The elephant in the room…

This is a topic that would ‘fit’ in several different sub-forums all at the same time but the DS triggered it and it is aimed at where the DS is pointing.
Of course it can be moved if it seems best to do so…

So, here goes…

The elephant in the room…

I would suspect that all of us have experienced where the SQ does vary, seemingly randomly, sometimes it’s better, while other times it’s worse, yet it usually gets better late at night, when things are quiet and the electrical load is low.
I even have a realtime RMS AC voltage monitor close by just see when the electrical load is heavy (the voltage drops by a few volts).
But I couldn’t make any correlation between the actual supply voltage and the SQ at any point in time.

And I still can’t, but it may not be voltage fluctuations that are the main culprit, not if my latest fussing with the knobs and subsequent mental cogitations have any significance. :D

These WA-Q fuse chips sound like they increased the slew rate of my entire system.
This was among the 1st clues I noticed when I added them to the fuses in my dac and amp.
They also significantly increased the 3 C’s (cohesion, coherence, coupling) to the point where the sound became compelling (+1 more C, thanks to Gordon :D ).

These observed sonic effects baffled me to no end.
I mean how could a 0.013” x 5mm plastic ‘dot’ effect such changes as I was hearing?
I had no clue at all and the more I searched for some form of answer the deeper the mystery became.

Then I wrapped 3 of the bigger cable chips around the main feeder lines that power my electrical service for my house.
Holy SCHLAMOLIE the cumulative synergistic effects are stupendous.
All 3 C’s took a mother may I step WAY up and that 4th C got drug along for the ride as well.

While I was talking to Gordon he mentioned some experiments done many a year ago where a battery was simply taped to the ends of a cable and its performance near tripled. I mentioned that a similar technique is used by Synergistic research in several of their cable designs and is clearly audible.
So you can blame him for triggering this cascade discharge of thoughts and subsequent cogitation. :D

So my mind is churn’n and burn’n on the what and why etc.
And then it struck me…
In the AC service industry there is a phenomenon known as power factor…

Essentially it describes the relationship between the AC voltage and the current that is supplied and how they can get ‘out of step’ with each other. This is a bad thing for multiple reasons, most of which I won’t delve into here.
I mean unless you want to wrap your head around “imaginary power”, and the like, which usually just gives most folks a headache, I’d steer clear, but if you’d like a primer on this go here,
It does have some quite useful info to peruse and consider (hint, non-linear loads & switched-mode power supplies).

Basically the entire AC power grid that supplies us power, uses transformers as a means of stepping the voltage up or (mostly, on our end) down, so that we have way less of a chance of electrocuting ourselves.
We really don’t need 5KV (or WAY higher) fed directly into our homes, so they (the power companies) step it down to multiples of 120volts (±) using transformers.
Transformers are coils and coils add bunches of inductance into the AC power delivery ‘circuit’, and as such it alters the relationship of the timing of the available voltage to the available current at any point in time, such that in an inductive circuit the amount of available delivery current ‘lags’ behind the existing voltage.

The power companies counteract this shift by adding capacitance to the circuit which conveniently enough has the exact opposite effect as inductance in terms of which way the shift occurs. The optimal situation is a balance of both such that when the AC voltage is at a peak so is the ability to flow current.
This shift also becomes rather significant at the zero crossing when the voltage swings from positive to negative (and visa versa) which happens 120 times per second.

So imagine that your power amp is playing along and it sees sufficient input power voltage, so that it ‘demands’ current to fill the power supply caps. So it ‘asks’ for current to flow but there is a ‘lag’ between the amount of current that can flow and what is needed.
IOW when the power factor is not ‘perfect’, the out of phase relationship restricts the amount of current that can flow which also reflects back on the voltage during the actual flow of current (the voltage tends to ‘dip’ down or ‘sags’ just a bit).

This condition is not optimal for ‘efficient’ energy transfer and leads to a situation that can be described as ‘starvation’.
And as long as the power factor remains non-optimal, this ‘starvation’ situation will remain.

Oh and that zero crossing situation I mentioned above, well it alone doesn’t really have much direct affect our equipment, BUT it does affect motors, light bulbs (and dimmers), ovens, dishwashers, refrigerators air conditioning systems, etc… Mostly because these devices don’t have ‘power supplies’ with a diode bridge like our audio equipment and computers and network equipment etc. has.

But the noise that these non-switched diode devices make when they ‘demand’ power to run, when the power factor isn’t perfect, can and does dirty up the AC supply system, AND can also shift the power factor around all the more.
Also a good deal of the industrial power is used to drive motors, which just adds even more of an inductive shift to the power factor.
And to muddy the water even more, think about the case where the voltage is crossing thru zero but the current wants to flow at a greater ‘rate’ than the voltage in the circuit can permit during that zero crossing time. Can you say noise?
And so it goes…

So what does power factor have to do with these WA-Q chips, I can hear you asking?

Well consider this as a possible explanation or at the least some food for thought.

As I mentioned above the fuse chips resulted in a sonic change that sounded just like the entire system got a slew rate boost, which has similar sonic characteristics to when digital jitter has been improved.
But the fuse chips are ‘only’ messing with the AC supply into the amp and dac and not the actual circuitry that deals with either the digits and bits, nor the analog signal, other than thru the power supply.

So how could messing with the ‘efficiency’ of a fuse make a sonic difference? Well if the voltage and current were in perfect synch, not much, as in, they are already acting efficiently.
But in actual practice this simply isn’t the case.

And since the power factor is rarely perfect and the power companies really only pay attention to ‘correcting’ the power factor for their ‘big’ (commercial) customers, mostly because #1 it’s expensive to correct and #2 they make more money because the electrical power meter is also effected by an adverse power factor, as well as the added wear factor on all the equipment, and, and…
IOW we home owners are not even a blip on their radar in terms of correcting the power factor of the power delivered to our homes.

So I figure that these chips are somehow helping to balance out the power factor, helping to synch the voltage to current delivery in our power supplies.
They are after all called, “bio-energetic” devices.

Which means if my supposition is in any way correct, they are improving the efficiency of the power delivered into the power supplies in our amps and dacs etc. And the most effective way to do so is to ‘tweak’ the power factor, to help synch up the voltage to the current when there is a demand for power.

So when I added 3 chips to the main feeders into my breaker box (2 hots and 1 neutral) the resultant increase in the 3 C’s +1 was and is astounding. But what is equally as amazing is that the long standing pattern of break in behavior, I have repeatedly noted in my notes, has been majorly affected as well. It will be interesting to see if this new pattern remains when I continue to experiment with additional changes.
I suspect so.

And as others have noted the apparent volume has gone up as well. I now rarely get the volume control knob up to even 12 o’clock with the same source material and with the same settings as before the cable chips were added. To me this just adds even more to the mystery…
What in the world can cause this behavior?
And the only answer I have is an increase in the efficiency of the entire system.

