ck ngoh and i had a field day trying out with different forces (measured in kgfcm - kilogram force centimeter) on the torque driver.

we found out that every 0.2 kgfcm (the smallest increment on the driver) makes a huge difference!

the best analogy i could give is squeezing the water from a wet garment - the tighter you squeeze, more water gets squeezed out and the garment has less moisture (the more focus one gets but at the expense of the sound getting a bit more tense/dry); the less you squeeze, more moisture is retained but it is still wet (less focus but more relaxed sound).

since ck's model (26RTD) comes in 0.2 kgfcm increment, we couldnot get the golden number - 5.5 kgfcm - as recommended by telos' designer (jeff lin).

i am not perfectly happy with either 5.4 kgfcm nor 5.6 kgfcm. could 5.5 kgfcm be the magic number that jeff lin has found out thru his various experimentations?

i could only tell when he visits me this thursday.

stay tuned.... it is gonna be the torque of the town.

32 comments:

Ken said...

ML,

I am not surprised that you are unsatisfied with either the 5.4 or 5.6 torque tightness. You must understand that torqueing is only one aspect of the tweak. You cannot just torque and expect everything to fall into place. You still have to tweak the rest of the system.

The reason you have to tweak your system is because the torqueing actually reveal any little flaws that is inherent in yr system. After KC has torque my setup, I started to retweak my system. I took out
1. the TAOC cones from the conditioner
2. took out the Ebony cones from the cd and preamp to replace with special Telos cones
3. use less Shun Mook
4. changing some cabling to Telos products
The reason I do this is because I found some of the old tweaks smear the highs and make the sound slightly thin sounding. I am now particularly sensitive to HF extension in my system. Any smearing or truncation is unacceptable. That is why I am not smitten by the Shunyata Hydra 6 that you loaned me. When I first hooked it up, I was bowled over by the Shunyata but after repeated listening, I found that the Shunyata fatten the lows and mids and truncate the highs which to me make the whole sound to be very unnatural.
I don't use any room tunes or curtains on the front wall. I don't even have any rugs on the floor. I do have some curtains on the side wall because it is next to the balcony. So I think what you have to do is to retweak your system. You may have to make drastic changes to yr system.

I have gone through much since KC torque my system about a month ago. I am on a road of discovery. When I got the ATC speakers, everyone told me that the highs of this speaker is not great. I am now discovering that this is totally untrue. What I get now is a very rich sound that assimilate very well with a good HF extension that gives an airy sound.

YMMV

maggielurva 愛美姬 said...

ken,
nothing like you desribed.

5.6 is very close but not quite.

i am going to try 6 tonight.

hifikaki and i have co-invested in a 120RTD model.

Anonymous said...

ML,

I went through the whole torqueing process. I know what I am talking about.
If you think just torqueing would do the trick, then all I can say is Good Luck.

maggielurva 愛美姬 said...

hi anon,

god, i didn't say torquing is the be-all-n-end-all of getting a good sound! you misunderstood me.

you must still have a fundamentally decent system to start with.

Ken said...

ML,

Actually I am the Anonymous that replied to you. I forgotten to put in my name.

I agree that you need to have a fundamentally strong system. But what you stated that you are not happy at torque of 5.4 or 5.6. What I am telling you is that you "would never be happy" because you are not addressing the other flaws that is in yr system. You can continue torqueing at 5.0 to even 7.0 and I will say that you would still not be happy with your system. Simply because the other problems are not addressed.

I hope you can understand what I am trying to convey.

Anonymous said...

