Paaf system

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Paaf system

Post by Paaf » 2018-09-18 16:37

Hello!

I live in Stockholm, Sweden. First of all, I want to express my gratitude for this forum!

This is my current system:
Linn Majik DS-i
NAS TS-109 with Intel 320 and Netgear GS105
Vintage speakers Dahlquist DQ8
Headphones Grado PS500e, and a few older not as good
Ethernet cables recommended here years ago, I think Microconnect
Speaker cables (edit: possibly Kimble 4TC, they are woven black/blue)
(I also have a budget turntable which surprisingly still gives the digital stiff competition.)

My latest discovery:
I put silicone pads under the DSi feet and wasn't expecting much change. I always try to listen to "tune", but here I could not, because I got distracted by how dramatically the sound signature improved! (Lower bass appeared for the first time, treble totally calmed down, and so on.)

After a good while in awe, I started hearing that the bass sounded "rubbery".. as if the feeling of the rubbery material of the pads was transformed into sound. It was very odd!

I placed a heavy flat chunk of oak wood under the DSi, with the silicone still under its feet. The rubbery sound disappeared! The other hifi improvements were kept, and the tune improved.

Then I swapped, the DSi feet on the wood, and the silicone under the wood corners. This gave a tune improvement.

This hobby is a full time job! :)

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Re: Paaf system

Post by Paaf » 2018-09-20 15:04

It is interesting that even for low level equipment, we can still use the tune method.

I have an old PC speaker system from the 90s that I use with my stationary PC. I often use it and enjoy it while I work at the PC.

Today I played around a bit:

* Stabilized the L/R speakers. Oh yeah.

* Separated power cables from the other cables of the speaker system. Tiny improvement but still an improvement.

* I used an EQ in Windows, it made music sound more "alive", more details to the mid range etc. However, turning it off was more tuneful.

* Tried both directions of the mains connector. One was better.

The only question mark is the subwoofer. I tried all kinds of stuff under its four plastic feet but nothing seemed to help. I bet there is something that will make a significant improvement. Any ideas?

My vision is three wood cones onto the wood floor (and let its own feet hang free).

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Re: Paaf system

Post by lejonklou » 2018-09-20 18:09

Cool Paaf!

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Re: Paaf system

Post by ThomasOK » 2018-09-20 19:17

Interesting setup. I never played with the DQ-8 but I did own a pair of Dahlquist DQ-10s back in 1978/79. Unique speakers and quite popular at the time. It is pretty surprising how much effect the surface something sits on has on the sound of the system. Good luck with your experiments!
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Re: Paaf system

Post by Paaf » 2018-09-20 19:52

Nice, the DQ10 are true classics. I bought my speakers brand new early 90s when I was still a student. Approx 5 years ago I replaced a capacitor inside one of them.

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Re: Paaf system

Post by Tony Tune-age » 2018-09-20 23:03

Cool system Paaf...!!!
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Re: Paaf system

Post by Paaf » 2018-09-21 16:56

Side-project #8123:
Here I am today running my headphone amp version 0.0.1 for the first time. It works! There's music coming into my ears!
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Re: Paaf system

Post by Paaf » 2018-09-23 01:20

Do you believe in damping material under your network switch? Do you believe in lifting your speaker cable up from the floor?

I didn't... until now. *shocked*

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Re: Paaf system

Post by lejonklou » 2018-09-23 12:30

Paaf wrote:Do you believe in damping material under your network switch? Do you believe in lifting your speaker cable up from the floor?

I didn't... until now. *shocked*
My two cents regarding these two things you mention:

• Damping things that are connected to your system - or things that are in your listening room - does have an effect on the musical qualities. In general damping should be applied with a minimalistic attitude (rather too little or none than too much), as it's easily overdone. Too much damping results in an analytical, stiff and lifeless sound. Among so called "audiophiles", killing musicality by overdamping is a popular hobby.

• I've tried raising loudspeaker cables from the floor with various accessories a couple of times. It's been small tripods, wooden pieces, bridge-like constructions etc. Each time I've felt that it's been interesting soundwise but musically worse. I have found it most musical when the cables are lying at rest, supported by the floor and neither bent, nor squeezed, nor suspended.

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Re: Paaf system

Post by Paaf » 2018-09-23 16:17

Very valuable points!

I put the damping in two steps, first under the switch and then above it. The second step because I keep a wood piece on top to prevent it from lifting. After both steps, there were musical improvements. I will later try thicker damping - but I will be sure to keep your great point in mind!

The reason for the wood piece is that the ethernet cables hang out over the edge of the desk, and kind of lift the switch up. Those ethernet cables are very non-flexible, and gravity does its thing. It also causes tension in the cables and connectors which perhaps affects the music?

Similarly for speaker cables, there would be gravity tension in the cable incl connectors even if we let the rest of the cable rest perfectly on the floor.

Perhaps this boils down to how one best can avoid any tension in cables, but especially the connectors, while still separating different cables from each other?

Thanks!

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Re: Paaf system

Post by Paaf » 2018-09-25 03:30

Inspired by your second point above:

I had a cable tie bundling the left speaker cable loosely since years. The reason was simply to reduce tangle - there's only 0.5m from the amp to the left speaker. I removed that, and removed my makeshift lifts, and rearranged everything many many times - sometimes gently bending the cable to increase the percentage of it resting on the floor.

This went on for quite a while, on the floor under a very low table, and then I went up to test it with the tune method - so believe me that it was quite a workout!

