Polishing connectors
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AC1

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Ok, I'm sure some people have read the Stereophile article on flitz metal polish. So I decided to give polishing the spades of power cords a try... The idea is to get as smooth a surface as possible.
Instead of using flitz, I used a Meguires metal polish, which is not a very abbrasive compound. I also used some 2000 grade sand paper along with the polish to help with some of the more contaminated spades. Using sand paper is not ideal since it leaves minute scratches on the surface. Personally I found that the surfaces of most spades pretty bumpy and using sand paper would be the only way to smooth it out rather than simply trying to polish which would have been almost impossible to make much of a difference. So I sanded a bit then tried to polish out as much as I can. Then after all this I cleaned the spades with alcohol and then de-oxit to get rid of the residue left from the polish and finally pro-gold.
Well the result was much cleaner spades than just using de-oxit, since I was able to remove the contamination on the older spades (on my line noise filter) that de-oxit just didn't do much for.
The sonic results were very impressive for me... It's kind of like a higher form of pro-gold which is the best way to describe it. The sound opened up being more dynamic, better defined, more "snap" to everything and sounding faster than it did before. These changes were not subtle, I have to lower the volume since everything is just louder as well.
I had some very contaminted spades on my power/line condtioners and probably the reason for why I heard such a big change, so YMMV. But it is worth trying. Sandpaper is not ususally suggested since it is abbrasive... But I am wondering if there is a good way to polish out even more of scratches? Any Ideas? Others have said to use polishing clothes, but I find it hard to believe that just hand polishing with cloth could get rid of bumps in the surface of most spades (maybe if the spades were already very smooth)?
 
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Dreamslacker

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You can try using jewellers rouge. Not sure where you can get it but I've seen mirror finished being done by using it after a nice lapping session (up to 2000 grit).
 
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aeberbach

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If the idea of polishing is to remove bumps and therefore increase the contact area then you are probably not doing it best if you are doing it by hand. It might be a good idea to lap the metal against a flat surface such as a sheet of fine abrasive paper stuck to glass and then to polish against the glass with compound.

A lesson learned from getting the most out of the 300A Celeron processor...
 
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AC1

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Yes, I will have to investigate more into good ways of polishing to remove the scratches (Dremel looks promising) and making it as even as possible. I did notice that even polishing some of the newer plugs I had did remove contamination that were on it, changing its color and appearance, which before I thought of as their "normal" appearance. And the sonic benefits are quite substantial now that I have listened to it more.
 
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antness

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The only sonic improvements resulting from polishing the male connectors of your IEC power cable, unless maybe it is covered in a thick layer of dust, are completely in your head. Which is fine. If you want to hear an improvement, you'll hear one. But there will be absolutely no change in the audio signal from polishing the connectors of the power cord. Measure it with an unbiased and more accurate instrument than your ears to find out. Now, cleaning your interconnects is a slightly more realistic idea, as the mechanical connection of the cable and jacks is important as it carries your audio, but unless your cables have been sitting in dust for a year, i highly doubt this is an issue.
 
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AC1

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Yes, of course it is... Too bad this had more sonic improvement than pro gold or any other tweak I used... Hell I'll even say it was close to a component upgrade... But then those are in my head as well. Give me a break.
 
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Gariver

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I suggest that you forget Jeweler's rouge. Rouge works very well with buffing wheels. However, you don't need that expensive set-up! Instead, use a progression on fine sandpaper for scratches: 1000, 1500, and finally 2000. After you use 2000 sandpaper, you apply metal polish to your piece.

Jewlers use Simichrome Polish by Happich (Germany) to polish gold jewelry. As you use this metal polish, it starts to break down into smaller and smaller particles. Thus, it starts out as 2000 to 3000 sandpaper, and it ends up as 8000 to 10,000 sandpaper. This action makes Simichrome a very, very sophisticated metal polisher. It is simply the best available polish for expensive jewlery!

Conclusions? Flitz is very good, but Simichrome is better!

Sources for these products...
--Western Auto sells fine sandpaper.
--Simichrome is sold in tubes and cans. Search "simichrome" over at Google.com for sources.

I found a source for Simichrome. Take a look...

http://www.kilianhardware.com/simpol.html
 
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AC1

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Thanks, for the suggestion... The Simichrome sounds interesting.
Well I ended up trying the Dremel first using the Meguire polish I had and the polishing wheels. After spraying the polish everywhere, thank you 35000 rpms, I was able to get some serious polishing done. I was able to buff out the scratches I made with the sand paper, making the spades look smooth and reflective (though there are still very small "pits" in the metal that will require serious sanding to get out, but I just don't have the patience for that).
For the sound? Whoa, I was impressed... Things just became more open... The sound was bigger, everything more full... It also had more air, detail, and sounding less constrainted... If I am imagining these things, I must have a pretty vivid imagination since I'm hearing things I haven't heard before on records I am quite familiar with. And I don't see how I can imagine a bigger sound? Sorry but, I always thought the sound of this setup was a bit small and changing a few things helped it, but this was an experience, instruments just fill more space now. This experience is like getting a good power cord after coming off stock pcs.
 
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puppyslugg

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ACI,

Did you treat the plugs with Pro Gold or other protectant after polishing?
 
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grancasa

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AC1, I'm glad you like the new sound from your tweak.

But I think at some point we all need to admit that while tweaks and changes may sound different to us, that doesn't mean they are actually doing anything at all. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with doing it (heck, I love trying out as many different tweaks as I can on my rig), but I think a little bit of understanding that we can percieve things aurally that aren't actually there could help to end a lot of discussion on the "validity" of the tweaks, and let us just enjoy them instead.
 
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AC1

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Quote:

Originally posted by puppyslugg
ACI,

Did you treat the plugs with Pro Gold or other protectant after polishing?


Yes I used pro gold after... But before that, to take the residue of the polish off I had to use a lot of contact cleaner and it was still hard to get rid of all of it, that was more of a pain than polishing it.
 
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AC1

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Quote:

Originally posted by grancasa
AC1, I'm glad you like the new sound from your tweak.

But I think at some point we all need to admit that while tweaks and changes may sound different to us, that doesn't mean they are actually doing anything at all. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with doing it (heck, I love trying out as many different tweaks as I can on my rig), but I think a little bit of understanding that we can percieve things aurally that aren't actually there could help to end a lot of discussion on the "validity" of the tweaks, and let us just enjoy them instead.


I don't quite understand what you mean in "doesn't do anything" and "aren't actually there" as in can't be measured? Or it did not actually change the sound at all, though I don't see this as what you are saying. This tweek has changed the attributes of the sound especially in sheer size/fullness of the sound that it's close to the scale of certain compoment upgrades, but the sonic effect is like getting a really good power cord or good line conditioning. But this is for my system and the I'm sure results will vary.
 
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grancasa

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What I'm saying is that the physical properties of the sound do not change at all, and yet to the observer the sound does change. Let me give an example.

There is a standard psychology experiment where subjects are presented with a number of recorded sentences. Then 48 hours later, they hear some sentences played along with a standard level of white noise. Some of these sentences are "new", and some are the ones they heard 48 hours earlier. When asked to rate the loudness of the white noise, the subjects will report the white noise as softer when it is played over the sentences from 2 days previous, even though when asked directly they can't recall that they heard those sentences ever before.

This is an experiment that has been done over and over, with very consistent results. All the subjects report hearing different levels of sound, and yet the sounds are exactly the same. All I'm saying is that your mind has a lot to do with what you hear, seperate from what may be "actually", objectively, empirically, etc, happening.
 
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