Monday, May 30, 2022

A Mighty Tweak

 "Tweaks" are all the rage among audiophiles, looking to improve a system's performance without replacing pricey components. Ranging from tens of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, tweaks include (among many others): sorbothane isolators and platforms placed beneath components to reduce mechanical vibrations; room treatments; and cable risers designed to reduce static interference from cables resting on carpeted floors (though decent, double-cased speaker should be immune to any static interference in the first place). Based on advice from a column written by eminent audio guru, Herb Reichert, I just replaced the thin, cloth mat that came with my Pioneer PLX-1000 turntable with a soft rubber mat made for the Technics 1200 series of turntables, which are nearly identical to the Pioneer, but twice the price. The cost of the mat was $30 from Amazon. Of all the tweaks I've tried (it's not a long list), it has provided by far the greatest bang for the buck. Herb was absolutely right. Changing the mat tamed the roughness I had been perceiving in the upper frequencies and provided a boost to the low end, which had seemed somewhat skimpy. Before making the change, I had thought I might a different turntable-and-cartridge combination (I currently use an Ortofon Quintet Bronze on the PLX-1000). Very likely the $30 tweak saved me thousands.

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