Why the soundquality improves after reinstalling audio components on a Hi-Fi rack? Is it real or just my imagination?

dubselect

New Member
Aug 29, 2021
6
2
3
Hello everyone!

Let me start quite a controversial thread. Some might think I am crazy or whatever. But I really hope some folks can provide an answer to this question I raised in the title of this topic.

So what is this all about? It is not easy to explain, but I will try. Lately I decided to clean all the connections of my system with isopropyl alcohol (99,6%). I had to take off all the three audio components (digital streamer/preamp, power regenerator and power conditioner) off the Hi-Fi rack. It is much easier to clean all the power outlets, IEC inlets, XLR sockets and RCA inlets this way. Then I put all the three devices back on the rack, connected all the cables and let them work for a few hours (to warm them up).
After this I listened to a few of my favorite songs and was simply amazed by the sound quality my system provided. It was significantly better than before the cleaning. Highs became much crisper, soundstage - a lot more spacious and with better instrument separation, bass - deeper and cleaner, background noise was (subjectively) totally eliminated. The music sounded both more relaxed and more detailed, which is wonderful. It was like listening to a much better audio setup, although nothing really changed - these were the same audio devices, same speakers and same accessories.
At first I thought that this difference was provided by cleaned connections. A few days later the sound quality started to degrade, day by day, until it returned to the same state as it was before cleaning.
Then I decided to clean all the connectors and inlets again, just to make sure that all the difference was caused by the better (cleaner) connections. This time I decided not to take the audio components off the rack. I knew the location of all the sockets and inlets. So it was not hard to clean them without direct line of sight.
After this procedure I let the system work for a few hours to warm it up. Then I listened to the same tracks and... while the sound quality improved it did not achieved the same heights as after the first cleaning.
I decided to clean all the connections again just to make sure that this time the cleaning was thorough (the devices were not moved this time as well). And the result was not satisfying. My setup sounded exactly the same way as after the second cleaning.
I started to analyze, what could cause the difference and came to conclusion that the only discrepant action between the first and second/third cleaning was taking the components off the rack.
So I did the forth cleaning exactly the same way the first one was done. And voila! Here is the same amazing sound quality I heard after the first cleaning. This means that taking audio devices off the rack does improve the sound quality of my audio system. I do not really know how is it possible. But it is what it is.
My setup consists of Linn Klimax DSM digital streamer/preamp, PS Audio Power Plant P3 regenerator and Isotek Evo3 Aquarius conditioner. Nothing really special about these devices.

Do you have any idea why this happens? Have you ever experienced anything similar? I am truly at an impasse this time. I do not have even the faintest idea why this may happen. EMI influence? Some sort of magnetic field (increasing over time and creating magnetically induced distortion)? Or maybe static charge buildup?
To be honest I experienced this phenomenon before, but I never connected the idea of improving sound quality and reinstalling audio components on a Hi-Fi rack. I thought it was just my imagination. But this time I am sure it is real - the difference in sound quality is really substantial. No mater how hard I tried, I could not achieve the same result without performing this action.

I will try to understand is this phenomenon caused by all the three components or maybe just one of them (for example, just the streamer). So to be continued...
 
Last edited:

Blackmorec

Well-Known Member
Feb 1, 2019
464
648
163
68
Hello everyone!

Let me start quite a controversial thread. Some might think I am crazy or whatever. But I really hope some folks can provide an answer to this question I raised in the title of this topic.

So what is this all about? It is not easy to explain, but I will try. Lately I decided to clean all the connections of my system with isopropyl alcohol (99,6%). I had to take off all the three audio components (digital streamer/preamp, power regenerator and power conditioner) off the Hi-Fi rack. It is much easier to clean all the power outlets, IEC inlets, XLR sockets and RCA inlets this way. Then I put all the three devices back on the rack, connected all the cables and let them work for a few hours (to warm them up).
After this I listened to a few of my favorite songs and was simply amazed by the sound quality my system provided. It was significantly better than before the cleaning. Highs became much crisper, soundstage - a lot more spacious and with better instrument separation, bass - deeper and cleaner, background noise was (subjectively) totally eliminated. The music sounded both more relaxed and more detailed, which is wonderful. It was like listening to a much better audio setup, although nothing really changed - these were the same audio devices, same speakers and same accessories.
At first I thought that this difference was provided by cleaned connections. A few days later the sound quality started to degrade, day by day, until it returned to the same state as it was before cleaning.
Then I decided to clean all the connectors and inlets again, just to make sure that all the difference was caused by the better (cleaner) connections. This time I decided not to take the audio components off the rack. I knew the location of all the sockets and inlets. So it was not hard to clean them without direct line of sight.
After this procedure I let the system work for a few hours to warm it up. Then I listened to the same tracks and... while the sound quality improved it did not achieved the same heights as after the first cleaning.
I decided to clean all the connections again just to make sure that this time the cleaning was thorough (the devices were not moved this time as well). And the result was not satisfying. My setup sounded exactly the same way as after the second cleaning.
I started to analyze, what could cause the difference and came to conclusion that the only discrepant action between the first and second/third cleaning was taking the components off the rack.
So I did the forth cleaning exactly the same way the first one was done. And voila! Here is the same amazing sound quality I heard after the first cleaning. This means that taking audio devices off the rack does improve the sound quality of my audio system. I do not really know how is it possible. But it is what it is.
My setup consists of Linn Klimax DSM digital streamer/preamp, PS Audio Power Plant P3 regenerator and Isotek Evo3 Aquarius conditioner. Nothing really special about these devices.