And you need to re-tweak your system after torquing as the balance of the sound has changed

maggielurva 愛美姬 said...

hi ken,

you are the one who always put "YMMV" at the end of your comment, so what's the fuss if i don't agree with you?

you know your system best, just as i know mine. you have so many more tweaks than mine, so torquing will definitely upset the equilibrium.

i have always been contented with my sound (except with AC problems), but i game to try the ceraballs and now torquing. the extent of improvement is not a lot, possibly because i have achieved a higher equilibrium.

i don't get upset when you said hydra 6 doesn't work for you and kc, just like you shouldn't get upset when i say the RGPC doesn't work for me.

every individual's case is different, only the owner knows best what he wants and how he wants to tune/tweak his system. you have to accept diversity in opinions. i have never questioned the things you do to your system to get the sound you want.

ok, my turn now to use this acronym.... YMMV :-)))))

Ken said...

Hi Anon,

All systems need to be re-tweak after torqueing. This is because after you have torque your hardware, the hardware will react differently to the same vibration. So whatever tweak you were using may not be good now.

Some people may think that if I do not hear any difference with the torqueing tweak, then my system and hardware are good enough. To me, this is not true. Actually if you do not hear a difference, it means that you have more to do because your current tweak/s is really affecting the system so badly, you can't hear any improvement of torqueing your system.

Some people may even think actually torqueing improve one aspect of the sound but degrade another part. If that is so, then you are on the right track. You need to remove the offending tweak that is degrading the sound.

Usually after you torque yr hardware, the first thing you will notice is that the highs are more silky and airier. Then you will notice that the sound become richer. The is better delineation of the bass. The sound also becomes more powerful as though your pwr amp has gained about 15% in wattage. Overall, there is a better coherence to the sound.

Torqueing has to be done in a systematic way. Not just torque the speakers, then you torque the pwr amp and then something else. You should torque the speakers first, starting with the back panel where they put the speaker terminals. Then proceed to the drivers from highs to lows. Then torque the cd player, pre amp and pwr amp. After that the conditioners etc. In every gear that you torque, stop and listen to the improvement that you are getting. It is from the listening that you will hear the step by step improvement and you know where the sound is heading.

After torqueing everything, listen to the overall sound again, then remove a tweak, listen again to know if that particular tweak smear the sound. Do that with every tweak that you have. It is a very laborious exercise but you will be rewarded if you know what you are doing. If you just torque and don't do anything else, then please don't torque. Because torqueing will reveal every little deficiencies in your system.

People are talking about frequency extension, ie, what they can hear. I am not talking about that anymore. What I crave now is emotional content!

Ken said...

ML,

I am not upset that you do not agree with me. Hell, if we are going to disagree, there is a lot of things we can disagree on. Where do you want to start? I am using ATC, you use panels. I use SS, you use tube. Man, we even listen to different type of music. But one thing you cannot deny is that good sound is good sound. I think you will agree with me on this.

But I feel you are going about torqueing the wrong way. If anyone does something wrongly and got a bad result, it is always easy to blame that the thing does not work. I am not saying you will blame "torqueing" for the so-so sound that you will get. But people who read this blog and try the tweak and found that it does not work, then they will think the torqueing is bad.
That is why I am sharing with you why you are getting the sound you are getting. I also got a dry and tense sound after torqueing. But I found out that the reason for this is because of the tweaks that I am using. I had to take out some of the tweaks I was using and insert new ones. When I did that all the disadvantages that I get after torqueing disappeared. I got a sound that is miles better of what I had before torqueing. You may think that I used more tweak than you but I need to tell you that the curtain in your front wall is a tweak. Your mana stand is also a tweak. The sponge that you use to support some of the cales is also a tweak. So is the platform that the Shunyata is sitting on. All this are tweaks whether you care to accept it or not. And you are just starting to try out other tweaks like Ceraball.

All I can say is to have an open mind. You have just started to torque yr system. This is akin to just starting the journey. The road is long. I have learned a lot of things since I torqued my system abt a month ago. In time, you will to.

Again YMMV...hahahaha

maggielurva 愛美姬 said...

hi ken,
granted, you have your point which i respect. i have my point too.

my point is, not every tweak i introduce to my system necessitates an overhaul (ie. re-tweaking) to my system.

case in the point - i find the ceraballs truncate my highs, does it mean it reveals the weaknesses of my system? hell not! am i going to worry because of this? hell not!

i agree that balancing act is tricky but everyone has his own formula.

up till now, i still think the two most important things that make or break a system are (1) AC power supply (2) room acoustics. tweaking comes a distant third.

