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.




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.


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.