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)...
Hi, Agaffer. Thanks for sharing your experience. I've heard from some other audiophiles that they too did not hear a difference, including some members of our local audio group. Here are two or three thoughts to share, for what they may be worth...

1) no, the E-SST does't just show positive effect because connections may be older and have some corrosion, the metal surfaces should be cleaned well before applying SST, and that's the way I've experimented with it;

2) in my experience talking with various audiophiles who've also experimented with SST, the more highly resolving a system is to begin with, the more immediately apparent will be the positive impact of the SST;

3) for me, sometimes the impact of a tweak is not apparent until I remove it from my system after it's been in the system for an extended period of time, only then do I begin noticing that I'm missing something in the sound -- kind of a reverse testing procedure.

I believe that in a system in which small changes are apparent sonically, the SST/Extreme SST should produce a readily audible difference. While this may seem to be coming from a high handed perspective, I have been through extended periods where changes in cabling and the like were not discernible. At the point I am now, I would be that these products would definitely be noticeable for me.

Again, as I have stated above, I believe this product would produce a significant difference via the contact resistance of silver, which is far superior to what most high end audio components rely on - gold.

Despite all of this, and from a material perspective, I believe the case has been laid out, I personally would NEVER use it on anything beyond a loudspeaker connection.
I didn't clean the contacts first. What did you use to clean them with? When I have time I will repeat the process, after cleaning first.
It may well be because my system isn't very revealing. I chose ARC gear and Vandersteen 5A speakers because I like "warm" rather than revealing.
Agaffer, with your system (very nice, btw), you should hear a positive difference.

Try re-cleaning your contacts with some isopropyl alcohol (to both clean off the first application of E-SST and to clean the metal surface), then re-apply the E-SST according to the instructions. For the alcohol, remember to use isopropyl that does not have any additives in it (e.g., the 92% variety).

The E-SST will have a break-in period. Early on, things may sound a bit bright, but that will pass. Break-in depends on the amount of current going through the connections: for power cords expect about 2-3 hours, for interconnects and speaker cables about 5-6 hours, for phono level signals about 20 hours.

Thanks for the explanations, comments, and suggestions on storing SST. I just bought E-SST. I was having problems with crackling sounds and excess noise, which I thought was coming from the tubes on my amp. I cleaned the tube pins with rubbing alcohol and applied E-SST. They are still breaking in, but my experience is consistent with the favorable responses on this thread. In addition to the standard audiophile accolades, noise was reduced dramatically and I haven't heard any of the crackling sounds. It will be interesting to see the effects on other connections in the system.

I checked Lloyd's website and he discusses gas mileage improvements from using E-SST on his motorcycle connections. Since so little of it is needed to take care of the audio connections, I'm curious if any Audiogon members have used it elsewhere in the house to improve other types of electrical connections.