Ken said...

ML,

As you and I said earlier YMMV.

If you are not willing to re-tweak your system again, then don't torque it. I am not joking about this and the reason why I say this is because torqueing WILL actually reveal any deficiencies in a system.
I am not saying all this for fun or to argue with you. The ceraballs is not perfect. But have we really maximise the usage of the ceraballs, eg
1. did we put it under the correct weight
2. did we put it at correct position

There is also science behind torqueing. If you care to torque and then take the pain of re-tweaking yr system, then yr system will move up a few notches. I will bet on that I am only here to share my experiences to you after torqueing and I can tell you that the things that I have learn is totally unlike what I always thought.

You mentioned that tweaking is a distant third in terms of importance to your system, but tell me what can you do about the electricity supply that you have not already done? What can do you do to control or improve the room acoustics that would not involve a complete makeover of the room? Here is a tweak that will improve the sound but in order to maximise it, you have to do something extra. So it's your own decision whether you want to follow through or just dabble only in the initial period.

GCK said...

Ken, I agree with your observatons. I just torque the drivers on the speakers and got better highs airier, more focus,tighter bass. Just like that. Maybe I ws lucky the tweaks are working for and not against the torquing. So I am treading the next step carefully because I am still toying with certain ICs and resonator placement.

GCK said...

Hi Ken, as for me the SM disks was taken out completely about a month ago. I find even one in the room did not do well for my system after the resonators replacement. It added some coloration to the mid and truncate some highs. I guess a big no no having 2 types of resonator devices in the same room. The only thing left is the Diamond resonator which will reveal its true position after torquing the electonic components. Much work to do and not much time at hand :-)

Ken said...

GCK,

You have to be careful when you use the SM stuff. After the torqueing tweak, I have to remove the Diamond resonators (under the preamp) and other SM mpingo discs and footers. I find that it smears the highs, adding an unnatural glean to the sound. I am still using the 3 layer SM platform that I have always been using.

I would suggest that you torque your drivers in your speakers. Try the tweeter, then the other drivers. I find torqueing the driver makes a more pronounce improvement than the tweeter. Your experience may be different. After this, torque the cd player. Listen to the improvement that it gives. Then torque the other hardware. After torqueing each hardware, always stop to listen to the sound. Don't torque the internal screws, just external ones.

After you have torque everything, listen to your setup for a day or two. Hear what has happened. Is the sound deficient in any way? Then remove the tweak you have under the cd player, listen to the sound again. Do you prefer the sound with or without that tweak under the source? Do the same with the preamp, pwr amp etc.
If you do this, you will know if each the tweak is actually detrimental to the sound or not. It is laborious but if you take the time to do it, you will be rewarded.

Do you use any RCA caps? What brand? I am now using all Telos platinum RCA caps on all the gears. I am also using some XLR caps together with the Cardas equivalent. The caps really enhanced the highs even further.

Pls share what kind of sound you get everytime you torque yr system.

JR said...

ML,

I am with GCK AND KEN here.HAVING tried the Torque SD,the overall tonality has changed hence you might need to reconfigure the system

GCK said...

ML, get your own driver. Why want to share? It is a personal item. I don't like to share personal items like my car for example :-)

maggielurva 愛美姬 said...

ck,
you call a screw driver a personal item? ;-)

a car, yes.

Anonymous said...

Ha Ha Ha.....I agree with you ML. Just ask the other guys to stop torquing oops, I mean talking. Go get a life. Science in torque. Einstein.

alex said...

