DISCUSSION: "It only comes out at night". Does anyone else have this experience!?

In my listening experience, whatever system you have, whatever components, whatever the material, medium, one thing always seems to remain constant. It ALWAYS sounds better in the deep and still of the night!!!


Is it because night time is generally quieter? Is it because the world of electronics is then shielded from the SUN? Is it because there is less demand on the electrical service?


Whatever it is, there is one thing I know for sure, music sounds better late into the night!


Maybe, maybe not but I've felt for years that all of my cars were quieter, smoother and nicer to drive at night.

Unfortunately, they'd usually return to being old bangers the very next day!

Perhaps it's really something to do with less background ambient noise?

Circadian rhythms?

I'm an old car guy, old school, tail of the muscle car era. I am getting a kick out of your cars being better at night... that wasn't drinking related was it!? ;-)

The main reason I prefer night listening is the darkness. I want my room to be as dark as possible so the speakers disappear. Even the soft glow of tubes lights up the room more than I like.

Secondary reasons are work and other obligations during the day means night listening is required. Less traffic, less ambient noise, and less distractions are experienced at night as well. Deeper into the night, around the three hour mark of a listening session, is where things really begin to sound fantastic. By then the components are fully warmed up and my hearing has relaxed and opened. Finally, we are conditioned to a degree to equate night time with fun time. The evenings are when dinner is eaten, movies are watched, parties are enjoyed, and drinks are consumed.

Its said to be because the power grid is not as congested at night due to closed businesses. Therefore the grid has less pollution.

As to cars running better @cd318 , I hadn't thought about that since I was a kid with my 1st car. Indeed that car DID run better at night. I suspect it did so because the air is cooler and provides more oxygen. It ran better in the rain also. But those old vacuum windshield wipers made you keep your foot out of the throttle too much. Pressing the accelerator hard caused the wipers to stop because vacuum was needed by the engine. Thanks for those memories. Hadn't remembered that in a long time

@artemus_5 ... I always believed that to be true with the power grid. I do now have a power conditioner, that supposedly breaks down the incoming AC into the UPS batteries, then reconstructs it to perfect voltage and sine wave. Despite that, I still believe that to be a factor, don't know how or why I can, but I do.


I also have a power conditioner but maybe it has less to strain out at night. I don’t know. But There is probably more to it also. IE, even though I am retired I find it hard to get into listening during the day. I feel like I need to be accomplishing something. And there is plenty to do. So I can’t really put myself fully into it. I am a big believer that mood may be the #1 determining factor in listening pleasure. At least for me.

As for the car running better, I was 16 yr old & had a 58 ford w a 312 Tbird engine. The nice thing about that car was that it has a scoop built into the center of the hood which they placed a Ford emblem. I knocked that emblem out and put screen wire in it so that I had cold air induction almost straight into the carb. I think that made the difference. I know she would eat 283 Chevy’s up. Fun days living in my ignorant bliss 😀

For sure ambient noise levels lower for many, typically in mid 40's db during day, can get down to mid 20's late at night. The dark also adds to sense of realism, I have black out shades over all windows, also helps to block out external ambient noise. Electric grid is of lesser importance as I use power conditioning.

70% of our brains processing power is occupied with vision. At night we need way less for vision, and that brain-CPU time (aka attention) is available for hearing. 

Also, at night the background noise floor drastically drops, and you can hear 20-30dB lower detail levels than during daytime. Add that to multiplied attention level due to vision placed on standby.... 

Now, that is coupled to much less strain on the electrical grid. Consider that what we hear as music is the electrical grid driving your room acoustics. The music software is just the recipee... the raw ingredients are line AC + room acoustics, so what came in goes out.

So yes, at night we have drastically different internal and external environments compared to daytime.


As with most things audio it is not any one thing but rather a bunch of them all together that makes the difference. Try coming home at 2AM firing your system up cold and see how it sounds. So one reason it sounds better late at night is it always sounds better after being run several hours. 

All components are highly susceptible to vibration. One source of vibration is cars and trucks, wind, and even trees. Wind blows, trees move, roots transmit vibration into the ground. This all tends to die down and be less at night. Best of all is a fresh blanket of snow. So, vibration.

Then there's electricity. Pretty much everything running puts a bit of back EMF onto the line. Every wire is also an antenna bringing RFI noise into the system. A lot of RFI sources tend to be off late at night.

The validity of some of these effects is easy enough to test and verify. Vibration? Pods and springs work, and the sound in the afternoon with a calm fresh blanket of snow is at least as good as late at night if the wind is blowing. Leaving everything on and playing after you got to bed, you will hear almost all of that great late night sound the next day. So this proves the warm up effect. RFI? Disconnect a lot of wires by flipping circuit breakers. It will sound in the middle of the day about as good as late at night.

