Secondary truth

January 15, 2022
 by Paul McGowan

Not everything is straightforward.

Take for example brushing your teeth. Despite the minute or two of brushing recommended by dentists, it turns out not more than a few swipes of the brush and paste against your enamel is all it takes to keep them clean. The extra time is about gum health, not teeth.

Just the other day I queried my dentist on this observation. He laughed and said I’d uncovered their secret. “Can’t get people to brush their gums but tell them two minutes with an electric brush will keep your pearls white and we get what we want anyway.”

I think many of these primary tasks are more about their secondary benefits than their primary names. Think about the yearly good practice of reconnecting your system and dressing up your cables. The real benefit is deoxidation. Same with swapping tubes. I recommend going through your dozen or so favorite tracks every quarter, not because you need to hear them again, but to recenter yourself and make certain everything’s as you imagined it to be.

There’s often more to routine than meets the eye or the ear.

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64 comments on “Secondary truth”

  1. Every year on the 1st or 2nd of January I clean (deoxidize) my amplifier & loudspeaker taps & snip half an inch off the ends of my loudspeaker wires (cables)
    Although, now that our esteemed Tony Plachy pointed out that gold on gold should be left alone, & he explained why, I have left my RCA plugs & sockets (interconnects) alone this year, since I don’t live anywhere near the ocean.

    **Yesterday’s ‘Paul’s Posts’**
    To everyone who read my posts about the CCP (China) yesterday, I just want to say that I do hope that I’m wrong about my observations…really & honestly I do hope so.

    I think that it was Mark Twain, & a few others including Dr. (not a real doctor) Philip McGraw, that said that, “The best predictor of future behaviour is relevant past behaviour”.

    Happy listening with your cleaned (deoxidized) connections everyone 😀

    Btw, healthy gums are more important than clean teeth.

      1. Yep, an oldie but a goody!
        Thanks for posting & reminding me.
        I can just see your Terri rolling her eyes at that video Paul 😉
        Crazy in the bedroom = crazy in the living room; that’s the problem.

        Now all we need is for ‘CtA’ to post a claim that we are all misogynists
        & no wonder there’s no women interested in home-audio as a hobby.

          1. A couple of things. The ratings are “subjective”. No DB studies on this, sighted and observer bias.
            As my 30 year old son tells me frequently, a “St Louis 9” is a LA6 or 5. Again hotness is relative. Location relative too, plus timing. The old story of the pub near closing time affecting ratings.
            The reporter also misses the significant issue of menopause. All bets are off on the vertical rating once the internal clock stops. All ratings are subject to significant variation. Even during extremely brief moments in time.
            Women also have that kind of rating system for men, but they keep it to themselves. She has on rare occasions spilled the beans on some of it.

            By the way, did the obese wombat ever discover Revel Salon or JBL M2 speakers? Harman/Toole and magnificent.

          1. How the hell did I do that. I was positive I was on today’s post. But then again I just woke up aftermy night out at my friends house and being with about eight hot young chicks last night at my friends place. They were all girlfriends of my friends sons friends. And they were hot

              1. I didn’t get home till 2:30 in the morning and didn’t go to sleep till 430. It’s not good to wake up start to read Paul’s posts and immediately respond when I’m still bleary-eyed

      2. OMG, that video was funny. Got to play the whole thing to get the payoff, don’t quit early thinking you’ve got the gist of it. Tx for that, Paul

      3. He missed out the ‘horse chicks’ category. If you know, you know… A red head horse chick? Hooowee! This species can display 37 emotions in as many minutes… 😉

  2. A dentist, you got to see a dentist …
    … in the UK since Covid broke, unless you pay extremely high costs for private care, we can only get appointments for emergency care, like real pain, and that can take a month Some folk are pulling their own or even kids teeth.
    Seems it will now take two years to recover…
    … our NSH care, paid by all of us for all of us, just can’t cope with mass care events like Covid. Probably worse for poorer USA folk, but I can now see why more well off USA folk fight against care for all – seems better to say ‘me first’…

    As for cleaning my kit, I use 100% DeoxIT on all connections, but will look up Fat Rat’s comment about not touching gold on gold, interesting. I used to do this when upgrading or two years, but since being forced to retire it’s each spring. Not much new kit for me now, need to save for a dentist.

