Tips and tricks

Let me start by telling you about “Add-ons” which are an after market item and can be purchased separately from many companies who specialise in sound and system improvements. These “Add-ons” can be used separately or all together because they really do work and you will hear the changes.

The source 

Media player / computer / CD / LP

Your Media player – to get a better sound fit three SoundCare spikes underneath

Your computer or Laptop – to get a better sound fit three SoundCare spikes.

Your CD – to get a better sound, have your CD cut with a CD lathe as this really does work and the difference is very noticeable.

Your CD – spray your CD (label side only) with Antistatic fluid and let it dry naturally.

Your CD – when you buy a CD always look for a Gold pressed CD version.

Your LP – for you to get a better sound always buy the Heaviest version that you can find.

Your LP – make sure that you find the best Cutting angle, which suits your stylus because US and EU have different angles – The same as with your stylus.

Your Turntable – Always use a Spirit level to ensure that it is level before you do your set up and it is best for you to put the level on the LP to be played.

Your Turntable – remove the stock power cord that came with it and replace with a good quality Power cord.

Your turntable – Place Three SoundCare spikes under your unit, as they will give you a marked improvement in the performance of your turntable.  Please visit

The Amplifier

Tube/solid state/hybrid

Remove the stock power cord that came with the amplifier and replace it with a good quality Power cord.

Place your amplifier on Three SoundCare spikes. There are different grades but the basic is good enough for you to hear the difference and you can always upgrade.

The CD player

Tube/solid state

Remove the stock power cord that came with the CD player and replace it with a good quality Power cord.

Put your CD player on Three SoundCare spikes. There are different grades but the basic is good enough for you to hear the improvements in sound.

Lightly Spray your CD player and all your cables with Antistatic fluid every month.

Loudspeakers and Loudspeaker cables

Every Interconnect in your system and every loudspeaker cable has a right way and a wrong way and this is all apart of How to make my sound better. Each cable should have a direction of flow arrow marked on it and the flow is always from source to amplifier and from amplifier to the loudspeakers. If you remove any of the cables then mark them up so they go back in the same way as they came out.

Place your Loudspeaker on Three SoundCare spikes BUT very important the spikes have to be reversed (small end up and large end to the floor)

Use a spirit level to make sure your loudspeaker is level in every direction and there is a minimum of 6” from any wall service. The Loudspeaker cable should be a minimum of three meters in length and should be kept off the floor with small wooden blocks.

Every month remove the loudspeaker cable and wipe the end connections with a soft cloth and after refitting, spray lightly with Anti-static fluid (cables only and not the contact points) also remember to replace the cables in the same direction. For more information please visit

Obtain a copy of The Ayre test CD called Irrational but Efficacious and play it through your system on a monthly basis.

Anti-Static and Cryogenic treatment

Obtain an Antistatic gun and point it at every piece of equipment and squeeze the trigger. Do this every month (including speakers)

To improve your system sound, send all your cables to a Company that performs Cryogenic cable treatment. This is one of the best upgrades that you can get because the results speak for themselves.

If you hate the crackle from your turntable you can run it wet as I used to in the good old days and very easy to do – Set up a drip just the same as in the hospital and fit a very small bore tube so the drip leaves a film or water on the LP and then play it.

There is an interesting item called a Sort Kone and this can be placed under any item such as Amplifier, CD player or DAC and gives more clarity, more detail and also gives a blacker background.

Cable Warm up

You must allow at least one hour for any cable to warm up in your system. It does not matter if is the power cord, the speaker cable or the interconnect cable, so please be patient and allow time for them to warm up.

Listening to your system

Some people have ears that lie flat against their heads and do not even realise just what they are missing from the music especially in the in the upper frequencies.  Put your hands behind your ears and then pull them outwards and you will hear much more.

Never listen to your friend’s opinion as his ears are not the same as yours – very basic but true!

