Yet again, I've combed the internet and recruited my most neurotic audiophile acquaintances to bring you some of the most interesting, unusual, and frankly, questionable high end audio tweaks. As always, I note when I have had first hand experience with a particular tweak. You can read parts 1, 2 and 3 by clicking the numbers.
Quietrock drywall maybe more than a tweak, it may be the foundation of your listening room. It is sound proof sheet rock that will help to isolate your dedicated listening room from outside noise, and conversely, will allow other to live in peace during your concert level listening sessions. I had it installed in my listening room to great results. Pricing varies.
Soundsoak Acoustical Wall Panels:
Soundsoak, made by Armstrong, is a lightweight, easy to install acoustic panel that claims to offer up to 90% sound absorption. It is offered in a number of fabric finishes. Soundsoak is widely used in recording studios but is also perfect for domestic environments. It is sold in different configurations and sound absorption values.
Pangea Audio made a big splash selling their power cords and HDMI cables through Audio Advisor. They now offer low cost, decent looking speaker stands. From the pictures they do not look bad.
On the opposite side of the cost spectrum, Combak Corporation's Dinosaur DNS-0610 Speaker Stand is said to be a state-of-the-art design created after years of extensive research on the basis of the sound technology such as those of a Piano. This unique design sets to achieve the full potential of small sized loudspeaker systems, thus enabling users to hear more dynamics and information than previous achievable. Various resonance controls and specialized feet and employed to realize the very best in sound quality. The Dinosaur DNS-0610 is beautifully handcrafted and made of selected high quality woods and easy to assemble and use. Definitely not for bargain hunters!
CD Player Stabilization:
Here is a dirt cheap, (literally!), tweak for CD players or other source components. Ready? Regular red bricks from Home Depot which average about a $1.50 each. I use them on my DVD recorder to stabilize the transport. Since I have done that, I have had zero recording failures, which were fairly common before. If near a cable box, you also protect the DVD recorder from EMI. I know a few people who also put bricks on top of their CD players, which they claim will help tame internal vibrations. Hey, this one is a small investment, so don’t call it snake oil.
"Even I'm a Skeptic"
This column’s EIAS first spot goes to the Synergistic Research Acoustic Art series, which ranges in price from roughly $300 to $3000. It basically consists of various systems of art deco looking contraptions that one places in the listening room that are claimed to improve sound. Synergistic, however, is a well known designer and producer of high end audio, power, and digital cables. They also make power distribution related products. All their cables are highly regarded. As far as spending money on “acoustic art”, I would have to be this months Power Ball winner, as even if they work, resources could certainly be allocated elsewhere.
A special spot is reserved for the SteinMusic Harmonizer Platinum System. SteinMusic is a Danish company that makes some interesting things, but here they have gone off the deep end. To quote, “Expect sweeter highs, and more significant sense of bloom around instruments. More decay and shimmer too. Your system will sound freer, faster and clearer. The Gold package consists of 2 H2A Cubes, 2 H2B Cubes, and a set of 12 Magic Stones.” Err, right. Magic Stones. Price? $4920.