Audiophile Priorities and Recent Topics

I'm increasingly fascinated by the number of threads that have been created lately by OP's who have joined over only the last 2 months with less than 30 posts that all seem related to the importance of wires and tweaks. While I'm not dismissing the notion that everything matters in hifi (including digital cable), it seems that these topics vastly overwhelm thread topics that clearly would have more influence to hifi audio sound such as discussions of the sonic characteristics of various amplifier topologies, the importance of simplifying the signal path, and identifying fantastic speaker/amplifier synergies, etc...

If some unsuspecting newbie were to stumble onto this forum they would likely come away thinking that a fuse or a piece of wire are the most important elements towards obtaining wonderful hifi sound. This is unfortunate. For example, my discovery of listening to a SET circuit years ago paired with speakers possessing a high and flat impedance greatly outshines any joy derived from identifying the finest digital cable produced by man. I'm simply questioning the hifi priorities that this forum seems to be obsessed with lately.

Is it just me?

does he offer examples?  

Not too many, rather he states "I don't endorse every accessory described here - I simply report on what's available."

However he did include this about examples of indisputably worthless products:

Examples include an alligator clip , to be attached to a speaker cable to prevent the speaker's "gravitational influence" from affecting the audio signal.  Another claims to "energize" the electrons in an audio system with a combination of lithium salts and cobra venom.
Complete Guide to High End Audio

Chapter 15 

"Replacing all the stock AC cords with entry-level cords is probably the single most cost-effective sonic upgrade you can make to your system."

He went as far as rewiring his house

"Overall, I'd say that installing dedicated AC lines was the best audio investment I've ever made."


I've had mixed success with replacing stock AC cords.  It had zero impact on my old Pass XA30.8 (even using a Purist Audio) but had a very notable improvement on my Sugden A21SE (I'm using an Audio Envy - under $200).

Installing a dedicated AC line was definitely a cost effective improvement for me as well - for ~$250 it was great to get that line isolated for audio gear.

What has yours' and others' experiences been?
I was blown away. I have heard a difference form a stock cord to just one very high end power cord. On an highly optimized system and the difference was substantial.

In addition my power cord theory was at least supported by the same author

" From the perspective of your audio components, the AC cord isn’t the last few feet of a transmission system, but the first few feet. The AC cord is directly connected to the primary windings in the power transformer of your audio component"

That’s the only thing that could make sense to me is that the power cord is an extension of the component not simply an "extension cord".

Also mentioned in the chapter was replacing all the cords as every component adds its own interference and you might not get the affect with only changing one.

My experience with replacing cords was positive but I only have two components an integrated amp and a DAC. The other side of that is I I’m really cheap (I mean really cheap). I purchased two Chinese power cords that were cheaper than buying the plugs and building them myself. What was important to me was wire gauge. The cords are rated at 10AWG. If I’d seen the 8AWG cables prior to that I probably would paid more for the extra conductivity.

Again my thoughts on cables were supported by the author for better plugs and increased wire gauge.
" Good AC power-cord design minimizes the noise coupling between components described earlier, and ensures maximum instantaneous current delivery."

The cheapo 10AWG Amazon cables seem to make playback quieter and increased bass response. I’m not able to rewire my house but I’m currently using my sons power conditioner which may or may not have improved the sound but it gave me more plugs for all the other stuff and didn’t degrade the sound.

The cheapo that I am I trying to find a used medical grade power conditioner with enough amps to support my equipment. It’s out there in my price range hunting is the fun part.

I agree with your concept of sound per dollar. Is my system perfect? Nope never will be. For the money I have invested (not counting the myriad of amps, speakers and stuff to get here) is there another system that can touch it? I really don’t know don’t care. By doing a lot of research, listening to a lot of stuff doing a huge amount of comparison,  for the first time in the 40 odd years I’ve been working with stereo I’m happy with the sound. With that foundation I can now work on tweaks.

I apologize for the novel but hopefully ... what was your question again?
Thanks for sharing your experiences @danager... exactly the type of input I'm so curious about.  The roles and impacts of tweaks relative to entire system/room.  

With that foundation I can now work on tweaks.

I totally agree with this.  Get everything else optimized and then see what you can do to tweak out the remaining goodness - if available.

The last tweak that I made that really felt like it moved the needle was using isolation transformers ahead of my amps.  Really effectively lowered the noise floor and didn't sound like it was choking the dynamics like other conditioners. It worked better than AQ Niagara and PS Audio regenerators.  I'm using the Equi=Core combined with the Deep=Core.  Makes the biggest difference with my tube amps...yet still notable with SS.  On other components I can't really tell any incremental gains.  I would say my overall sound quality moved up by at least 5% with this tweak so it was worthwhile. 

I'd say for me that amp/speaker synergy is 65%+ of achieving the sound experience I'm looking for with at least 20% remaining in room acoustics/treatment/speaker positioning.  Any remaining ~15% is a combo of tube rolling/isolation & vibration control/cables/isolation transformers.  And yes, sound per dollar is exactly right.