73 thoughts on “Tips and tricks

  1. Hi Paul,
    Thanks for very interesting and useful remarks just how do you can explain why reversed spikes under the speakers are ” better” than ordinary?
    Best regards, Vaidas

    1. Hello Viadas

      When I first became interested in spikes I contacted Soundcare Norway directly with my questions and two days later I had a phone call from
      sound care (actually the MD) and we discussed the products in detail. It is a strange story but quite by accident the researche engineer decided to
      invert a set of spikes underneath the speakers and they found that the speaker performed better – the same was tried on other components but there was no difference noticed. I first started with the basic spikes which are excellent value but moved up to the titanium range and here you could hear a difference when you placed the spike in the reverse position where as on the basic spike it was a difference but very slight.
      I hope that has helped you but you are more than welcome to contact SoundCare in Norway and ask the same question – best regards Paul

      1. Thanks Paul,
        Unbelievable but may be just because in this business one thing you can trust is your ears so I have to look for titanium spikes :)…….
        Best ragards, V

        1. HI Vaidas,

          Titanium spikes are great really are and you will hear a difference believe I have had Titanium spikes so I know
          they are great BUT very expensive and are not often seen on the second market

          best regards

          Paul

  2. This is pretty cool stuff. I’m a vinyl man, and am restoring an old “hi-fi”, so this comes in handy having a site with lot’s of helpful information. Thanks Paul

  3. Good morning or afternoon all,
    interesting tricks, points of view, advises, … most of the time against and far away from my technical knowledges…
    Like in chinese restaurant, i will say i had a great laugh after 16; 18; 23 and 26…
    Many thanks for that moment, it was good.
    Waiting without patience for the next 26.
    Jean philippe ROCH

      1. Many thanks Paul to give me a short break, just time for me to be back to my school books talking about electricity, metal, … And also philosophy of course, the most important. The lonely book i do not have is the one talking bisiness,…Sorry !
        JP

        1. You are welcom and it is good to hear from you again – if you read the about me page and look at the Tannoys I have in the bottom pic
          you are more than welcome to come and listen as it is the best sound I hasve ever had in my life

          best regards

          Paul

  4. Beautiful site! Very nicely laid out, I especially liked looking through the selection of cables. The specs were very well presented as well.

    I certainly wasn’t expecting a well written list of 24 tips in that section, all of it is very helpful stuff. I’m definitely glad I stumbled across this site. All of my musician friends will love it!

    Thanks for the info!

    -Zach

  5. Hi Paul,
    These are great tips. Very comprehensive. But I found myself wondering what a “spirit level” is, since I don’t have much exter

    I have a turntable that an old friend gave me years ago which I’d like to set up someday, but I have to get speakers first.

    What would you recommend in terms of brand for the speakers?

    Thanks,
    Ian

    1. Hi Ian,

      a sprit level is the same as a bubble glass – https://www.google.com/search?q=sprit+level&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

      this is used to make sure that your turntable is level befor you do any of the tracking set ups
      Now I have found that the best speakers are Tannoy from UK https://www.google.com/search?q=tannoy+speakers&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

      you can find many on ebay which are great but I am starting a used equipment page very soon so please have a look at this in a few days
      as you never know –

      best regards

      paul

  6. Wow! I had no idea you could do so much to CDs to get more use out of them. This is great information for people who are crazy about electronics!

    I don’t listen to music other than on he radio, but I will remember these tricks!

    1. Hello Michel,

      If you allow cables to cross you are setting up a magnetic wave will can alter the path and the speed of the sinnals
      passing through and so cann affect performance of the system but we are talk such a small abount but if you have many
      cables and wires crossing then you will start to hear things not quite as good!
      Test have been done by many companies and I was luckly to recieve trainin on this for one of the technicial guys who
      works for Nordost – who in my opinion produce the best cable is the world and it is again all to do with speed when
      when you listen to a 1 meter and then a two meter yopu can quite easily hear the sound difference

      hope that helps

      best regards

      paul

  7. Hey Paul,
    Wow very good tips here, I’m sure they’re all very very helpful for many. I couldn’t agree with you more on the LP suggestion for a heavier version. That’s so true! It definitely makes sounds come to life especially because you feel surrounded with it. To me really, it sounds like a good ol pair of Dr. Beats (: Great site here Paul!