Now as to how these chips could in any way effect the efficiency, or power factor, or any ’other’ explanation I can only surmise, and any grasping at straws here would be a act of political correctness, at best.
But the affect these chips have on SQ is plainly evident and this is the ‘best’ explanation given their impact and placement I can come up with so far.

And lastly all of this points directly at but one half of the ‘jitter’ equation, that being the ability to supply the proper voltage at the proper time.

The DS and other high end dacs are all attempting to reduce and control digital ‘jitter’ or as Ted more aptly describes it as, clock “phase noise” rather than ‘jitter’, as being the much more important factor to dial in, in the analog signal reconstruction process.
So by lessening the starvation syndrome, means the ability of the power supply to deliver the exact voltages needed any and everywhere, is helping by contributing it’s half to the ‘jitter’ improvement equation.

But the bottom line to all of this is the music becomes magical, and spooky/scary to the point that it doesn’t matter what the source of the music is, no matter how well recorded, or not, it is ALL compelling, and engaging, and captivating, and enthralling.

And as the music carries you away, you have no choice but to follow where it leads, just because…

Interesting times indeed. :thumb

ps there are additional followups to this, but this is enough for now. :D

Regarding the power factor ? Do you live in an industrial area ? Or just residential ?

Al so is it a city high populated or suburb ?

I ask these questions cause they will help me understand the power factor issue you may have.

Also have you looked with a two channel scope to see the out of phase of voltage and current. As completely agree with the audio being better and worse at times . I myself have never put that much time into it. As my own theory on our hearing is we all hear different on different says or even time of day.

Again I have no idea if this is true and all I am saying has no science to back it.

I do believe there is audio changes but besides warming things up , I have no real answer .


I live in Seattle, in a neighborhood that was established in the 40’s. The power is quite stable and not anywhere near the worst I’ve ever experienced. So all in all I’d say my power is far better than the norm. We get our power from dams here in Washington and other than storms that can and have knocked out the power, we rarely have problems at all. In fact we (the PNW) are noted for the quality and stability and relatively low cost of the power we have.

And since I’ve been monitoring it for decades now, I have never seen it drop below 115v, and usually it only goes down to 118v. Right now it reads 119.5 volts.

If I had access to a power monitor ($$$) or a way of measuring both the voltage and current flow in real time it might shed some additional light on all of this. In fact those of you with P10’s etc have power monitoring built in and you could far more easily ‘test’ for this by checking the log that is generated.

As for “no science to back it” I agree, that is why I mentioned this as the best explanation I can come up with to explain all the behaviors and results I’m seeing.

Could there be a ‘better’ explanation?

Yes indeed, but so few folks even know about power factor let alone the deleterious effects it can have, not to mention the rest of the major influences I mentioned (switched-mode power supplies etc.) and how they all influence each other and the ‘big picture’.

And as for warming things up, this too is a big influence, which is why I don’t turn either the dac nor the amp off at night… Which speaks to our power stability but also removes the time needed to reach thermal stability as an influence or factor in what I’m hearing.

I don’t know how many are familiar with Tesla’s work, nor the complexities of the power grid we have in place and it’s ‘weaknesses’. Eric Dollard has about the best grasp of the dynamics of our current electrical system of anyone I am aware of and it is far more complex than most know. Power factor is but one nearly ‘invisible’ factor buried within all of this, there are many others. Thankfully most don’t ‘reach down’ to the home owner level of the grid. But power factor points at the heart of the complexity of this topic.

I mean how can you have ‘imaginary power’?

But it is quite real in its effects, as has been demonstrated time and again when substations used to blow themselves up, and quite spectacularly too.


More musing from the phunky elephant…

Part Deux…

For those who actually read that wiki page on power factor you may have noticed the section that covers diode switched power supplies. These are used in all of our audio equipment, which is the diode bridge portion of the power supply. And if you are familiar at all with what Shunyata research says about the dynamics of our diode switched power supplies and integrate these 2 views of the inrush current demands, and subsequent harmonic noise generated, and the voltage at which the diodes actually ‘switch on’ which in turn severely restricts how long the current can actually flow before getting ‘switched off’. Well it paints an interesting picture of the dynamics. It also presents the idea that the power demands occur in short ‘intense’ bursts of current flow. This can be described as a ‘duty cycle’ that I’ll head scratch on and describe later.

So here is a simplified thought experiment, just follow the bouncing ball… :smiley:

So imagine that you can monitor both the voltage and current at several places in the power supply and tie them together such that you could watch the current pulse thru the transformer (an inductor) because the diodes in the bridge see enough voltage being presented to the bridge so that it will pass current on to the storage caps until they are ‘full’ and ‘quit’ asking for current. This is when the diodes ‘switch off’. These moments while switching either on or off are under fairly high voltages so the noise that the diodes make is being injected into, lets use ’60 volts’ as an arbitrary pick a number to use. We have essentially one half of a transistor being turned off, not down or simply changed, but forced to zero volts, while a ‘60 volt’ ‘charging’ voltage is still present in its innerds.

These sorts of events create ‘noise’ since the ‘speed’ at which the diodes switches on (or off), while fast isn’t instantaneous, which creates harmonics of the switching speed as they are ‘charged’ by the ‘supply’ voltage. This is a complex relationship making complex resonances and harmonic byproducts.

These ‘undesirable’ harmonics propagate outwards. Backwards (into the transformer and back out thru the fuse and into the power cable and into the ac supply, AND Forwards into the rest of the power supply (regulators and further filtering etc.) AND they also radiate/transmit Outwards into the immediate space AND… Yes, there other consequences…

And yes much of this noise is or can be rather small in terms relative to the other voltages present in the power supply and in the rest of the circuits. And properly designed power supplies do a good job of dealing with all of this low level noise.

The point here is our audio equipment does make noise and dealing with this has become an even more critical factor as we are now embracing truly 120dB+ capable audio systems. Noise being generated by the very power supply that runs our equipment is becoming an important, perhaps even critical design criteria, in order to advance to the next level. We can see evidence of this as the degree of sophistication involving the power supply and its delivery systems are becoming all the more complex (row after row of filter caps, independent power supplies for various different sections etc.) and way more.

And as I mentioned elsewhere 120dB of s/n and/or dynamic range can also be represented by or thought of as a voltage resolution of ≈ 0.0000001 volt. This is mighty tiny voltage by any standard let alone an attempt to attain this degree of resolution within a piece of audio equipment. And perhaps we don’t need all 6 of those zeros behind the decimal point. But even throwing out 1 or 2 or even 3 zeros leaves us with a tall order in terms of meeting the level of precision that remains.

So for example say we knock the absolute voltage precision down to ≈ 0.00001 (2 zeros removed) we are still talking about 1 ten thousandths of a volt (≈80dB) that is repeatable, reliable, consistent, and replicable as the voltage delivery resolution of the system.

