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tmsorosk



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PostSubject: Cleaning connectors    Wed Jun 04, 2014 7:09 pm

Was wondering how many others here clean the connectors on there cables and cords on a regular basis. And if so what do you use?
I usually use a cleaner called Kontact and use pipe cleaners and q-tips. I don't use a dielectric grease as I prefer a clean dry connection.

Tim
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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning connectors    Thu Jun 05, 2014 3:51 am

Hi Tim

I'm not sure what the other guys use, it is so dry here that I haven't cleaned my connectors in forever. Once in a great while I will go through and slightly twist the connectors, but barely.

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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning connectors    Thu Jun 05, 2014 9:23 pm

Hello Michael


I'm a bit surprised that you don't adhere to good cable hygiene, it's an almost free tweak that can have amazing results.

I don't think humidity has as much to do with cable sludge as the environment you live in, big cities tend to have a higher smog number than in rural area's. You'll only need to clean your connections once to see the amount of gunk on your cleaning devices to know there's a big problem. You'll find that some brands of cables attract gunk more than others.

As we all know the plating processes of are beloved connections trap micro bubbles that cause oxidization, particularly gold over brass or copper. It's that sludge and oxidization that causes are systems to exhibit dullness in the high frequencies, congestion, and dullness on the leading edge transients. Many friends that adhere to connection cleaning say unclean connecters and the accompanying sockets resemble the sound of old worn out tubes. While we are on the topic of tubes, the tube sockets can also benefit from the same process. Don't cut corners and just pull the tubes in and out, this is a half hazard way of doing things and will have a very  temporary effect. Clean ALL cables and cords and the sockets there plugged into , make sure you turn off the breakers when you get to the power receptacles.

If anyone here decides to spend an afternoon upgrading there system this way let me suggest they do not use solutions such as anhydrous isopropyl alcohol as this is roughly 30% water.  


  Tim
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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning connectors    Fri Jun 06, 2014 1:11 am

Hi Tim

I use to sell a lot of cleaners and recommended that we did regular cleaning maintenance until I noticed a weird sound that bothered me. It was a glare in the upper midrange through the highs starting at 1.5k (about) and all the way up. It kept showing up and the longer I would have a component the worst it got. I got in a fresh batch of Rotel integrated amps in my shop and after hooking them up noticed the glare was not there. Puzzled, I worked my way around the components till I found the problem. The constant cleaning was distroying the contact flow of signal.

It's a balancing act for sure but I have found that if you use low mass connectors and fewer of them the problem of signal blockage decreases dramatically. The questions for me center around the whole systems performance and not the typical audiophile setup. I push for fewer parts and more hard wiring. Lets say listener "A" has 5 components in his system requiring 4 sets of interconnects and 5 power cord interfaces, and listener "B" has 2 components requiring 1 interconnect. Listener "B" is going to have better signal flow.

Have you seen my interconnects and recommended interfacing? If so you will see very minimalistic surface to surface contact. Typical audiophile setups again way over build their products creating the signal flow problems they encounter. Why don't we experience these same problems? We design systems out of parts that get the job done with the right amount of surface to surface to get the job done as to not attract extra corrosion. Audiophile designers design components and systems that are corrosion magnets. We have very little mass to what we do, therefore a very high signal flow transfer in and output. We do clean but very sparingly and not nearly as much as the typical audiophile needs to clean. Audiophiles are sitting there with systems that attract problems we don't.

By the time a typical audiophile system gets 3 years old it has created an amazing amount of signal deterioration, through over built contacts and the cleaning of them. These systems are cursed. We are more proactive and by the time we have blockage going on (10 to 15 years if that) we can simply replace the connector itself.

Tim the more you look into what we do here the more you will see the methods are sound from many angles.

High End Audio has made it's own death traps, and I from a performance and practicle point of view do what you did when you moved your system components from the room. You removed your equipment mass out of the equation. I do this same thing with connections. I remove most of the mass that creates the problem to begin with.

pretty smart cookie aren't I  Wink 

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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning connectors    Fri Jun 06, 2014 2:44 am

Hi Tim

I wanted to talk about this more but got hungry. Now that I'm fed up I want to continue.

you said

"It's that sludge and oxidization that causes are systems to exhibit dullness in the high frequencies, congestion, and dullness on the leading edge transients. Many friends that adhere to connection cleaning say unclean connecters and the accompanying sockets resemble the sound of old worn out tubes."

me speaking

I could not agree more. This is exactly the sound I experienced with the sludge, and it's the sound I have heard in time with over massed connections period. This is nothing new and listeners from all over have come to the conclusion that surfaces that attract corrosion in time become signal pollutants.

