discovered the fridge was on the other side of the room, and it was effecting my sound in the most horrible way imaginable. I was crying because I was on a lease for the next two years...
    ev13wt likes this.
  5. bfreedma
    I think you have your answer there. The reduction in noise floor at night (rain further buffers sound) will generally make everything appear to sound better/crisper.

    At least in TO, the noise drops at night on the main roads. I spent almost two years at Yonge and Eglinton and was pleasantly surprised about how reasonable the noise levels were at night compared to other cities.
  6. castleofargh Contributor
    can your electrical grid be cleaner at night, of course. mine absolutely is and shows in measurements. does that manifest as subjectively better sound? I'm not convinced for my own situation but anything is possible if the variations happen to be really massive and the gear sensitive to that.
    can many other variables affect how you feel at night? of course.

    if I had to bet, I'd go for lower ambient noise as first clear difference. I know it really matters to me subjectively.
    second I would bet on circadian rhythm, simply because it's a verified thing. so while it's not verified that it makes music better(at least I'm not aware of that), it's fair to agree that it's a possible reason to feel differently about a lot of things.
    there are probably a bunch of other variables with the potential to affect us a little, and I'm not trying to rule out power lines having noise or drops or whatever, but I certainly wouldn't jump on the first correlation that comes to mind and decide that it's the answer.

    if you have the ability to record or measure your output signal, there are a few things you could test. and of course you could take the paranoid approach and purchase some hospital grade power conditioner, backup thingy. but I'm not a fan of paying to fix something before I know there is something that needs fixing.
    Last edited: May 1, 2018
    D2Girls likes this.
  7. Koei
    It probably because the environment is more quiet, not because of the power signal. The power section in your gear will filter all the noise out. If it does make a difference, it is badly designed.
    D2Girls likes this.
  8. bigshot
    Does the electricity get cleaner when it rains and is it hotter in the Summertime?
    BobG55 likes this.
  9. SilverEars
    I mentioned this couple times, sounds better to me at night as well, especially nice cool weather with the window open when I'm not so tired(after excersise your mind is lit).

    I don't know why, but I'm most inclined to listen to music at late night. Some people are night persons and supposedly their mind is more sharper/creative/looser at late night? There are conditions you feel physical at a good shape your mind feels sharper, which I think is similar for your auditory system as well.

    This is not always the truth, my desk at the office first thing in the morning music sounds more vivid as well, and as I get to the afternoon I get tired, and music isn't as vivid. I think environment counts as well.

    There's variables due to our sensory system in general connected together and changes conditions at different times due to other things that effect us as time goes on.
    Last edited: May 1, 2018
  10. chef8489
    If you think this might be the case just hook everything to a battery back up with an avr and you dont have to worry about it.
  11. Glmoneydawg
    for non canadians....Yonge and Eglington is probably the busiest intersection in Canada during the day.
    Last edited: May 2, 2018
  12. colonelkernel8
    Non-Canadian here. Thanks!
    D2Girls likes this.

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