Occasional Sound Imbalance Issue


I posted an issue a while back where I had an issue with what I thought at first was due to my room sucking out higher frequencies from the right side of the sound. After jumping through hoops to isolate the issue, ruling out the room and my gear as causing the issue, I had concluded that it was actually slight imbalances in the source material.

This turned out not to be the case. The issue sometimes returns, but only when I physically move ANY of my components (even slightly), or mess with my cabling (even slightly). When the problem returns, it takes hours of trial and error fiddling to get rid of it. When the problem is resolved, it stays resolved for as long as I don’t touch any of my components or cabling. When re-arranging ANY of my vibration control footers that my components rest on, the problem will promptly return, every time.

This issue drives be NUTS.... Suggesting the issue is with balance is misleading - it’s more subtle than that, but at the same time very obvious (but only on certain songs which is why for a while I believed the issue to be related to source material). At times the issue is very subtle when it manifests, and at other times it’s extreme. But in all cases, even non-audiophile members of my family (which is everyone else...) can detect the issue. It’s like the air and ambience around a singer’s voice is present on the left of the singer, but not on the right, which is veiled in comparison. Also, when the problem resolves, the vocals in general sound more open and confident - possibly simply due to the ambience and air on the right side of the vocals being restored.

What’s new vs my prior thread is that I now understand the issue to be transitory, and related to physically moving my gear or cables, even slightly. In my prior thread on the issue I’ve gone through the process of ruling out any of my devices specifically contributing to the issue, testing in isolation etc and the issue still remaining (I reversed my amp’s output speaker cables too, to see if the problem would follow the output).

My cabling is a bit of a mess. Currently I have everything but my Rel subs (which arrived only very recently so nothing to do with the issue) powered by my Torus RM20, which in turn is connected to a dedicated 20A circuit. I have a photo of my rat’s nest of cables uploaded to my system pics on Audiogon. My full system details and photos are posted there as well for reference.  I'd suspect my mess of cables are to blame with EMF buildup or something, but the weird thing is that just gently moving any component, even while on and playing music, can cause the issue to show up (I suppose gently moving a component moves it's cables as well however).

On a less revealing system or components, the issue is much harder to detect. Removing my PhoenixUSB reclocker from the system for example makes it a bit harder to detect, but it’s still obvious. I’d probably never know about this issue if I had my prior speaker cables, but with my Nordost Valhalla 2’s any issue is readily apparent.

Has anyone heard of anything like this before, and have an explanation of what is happening? And suggestions on ways to prevent it from happening?  I really hate this issue, especially because it is a big, big impediment to the tweaking/testing process.

 

 

nyev

Is it:

  • a dodgy cable termination?
    or…
  • a dodgy connection on a piece of gear?

Wow. This sounds like a really difficult issue.
 

If this happened to me I would allow the system to achieve balance and then see if I could not touch it for as many years as possible. This sounds like something you could spend an enormous amount of time diagnosing and not figure out. But if you upgrade your system on average every say 5 or 7 years… then, it will disappear at some point when you swap something out. Then, you may figure it out, or not… but it will be gone.

 

To me, life is too short to spend too much time on something that can be gotten rid of by fiddling for a few minutes and not touching again. 

Could be changes in ear pressure when you get out of your chair? What happens if you stay sitting down and someone else moves something? 

@ghdprentice ​​@noromance , sorry I was unclear on one critical point: it does NOT take just a few minutes to clear up the issue. It takes hours, and days in some cases, to resolve. One thing that often clears the issue is shutting off the switch to my Torus RM20 that powers everything, and leaving it alone for 5-6 hours. However I’ve just now done that I’m not there yet! All it takes is a gentle movement of any component and the problem will occur, but a quick fiddle unfortunately does it resolve the issue.

@holmz I’d agree it is likely a connection issue if not for the fact that I can move any component in my system and the problem materializes instantly! Very frustrating.

Also of note is that it is not related to restarting my digital devices, as the issue happens when moving a device or cable while the system remains on and is playing music. Very frustrating! It’s such a relief when it gets back to optimal sound.

My guess is it’s somehow related to my cabling. I have two unnecessarily long power cords (3m) but I believe I’ve laid them out in as clean a way as possible with minimal coiling.

I guess one test I could do is buy 5 1m cheap generic cords and see if the problem disappears.

@ddd1 no it’s not ear pressure.  When the problem is there it remains until I do something to eventually address it.  And when the problem goes away, it is gone for good until I move something in my system.