My question is then in regards to this, why are we calling equipment higher end when they are obviously passing less signal? "the sound of old worn out tubes"

You and I as well as many others here have been in high end audio a long time. I have been right in the middle of the testing and design of this industry and have seen it as a designer from the gutts out. It's a little different view that has to do with the building and money mark ups and marketing in general. It also is seeing what really goes into the designing of things. What I'm saying is, it's a different view than the consumer gets to look at usually. The bigger parts and masculine appeal of this hobby was not by mistake. It's easier to make an audiophile lust after more separated parts than just a couple of non-fancy boxes. My disconnect from the mainstream high end audio part was when the sound started to deteriorate. I'm not sure (well obviously) that when this started to happen the end user noticed or even cared. The reviewers and designers painted the picture of listening with such descriptive brilliance that I don't think many even paid much attention, and most bought into the bigger and bolder is better and separates are better than simple. While this was going on I held up my listening hand and said "is anyone listening" but my voice was swepted under the rug as fast as any other that was making simple sound choices. I sat there in a fully stocked store and said " holy grap what just happened to the sound". This is no kidding, when this happened in a matter of 5 years the US lost 85% of it's high end audio stores. Designers were forced to sell direct cause most of the stores could no longer give good demos as compared to a few years before when business was growing by leaps and bounds.

Think about these changes carefully. Big and bulky stuff kept coming out and sells and interest dropped dramatically. I as a store owner (this is no lie) would go to Circuit City and buy their cheap multispect CD player to sell in my high end systems cause high end audio transports DACs and players sounded so bad. This was embarassing but I was not going to play car salesman with music. I couldn't do it. High end audio has done some really stupid things and big connectors is one of them along with big bulky separates. Separates almost had a chance when they were simple but as soon as the heavier parts came out there went the sound right out the window along with some great audio companies that chose to stay simple. Remember those great audio companies smashed in the late 80's early 90's? The industry wanted us to sell all kinds of stuff to put a band-aid on things that was a result of them not listening, and chosing to design for appeal instead of sound. Cables were one of those band-aids and it became huge. More components, more cable and cable choices, more money.

Tim, this train has derailed and instead of creating regular cleaning practices, I would rather turn the industry on to making simple systems and fewer connections with lower mass for better signal flow. If someone could setup an over built system that sounded better than the simple ones I use and show me that these over built corrosion magnets long term were better I'd get back on the cleaning team with bigger parts, but that's not the way things are heading. Do I believe in cleaning? Sure when needed. But I believe in a clean signal path far more.

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tmsorosk



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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning connectors    Fri Jun 06, 2014 7:20 am


Hello Michael

Your no doubt correct, a simpler path will result in better sound but unfortunately most of us require more than one source and because of crappy power supply need conditioners etc, etc. Unwittingly the systems become more and more complex, more complex means more cords, cables and more sludge and the need for cleaning. In my case the more I clean the better the results.
I agree with you in part about not over designing but in the audio world we've learned that there are very few blanket statements that won't be met with valid objections. Speaker cables for one, I was always of the opinion that smaller and simpler was the road to nirvana but unfortunately the biggest most complex and almost the most expensive cables I tried turned out to bring one of my systems as close to live music as I've experienced. Synergy plays such a big part in regard to are systems and how they react to details so one does not expect that every cable or cord or whatever will sound wonderful in every system. Which brings forth the need for you to keep tutoring us on - the tune.


Your pal Tim
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Sonic.beaver



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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning connectors    Fri Jun 06, 2014 12:21 pm


Hi Tim

Sonic used to have a drill -- first Saturday of every month I got out the metal polish and gave every connection I could clear a shine. At first Brasso then Autosol.

Immediately after cleaning I got a midrange glare and an over etched treble. It took a week to wear off. Sonic then took to using distilled water to give a clean to the newly cleaned connections which helped a lot but still the glare was there immediately following cleaning.

Worse to my ears were the various chemical products that were said to fill in the microscopic pits in the metals of the connectors and wires and improve contact. There were fluid that came in red or something, then a thick fluid that was dispensed my a syringe of some sort. The sound went thick and abnormal and I had to use denatured alcohol to clean it off and wait days with repeat cleaning to get rid of the audio signature.

After getting into the Tune, I don't clean any connectors...maybe once a year with Autosol followed by denatured alcohol if ever (haven't done this in 2014)....because as things settle, they bond and repeatedly breaking a connection and adding odd chemicals is not good. Letting things settle has caused Sonic to see no benefit in cleaning or hearing that they work counter to the cause of the music.

Sonic
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tmsorosk



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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning connectors    Fri Jun 06, 2014 8:03 pm



Hello Sonic

After reading about your experiences it was easy to determine that the cleaning products you were using were the source of the problem. Never use polishes or any other product that leaves a bi-product. I've been cleaning connections since the seventies as well as many of my audio buddies and have never heard of the problems you've experienced. Glare in the midrange, unheard of at are audio club ( just over a hundred members ).

I've never cleaned more than twice a year and have not heard anything but grand sonic improvements.

