First up, confession, I do not use a lot of tweak accessories with my hifi. The current items in my system that can be seen as tweaks are generic caps on the rca inputs of my monoblocks, my pre-amp (4 pieces), my cd player's digital output and a trio of finite elemente ceraballs under my pre-amp. If you want to count my finite elemente pagode signature rack as a big tweak, then you are welcome too. :-) My cdp, monoblocks, and speakers sit on the feet and spikes that they come with. All my cables either just dangle there or snake on the floor.

I like to equate audio tweaks to spices in cooking. Spices can't turn a fish dish into beef, but they are instrumental in supplementing and bringing out the true flavours of the main ingredients, and also to help the chef achieve the flavour that he/she aims for. The key, I think, is to use the right kind and the right amount.

I had a ball with Telos' products when Lil'KC and Ken visited me some time ago (see "Talking Torque again..." on April 13). The experience prompted me to call John Sin of C&O Audiophile Enterprise (012-5269313) to request for a complete set of Telos caps for evaluation.

Telos Caps Galore
John is a good sport. He supplied me with all I wanted, including Telos' rca caps, xlr caps (both male and female) and the speaker caps - they are of both the Gold and Platinum varieties, so that I could also do a comparison between the two.

The number of permutations possible for evaluation is limitless of course. One can mix Gold with Platinum, go the whole 9 yards by covering up every speaker, rca, xlr terminal, or cover up some but leave open others.

I got different results with my 2 cd players. Though experience with both was positive, there was a difference in the number of Telos caps I needed to achieve the sound quality I think has best balance of virtues. So I suspect they will be system dependent - you may need more of fewer than me to achieve the final result. Horses for courses.

To start, I took off all the generic caps I was using, and listened to the sound. It was not unlistenable, just that there was some hash in the highs and a slight confusion in the sound.
Telos RCA caps (Platinum above, Gold below)
Then, I proceed to put on the Telos Gold caps on each piece of equipment in sequence, listening for a while at each step, starting with the speaker terminals of my EgglestonWorks The Nine and going upstream. I started to hear discernible difference when I got to the rca inputs on my Pass Labs XA60 monoblocks. Yes, the background got quieter, the sound became a little smoother. This feeling is reinforced more and more as I ventured further up the chain. By the time I finished, the final transformation in sound was really quite pronounced - My system was operating on a velvety dark canvas. The images became more focused, their edges were better defined. The sound was smooth. Decay could be followed easier, take any well recorded vocal music, I used 2v1 and Rickie Lee Jones' 'Pop Pop' albums, and follow each phrase, you can track it until it vanishes into the darkness.

It was an impressive start. The words that easily came to mind to describe the improvements were 'clean', 'clear', 'transparent'.

A day more of listening, I was itching to 'tweak' the sound again. The sound now was controlled, to my ears just a little tight probably. I wanted to add a little liveliness and organic feel in the music, more flow. I pulled out some of the caps and tried out different configurations (well, this sounds easier on paper, like I said, there were a lot of permutations). At the end, I left the speaker caps and a few pairs of caps on my pre-amp out, and achieved what I wanted. In the process, I just need to sacrifice a bit of that background quietness.
Telos XLR caps (female version left, male version right)
Before I could go on to make comparison with the Platinum version, my Meridian developed a fault and had to go back to the dealer. I pressed my Copland CDA822 cd player into service. After a 3-day acclimatization period, I started evaluating the caps again. Suspecting that the Copland's relatively looser sound (the new Meridian has comparatively more defined and denser images) would benefit with more caps (which turned out to be true), I threw all cautions to the wind and put all the speaker, rca and xlr caps on again, where I did not have enough Gold rca caps, I used the Platinum ones.

The transformation was again pronounced - quieter, clearer, cleaner, more defined, tightened and focused images and soundstage.

A couple of days later, while enjoying the sound quality improvement, I felt the music did not involve me as much as before. It was a very polished performance no doubt but probably missed a bit of that something to pull me into the music fully.

I just have to find the right balance point like my previous experience. Rolling things back, I stopped with 3 more pairs of rca caps compared to the equilibrium point with the Meridian. This combination gave me listening bliss thereafter. It made me wondered far and wide into my CD collection, as it made many CDs so listenable.
Telos Speaker Caps
This experience told me that while the Telos caps gave good results, the users might have to experiment for the right number and the right combination for their system. As I said earlier - horses for courses. I also suspect the finite elemente pagode signature rack, which has greatly cleaned up my system's sound, probably warranted fewer caps to be used.

I was not done yet, I went on to compare the Gold to the Platinum version. I replaced all the Gold caps on my pre-amp to the Platinum ones. My goodness, the Platinum version was even more potent. All the earlier improvements were there and made more pronounced. In addition, they added more body and solidity to the sound. Transparency improved further, image edges were so well defined and everything was so easy to 'see'.

The old feeling did resurface though, I enjoyed the hifi attributes, but was not enjoying the music so much. The reason was found in the controlled and slightly sculpted highs. It could be heard on old recordings that have tape hiss (I used Billie Holiday's "Holiday for Lovers" Verve 314 589 932-2) and tracks that have a lot of cymbal works (such as the "Drum Improvisation Track" by Ron Tutt on The Sheffield Lab's Drum & Track Disc, at about 01:00 - 03:00), where the initial strike was heard cleaner and clearer, but the subsequent spread-in-the-air quality was curtailed a tad.

