Walker Audio Extreme SST

I don't believe it... I friggin' well don't believe it... But I hear it. Ann hears it.

Lloyd's new Extreme SST is yet another step better than the original SST (Super Silver Treatment contact enhancer).

This weekend was devoted to system tweaking. A "minor" turntable update that turned out to be HUGE, followed by experimentation with Walker Audio's new Extreme SST.

Some months ago we'd already used the original SST on our interconnects and speaker cables: WOW! The increase in resolution and clarity was palpable. Everything you may have read about how great this stuff is is absolutely true. Now Lloyd comes out with Extreme SST, which he says is "taking SST to a new level of wow!" So, okay, we'll try it. Lloyd's recommendations have a perfect track record in this household for being right on the money: I always start somewhat skeptical, only to be astonished yet again by that wizard of audio. This weekend's venture was to prove to be yet another trip down that path.

So, first a critical listening session with three system challenging music selections we enjoy. Then, all the old SST gets removed (it wipes right off with an isopropyl alcohol soaked Q-tip), then these same connections get treated with Extreme SST. Controlled test here: nothing else changed, no new connections treated, just the original connections for interconnects and speaker cables. Then we play two hours worth of music to let everything break in again before listening.

Now we sit down to play the three music selections we listened to at the outset of the process: the last few minutes of Stravinsky's Firebird (Dorati, Mercury/Classic Records), the very end of Mendelssohn's Symphony 3 (Scottish Symphony) (Maag, Decca/Speakers Corner), and the very beginning of Shostakovich String Quartet No. 8 (Borodin Qt, Decca/Speakers Corner). No talking: write down your impressions separately, compare only after all the music selections are over.

And when we share our written comments the results are virtually identical. Ann: "increased resolution, increased clarity." Rush: "increased clarity, resolution and staging specificity, somewhat cleaner leading edges to transients."

And this is on top of what the ORIGINAL SST delivered!

So what next? What else can you expect: the rest of the Sunday spent treating with Extreme SST every previously untreated connection, which includes phono cartridge pins, power cord connections, fuses, and every tube pin in this entire system (that's a lot of tubes here). Results: after two hours I'm beginning to get a sense of a system that sounds like the windows have been newly washed for dramatically improved clarity. It will take another several hours for the SST on the cartridge pins to fully break in, so even more will come.

Should you get Extreme SST? I dunno if it will be worth the extra cost to you over the original version. BUT YOU OWE IT TO YOURSELF TO USE ONE OR THE OTHER IN YOUR SYSTEM! The improvement SST provides is remarkable and should be part of every audiophiles system set-up procedure.

For the other skeptics among us, here are links to other people's reviews and thoughts about Walker Audio's original SST:
Positive Feedback's Brutus Award and full review (David Robinson)...
6moons.com Blue Moon Award (Srajan Ebaen)...
Stereo Times (Clement Perry)...
Enjoy the Music (Bill Gaw)...
A good recommendation is to keep the stuff in the freezer, if possible. And, ALWAYS, run around the gap where the jar meets the lid a few times with any kind of electrical tape.
Thanks for the tip, Joe. I've wondered whether some special storage for the unused material should be considered.
Thank you for the kind words guys!

Actually, I want to correct something I said. Three of the four companies in the US are located in the Philadelphia, PA area. I incorrectly said the world. We had a couple of competitors in Japan and in Europe. And, one of the reasons I left the field was I saw things on the horizon in China, with us not taking agressive steps to thwart the barbarians at the gates (I am a software engineer now, and despite it not being nearly as fun, it is a much more stable, well paying career). Still, the actual number of sources for this stuff worldwide can be counted on one hand.

Again, I wish I could show everyone how dramatic the differences in resistivity were with the same resistor in terms of each conductor with an ohmeter. What I was trying to say about the ohmic contact is that the contact resistance of the meter's probes was INCREDIBLY influenced by the termination of the resistor we used. With no termination, a resistor would often read open. With gold, it could read several ohms. And, with the silver based materials, it got down to fractions of an ohm.

Not to turn this too technical, but resistivity is measured in ohms/square. So if you silk screen printed a thick film resistor, such as we would sell to Holco, Sfernice, or Vishay in a 1 mm wide by 4 mm long trace and measured 4 ohms, you would divide by 4 to obtain the resistivity - 1 ohm/square. Each of our test patterns would have a lot of redundant prints, so that we could average things to get a better insight. Of course, printed/dried/cured/fired thickness played a crucial role.

So, in total, I have no doubt that Lloyd's product has the potential to make tremendous improvements. Science is definitely on his side. The contacts of our audio equipment are pretty bad, just take a look at them. My only regret is that I am not still in the lab so that I could actually maximize the performance of this type of material. Various shapes (spheres, platelets, flake) and particle sizes (via surface area) of the silver powders used in these formulations result in very different characteristics. It would be fun to see which sounded the best.
Trelja, Thanks for such a thorough, personally informed presentation. It is amazing how much specialized knowledge you have conveyed to Audiogon non-techies, where we don't even know what questions to ask.
Before refrigerating, would placing Saran Wrap under the screw top lid on the jar be a bad idea, instead of outside taping? I often use this to "seal" contents, but would this accidentally promote unpredictable changes in the Walker Audio SST due to the film of wrap inside the screwed down cap?