Do you have any idea why this happens? Have you ever experienced anything similar? I am truly at an impasse this time. I do not have even the faintest idea why this may happen. EMI influence? Some sort of magnetic field (increasing over time and creating magnetically induced distortion)? Or maybe static charge buildup?
To be honest I experienced this phenomenon before, but I never connected the idea of improving sound quality and reinstalling audio components on a Hi-Fi rack. I thought it was just my imagination. But this time I am sure it is real - the difference in sound quality is really substantial. No mater how hard I tried, I could not achieve the same result without performing this action.

I will try to understand is this phenomenon caused by all the three components or maybe just one of them (for example, just the streamer). So to be continued...
if you rack or components have any compliant layers in their vibration absorption/isolation it could be that those layers are able to decompress when relieved of the component’s weight, allowing them to do a slightly better job in absorbing or isolating vibration for a limited period until they recompress. If you can figure out what’s going on you should be able to permanently improve your system’s performance.

A trick i learned years ago when placing a component on a rack, was to place a sliver of paper under the left foot and apply just enough ‘lift force‘ to the left corner of the component to tip (not lift!) the component in the case that its only sitting on 3 feet, then pull out the paper, taking note of the resistance. This is then repeated for the right foot. If the resistance is the same for both feet, you know the unit is sitting equally on all 4 feet. If the paper is much easier to remove from one side vs the other, you sould shim the diagonally opposite back foot with the lower resistance until the resistance is equal. You’ll be surprised at the level of sq improvement this little trick can generate.
 

K3RMIT

Active Member
Sep 4, 2020
190
62
28
Cleaning contacts does help but it’s not all you did.
there are vibrations inside and acoustic vibrations outside the devices to consider
but in your case or maybe electrical. without Cleaning anything simply unplug all devices all connections
let this sit a few hours
then put back and comment

another thought maybe moving the devices stresses the insides
this unsettles things
but over time things settle back
now why it’s better who knows

but even if you move interconnects you are breaking up tiny internal connections must be remade
even speaker wires do the same unless it’s ribbon
 
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stehno

Well-Known Member
Jul 5, 2014
1,175
205
220
Salem, OR
Hello everyone!

Let me start quite a controversial thread. Some might think I am crazy or whatever. But I really hope some folks can provide an answer to this question I raised in the title of this topic.

So what is this all about? It is not easy to explain, but I will try. Lately I decided to clean all the connections of my system with isopropyl alcohol (99,6%). I had to take off all the three audio components (digital streamer/preamp, power regenerator and power conditioner) off the Hi-Fi rack. It is much easier to clean all the power outlets, IEC inlets, XLR sockets and RCA inlets this way. Then I put all the three devices back on the rack, connected all the cables and let them work for a few hours (to warm them up).
After this I listened to a few of my favorite songs and was simply amazed by the sound quality my system provided. It was significantly better than before the cleaning. Highs became much crisper, soundstage - a lot more spacious and with better instrument separation, bass - deeper and cleaner, background noise was (subjectively) totally eliminated. The music sounded both more relaxed and more detailed, which is wonderful. It was like listening to a much better audio setup, although nothing really changed - these were the same audio devices, same speakers and same accessories.
At first I thought that this difference was provided by cleaned connections. A few days later the sound quality started to degrade, day by day, until it returned to the same state as it was before cleaning.
Then I decided to clean all the connectors and inlets again, just to make sure that all the difference was caused by the better (cleaner) connections. This time I decided not to take the audio components off the rack. I knew the location of all the sockets and inlets. So it was not hard to clean them without direct line of sight.
After this procedure I let the system work for a few hours to warm it up. Then I listened to the same tracks and... while the sound quality improved it did not achieved the same heights as after the first cleaning.
I decided to clean all the connections again just to make sure that this time the cleaning was thorough (the devices were not moved this time as well). And the result was not satisfying. My setup sounded exactly the same way as after the second cleaning.
I started to analyze, what could cause the difference and came to conclusion that the only discrepant action between the first and second/third cleaning was taking the components off the rack.
So I did the forth cleaning exactly the same way the first one was done. And voila! Here is the same amazing sound quality I heard after the first cleaning. This means that taking audio devices off the rack does improve the sound quality of my audio system. I do not really know how is it possible. But it is what it is.
My setup consists of Linn Klimax DSM digital streamer/preamp, PS Audio Power Plant P3 regenerator and Isotek Evo3 Aquarius conditioner. Nothing really special about these devices.