No problem, I was familiar with the routine already, I replaced the Platinum caps with Gold pair by pair. And found the best combination again with 2 pairs of caps reverted back to Gold.

Now, my system can be played louder without harshness, emotion and musical enjoyment was retained as before, even greater improvement in noise level and soundstage definition.

That was fun. These caps are going to stay in my system.

You should go out and get some, their quality is excellent, their price attractive (downright cheap with the Gold rca caps, I paid RM10 each for the generic caps, Telos' cost RM13 each list price, the quality between the two is a wide gulf). Experiment a little, I am quite certain that they will do something positive for you.

Let me leave you with this little cheeky tale - I was chit-chatting with a friend and told him how impressed I was with the caps. He then threw me this - "if an equipment's sound is badly affected by the 'holes' at the back, such that they have to be covered up, the manufacturer should give us as few 'holes' as possible, right? If, rather, the caps could improve the sound by virtue of them being added to the equipment, then the manufacturer should give us many many 'holes', so we can use a lot of caps to improve the sound, right? So, which is which?" I went gaga for a while.

Then I thought, the heck with it, I like the Telos caps, I am enjoying my system, should I care? :-)

List prices of Telos caps:
RCA caps - Gold --------------- RM130/10pcs
RCA caps - Platinum --------- RM250/10pcs
XLR male caps - Gold -------- RM130 /pair
XLR male caps - Platinum -- RM250/pair
XLR female caps - Gold ----- RM130/pair
XLR female caps - Platinum - RM250/pair
Speaker caps - Gold ---------- RM200/4pcs
Speaker caps - Platinum ---- RM350/4pcs

Telos is carried by C&O Audiophile Enterprise 05-5456477 / 012-5269313 (Mr. John Sin)

49 comments:

mohamad said...

i remember the time when all preamp come supplied with spare caps for unused rca outlet;then suddenly they all disapeared

tj said...

I have been using the much simpler caps by Cardas can recommend them enthusiastically .

i think they work via resonance controll and by preventing the emi noise from entering the chasis

Eddie khor said...

Hifikaki, the telas prices can discount?

Anonymous said...

If you have no use for the extra outlets on the equipment and RFI/EMI is truly a concern, wouldnt it be better to just desolder/disconnect internally the wire that connects to these outlets? rather than this band-aid solution..

Ken said...

HFKK,

Finally the Telos caps review came up. It is great that you like the caps.
I did not want to give you any tips before you evaluated it but I know that you will love them. The Gold is more forgiving and the Platinum version is more transparent and revealing.

I hope you are not angry but I still think you haven't maximised yr system's capability. The reason I say this is because you are finding that too many platinum caps changes the sound to be on the analytical (unless I am reading yr post wrong?). I got this result when I initially hook all the platinum caps on my setup. The sound was transparent but can be analytical. If the recording is already verging on the bright side, it can be slightly overly so if you put platinum. The gold cones are more forgiving but cannot match the transperancy of the titanium. I manage to get over this by changing the cords and cables to Telos. Now the sound is transparent but not analytical.

But some people will think why should I go to all the hassle of adding the caps and then changing the cables. All I can say is that after changing the cables, my system has gone up a few notches.

cheam said...

KEN,

are you saying that the caps are only meant to be used with telos cables?

hope you could share with us your experience and using the caps and how to bring about the best with the concurrent use of telos cable

Anonymous said...

Ken, "transparent but not analytical". Can you share what you mean exactly.

sam said...

anonymous,what is so strange with that..
eg
dcs-transparent but musical

esoteric-transparent and analytical.

they are mutually exclusive imo

Joamonte said...

Ken,

So do you think after using the Telos stuff and tweak, you have already fully "maximised yr system's capability"?...

....Oh my, You really make me even more curious to listen your system now......LOL!

Joamonte

Eddie Khor said...

Hifikaki, do you mean what you say??(About the holes at the back of the equipment) I want to buy an Audio Research LS25, but there are a lot of holes at the back. I'm hesitating wether to buy it or not. Can anyone answer my question??

Karl said...

Dear
HifiKaki,

Is it possible to go ahead with Ken's experiment and try to see whether it would work the same way in your system.

I am dying with curiosity!!!!!

Eddie Khor said...

Joamonte,
You cannot give such comment because you haven't heard Ken's system. Because my friend's friend,Hifikaki and Panzer said Ken's system sounds very good.You should discuss politely with Ken and ask him to let you listen to his system. If a chance is given, I also would like to listen to his system.

fafafion said...

Eddie Khor,

lighten up,it is Saturday morning!!!!

I think Mr Joamonte says it with a pinch of salt...it is OK to say that you have achieve the sound that you like ,or to say that the sound is the best coming out of your system.

But to say that It cannot get better??!!!One will never know right?Not unless you have tried everything that is available in the World....

My humble experience is that there may be something that works in one system but might not work in another.

To many variables in hifi,to have a universal theory that works for all...


So,I am exited too tofind out whether changing the cords to TELOs ones would give the same magnitude of improvement as in Ken's but I wouldn't be surprised if it do not.....

Joamonte said...

