Do the Audio gods shine upon you?

Has anyone else had this experience or am I just nuts? You sit down for a quiet evening of Hi Fi listening and after some warmup time you suddenly realize that your system sounds dramatically better than it did the night before. I am talking about those little things like more resolution, low level detail. You know, those things that turn audiophiles on. I am almost afraid to turn my system on again for fear that the "audio gods" have abandoned me.
Go with the force luke. Let the circuits in your head tell you anything they want. Groovytube prays to the same god. Appeal to his wisdom but rembmber it's only a game.
I've never had the system sound dramatically better without doing something, but I have felt the sound sometimes changes from night to night, with some evenings better than others. I attribute this to minor changes in room configuration (a pile of books that wasn't there the other day, pillows on the backrest of the couch against the wall and windows instead of on the seat cushions, my wife sitting in one position or another in the room, etc.) On the other hand, sometimes I point these suspected changes out to my wife, who kindly suggests, "might we be obsessing just a little a bit, dear?" To which I reply, "Of course... what's your point?" :-)
Slowhand: I experience changes for good (and bad) quite often as I live in LA where the juice is quite iffy at times. Right now the system sounds smoother, but with less detail and my computer keeps crashing. I assume that it because of continuous Brown Outs but won't know until I drop the CPU off at the shop. I may have to end up getting a voltage regulator or external power supply for the computer if this is the case. I use a cheap power conditioner for the main stereo, but it does nothing for low amperage. By the way, I have been certified as "sane" within the past six months.
No bull Slowhand, I experience this phenomenon pretty often too. In my case, I attribute it simply to "mood". Guys don't typically like to talk about such things, preferring to attribute changes to all sorts of other things such as cables, ICs, vibration, power supply, acoustics, humidity, maybe even the cat in the room, but not simply "mood". Your mood at listening time is just as real and as important-- maybe moreso than all the other physical things we can all come up with-- mood is just as real as any other part of your stereo system. BTW, I've got a CD I like called "Mood Food", by a group called "Mood Swings"-- sort of new agey with prominent, but soft percussion throughout. Just let it happen, and enjoy Slowhand. Another way of putting this is that "some days are better than other days". Ever try to listen when you're seriously ticked off? had a fight with the wife? someone ran over your dog? just got a huge raise at work? have a wicked headache? just got fired? just go laid? Sometimes music can make you feel better, and sometimes worse-- just all depends on the mood of the music gods. But do clean all your ICs, cables etc-- sometimes your system will really sound better, and sometimes you will just feel better about it anyway etc. etc. Cheers. Craig.
I came across exactly the same thing this week. On popped a few CD's and wow. At first I was listening to some new stuff I hadn't heard before and thought it was maybe down to that but no..even familar stuff sounded better--however I had just got up and the room was very cold--could be partly down to that I suppose. But I do subscribe to the theory that my system is variable with no obvious reason both good and bad. As a guy who works shifts I find it quite common for my system to sound better in the afternoon--possibly down to the mains not having as much use/pollution? Not sure... of course this hobby is obsessive so a little bit of madness is a healthy by-product. Of course I get it the other way too when I can't work out why the &*^% my system is sounding worse. If somebody wants to start a new religion and possibly sell me some small Audio God statues then I'm in.....ah Sonus god of soundstage..Deepo god of bass...Solvo god of resolution..Iden god of detail...Choco and Shoppo gods of keeping girlfriend happy....let's face it we've probably wasted money on worse tweaks.
