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?





You said: One thing that hasn’t come up is temporal variation in atmospheric pressure, with resistance purportedly reduced in the wee hours.

Why do birds call most actively in calm dawn air?…

Okay, well that’s new and interesting. Hadn’t given any thought to atmospheric pressure variation. Is that something which occurs fairly rapidly? And I suppose that the timing of it is fairly consistent. Hmmm…


I have noticed this with all of my systems, starting at 15 years old with a "big time" Radio Shack rig, their most expensive system (my old man thought I was nuts and fought me about it).

Even with that crappy receiver (STA-140) and Optimus 5 speakers I could tell that difference after a few hours of listening.  That was 55 years ago. 

I really don't think it had anything to do with quality electric.  Music lights up certain circuits in our brains and quiets others.  So, as you relax and release from the trauma (yes TRAUMA) of the day the music becomes better and better.

Night time is better, but I think has more to do with circadian rhythms. The less light entering your eyes also quiets circuits as your body prepares for sleep.

OK, having said all that, power does make a difference, but not as much as the above.  Really crappy power will screw things up no doubt!




I don’t drink and I have noticed the same phenomenon. It’s like the bottom has dropped out.
I can’t explain it either.


@barts — good points. I wouldn’t disagree but I would counter slightly with the observation that a constant seems to be the hour of the day at which the effect “switches on”. I haven’t done anything remotely scientific to verify this, but it seems to happen a little after midnight, give or take a half hour or so. So regardless of whether you start a listening session at let’s say 7pm, versus starting a listening session at say 10pm, the switch-on time is the same. So things like relaxation, state of mind, biorhythms etc, would seem to be secondary causes to whatever it is that is happening.

Anyway, it’s an interesting enough phenomenon and one that adds another element of spice to the hobby.


@rvpiano  I’m glad you’ve removed alcohol as the cause, I was beginning to feel a bit self conscious!