  8. Paul, you make some very good points here and I will be definitely trying out your suggestions – it is crazy to think that music would so completely different just by putting your hands behind your ears. Amazing… you learn something new every day 🙂 I do have a quite a few very old LP’s – where would you suggest I pick up an old LP player for a good price?

    1. Hi Holly

      Yes to pick up and ple player like a technics with a Shure cartridge

      Would be the best route

      Best regards

      Paul

  9. Hello Paul, wow, your posting really made me rethink my stereo and listening habits. I have never heard of several things you talk about…like Superspikes and anti static guns. I certainly never thought that power cords could have much impact on sound quality. I always new that the quality of the sound you heard was limited by the weakest link in your system, but now I have a lot more questions for my local dealer. Thanks again for your posting.

  10. Great tips and tricks! I never knew so much of what you listed! I grew up with my dad’s turntable and vinyls. So I’m a newbie at most of the terms and lingo and this may be a silly question, but what does “having your CD cut” mean? I visited the link but I am not sure I speak “audiophile” haha. Thank you!

    1. Hello

      and I know it sounds a bit strange but you actually have a 45 degree edge cut off from the CD

      what this does is stop the internal reflections coming from the lazer – cool stuff and iut works like s charm

      best regards

      paul

  11. Paul,
    Yes definitely agree with you that one needs to spray antistatic fluid on regular basis to electronic equipments. I witnessed with my own eyes and eyes when I was serving in my military service that most communication equipments need servicing and spraying antistatic fluids help. Thanks for sharing and educate us.

  12. What an awesome website. I really enjoyed reading each of your tips and tricks since they were all new to me!
    I was not aware that the source where the CD or record is pressed and on which material can make a very big difference to the sound that you actually hear from it.

    The 24 tips that you provide are all very comprehensive and useful! Thank you for sharing.

    1. Hello Juan

      Yes there are so many things that effect the music sound and that

      Is why people are always changing their equipment because they

      Are unaware of the basics

      Best regards

      Paul

  13. What a really great list of tips and tricks for music sources.

    You’ve really explained well how to keep everything working as it should and I love your tip for flat earred people! Amazing fact – I never knew!

    You have other great little bits I like such as letting cables warm up and setting a drip up to your turntable to stop static…. amazing facts! I love your post.

    Sammi

    1. Hello Sammi

      Thank you for your words and it is amazing what you can learn over the years

      but will never stop learning and sharing

      best regards

      paul

  14. Hi Paul,

    Awesome information you are giving here for anyone having a music studio set up like I do.
    I can definitely use your tips and tricks and honestly I had never heard of any you are mentioning.
    What exactly are THREE Sound Care spikes? I have a pair of KRK Rokit 8 speakers. The stand on a monitor stand but i would to change to that because it is quite unstable.

    Cheers,
    Angélique

  15. Hi Paul,
    How are you? Just curious how do you can explain how the power cord can improve the sound of TT, especially with belt drive when the motor is separate from plate and basis. I believe it is possible but how…?
    Best regards, Vaidas

    1. Hello Vidas,

      Very good question but easy to answer –

      Your motor used power right – so if you give you TT motor good clean
      smooth power then the motor runs perfectly.
      If you do not have good power then the motor runs not correctly and picks
      up jitteres, sonic vibrations and changes which are all transmitted to the
      pully wheel which drives the belt.
      I have done tests and bu=y fitting a different power cord the sound becomes
      better and in some case it has really made a big change to the sound.

      hope that helps

      best regards

      paul

  16. Paul,

    The coolest thing I have every heard of is putting your hands behind your ears and pointing them out. I was amazed at the difference!