I mentioned this but to elaborate, once the problem happens, when I move things around again, the unbalance effect changes.  Gets better or way, way worse, but doesn’t fix without leaving the system totally unpowered (not just off) for hours.  Sometimes the issue is very subtle and other times it’s extreme.  That said, I’ve been trying to get back to normal currently leaving unpowered for hours, but it didn’t help this particular time…. Which prompted me to vent on this thread!

Also, it’s not that I’m nuts :) I almost started thinking I may be, which is why I involved the family in a blind test and asked them to describe any issues they heard, without telling them…

Use a Walker Talisman on cables, electronics, floor, ceiling, and walls.

Move it slowly, treating each one foot circle three times before moving to an adjacent section.  Touch nothing!  Treat as often as needed.

I will send you one of my 3 Talisman units.

You will know quickly if it takes your sound to new levels.  If it does, keep it and send me $125.  If it doesn't, send it back.

Have you read or seen "No Country for Old Men?"  "That's the best deal you're gonna get."

I’m reading this post with shock and amazement.  I have the same issue….

 

The imbalance typically is to the left.  I switched the left and right speaker cables on my amp a couple of weeks ago and it shifted to the right.  This proved it wasn’t my ears (and verified by my sons better hearing), wasn’t my speakers, or the speaker cables, or my room (which is what I thought it was).  I then went through switching all of my interconnects, moved fuses around in my preamp, installed new fuses, and it still existed.  I then removed my preamp entirely from the chain being careful to use digital volume control and the imbalance completely disappeared.  Hallelujah at least I know what the problem is!  I take the preamp in to get checked out just before the holidays and before I get it back the imbalance comes back again.  The shop calls in the new year and tells me with a somewhat questioning tone as if there’s something wrong with me that everything checks out perfectly.  Good and bad news all at the same time as I’m back to having no idea what is going on.  The problem is sometimes close to non existent and other times very extreme.  I was starting to think I’m crazy, so it’s somewhat nice to hear I may be but at least I’m not alone. 😀

@sworksone my imbalance issue is to the right.  You wouldn’t believe the lengths I’ve gone to isolate the issue.  Completely tore up the room as I thought at first that it was the room.  Started replacing individual components just to see, but no luck.

What makes it hard is that swapping in lesser gear makes the system less revealing, and the issue becomes more difficult to detect (but still possible).

I do plan to replace my lengthy power cords with shorter generic cords to see what happens.  I suspect my issue is related to my AC power and cords that may be clustered too much together.  I think my issue is likely a system issue rather than a specific component issue, because physically moving any component (and in conjunction it’s power cord) triggers it to show up.

Update:  after leaving my system unpowered for 12 hours the problem is gone again. System sounds great.  Of course, the system needs to warm up and settle in before sounding optimal but the imbalance issues are gone.  Until I move something again, that is.

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@nyev 

Can you remove everything except the very basics so you have a base reference point? It could be a bad solder joint in a component. You must reduce any complexity in order to troubleshoot with any methodological accuracy.

@noromance , yes, I did try that, and everything under the Sun in the prior thread.  Just reduced to amp, CD player (old crappy one), and speakers.  To be honest it was hard to tell if the problem was still there.  As I mentioned, the issue is only blatantly noticeable when it is very revealing, so removing devices doesn’t really help with that.  In the prior thread I even tried to record the frequency response of each speaker playing test tones of various frequencies.  But I suspect the difference is so subtle from a measurement perspective that my layman frequency response measurement skills and tools can’t pick it up.

I’m a bit unmotivated to go full on diagnostic mode now when I’ve got things sounding great again, after two full days.  Next time the issue happens I will though.

I think it's likely to be a room problem.

Set up your system the other way around, speakers at the other end of the room and see what you find.  Use that information to establish if you've got a room problem (most likely) or a system problem.

I am following this with interest.  Pretty bizarre. 

after leaving my system unpowered for 12 hours the problem is gone again.

Really strange--I would think that all this would do would be to let the caps discharge. 

@holmz I’d agree it is likely a connection issue if not for the fact that I can move any component in my system and the problem materializes instantly! Very frustrating.

Also of note is that it is not related to restarting my digital devices, as the issue happens when moving a device or cable while the system remains on and is playing music. Very frustrating! It’s such a relief when it gets back to optimal sound.

