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jdmccall56
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Stein Music Harmonizer and Magic Diamonds, Magic Stones and magic flutes

Of all the things under the audio sun that Sam could write about, he chooses to devote most of a month's column to this voodoo doo-doo.  Is it any wonder normal people think audiophiles have a screw loose?  Was it all a joke?  Er, I'm sorry...a yoke? 

JIMV
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It was an amusing segment...

I put it right up there with magic vinyl demagnetizers....a fool and his money....

geoffkait
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A sufficiently advanced technology

"A suffiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." ~ Arthur C. Clarke

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica

JIMV
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And magic...

and mumbo jumbo is...

Simply Mumbo Jumbo....

or as noted

"There is a sucker born every minute" - David Hannum on the Cardif Giant

http://www.historybuff.com/library/refbarnum.html

Drtrey3
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I am of two minds

about this sort of thing. I am naturally skeptical in most situations as I like to experience something prior to trusting in it. On the other hand science, a useful tool to be sure, is often deified and it's limits ignored. I recall the articles where Mikey and Stephan reported their experiences with a vinyl demagnatizer, and Sam's column concerning the "mumbo jumbo" was really compelling.

I guess I trust the three individuals' reports enough to want to listen to those accessories if I were in the market. Then I would trust my ears.

Trey

JIMV
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How come...

These magic devices always cost an arm and a leg? Why did the magic hockey pucks of a few years ago cost in the tripple digits when anyone in a shop class could buy the idential wood and make themselves the exact same thing for a few bucks...

Why do magic devices always cost many, many times what a similar device that does not use magic costs?

jazzfan
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The high cost of magic

Non-magical wooden pucks cost X however magical wooden pucks cost X plus the price of the magic, so magical wooden pucks cost X + magic, which it just so happens equals ripoff.

General formula:

Cost of simple item (wood, wire, clock, etc.) + cost of magic = RIPOFF

Note: this formula is universally true except in the world of high end audio.

geoffkait
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P.T. Barnum

“More persons, on the whole, are humbugged by believing in nothing, than by believing too much.”

P.T. Barnum

G.C. Kait
Machina Dynamica

dbowker
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Magical Intelligent Design

Yeah, well I sort of take most of what Sam says with a grain of salt anyway. For one, I already know I disagree with most of what he likes in audio gear. He likes mini tube amps and Triangles (which sound thin and anemic to me) and I like Krell amps with Pro-Ac speakers. To each his own.

But, he has many years of experience, and is not exactly one to usually jump on the voodoo bandwagon easily (recall he went by The audio Cheapskate for some years), though he's been known to get suckered too. He wrote a whole column devoted to the cheapskate "miracle" of polishing CDs with ArmourAll (the manufacturer even commented in the end section, which was hillarious). He persuaded many readers of how great it sounded and what a brilliant idea it was---until a few years later he ate major crow when it came out that almost everyone who tried it had the plastic on their CDs go foggy and became unplayable. Oops.

Anyway- I think most of the voodoo audio tricks are just that. A mind game. But...some may actually work on occasion. I wrote about my experiment of making my own Mpingo disks (yep, with real Mpingo wood). I found that though it's crazy expensive compared to maple or walnut, I could make about 4-5 disks for around $15 (as opposed to the $70 for three). I tried out the various things they were supposed to do and found no overall effect on the room, though they did seem to tighten up the sound on my TT. I still have three on the top of my TT plinth. I was a skeptic that they'd do anything at all, but after repeated A/B listening I had to admit something was going on.

For me it was just a fun experiment, and I enjoy working in the shop, so nothing lost either way. But one thing it did show me was that they were hugely overpriced! If I could do them that cheaply by hand, in production it should be nothing to get them down to $5 each including a healthy profit margin.

I made a Forum Member a Mpingo Record Clamp too, for about 1/5 of the Shun Mook price.

