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Welshsox
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Extreme Snake oil

Hi

Ive just been reading in a UK magazine about demagnetizers.

Now i can at least understanjd how these could be effective on vinyl, after all the cartridge is generating magentic fields and eddy currents that could be affected. But how in the hell can they state that CD's are affected ? improving bass and clarity be magnetizing a plastic disc ? the CD either provide a 1 or 0 full stop, there of course is loads of things happening afterwards that affect the DAC, flutter etc that all could have an effect. But it is just ridiculous that magentizing a plastic disc could affect the sound of a digital signal.

This type of thing gives hifi a bad name.

Alan

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Re: Extreme Snake oil

I would tend to agree with you. Of course, I'm no scientist; nor do I play one on TV. So, I could be wrong.

I think there is lots of "snake oil" for sale in the audiophile world. After all, we're enthralled by the very "magic" of stereophonic reproduction, so why wouldn't some of us be predisposed to buy into the concept of CD demagnetizers, magic clocks, Myrtle blocks, Mpingo discs or cable elevators and thousand-dollar wires? If my stereo can make performers sonically appear out of thin air, than who's to limit what unexplained wonders may be possible -if only I'll part with a little more green?

JIMV
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Re: Extreme Snake oil

Are not CD's made of plastic and aluminum? What magnetism?

Welshsox
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Re: Extreme Snake oil

Thing is that magic clocks are almost real, I do actually believe in speaker cable making a huge difference.

Its just these unrealistic, unprovable claims that annoy me.

ethanwiner
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Re: Extreme Snake oil


Quote:
Now i can at least understanjd how these could be effective on vinyl, after all the cartridge is generating magentic fields and eddy currents that could be affected.


No, because the demagnetizer is not in use when the cartridge is playing. Plastic cannot be magnetized or demagnetized, so a vinyl demagnetizer is BS snake oil by definition.


Quote:
But how in the hell can they state that CD's are affected ?


Exactly - same BS snake oil. They prey on consumer's lack of science education.


Quote:
This type of thing gives hifi a bad name.


Not at all! Believers rejoice in accepting this stuff, no matter how preposterous. Witness this line of gag products:

http://www.nathanmarciniak.com/elemental/


Quote:
Thing is that magic clocks are almost real, I do actually believe in speaker cable making a huge difference.


Keep thinking about it. Once you understand why other people fall for the stuff that you know is BS, then you'll understand why magic clocks and "premium" speaker and AC power wires are BS too.

--Ethan

Jan Vigne
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Re: Extreme Snake oil


Quote:
Its just these unrealistic, unprovable claims that annoy me.

You could "prove" the effect by trying the product. They come with a money back return policy. Otherwise, declaring a product to be "snake oil" just because you do not understand its operation or function is not a fair assessment of anything other than your opinion concerning something about which you know nothing and desire to learn even less.

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Re: Extreme Snake oil

CD undeniably does have a metal component. From my understanding ALL metal is magnetic, it's just a question of how magnetic each type metal is. So from a materials point of view to me demagnetizing a CD makes more sense than demagnetizing a record.

Welshsox
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Re: Extreme Snake oil

Jan

Interesting to state that i know nothing about digital communication, let me expand my position a little there.

1 - I have a degree in digital electronics and telecommunications.

2 - I was trained as a technical officer specializing in digital communication by British Telecom in the UK

3 - I have 25 years experience in theory and practice, all directly related to digital communications.

4 - I am currently a Technical Director responsible for $75 MILLION a year worth of digital audio communication systems. These include the largest ethernet audio systems using Cobranet that exist in the world today.

5 - I personally responsible for the digital communication aspects of these systems, including cobranet and SDH. These are employed in life safety applications, i better know what im doing.

Your comment is insulting and unwarranted. I do know exactly what im talking about.

Alan

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Re: Extreme Snake oil

Does one really demagnetize vinyl or simply remove a static charge or are those separate problems.

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Re: Extreme Snake oil


Quote:
Does one really demagnetize vinyl or simply remove a static charge or are those separate problems.


Different phenomena. I can't imagine how magnetism could ever be a 'problem' with vinyl or CD disks. (It can be within cartridges themselves though) However, LP's are known to attract static charges that then attract dust. An antistatic gun can neutralize such charges but as far as I understand this has nothing to do with magnetism. Static charges on LP's can also be eliminated by liquid/vacuum LP cleaning .
As to all the other snake oil claims mentioned here they impress me as hybrid form of pseudo-science and superstition. I'm biased though, not ever having been able to distinguish even between religion and superstition.

Welshsox
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Re: Extreme Snake oil

There are a lot of snake oil versions.

The one that i really do think is important is speaker cables, they make a huge difference.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Extreme Snake oil

I didn't say you knew nothing of digital electronics. Actually, now that you've provided your resume I'm quite impressed by your experience in digital communications. But I see nothing that would say you understand the metalurgy of a CD disc.

None the less what I said was you didn't know anything about the product you were calling snake oil and - now - you were unlikely to try to find out anything more about it since you've made up your mind and no further information is necessary. Your prior "knowledge" has placed a roadblock along the path which might take you to where you would learn more about how the product might actually operate.

Strange products might make audiophiles suspicious creatures but a closed mind gives anyone a bad name.

You say you were reading about this device in the British magazines. What did they say? Did they hear an improved sound quality? Do you feel they are not telling the truth? If so, do you feel they are all just part of the conspriarcy to make you buy something or to make you believe you are hearing something? You would seem able to resist both pulls. What's the problem then? If someone wishes to purchase the demagnmetizer and decides it has a positive effect, does that bother you in some manner?