My guess is it’s somehow related to my cabling. I have two unnecessarily long power cords (3m) but I believe I’ve laid them out in as clean a way as possible with minimal coiling.

I guess one test I could do is buy 5 1m cheap generic cords and see if the problem disappears

I would using a single generic cord.,, and march it through the system.
Or if it is not subtle, then some ear buds and RCA to 1/8” and start from the player, and move it down stream in steps.

Or an iPhone with 1/8” to RCA and replace the source with that, and march it down stream.

But it could be something similar to a ground loop, with some resonance and oscillation way up in the RF range… if it way that, then chokes on the power, etc. may help, but an O-scope would be the tool to use then.

@holmz  , a ground loop at the panel?  If it was due just to where that particular outlet(s) ground wire connect to the neutral bar, maybe experiment with some extension cord to an outlet on a different circuit?

 

Buy a cheap PC scope. When the problem happens, disconnect the speakers at the speakers and connect 8Ω dummy loads

Measure a 1kHz square wave on the speaker cables simultaneously on both channels.

If the waveforms are identical, it's the speakers. If not, back up the chain until you find the culprit.

[Sounds to me like a driver failure. Could be in the other channel if it is damaged and ringing / distorting.]

@clearthinker , in my first thread on this issue I was convinced it was a room issue until I ruled that out. I did rearrange my entire system to face the opposite way, changed the couch position, and set up tons of padding to make a near 100% symmetrical room. The issue remained. I also tested the frequency response of each speaker at various frequencies, and replaced my digital front end with an old CD Player. At the time I didn’t get anywhere and I concluded that I was hearing an imbalance in the source material. What has changed since then is that I now know the problem can go away under the conditions I described, and that the problem is triggered by physically moving any component. I first discovered the latter when I was placing Herbie’s Tenderfeet under my components to rest on. I at first attributed the change to the effect of adding vibration control, until I realized I could never get the “balance” to be totally right when changing the position of the feet. It was when I found that leaving the system unpowered and disconnected from power (turning off the Torus power switch) fixes the issue that I realized the issue was not related to placement of the vibration control feet, but rather movement of any of my components…

One note, had I not purchased Valhalla 2 speaker cables last year, I doubt I would have noticed this issue at all.  They are far more revealing than my prior Clarus Crimson Biwire cables, which are less revealing but an excellent cable.

@holmz , great idea walking the generic cord through the system.  I will try that as soon as I have the issue again.  Could be a red herring, but I a have a suspicion that the sensitivity is related to the power cord leading to my Innuos Zenith Mk3 player/server.  There seems to be the biggest sonic changes/problems when I move this cable around, suspend it vs having it on the ground etc.  Same with moving (when I say moving, I mean by the smallest amount) the Torus as well, but the Innuos power cord is of course plugged into the Torus.  I’m currently considering replacing my Innuos Zenith plus PhoenixUSB Reclocker with either an Aurender N20 or an Antipodes K50, to simplify my system and cabling but also to hopefully get a bit of an upgrade in sound.  I’m not banking on it but I’m hoping that the issue disappears after I do that.  Hoping it’s some sort of sensitivity of the Innuos gear, but I really have nothing to back that concept up at this point.

Regarding measurements with a scope, I originally considered renting one, but I’m thinking this issue is so subtle (but still very annoyingly noticeable if even half paying attention) that it won’t show up with basic measurements.  I don’t know if the issue happens across the frequency spectrum but I only detect it on vocals that are positioned at center stage.

@holmz one other thing worth mentioning - I think you responded on my thread related to the feedback “roar”I was experimenting on my new Rel subs.  The left sub (only) picks up a 60Hz AC hum somehow, feeds it back and increases its amplitude in perpetuity.  The problem disappears when I move the sub a few feet forward.  I never resolved this issue, but it’s not an issue because it only happens when the left sub’s crossover filter is set higher than, you guessed it, 60Hz.

It’s definitely possible that the issues are related, seeing as there is definitely some underlying AC noise issue going on, that only becomes an issue in certain circumstances.

I should also note that I did audition an Audioquest Niagara 5000 unit and found that it’s transformers emitted a hum that I could hear across the room when powered on.  Audioquest notes right in their manual that some people have this issue, and many others online have reported having this hum.  Again, this is a sign of an underlying AC issue.

In short I do wonder if all three of these “gremlins” in my rig are attributable to the same root issue.