Mr Eddie Khor,

Sorry I think you have read wrong,pls read again, I did not put any comment at all!

I am asking Mr Ken did him feel his system already fully "maximised yr system's capability"..

I put " " is because those sentence is copied from his reply to HiFiKaki (which I just happen to listen his Pass Lab system 2 days ago)...I didn't have any disrespect to Mr Ken at all.

I have not yet hear Mr Ken system and I am dying to hear it, and if Ken believe he have "maximised his system's capability" , wasn't it normal to say it make me even more curious to listen his system?

Any thing wrong with that reply?? I hope Ken don't get misunderstand of me due to your impulsive reply....

You can ask HiFiKaki and Panzer am I the kind of men that anyhow criticism others....

Joamonte

hifikaki said...

Eddie khor,

The prices I listed are the recommended retail price. I suggest you call John Sin to discuss what he can offer you.

Anonymous of 3.45pm,

Interesting, definitely out of the box thinking! For non-DIYers I think that would be difficult probably, also there is the inconvenience of having to solder things back if one needs to use an additional input.

Ken,

I sure agree that there are much more that can be done to my system.

Just like to relay some more of my personal experience here:

I found the Platinum caps more potent than the Gold caps, as I mentioned in my post. The magnitude of change with Gold is smaller than the Platinum, so Gold is easier to use for fine tuning purpose. However, if you need a big step in change, then the Platinum is more effective.

Too many Platinum caps made my system sound clinical. I like the word 'clinical' than 'analytical' in this context because it describes better the 'too clean' feeling I had in the sound, it did not give the feeling of more information.

The initial pairs of Platinum caps opened and livened up the sound, thereafter, as I mentioned in my post, more platinum caps held the highs down a tad too much for my liking, so I had to back off. I found too many Platinum dull the sound, not brighten it, I lost some attack especially listening at lower volume, so I kept wanting to turn the volume up to compensate. Now I have settled down to a Gold-Platinum mix.

For inexperienced users of the caps, like myself, I think one can easily go overboard because the cleaning up of the sound is so amazing and attractive. It is when I stopped analyzing the sound and wanted to start enjoying the music that I felt I might have overstepped. So, I'd suggest new users to put the caps on to get the sound that you are happy with, listen for a few days, then roll back by taking the caps off pair by pair to see whether you need to achieve another balance. Experimentation is the key word here.

I need to mention again that I am using the Telos caps alone in this case, without the combination of Telos cables or cones. Ken, if I read your comments correctly, you are saying that a complete set of Telos will take away the perceived sound deficiencies and give the max results, right?

Karl,
Full Telos like Ken say? Let's see what we can do. I have the Telos Platinum power cord to test at the moment.

Eddie Khor, 8.12am
I was just relaying the story, which we had some fun with. I have no answer to that question. :-)

Anonymous said...

This is the most ludicrous and frivolous comment by ken that I've ever seen. All of you guys seems like rational people but blinded but the pursuit of so call audio. Are you guys making up things (gold ver platinum, geeze get a life) as you go along to show off your so call skills? Maybe at the end you will perhaps construct a pressure chamber to control the environment of the room, specify the weight, height and skin tone of the color of the person listening to the audio as it effects the sound quality. Heck why don't you just kill the person since he reflects sound. Human will never be able to judge his senses accurately or objectively as if ken is scolded by his wife, whatever dream hifi system using gold cap will sound like half baked made type. If he is showered with song and praises by appearing on the so call hifi (*cough ripoff) mag talking about gold ver platinum caps, he would continue to rule supreme in his hifi Dungeons and dragons fantasy land and every low end system performance will miraculously improve dramatically.

Take a hint and do it scientifically via controlled experiment with the tenor of scientific experiment such as consistency, measurably, reliability, repeatability and objectivity. As long as your claims of "quality sound" are judged with your ears rather then measurable, verifiable and consistent measurement instrument, you will be just kidding yourself on the so call quantum leap performance of using caps.

Baffled
T

Ken said...

T,

I was wondering if you have tried the Telos caps before? If you haven't you should make an effort to do so. If you don't like what you hear, it is still OK with me.

But just don't go telling people off that what they hear is wrong before you even tried it. If my post offends you so much, don't read it. It should be easy as I always put my name whenever I post.

Just by looking at your post shows me that you are not an audiophile. Because an audiophile would want the best from their system. It is a lifelong pursuit. But I wouldn't expect you to understand.

FYI, my wife doesn't raise any hifi related issue to me. Because she knows that the great thing abt hifi is that I am at home listening to it. Not fooling with women or alcohol. That is why my hifi has a pride of place in the living room.

Anonymous said...

The whole point is that I KNOW my ears and emotion will cloud my objective judgment for evaluating an audio system. The defense is always if you didn't hear it, don't condemn it but what I am saying is that your premise is already flawed.

I read your post and drawn my own conclusions (maybe you ARE using some spectrum analyzer to measure the frequency and amplitude of the sound, but I don't know) just as you read my post and assume I am not an audiophile as in the case of "if you didn't listen to my system don't condemn it".

what you can't measure accurately, you can't improve it correctly let alone judge it.

