Polish before cutting

May 31, 2022
 by Paul McGowan

It sure is tempting to add the polishing steps to a system before finishing the basic cuts and steps. Kind of like seeing how the jewelry looks before getting fully dressed. Though sometimes helpful, more often than not it simply clutters the process.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with having a listen to what’s eventually going to be the finishing touches. Where I get cautionary is when we start making decisions around those final steps without having first mastered the basics.

It’s especially hard for an impatient person like myself.

I have found over many years that the cable swaps, dressing the connections, lifting the speaker cables off the floor, and all that hazarai we do at the end are best kept at the end.

Restraining myself helps me get the best results in the shortest period of time.

Better to fill in the basic blanks first, else run the risk of the polish determining the cut.

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10 comments on “Polish before cutting”

  1. I doubt I’d be tempted to do that. Basics first, then finesse. How else are you going to know how effective the polish is? To some extent it depends what is considered as the basics. I know my equipment won’t sound as good without its vibration control in place but I’ll always listen to a new component on its own first. It would be quicker to go all in but then I wouldn’t know how much improvement the accessory made. Taking it slow, steady and methodical will teach me a lot more.

  2. In a way todays post makes sense.
    It’s up to the individual to determine what the basics are for them, and how often or soon they’re going to be changed.

    In a system of separates, cables (interconnects) become an intricate part. So that adds another twist to the rule of what the basics are.

    There is also a major difference in listening during the design and preproduction phase and the final end product that the listener (consumer) will have. So swapping cables, lifting them off the floor, adding isolation, &etc during the design phase would seem pointless anyways. If you’re trying to voice a circuit then why would you change everything but the circuit? If you’re trying to design & voice speakers then it doesn’t make sense to change the drive electronics to get the sound you want.

    There has to be some constant, not a continuous march of variables in the design phase.

    The consumer phase is wrought with variables and we’re conditioned to keep trying to find the best “synergy”. The only constant in many cases seems to be “it’s still not as good as it could or should be”.

  3. Sometimes the polish becomes the cut.
    I remember my introduction into microphonic ceramic capacitors.
    This was when the world was converting to surface mount multilayer ceramics. They were large by today’s standards.
    Back then the piezoelectric effect of a ceramic cap was not well understood. Things like avoiding ferroelectric (plate material), positioning the cap in such a way to avoid the worst of vibrations/acoustic wave, reduce DC bias, using a combination of smaller ceramics… all became fundamental best practice to carry out during the initial cut.

  4. Hazarai. Never heard of it, looked up.
    Either 1) lifted from the audio world: an electronic delayer or
    2) Yiddish: stuff, junk.
    I’ll take both.

  5. when I first read todays title I was confused as to whether someone in Warsaw had been cut,
    or if an audio system had been shined to make the cut…. :-}

  6. Of course. Start with the largest grit sandpaper and work your way progressively down to the finer grits, and then the final polish. Skilled craftsmen through experience know which grits they can skip and still get a professional result.

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