Have A great day .
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tmsorosk



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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning connectors    Sun Sep 28, 2014 9:08 am

Good morning Greeners

I recently had a new music club member over at my residence to hear some favorite artists on one of my systems. She noticed on a table the instruments and accessories for cleaning cables and connecters, she wanted to know all about it. The wife was quick to step in and say what a lot of work it was to clean all this rubble but even she ( a non believer in tweaks of any kind ) could hear the improvement. My guest asked if I would join in helping give her system it's first ever cleaning. A few weeks later I was finally able to get to my new friend's house, I was surprised to see what an interesting and well setup system she had. After several hours and several bottles of vino we were done, to look at the black grunge on the swabs and pipe cleaners you would think we cleaned a car not audio connections. The reward was improved dynamics and the usual added detail. One thing I didn't expect to hear was a wider, deeper sound stage, but there it was. My friend commented that the cleaning produced bigger improvements than her new upgraded amp and the cost was pennies. I've opened many friends eyes to the value of clean connections but this was the most dramatic and easily discernible improvement I've experienced.

tweak on


.
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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning connectors    Sun Sep 28, 2014 12:02 pm

Hi Tim

Good to see you. Now what would be cool if you get a chance is to go back in about 6 weeks and give a report on how things sound after settling. Next step would be after about 6 months is to instead of cleaning, go there and do the tiniest of twist to each connection. I mean like barely cracking a screw just enough to break the seal and let settle again.

A question for you, did you do the power cable too?

I'm in the desert so hardly ever clean my connections. Plus I only have 14 connection points in my whole system including the power cords.

Like you said sounds like more of an oil change Laughing , yeah we don't quite let it go that far Smile

Cool

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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning connectors    Sun Sep 28, 2014 1:13 pm

Hi Michael

Yes I did clean the power cords and receptacle's, with the breakers turned off of coarse. I'm by no means a clean freak but whenever I find dirt and grunge in a certain area I make a habit of cleaning it.
I will go listen again, in fact we plan on doing some multi home digital link testing next weekend.
In the past I've done the slight turning of connector's and found the change was short lived, as I mentioned above. My current solid state system has all XLR connecters so other than giving the speaker terminals a slight tweak there's not much I can do in that regard. On my tube system, I've always felt that breaking the seal was a half measure with limited and hard to verify results.

Don't let the dry conditions where you live stop you and don't confuse grunge with humidity corrosion. Where there's dirt and dust there will be what I call grunge, for lack of a better word. A few years ago I visited a friend in Phoenix, after listening to his system and talking audio through the night the topic of cable hygiene was brought up, so before I left we gave his system a decent cleaning, it wasn't ideal as I didn't have my tools of choice available. The amount of garbage that was removed was quite incredible. One thing I would like to mention at this point, is that some brands of cable attract grunge more than others so it's not always a given that you'll find really dirty cables and connections.

I should mention that I do not sell any audio cleaning product or any audio product what so ever.

Regards   Tim


Last edited by tmsorosk on Tue Sep 30, 2014 7:09 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning connectors    Sun Sep 28, 2014 2:40 pm

Hi Tim

Looking forward to the findings. Yep, it's nice to have only a few connections.

What's the most important for me is listeners being able to hear when something needs to happen. Like knowing what it sounds like when the connections have reach maximum and start to decline. So I spend a lot of my time listening to the outer edges of the stage as they are my guides many times for how things are flowing through the system. I let music play often for days and even weeks so I can hear that edge clearly and use it as a flavor and spacial guideline. For this reason I've personally also lean toward not so much the inner part of the stage when it comes to connections but the flow front to back as in the spread of notes that go the same distance in a 360 spherical movement. When I start to sense the image is oblong for a note front to back, and I can't tune around it anymore this is when I start to look at the physical connections. And of course the dissipation into the space. In cleaning I have found that it bugs me because it's literally putting a new part into the system, and it means burning in everything all over again. so in my case and for the way I listen I probably stretch out my cleaning as far as I can.

but it's always good to hear others methods


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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning connectors    Sun Sep 28, 2014 6:24 pm

Agreed, I've also simplified my system. It hasn't improved the sonics but it has made cables and cords easier to dress and clean.
I also listen to and judge on the outer edges of the sound stage as well as the ability to produce 3D imaging. My current peeve is getting the bass just right, not over cooked or powerful but resolving in all area's of the room. Getting the bass just so gives music the foundation it needs to imitate realism. When music sounds right no matter where I sit in the room I know i'm getting close to my goal.

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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning connectors    Sun Sep 28, 2014 9:36 pm

Yep, space addictions are the best kinds.

Let me know if you ever want to play with the bass a little.

Listening to anything fun lately?

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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning connectors    Tue Sep 30, 2014 7:07 am

Michael Green wrote:
Yep, space addictions are the best kinds.

Let me know if you ever want to play with the bass a little.

Listening to anything fun lately?

" want to play with the bass a little " , without question.

Been listening to Ray Charles by day and Yello by night .

Timster

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PostSubject: Re: Cleaning connectors    Tue Sep 30, 2014 2:41 pm

Timster, I like that Exclamation



good to see you here

coop
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