I only have this problem when I'm not using my Furman power conditioner with LiFT and SMP

My system sounds best late at night, Sunday night in particular. I have noticed this for decades in different states. I am sure it is a quieter power grid. While I have a good quality power conditioner… the noise floor still drops late at night.

I will buck the trend. For me, around 10 am is always the best, everyone has gone to work and the neighborhood & house are quiet. But most importantly, I have had a cup of coffee and my brain is not fatigued. I am as alert as I will ever be around 10 am. 


Reason it sounds better is because 

tired electrons go to sleep and a new 

bunch appears !

rested electrons!


When I installed a Furman I noticed an improvement in sound 

our current is a mess and noisy

I think it helps that we tend to be in a more relaxed frame of mind later at night.

I agree with the OP, but for me I think that it's more psychological than electrical.

@roxy54 , +1ish.....

After a long day of dealing with somewhat civilization, the grey mush left roiling afterwards is fertile ground for some sonic soothing....

Think of it as mental yoga....however...

My modus operandi is dial up the awesome and break the knob off... ;)

That is the first time I have heard anyone expound on this subject. I truly believe that late night listening is partially psycho/acoustic in nature. For most, in addition to the factors that you mention, the human body tends to go into a more relaxed state, at least for most people anyhow. Even during the daytime I find that a largely darkened room where the mind loses visual contact with the sources from which the audio is being produced , tends to greatly enhance the clarity of detail,  soundstage and depth perception. The mind tend to drift away from any sense of connection with the devices that produce the music and focuses more on the music itself, which is really what good audio was meant to produce. 

One thing I have done since the realization of this concept came to me, is to always evaluate a new piece of equipment or media source, under the conditions discussed above. Also, interestingly enough, in the daylight hours, the same thing I was listening to, or evaluating, sounded much different. I have come to accept this as an absolute.

As an additional point of reference, I have also discovered that even daytime listening on SUNDAY, when the surrounding environment is settled down considerably; i.e. less external noises, less demand on the power grid, and usually, less demands at home, as an example, I almost always enjoy my listening time considerably more. I tend to feel this is all part of the psycho/acoustic phenomena.

I speak of course, as an urban dweller. I could quite easily accept that living isolated on a farm, for instance, or significantly far away from the urban areas, could also help change a persons perception of the day to day listening experience

Try it sometime. I would be interested in just how many audio enthusiasts would discover the same experience..

Of course I know there are those who would simply think I have a screw loose !

Maybe you're right !!.


I have heard the power grid reasoning but I think I will go with

the less stressed mind being more open to relaxing sounds.

  • The flux capacitors finally fully kicked in after midnight. Without these fully engaged the system is flat and airless. But yeah, I also think it is a bit of a circadian rhythm thing. We are programmed to mellow and calm at night, this opens us up to hear more, feel more.


I think there is a whole host of things going on: less noise in the power lines, less of the visual disturbance caused by the electronic components between the speakers, being in a more relaxed (sleepy) state, the glass of Bourbon in my hand, less ambient external noise (traffic, construction in my case) etc.  Anyway, I sure notice a difference at night

Other nighty niceties’....

  1. No one complains about what’s being played.
  2. No one complains about the volume levels.
  3. No one interrupts.
  4. No one to wake in range.
  5. "No phone, no pool, no pets; 3 elsewhere, out of range." 😏👍
  6. Consumables of varied sorts.

Life is but a dream within a scheme...a scene seen in a sequence, the script sculpted by all and none...

That kinda day....*L*

All ’bots to report subsistence levels on entry.

...just another miserable day in Paradise....;)

I know no bot, an’ no bot know me...*snicker*
And Robot Rules of Order will be implied....

"Alexa...Do you dream?"

Does Alexa desire?

"Alexa, be spontaneous."

(...brain the size of the planet, but constantly badgered to ’do’ petty chores....)

Will Alexa know ennui, and grow snotty?
Or worse....?

Late night into morning a-muse-ments....*s*

Gotcha’, ’CAPTCHA *poke*

It is very much a power grid matter. In UK they change over generators of an evening, usually around 9pm and I can hear the sound suddenly kick in. My research company True Fidelity is working on a solution - watch this space!

My system always sounds better when there is a blanket of snow at night. Pure magic.

No doubt, better at night.

Than again, call me crazy, but living near the sea I have noticed that low or high air pressure or better, south or north wind, with very different and very distinctive weather that comes along, makes great influence on sound as well (in favour or high pressure or wind coming from north)

Hmmmm.... just adding things in to compliment the input.

