Cabin Fever – Top Tips

Now that’s what I call an improvement

You’re stuck at home, and you have a good HiFi system. Imagine being amongst the millions who haven’t – doesn’t bear thinking about.

Anyway, you are one of the few who can spend their days in isolation listening to great sounding music, you lucky dog. But, the downside is that this might bring cheer to your co-isoltationists, and we don’t want that……

…..what we want is something that will annoy the hell out of them, that means from a distance they hear the same brief exerpt over and over again. In other words, we want to tweak our system. So here goes. The list will be added to over the days.

There’s only one rule. If you do any of these things, you must report your findings. Deal?


twitter: @TheAudioworks

1 Socket to me….

If you run your system from a distribution block, and you are using a dual socket as the outlet, there will almost certainly be a difference between the sockets. If you are running directly from a dual socket, try swapping. To hear the effect clearly, try playing a piece of music with strong rhythmic accents.

Warning under no circumstances either: put your fingers in a mains socket, or, use mains sockets or a distribution block with USB outlets. The first might kill you, the second will KILL your music.

2 Get rid of those links….

If you are using speakers with bi-wire links made of metal plate, or even high performance speaker wire, now is the time to get a big uplift in your speaker’s performance. Feed the speaker using a ‘Y’ adaptor – see picture, you can make your own from speaker cable of choice, and Z Plugs. Result: more coherence, the music will seem more focused and energetic……

Contact us if you want them made up up for you.

3 Splendid (opto) Isolation…..

If we’re honest, we’ve struggled to get streaming to sound anywhere near as good as a top CD player or turntable. However a big step forward came along as we prepared for a show last year using a streamer with an optical network connection. This streamer sounded like good streaming with the electrical connection, but was tranformed when using the optical connection.

Since the signal was reaching the switch electrically, and only at that point converted to an optical signal, there were two possibilities:

a) The optical interface on the streamer was miles ahead of the electrical one


b) The conversion to optical was isolating the streamer from horrendous network noise

There was an easy way to find out, reconvert the optical signal to electrical (ethernet) and plug back in to the RJ 45 connection.

The result of the dual conversion (electrical / optical / electrical) was nearly as good as the optical connection..

So, if you want to transform your streaming, do a bit of opto isolation.

Below is our rig, which you can buy on the internet for around £100. This was the first step in this journey, get in touch if you like what you hear, and want more…

4 Careful with that alcove Eugene

Rooms are funny. Not laugh out loud funny, funny / peculiar. The whole sound of a system can change with where your system is located, not simply where you put your speakers. If you can, give it a go. Especially if your system is conveniently located in an alcove – this can really kill the sound of a system, crushing dynamics and timing.

So, if you have your system in an alcove, try moving it forwards a few inches. In fact if you have your system placed very close to a wall… just try moving it a bit further away. Once you’ve had one of those ear popping moments, you might want to try further placement changes, but do remember……different is not necessarily better, and give any change some time to settle in.

Finally. Don’t be surprised if the change you get is bigger than the last upgrade you did. Have fun.