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What crazy "pseudo-science" tweak did you feel actually works?

Discussion in 'General Audio Discussion' started by MannyE, Oct 8, 2018.

  1. MannyE

    MannyE Exterminate! Subscriber

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    For me it was the ridiculously priced silver-bearing conductive grease. I poo-pooed it on AA and a dealer challenged me to try it and report back. I ended up eating a big plate full of crow when the paste proved to be an amazing tweak that I use to this day on any electrical connection in my system.

    Of course, I found out it's also used on large industrial machines and was way overpriced by the manufacturer, but that doesn't take away the fact that the stuff works.

    Anyone else have an experience like that where you were skeptical, but pleasantly surprised by a tweak?
     
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  2. Freddymac2

    Freddymac2 Super Member

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    Where did you use it on your system. We all know that connections degrade over time. How did you apply it? TT mats have made a difference on my vinyl system IMO.
     
  3. MannyE

    MannyE Exterminate! Subscriber

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    I used it on all the tube pins, all the RCA connections and power connections. These days, I no longer have tubes, but I put a little dot of silver-bearing grease on anything that has current running through it. Notable exceptions are any of the modern connectors like HDMI or wherever it would be very easy to form a bridge and short stuff out.

    It made the biggest difference in my tube setup. I applied it with a toothpick. Very small amounts on most connectors. I went heavier on the pins of the large 2A3 tubes. If I can find the pictures I will post or link to them.
     
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  4. Hyfi

    Hyfi Addicted Member

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    Was it "really" the grease or the fact that you disconnected / unseated everything and then made all fresh new connections with ICs and Tubes?

    For me, it was Aftermarket Power Cables. They lowered the audible noise and hash.
     
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  5. SoCal Sam

    SoCal Sam Lunatic Member

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    Cable marketing oftentimes carry breathless claims of the inevitable epiphany which makes the product look like snake oil. Layer on the ridiculous prices retailers are trying to justify and you would not be mistaken if you thought they were practicing alchemy. Along comes Roger Russell, no friend of the boutique, who applies science to the discussion. Science to the boutique is like sunlight to the vampire, they hiss and scream and often melt away. However, Roger inadvertently validates exotic cables. A cable with unique construction and combination of metals will have a unique capacitance and resistance. Signal and speakers will react in a way unique to the cable. Strip away the jibberish marketing and fool's gold pricing and it is entirely possible that speaker cables and IC's have a sound that is unique.
     
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  6. SoCal Sam

    SoCal Sam Lunatic Member

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    Makes sense. Conductive grease increases contact area reducing resistance. Soldering speaker wire ends does the same thing.
     

     

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  7. robgmn

    robgmn Super Member

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    Which is kind of funny when you put it in the perspective of "purists" who would NEVER allow tone controls, equalization, etc., in the path of their music, lest it muck up the sound.
    Then they buy uber-expensive cables that are known to alter the signal instead of allowing for a completely unfettered transfer.

    To each their own, but it just seems antithetical (IMHO, YMMV, and all that).
     
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  8. SoCal Sam

    SoCal Sam Lunatic Member

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    18,473
    IC and speaker cables are in the signal path so anything is possible. You are correct to give wide latitude in the subjective arena but it is possible your hypothetical "purist" can hear the cable and enjoys the sound. Is it worth the big bucks to him? If he says so, then yes. Don't get me wrong, I have not become a defender of the boutique retailer. They get no pass from me and the ones here are good ole AK know that. The problem with boutique retailers is that they cannot accept the possibility that the listener cannot hear a difference in which case lamp cord would serve equally well.
     
  9. maxhifi

    maxhifi AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    1. Continued of tube amplifiers, despite poor measured performance relative to solid state alternatives.
    2. Use of vinyl records as main source material, when digital has been mainstream for 35 years
    3. Folded horn speakers

    Yeah I know, they don't really fit the title anymore, but at the time I got into this stuff (early 90s) they sure did, and together they give me a lot of enjoyment!
     
  10. Hyfi

    Hyfi Addicted Member

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    Speaker Cables, ICs and PCs do not have to be ultra expensive to do the same things. I have tamed a bright system with specific Bass Heavy ICs and removed lots of electrical noise from my system with lower priced PCs.

    But the OPs question is What Worked, not Lets call all the Nay Sayers into this thread to have a pissing contest.
     
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  11. SoCal Sam

    SoCal Sam Lunatic Member

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    Re-read my posts. I am saying it is possible speaker cables and IC work.
     

     

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  12. GChief

    GChief AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    As far as grease goes I No-Ox every electrical connection, we get it by the gallon at work.
     
