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System sound quality variability

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#1
So one reason I started investigating my power supply is that I felt my system performance was not being consistent. One evening I would listen and really be emotionally involved and another evening I would listen to the same thing and not get into it, it sounds a bit harsher / more fatiguing, my feet aren't tapping.

I realize there are other compounding variables here, including myself and my emotional state, the ambient noise (traffic outside). Wonder if anyone else experiences this?
 

Blumlein 88

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#2
Yes.

Most of the reasons you mention. Airborne noise....late at night this is better. My own emotional state. Varies for many reasons. Look at the week long measure of the Yggy in Amir's latest test of it. The gear likely isn't one of the variables affecting your results.
 

Wombat

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#3
Mood variation. Ever feel like not listening to music and do something else instead. Or, feel like listening but can't decide on what, or only a particular style? Or, the level at which you are comfortable with at the time?
 
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#4
As mentioned, most likely your own psychological as well as physiological state if you cannot pinpoint audible differences. It affects the mental receptivity to stimulus way, way more than most of us realise.

But that being said, any conclusions on your investigations on the variance in power supply effects ?

Such as stray EMI affecting the power lines etc, etc?

A friend had some issues with his power lines that on some odd days will result in the intermittent low volume humming of his speakers but was fine when he plugged his headphones direct to his DAC instead. ( plausible cause being EMI in the mains affecting his amplifier power supply while the DAC's digital circuit was robust enough to filter it out )
 

Sal1950

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#5
I realize there are other compounding variables here, including myself and my emotional state, the ambient noise (traffic outside). Wonder if anyone else experiences this?
Sure, one night my rig sounds terribly hard and schrill, the next smooth as glass, while listening to the same source.
One thing I'm pretty sure of is the changes are internal, either physically or emotionally.
One night I'll be watching TV and hear the same thing with the internal speakers?
 
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#6
Mood variation. Ever feel like not listening to music and do something else instead. Or, feel like listening but can't decide on what, or only a particular style? Or, the level at which you are comfortable with at the time?
Honestly, the above to me means the system is poorly configured in some way. When the system is fired up, I'm fully emotionally engaged. I try to let the music bring me in rather than imposing a style on the moment ... unless I'm drinking ;-) And I generally listen at pretty much the exact same volume, every time, around 88~90 dB SPL at my 10' listening distance ... unless I'm drinking ;-)
 

Wombat

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#7
Honestly, the above to me means the system is poorly configured in some way. When the system is fired up, I'm fully emotionally engaged. I try to let the music bring me in rather than imposing a style on the moment ... unless I'm drinking ;-) And I generally listen at pretty much the exact same volume, every time, around 88~90 dB SPL at my 10' listening distance ... unless I'm drinking ;-)
So the variance can't be with you? Really?

The system is somewhat inanimate. Dwell on that.

Of course it could be air pressure and humidity affects but I doubt it. Human fickleness can't be ruled out.
 

andreasmaaan

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#8
In addition to the obvious psychological influences, I also find that my hearing subjectively seems to vary from day to day, sometimes sounding muffled, harsh, thin, etc. I'd like to do controlled hearing tests at some point to determine if this is the case. But anyway, given that the hearing system is a physical one there can be little doubt that it's function is subject to various physiological factors related to moisture, heat, swelling, wax and potentially other discharges, etc. etc.

I always find that nighttime listening is better too. Used to suspect it was to do with strain on the power grid, now believe it is likely to be more a mixture of psychological and maybe physiological (bodily) factors, plus of course the lower noise floor from traffic etc. outside.
 
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Sal1950

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#9
I always find that nighttime listening is better too. Used to suspect it was to do with strain on the power grid, now believe it is likely to be more a mixture of psychological and maybe physiological (bodily) factors, plus of course the lower noise floor from traffic etc. outside.
Night listening and the noise floor is a big one for me. Most everything settles down some, from internal noises such as HVAC, refig, etc to the outside general clatter of living. Inner detail always seems better past midnight.
 

Thomas savage

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#10
Honestly, the above to me means the system is poorly configured in some way. When the system is fired up, I'm fully emotionally engaged. I try to let the music bring me in rather than imposing a style on the moment ... unless I'm drinking ;-) And I generally listen at pretty much the exact same volume, every time, around 88~90 dB SPL at my 10' listening distance ... unless I'm drinking ;-)
Johnny2pissed
 
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#11
So the variance can't be with you? Really?

The system is somewhat inanimate. Dwell on that.

Of course it could be air pressure and humidity affects but I doubt it. Human fickleness can't be ruled out.
Yes, aside from things like RF and EMI, the system doesn't change much. Environmental aspects also not really a factor ... humidity is low pretty much all the time unless it's actually raining (summer minimum typically 20%; maybe an afternoon or evening / overnight thunderstorm and 30 minutes of rain ... 2" total for July year-to-year mean).

Variance? What is this variance of which you speak? Where in my OP did I say the system itself or it's "sound" varies?