I am not saying the caps are all worthless but just that I am having trouble with your ways of evaluating things. You are obviously an influencer on the audiophile world and people listen to your opinion and spending thousands based on some of your claims. Time after time I am hearing (no pun intended) about how little twigs improves things in leaps and bounds through what you call accurate measurement and it saddens me that people actually take it on face value and invest substantial time and effort at what you said.

If man resorts to booze and women in substitute of audio, we live in a very sad world indeed.

T

km ng said...

Excerps from a NASA ("National Audio Secret Agency") recording from a secret listening post somewhere in SE Asia.

Time present.

"...audiophile grade specimen codenamed....(breakup)..."Ken" apprehended....(breakup)...conduct SOPs....(breakup)...interrogations on Ken to reveal his knowledge on....(breakup)...how to maximize one's system...

....Ken tied to Pagoda rack....(breakup)...limps secured....(breakup)... and pressured torqued by torque screwdriver....(breakup)...Ken screaming and kicking....(breakup)...pure high voltage current from Torus....(breakup)...applied to head via Telos cable....(breakup)...


....Ken showing firm resistance....(breakup)...50A, 2000V of current applied....(breakup)...torqued to 100kg/cm2....(breakup)...still not telling....

....Ken finally broke down....(breakup)...when we played songs....(breakup)...from 2G1V repeatedly....(breakup)...revealed secret is "Teloooos Caaa...(fade)."

End of recording.

Just some humour to cool things down, I hope.

David phan said...

Km ng, you inspiring very good!

Ken said...

HFKK,

I understand the results that you got after going through with the Telos Gold and Platinum caps. I actually obtained the same result that you are having now.

I had tried the Platinum caps before trying the Gold caps because John told me that they make a bigger improvement than the Gold.
Before trying the Telos caps, I was using some generic and also Cardas caps on my cd player, preamp and pwr amp. I had changed my preamp just a few months before and the LS25MkII has a lot more inputs than the old LS5Mk II that I was using.

1. So I inserted the Platinum RCA caps that I had, on all inputs and outputs. I had only 2 boxes then (10 caps each) but that was not enough. But even then the sound of my system improved in terms of transparency. Details just came out instantly, unforced. The noise floor has also dropped.

2. From then on, I knew I had to get some more RCA caps and also the XLR caps as well. I inserted the XLR caps first on the preamp (next each to the input and the output interconnects). The sound has gain in "meatiness". The noise floor has also gone down some more.

3. Then I tried to put the remaining RCA caps on the preamp and change the other RCA caps on the cd player and pwr amp. This is when the sound becomes clinical on some recordings. I was perplexed. On one side, the details and highs are so much more extended and transparent but on one side, it could be a bit unforgiving on the recording that does not have clean highs. So it makes those pop cds that I cherish sound very analytical.

4. I tried the Gold caps but the combi of Gold and Platinum caps seem to truncate the HF. I also feel the sound has become less transparent. But the sound is now less clinical. The noise floor is also not as low as previously. I revert back to all Platinum caps.

5. KC came to my place and torqued my system starting from the speaker. The sound becomes more focussed and the highs extended more effortlessly. The soundstage becomes more solid. I don't seem to feel the bass has improved though.

6. I started to retweak my system. I removed most of the Shun Mook tweaks that I was using. The sound becomes slightly less clinical. I also played with the speaker positioning though this has more effect on the soundstage than the sound.

7. John has sent me some Telos cables. Oh my God!!!
The Telos cables ameliorated the clinical sound almost instantly, adding more detail as times, ameliorating most of the clinical sound.
- Changing from PS Audio XStream Statement (on the cd player) to Telos Golden Reference help improve the details even more.
- Changing the Stage III HP cord (on the preamp) to Telos Golden Reference ameliorated the clinical sound almost instantly.
- Changing the PS Audio Lab Cable II (on my pwr amp) increase transperancy a few notches.

8. Then Jeff Lin, Telos head honcho, paid a visit. His advice to remove the top cover of the preamp, reconnect the triwireable ATC and removing the cable lifters push the sound to another level. The bass has improved together with the focus for the imaging.

9. After burning in the cables and cords to my system for more than a month, I find the biggest improvement is the bass. Midbass to be precise. The acoustic bass in some cds which was previously missing was easily heard. The minute reverberation of the recording is also easily discerned. The clinical sound that I got initially is all gone.

Now all the unused inputs and outputs, xlr or rca is all covered with Telos Platinum caps, and the sound is never clinical or analytical.

That is why I told you that you have retweak your system. This is because the Telos Platinum is ruthlessly revealing of any deficiency of your system. If there is anything wrong, you will hear it. I would suggest you to try the titanium cones under your preamp. Make sure this cones sit on the small titanium discs. This will help in your imaging. The way you put the cones under the hardware makes a difference.

Happy experimenting!

Ken said...

T,

I don't use a spectrum analyser or any tech gadget to test the sound. I just use my ears. I always believe that you need your ears to tell you what's wrong and what's right. If you can't even trust your ears, then just buy a midi system and be done with it.
Like what some reviewers use to say, "if you can't measure why the gear the sound the way they do, then you are measuring the wrong thing".

I have had my current system for more than 2 years except for the preamp which is newer than others. I have dabbled in hifi for more than 10 years and in all that years, I am now at my most satisfied stage. I am not saying I wasn't happy with the sound that I had but what I have now is much better.

