We all have our own way of doing things that suits us. A good friend of mine starts his annual stereo spring cleaning by first organizing the CD and records, then cleaning the hell out of the room, and finally, he gets down to the business of the equipment itself. His motto is, “clean first, organize second”.
I do the opposite. I start with the equipment and leave the clutter for last. “Tear apart, clean, organize and reassemble”. And I often do it in sections.
Whatever the order you choose, a good annual spring cleaning of the music system is a good idea and a wonderful project for Saturday afternoon. In fact, how about this Saturday afternoon? (hint, hint).
Turn the system off, disconnect every cable so that the equipment and speakers stand naked without any connection (including power cables). Once disconnected, I set the pile of cables off to the side and get out my cleaning stuff. For PS Audio equipment, I use Windex to get the dust off the outside. It doesn’t take long, though lifting the P10s and BHK amps off their pedestals takes help.
Everything gets a thorough wipe down. I use a bottle of spray air on the speakers drivers, then I reset all the equipment back up for best symmetry.
Yes, I am a symmetry freak and go nuts making sure all equipment on the floor behind my speakers are lined up perfectly. I actually use a tape measure and spend the time getting it right. Anal, yes, but I know when I listen to music any little bit of disorder interferes with my ability to relax. You might not care so much. Disorder drives me crazy. I have too often finished my work, lowered the lights, sat down in the main listening chair, turned the music on and prepared to bask in the glory of the sound – only to discover the spacing between two amplifiers is visually off. Everything stops, I am back at it.
If you’re like me, first step is to disconnect, clean, perfect symmetry before anything else happens.
With spring in Colorado we’re usually slammed with one or two wet, sloppy, snow storms that snarl traffic, break tree limbs and close the airport. Last week’s blizzard was no exception. The company declared a snow day and we sent everyone home to defend their driveways, shake the trees so branches could survive, and take care of kids.
I, on the other hand, decided it might be a perfect opportunity to spend some quiet time in Music Room One and fought my way through the snow to come to work. When I arrived the room was in disarray. We’ve been conducting a number of experiments, from MQA listening tests to playing with a new USB magic device that has me drooling….(and no, I’m not yet ready to talk about it). So, instead of listening to music right away, I rolled my sleeves up and started to clean.
You car seems to run better after you clean it, and it’s the same for our stereo systems. I think that’s because you’re more focused on relishing the positive aspects and ignoring the negative bits. But, whatever the reason, we all know it’s true.
Over the next few days I’ll detail some simple tips on tweaking your system.