MAGGIE,
dont forget GCK is an engineer....I AM worse than you;I just run to my neigbour whenever I need ANY screwdriver..........

maggielurva 愛美姬 said...

jr,

i can agree with ken and ck because it is their systems but they don't seem to agree with me even if it is my system i am talking about.

get it?

zimmermann said...

jr,ken and gck;

from my understanding ML doesnt tweak as much,hence his system is - less contaminated-if you could accept that term;hence I could see ML point very well ..

if you have too many tweaks along your hi-fi chain,a small addition would throw the whole chain into chaos.

Ken said...

ML,
I am bit confused by your statement.

I agree that it is yr system and you are sharing yr torqueing experience. Likewise, I am also sharing mine.

But in yr blog, you mentioned changes in yr system after torqueing at different tightness. That is exactly what I hv experienced after my system is torqued. And I can tell you I went through a lot in the last few weeks. In the process, I hv also learned some new things abt my system. That is why I am telling you that after torqueing, you need to do certain things to achieve even better results.
Like I said in an earlier post, you are just starting on a journey when you torque yr hardware. Whether you want to continue the journey of discovery will be entirely up to you. Like you said, it is yr system. I hv no problem with that.

Zimmerman,
Granted that ML's system does not have as many tweaks as mine or CK's. But after torqueing his system, the change in sound mimics exactly the changes in sound that I got. This is also experienced by JR (although I am not sure if he used a lot of tweaks or not). Coincidence? I doubt so. KC has also torqued another system just before mine and that gentleman has is also achieving positive results. But he also went through the same process as I did. So torqueing is producing a very consistent change in sound in every system. If ML wants to go another level, he needs to check all his present tweaks. But his replies shows me that he is hesitant until he meet up with Jeff, who incidentally is the Telos designer that advocates torqueing in the first place.

All,
If you find my write-up tiresome, then pls don't read it. I am not doing this for money. I am just sharing my experience. If you do not believe in this tweak, then don't do it. But pls do not judge if you haven't experience it.

Rgds

zimmermann said...

ken,
YES,I havent tried torquing and It was just an observations..


anyway let us see what the Teos designer says.REALLY APPRECIATE YOUR WISDOM,THOUGH

Anonymous said...

Well, I haven't had my system torque but I have seen it being done by a much admired sifu in the hifi world doing it. After he had finished torquing the high end system, honestly, I didn't feel it to be any different. But that doesn't mean there isn't, just that I can't feel it.

I feel it's not all these tweaks that are being done that's amazing. It's just the way each person feels that his tweak is the definitive and others MUST follow. That's what is amazing.

Audio is so subjective. Some time back, I had asked Mr. Jo Ki how is it he hears the things he does. I want to learn, and he simply answered me by saying, "Listen with your heart. Not anything else." A simple answer and it humbled me. That's why I will always regard him as the King of the Hill. He never imposes but always willing to share. I would think that this is all borne out of experience.

Right now, you guys are trying to clamber for the title of torque king, remember there's only 1 spot, so who does it go to?

Sorry, just my observation and my very direct opinion.

Cheers

Ken said...

Anon,

I think you have gotten the whole thing wrong. I am not going after a title nor am I craving for one. I am not a sifu nor do I think I am one. I am still learning. To this day, I don't know why ML call me Master Ken. Maybe it's because I persuaded him to dabble in cables when I first met him more than 7 yrs ago.

Please understand that I am here to share my experience of a tweak. You see, ML has spoken abt a tweak and I am just adding to it. I feel the responsibility to explain this tweak properly because
1. I was the one who told him abt it in the first place
2. so that people who do torque their system knows that they may have to do something more to achieve another level of audiophilia

If you don't hear the effects of torqueing after it had been done, it's OK with me. It could be that you are unfamiliar with the sound of the highend system that was being torqued. Or it could be that the system was already optimally torqued in the first place.
But the fact remains that most people do find that it change the sound. Even ML admitted this to be so. I have met a few people who has had their system torqued and all of us agree that the sound has improved. And those who has had it torqued also went through the same process or re-tweaking that I did.

