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Pan 7th April 2003 06:35 PM

Cost effective upgrades
Veeery good idea of buglehead, that we start a thread where we tell about our experience with upgrades and modification of our belowed boxes :).

IŽll take my short version now and continue later.

First, all links matters, cables, attenuator or pot, passive or active, amps and sources, x-over components and speaker drivers, the room and power feed. ALL this sound different or has the potential to sound different.

By far the most cost effective upgrade IŽve done in the electronic components was installing a precision clock in my SACD. The clock cost about $100 and made my SCD-XB940 a wonderful music machine. Before mod I did NOT listen to it because it was so "bad".

One of the smaller differenses IMO is between cables BUT, they are there. I have tried several of the big names but never ended up buying because the difference was to small (these days) or non existence (several years back) to justify the $$$.
My tip for something better than monster type cable is to go with a solid core copper cable. Try 2-3mm quadrate(?) round cables that use to be in the walls, strip the PVC insulation and cover the lengths with cotton. Ishockey strings work fine. Twist the two conductors tightly and install them without spades or bananas and listen. No improvement, you didnŽt loose many $. improvement... congrats. Try also separeted instead of twisted.

Recepie now 2 is to buy a copper foil inductor (CFAC, Goertz or similar) unroll it, cut 4 pieces and install them between amp and speakers. BE CAREFUL NOT TO SHORT!!!!!
Lay the runs/conductors close to eachother, a couple of inches or so. Listen to them and compare to recepie no1 and your own cables. Cost = $10-15 or so.


fdegrove 7th April 2003 10:21 PM

Solid Cores.

Thanks for starting the thread Peter.

I always use solid core, everywhere.
It sounds much more cohesive.
For speaker cables, I wouldn't twist them but run // feeds at the same spacing as the binding posts, roughly one inch apart.
You can leave the PVC on, no big deal on DA here, this is low impedance and it won't matter for about fifteen feet or so.

You could shield them with the overbraids connected to the - pole of the amp.

As for a cheap powercord improvement, use a twisted pair of whatever AWG size it is you run inside the wall.

In Europe we use plastic, unshielded tubing inside the walls so here a twisted (not too tight or your cable may get strained too much) pair is all you need.
If you want to put a braid on for shielding, earth it at the sending ends' earth terminal, not any current carrying conductors.

All of the above only cost a couple of $$ and can make for an enormous improvement.

More to come if you guys twist my arm a bit,;)

SQ Kid 8th April 2003 05:10 AM

:twist: :twist: :)

fdegrove 8th April 2003 09:59 PM


SQ Kid,

Anything in particular you're looking for?


SQ Kid 9th April 2003 12:09 AM

well, i'm a broke college kid, so any tweaks work for me. i'm going to be building a couple gainclones and possibly using some TB speakers in a setup. that should give you an idea what i'm dealing with money wise (good equipment, tiny price). i'm someone who is very skeptical about over the whole "sound of cables" (not trying to start a fight here, so we'll just leave it at that), but very interested in how to make some lower cost stuff sound better. possibly building a preamp from ESP, so any tweaks to this setup would be much appreciated. thanks

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