It's your hearing. Varying sound levels and intensity or exposure during the day will alter your hearing sensitivity. Some days we get more exposure than others and the music doesn't sound as good. Our hearing recovers after a days dose but not totally and not right away. The evening is the worst time to do critical listening. The clinical term for this condition is TTS or Temporary Threashold Shift and can occur after a loud event or prolonged exposure to moderately high sound levels. The current federal standard for noise exposure in the work place will not protect you from the degrading effects TTS ie. relative to your desire to enjoy music. Regulations are designed for something very different, speech recognition. You can get TTS even if you work in a relatively quiet environment. Driving a car for example exposes us to levels of 100 dB or more at low frequencies which are most damaging. Over long periods TTS moves to permanant hearing loss. A loud rock concert gives a profound example of temporary threashold shift. The best time to listen to your HiFi is in the morning, before the day starts. Try it and see if your sound system doesn't show a radical improvement. Unfortunately, after many years of exposure to noise our hearing is not what it used to be. Variability in hearing on a daily basis is also related on a lesser degree to sinus conditions, colds, trama and nutrition. What you described in your post is perfectly normal and why so many audiophiles get so confused about what is good sound, great sound and awsome sound. And why some of them like BOSE from time to time.
Ben; On special this week Matilda the Midrange God. Guaranteed to sooth the soul. Just place on speakers and burn incense. Seriously I was thinking about this last week as my kids were driving me crazy I took a break and put on some tunes but couldn't get into the music at all. I just looked at the system and tried to figure out what was missing. The above post nails it for me. I work shift work and when the kids are off to school the first thing I do is play music/when it sounds best. Cheers Steve
My voltage shifts between 119 and 124. The sound shifts as well. Larryh makes a good point. Some days your ears are tired and other days are wide awake and ready to rock. Ther are certainly other factors, but it is noticed that wine doesn't taste as good when the barometer is falling, so I guess everything can have an effect on everything else. But isn't it great when everything seems to fall in to place and you get that magical feeling of being in touch with the fellings of the artist or group you are listening to? (Ben, thanks for the laughs).
Slowhand: I have found that the music just sounds better in the morning. I try to listen for an hour before going to work. If I'm reading while listening, the music becomes more "detailed" in my subconsious? for some reason.
Gents, I think Garfish has nailed it. I think this is a real phenomina and it has everything to do with our frame of mind or mood when listening and nothing to do with our ears or systems. A good analogy would be the "clean car seems to run better" syndrome. Gentlemen, perseption IS reality!
Let me guess -- you listen to a lot of Grateful Dead, Phish and Peter Tosh, Shakti stones make a world of difference and your system sounds worse when your broke and waiting fo your next paycheck? I do think the point about TTS is true, however. Some have also suggested that the AC is cleaner at night.
There is no data that shows measurable change in auditory acuity from average exposure to ambient noise. Cite your references otherwise. You sound like the auditory equivalent of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle: Listening to the event changes the sound itself, beyond the performance. The reason they call it "Temporary Threshold Shift" is because it's temporary. Very temporary. Equating long term TTS to permanent hearing loss is as astute as correlating long life with probability of death. Whatever the case, where ever you are, listen in the morning, please. Leave the tempered decibels and improbable kilowatts to those of us who don't know any better, or who couldn't care less. Except for that car that exposes us to 100 dB(!) of "damaging" low frequencies. Ever heard any frequency at 100 dB in a car? What??? HUH??? yeah, TTS.
I consider myself lucky to be a favorite of the audiogod and they smile upon me daily. The downside is I think thier nemis is the car god and he doesnt like me receiving the extra attention and has become quite antaganistic towards me.
