Tag Archives: Audioquest

Asheville, Walnut Cove, Biltmore Forrest and Western North Carolina’s Audio and Home Theater specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

Cover up

I was never quite sure why this was a thing back in the 60s but instead of guys taking showers my college classmates seemed to like the idea of applying cologne to cover up their stink. I can’t tell you how much I wound up detesting the stench of BO covered by Jade East.

My view has always been a simple one. Fixing the problem is always preferable to covering it up, though that’s not always so easy. A bright tweeter can be tamed by any number of cover-ups which might make more economic sense than replacing a pair of speakers.

But, the core of the problem remains and it’s a tough discipline to instill in one’s self. Whenever I hear a system trapped in the speakers I first turn to setup. If setup doesn’t release the sound from the speaker’s grip we work ourselves back through the chain to find the culprit rather than start the great cover-up.

Quick fixes are always easier but usually less effective. This is one good reason I agree with my friend Bill Low of Audioquest in his mantra to do no harm. He and I both recoil at the idea of using audio cables as equalizers, yet sometimes there’s little choice if you can’t fix the core problem.

The first step in this process is as mentioned. Find the root cause of the problem. Once you’ve narrowed it to the culprit it’s ok to mask the problem until you can figure out the best way to fix it.

If only I could have handed a bar of soap to those classmates so many years ago.

 

Asheville, Walnut Cove, Biltmore Forrest and Western North Carolina’s Audio and Home Theater specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

More from Paul on the break in process of audio and home theater electronics.

Another clue

One big clue about the nature of break-in. Memory.

We know that once broken in, cables and components retain many of the benefits earned through extended playing time.

If we put our Sherlock hats on we could make some guesses as to what kinds of characteristics are capable of being stored.

Capacitors change character after voltage has been applied to them in a process called forming. Forming changes the oxide layer of the insulating dielectric necessary for the capacitor to function properly. Over time and use, this layer’s thickness can change for the better. And there are other changes to capacitors as well.

Cable insulation can also retain a charge. AudioQuest (among others) actually add a battery to throw a high voltage on the insulation for better performance. Something similar happens when we run electrical currents through the cable.

Whatever is happening in break-in, the effects last for some time before the device or cable slowly reverts back to its original state.

If we don’t know specific answers to unanswered observations, we use clues to help us reverse engineer the answer.