And with the push for lowered noise floors, greater dynamic range, with true 120dB+ resolution, in all domains, all of this is yielding a stupendous increase in not just the C3+1 area, but in ways we have not fully come to grips with, yet…

Interesting times indeed.


And the phunky E’phant, back yet again for a return engagement…

So let me point out that the equipment I’m hearing these changes to the SQ and the other sonic aspects, is on a very simple system that while playing music uses ≈ 40 watts, total, for the whole system (except for the computer supplying the digits and bits). But even if we use the maximal rated power draw, we are only talking about ≈ 80 watts. This equates to (40w to 80w) as ≈ 0.33 to 0.75 amps continuous (± depending upon the power factor).
Which means that on a system that draws from ≈ 1/3rd to 3/4th of an amp (continuous) , the sonic effects of an increase in the power supply efficiency are not just audible, but can be astounding.

And after doing a bit of scribbling and head scratching and the like, it turns out that ≈ every other 4ms the diode bridge turns on and current will flow for 4 ms, followed by 4ms of it being turned off. This 4ms on (with current burst) and 4ms off, sequence means that the power supply only has ≈ 1/2 of the available time for current to flow.

And this 4ms on, 4ms off describes a 50% duty cycle which is loosely based upon a relatively low ≈ 1/2 of the peak voltage as the minimum voltage to start asking for current to flow, and also to stop the flow as the voltage falls towards zero. If this ‘acceptable’ voltage level were to be at higher percentage instead of ≈ 50%, then the duty cycle will change as the amount of time to ‘dump current’ shortens and the amount of time the diodes stay switched off lengthens. These parameters are part of the basic design of the power supply and it’s output rail voltages, transformer secondary voltage etc.

The point here is there is a ‘window’ where the AC voltage input to the diode bridge is high enough to allow current to flow into the rest of the power supply. This window is only ‘open’ for ≈ 50% of the time (at most), and the current flows in short duration bursts of ≈4ms or less.
Improving the efficiency of these 4ms bursts results in an audible improvement in even very low wattage demand equipment. And I suspect that these efficiency increases can have an even greater effect on the power amp side of things. Simply because the current demand is more dynamic due to the changing power requirement of the music to drive the transducers (speakers/headphones).

Oh and for those who may not know.
My headphones are 300-600Ω so the amount of power available is well under 1 watt, max.
I never listen to them any where near max volume, not even close.

Which means that these power supply efficiency increases reach down into the very smallest amounts of voltage and current that are delivered to my ears. Indeed this IS what I hear, the inner details, the small signal dynamics and equally as important is the timing and harmonic relationships between them, are all improved across the board under all dynamic conditions at all frequencies and effect all the harmonic relationships between the primary voices and their associated and dependent harmonic nuances.

And if my ≈ 40watts of power usage with > 1 watt of actual power delivered to my headphones are being changed this much by these plastic 0.013” thick ‘chips’, I can only imagine what the changes to systems with larger current demands would be…

Oh and lest you think it’s just these chips that deliver these types of sonic improvements, not so. Fuses, AC cables, duplex receptacles, a dedicated circuit back to the breaker panel, all of these result in related types of improvements and they do seem to have a cumulative, additive effect upon each other and the sonic results in total.

That a 40watt system can be this effected by all of this is astounding in and of itself.

Interesting times indeed.


ps this is more yet to come… :thumb

Git down and phunky with the E’phant

And it would also seem that the terms we are familiar with that we use to describe interesting and desirable sonic attributes could also stand to be augmented somewhat.
SQ and FR and soundstage and S/N and THD etc., are all common enough but these new capabilities of 120dB resolution, jitter reductions etc. are presenting us with a new sonic terrain to navigate.

I used the 3 C’s - Cohesion, Coherence, Coupling and then Compelling was added, as additional means of describing different sets of readily identifiable sonic signatures, which also help tie these attributes together into useful tools for helping to determine if changes/modifications just made are truly beneficial.

I have several other terms I use as well, such as Intelligibility, T3 (ToeTappinTime) and HB&W (HeadBobbing & Weaving) and S/S (Spooky/Scary). These descriptors along with related ‘tests’ make it relatively easy to see when ‘new’ sonic attributes are actually ‘better’, or not. These ‘tests’ are already familiar to most, and really all I’m adding to the mix is some additional meaning and context which can help increase their usefulness as tools to help figure out if the changes we make are just impressive or have deeper, more compelling and desirable benefits.

I rely upon these terms more so than the traditional terms like FR and S/N etc. because they represent the cumulative results of evaluations and not simply numbers or single test results. But that isn’t to say single test results are ignored, no not by any means. They have already been taken into account and accepted for what they are by the equipment I have already chosen.
You could think of these new terms as derivative interpretations, instead of the ‘raw’ or calculated data itself.
I use these ‘new’ terms as a relative gauge for changes made in their respective domains, after my setup has been modified, as a a way of capturing what differences are noticed, as described below. These audibly characterized changes form the basis of acceptance or rejection and are due to the results of the modification just made.

I’ve already described the 3 C’s +1 in another post ( ) but I have only lightly touched on Intelligibility and T3 and HB&W, which I’ll expand upon below along with S/S.
And there are easy to use tests to help focus in on certain changes, which makes them useful for evaluational purposes to know if recent changes are ‘keepers’ or not. IOW these tests can become quite handy tools for our use.

Let me add that PRaT (Pace Rhythm and Timing) is a close cousin to C3 in that the sonic results of achieving a ‘satisfactory’ amount of PRaT and C3 will yield similar sonic results. Namely our sense of connection to the music, and when the coupling between the external acoustic presentation and the internal experience starts to align, magic happens. I call this trait, this alignment, a ‘Central Nervous System Tap’ (CNST), which I’ll delve into more fully later.

So 1st up is Intelligibility and it’s a fairly easy technique to use, in that all you have to do is listen to the words sung or spoken and determine if you can understand each and every word, or not. Some albums are rather good for this in that the music itself is not overly complex (few ‘voices’ to interfere) but still the focused resolving ability of the playback system may be insufficient in some way, which can obscure certain words.

This term originates from the telephone industry well before cell phones, where intelligibility was THE measure of the quality of the system. It was codified and even quantified so that there was a ‘standard’ by which situations could be compared. The plosive phonemes such as P’s - T’s were the key to the codification process. Plosives (denoting a consonant that is produced by stopping the airflow using the lips, teeth, or palate, followed by a sudden release of air.) essentially contain very low frequency components in their tonal makeup. And sibilant sounds, the S’s are at the other end of the audio spectrum where articulation is more obscured due to the ‘masking’ nature of the white noise like sound.
These were the major phonemes that were used to quantify intelligibility for the telephone system back in its heyday. Fortunately we have an easier task in that all we need do is to listen and determine if we can hear and know what each and every word is, or not.
Intelligibility was quite useful back then and can be now.