    There needs to be a product for this, such as a headband with Mickey Mouse ears that slip behind your own.

    The whole world sounds better!

    1. Hi Jim

      Yes my ears lie flat so I know what you mean and really is amazing to hear the changes!!!
      The idea of yours is really so cool and
      It could be a winner sometimes a crazy idea can make a million and if I had the money then I would try it so it you
      Es t to try it please do but remember me ok

      Best regards

      Paul

  17. These tips and tricks are incredible, Paul.

    At least 50% of these I had never heard of, so I went to google to check and yes indeed, it seems that Paul in indeed a very knowledgeable master of his trade.

    Even with my cheap hi-fi system, a lot of these tips and tricks improved the audio by a massive amount.

    Cheers Matey.

    James

    1. Hi James,

      Thanks for your comments –

      you would be surprised how good cables can help your system to better
      as I have helped quite a few people with this as well

      best regards

      Paul

  18. This is fantastic information Paul! Just when I thought I knew most things about sound you brought up another 5 points I hadn’t even considered. Thanks!

    1. Hello Michael

      I am very pleased that you were able to gain your knowledge
      by reading this article and anything in the future you need
      then I am more than happy to help

      best regards

      Paul

  19. Hi Paul, very interesting and comprehensive article. Good to know there are some ways how to improve the sound. I’ve learnt something new again. Thanks for posting. Take care and wish you good luck! Marian

  20. what a load of absolute rubbish. you have no clue……. stupid stupid stupid
    if you actually beleive cables have a direction, then there is no hope.
    i have never read such rubbish in my life

  21. Hi Paul,

    I have been all over your site, and it`s put together very professionally, fantastic tips , reviews, the quality of your cables.

    You do know your stuff Paul with all the years you have been involved in music especially sound, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading and listening to your Video`s

    Cheers,

    Lou

  22. Hi Paul,
    I just learned more about audio and set-up from your site. I thought that I was pretty good with my sound equipment, now I feel that I will be able to get the better cables and improve my listening experience.

    Thank you,
    Bruce

  23. HI Paul, I have been on your website for a long time reading about your Tips and Tricks I did not have any idea about not crossing power cords. and about Put your amplifier on THREE sound care spikes. when you have a minute would you please explain what is a THREE sound care spikes
    Thank You very much
    Lucero

    1. Hello Lucero

      Thank ypu for your interest
      SoundCare is a company from Norway and the make “spikes”
      These “spikes” are a way to isolate the unwanted resonances generated by
      Mains hums, turntable rumble, and vibration form traffic from reaching your amplifier
      This means that the amplifier amplifies the wanted signal and not the unwanted signals.
      If you visit Soundcare.com you will be able to read all about the “Spikes”

      Best regards

      Paul

  24. Hey Paul! What a bunch of information, many of which would have been very useful for me in the past when I was a lot in classical music and opera singing. The sound quality was always a concern, for the recordings, but also for listening.

    Opening the ears with your hands, listening “backwards”, was one of the common things we did to control our own voice. Certainly here no cables required, lol.

    I am completely struck by what you say about warming up the cables for an hour and about the influence of the power cord on the quality of the sound. I had no idea. The connection cables between speaker and source, maybe yes, makes sense. But how can the power cord influence the system?

    1. Hello Heidi
      I thank you very much for your words and yes, certainly allot to understand.
      The power cord is a very important item in the system and the reason it has to
      be good is because the amplifier onky amplifies what your are giving your system
      and if you are supplying dirty power then this will be amplified and make the system
      sound dirty – You need a power cord that is clean and has no impurities.
      Also the power cord needs to be two meters in length

      hope this helps
      best regards — Paul

  25. These are AWESOME tips and tricks Paul!! I didn’t know that there were so much about cables and audiosystems))

    I will definetely come back to this site. Great job!!

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