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Positive Feedback ISSUE 56
july/august 2011

audiodiscourse

 

The Next Ten Very Best High-End Audio Accessories, but Not Necessarily the Most Expensive
by Robert H. Levi

 

There are obviously more than ten great high-end audio accessories, though my uber-favorites were included in my last list. Here is a recap…

1. Music Hall Hunt EDA Dual Row Carbon Fibre Record Brush, or London [Decca] Single Row Carbon Fibre Record Brush http://www.elusivedisc.com

2. L'Art du Son Record Cleaning Fluid and CD Treatment http://www.musicdirect.com

3. Marigo Mystery Feet for all Electronic Components and Digital Transports http://www.marigoaudio.com/Component_feet.htm

4. Townshend Audio Seismic Sinks http://www.ear-usa.com/townshendsinks.htm

5. VPI HW-16.5 Record Washing Machine http://www.vpiindustries.com/static.php?page=Cleaning_Machines

6. DeMag From Furutech [LP and CD/SACD/DVD/DVDA/DVDV/BluRay/LD/cable demagnetization device] http://www.furutech.com/a2008/product2.asp?prodNo=242

7. Aesthetix ABCD-1 Cartridge Demagnetizer http://www.aesthetix.net/demagnitizer.php

8. Dark Field Cable Elevators from Shunyata Research http://www.shunyata.com/Content/products-DarkField.html

9. Power Wing XP from Audio Excellence AZ with Oyaide Gold Receptacles http://www.audioexcellenceaz.com/powerwing.htm

10. Acoustic Science Corp. [ASC] SoundPanels http://www.asc-hifi.com/sound-panel.htm

The Rest of the Best!

I use all of these accessories in one or more of my reference systems, and they are highly recommended as effective and a very good value for the audio perfectionist.

11. audiodharma Anniversary Edition Cable Cooker http://www.audioexcellenceaz.com/cablecooker.htm $999

Speeds cable break-in time like no other device available. Attach every cable you own by daisy chaining them to the cooker and break them in all at once in just 48 hours [24 hours for a refresher.] As a reviewer, it is a necessary device as most new wires require 100 to 200 hours to deliver full sound quality, and I just can't wait that long! Also, breaks-in power cords and digital cables… you name it. Recently improved with frequency response to 40KHz…nice. Go in with your friends and share the cost and its use. Wonderful build quality and supplied with a big assortment of connectors for all imaginable wires around. Absolutely dead quiet in use.

12. Bybee Golden Goddess Speaker Bullets http://www.tweekgeek.com/_e/Golden_Goddess_Super_Effect/product/BGGSPk/Bybee_Speaker_Bullets_v_2_0.htm $4800 for 4

From the mind of the great physicist of our hobby, Jack Bybee, the Speaker Bullets are the best Bybee filter I've ever tried. They attach with banana plugs to the speaker terminals and then hook to your speaker wires with a built-in binding post. Exquisitely constructed. Reduce grain, the noise floor, and other spurious noise while letting the musical signal flow unaffected and, as a result, improved. Once connected, you will plotz. Fantastic increase in realism and textural nuance. Improved soundstage. Hear a more organic music flow and more detailed bass… yes, bass! Killer accessories, but hurry. They were just discontinued. Find them on Audiogon. A good looking DIY Bybee Speaker Bullet has just been introduced, but I'd be a bit nervous about tearing into my $33,000 speakers. Get them any way you can [legally of course.]

13. Zoethecus Amplifier Stands http://www.audiofederation.com/catalog/racks/ $800 -1200.

These are the very best amplifier stands I've found, and Audio Federation still carries them. Using constrained damping and gorgeous wood framing, they work to float your amplifier like no other. Get colorless isolation. Perfect with tubes or solid-state. Quibbles: none. I have used them for 15 years with a dozen amps and found no flaws. Wonderful. You can spend more and get less!

14. Wood Headphone Stands from Elusive Disc http://www.elusivedisc.com/products.asp?dept=726 $179 One size fits all. Imported from EU.