I don't like to influence anyone nor do I force anyone to follow exactly what I did. If you say that I do, then you can also say the same for Maggielurva, Hifikaki and Panzer. They say nice things abt the gears they auditioned.

I have gone through a lot to know what works and what doesn't. The only difference with me compare to other seasoned audiophiles is that I take the trouble in explaining the hifi thingy, almost step by step, to anyone who would like to read. I don't see anyone (apart from ML, HFKK and Panzer) in this blogspot to have done something similar. All they do is rant or hide behind Anonymous to attack people.

Think about it, I did not write the blog on Telos. I just add to what I know because I had tried it. I discovered a lot of things about it and what I am doing is sharing what I went through. What is wrong with that? Why do people always think I am imposing on them? Did I say that if you do not follow my way, you are wrong or useless? Those who think that need to reassess their life.

When I started in hifi, there is nobody to guide me. I mainly rely on audio mags and some "audiophiles"
Then I met an audiophile. His thinking and beliefs are very radical to say the least but it works (I tried it and it also works in my system and I am still using his method). His system has one the best soundstage and imaging I have ever heard. The sound is also quite good. I can still say it is good even at today's standard. He took the trouble to teach me about hifi. I will always respect him for that.

If you manage to get the Telos caps, please have a look at the quality. It is much sturdier than even the Cardas, much heavier. The Platinum caps are actually made of copper but coated with Platinum. The Gold version is also made of copper butcoated with 24K Gold plating. You do know how much these metals cost now. Cardas uses nickel in most of their caps which is much cheaper to produce. The Telos utilises Teflon to cover the innards of their caps whether it is RCA or XLR, something that Cardas does not have. Jeff Lin did a lot of experimenting before manufacturing the caps. Jeff also torqued all the cables and cords that he produced.

Just look at the Telos website

http://www.telos-audio.com.tw/

Look at the quality and then look at the price he is charging. If this was made in some Western countries, they would have to charge at least 3 times more, not because of labour cost but because of material costs.

If anyone like to learn, all they need to do is ask. I will not hesitate to teach what I know. I also do not expect anyone to agree with what I say. If you think what I said is incorrect, just say so and tell me why you think that.
You do not need to resort to below-the-belt comments to get a response from me. If you continue to do that, all I can say that you need to grow up.

Ken said...

KM Ng,

Just to clarify I did not break down at all. I don't breakdown easily, esp if it is concerning hifi.
The reason I did not post anything during weekends is that I have no internet access during those times. Anyway, weekends is to spend with the missus.

Ken said...

Joamonte,

Have I maximised my setup? I don't think so. I am only using the Telos Golden Reference range of cables. Telos has a higher range which is the Platinum series. That is abt twice the price of the GR series.

I will be travelling quite a bit for the next few weeks so I don't think I can entertain anyone during this times. Sorry!

Joamonte said...

Ken,

No problem..... just let me know when you are ready to let me listen.... ;-D

...BTW you are welcome to listen my system if you happen to travel Singapore ,I can "entertain" you anytime since you are KC good friend...but be noted that I am still far far away from "maximized the system's capability"....LOL!

Cheer!
Joamonte

Eddie khor said...

Ken,i borrow some teios platinum RCA caps from a friend.i experience like what u described.Don"t worry about those people who no try and no understand.I have 2 question fou u. 1) onyour pre amp,u cover all holes at the back, but taiwon sifu ask to open top panel,why spend a lot money to cover behind from RFI/EMI then open big hole on top? RFI/EMI oniy transmiting side ways? 2) my system is low end. I thinking to buy whole set telos cap&cable like u but amount will cost little more then wholeset hifi. Worth to do like that? please help?

Ken said...

HI Eddie,

Thanks for your kind words. Actually I have my own beliefs in hifi. Some people may not agree with it but it does not matter. I don't mind if people ask why I got the result that I got.
What I am "baffled" is that people who have not try the stuff that I am talking abt start to attack me.

Anyway to answer your questions
1.The caps are to reduce/eliminate RFI/EMI to your gifi system. Opening the top panel does not affect the RFI/EMI because the top panel of most ARC amps has small holes on them to improve air circulation of the tubes. Jeff asked me to open the top panel to further improve the air circulation around the tubes. When I did this, I found the sound to be much more open than before. He said that most of his friends/customers who own ARC gears in Taiwan has done this to great effect.

2. If you own a "lowend" setup, I think you should first put your money on the gear rather than the tweaks. After upgrading yr setup, then you can slowly add tweaks to your setup. Just think abt it, if you put great tyres, spark plugs etc on a Kancil, the car may feel slightly better in some areas but it is still a Kancil. You will never get BMW performance. (no offense to Kancil owners)

km ng said...

Ken,

The day after.

NASA intercepted another transmission.

Transmission begins.

"....can't believe I broke down....(breakup)...just listening to some @#$! music....(breakup)...after withstanding all the torture....(breakup)... painful torquing and frying....

....what! oh my god!! ohh myyy....(breakup)...they do this to me!!!

....you mean they played....(breakup)...the music thru a high end system....(breakup)...
connected by CHEAP COPPER CABLES!!!"

Transmission suddenly ended.

Relax bro, you are the cap-tain of your hifi starship, and regardless of what people may think, as long as you are cap-tivated by it and the sweet music cap-tures your heart, don't give 2 caps on what people may say.

kiarch said...

