Experiment, Experiment; What have been your most successful finds?

In responding to a post, I was reminded how the search for great sound can be compared to a lab experiment, factoring many ingredients.  My response in part:

Early on in my audio experience, I hooked up with passionate, energetic music lovers that were excited to do the work necessary to achieve great sound.  My 80's brick & mortar dealer removed his living room picture window to install Altec Lansings, for example.  My 90's mod/engineer friend would spend hours testing isolation approaches, including those "under the hood" of gear.  And yes, changes can prove sideways or negative, but, until you try.

Efforts are always rewarded.  In mixing digital and analog gear, often compromises are required, such as volume controls, wiring approaches and room requirements in placement.  In recent years, I've learned room/loudspeaker integration to be most vital.  Study, experiment with tuning a room (laser ruler a must.)  Arrival timing, room resonances, bass nodes, ceiling and floor bounce, distances between and to your speakers, the rake of the speakers and how it relates to your listening height.  Experiment, experiment.  When you find ***IT***, once found, "it"...will be readily apparent to you.  THEN, everything you do upstream will take on much more life and character in your system.  Experiments with wire, electronic gear, contact enhancement, isolation will begin to reveal themselves once these windows open.

And yes, many of these things cannot be measured, however, we each possess the best testing devices ever created.  I'm squarely in both camps. Measurements indeed matter, known hard science matters to get close, THEN the fun work begins!

Some experienced listeners seem to have personal favorites in what's most important to address, often, impressed by some game-changing experience in their journey...amp, TT, speakers, you name it.  Often, that can become the "focal point" for individuals, however, as many have voiced here, everything does indeed matter once the windows open to great sound.  Experiment, experiment.  Please share your experiments, thanks.

Stay Positive, Test Negative                             More Peace, Pinthrift


Footers, especially under source equipment. It started with reading on TNT audio where Pumice stone was touted as an upgrade over mfg oem footers. Having a limited budget, I figured $5 for this volcanic stone which is found in the foot care products seemed like an affordable experiment to see if it worked. So, off to the store. When I listened to my CDP after putting these cheap stones under it, my jaw dropped. I could not believe the difference. The fact that it made a difference at all was the big surprise. I was expecting no improvement so I could write off the whole idea. But there it was, even though I’m not sure I even wanted it to work. As I continually say, I was as much a naysayer as any. But I could no longer deny it

BTW I have upgraded those footers to a DIY Rollerblock type which is a lot better.


Since you mentioned a laser measure I'll say that bought one a few months back finally and realized how out of whack my speakers were. Dialed in positioning and voila better sound.

Along with the laser distance meter, I think REW or other acoustic measurement capability is accessible and a "must", especially for bass. There is no reason to do it by ear as the graphs easily translate in to audible changes. 

Similar to to artmus_5, long ago I tipped off on Ikea tables. I also own finite elemente and SRA racks; still the the Lack is no slouch. While does not refine higher frequencies like the much more expensive other two, the bass is as clean. I still have one as amp stand. 

A really good wood shelve rack with vibration control points and thick 2 inch shelves. What a difference…still points under sources, much more effect than anticipated 

Connecting my speaker cables (banana plugs) directly to wall outlet. Class d bby. 


"Connecting my speaker cables (banana plugs) directly to wall outlet. "

Trying to get that house sound?

modulate AC system. Wire preamp to fusebox and have big watts for shimmy shimmy shake. Me like for dance party with neighbour..

Most important: room measurement for the sake of positioning, treatment, and reflection and bass control. Why? It creates the best possible foundation to evaluate every other change.

+1 hilde45

- laser measurements for speaker placement. I was amazed by how out of whack my speaker placement was. And how much better just a few inches of movement could sound. Also, getting the speakers farther from the back wall. 

- taking care of early reflections. So easy!  Just need a light and a mirror.

- dipole electrostatic speakers with a subwoofer. My room is odd and I struggled with bass modes for a long time. The e-static speakers smoothed out the acoustic problems I was having. And the subwoofer takes load off the speakers. 

- fails:  balanced vs unbalanced interconnects- no change. Homemade bass traps- no change. Hifi/specialty speaker cables vs heavy gauge copper house electrical wire- no change. 

Ok serious question here how does one measure their room? I suspect a mic and software of some sort?


Hi, I use REW:


along with a Dayton emm-6 microphone and a Focusrite usb interface, which is an ADC. The interface connects the stereo, the computer and the microphone. Also need a mic stand. There is a learning curve to get started, then to get good, consistent measurements. If I can do it, anyone can. 

@jond  I am a big fan of OmniMic and a mic stand.  It's not free but it's relatively easy to use and for my needs often easier than REW.  In particular the auto-eq features.

Thanks Erik I knew I'd read that name someplace before I'll give REW some thought but in a place as small as mine it may not make a difference.

I just had an AHA discovery. If I rip surround SACDs in muli channel I can put them on a drive and play them through my BluRay without messing with any archival disks. Much easier.

Highly recommended.

Great thread from the OP....

I think the same as him...

But there is two aspects of acoustic....

---Passive treatment of the room and precise location of the speakers are the first aspect ONLY...This cannot alone do all the job needed...

---Activation by mechanical adjustable Helmholtz resonators and diffusers to fine tuned the room and bent it for the SPECIFIC speakers needs and ears of the owner is very powerful and UNKNOWN to most people because it ask for a dedicated room... it is what i called Hemlholtz method for small room acoustic...

The only necessary costlier component is a dedicated room anyway, not costlier speakers upgrade especially if you own basic good one. already..

Dont upgrade before controlling the room...

Most of the times after controlling your room you will decide to listen to music instead of upgrading...

Recreation of music in a room is not an electronical engineering solution and question first and last, it is FIRST and LAST an acoustical question and solution....

The gear is there for the acoustic listening experiments...The acoustic is not there for the gear sake...Do you catch? You ears are the main gear anyway...




Remember the dog of RCA listening the acoustic pavilion of the rudimentary turntable ? It created a false impression in our subconscious, we were not dog we dont listen to turntable or amplifier or pavilion , we listen to and through a room... Speakers dont work alone, there is other gear behind them , and a room after them...

Sound is waves within waves... Complex pressure zones levels....Not abstracted lines coming from a wall or from the speakers...acoustic and psycho-acoustic is a bit more complex than this simple drawing to put in place some sold panels...

I know very little but i experimented a bit with my room and this is what i discovered...