A "Downgrade" that proved to be a spectacular "Upgrade" -------

Has anyone here, out of necessity, installed a piece of gear into your system that should have been an obvious "Downgrade" but actually turned out to be an "Upgrade" ?  I know this sounds topsy-turvy, but I recently removed two highend amplifiers from my system for regular maintenance and substituted a multi-channel amp that had previously been assigned the job of handling just the bass frequencies.  I was positively stunned at how alive the system sounded !  Even my wife, who is typically uninterested in most things audio, instantly remarked on the improvement ! The tweeters and woofers were now on the multi-channel amp and the mids still assigned to a McIntosh 2105 amp. The multi-channel amp in question is a 7 channel Outlaw amp, the highend amps that were removed were Burmester 878s and the loudspeakers are Linkwitz "Orion"s.  All-in-all it has been a terrific sounding system but I couldn't believe this incredible improvement in every respect when I made the changes.   Ever happen to you ----- anybody ?


Just recently

My friend bought a used Project Tube Phono Stage D2, came with 2 sets of matched tubes, different respected brands

Hooks it up with his expensive name brand cables. Sounded bad. Tested the tubes with big Jackson Tube Tester I gave him. Changed the tubes, still bad. Changed to other high end cables, no change, still bad.

I grab 4 different inexpensive cables from my interconnect drawer, off I go, I agree, sounds lifeless.

We switch cables, 3 of the 4 no change, lifeless, I’m feeling sorry for him at this point.

4th cable was a 3 wire video cable left over from the VHS days. No name, nothing special, but why not try the audio l/r of it?

He had visual disrespect for them, but, to humor me, put them in.

The damn thing came alive. We listened to many LP’s we are familiar with, all sounded great.

How? What the hellll, neither of us can believe our ears.

He did further research, ordered a Belden cable (the brown one), hopes it will be as good or better. Hah, I should charge him big money for my nondescript cable instead of giving it to him!

Electrical and acoustical synergy rule over any upgrade ...

There is no relation with cost...

I listen to low cost speakers right now , i  optimized them  they sound better than my past Tannoy dual concentric which were vastly superior design over them  ...

Why ?

Not only  because of synergy as in the OP case but because when i  owned the TOP Tannoy dual concentric i know nothing about acoustics and electrical and mechanical embeddings controls of component ... But now all has changed ,  with an inferior speakers compared to the Tannoy , for sure a good design in spite of being less performant than the Tannoy, i anyway enjoy a more beautiful soundfield ...

Acoustics rules with elementary electrical and mechanical embeddings controls with synergy over the gear design itself ... It is why we must know how and why and which before upgrading ...


My second wife is one day older than my first wife.

She looks younger than my first wife.  Still a mystery to this day.

@elliottbnewcombjr Similar story here. All my interconnects are long discontinued, inexpensive Belkins that have beaten half a dozen $250-$500 cables, including OCC efforts. Transparent and airy, they just let the sound through without any artifacts or colorations.

As others have mentioned, cost does not equal sound quality (unless you review things for income or not understand expectation bias when you buy a more expensive item, then it always does).

Hey, I tried a very expensive Shinyata phono cable. Like $2600. Same with Vahalla2 phono. All the realistic sound left the building. I am using the Straightwire Virtuoso R phono cable. Probably 1/7 or less the price. Believe you me. Gene Ammons plays live in my listening room all the time. Amazing! I had the same experience on the Clarysis Minuette speakers. Took off the $24,000 Valhalla 2 speaker cables and put on the Straightwire Crescendo speaker cables. It went from a clear recording to a live performance. Same thing. Like 1/7 the price. This is why we need to try before we buy. 

Yes in subwoofers.  The SVS SB 3000 sounds better than a more expensive JL Audio and REL subwoofer that I had.  

Also I much preferred the sound of the Pass Labs XA25 over the Pass XA 30.8 amplifier.  

The Audio Technica ART9 cartridge blows away the Soundsmith Zephyr mimc star es.  


Outlaw bests Burmeister wow.  I had a pair of Outlaw amps about a decade back.  I put them on the par with a Bose table radio

@waytoomuchstuff ....As for the 2nd spouse 'issue'....I'm sure the 'work-around' has proved to be the least of the mystery...😏

As for multi-channel amps....I've more ways to 'skin that critter than the critter worries about' in that department of redundancy department. *s*

The sub has it's own amp, and if any item or pair needs more, it's available.

All 'clean & dark' enough for this immoral mortal.... ;)

I’ve been thinking, there is NO WAY the cable swap could/should have made such a huge difference. His existing cables sounded great previously.

I suspect, somewhere in the ’new chain’ (used tube preamp, used tube phono stage), a connection is iffy, somehow the last cable change moved something, somewhere that made the big difference.

I suggested taking the covers off of both units, inspecting jacks, socket wires, dip switches contacts (biggest suspects), .....