Khrys, If you don't believe in hearing degregation with exposure, how do you explain hearing loss in the general population as we age? Current thinking has it that age related hearing loss is caused by exposure to sound largely as the result of our industrialized lifestyle. It has been documented that remote African and South American natives who live away from the industrial noise generators of our society, do not show a drop in hearing sensitivity with age. I'm not suggesting ambient exposure is the only factor, only that is one of the primary factors. As to your comment about not caring about what noise you are exposed to, it's your choice. If you're not prepared to treat your ears with some care, you will end up a very very unhappy audiophile, unable to appreciate even BOSE. I suspect Khrys has abused himself and wants others to go along with the notion that exposure to vacuum cleaners, driving witht he window down, talking on a cell phone, listining to highly amplified music, riding a motorcycle, screaming at a football game ....on and on... will not injure you. As our gift to the world of logic, Khrys is invincible. He's known this since the age of 20 when he attended an Emerson Lake and Palmer concert and submitted to the quad towers of 100,000 watts each pouring the healing gospel upon his waiting soul. He resurects the memory each day on the way to work by cranking the big 10" in his car until the trunk started to leak. (he has since switched to the head set ear phones). He does it because he can, it's his right and don't mess with it. Khrys is our kind of audiophile. Like a Hebrew judge, what's right is right and wrong is wrong. I only have on question for you Khrys. "If she said yes, would you be able to hear"? Oops now I've hit on something important.
Yes, I do experience the sound quality fluctuations a lot too. Like some posts pointed out due to the iffy power, particulary in LA area in the late evenings. I also buy the hearing thresold case on some days theory.( I have experienced it-sitting down to listen right after dancing sessions with wife and kids to some dance music). And then there state of mind theory-which also come in to play at times. But the other two remaining same , there is still electronic nuances to deal with, which is absolutely true-even if you have PS300 or some power conditioner. Here is another peculiar behavior my system exhibits: I have Home theatre/DAC processor that I use for 5 channel casual listening. I have seperate analog balanced outputs going in a sepearte two channel pre-amp for stereo listening. My MIT digital cable occassionally looses a signal due to bad connection in the HT Preamp. Here is the kicker- The system sounds (2 channel mode) sounds MUCH better( increased resolution, deep soundsatge, all the works,) when the digital cable has the good connection in to HT pre-amp, which is turned on or off. Some times because of vib or some deep base the cable might loose a connection and I can always tell due to change in sound quality. Don't tell me it is my brain because I know it is not. Has any one experienced something like this? TRY IT IF YOU HAVE SUCH A SET-UP.
I find it difficult to understand why so many people deny the incredibly profound effect that your mindset has on your perception. In all honesty, I'd have to say that the actual reproductive quality of my rig accounts for at most 5% of my enjoyment (with the admission that numbers have little meaning here). MUCH more important are what I'm listening to and my mood. I wear galsses to see better, but beayty is not stopped by a little astigmatism.
Khrys,I think you are wrong in you Heisnberg's ucertainty principle. In a nut shell it says that it is fundamentaly impossible to know both the position and momentum of a sub-atomic particle. The more you know about one the less you know about the other untill you know the exact momentum you can know nothing about the position, and vice versa. A better quantum anology would be the wave/particle duality. Don't you think?
Merle, one of H's arguments was that in measuring the position or momentum that you would change one or the other. So while Khyrs's statement is not exactly a metaphor it is certainly related.
Robba, when you the exact position you can know nothing about the the momentun, that does not change the momentun. Furthermore he was not speaking metaphoricly, but rather using an anaolgy.
Robba, when you the exact position you can know nothing about the the momentun, that does not change the momentun. Furthermore he was not speaking metaphoricly, but rather using an analogy.
Invest in a PS Audio Power Plant and your system will always sound the same! Once you hear the effects on one in your system, you'll never go back!
Cite your references Larry. Especially the African and South American native data. And don't change the subject. TTS and effect of aging on hearing are not the same thing. BTW, attacking me personally detracts from the debate at hand and obscures your good points otherwise. Argue your point and defend your ideas vigorously and we'll all learn. Retreating to the personal attack is the weakest possible defense of a concept. Regarding the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, it certainly asserts that the exact position and momentum of hadrons cannot be determined but why? Because the observation of the event affects the outcome of the determination. It's that simple. Thus my use of the term is indeed analogous. But the metaphor is not lost on me.
I see the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle segueing into the AEP ( Audiophile Egocentricity Principle). Boy, I hope this comes out in small letters.
Mes, even small letters couldn't diminish your post further, but it's a nice thought.