Hi Eddie & Ken,

Although I have tried Telos caps in my system and didn't really like it but I can accept those who do. I am not here to condemn it by posting this; what I wanted to add, regarding the opening of the top cover of ARC amp is that, this is not to improve air circulation and ventilation of the tubes but to reduce the mechanical resonance caused by the weak top covers of the amp - a distortion neither torgue nor cap could arrest!

I have invested huge of my times in this area and I know what Jeff means.

I am particularly impressed with his research into the torgue issue, he makes me look like an amarteur eventhough I perform torguing years ago too. However, if we are talking about isolation, loading transfer and the metellurgy of interface right down to base-bearing medium in hifi application, I think I reign here. IMHO, if Telos cap is 'neutral', any combinations would have shown consistant results. Some avid electronic veteren audiophile suspect that the cap is 'loaded'.

Tweaking is a dangerous game in hifi, I think both of you, including Mr 'T' & Hifikaki, know this only too well. Overly compensated approach will imparts too much distortion artifacts. So my advice is to find the best and with least compromising route. And there is no absolute PLUS points without its associated downside in any tweaks under the sun. An reviews must be honourable enough to explain both sides of the coin.

Jo Ki

Anonymous said...

Mon dieu! Now I know why our government is pushing for teaching science and maths in English.

Let me break down the arguments.

My point is that human ear is not a good way to judge the subtle differences in the effects of the caps. The cap might work but I just don't know until I have a consistent and reliable measurement method.

Let me teach you by putting it in a simplest analogy so that you can understand. Just take 3 bowls of water one cold one hot and one in room temperature. Soak your left hand in cold and right in hot for 5 minutes. Then put both your hand in the room temperature water and you will realized that one hand feels hot and another cold. This shows that our senses are easily tricked by externalities. Feel free to try this at home if you don't believe me. The only thing I can think about improving the reliability of your hearing is that digging your ear before listening to the system.

I am contenting your belief with facts when you said that our ears can tell the subtle differences of good and the bad cause by the caps or screwing around with so call torqing. Maybe you have superman's ear I don't know lah.

All your claims hinges on your superman hearing which I refute.

Your following arguments are all straying from the point of the capabilities of our ears, trying to muddle your way out through irrelevant facts.

First you say that you have 10 years experience measured by something which is not reliable

Next you try to strengthen your argument through the use of herd mentality (if everyone is doing it, then it is right : yeah see how many people are burn in the stock market) and bringing in other parties like Hifikaki which I have no idea how they evaluate systems.

then you say you are great because you take pain of explaining stuff to newbie. Which has nothing to do with your capability of your hearing EMI or RFI. You also disparage people who do not share you view by "if you didn't listen to my system, don't judge".

then you say you are learning hifi through yourself and obscure sources BUT NOT fundamental theories. This is like the blind leading the blind. You said that you do not imposed on other your opinion but isn't this how you "learn"? People do follow your opinion, just look at poor eddie khor defending you blindly.

then you babbled about how the caps are constructed using 24k gold. You are forgetting that the main purpose of the caps is to "so call" filter EMI RFI and not so much on the finishing. This is the only thing that matters. The point is you are judging the performance of the cap based on its finishing, price etc but not the main purpose of the cap which is HOW MUCH EMI CAN IT REDUCE based on that measurement? what are the testing conditions, what are the frequency response, what is the improvement in terms of signals vs noise ratio? Those are crucial data which are not available in the website.

The fallacy of your argument is that you have superman's or bat ear that can distinguish the subtle differences. If that is the case, all the testing agency for RF interference, the standard agency like CISPR can just close shop and hire you.

I have no issue with you posting your opinion as I respect freedom of speech. My issue is that you like to use bombastic words and esoteric (hard to understand terms) terms to strengthen your "facts" and disparages people through your command of English while forgoing the main argument point (let me remind you again: ability of hearing).

I am also sadden by the state of this affair as all my hard work of learning and solving partial differential Schrödinger wave equation (where I learn fundamental of acoustics), maxwell equations (electromagnetism), transmission and prorogation theories, EMC theories are all shattered by your super human ear.

So please, save Malaysia's HIFI industry by reverting and promoting back to the fundamental principals. Not through clever marketing gimmicks, sweet talking of snakeoil salesman of using irrelevant terms like 24k gold plating or nanotechnology.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous 12:09pm, I see where you are coming from but to be fair to Ken after reread of Ken's posting I think he didn't "claim this or that" but he just "share" his observations.

Cheers,

Lim

km ng said...

Hi Anon 12:09pm,

Many thanks for sharing with us the scientific and measurement perspectives of audio, especially in the somewhat uncharted area of tweaks.

Sorry for asking the 101 question on audio science and its related measurements. Can they fully prove, disprove or correlate the hearing vs measurements variables?

For instance, can measurements "measure" imaging, soundstaging, transparency, emotions, etc.

Likewise, why do some equipment that sound great by hearing but measure quite poorly (read: tube and vinyl).

Thanks.

P.S. I wouldn't dig my ears before listening. What if the ear wax gets pushed too deep inside the ear canal?

Ken said...

