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Twisting cables: a curious listening experience

Reality or self-illusion?

I am going to tell you what happened the night when, with a 1.5 mm Allen screw (bought cheaply at that, for about half a pound), I decided to unscrew the eight (!) locking screws of my Marantz CD17's top panel, with the fond intention of gently cleaning the laser lens.
The cover panel was hard to remove. This allowed me to appreciate how well it is coupled to the chassis, with thick self-adhesive damping material.
Uhm, lens looks clean a mere brush should be enough, obviating the need for strange liquids!
Now I'm here, why not take the opportunity to untangle the cables? I disconnect the inter-connectors, re-arrange them and then plug them back in.
Then, I carefully place the old four graphite cubes under the CD player's spikes - stuck on with a bi-adhesive tape directly to the original feet. (I know, it's an unusual solution, but the more classic three spikes substituting the original feet produced disastrous musical effects).
Well, I was intending to relax by listening to some CDs but instead, I found myself in listening to my trusty usual reference CDs, but was becoming pretty anxious about what I was hearing (I must say that lately, I've become pretty attentive and trained to feel even tiny differences in my personal system. This has been due to several tests and comparisons I've made during this project and evaluating the TNT - TTS mains Cable).
This left me seriously considering the strange feeling I was experiencing. There was something different in the sound I was hearing. I even thought I may have damaged something during cleaning operations (I don't know, maybe I scratched the lens?).
It seemed as if some warmth and smoothness were missing, especially in the mid-high frequencies which now appeared somewhat harsh. I also experienced more fatigue and also felt that the depth of the sound stage was less natural than it used to be.
I checked everything and luckily the lens looked O.K. Maybe it was only my imagination, so I tried to calm down, but with poor results. I even tried to read something while my listening room was full of (positive) sound waves. Suddenly I had a flash! Could it be that those rumours about needing to leave cables in their place, without touching them, nor moving them, are not myths at all? I went further and I, poor me, even unplugged the connectors! Come on, Stefano, what the hell are you thinking...
Anyway, the damage was done. Would I have to burn them in again?
I tried not to think about it, but the program was already running in my central memory, even with a certain paging activity (oops, sorry... professional disfunction!) and, inevitably, it must come to an end (...what if I were caught in a loop? :-) ).
My late Big Snake experiences suggested to me something that may solve the (little) problem. I unplugged the interconnects from the CD player, twisted them each other well, and then re-plugged them to the component.
Please, don't go saying that I am a fool or a visionary but I could now here the sound I was used to! I am not saying that it was improved, but...
Anyway, the harshness seemed to have completely gone and I could easily "see" the depth of the sound stage. Reality or self-delusion? Don't ask me that, please.
I did not clean the lens expecting the sound to worsen (I'd hoped for the opposite!). It is true that I hoped the twisting led to positive effects.
But I hoped to obtain positive effects also with lens cleaning... What can I say? At least I am now no longer feeling anxious and that is something, anyway.
Yet, since it doesn't cost anything, if you have a well optimised and particularly revealing system and if you have to unplug the interconnects, before reconnecting them, try giving them a twist.
Maybe this will give you a (positive) surprise... :-)

© Copyright 1999 Stefano Monteferri
Translation: Carlo Iaccarino Translation supervisor: Geoff Binder (Australia)

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