    1. Alan,
      It is well know, & referred to with humour time & time again, that the English have had bad teeth for centuries now…’Austin Powers’ (Yeah Baby!) for example…so don’t blame CoViD-19 for something that has been endemic in Britain since before the Magna Carta Libertatum.

      Tony Plachy explained that when two gold surfaces are ‘jammed’ together, that both gold surfaces will knit together in a fashion & that it is more detrimental to the transference of electrons to pull said gold surfaces apart regularly than to just leave them together.

      I recommend ‘KONTAK’ cleaning fluid, available from ‘Analogue Seduction’, in Whittlesey, Peterborough over there in the UK.

      1. Thanks for the gold on gold info, sounds reasonable if the surfaces truly knit/bond then there would be no creep of corrosion as long as the gold connectors are bonded well to the wires. My speaker cables were high temperature soldered (that’s pronounced sol-dered not shoodered as I’m not a French loving UK hating ex-empire person – just kidding as Paul does 😉

        As for the well known bad teeth, really, you’re quoting Austin Power’s and other misplaced humour, that’s about as fair as saying all USA folk are massively overweight and never travel outside their State…
        … I’m 64, have all my own teeth, well apart from one back one as I couldn’t afford an implant, all thanks to very good NHS (only part-funded after 18) since primary school after milk teeth. After more than two years now with fillings not being done unless nerves are exposed I find your comment sad. Good teeth and gums, plus being regularly checked for other mouth/gland nasties by a dentist has got me this far. Hope it doesn’t please you that now I feel cavities in need of attention I can’t get it so may end up with the bad teeth you expect me to have

        1. Alan, I’m so glad that you can see the funny side 😀
          Btw, we Aussies spell & pronounce English words
          the English way…of course there is the accent.
          ‘Sodder’ sounds like a category on ‘PornHub’.

          1. Ar, forgot you were from down under – seems like the convicts we sent down there had the last laugh, plus you rightly get to take the mic as much as you like. We can’t even play our own games anymore – football without a load of imports and don’t mention the cricket.

            Paul had to mention dentist 🙁
            … it literally grated with me, can’t stand keeping away from hard food in case cavities and gums get any worse.

            You rate KONTAK over 100% DeoxIT…
            … reasons why? I certainly noticed a difference going to the 100% over the diluted spray. Does it clean better and/or last longer?

            1. ‘KONTAK’ leaves absolutely no residue on the metal surfaces…personally I like that.
              And you can see the grey oxide that it removes on
              the cotton buds & on the pipe cleaners.

          2. Well today I get to do the walking shoulder blade crawl in the 18 inch gap under my house and SODDER some copper pipe back together and you can bet your patootie that my neighbors, who are acres away, are gonna hear SEVERAL of the same words you might hear on pornhub. Granted mine will be separated, louder, staccato; it’ll be more like an angry Tourette’s version of pornhub. Oooohh, looking forward to it – I’d rather go to the freaking dentist!

            If you don’t hear from me in a few days, just c’mon by the ranch & divy up my audio gear. I’ve got 5 acres & a backhoe – you know what to do. I pull my own teeth, do my own plumbing – I’m CLEARLY too cheap to fork out for a funeral…

            1. Another who’s not afraid to get their hands dirty, Bravo! Down here in the southern US we call it “sweating” copper btw. My neighbors are all some distance away too, just the way I like it.

              1. When he said farmhouse on 5 acres I thought of you.
                Late arrival to ‘The Group’ you should send him those photos of your beautiful hand-built loudspeakers.

      2. So what is the Audio Doctor’s recommendation for two side by side touching gold capped teeth? Kontak De-oxit spray? Brasso in the Colgate? Mini buffer wheel??

  3. I’m in the USA and neither wealthy or poor and I’m all for some kind of care for all system. I just got on Medicare (our government sponsored insurance for seniors) and so far it’s good. Significantly less expensive than my coverage was through my wife’s employer, with less copays. The downside is that it seems needlessly complex when deciding on plans. But as we are set up, dental and vision is still covered through her insurance. My recent root canal took a pretty nice chunk of change from my bank account.
    As for the cable maintenance, I’ve never felt the need.

    1. Thought you were a retired rockstar. I buy dental insurance (I’m retired) and if all is well i lose money, but a crown or root canal makes it worth while but still takes a deep cut in beer money. I started putting loctite on the speakers…i decided to go no connectors.