  13. robgmn

    robgmn Super Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    No argument. Ya' likes what ya' likes. The contradiction however, is the key for me. And it's everywhere.
    The listener who uses $500 cable risers but listens to FM or cassettes.
    The listener who uses cryo'd silver fuses but plugs the system into a $.70 Home Depot outlet connected to aluminum house wiring.
    The listener who discusses "proper imaging in space" when referencing music recorded one instrument, one track at a time in a studio with a single mic.
    The no-tone-control "purist" who has one speaker in a corner and another against a wall flanking an open doorway into another room.
    The "vinyl purist" who claims it's the best way to reproduce music while also acknowledging that between decks, tonearms, headshells, carts, styli, preamps, platters, platter mats, different LP pressings, interconnects, etc, the variations in setups (and sound "signatures") numbers in the billions.
    I could go on, but you get my point.

    In the spirit of the thread, I can't say my view of a pseudo-science tweak has been changed.
    Maybe I'm just resistant to allowing it to happen? Maybe I just know that if it hasn't been proved it likely won't be.
     
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  14. Hyfi

    Hyfi Addicted Member

    Messages:
    5,507
    Location:
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    Do you actually know of the people you just listed?

    I don't know anyone with Cable Risers listening to Cassettes, but they may have a High End Tuner.
    I don't know anyone who uses Cryo anything if the rest of the dedicated circuit is not also optimized.
    Can't argue with the single instrument comment, that is my biggest gripe for most shows and demos. I want to hear a system being pushed with multi layered instrumental fusion, not Singer Songwriter fluff with a single female voice and a piano.

    OK, the next one is almost as if you just looked at my listening room. No matter how I am restricted in setting up my system, exactly as you just described, I don't have, need, or want Tone Controls, because I like what my setup does all by itself. Balance might be a factor, but the Bass and Treble however it is on the recording is just fine with me. I don't have to have the bass boosted all the time anymore once I had gear that can resolve the sound, tone, and timbre of the instruments played. I can hear the differences between Flat Wound and Round Wound Bass strings having played Bass.

    Cheers
     
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  15. Lavane

    Lavane AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Quality cables and TT platter mats for me. I tried felt, then cork and now silicone platter mats. The cork was much better than the felt and so far for my deck the silicone is even quieter. I gave my son the turntable I had been using for a couple years but kept the cork mat. He had a nice anti static mat he found used at a record store, but some of his albums would skip. I gave him the cork mat that was on it originally and the skips ceased. Both mats looked to be the same thickness. Only difference was the recess for the label in the mat he found. So I guess with the flat cork mat it raised the record just enough to stop the skips. I've been skeptical of higher priced cables for a long time. But after having a couple shielded coax type cables made to kill some RFI I was having changed my mind on cables.
     
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  16. polypetalous

    polypetalous AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Hmmm... When you say "soldering speaker wire ends" are you saying "tinning" the ends or direct soldering the connection?
    Just purely curious, something I hadn't thought about...

    Ben
     

     

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  17. MannyE

    MannyE Exterminate! Subscriber

    Messages:
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    I also smeared it on the banana plugs. Of all the tweaks (not that I have tried very many) this conductive grease was the only one that I heard in the same way the others hear the tweaks they write about. I thought I had inadvertently raised the volume or something.
     
  18. MannyE

    MannyE Exterminate! Subscriber

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    That's a good catch, but back then I was constantly rolling tubes and messing around with speaker placement, etc. So the system never spent more than a couple of weeks without getting torn down/reset. By the time the silver grease came into the equation, I was finally at a point where I thought I had maximized the amount of bass the horns could reproduce and I had finished adding all the electronic tweaks (which I can say never made a lick of difference to my ears), but it had only been maybe a few weeks since I had torn the whole thing apart, so that wasn't it.
     
  19. MannyE

    MannyE Exterminate! Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    That was always my attitude as well. And even when I decided to try them out myself, I never heard any differences. Until the grease. It's significant because I was looking forward to writing about how all it did was screw up my connections and make me spend an hour cleaning them up. So even with a negative bias, I was surprised with a big improvement.

    I think that too often, we who inhabit the internet get an idea that this is good or this other thing is bad and don't stop to listen. Sometimes things work!
     
  20. Hyfi

    Hyfi Addicted Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    Thanks for that reply. The same questions were thrown at me 20 years ago when I posted about a similar product, I think it was called XTC or similar. It was a little wet wipe that you used on all the connections and cable ends. I felt that it helped a little but then was accused that it did nothing and all the re-seating of cables was all that happened.
     

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