I like to use Dire Straits for this test because it is easy to hear Mark Knopflers voice, yet knowing exactly which words are being sung can be quite a challenge, at least for some words. This ability to hear precisely all the words, or now hear new words not understood before, is an easy test to use to determine if any changes to the setup result in an increase in resolving ability, and specifically it points to the degree of Cohesion that each ‘voice’ has, and if it has been improved.

Next up is T3 and HB&W and this test is also rather simple.
Does you foot start moving in time with the music?
Does you head start dancing on your neck when the music grabs your attention?
If so, the playback has extended bass response.
This can be heard in the leading edge of most every voice, especially percussion instruments and the like, that have impact and power. Even piccolo’s can have a sharp leading edge that once heard can be picked out by this test.

A sure fire way to tell if the playback system has extended bass response is to perform the absolute phase reversal test, which is easy to do with a PWD or DS, or via other s/w or hardware means by flipping the absolute phase.
If there is no real difference in the bass impact between one absolute phase setting and another and assuming the music you are using actually has deep extended bass, then there is a ‘choke point’ somewhere in the system that is effectively truncating the lowest octaves.
I’ve tested some big $$$$ cables which utterly failed this test.
Indeed it took over 500 hours of break in to know if my current cables were capable of passing this test. AND only after cooking on an ‘industrial’ strength cooker did they pass.
I ‘stumbled’ upon this when I made my own AC power cables that removed this ‘choke point’. The increase and extension of the bass response was immediately apparent. And yes it took hundreds of hours to reach their max bass capability.

And it should be noted that the capability of the systems bass response itself doesn’t need to be extended, because once a degree of coupling is achieved what bass response that does exist WILL be enhanced. And not just in extension, but mostly in the leading edges of every bit of sonic information. Every voice’s primary tones (the parent, if you will) and all of it’s harmonically related resonant series of tones such as the ‘air’ that surrounds each voice, will be enhanced. As will the sound field’s contribution of resonant tones which are derived from the parent’s primary tones, and the physical device’s own resonant contributions, which helps form the parents primary tonalities. All of these unique resonances have tonal contributions which can be detected as well.
All these separate series of harmonically related resonant tones ‘ride’ on top of the primary tones produced while playing. And as they get ‘locked back into’ their parents with greater ‘precision’, the increase in the ‘punch’ or ability to deliver ‘power’ to those voices (along with their related resonant tones) gains power. And those that contain plosives or are percussive in nature, all of these get an increase in the smack or impact they can deliver.
This greater precision in the alignment of all the harmonically resonant tones to their ‘parent’ creates a tighter, more focused coupling of the energy available during the recreation of the analog signal.

I usually like to use bass that is electronic or orchestral works where they haul off and wail on one of those 6’ drums, as but two suitable examples. Many of the Telarc albums have tracks that can have powerful bass with sharp percussive leading edges to those voices. Also many DMP recordings (Flim and the BB’s for example) and Béla Fleck and the Flectones are good examples to use for this.
When the impacts hit, the extended lower harmonics can be surprising in how far they extend down.
This is an example of Coupling in action and it can be quite satisfying, as can hearing low frequency rumble when you first hear it and immediately know what it is! And then sometimes recognizing that it’s the air handling system! :D

When all of these leading edges become effectively coupled with their ‘parent’ voice, I have found that T3 and HB&W just automatically starts, seemingly all by itself. I know I can’t help myself, indeed I welcome these forms of confirmation that the sonic presentation is involving and engaging to that degree. Because when these attributes are all present and fully functioning, the music sucks me in and my analytic processes give way to being carried along with the music, which is one of my goals in listening to music to begin with.
An unexpected consequence of this degree of getting engaged in and with the music, is you just realize you’ve memorized the lyrics to whole albums. And so to is being able to effortlessly follow each and any individual voice, amid the complexity of the rest of the music. :D

And lastly there is the Spooky/Scary description of hearing and describing music, seemingly anew, even though it’s exactly the same track that has been repeatedly listened to countless times before. Sometimes, hopefully more often than not, the music ‘clicks into place’, every voice is recreated as a whole, and all of the sonic effects, be they natural (in a concert hall) or electronic (effects boxes, to studio magic) just all ‘line up in their proper time and place’. Each and every bit of acoustic information, and/or voice, in each moment, everything, just snaps into place, nothing is missing and it’s easy to tell because everything is clearly heard, you can identify each voice and all of it’s related harmonic resonant tones for what they are and where they are and who they belong to…
For the entirety of all that is heard, all in real time.

THIS is Spooky/Scary.

One of my goals is to ‘increase’ the ratio of having Spooky/Scary ‘show up’, more often than not.

So when my my minds nitpick ‘function’ gives way to enjoyment and the timeless experience of being enveloped IN the music, that’s when I know I am getting close to the degree of ‘realism’ I am seeking.

Interesting times indeed.


Central Nervous System Tap - CNST
A What?

By now some may be wondering where all of what I’ve written thus far is ‘coming from’ so to speak.
I mean, I figure that some are wondering what IS all of this, and what is the origin of these observations, among other questions.
And yes these are observation / experiential based audio TidBits I’ve gleaned along the way in my decades of audio investigations.

You see there was a singular event that set a high water mark that a fellow audiophool and I literally stumbled upon back in the early 70’s.
And both of us have been attempting to get back to that degree of realism, that degree of jaw dropping, attention getting, near spiritual experience, ever since.

With these latest developments in both equipment (DS - PWDII, wires, HD-800’s etc.) and the recent refinements to reach fully 120dB capable playback systems, I have achieved ≈ 80-90% of the overall sonic impact that we both experienced way back then. Of course today some things are much better, like not having to deal with mis-tracking, and vinyl’s limited dynamic range etc., which when compared to what is available in todays digital systems, are but faded memories.

I mean back then we were using Altec EQ-5’s driven by a Phase Linear 400 driven by an Audio Research SP-3a1 from a Shibata tipped Audio Technica cartridge on a Thorens table with a Decca Unipivot arm. I mean nothing here is unique or special, but the synergy of that system in that particular house just gob smacked us up(in)side our heads.
We did do a couple of things in the setup that were a bit ‘unusual’ at the time, which I’m sure were pivotal in attaining the results we did. And we both thought that it was just us, ‘hearing things’, until another audiophool friend came by and was transfixed in and to the sweet spot for the entire album side. We both looked at each other and we knew that it wasn’t just us, this system was WAY beyond ANYTHING we had ever heard before, or since. And until just recently with the advent of the major improvements in DAC’s and transducers etc. and the very recent AC power system tweaks etc. that are available now, I had not really been able to even approached this level of direct personal involvement IN the music.

Back then none of the tweaks I’ve been mentioning here, were even a gleam in a marketers eyes…
But we hit a lick (as we liked to say), we hit it hard!
And it f’n Rocked!