Do you have any idea why this happens? Have you ever experienced anything similar? I am truly at an impasse this time. I do not have even the faintest idea why this may happen. EMI influence? Some sort of magnetic field (increasing over time and creating magnetically induced distortion)? Or maybe static charge buildup?
To be honest I experienced this phenomenon before, but I never connected the idea of improving sound quality and reinstalling audio components on a Hi-Fi rack. I thought it was just my imagination. But this time I am sure it is real - the difference in sound quality is really substantial. No mater how hard I tried, I could not achieve the same result without performing this action.

I will try to understand is this phenomenon caused by all the three components or maybe just one of them (for example, just the streamer). So to be continued...
I seriously doubt the improvements you heard have anything to do with your rack / components on the rack. In most cases, if a significant change could be directly linked to the components and their placement on the rack (you don't mention what rack?), it should most always take 5 - 7 days before you hear even the first audible improvement. But that's another topic.

So it's entirely likely some of the improvements you heard were a direct result of the first cleaning. Which reminds me, I should do likewise. Subsequent cleanings should do nothing or next to nothing unless perhaps you missed something during the first cleaning pass.

That said, there's really only a couple of other possibilities for experiencing sonic gains.

I'm betting dollars-to-donuts the most probable cause for the dramatic improvement you heard were your power cables. To remove the components for cleaning meant you moved the power cables and you probably didn't give that a second thought. I've lifted my cables several times with the intention of getting them at least 5 - 7 inches off the carpet and each time realize rather dramatic improvements.

Now your moving the power cables to clean components may not have been so methodical, but my guess is how or where you moved the power cables when reconnecting / re-installing the components put them in a significantly better position than originally. And when you said the level of musicality started to degrade, it's possible the power cables started to relax (move) back to an inferior position not too dissimilar to where they were originally?

But you can experiment with this by intentionally lifting all of your cables at least 6 or 7 inches off the floor, keeping them separate from each other if possible and then give it a few hours or even 24 hours.

Back to the rack, yeah, there's a small chance that moving components around on the rack could have had some minor impact, but again I seriously doubt it. If per some odd chance some of the improvements were a result of this, then the only reasonble means for the eventual downgrade would be if you deliberately moved any of the components after you were hearing the wonderful improvement.

Whatever you do or try, keep it very limited to one area only. For example. If you move the power cables, don't move the components and vice versa. This is the only way you'll be able to isolate the cause of the improvements / degradations.

One thing I've learned over the years is to never be surprised by anything done that's related to electrical.

Another thing to keep in mind is, when it comes to mechanical settling in processes, i.e. removing / installing components on the rack, moving the rack, etc. always wait at least 7 days to listen for improvements. Mechanical settling in is not all that much different than electrical burn-in. Except that electrical burn-in has a memory and never need to be burned in again. Though often tiimes electrical sounds better after a short warm up period like 30 - 60 minutes or more. Mechanical settling in on the other hand has no memory. You move your components, your rack, your speakers, etc have to completely resettle again as if it's the first time and if you should move something even 1/8th-inch, it's back to square 1. My rack has not moved one iota since October of 2011 and that's intentional. My amps have not moved one iota since 2014. Again, that's intentional.

Since it's impossible for anybody to practice TRUE isolation (goes into effect in a moment in time or the blink of an eye), that implies everybody's gear goes thru a mechanical settling-in process to one degree or another. Whether they realize it or not. So think twice before moving any part of your playback system. Including cables.
 
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Addicted to hifi

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Sep 8, 2020
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if you rack or components have any compliant layers in their vibration absorption/isolation it could be that those layers are able to decompress when relieved of the component’s weight, allowing them to do a slightly better job in absorbing or isolating vibration for a limited period until they recompress. If you can figure out what’s going on you should be able to permanently improve your system’s performance.

A trick i learned years ago when placing a component on a rack, was to place a sliver of paper under the left foot and apply just enough ‘lift force‘ to the left corner of the component to tip (not lift!) the component in the case that its only sitting on 3 feet, then pull out the paper, taking note of the resistance. This is then repeated for the right foot. If the resistance is the same for both feet, you know the unit is sitting equally on all 4 feet. If the paper is much easier to remove from one side vs the other, you sould shim the diagonally opposite back foot with the lower resistance until the resistance is equal. You’ll be surprised at the level of sq improvement this little trick can generate.
Very interesting topic.I think your right.
 

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