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.



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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.