KM Ng,

Thanks for your support. I was wondering if I may have sounded as though I lost my cool to you. I can assure I did not.
I know that science is important in hifi but to do blind studies on it is almost impossible. I also believe that if you have spend a reasonable amount of time with yr setup, you should know the sound intimately. So any changes is easily heard. If that person cannot hear it, then don't change or add it to your hifi system, Save money.


Jo Ki,

I do not agree with your assertion that opening the top cover helps to reduce the resonance of the preamp. If that is the case, then there is still a lot more resonance to remove as the bottom cover is also made of the same material with the same size of small holes on it. Then ARC should be crucified for using this kind of material to build their hardware.
Jeff had initially asked me to remove the screws of the top cover and pull it half way, that means the top cover only cover half the preamp. The sound has improved immediately but I don't feel comfortable at the fact that the top cover is dangling halfway on the top of the preamp. In fact this will increase resonances to the system. So I remove the top plate completely but I do not hear a difference compared to the top plate covering half of the top part of the preamp. So this proves to me it is not resonances because if it is, the resonances should be worse if top cover is dangling half of the top plate.
Just one question though, you said that you have know about torquing for quite a while, may I know why you did not ever mention this before?

Anonymous said...

According to oxford dictionary, fidelity means to the degree of exactness with which something is
copied or reproduced. This means that to reproduced exactly what is sounded.

If your system is to changed the sound in anyway even if it improves from the original source, then you are far away from what high fidelity originally meant it to be.

If you have a microphone hooking up to a pc with some rudiment measurement that can show the waveform and compared to the signal that it is reproduced, you have a ball park figure how the
caps works in its favour of lowering EMI noise. Then perhaps you can run some simple form 5 statistical mathematics techniques like correlation to compare the improvements.

Km,

I would not dare to quantify art and emotion using science. People have tried with theories of golden ratio for architecture and the rule of one third for photography but artist always surprises us with work that breaks such conventional rule. But we cannot deny that such rules provides us the foundation to work and improve with. The beauty of science is that it is always adapting and evolving. Every theory proposed is up for questioning and is being challenged. The ones that shines are those that withstand the test of time. Ricardo's classical supply and demand theory are generalized by keynesian's general theory; Newton's classical mechanics theories are encompassed by Einstien's general theory of relativity. It is the willingness to be criticized, to reflect, internalize the new ideas that we expand the boundary of knowledge. Perhaps someday someone in this discussion would be able to quantify the dimension of emotion.

It is not my intention to belittle anyone but there is just a bewilder claim of improvement in leaps and bounds that causes people to rush off and purchase those caps without verifying the claims objectively. This is exactly what causes the fiasco that is happening in the financial industry where herd mentality trumps rationality. My objective is to make people like Eric to think twice before accepting blind faith.

T

Ken said...

T,

As John McEnroe would say, "You cannot be serious".

I thought I was reading nuclear physics when I read your post. We are just talking whether a tweak improves the sound of your system or not. We do not "Keynesian theories" or "E=mc2" to tell us if that sounds is crap after we have added that tweak into the system.

If you believe implicitly in your theories, I would suggest you to contact HFKK and Panzer as well to do all this scientific studies before making any claims in their review. You may also want to ask Maggielurva to do the same.

I hope you are not offended but I feel what you are proposing is just not possible with what we have. Even Stereophile with all their scientific measurement does not do what you propose.

km ng said...

Ken,

No worries.

Sometimes, I get carried away and my off colour and poor taste humour swing back to me like a boomerang and de-CAP-itates my head off. Oops! There I go again.

But seriously, it was kind of you to share your listening experiences of the Telos caps in your system.

Some may want scientific evidence on the hows and the whys the caps work (especially differently for different materials) when the caps are claimed to isolate EMI and RFI noise absorption.

The above request is fully justifiable as the claims are scientific claims which must be proven scientifically. I hope the designer or manufacturer of the Telos caps is reading this and will provide some scientific papers on it.

Agree?


T,

Don't get me wrong, as far as audio is concerned, I do believe in science and measurements as, like you've said, they provide a foundation for future developments.

But, I wouldn't dismiss a product or tweak if its benefits (from what I hear) cannot be presently (emphasis: presently) explained by science or measurements.

To do so would be rather self defeating, I think.

IMHO, science and measurements explain to the mind, but to fully appreciate sound and music, you'll need the heart and the mind.

Agree?

Anonymous said...

i find it amusing to read about gold vs platinum caps and how they influence and improve the sound in this application. No wonder audio manufacturers can thrive, with their marketing twists for these kind of so called tweaks. Fundamentally, the cap is suppose to work on the basis that it can shield EMI/RFI 'pollutants' from entering the audio circuitry thru the exposed jacks. If really the environment is so 'polluted' and the gear is so sensitive, wouldnt it be better to remove the unused jacks from the circuitry, whats so difficult about that, rather than capping them and hoping that the different metallurgy can do wonders or positively 'add' to the sound.

Ken said...

KM,

I am science guy myself. My 2 degrees are science related. I am also an analytical person by nature. I don't easily believe a claim until I have tried the item myself. That is why I usually bring the gears home to try out before splashing my hard-earned cash.

I also tried to read as much as possible to understand why some gears sound the way they do. The Stereophile measurement section is one of my fave parts in that mag.
I don't claim to understand every aspect of the measurement but it is good that I learn at least some of it.