The sound enveloped us, to the point that we were immersed within the sound field. It wasn’t just ‘out there’ we were IN it. Put another way it surrounded and carried us along with it.
The sense of palpability, of reach out and touch each and every voice was captivating and awe inspiring.
Our audiophool friend didn’t move once he fell into the sweet spot, well except for his jaw…
Like I said, we both have been on a mission ever since to get back to that degree of sonic nirvana.

But what struck me and astonished me the most was the sense of connectedness we experienced with the music while being IN the music. We deftly memorized all the words to Stevie Wonder - Talking Book, Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon, Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks - Striking It Rich, National Lampoon’s - Radio Diner, Frank Zappa’s - Apostrophe/Overnight Sensation and just about anything else we played.

The only way I could even approach an adequate description to convey what the experience was like, was to coin and use the phrase Central Nervous System Tap - CNST. And it only points and hints at the experience of being IN the music, and/or having the music surround and be embedded within us. When the music is presented in this way, you have no choice but to get sucked into the experience and just ‘go with the flow’. The degree of compulsion, of insistence that all of your focus be locked onto what is being heard and experienced is difficult to adequately convey, thus my use of CNST.

It had our full, undivided attention, in no uncertain terms.

I suppose you could say we were both ‘calibrated’ if not indelibly imprinted by that system and those experiences from 4 decades ago.
And now being able to achieve this degree of replication of the experience is the realization of a promise I made to myself back then.
To achieve the same degree of being surrounded IN and enveloped BY the music, to experience that CNST again.

Only it’s not the same.
It’s better and ‘different’ all at the same time.
Of course to really expect it to be the same is both unrealistic and a welcome change. I mean the mis-tracking was screechy and there was turntable rumble, and wow and flutter and tape hiss etc. All of which is either now gone or has been tamed even further to the point that they just add another degree of ‘texture’ and nuance to the music.
And I don’t miss, the limited dynamic range necessitated by vinyl, nor having to get up every ≈ 25 minutes to change the album, no, not at all.

And the bass resolution while way better than anything we had heard up until that time has been bested, in every way. The timbre, subtle inner details, the musical note that each drum head (and cymbal) is tuned to, and along with all of the harmonically related resonant over and undertones (which were amazing back then) all now have better resolution, better coupling, faster response. And it’s not just in the leading edge where these new improvements show up, but everywhere else as well, especially evident are the improvements due to reductions in decay time in the transducers, and the AC power delivery enhancements, along with major jitter reductions and so much more.

But the magic we can now achieve, the insistence that compels attention to and involvement with what is being heard, regardless of what it is (which is another key aspect in and of itself) is now beyond mere stellar. No matter how horrid the music, no matter how wretchedly it was mangled by compressors and limiters, driven into saturation and distorted and then recorded along with hiss and wow and flutter, despite ALL of this, the music can now yield increased insight into the music’s innerds, and these improvements are by orders of magnitudes. And all of these new sonic technical achievements have turned tracks, that used to be bad enough that it was ‘painful’ to hear, into musically inviting, well, music.

No matter how bad some of the early Rolling Stones tracks were, now they are not just listenable but the reaction to grab the volume control and turn it down or better yet off, has just vanished. Every track is intriguing, even the distortions and sonic hiccups are but added layers of musical information to be enjoyed right along with the rest.

And as a further example to highlight where we’re headed, one that may be familiar to some…
Have you ever experienced a musical passage that evoked an autonomic blink response?
And it’s not that the music is so loud, but that the impacts are delivered so quickly and with ‘full’ power such that you’ve just blinked before, you realize you just blinked?
This is a pointed example of coupling. When the instantaneous power delivery (especially in the bass) is so fast it’s over before you can react.
This ability of the playback system to be able to concentrate all the acoustic energy where and when and as it ‘supposed to be’, instead of ‘smearing’ it thru time, imparts a degree of palpability that is addicting.

This is where we’re heading with the DS, and this is what I hear, when Paul talks about hearing ALL of the music that is and has been buried in our digital music collections. This is what I’ve been aiming at for all these years.

And when I heard the DS, the hints and ‘signposts’ were all there. Each and everyone of them!

And I suspect that what with my previous tweaking, my 80-90% is going to take a giant-mother-may-I leap forward, or up, or ahead, or in…
And for me it will be like returning to familiar ground, or realizing a 40 year old promise…

Only WAY better. :thumb

So if anyone else has had a CNST type of experience I’d REALLY like to hear about it.

This is get’n REAL interesting! :D


Dude, get some tubes!!!

I’ve had tubes (Audio Research) and they are, or can be wonderful, at times.

But for now, my aim is to simplify the entire system to as few ‘variables’ as possible and tubes are at the opposite end of this spectrum.

AND tubes are a variable, variable. IOW they ‘age’.

I’m shooting for as causal a relation ship of cause and effect as I can get.

So far it seems to be working.


Well, as an aside, about 10+ years ago a couple of friends and I wrote a maintenance manual on how to ‘properly’ adjust the valves on the BMW Oilhead motorcycle engines, which lasted until they went with ‘shims’, but I digress.

If you are into BMW’s you may have heard of it, we called it OVAD, I’m pretty sure it’s ‘out in the open’ on the net, so to speak.

We had a lot of fun creating that document and there were a few additional write-ups that followed up but the guy who wrote it had a way with words, way better than I do, anyway.

The reason I bring this up is to point out a pattern I seem to have, that every once in a while I get these ‘wild and crazy’ ideas that some might find helpful in part or whole.

The interesting thing I see and wish to draw attention to is that I don’t ‘claim’ to ‘own’ these ‘wild and crazy’ ideas as being ‘mine’. Not that I don’t take responsibility for them, no, its more like they are free to be shared, or not as the case may be, the ownership part has been deliberately left off.

I figured that ideas don’t ‘belong’ to anyone in particular, but do or can become (more) useful when shared.

And since I have this history of writing this (and other) sorta stuff down, the topics covered in the previous posts seemed somehow apropos, so I flung them in here.

I’m fascinated to see what happens next.


ps a note of caution, OVAD can be a bit, um, ‘salty’ for some, non-motorcyclists. It’s still a hoot to read though.

So, I’m wondering if there is any interest in bringing up any further ‘insights’ from me or from anyone else, that deals with the issues I previously brought up, or in any related topics of discussion…

Just curious is all…


A couple of additional topics to chew upon, 1 ‘old’ & 1 ‘new’.

Dynamic Range Control

Or, can I crank it moar 4 me…?

I have come to think of the volume control as more like a Dynamic Range Control.

When the DRC goes up, all the low level detail comes up and out, accordingly.

IOW there is more there, there.

More to hear in terms of the added harmonically related audible cues or over/undertones that ‘belong’ to their parent source of sound.

It is these small signal dynamics which are related, as associated harmonically rich information, that allows me to hear into the music as well as be able to all the more easily, focus on any and all of the different ‘voices’.