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Simply stated, "YES"! And, when it happens I take full advantage and play till I can't play no more. BTW, this happens to me when I play my guitar. Sometimes it sound better or I enjoy my playing more. It isn't so much the quality of my playing but rather where my head is at. I bet if you were consistantly hooked up to a MRI or CAT scan it would show diferances related to your perceptual enjoyment of the activity even when the enntertanment is repeated. I bet it comes down to some sort of organic variable with in our bodies. Sometimes it is the chicken and sometimes it is the egg. I bet the same could be said for the enjoyment of food. Why does that icecream in the icebox taste so good one day and average the next? Again, I think that at times the real magic happens when the organic variables are in just the right balance. Or maybe it just the AC.
Ramstl is right about the "organic variables", but also about the AC, which is generally better at night. The right kind of temperature und humidity has an effect, I have found and of course listening in the dark, which will let your subjective perception of soundstage bloom and deepen. But then also the company you share your music with will often have an effect. Sounds crazy, but I have had repeated system breakdowns when I wanted to show off to certain people, while with specific others, the mutual enjoyment of the system, led to a deeper and deeper involvement with the musical event. I generally have found, that shared listening with a person close to you, makes for a deeper enjoyment and involvement,compared to just listening by yourself.
You are not nuts, slowhand, nor are you apparently alone.
Recently I played both my Buena Vista Social Club and my
Snatana Supernatural CD's and even my wife commented from the other room that something was missing that had been there the last time we played them - like a day or two ago!
I checked all connections, speaker position, etc. But nothing had changed! Except the Audio gods had temporarily sucked back all the magic out of my system/recordings. As far as a rational explanation, power variances(I do not have a line conditioner or UPS hooked up on this system) could make a difference, as well as ambient humidity and room temperature. Right. I obviously offended various audio gods, like Detail, Imaging, Soundstaging, MacroDynamics,
and needed to do penance.
After that, I am just plain mystified.
I love the audio gods. Late nights and early mornings when thier awake; the music brings me to tears, all my freinds think iam crazy and hearing things. In this world of audio gods ,why cant they make others here the same ? When one is asked how much you have invested,do you lie for fear of being thought of as a idiot. Maybe but the sheer satisfaction of that favorite song or cd just makes you froget about money and thank the GODS OF AUDIO
Hey, let's not get into theological debates(other than as regards audio). I am guessing the term 'audio gods' was not meant literally, or to offend anyone. We all have our own beliefs - but we all believe in the gift of music and the equipment that makes it possible to hear what we otherwise could not. It's all good. Let's just respect each other and
keep the proselytizing to things like tubes vs. solid state, or vinyl versus SACD's, etc. - which is what this site is purportedly about. Oops, was I getting preachy? I hate when that happens.
I would say there are audio gods. I refer to the Audio Gods as: coming on later at night due to less people using power at night. Alot of businesses are closed at night. I hear a real difference the later it gets, this is probable caused by more people in bed counting sheep and shuting their power off. Which brings me closer to the 120 cycles I don't get during the day. I have a niles IPC 12 power conditioner and during the day it averages betw 111-113 at night I've seen the LCD reach 119. And I would have to say it does sound better in my opinion. Then again I could be insane, especially when I concider how much I have tied up in this hobby.
PCC, if you're insane, you have company. Things do sound better at night. As a musician, my best playing is usually at night. The less-competing-power-demand theory makes perfect sense.
Thanx Prs123, my wife thinks I'm insane. But yes my theory is competing for power.
There are moments of calm and lucidity, in the dark of night, when the sound of the audio system is direct, the silence is pure, the transparency complete, when everything is heard precisely and not a single particular sound escapes the ear, when the mind is astonished to find itself (in these intervals) in this particular instant of duration rather than in any other, and if a thought arrives that us more complex than the sensation of the mere existence of the music, it can be redirected away like a traveller who has gotten lost and has asked directions to somewhere else and has already left after some assistance leaving me quite alone again.