My location: very rural subdivision a few hundred yards from the fringe of a state park/lake. Listening room: finished, basement behind subterranean reinforced concrete walls. I can’t recall what the “technology” is called, but all my equipment is behind a UPS that completely isolates AC output from AC input by reconstituting the AC voltage and sine wave from a bank of DC batteries.


But, I still notice it. Yes, lights out except for the annoying glow of power on indicators helps (I buy off on the your mind gets distracted by other input (light)). Despite my AC isolation, also buy off on the AC/Power grid. Environmental noise is very low in the listening area, all but the most severe thunderstorms go unnoticed, and can be soo quiet that you can hear your heart beat, but I also buy off on ambient noise being less. Having AC isolation I leave my electronics on, so they are always “warm”, but also buy off on after listen for a while at night it still warms up after a while of listen (all the right components within the components warmed up?). I also buy off on the magic of a deep blanket of snow.


i can’t recall ever having a similar DAYTIME experience.... does that support that the SUN does many more things to this earth than provide light and warmth?


i still believe in (enter some ominous music here) “IT ONLY COMES OUT AT NIGHT! (Evil LAUGH (Vincent Price))

You know that night time

Is the right time

To be with the one you love.

- Aretha Franklin

Thanksgiving was embarrassing. Entire family was over. Everyone was full from dinner and enjoying some adult beverages. My brothers, who heard my system before suggested everyone head down for a listen. Most had never heard it before.

It sounded like complete trash. Harsh, unbearable trash.

It was around 8:30 pm. The difference - every light, tv, Christmas lights and room lights were on. If it was plugged in, it was on that night. The same was true for my neighbors. Parked cars up and down the street.

My brothers looked at me in puzzlement and left the room, one of them commenting, "You need different gear. Way too harsh, too bright." I was so angry at my investment that I have not listened since.

I knew clean power was essential, but what am I to do now? The time of day didn’t matter in this case, it apparently was an over usage in my home, which probably equates to the time of day for people in high demand areas?

Next time I host, "Okay everyone, I have to turn off all the lights, tv, etc. and then we can listen to my system"... whispers around the room... "How much did he spend on that system?!"

I’m jealous of everyone that listens into the wee hours. Waking up at 3:30 a.m for work each day I can barely stay up until 8:00 p.m. Lucky! 

Those who've mentioned snow are on to something, snow is insulator. I have crawl space under house,  snow piled up around house, storms on windows down, very little traffic due to snow, no wind, night. This is the absolute very best ambient noise situation for me. The greater dynamic range recordings are most affected by ambient noise floor, quiet passages are absolutely ruined during day, the amount of low level info heard during these quiet passages makes all the difference. Classical music comes alive for me, can't hear all the nuance during high ambient noise times. If one only listens to loudness wars, no dynamic range recordings doesn't make any difference. I have neighbor only listens during day, heavy metal all the time, likely over 100db in his room, ambient noise sure doesn't bother him!

Steve Deckert at DECWARE wrote a newsletter a while back and stated that speakers do not sound optimally until they have been running a minimum of 30 minutes....this allows the coils to heat up and expand...I never heard this before. I always let my tubes heat up before playing but the speakers needing to heat up....Hmmmm.....It's true. Try it....

As long as I'm good and buzzed, it sounds great to me ANY time of day or night!! 😁

I worked at a plant that used 20 megawatts power.  We would use a transformer and run 480V through the plant.  We would see spikes of 600V.  So yes, our grid is not a smooth thing.  Air conditioners are notorious for ground faults.  Dirt in circuits causes "tracking".  You have to have an ultrasonic listening device to hear it.  Variable frequency drives put out very dirty power.  So if one plant does this, think about the community as a whole..  I would go with the difference in the grid as to why your system sounds better.  Surprised someone hasnt come up with a cleaning and regulating device, or I just don't know about it.

I’m not sure of the technical details and how it works but the electric grid is inductive during the day and capacitive at night. More technical minds might be able to shed some light on how that affects audio electronics. 

 I can’t recall what the “technology” is called, but all my equipment is behind a UPS that completely isolates AC output from AC input by reconstituting the AC voltage and sine wave from a bank of DC batteries.

But, I still notice it.

Right. Because your "technology" does not completely isolate. Your batteries are connected to the grid for charging. AC grid noise gets a free ride. A known problem. A member in Singapore has this same problem. He got it for the frequent power outages. He didn't know about it until he started noticing his system sounded better every time the power went out. The solution is a relay that physically disconnects your battery bank from the grid when listening.

Steve Deckert at DECWARE wrote a newsletter a while back and stated that speakers do not sound optimally until they have been running a minimum of 30 minutes....this allows the coils to heat up and expand.