More there, there.

Another perspective or way to say this is, when the system is working well, the volume control doesn’t make the music louder, it does however present more of the music to hear.

So when the DRC is raised and lowered and it never gets ‘loud’, I ‘know’ that the overall system distortion is very low.

And let me clarify my use of “loud(er)” so the distinction is more pronounced.

When we listen, what our sense of hearing often tags as louder is more distortion, a greater deviation away from the ‘natural’ sound of an instrument or a voice. When these added/induced distortion byproducts start to rise faster than the volume level, we hear that, and interpret it as being loud(er).

And if these distortion byproducts (which ARE harmonically related added ‘information’) were reduced, at the same playback volume level (dB), we would also tend to perceive that the volume had been reduced (if such a thing were possible).

So if the distortion were lowered, at any specific playback level, this would ‘allow’ us to raise the volume level to a greater (dB) amount for a given perceived loudness level.

IOW as these added distortion byproducts are further reduced this enables our ability to listen, comfortably, at a greater volume (dB).

This effectively raises the low level signals up and out of the background and into a more perceptible range of hearing.

This is why I refer to it as a dynamic range control.

For example, if say certain related over and undertones (harmonics) which were created by a particular instrument were oh, ≈ -45dB lower than their primary ‘source’, and we were playing the source at say 80dB, then these related harmonics are playing at ≈ 35dB, which is close to being buried in the ‘noise’ floor and is at such a low level, as to be difficult to clearly and distinctly hear.

Now raise the DRC (volume control) up to 95dB and those same harmonics are now playing at ≈50dB. In effect we have raised all that low level music above the ‘noise’ floor so that we can hear it much more distinctly.

This is what I mean when I say there is more to hear.

And what I’ve noticed is even with heavily compressed music, the related harmonic cues we use to hear ‘louder’ or at a ‘higher volume’, are still in effect.

These cues can still ‘trick us’ into experiencing a greater dynamic range than is actually present.

Audio engineers can and have actively used this ‘function’ to their advantage.

One of my favorite albums is by Gustavo Dudamel entitled Discoveries. I don’t remember which track it is (the whole album is amazing) but the final note is one of those big huge drums being hit, hard, along with the rest of the crescendo from the orchestra.

The entire acoustic space gets energized and lights up, and as this boom drops off in intensity AND as it recedes away into the rest of the room, the very character of the boom morphs as the acoustics of the room adds it character to the initial boom. This is where a wider or increased dynamic range can present impressive results.

And as a second conceptual morsel to mull over…

Phase Δ Reduction,

A Thought Experiment…

Think of 2 (or more) thin sheets of diner plate sized clear mylar, back to back, all the same size with identical radial spoke patterns with ellipsoidal and/or non-concentric patterns printed on them. And as they are rotated they begin to come back into alignment with each other.

At first, as you look thru these sheets it may look like a mish-mash of complexity with nary a recognizable pattern anywhere to be seen. But as the layers continue to rotate and begin to come into closer alignment with each other, they will start to show complex moiré patterns, and then morph back to chaos, as they continue to align. Then simpler moiré patterns emerge, and then chaos returns again, and this trend continues until they are nearly superimposed as the last moiré pattern gives way to the primary pattern. But the lines are still ‘fat’ but getting thinner as the identical patterns continue to align and merge, until all the lines exactly match the original pattern.

At that point the resolution of this system has reached it’s maximum based upon the existing pattern. So as energy passes thru unrestricted, maximum ‘clarity’ or focus and 0º phase differences are achieved, and all that remains is the original pattern.

When the 2 (or more) layers are perfectly aligned then this same pattern is passed along by all layers without deviation, which assures ‘perfect’ coupling of all available energy of the pattern along with perfect ‘timing’, as the energy passes thru.

And now for a change up…

Rather than having a fixed pattern on all ‘layers’, instead these patterns are changing. Think of the patterns as the musical signal that is being presented to our ears, as the music ‘plays’ in real time.

This is analogous to what I’m hearing as these various experiments I’ve been making, ‘settle in’.

At first the focus starts to get better then it gets worse, and then better still. And as this pattern continues, the focus gets tighter each time it comes back into focus.

It’s as if the focus of each voice tightens up into and as, it’s ‘full’ self, in a slow repeating spiral pattern as it approaches it’s full resolution, interleaved with times when the sound becomes chaotic or diffused, aka. into the toilet.

But this pattern is like an iterative repeating loop as the sound gets better and the chaos also lessens in complexity and severity as more hours are accumulated. IOW the sound at both ‘extremes’ improves as it comes more, into focus and also doesn’t go out of focus as much.

Put another way as there is more there, there, and as it comes into focus, there is less chaos, less fuzz, less obfuscation. And so as the energy that passes thru this pattern is altered less and less, we notice the true nature of the pattern and only the pattern as itself.

This is also directly related to coupling, as in, all of the re-created acoustical sound energy is focused precisely where and when, to match the original voice.

And since we already know that we can hear minute timing differences, this ability to focus the proper amount of acoustical energy at the proper time when presented to our ears can be likened to a holographic image.

Only in this case the greater the density of the holographic medium (the more resolution it can contain) and the precise and sharper we can focus our ‘reference’ re-construction beam, the more dense (more there, there) and precise the re-created image can be.

This holographic level of resolution and energy coupling, when it happens, can be startling.


ps. Latest results of fussing…

I just added 2 more cable chips to my romex feed of my dedicated power distribution for my amp & dac.

I also cleaned up and simplified this home run, a bunch.

The results are most gratifying, much like the changes made from the fuse chips and cable chips I previously added.

And the sonic improvement from these latest changes have a similar net effect, albeit at a less ‘impressive’ level of change, at least thus far (at 200+hrs).

But it should be noted these changes are the source of this holographic perceptual framework and they are being repeatedly demonstrated, namely that getting the ac power delivery system choke points ameliorated, is letting me hear these changes.

I am also playing around with AudioQuest 10% silver cladded over copper usb and cat-7 cables.

The results are starting to surprise me. But it will be weeks before I’m finished fussing with this experiment.

As it took 600+ hrs for the cat-7 cables to fully open up, I do hope the usb cable doesn’t mirror that same break in pattern…

I will also be testing for the effects of cooking the usb cable. These tests might prove to be very revealing, in multiple senses of that word.

Two great essays. Very nicely done.

Your description of volume and its relationship with dynamic range perception strikes me as very accurate.

On the flip side or perhaps a corollary - we perceive volume of acoustic instruments by their harmonic content. As an example, even if played back physically soft/at low volume, we know what a loud, full bore trumpet sounds like and we perceive it as loud if its full harmonic content/timbre is accurately reproduced. This is also true of the sound of a very softly played flute. Played back loud or soft, we know it is a soft flute. There is irony in the fact that each often must be played loud on a stereo system to sound right - which brings us back to your point. :)

I have always loved moiré patterns, beginning when I was an elkin. Thus, I like your imagery in explaining your idea.


