The Midnight Effect - Who-How?

You have high end equipment designed in a way to make it seemingly impervious to power line fluctuations. You add expensive conditioners and/or power line regenerators just to be safe.

You sit and listen to your system for a few hours and everything sounds great. Then, from nowhere, like someone flicked a switch…. the sound opens up… becomes more natural, more focused… the soundstage suddenly blooms and becomes more dimensional, more depth and more space around instruments. WTF just happened? The only clue is the clock on the wall and the empty wine flagon next to your chair.

I’m long past questioning whether the phenomenon is real. To what extent it exists depends on certain variables, but it exists. But how? I live in the boondocks, there’s no industry or commerce that suddenly shuts down at 23:00 every night. 
Do others experience this? Do you have an explanation? Perhaps even some empirical data?

Is it just the booze?




Warmth and darkness is where we came from.

Some fascinating explanations here of how procedures can alter the grid. Thank you all for that.


you asked: So, is this a consistent phenomenon?  Does it happen every time the circumstances are the same?

That’s a great question. Obviously it needs to be measurable and repeatable for it to be “real”. On the measurable side, it comes down to using and trusting one’s ability to discern differences in sound, much like reviewing a component or speaker positional change. I’ve no problem doing that, but I suspect that some other folks find it easier and some more difficult. So there’s no real standard for this type of measurement. As far as repeatability, yes it’s repeatable, but the degree of difference seems to be a variable and I haven’t been able to put my finger on why that is.

Verily, perchance an assay wherein copious amounts of potent spirits be administered at precise intervals might avail.


PPS: I took a quick look at the PS Audio forum and there seems to be some suggestion that its regenerators are still susceptible to certain forms of noise. One user, John H, was a frequent contributor to those discussions.

I wasn’t aware of that line of discussion. So it would be interesting to find out exactly what that “noise” is, as it could be something that’s assumed to be fairly benign, whereas in practice it could be responsible for a very large affect on the reproduction of sound. I will try to find that forum discussion… thanks.


You missed my comment about measuring you ambient noise floor at various times….. that’s ok….most audiophiles lack an SPL meter for level matching and other essential tasks…..

I caught your comment. It’s a valid enough point but I don’t think it’s responsible for the phenomenon that I’m talking about. I use REW for making room measurements and do notice changes in ambient noise levels at different times of day, but they’re very small changes. (Again, we’re in the boondocks and don’t have to deal with neighbors or road traffic noise). 
I can imagine some situations where it’s a significant factor in sound quality.


@knittersspouse okay that’s very interesting information. I hadn’t thought about electricity coming from different sources and each source carrying with it a certain type of “distortion”. That right there could be the answer I’m looking for. Skeptical me thinks that transformers and other components in the distribution network would remove these small line interferences but you seem to be saying not. Assuming you’re right, switches of this type should be noticeable and measurable using a ‘scope on the AC, right?