So @holmz i couldn’t resist trying your idea immediately and tried moving my player/server, and sure enough the problem returned.

I next tried the generic cord plugged from the wall (not my Torus) to the player/server. Unfortunately this test won’t work. I immediately realized that all of the air, depth and ambience on BOTH sides of the vocals was clobbered. There is no way I’d detect the issue with this test… And some people say power cords don’t make a difference… :)

Having triggered the issue again, I tried experimenting with placing cables in different sockets of my Torus. Changing these in the past has made subtle changes in sound (and in some combinations not so subtle). What I tried this time is clustering as closely as possible on the Torus the plugs powering three Innuos boxes in my digital chain. This seems to have worked! Vocals now occupy the 3D space more evenly (that’s the best description of the issue I just came up with - vocals not occupying the 3D space evenly). After this change I also noticed a more confident and forward midrange.

Of note, the Torus is a straight ahead isolation transformer that all my devices plug into - there is no isolation between devices. So maybe the Innuos devices could be feeding some noise back to the other devices.

It’s too early to celebrate yet - but so far this is promising. And I didn’t need a 12 hour power-off cycle…. Things are sounding great though!

Something to consider when using Torus as a “conditioner” I suppose.  I chose it because I found that the Audioquest Niagara 5000 buzzed as I mentioned above, and there were subtle tonal balance changes in upper frequencies it made that I didn’t like (and I’ve heard that pretty much all conditioners impact tonal balance in some small ways since they are filters that can’t be even across the band - since I experienced this with the Niagara I expect it’s true in general).

Experimenting a bit more, the sound changes slightly when I plug any devise into a different socket.  The changes are related to how vocals are presented in space.  Some sockets will put the vocals further back in the mix with a wider presentation of the vocal, while others will pop the vocal out closer to you, with a narrower presentation of the vocal. I actually knew about this effect already.  I’d suspect this is simply due to moving the cable around, just as the sound changes when I move devices at all with their cord connected, and not where the plug was inserted into the Torus.  However, the sound of each socket is repeatable. If you go back to a socket that sounded a certain way, it still sounded that way after trying a different socket.  

Sometimes, this hobby is very annoying….

At least with a new player/server there will be one less plug and one less device generating noise.  That said, the issue may not be related to the devices generating noise, but rather where each Torus socket taps into the transformer.

The amp at the end of my last post I touched on oscillation.

The specific speaker cables, if they are high capacitance, can sometimes cause an amp to go into oscillation.

it seems like you are making progress, but it would not be unthinkable to have a problem if you speakers are difficult to drive with high phase angles, and the cable pushes it into oscillation.

Buy a cheap PC scope. When the problem happens, disconnect the speakers at the speakers and connect 8Ω dummy loads

Measure a 1kHz square wave on the speaker cables simultaneously on both channels.

If the waveforms are identical, it's the speakers. If not, back up the chain until you find the culprit.

[Sounds to me like a driver failure. Could be in the other channel if it is damaged and ringing / distorting.]

Yeah if once it starts, it does not stop, then having a set fo RCAs on another input would allow a phone to plugged in quickly.

 

But I would not disconnect the speaker… that sould stop the thing.
I would just measure the signal iin-situ.

At some point we should know your speakers are, as well as the amp.
And whether there are any phase and impedance measurements on the web for the speakers.

@holmz  , a ground loop at the panel?  If it was due just to where that particular outlet(s) ground wire connect to the neutral bar, maybe experiment with some extension cord to an outlet on a different circuit?

Nah @immatthewj just “ground loop like”. If the speakers/cables are forming an oscillator that the amp get stuck on.

For a long time I had similar balance issues. I chalked it up to room acoustics or just pressure in my ears or whatever. Imaging (especially center image) was always slightly off and subtle but hella annoying. So one day I contacted the manufacturer of my SS amp. He suggested the the amp needed biasing and suggested I send it in for tuneup. I sent the amp in for a full internal upgrade. When it came back the imaging problem was gone. Unfortunately, the amp also came home with a problem with low level hum/static from the speakers. Not a loud noise but once you hear it you can’t un-hear it type of thing. Long story short, I gave up on this amp and bought a pair of SS class D mono amps. I haven’t had an imaging problem since.

@holmz my amp is a Gryphon Diablo 300, my speakers are B&W 802D2’s, and my cables are Nordost Valhalla 2’s. My full system is listed on my profile.