I was trying to capture what I was hearing as the sound morphed thru time during break in, AND as the patterns of break in themselves, changed.

It struck me that moiré patterns which result from complex patterns moving in and out of phase with themselves was the closest to capturing with words, the sonic changes I was hearing.

It is also somewhat evocative from an ideational point of view as well… 4_gif


It is an excellent descriptive analogy, especially for those of us who have played with interference patterns.

Listener fatigue as a tool
Like tea, you will know it’s good if you automatically reach for more when offered.

So if the desire strikes you while listening, to just turn it off, or down, or go do something else, or you are easily distracted, then consider that the Listener Fatigue Factor, (LFF) is ‘high’, at least high enough that it distracts you away from ‘getting into the music’.
A correlate to this is, as we are able to listen to increasing playback levels before LFF ‘distracts’ us, this is an improvement, a ‘keeper’.
This test can be ‘used’ as a tool to help determine if the changes we make really are improvements, or just changes.

Which translates into, IF we can crank up the DRC and NOT hear any acoustical information that is strident or distracting at the same or higher playback level as in previous listening sessions, THEN we can use this to help determine if the latest modifications/experiments were able to increase the playback level, before onset of LFF.

And from the, is the glass half full/empty perspective…
If the music does not, or can not, engage you, as in pull you into itself and hold your attention, then LFF may be a causative or an additional factor, one that can be ‘tested’ for and certainly monitored as changes are made to figure if they are truly a keeper, or not.

This also relates to the idea of increases in the DRC, where, as the volume goes up (assuming that the ‘sound doesn’t get loud’ factor is in place), does the sound become more involving, more compelling, with more toe tapping time?

All of these ‘measures’ of ‘musical satisfaction’ can be quite useful tools to help determine if recent changes truly are ‘keepers’.

Think of this as but another tool, right along with Intelligibility, C3 + 1, T3, HB&W, and S/S.


Jitter, it’s not just the coffee anymore.

Jitter, we all know it’s ‘bad’ to have too much (any?) jitter in our digital playback system. But is ‘real’ jitter limited to just the digital domain exclusively?
I submit that jitter is more than just a digital timing ‘error’ during the sequential re-construction process, indeed I find that it is only 1/2 of the ‘total’ picture.
I come to this conclusion based upon months of observation and fussing with the knobs (experimentation).
But I also submit that jitter, is in a sense, a displacement ‘error’ away from the perfect re-construction of the original wave form, and it exists in both ‘domains’, analog & digital, and in two ‘dimensions’, time/frequency & voltage/amplitude.

I submit, at least for this paper, a definition that what we call jitter is ANY resultant error (deviation) during the re-construction of (from) the ‘original’ analog waveform signal. This encompasses both ‘domains’ and ‘dimensions’ needed to re-construct and deliver the original ‘target’ signal, time/frequency & voltage/amplitude (dimensions), in both the analog & digital ‘domains’.

Perhaps another term could be introduced such as smear, or re-construction deviation, etc. But for now I’m going to stick to jitter, mostly because the audible effects of reducing any of these errors results in near identical audible improvements, regardless of which ‘dimension’ or which ‘domain’ is being improved. And it’s these same audible consequences which identify to me what jitter is and what we can expect as the total amount of jitter is reduced.

We have been hearing of and seeing recent developments of femto-second clocks in the drive to obtain the optimal degree of precision, repeatability, and reproducibility in the time axis ‘dimension’ of the equation. And I have heard the results of the reduction of jitter of the incoming digital stream and have ‘categorized’ these improvements in a descriptive narrative. But these very same audible improvements are also brought about via, albeit more indirectly, ac power system delivery changes/improvements. And some of these changes are from ‘non-ordinary’ sources as most would view them.

Currently there are 2 ‘domains’ of signal re-creation methodologies in our playback systems, analog (tape, vinyl, radio) and digital (CD’s, DVD’s, digital files from a computer or server).
Both of these methodologies have a unique variation of jitter as defined above.

And really we as audiophools can only affect jitter reduction in rather limited ways. Sure we can buy new pieces of equipment, but other than that all we can change is the setup of the system, which includes the cables, and the ac power we feed the equipment. And fortunately these latter changes can result in significant sonic improvements that match other improvements made which reduce jitter directly, which is why I have come to equate them to improvements made to ‘standard’ digital jitter.

The 2 ‘dimensions’ of time/frequency & voltage/amplitude (think of an FFT display and a signal trace on an ‘O’scope) are both required to create a musical signal.
In the analog ‘domain’ these are based upon a real time dynamic complex analog signal (voltage), with what we usually term as phase shift (frequency) anomalies due to the nature of the circuits and the physics and the properties of the materials used, and of course the setup of the equipment etc.

And in the digital ‘domain’ where timing is its ‘thing’ we find that as the degree of exact precision of the timing increases, the results, in complex ways, can be quite audible, but again this also applies to the power supply delivery supply chain (voltage).
So we will delve a bit deeper in the signal re-creation modes AND the signal delivery modes, and look at how they overlap.

Analog signal creation
Is your phono cartridge diamond tip in THE groove? or just sorta close?
And can you tell when it ‘drops into’ THE groove?
When the diamond tip doesn’t read the groove exactly as it was created, time smearing is the result due to not being in phase and ‘correctly’ reading the original cut in the groove in ‘real time’.

A ‘proper’ read of the groove, that matches the line that was cut by the cutting head, results in a jitter free analog signal with no timing (phase) nor amplitude (voltage) ‘errors’.

This is a tall order, to be able to ‘nail’ reading the one and only correct portion of the groove, in real time, despite the physical variables of thickness, or warpage, or lack of ‘flatness’ or eccentricity, etc. of every record. Not to mention the additional variables of cartridge tip to body alignment, as well as ‘ideal’ cantilever ‘sag’ and the aging of the cantilever mounting viscoelastic material, among other factors.
This difficulty, in (mis)reading the groove, translates into a Ø ∆ or timing error with respect to transferring the physical waveform from the groove into an identical mirror image electrical signal. Any deviation of this waveform from the ‘original’ is jitter as I have described it above.

Digital signal creation
Traditional jitter (the strictly digital kind) exists as a frequency or time dimension ‘error’.
(Yes it’s more complicated than this simplified metric, but it will suffice for this write up.)
But I submit that jitter exists in 2 dimensions (time/frequency & voltage/amplitude) and extends into a 3rd, (‘real time’)

So really, what is jitter?

But first lets take a quick look at digital circuits.
Digital circuits are just optimized analog circuits that get triggered to ‘go off’ (or on) as ideally as possible.
And since they are operated in a sequential fashion, the sequencing itself becomes yet another issue, at least for dac’s anyway.
So they ‘switch’ to the ‘next’ state. as quickly, precisely, and repeatably as possible.
But they also need to ’stabilize’ at that ‘new’ state with equal quickness, precision, and repeatability.