Sometimes I messed it up on purpose to experiment how musicality was affected. Certain seemingly minor adjustments of how I positioned the cables made an impact on the music. It's fascinating, fun and mind boggling, yet quite frustrating... Anyone recognize that feeling? :)

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Re: Paaf system

Post by Paaf » 2018-10-07 17:02

Today I returned from 10 days vacation. My hifi-obsession really calmed down while away :) and
wowww how good my system sounds now when back. I guess all that OCD-like tuning really has paid off. :)

Some thoughts I had while away:

My experience tells me that power is important, and that NAS and Switch affect results. It would therefore make sense to put the most effort into the power of these.

My NAS has a standard power cable into the PSU. Which cable should I replace it with? (Preferred shop Elfa.se if possible.)

I suppose the whole PSU could be replaced.

The switch is one of those where the PSU is also the plug. What to do there?

Next thought - my experiments with wood and damping under the DSi indicates that I might be able to take that much further. I read about HiFi cones at €60 each for the entry level... I'd need 3. Any experience of those?

I also read that some people use wood cones to good effect. I could afford to try those, there's some on EBay UK. What's your experience with wood cones?

Now back to curing my jet lag. :)

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Re: Paaf system

Post by Paaf » 2018-10-13 11:07

We got fiber internet so after cancelling the old ADSL, its modem/router was only connected to power. I unplugged it from the wall, and the sound improved. A lot! (Not the same power line/fuse.)

I've now been home less than a week and already my ears have completely normalized to my system, meaning I'm again no longer very impressed. Must.. push.. forward.. :)

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Re: Paaf system

Post by Paaf » 2018-10-16 11:45

Sunday I modified my NAS/Switch setup, step by step. The first few steps I thought I had overdone it with the damping - but with even more damping, and tune method tuning, everything fell into place.

As you can see in the photo, both the NAS and the Switch stand/lie on wide silicone pads, on top of a wood board, and the feet of the board are also two identical wide silicone pads.

Huge musicality improvement!

I suspect the feet under the board are not optimal at all. Probably better to cut one of those pads into four pieces to use as feet in the corners of the board instead. What do you think?

Or three. Everything on three legs looks highend! :)
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Re: Paaf system

Post by Tendaberry » 2018-10-16 12:19

Silicone pads under my NAS and switch were actually worse. The former is, however, placed on a board made of airplane grade birch plywood, which was a nice improvement.

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Re: Paaf system

Post by Paaf » 2018-10-16 12:27

A theory - your setup is already very optimized, so adding pads goes too far - while my setup has flaws that the pads help circumvent?

What feet did you use under the board?

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Re: Paaf system

Post by Tendaberry » 2018-10-16 15:21

Oehlbach mini-spikes: 11 mm high, 21 mm diameter.
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Re: Paaf system

Post by Paaf » 2018-10-17 12:28

Nice, do you have experience with different types of feet, such as oak cones or Nordost etc?

Years ago, I tried some green hifi damping feet (Sonic Design) for my system. Without damping actually was better, and even better were my DIY feet made of my patent pending concept called a Folded Mouse Mat [tm]. :)

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Re: Paaf system

Post by Tendaberry » 2018-10-17 14:41

Paaf wrote:Nice, do you have experience with different types of feet, such as oak cones or Nordost etc?
No, I couldn't justify the expense of trying Nordost Sort cones yet (€ 95,- each). I would rather put that money towards a Hakai NAS.

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Re: Paaf system

Post by Paaf » 2018-10-17 15:58

I agree regarding Sort. I'd try them at €50 for 3.

Any thoughts on how to better draw the power/ethernet cables in the photo above?

Before, I had the switch positioned with the ethernet cables towards the wall. They went down behind the desk, and the bright LEDs faced the wall. This new direction is untidy/ugly and distracting but for some reason it sounds better.

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Re: Paaf system

Post by Tendaberry » 2018-10-17 16:22

Above all I'd make sure that the power cables from NAS and switch don't touch any of the ethernet cables. And if they come close, I'd try to re-arrange them. I would also try only with 4 cut-out pads under both NAS and switch. Are those IKEA gunstig btw?

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Re: Paaf system

Post by Paaf » 2018-10-17 16:58

Yes, IKEA - a provider of hifi diy-tweaks. The board too.

I also noticed that power (cables) touching ethernet (cables) was bad. I try my best to separate them, but with several cables everywhere... What about NAS-power vs Switch-power cables? Or Ethernet vs Ethernet?

Do you mean pad-pieces matching the size of each feet of each unit would likely be better performing?
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Re: Paaf system

Post by Tendaberry » 2018-10-17 17:37

Paaf wrote:Yes, IKEA - a provider of hifi diy-tweaks. The board too.
I also noticed that power touching ethernet was bad. I try my best to separate them, but with several cables everywhere... What about NAS-power vs Switch-power cables? Or Ethernet vs Ethernet?
Do you mean pad-pieces matching the size of each feet of each unit would likely be better performing?
Experimenting with cable layout costs nothing ;-)
Yes, maybe pads consisting of a group of 4 or 9 dots.

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Re: Paaf system

Post by Paaf » 2018-10-18 02:41

Cool. Tape/glue them onto the feet?

I am thinking a pad size of 5x5 or 6x6 dots for the feet under the board.

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Re: Paaf system

Post by Tendaberry » 2018-10-18 12:12

Just experiment a bit. I suspect the IKEA Gunstigs aren't very expensive... After you think you have arrived at the best solution, don't forget to try it against the "original version".

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