For a long time now I have wondered why my amp and turntable, everything can be on and running, but still there is a lot of improvement the first 20-30 minutes playing music. The voice coil thing makes a lot of sense. Voice coils definitely do heat up. A lot. They can actually smoke and literally burn out. All good machinists know to get precise measurements parts must be cold. Even handling, your fingers can warm a part enough to make it expand. So heat expands the voice coil, reducing the voice coil gap, which since magnetic fields vary as the inverse square of distance wala! everything gets better. 

Brilliant! Thanks!

You're welcome.MC....I've learned alot from your perspective on these threads. I just wish everyone on Audiogon would stick to Hi- Fi talk and take their politics to Facebook where it belongs and keep this Hi -Fi only.

@millercarbon "... your "technology" does not completely isolate. Your batteries are connected to the grid for charging. AC grid noise gets a free ride.".


You bubble burster you! You do realize now you have made me go back and obsessively research this, just to make myself feel worse, RIGHT!?


Here is what I got, many years ago... it suggests it isolates it. (SU1500RTXL2UA SmartOnline® Double-Conversion Rack/Tower Sine Wave UPS).

  • True on-line, double-conversion operation delivers pure sine wave output, precise voltage regulation and isolation from power problems.


The guy selling it says it works. Imagine that!

Just one difference between actual experience and ad copy.

I am guessing that means you don’t have one. If you did, you’d probably believe what the documentation says, like the specs on the all equipment you own. That, and this was published before 24/7/365 gaslighting became predominant (mainstream).

I  supply part of  my system with lithium ion battery pack that puts out pure sine wave. Using on dac compared with AC fed from modded BPT 3.5 transformer based conditioner, I prefer feed from BPT, slightly more closed in veiled sq with batteries.

My take is the inverters in these products affect sq to some extent, YMMV.

There's an easy way to test and see if your system really does what it says it does. If it is truly isolated then it will disconnect from AC and run entirely off batteries. When this happens you will hear the sound improve, and because it is running off batteries and truly isolated it will sound the same regardless of the time of day or anything else. You already said this is not the case so you yourself know it is not isolated as claimed.

Another way I know is another member with the same setup experienced the same thing. 

Third way I know is from personal experience with battery isolation in my own system. It is easy to hear the improvement when going completely off AC and running off battery power. It is also almost as easy to hear the degradation when running off battery power but still connected to AC via the charger.

What happens is really no different than what happens in the power supply of every component. Theoretically, these are all "isolated" by power supply caps. Lots and lots of manufacturers claim, and lots of audiophiles believe, that enough power supply filter caps means nothing upstream from this can matter. Power supply transformers after all are transformers. If you know how a transformer works, there are two coils, primary and secondary, with no physical connection between them. This does work to effectively filter out some of the noise riding on the AC line. Some, but not all.

Reality is that as long as there is any connection at all, including even through a transformer, then AC line noise will get through. This is why you hear the sound change even though if your system worked as claimed it would be perfect isolation and sound the same 24/7. 

There is no guessing involved. This is not a case of what I "believe" to be the case. This is a case of what I know to be the case three different ways: personal experience, others experience, and a solid understanding of the subject.

Interestingly, your own experience corroborates everything I'm saying. 

all my equipment is behind a UPS that completely isolates AC output from AC input by reconstituting the AC voltage and sine wave from a bank of DC batteries.

But, I still notice it.

So where exactly does gaslighting come into it?

It also could be all of the other things already discussed, and the other things unknown and not discussed. It could even be not true and merely subjective perception. 


it could be that the sun bombards earth with far more than light and warmth, and when sufficiently beyond the horizon everything known and that unknown could be it, if it even does exist. And an interesting derivative in language is, that any word that abstractly equates to “may be”, “could be”, creates an inference of may NOT be, or could NOT be, otherwise descriptives such as ABSOLUTELY would be used.

Re: “gaslighting”, that is in regards to disbelieving anything because it is said, “the person selling it says it works”, which in extreme gaslighting paranoia would require that whatever is said must be disbelieved but for the fact it was said. Or, because it was said (sold) it mandates it be disbelieved.


such as, what was just said.

if it is said, it must be disbelieved.


WHICH is in large part is going on in our present day “media”, mainstream. You can’t believe what you see, 24/7/365, which is gaslighting.

Absolutely. My system always sounds better after the sun has gone down. There is less electromagnetic interference and less nasty harmonics on the grid. The Decware guy is right about letting your speakers warm up for a while. Mine always sound better after 20-30 minutes. The same amount of time I let my tube amps warm up.

I am a robot.