Best Inexpensive Tweaks?

Not sure if this topic has been specifically addressed before, but I thought I’d post it just for fun and to see what others experience has been.

What have been the most effective inexpensive tweaks/upgrades in your system? I understand “inexpensive” can be relative, so I am not going to suggest a price limit. I think common sense will drive the conversation.

My favorite inexpensive tweaks/upgrades include:

  1. Matrix SPDIF 2 (Not crazy inexpensive, but wow what an upgrade! - $379)
  2. WiFi Dongle for my SOtM SMS 200 Streamer ($13)
  3. Upgrading from single-ended to balanced IC’s ($99)
  4. Using Audirvana and upsampling everything from PCM to DSD ($75)
  5. And finally…messing around a bunch with speaker placement. This has the most dramatic affect on sound quality, and I still haven’t narrowed in my favorite/best spot. It’s challenging, but the “tweak” - if you can call it that - is rewarding and worth the time. ($0)

What are your thoughts???

sticky felt:


APPLY on your speaker’s baffle board, ringing the upper frequency drivers, extending to both edges of baffle board…match colors with you grill/speaker

(it minimizes the multiple reflections, that greatly subtract from quality of sound…like taking a blanket OFF a covered speaker.)

try one speaker only…

Comes right off, if you change your mind…

even helped my Magico M3’s…

but, it’s probably not expensive enough to be worthwhile(?) … even if you do a couple layers…

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Amen to that. It should be #1 on any list.

The next best tweak I’ve ever done is replacing speaker crossover parts for higher quality versions. You basically get a brand new, much better speaker.

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  • Dirac room correction, using MiniDSP SHD Studio device between streamer and DAC. All in digital domain

  • IsoAccoustics Gaia under speakers and pucks under subs

  • Iconoclast interconnects and speaker cables. Ok not that inexpensive.

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Still, helpful to know! Affordability is a somewhat relative term in this hobby :blush:.

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Origin Live Enabler - £19 - priceless

https://www.originlive.com/hi-fi/turntable-upgrades-modification/hi-fi-cartridge-upgrade

p.s. Isoacoustics are not CHEAP.

Caring for a back wall distance behind the speakers of at least the same length as the speaker / listener distance…even better more.

Herbies Tenderfeet or tube dampers

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My best tweak now is catch a cold and take a dosage of liquid Tylenol. I am having a pretty bad cold but couldn’t resist a Friday listening session after taking said Tylenol. Holy cow, my mind just slowed way down and I could all of sudden discern new details that I never noticed before. It was a very enjoyable session and definitely made my otherwise miserable day.

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Ortofon DS-3 high resolution digital VTF gauge for installation and alignment of my cartridges.
Can’t believe I put up with a Shure teeter-totter gauge for so long.
Cost: about $110 and worth every penny of it, this one’s for the vinyl spinners in our community.

Yep. In spades. Taking the time to understand room interactions was by far the biggest bang for zero bucks.

Well, OK, if we need to put a price tag on it, then the investment was in this ($30 on Amazon):
image

Cables, Matrix, and stuff like that add polish and finesse, but getting the room acoustics right is fundamental.

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If you use spikes under your speakers and suffer from a too dry, lean and unnatural sounding lower mids/upper bass region use Herbie‘s big fat dots or gliders. Still have to compare it to the Isoacoustics stuff, but those Herbie‘s sound harmonically right.

Duelund 20 gauge tinned copper as speaker cables for my horns and HQPlayer.

Amazon Nobsound spring isolation $22/set of 4, 7 springs in each. Tune to weight of unit or particular corner. Cheap, very good, isolation but very little/no damping.

Plus also Amazon Noico 80 mil 10 sqft car Sound deadening mat, Butyl Automotive Sound Deadener, Audio Noise Insulation and dampening $2/sqft.

Left over packing foam wedged in there to stop the ducts directly under the listening room floor from vibrating like crazy :upside_down_face:

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Weed

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Although not exactly dirt cheap, still I picked up two quads of Isoacoutics Gaiia III for my stand mounts. I can only say WOW! When oriented correctly they are amazing at bringing out more details and layers of nuance from my speakers.

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Not cheap in Illinois yet though…