System Setup Check List


May 3, 2021

- if the CD/DAC/Pre/Power was off for long time (like New components shipped from factory) the best way to turn on is using Variant Transformer to step up voltage in 4 step.

- checking all cables to have correct phase connections, for example sometimes polarity changes in XLR cables in factory from male to female XLR connector . it means the wire of + connect to - connector. some wrong connections also happen in AC cables , Phase wire from one side connect to neutral connector on other side. some times the speaker cable polarity changes ...
I always check both end of cables to be sure all connections are equal

- AC Polarity of all CD/DAC/Pre/Power should be adjusted by listening not by measuring lower voltage. AC polarity has huge effect on sound quality. most devices have better sound with standard (non-invert) polarity

- AC Supply should have low impedance, you can use dedicated direct wire from AC panel. do not use thicker than 16mm2 cables because the skin effect limits hf

- Good AC quality is the most important factor for high performance systems, only AC regenerators (like Living Voice class d UPS AC system) could give you best result and most AC filters kill dynamics

- Vibration isolation is important specially for turntable/loudspeaker/transport. air suspension like vibraplane is good for source and pre/power. loudspeaker suspension is complex and depends to many factors

- checking Signal Phase from source to loudspeaker , some pre amps invert phase and we should check all equipments to have right signal polarity. if the signal invert then we should invert the phase in DAC. some CD records have inverted tracks

- some systems have better sound when the positive terminal (red) of amplifier connects to negative terminal of loudspeaker (black) when the overal signal phase is correct. for example you can invert phase in dac and invert speaker cable connection to have correct phase and listen to loudspeaker

- audio systems needs more than 300 hours break-in time , gordon rankin believes the system should not be working on all the time in break-in period and it is better to let system be standby/cool periodic

- loudspeaker placement is the key to have good sound, very few audiophiles know how important is it. finding good place to have good dynamic sound in all frequency range is not easy and it may takes over 6 month to find a good place.

- after break-in the audio system should be on all the time , if you disconnect the ac cable then the system needs minimum 50 hours to warmup .

- system should not have no ground loop in system, you can lift ground wire of All AC cables in fully balanced systems.

- good acoustics , room is the player and your system is just trigger, most diffusers absorbers acoustic panels are not good.

- all cables should be good even ethernet cables are important

- output voltage of DAC should be in linear voltage range of Pre-Amplifier. most active pre amplifiers clip over 4volts (XLR input) and many dacs like Thrax, CEC DA0, dCS, MSB and Weiss have higher voltage than 4 volts

- all tubes should be checked before using

- spectrum analyser shows you the pink noise spectrum of power amplifier terminal, there should not be any extra harmonic when all the system is on and the music not playing, this spectrum should not change when you turn up volume

- keep tight/clean all connections

- input impedance curve of Pre should be 1000 times higher than output impedance of DAC. input impedance curve of Power should be 1000 times higher than output impedance of Pre. impedance

- amplifier/Speaker matching is very very complex subject, only match amp/speaker gives us good sound and mixing good speaker and good amplifier may have no good result.

- matching of different brands of Transport/DAC/Pre/Power/Speaker/cables is very hard process and we should be careful about matching.

- for comparing and judging audio systems most new CD records (even audiophile records) are not good (most are DDD and compress) and most computer playback systems are not good. proper AAD CD records in good transports or old good LP Records are better

- Some tunes are good like Schumann resonance or anti static sprays

- increasing humidity to 40-45 is good for sound

- shielding room from Wifi mobile ... electromagnetic waves is good (faraday cage)

- turn source on first (source -> pre > power), turn off power amp first (power -> pre -> source)
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