Details of my adventure (and others) are in the DIY Gallery Pages: http://forum.stereophile.com/content/diy-mpingo-tuning-discs

geoffkait
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Mpingo discs and knock-offs

"Yeah, well I sort of take most of what Sam says with a grain of salt anyway. For one, I already know I disagree with most of what he likes in audio gear. He likes mini tube amps and Triangles (which sound thin and anemic to me) and I like Krell amps with Pro-Ac speakers. To each his own."

.........Uh, I suspect most audiophiles take everything anyone has to say with a grain of salt these days.

"Anyway- I think most of the voodoo audio tricks are just that. A mind game. But...some may actually work on occasion. I wrote about my experiment of making my own Mpingo disks (yep, with real Mpingo wood). I found that though it's crazy expensive compared to maple or walnut, I could make about 4-5 disks for around $15 (as opposed to the $70 for three). I tried out the various things they were supposed to do and found no overall effect on the room, though they did seem to tighten up the sound on my TT. I still have three on the top of my TT plinth. I was a skeptic that they'd do anything at all, but after repeated A/B listening I had to admit something was going on.

.....Well, there you go, a magic tweak that works. Where's the beef? By the way the real Mpingo discs are $70 each. Gasp! I've made a bunch of Mpingo knock-offs as well. If you haven't tried the real Shun Mook discs, only homemade ones, you have no idea what you're missing.

"For me it was just a fun experiment, and I enjoy working in the shop, so nothing lost either way. But one thing it did show me was that they were hugely overpriced! If I could do them that cheaply by hand, in production it should be nothing to get them down to $5 each including a healthy profit margin.

.......Betcha didn't know the real Mpingo discs comprise two types of wood and that they contain a, uh, crystal. And that they're beveled on all edges and that they are highly directional, both in the rotational/horizontal direction and vertical direction (top/bottom).

"I made a Forum Member a Mpingo Record Clamp too, for about 1/5 of the Shun Mook price."

............Well, 1/5 of the Shun Mook price is still a princely sum. How does it feel being in the snake oil game? LOL

dbowker
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Actually...

I may be off on the 1/5 ratio. What did the clamps retail for anyway? I just charged for hours of labor plus materials. I think around $250.

Yes- I knew all about the other "special" mpingo disk properties; I really don't think mine we so off the originals though.

geoffkait
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"I know all about the other "special" Mpingo disk properties"

I never try to argue with someone who knows everything. Good luck in your quest. LOL

Glotz
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Jaded bullshit.

I guess you've all auditioned the Stein Music products.  I wonder what issues Sam decides to just outright lie to people?  It must be bullshit if all of you said so! 

I wonder when the copy of Jaded Audio Bastard hits the stands?

soulful.terrain
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Poop smearer
Glotz wrote:

I guess you've all auditioned the Stein Music products.  I wonder what issues Sam decides to just outright lie to people?  It must be bullshit if all of you said so! 

I wonder when the copy of Jaded Audio Bastard hits the stands?

 

 

remlab
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 My sons skateboard wheels

 My son's skateboard wheels also work well for this purpose. The older and dirtier the better...

MarkBryston
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Scotty beam me up there's no intelligent life here...
geoffkait wrote:

I never try to argue with someone who knows everything.

GeoffKaits  !st uniform law of voodoo truths! This explains why you never really argued your points with me!!! Geoffkaits 2nd uniform law of truths...when law 1 is in effect resort to insults!!!...this explains why you constantly insult me at every turn...

no need to thank me for proving your statement with empirical evidence found on the general rants and raves threads...your welcome....

oh..Max headroom sends his regards twenty three minutes in the future...at least according to my tinfoil battery clock set twenty three minutes in the future...Captain Archer says no need to worry about the temporal war..its over....Captain Janeway says don't worry about quantum teleportation to get her home the array is working just fine...Lt Uhura says theres a sub space message from star fleet waiting for you in your in box..no need to reply...and Captain Picard says Data is working on the quantum singularity for you so you can bend the light to reach the god skynet chip...but Arnold says he'll be baaacck...to kick your ass...