        1. I think my Gramma told me,always try to keep your real teeth. And I’m sure the over priced blender my wife would buy if made in china. Isn’t it past your bedtime?

      1. I know that was for secret guy…i removed my banana plugs by your recommendation..i did loctite by mine. But yeah,ill trim the copper every now and then.

        1. That’s ok Phil, it’s a public forum.
          From my years of home-audio retail experience,
          we know that (banana) plugs & lugs (spades) are
          there purely to make more money off of customers.
          Every time that you make the electrical signal jump a
          gap from one type of metal to another type of metal
          you degrade the signal; it’s that simple.
          It still amazes me how many people buy anything to
          do with AUDIO because it LOOKS good.

            1. Phil,
              Hard-wiring everything is the ultimate way to go, sonically speaking, & not a problem if you are handy with a soLLLdering iron & your gear is beyond it’s warranty period…however, it’s a complete pain-in-the-arse when you want to move or change things around.

          1. I greatly prefer bare wire even though it demands a trimming from time to time. However, the connectors on my Yamaha don’t agree with large diameter speaker cable conductors. While it can be managed I recently went to banana plugs for that end just to avoid the aggravation.

        2. Just make sure the cables are still long enough to reach the speakers 😉

          We all need to be careful when trimming. Some years ago I read this story about a Formula 1 motor racing team. The team owner used a walking stick and every month or so his top driver would shave one eighth of an inch off the end of it.

          Can’t recall any more details but it would probably be around the time Gerhard Berger was racing, he was a renowned practical joker.

  4. So now that I replaced all of my RCA interconnects with balanced XLR, is there any special way to clean the inner contacts on the cables? I have a whole detoxit kit. I’m going to check that kit to check if there are very thin brushes that came with it.

    I may be incorrect BUT Nelson Pass once told me that he doesn’t believe in cleaning interconnects.

    1. Neil,
      Go & buy yourself a packet of ‘Pipe Cleaners’ & bend them in half, BUT only after you’ve washed your hands thoroughly so that you don’t transfer skin-oil onto said pipe cleaners OR wear brand-new cotton gloves 😉

  5. Oh I forgot about pipe cleaners I actually have a really stiff ones for the cleaning and then the soft ones for the application. Thanks for reminding me. I’m really good at cleaning all my contacts about twice a year and this is a good time and maybe today is a good day.

  6. Excellent advice. The part about listening to familiar tracks every so often lets one know immediately if the sound is as it should be. Slightest deviation from the norm is easily heard and steps taken to rectify the problem. Regards.

  7. I am going to try to talk about the audio issue that Paul started this post with which has been almost totally overlooked since he then followed it up with the video on how to choose a hot not crazy wife.

    If you have cables with gold plated interconnects ( i.e. the plug or jack on the ends of the cable ) and gold plated sockets on your gear I recommend that you do NOT routinely take the cable end out of the socket and clean it to remove oxidation. If your plugs and sockets require a slight amount of force to insert the plug into the socket it forms a gold to gold compression bond where there is a continuous gold path from the plug to the socket that does not oxidize. You are doing more harm than good by taking the plug out of the socket to clean it.

    As always in audio, YMMV.

    1. Perhaps that is why most of the RCA plug connectors have collars that screw down on the outside of the jack after you plug them in gently. Be careful not to tighten ‘hardly at all’ because removing the plug is unbelievably difficult once you overtighten even slightly.

  8. Don’t forget flossing. Just as important as brushing.

    Now, here is my advice on preserving your good teeth. Do not drink very hot or very cold liquids. Thermal expansion of fillings shortens their lives and can cause the enamel on your teeth to crack. Also, don’t bite down hard on things like hard candy. I have one filling on the side of a tooth that my dentist said would not last a year, but it is still good after 22 years.

  9. Glad to hear everyone is taking such good care of preserving their teeth. Now I know the difference between “hot & crazy” and a balanced sounding live XLR female cable – very enlightening thanks to I assume your past experiences. No single ended life for me only the 3 way pin.

        1. It was 7:16 am Sunday when I posted my reply that you have replied to.
          I’m in Australia remember…I’m 18 hours ahead of the ‘Paul’s Posts’

  10. Enjoyed this thread of comments and watched the video links. Thank you for the laughs gentlemen.

    I told my wife we are in “fun zone” and she slapped me. Just kidding. 😉

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