I’ve seen others state that the Diablo needs low capacitance cables, but I’ve also heard that the Valhalla 2’s are very low capacitance.

That said, I really do think the issue was related to sensitivities of the Innuos devices and where they were plugged into the Torus conditioner/transformer. As I said, it’s possible either the devices are impacting each other with noise fed back on their AC cable, or it depends on where the outlets are tapped into the transformer of my Torus (a theory someone else told me).

The “balance” seems stable now, everything sounds great, with the plugs inserted into a specific set of sockets of the Torus.  But I’m a bit apprehensive to try moving any device around again to see if the problem can be re triggered!

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As per my earlier post of experiencing something very similar - I also have somewhat difficult to drive B&W speakers (702 S2 driven by a Coda no8 amp) and an Innuos Zenith Mk3.  This can’t be just a coincidence?

@sworksone , very interesting!  Could be a coincidence, but maybe not.  I am going to be getting a new player/server.  Will be interesting to see if the sensitivity goes away after I change.

The issue might be inductance.  If signal cables are very close to power cords - or if any cables are touching each other - even if crossed at 90 degrees - the SQ will be affected.   Along with wood dowels to prop up cabling, try using pipe insulation to create spacing.

@steakster I feel like inductance could be the issue.  I added my a photo of my system cabling rat’s nest to my system photos on my profile.  I have lifters but the problem is they are all at the same height.  I have 7 power cords and a whopping 14m of AC power cords, 12m of which is connected to my Torus (the other two are for subs).

May not remove the problem but you have inspired me to figure out a way to make tiers for my cables so they don’t need to touch each other.  Also those AudioQuest “Fog Lifters” slide all over the place and make it difficult to dust without moving cables and triggering the issue!  Totally agree every cable that touches another will change your sound.  Oddly, I used to have my AC cords coiled, and the sound got a bit worse when I laid out my cords such that there wasn’t giant heaps of coils.

I had a similar issue also drove me nuts, root cause ended up being a poor ground wire connection to my wall outlets, have an electrician check this

 

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@steakster , actually the sound was slightly more energetic when the coils were not laid out as “well”. Fuller bass, more fleshed out midrange, and clearer upper frequencies too. In comparison it’s flatter sounding now. While all this sounds like a massive change, it wasn’t - it was all this in a very small increment. Hopefully it will be even better after I add the tiers. Think I found the solution for the tiers (found some heavy and large-ish plastic square furniture risers with rubber matted feet that some fog lifters will stand on). The risers are high as they are meant to elevate furniture such that robot vacuums can slide under the couch.  
 

Thanks for the tip with the double sided tape.

Nuev, I am currently dealing with something somewhat similar. My system has recently made big steps up after experimenting with spring isolation. First was the Symposium Segue ISO platform under my turntable which led to Townshend Podiums for the loudspeakers. This was exceptional and worth every nickel. After a few months a Townshend Platform now supports my cdp. 
This is where I began to experience strange frequency anomalies like isolated frequencies cancelling out, others enhanced. Somewhat metallic as well when using Symposium Rollerblock 2+ to interface with the Platform. Since then have tried Polycrystal cones (less metallic but still losing lots of music due to a resonance, I believe, which is causing some frequencies to be cancelled out. On any recording where “out of phase” effects are used then things get very strange!

 I recall someone mentioning that in using the Podiums for loudspeakers, that the large flat contact surface of a loudspeaker is ideal and no footers should be used. 
I inquired to the dealer of the Townshend Platforms what type of interface is recommended by Townshend for under the cdp but they seemed to not be specific. 
 

What I have ended up using at this point are three flat pieces of stainlessh steel that I previously used in conjunction with Rollerblocks. (about 2”x3.5”) I really feel like the problem is almost solved. Now thinking that Symposium’s Precision Couplers are exactly what I need. 
 

Sorry about long story but just feels like you could have a resonance making the circuit intermittently. This is a new experience for me and very unsettling.

 

I'll start by saying that there are plenty people here that are smarter than me so, feel free to tell me that I'm way off course here. What is there that definitely changes when the system is powered down for 12 hours? Heat. The heat build up in transformers is a factor in the sound of the equipment. Is it possible that there is a problem in the Torus that puts it on the ragged edge once it gets warmed up? Is there a possible cascade effect that goes back to the Torus that is triggered by slight movements of any of the cables ? I have no expertise in this area. I was a blue collar guy in the air conditioning world and I have seen a few instances of some very bizarre things happen with electricity. Maybe the experts will ponder this as a possible angle to look at.

