Where Do I Start?
The world of Hi-Fi Audio can be a confusing place. There are thousands of voices all chiming in at once, telling you what you need, what to buy, how to make your system better. In our 30+ years of experimenting with audio products and setting up systems, we’ve learned a few tricks along the way. Tricks that can make a good system sound great and make a great system sound amazing. There’s a practical way to improve your sound one step at a time and address the common weaknesses of virtually every system. We’ve outlined some of the highlights below. So read on, try a few of these tips, then step back and watch your friends’ jaws drop when they hear what you’ve been up to.
Step One: Start at the source
No system can sound its best unless you clean and optimize your music source. It makes sense, after all – it’s where the music starts. The difference between a ho-hum listening experience and that “being there” feeling is kept in those last few details that exist on every great recording.
We offer some products that will make sure your source material is ready to be read properly. The Prelude Quartet Record Cleaning kit deep cleans your records to reveal all the nuances and life in an LP. Our Ultra Vivid CD/DVD Enhancer makes discs more involving and realistic. The Talisman Magnetic Optimizer allows your cartridge or laser reader to transmit a purer, more accurate signal. Expect improved dynamics, more natural harmonics, the soundstage opens up with improved depth and transparency. Once you hear the extraordinary results, you will be hooked.
Step Two: Treat your connections
Ever tried to drive down a highway filled with potholes? (If not, you’re probably not from Pennsylvania. :)). Your car shakes, you slow down, you have some trouble keeping things going straight… that’s what your connections are like for your music signal when they’re not treated. Some products claim to “clean” your connections, but leave a residue behind that eventually makes things worse. Every connection in your system has tiny voids that cause micro-arcing, which is tremendously detrimental to the transmission of signal – the same way potholes make your car leave the road for fractions of a second, causing less-than-favorable results.
Our solution? Apply Extreme SST to every connection in your audio and video system. This has been called a “major equipment upgrade in a jar” and is vital to getting great sound. Microscopic silver flake fills those gaps, and it’s smooth sailing for your audio/video signal.
Step Three: Control resonances
Vibrations distort the signal in any system. Music is, itself, vibration – so any other vibration in your system is going to alter the way the music sounds. Think of it this way: your music is like a single, smooth stone tossed into a lake with a surface as calm as glass. You want the ripples of that stone to travel unimpeded from their source. But if other stones are tossed in around it? THEIR ripples interfere with the waves you’re trying to let emanate from that first, most important stone. The waves may reach the shore, but not without first being distorted. The point? Other waves are the bad guy. We want to keep them from happening.
This led us to develop Valid Points which are designed to provide isolation and to stabilize and control resonances of all components in an audio or video system. Valid Points give back the leading edge transients, focus and impact. They absorb unwanted vibration, making sure the only vibration you’re hearing is that of your music. It makes a huge difference.
Step Four: Eliminate noise
Two sources of noise that affect your system’s performance are noise generated by your components and ambient noise in the environment. Your system will pick up this noise as your signal travels – and the noise is everywhere. WiFi, LTE, various types of radio signal, plus the noise that’s introduced by the electricity powering your components… it’s in every system’s signal path. And the better the system, the MORE you can hear it. After all, expensive components are meant to enhance low-level detail. And that noise is in the details.
The Eliminator picks up ambient noises like EMI and RFI and eliminates them from the music signal. The aforementioned WiFi and LTE? Removed from the signal path and taken straight to system ground. Then there are our High Definition Links. They get rid of any system-generated noise before it reaches your speakers. Harmonics will be cleaner and clearer; dynamics faster and sharper without harshness.
Step Five: Clean up your power
Dirty power – we all know it exists, we all know what it does – your components are momentarily starved for the juice they need to function properly, and your sound suffers as a result. And most people, if they do anything at all, install power “filters” with added batteries or capacitors that actually introduce more circuitry than they ought. And they help. But not as much as say, the Velocitor.
The Velocitor SS Power Line Enhancer streamlines your power from the inside out. With cleaner, faster power, you will notice a much larger, open soundstage with faster dynamics and a natural presentation filled with details you never heard before. The grit, grain and glare disappear and harmonics hang in the air easily and naturally.
Step Six: Upgrade your cables
Let’s think back to the pothole-riddled highway (don’t remember that? It was only 4 steps ago… :)). If a cable is a highway, then a great cable is a monorail; frictionless, seamless signal transmission so every ounce of detail makes it where it’s supposed to go. There are some GREAT cables out there. Unfortunately, many of them require a second mortgage and a team of 20 to wrangle into position. We’ve tried most of them, and our search for great cables is over.
We recommend the Silent Source Music Reference Interconnects, Speaker Cables and Power Cords. These are the best we have heard at any price. They are beautifully made and a joy to use. The tonal balance is perfect – top to bottom. The soundstaging is huge and focused. Detail and harmonics are extraordinary. The bass is to die for.
Step Seven: Treat Your Space
Sound resonates in space before it gets to your ears – that’s not news. And structural anomalies in your space can make music behave… oddly. It collides with itself before you get to hear it, like the ripples in that lake (remember step 3?). We want music to leave your speakers and hit your ears the way it was intended, and for that reason, sometimes our listening spaces (which are seldom ideal for listening) need a little help.
Well, our Black Diamond technology, specially designed enclosures, and meticulous study of placement make it possible to use Black Diamond Room Treatment Crystals to manipulate the way sound behaves in your listening space, with phenomenal results. A deeper soundstage, huge dynamics, and that “being there” feeling we all look for from a great system can be found right here in these little crystals. Yes, we agree, that sounds crazy. But we tried it, and we were floored. You will be too!
Essential For Best Sound
Each step addresses common problems with audio systems and recommends some of our products to help you deal with them. There are a variety of different products on the market that you can choose. Some products work better than others, but frankly, we have yet to find products that work better than ours (maybe that’s why we’ve won so many industry awards and have such loyal customers).
You might notice that we don’t call our products accessories. “Accessories” sound optional. We call ours “system-enhancing products” because that is what they do…enhance (improve, make better, boost, augment, enrich) the system you already have and to our way of thinking (and listening) they are essential to getting the best sound.
Whatever you choose to do, use the steps offered here as a guide to help you make the most out of your system. You’ll be glad you did.