 

wow man you must be a real trekke...do you wear a rainbow colored tinfoil cone hat as well...??????????????? but please keep it up..never argue with ANYONE who knows more than you...meaning EVERYONE!!!...Why not buy one of these Stiens for yourself..tear it apart and report back...bet you find colored tinfoil..bags of sugar..and a clock set 23 minutes in the future!!!

geoffkait
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Stalker Alert!!

Ain't it interestin' how a stalker like yourself eventually reveals his true nature - a pseudo-skeptic who pretends to know something about physics, even quantum physics, but who can't argue his way out of a paper bag?  You probably wouldn't believe how many there are just like you,  masquerading as truth-seeking skeptics.    And using the same tactics - protestations, angst, demands, bile and pseudo-science. By the way, I'm giving serious consideration to adding you to my stable of stalkers. 

 

Geoff Kait

Machina DramaticA

BigBuck
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Shame on Sam!

This seems way out of character for Sam, who I have regarded as an honest man.  Here he seems to be shilling for a friend in this aarticle, knowing that out of an audience of ten thousand well-heeled audio enthusiasts, a few percent will bite - and that's enough to make some bucks.

O.K., it's easy to say he hears what he says he hears.  O.K.

But he, and all of us, know that hearing can be fooled in a big way.

BigBuck
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Shame on Sam!

This seems way out of character for Sam, who I have regarded as an honest man.  Here he seems to be shilling for a friend in this aarticle, knowing that out of an audience of ten thousand well-heeled audio enthusiasts, a few percent will bite - and that's enough to make some bucks.

O.K., it's easy to say he hears what he says he hears.  O.K.

But he, and all of us, know that hearing can be fooled in a big way.

generubinaudio
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Actually, Sam is correct.

I rarely if ever post on Forums, yet I have been in the audio business 32 years.

I do not promote expensive interconnects, AC cords etc, maybe moderately priced ones and then I am very selective. If you look on my website, you'll see I am frugal about any promotion of "tweeks".

But I must say, as very skeptical as I am about such things, the Stein Music Harmonizers really do work. I have heard the comparisons and I have demonstrated listening rooms bringing them in and out. They work.

Gene Rubin

www.generubinaudio.com 

TheArt
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Have you heard them? if not, just shut up.

That's what J. Gordon Holt always said.  I don't want to resort to insults.  But I think it's just plain logic that if you have not auditioned something you have NO IDEA what it does, what it sounds like, or whether it's "snake oil".  It doesn't make sense to you?  Well, when did you study quantum physics?  Yeah... then shut up until youi've HEARD them.

BOTTOM LINE:  I've heard the Stein Harmonizers demonstrated in 3 different (very high-end) systems.  All three times I was absolutely blown away, as was everyone present.  They provide a sense of realism that I never heard before in audio playback - not even with systems costing in the hundreds of thousands.  They do something UNIQUE that almost competely bridges the gap between GREAT STEREO and LIVE MUSIC.

They are VERY easy to demonstrate.  Turn them on and you'll hear it immediately.  Turn them off and the sense of "being there" collapes just as quickly.  And while absolutely nothing is changed in tonality, timbres, or really any aspect of the music you can define... the effect is PROFOUND.  If you do not hear it immediatley... well, you'd have to be deaf... seriously.

I'm not a huge fan of tweaks - especially expensive ones!  But Sam is dead-right on the Stein Harmonizers.  They do something that no audio component EVER has before.  And once you hear them, it may be tough to live without.  I'm not a rich guy either, so these are a seious investmenmt for me.  But I've already ordered a set, and I cannot wait to hear what they do in my own listening room.

Take my advice:  Don't waste your time on cynicism (or ignorance).  GET A LISTEN!! Then, if you still think they're "snake oil" go ahead and snark away to your heart's  content.  But until you do... YOU HAVE NO OPINION WORTH READING. 

BTW, Try finding just ONE post by someone who's actually heard the Harmonizers and still thinks they're "snake oil".  Happy hunting!

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