You can listen to music with your heart for the emotional content but your ears and brain will tell you whether the sound has improved or not. I find that after torqueing when I improve the sound of my system, my enjoyment of the music increase many fold. I am now in the journey of discovering music again. Every night I am scouring my cd collection. Most of the cds sound better than I have ever remember them to sound. Most of the improvement is due to more low level detail, better soundstage, frequency extension etc. There are some discs that I have never played for quite a while because the sound I got previously was mediocre. After torqueing my setup, those discs sound marvellous.

Championing a tweak does not mean you want to be declared a king of that tweak...hope you understand.

Anonymous said...

Ken, don't get me wrong too. I was not actually trying to point the finger at you. I was generalizing, because so many audiophiles practices that. Maybe after spending so much money and effort, they feel a need to.

I have met and heard of so many snobbish audiophiles, who won't listen to a system that cost less than X amount of dollars or one that must be a single driver or whatever reasons that they may be able to think of. The worse lot to me are those who run down DIYers because they don't realise that most of the greats were at one time or other were DIYers. Everybody have their own taste and their own budget, so it's really to each it's own.

Hey, this may be a fun and cheap tweak to try if you can borrow a torque screwdriver, after all you are spending time with what you love and enjoy.

I am just saying that there are so many components within a hifi chain that I feel it's not right to say that one thing (whatever it may be) is the be all or end all of it.

Cheers to all. Enjoy your music and your tweaks.

Anonymous said...

Dear anon, who says audio is subjective ? audio is objective.

torque the talk

Anonymous said...

maggie,

you said 'i can agree with ken and ck because it is their systems but they don't seem to agree with me even if it is my system i am talking about.'.

Why do you need ck and ken to agree with you? Why do you even need anyone to agree with you?

GCK said...

ML, wow this topic have created so much interest. Looks like it aroused a lot of people. At the end of the day, it is the results that counts. If someone has gone through the experience, let us learn from it and rather not go through the whole thing by trial and error. I am not disagreeing with what you are saying as my experience with torquing is almost nil. I am open to ideas and suggestions, that is why I absorbs Ken's writings.

Let us know how is the encounter with Jeff Lin, the torque guru.

Lastly a screw driver is different than a torque driver. Torque driver is costly and has mechanical moving parts. It can spoil easily if mishandled. I'd rather be safe than sorry. I am not saying you can't handle a torque driver, just that I am a fussy person. That's all. Hope you understand :-)

Ken said...

Anon at 5.17pm,
To me torqueing is like tweaking. You have the gear and you want to maximise their potential. It's just like putting cones under yr gear. When I read yr reply, I feel all you need is someone to torque yr gear, right? ;-)
Aiyah, not all highend kaki is snobbishlah. I have met a lot of them who have heart of gold. I have learn quite a bit from this fellas. If you haven't met any good hearted highend fellas, you should mix around more. But you have to mindful not all highend kakis know what a good sound is and some don't take kindly to blunt comments.

GCK,
You are right about the torque driver. It's quite delicate. Before encountering torque, I had certain beliefs on how hifi should be. But now, I find that I has to change those perceptions because the sound I got is unlike anything I have ever got from my system. For example, I always thought the RGPC600 that I used is only great for highs and mid, so-so for bass. After torqueing and retweaking my system, I am getting better lows quite like the Shunyata but with better definition. I'm talking in context of my system. Guess everyone learn something new everyday. Maybe when we are free, we can meet up for a chat.

km ng said...

Wow! So much crosstalk from the audio big guns on a screwdriver!

It gives "screwing up the sound", aka, torquing in more scientific term, a whole new meaning. :)

BTW, anybody tried torquing the nuts of the spikes below the speakers or equipment racks?

Ken said...

Yo KM,

I haven't tried torqueing the spikes. But I did torque the screws at the XLR input and outputs for all gear. I also torqued the speaker cable terminals. Maybe it's better grip, but the sound did improve when KC did that for me.

Screwing up the sound... that's a good one...hahaha