But what I could not understand is people who has never tried the caps can claim that I am exaggerating. HFKK was the the first one to write on it in this blog and he could easily tell a difference with and without the caps plus gold vs platinum caps. Man, I don't even get a cent from Jeff to rave about his Telos products. I am saying that they work. If those caps doesn't work in your system, I have no problem with that. But deep down I can hazard a guess why they don't work in a system.

If they say that they are amused to learn that there is a difference when you hook gold or platinum caps to your hardware, I think they will go absolute ga-ga to know that there is also a difference between copper and silver cables, different types of SS amps, speaker placement, room tunes etc. It was just 20 yrs ago that audiophiles really start to believe that cables makes a difference. It was 10 yrs ago that they really embrace power cords. The caps are not really a new concept. They have been around for around 6 to 7 years. If anyone should explain the science behind these RCA and XLR caps, it is George Cardas. He invented it.

At the end of the day, Science is just a mean to get to audio nirvana. You still have to maximise the setup.

Felix said...

HiFiKaki,

For a guy with no TELOS experience, your write up has been an insight for me.

Thank you.

Eddie khor said...

I am very sad.Inyour debates, some simply talk without facts,some want to become sifu,some use eyes to listen,some talk only but no listen,I now become lost lamb,I want to make a lot of money,train my ears to become bat ears,know a lot of high highenders.I want to use blongger's(panzer)word-NEVER GIVE UP.I go home now.

Ken said...

Eddie,

You are not lost. All you need to do is to listen to as many setup as possible. Find out what you like. Also try to experiment.

Felix said...

Eddie,

I emphatize with how you feel.

Just take opinions which is constructive for you.

End of the day, maybe just get a couple of caps and try them out for yourself. If it works for you, and if you can spare the $$$, just get it. In the long run, if you don't like it, you can always sell them.

I am sure there are plenty who wants to use these TELOS caps.

Good Luck but most importantly, have fun.

Anonymous said...

Funny, I don't understand how can someone that have not maximised his setup,keep on teaching others how to maximised their system's capability??

In my point of view,the own serial of debate here, is all about the Malaysia's Telos guy keep on mention that if others that tried Telos product and don't like it,is always because of their system have not yet *maximised* , and no way because of they don't like the sound of the product!

Only those who system that able to use Telos product is good system!

And those cannot use Telos cap need to re-tweak to *maximised* their system by Toque the screw, change to Telos cable and so on.

It's just like many many years ago, China believe that they are at the center of the world, and other nation/race are all Barbarian.

I never see Jeff Lin make that kind of statement in Taiwan audio forum?

Anonymous No.1

Anonymous said...

Can't imagine someone with a dual science degree can misinterpret STPM level of economics and physics as nuclear physics and miss my simple point.

Again you are straying from the argument of your superman ear by quoting someone (feels smart doesn't it), bringing in the likes of HFKK, Panzer and Maggielurva (herd mentality: if everyone is doing it, it must be right?) and saying HFKK is the one who claims so (so not cool to shift the target to him). Oh yeah and there is this "if you haven't try it don't judge" argument. You are starting to sound like a broken record.

well about your wire, read this

http://community.sonikmatter.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=37666

THX certification system has a whole bunch of metrics to measure the sound performance

http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volume_13_1/feature-article-thx-1-2006-part-1.html

Oh and it seems that Stereophile mag editors are also having your superear ability

excerpt
<<
I have an engineering degree (BSEE) and I have worked in the field of video and systems design for almost thirty years. I am a member of SMPTE, (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers), AES (Audio Engineering Society) and IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers). I have been involved in the design and construction of several notable projects such as Lucasfilms' "Tech Building" at SkyWalker Ranch In Marin county and the "Experience Music Project" in Seattle. I have also worked as an engineer at several television stations and production companies.

It has been my privilege and good fortune to work with some of the most knowledgeable people in these fields. I have never heard anyone say that we should utilize some of this subjective techno-voodoo in a real world professional facility. Believe me, anything that can be shown to be effective in improving sound or picture quality is tried and often used. It just really bothers me that these "audio/video-philes" often go unchallenged by their own editors, let alone getting any sort of proper peer review. I'm waiting to see a paper presented at a conference or published in one of the technical journals explaining the principles of these "wonder devices."

>>

I just love the term techno-voodoo!

http://www.randi.org/jr/2006-04/042806boots.html#i5

T

Anonymous said...

Guess I am not alone on this. Happy reading.


T

http://sound.westhost.com/cables.htm#intro

km ng said...

Hi guys,

In Terminator Salvation, John Connor said, "Humans have the hearing that cannot be measured."

Now, did I hear that correctly?

Keep an ear on this line when you see the movie, will you?

Anonymous said...

Dear T,

This is really getting interesting. I wonder what system do you have? What cable do you use? On what scietific basis that you purchase your system?

hifikaki said...

Guys,

OK, THIS THREAD ENDS HERE AND NOW!

WE RESPECTFULLY ASK EVERYONE TO STOP POSTING ON THIS ITEM.

Everyone has had his say, the points raised have gotten repetitive. We are not looking for a consensus, and will not reach a consensus, so live and let live.

Any comment posted after this will be deleted by the blog owner, i.e., maggielurva.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.