There are certainly a lot of random theories that could be possible. It certainly seems to be a more pronounced problem with some Torus outlets vs others. But @tmiddle I think you could be on the right track here. Just a theory, possibly in the category of bizarre conspiracy theories, but I too am now thinking it could be vibration related based on my latest experiences just recently.

I now know that my Innuos gear is not to blame, as I recently acquired an Aurender N20 and it has exactly the same issue. I’m finding now that simply shutting all power off for 20-30min and turning back on seems to clear up the issue. And as above, the issue ONLY re-emerges if i physically mess with power cords or the components, even if just slightly.

My working theory (which could be garbage) is that like you, I first noticed and I continue to notice the issue is triggered when placing vibration dampening feet under any of my components. When I do that the first time the problem is sure to emerge, every time. But removing the feet doesn’t fix the problem. Also, and here is the weird part: moving the feet around changes the nature of the imbalance. It makes you think if you get the position just right, the problem will be fixed. But, I’ve never succeeded in fixing the issue this way. The only fix is to power off and back on, but it’s not guaranteed to fix it every time by doing this. Right now, it is fixing the issue after only a short power off. But a few weeks back when I posted this, I was struggling to get things to rebalance at all - was possible, just took a lot of random fiddling with cables and vibration control footers.

I do know that high end digital components have vibration compensation built into their circuits. That’s a fact. Here’s my loopy theory: I’m wondering if they are somehow taking a “reading” after power up, gauging the vibration profile of the device. And if you do anything to mess with that after it’s taken it’s “reading” and set whatever parameters it sets, by say moving heavy power cords that are attached to devices, or manipulating vibration control feet, then the calibrated setting is no longer correct.

Just a half-cocked theory, but I too have started to wonder if it’s an impact related to vibration, resonance, and the circuitry I know exists to deal with vibration.

 

Go no further unless ears are clean. Check each one out one at a time to see if equal. Not to say clean ears are necessarily equal but at least that’s a start. Next would be a hearing test.  After that, then you are in business. 

Just thinking about this again and wondering if it’s possible that when after your gear has warmed up if maybe the metal chassis becomes “torqued” out of square so to speak and this prevents your footers from all making solid contact. 
Might be worth a shot to carefully loosen and retighten chassis screws at strategic points. Long shot, I know…..

I had the same issue for months and I tracked it down to the internals of my speaker. The woofer chamber at the bottom had become unglued from the bottom facing port and repositioned itself inside the speaker so I didn't notice with moving it small increments until one day I actually picked it up and heard a rattle. I opened the bottom and had to reglue into position, and it fixed my problem. Check inside your speakers for anything loose. See woofer box in bottom (my example) in diagram.

 

@tmiddle ​​​​@evank , appreciate the theories but if either of these were what is happening, then I wouldn’t be able to “trigger” the issue by physically moving any of my components and power cables.

I do believe that criss crossing cables can have an effect on the soundstage. Wherever you may have a cable crossing over another (especially interconnects crossing power cords) try to separate them. Easiest way I have found is to use the pipe insulation foam cut in 2-3" pieces and wrap one of the cables with it where they intersect.

ozzy

I think I may have confirmed that my issue was entirely due to minute changes in vibration dampening of my system whenever I physically maneuvered any of my gear.

Long ago I installed four of Herbie’s “Giant Fat Dots” under my heavy wooden shelf. There was a sudden boost that was far larger than when installing Herbie’s Tenderfeet under each individual component, as it improved all components at once.

However - I first installed the Giant Fat Dots under my shelf, I didn’t do it right. I let the shelf’s four plastic feet rest on the Fat Dots. Herbie’s says these are only for applications where you are interfacing two broad, flat surfaces. When I corrected this fairly recently and moved the fat dots to another location under the shelf away from the shelf’s feet (which raises the shelf’s feet off the floor as the Fat Dots are taller than the shelf’s feet), I couldn’t believe how much stability and solidity was added to the image. Prior to correcting this, the image was always every so slightly “skewing” in one direction, especially after I moved a component on my shelf which I guess ever so slightly changed how the shelf’s feet were digging into the fat dots. As I said, the curse of a revealing system.

Lesson I learned is:  RTFM….

Hey, great to see you found the culprit. Just revisiting this thread after a couple months.