Sometimes it helps to actually read what someone posts. I'll see your Dwell on that and raise you one.
 
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Wombat

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#12
Yes, aside from things like RF and EMI, the system doesn't change much. Environmental aspects also not really a factor ... humidity is low pretty much all the time unless it's actually raining (summer minimum typically 20%; maybe an afternoon or evening / overnight thunderstorm and 30 minutes of rain ... 2" total for July year-to-year mean).

Variance? What is this variance of which you speak? Where in my OP did I say the system itself or it's "sound" varies?

Sometimes it helps to actually read what someone posts. I'll see your Dwell on that and raise you one.
 

Wombat

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#13
Variance? Read Your OP again.

Read the replies again.

You can , of course, get your power supply checked-out.
 
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#14
So one reason I started investigating my power supply is that I felt my system performance was not being consistent. One evening I would listen and really be emotionally involved and another evening I would listen to the same thing and not get into it, it sounds a bit harsher / more fatiguing, my feet aren't tapping.

I realize there are other compounding variables here, including myself and my emotional state, the ambient noise (traffic outside). Wonder if anyone else experiences this?
The illustrious, but seldom credible, Steve Guttenberg just wrote a lead editorial on than in Sterephile. But, in this case, he is right. It is mostly about you, not anything else.

Emotional involvement, tapping your feet, goosebumps, etc. are about the worst and least reliable ways to judge the sound of an audio system. Changing something, as with a placebo, might make you feel better for awhile, but you cannot change you and the variability of how you react emotionally.
 
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#15
My hearing varies day by day. For me the biggest reason not to believe in the 'you have to get used to a system to be able to pick out minute changes'.
One system can sound heavenly one day and almost crappy the next day (same music even).
This has gotten 'worse' over time. Experience (learning to detect such) or old age ?

Evening/nighttime listening is always better for me, also when I was young. A friend had a nice theory about this. His theory is that it is evolutionary. At night, when the eyes 'fail' our hearing is 'heightened' as to spot predators closing in on you.
Another theory is that everything around you becomes more quite at evening and the body relaxes.
I suspect it has nothing to do with power (230V over here, differs perhaps in 115V countries) being cleaner.

I've found another aspect and that is you hear 'better' with the lights off in a darkened room even during the day. Fluorescent lighting often invokes the aspect of music having a 'cold' and 'analytical' sound where candles or soft orange/yellow lighting gives the impression of 'warm' sound.
Eyesight seems to play a small role in determining sound as well.

Hearing is strange and not the same for everyone. For instance 'stereo depth' in front of you using headphones. Some claim to hear depth and height while I only get L and R and everything in between but not a L-R and middle 'blob'.
One time when I almost fell asleep I 'experienced' almost holographic sound where instruments were heard outside of the L-middle-R range.
Was enlightening. It prompted me not to discard opinions of people claiming depth in sound-field while listening to headphones.
Brains seem to 'reconstruct' sound differently when clearly separated L and R inputs are applied to ones ears under a rather strange (90 degrees or close to it) angle.
On good speakers I have always been able to perceive depth in sound, where sounds seem to come from in front of or behind the speakers.
 

Blumlein 88

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#16
My hearing varies day by day. For me the biggest reason not to believe in the 'you have to get used to a system to be able to pick out minute changes'.
One system can sound heavenly one day and almost crappy the next day (same music even).
This has gotten 'worse' over time. Experience (learning to detect such) or old age ?

Evening/nighttime listening is always better for me, also when I was young. A friend had a nice theory about this. His theory is that it is evolutionary. At night, when the eyes 'fail' our hearing is 'heightened' as to spot predators closing in on you.
Another theory is that everything around you becomes more quite at evening and the body relaxes.
I suspect it has nothing to do with power (230V over here, differs perhaps in 115V countries) being cleaner.

I've found another aspect and that is you hear 'better' with the lights off in a darkened room even during the day. Fluorescent lighting often invokes the aspect of music having a 'cold' and 'analytical' sound where candles or soft orange/yellow lighting gives the impression of 'warm' sound.
Eyesight seems to play a small role in determining sound as well.

Hearing is strange and not the same for everyone. For instance 'stereo depth' in front of you using headphones. Some claim to hear depth and height while I only get L and R and everything in between but not a L-R and middle 'blob'.
One time when I almost fell asleep I 'experienced' almost holographic sound where instruments were heard outside of the L-middle-R range.
Was enlightening. It prompted me not to discard opinions of people claiming depth in sound-field while listening to headphones.
Brains seem to 'reconstruct' sound differently when clearly separated L and R inputs are applied to ones ears under a rather strange (90 degrees or close to it) angle.
On good speakers I have always been able to perceive depth in sound, where sounds seem to come from in front of or behind the speakers.
Your experience mirrors mine. I too find headphones to be L, R and blob in the middle of my head. In my case almost always middle and top of the skull. Binaural recordings just don't work for me either.

About speakers and perceived depth, a little work with Room EQ lead me to find some minor EQ can bring things forward or push them back on speakers that display depth.
 
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