...and afterwards, Slawney,when you woke up in your listening chair, the filled glass of red wine still firmly grasped in your left hand, you'll wonder if it was only a fata morgana....
Bravo Slawney. Bravissimo Detlof! Would bet even money on Machiafava Bignami over Fata Morgana however.
Yes, THAT phenonenon again. First it was time of day, then it was supposed to be a mood swing, then drink or drug were blamed on my good/ill fortune. Perhaps you, like myself are just imagining this whole thing and we are really only listening to the equivalent of a 70's rack system!? Sorry about all that silliness, I really don't have an explanation or nice theory for you. I can only share my similiar experience with this and report that as my system has become more refined - and expensive - those ill times are less so; replaced by a more consistant level of supreme performance, where all sessions are enjoyable w/o that nagging feeling that something or someone has messed it all up during your absense. As the chinese waiter said; ENJOY! MikE
Slowhand, there are literally dozens of varables involved when it comes down to the perfect evening in front of the HI-FI. More times than not it's usually some kind of background noise that you're only aware of on a sub-concious level. You can't actually hear it but if it went away you would notice immediately. (ie: refrigerator running or perhaps outside sprinklers, or even a cooling fan on the back of an amp?) Also, the material or recording could have a lot to do with it. Finnally, mood will have the most dramatic effect on the way things sound. We all know that if you are not completely relaxed and at ease with yourself and in a great mood, things will sound different. Just my .2
The way I see it, my TV/Cable reception is often much much better late at night; therefore, I can definitely see how our stereo systems may sound better on certain days and/or at certain times.

I have to disagree with those who believe it is a matter of perception dictated by our "moods"; clarity, noise floor, and placement are all "real" aspects of the aural music listening experience which cannot be altered by our emotions. However, how these lyrics and music affect us from time to time is a totally different thing.
The phenomenom that you are describing is the same one that makes equipment or wires sound different even when there isn`t any difference. This doesn`t make it less real-it is for you. Now, of course, those having a product to sell you to "solve" your problem, will tell you that the voltage changed or the power grid was noisier the day before and you should be using his/her new power conditioner or cord.

Enjoy the fact that you enjoyed the music that day-maybe better accompanying wine?
It seems like human's ear establishment! Kinda "goldaen ear training"...

By listening to records and CDs we start to hear new and new things from it and want to upgrade and upgrade our electronics...
Slowhand> This phenomenon happened about 3 weeks ago. Skeptics can say what they want about my mood, my electricity, my hearing, the phase of the moon etc. All I can say is that my wife heard the same thing. We did not want to go to bed thet night but had to work the next day. I don't know what caused it but I look forward to it happening again.
Artemus, it certainly is not Voodoo, nor is it in the mind, your digestive system or the mood of your significant other. Highly evolved and heavily tweaked systems are like highly tuned racing engines. Changes in temperature, humidity, fuel (in our case electricity), changes in tire pressure,( balancing out of the front end) will certainly influence performance. Lp performance I've found for example, will be best at about 25 degrees centigrate and at a humidity of not less than 60%. Just my 2 cents.
A couple of non spiritual (read:practicle or realistic) things to keep in mind. 1)Your electricity varies all day, every day. The more it varies, the more your system will change. I believe audiophiles in general still don't understand how important power delivery is to the performance of their systems. 2)Your hearing can vary day to day as well. Spend an entire day listening to a jack hammer outside your window? Better believe this won't be a championship listening session day. Try this on for size: listen as late at night as you can, the electricity is cleaner and the ambient noise is lower. Turn off as many electrical items in your home as you can and wear ear plugs for 20 or 30 minutes before sitting down to listen. Remember to remove them SLOWLY and carefully to avoid a light pop that will negate the usefulness of having worn them. By the way, buying a power generator usually isn't helpful, having a beer or a glass of wine usually is!