Available in four gorgeous wood finishes, these headphone stands are fabulous. Will fit any headphone I know of. May fit two pair at once if they are the kind that lay on your ear and not around them. They keep the foam or leather surround from crimping, which is what happens if you lay them in a drawer. The gorgeous striped zebrano wood stand is orgasmic. Buy two like I did if you have multiple headsets. Excellent product!

15. Quiet Line Parallel AC Line Filters http://store.acousticsounds.com/index.cfm?get=results&categoryid=Any&searchField=Any&searchtext=quiet+line&search.x=7&search.y=8 4 Pack $149.95

They work. They quiet the noise floor even if you have the fanciest power conditioner around. They simply plug into open wall plugs in any direction. Everyone that has them is more than satisfied. Cheap way to isolate your man cave.

16. Oyaide Wall Socket Gold on Gold Plated with Maroon finish http://www.audioexcellenceaz.com/oyade.htm $115 includes cryo

These are the best wall sockets I've heard to date. Better than any other brand including PS Audio and Furutech. The Oyaide sounds more musical and detailed without adding anything you don't want, like etch or brightness. The gold on gold is my favorite, period. Easy to install and they have a solid tight connection. The BEST!

17. Bedini Ultra Clarifier for CD/SACD/DVD http://www.bedini.com/ $159

Not a Furutech Demag, but 80-85% as effective. Improves the overall presentation of all discs from top to bottom. Very easy to use and plugs into the wall…no batteries. I love what it does and the smoother highs, enhanced mids, and more generous bass are welcome. Makes the unlistenable, listenable, most of the time. Works well with L'Art du Son treatment in combination. The Demag is even better and faster… but 10 times the cost. I use the Bedini in my near field reference system and am quite satisfied.

18. Gryphon Exorcist http://store.acousticsounds.com/index.cfm?get=detail&Title_ID=15337 $230

Just plug it in with RCA interconnects to an open pair of inputs and push the switch. Turn up the volume on your preamp to moderately loud and stick your fingers in your ears. 30 seconds later you are ready to go. Removes haze and grain with little effort. About as good as half an hour of loud music to warm up your system, but much easier and quicker. I really do mean you should put your fingers in your ears as the Danish made Gryphon will cause a temporary flat spot in your hearing right in the mid-range if you do not! Very useful and predictable. I can think of no downside in using it. I always do. Plus, it alerts my wife to close the den door without me telling her. Nice.

19. Quantum Physics Noise Disrupter [large size] http://www.thecableco.com/product.php?id=815 $225

This box eats noise from RFI and EMI. Just place it on the transformer of the offending unit for instant improvement. Try it on out board power supplies, under line conditioners, next to power cords, or wherever you suspect it may absorb some bad stuff and enhance the good stuff. A bit unpredictable, but fun to use and NOT subtle. You will love it where you put it or not. No maybe. I find two are about right for a large system. Buy the large size for best performance. Have fun. This baby works. No Tice clock here.

20. E.A.R. 834L Line Stage [as five RCA extra inputs junction box] http://ear-usa.com/ear_tube.htm $2500 in Deluxe Version

I have too many components and not enough inputs even in my $12K E.A.R. 912 Preamp. The baby line stage of the E.A.R. line has five RCA inputs. They are live to the selector switch and feed the selected input to the tape-out outputs even when the 834 is off! The volume does not work, but the selector switch does. You do not need to plug it in!

Just put the 834 anywhere you want and plug in the components that your main preamp has no room in the inn for. Put a top notch cable from the tape out RCA plug into any input on your main preamp and you now have five extra inputs of reference quality. Loss is almost zero. Heck, it's zero. It's more passive than passive. There is a black box version that is cheaper, but I got the more costly chrome version to match my other components. No other passive switch box is as flexible or invisible than the E.A.R. 834L. End of story.

There you have it my friends, all of my favorite and time tested tweaks. There are a zillion on the market, but let the buyer beware. Choose from my list and you cannot screw up. At T.H.E. SHOW Newport I saw many new cool looking accessories and tweaks I will be trying in the near future. More to come—what great fun!

 

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