So we need ‘good’ fast, clean, noise free switches (the time domain) and with a power supply that mirrors with equal quickness, precision, and repeatability as it delivers the exact voltage (the voltage domain) thru the switch which then becomes the analog signal.

Put another way,
the timing variation of the clock as it triggers the switch(es) to ‘dump’ (add) the precise voltage supplied by the power supply distribution system to re-create the exact amplitude at that exact time, is what is being reduced to more precisely mirror the original analog signal.
To me this is why we have jitter as a means of describing how to ‘measure’ improvements in this re-creation process along with the variable(s) that play a critical role in all of this, in the first place. Yeah I know that’s bassackwards, but heh, it works for me! :D

And the 3rd factor is to perform this re-construction process, without skipping a beat, with this same degree of precision, repeatability and reproducibility, dynamically, in real time, continually.

And then once we have re-created this signal we need to ‘move it along’, and then ‘present’ it to our ears. This is where the wires and ac power supply system come into play, along with the rest of the setup of the entire system.

Analog signal delivery
We all know of the possibility of changing the sound by changing both the power and signal cables. A great many theories abound and are bandied about, with relish by some.
And in my experience cables can alter the analog signal voltages that pass the musical signal along, and so can the power cables used by the components themselves. And in many cases these changes reflect the effects of reducing jitter, which can increase the overall quality of the sound we hear.
There are many factors such as slew rate, phase shifting, signal propagation down the wires (and in some cases return signal reflections), ampacity of the cables and many more widely known factors all of which can have audible effects.

Digital signal delivery
Strangely enough digital cabling does (or can) make a difference. And beyond just the crude, ‘does the music skip or hiccup’, digital signal transfer from one device to another can be effected by ones choice of cabling. And I know cables, especially digital signal cables shouldn’t make ANY differences, except that’s not what I’m hearing, but that isn’t the full extent of all of the improvements made from seemingly unlikely or ‘impossible’ sources.

IOW whether it’s improving the timing of the delivery of the digital signal to its destination, or improving the delivery of the ac power pulses to the power supply, or transferring the analog signal from an output stage to an input stage of the next device, reducing the time and amplitude ‘errors’ of these signals results in audible improvements which have remarkably similar net sonic effects.

What I am hearing due to these improvements are those very attributes I have already brought up and described in my previous missives.
Namely …

Small Signal Dynamics (which most are already familiar with)
C3 +1 (Cohesion - Coherence - Coupling + Compelling)
T3 (Toe Tapping Time)
HB&W (Head Bobbing & Weaving)

As my experiments have progressed, all of these attributes tightened up, came into sharper focus, produced greater resolution at each level and also influenced each other in a holistic fashion (symbiotically), as the musical performance continued to become all the more compelling.
The net result was an ever increasing sense of realism, palpability, and reduction in my sense of disbelief (it became harder to nit pick). Which is nearly the same description I used when I heard when the digital jitter was reduced at the DAC.
Only more so.

It seems as though as further improvements are made, as the choke points, as I call them are eliminated, or their severity reduced such that they no longer act as a primary sound quality limiter, the cumulative benefits add up to more than just the sum of the constituent parts.
New intonations and harmonically related aspects of each voice ’snap’ into place, and the complete tonality of the voice becomes much more evident.

In short there,
there, there.

It’s like tweaking any system.
As the roughest edge’s are smoothed, the greatest amounts of change/improvements are noted first.
As additional improvements are made, as the choke points are further reduced/eliminated, the degree of change may not be as great but the overall level of improvement keeps increasing with greater degrees of resolution and efficiency, all with reduced ‘error’.

Or put another way, as the total accumulation of ‘error’ continues to be reduced, and more of the original re-created signal is ‘allowed’ to be presented to our ears, the greater the degree of satisfaction is experienced with more of the creativity of the musical intent being heard.

Or think of it like looking thru a telescope, or microscope, or binoculars. As the view comes more and more into focus ALL of the details become obvious and immediately apparent as to what they are (shadow?, reflection?, etc) what they belong to (what IS the parent object?), how they belong within what is seen (the nature of the relationships), precise 3d spatial relationships come into focus (in front or behind? bigger or smaller, by how much?), how sharp is the ‘outline’ of each object (how precise are its physical limits?)
And more…

And further, as the optics are improved, (as the overall system’s resolution increases) and the distortions (error’s) in the field of view (presentation) are reduced or eliminated still further, the changes to and additional available information that result from these improvements, means there is more there, there.

And what there is there, is all the more apparent and obvious.


I just ran across this and thought it might provide some insight into the moiré patterns I pointed at in an earlier post.


Always delicious fun. The math is also elegant.

LFF - Listener Fatigue Factor

Part D’eux and Don’t

As the LFF is further reduced to lower and lower levels and/or as the DRC is cranked up with the same (or more) degree of satisfaction and commensurate lack of distortion/distraction, then it seems that listening sessions can also be extended before discomfort sets in.

I’m beginning to think that the source or ‘cause’ of LFF, is the acoustic energy being delivered to our ears, is out of synch with itself.

IOW when the power of the acoustical energy as we hear it has ‘timing issues’ in that the acoustical energy itself is not cohesive with the original signal which is to say the instrument that created it, it creates Listener Fatigue.

For example, when the hammer strikes the piano string(s) there is an immediate impulse or creation of acoustic power which is ‘shaped’ by all of the physical parameters that contribute to the making of that acoustic impulse.

All of the associated harmonic series which defines the sound of that instrument are all subsequently created by that acoustical energetic impulse. This relationship of initial impact and subsequent harmonically related ‘tones’ will decay and morph as the instrument is meant to do.

This is a complex association of harmonically related over and under tones that interact with each other,


with all of the other impulses of all the other strings as they are and were struck in sequence (as in a dynamic, real time, on going ‘event’) as they are all “shaped by all of the physical parameters” of that instrument,


all other sources of acoustical energy and influences (room acoustics etc.) that are in it’s immediate acoustical ‘space’.

As you can imagine, this dynamic relationship gets extremely complex, VERY quickly.

We call this ‘process’ music.

It does engage and fascinate us so.

But if that same amount of energy when created, is out of synch with itself, then portions of that energetic impulse and it’s resultant harmonics are delivered in an ‘untimely’ manner…

I’m hearing this as LFF.

And as the inner details (SSD) become more focused and tighten up (become more coherent and cohesive and coupled) the LFF drops accordingly.

So the complementary perspective is when it gets ‘hard’ to listen, but you do anyway, because you want to hear moar…

STOP or turn it down, give your ears a break. Let them ‘rest’ for just a bit, say 20 minutes.

You could even put ear plugs in to drop your personal ‘noise floor’ by 20-30+dB

Then resume listening and notice the differences… :D