We've been through this dozens upon dozens of times on this forum. Perception is what matters. If you consistently have the identical perception of a change in your system, it should not matter how that change came about. It is real if it is repeatable. "Knowing" this or that will not make a difference is, in itself, buying into poor judgement just as much as someone who doesn't think about anything and just buys to be buying.

Learning and thinking are all I'm advocating here.

If I accused you of anything it was of relying on what you think you "know" and not caring whether there is something you do not know.

You seem to believe 1's and 0's are all the same. Is that the case? Do you believe a CD cleaner or surface treatment could make any audible change in the digital signal?

Have you tried the device you refer to as snake oil? Have you tried any devices or products claimed to enhance the sound quality from a CD source? If you have and you heard nothing, does that conclusively prove someone else might not hear an improvement?

I think those are legitimate questions to ask before you confer misdeeds on anyone. If you choose not to purchase a product, that is one thing. Proclaiming all who do purchase and use such a device to be the subjects of fallacious sales techniques is quite another.

Stephen Scharf
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Re: Extreme Snake oil


Quote:
Jan

Your comment is insulting and unwarranted. I do know exactly what im talking about.

Alan

Alan, Jan argues with pretty much everybody.

Stephen Scharf
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Re: Extreme Snake oil


Quote:
I didn't say you knew nothing of digital electronics.

Yeah, actually, you did. At least, I read it that way, too. I can see why Alan was insulted; your tone was depracating in your first reply.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Extreme Snake oil

It's difficult to translate the intent of a post when all you have are the words you see.

I did not suggest a lack of knowledge in digital electronics. We all understand 1's and 0's, don't we?

I did suggest ... well, just read my other post. If you care to answer the questions, then maybe we can discuss this further.

In my view, perception is what counts, not what you "know" must happen. The same perception made repeatedly by those I trust and my own perception when it is consistent count the most.

This rush to declare anything not comprehensible enough for the crowd is what gets me arguing with so many here. If someone believes cables make an improvement, then it shouldn't be a stretch to believe other things might also make an audible - if not measureable - difference. After all, cables are cables, are they not?

If Ethan or anyone else cares not to wonder why so many listeners have heard so many items make improvements, then they are free to not explore what might be possible. I cannot force anyone to increase their experience and knowledge or to hear exactly what I listen for. I've changed out the connectors on a cable and heard what I would describe as a dramatic improvement or degradation of quality. If you haven't had that experience, then I'm not here to say you are lacking in any area. We just hear and experience things in a dissimilar manner.

But to just declare all things snake oil, that's a bit much IMO.

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Re: Extreme Snake oil


Quote:
It's difficult to translate the intent of a post when all you have are the words you see.

Well then, I'll try not to use any invisible words.

Quote:
In my view, perception is what counts, not what you "know" must happen.

And in the case of schizophrenia?

Quote:
The same perception made repeatedly by those I trust and my own perception when it is consistent count the most.
Quote:
And by what standard do we decide to trust others? By the fact their perceptions &/or delusions agree with ours or with reality?

Quote:
This rush to declare anything not comprehensible enough for the crowd is what gets me arguing with so many here.

I'm not sure what's being said here, especially 'not comprehensible to the crowd' Crowd of beginner audiophiles? Crowd of scientists? Crowd of Mr & Mrs Public who know nothing about high-fidelity?

Quote:
If someone believes cables make an improvement, then it shouldn't be a stretch to believe other things...

What other things? There's a huge difference between conductors of known capacitance etc and little wooden disks sold as magic cure-alls.....

Quote:
.... might also make an audible - if not measurable - difference.

Indeed, the presumption that everything that can be repeatable and reliably heard is measurable with today's technology is still a leap of faith for some.

Quote:
After all, cables are cables, are they not?

Are they ? I can't work out if you're being humorous here or not Jan.

Quote:
I've changed out the connectors on a cable and heard what I would describe as a dramatic improvement or degradation of quality.

Me too but doing that ain't snake oil.

Quote:
We just hear and experience things in a dissimilar manner.

Yes and that's why I'd love to read the results of clinical audiology tests conducted on audio reviewers hearing published at the beginning of every piece of gear they make a judgment on.

Quote:
But to just declare all things snake oil, that's a bit much IMO.

Probably, but there's a need to distinguish between 'all things' and 'snake oil' if we want to avoid throwing our money away on superstitious junk. Having said that, if anyone imagines (perceives?) little wooden disks and funny bits of foil placed in strategic places adds to their enjoyment of music, that's their business. Just let's not pretend we know what's going on in such a situation, self-hypnosis, pseudo-science or some bizarre as yet unexplained aspect of physics.

Welshsox
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Re: Extreme Snake oil

Jan

I didnt and never have made a sweeping snake oil statement.

Im a big believer in cables and will defend that against Ethan and the other cable disbelievers. I believe in a lot of the various tweaks, even the ones that i personally dont agree with ( blocks, risers, expensive plugs etc ) I will at least admit that there could be differences even if not perceiveable to myself.

What i stated is that ths whole magentizing of CD's improving sound is uterlly ridiculous and that I cannot see any merit whatsoever in the concept. This is based on my extensive understanding of digital signalling. Of course everyone has the right to their own perception's, im just stating on this particular issue i see absolutely no technical back up in any way sense or form.

To answer your point about everyone understanding 1 & 0's I would agree that the basic concept is familiar but one you start talking about multiplexing, quantisation error's, bit rates, sampling rates etc im sure the understanding level will be reduced. Your simplistic statement about everyone understanding 1 & 0's indicates that you have a very limited understanding yourself.

Out of interest would you like to publish your technical resume to enlighten the forum on your technical expertise in the digital world, i have happily listed my basis for dismissing demagnetizers.

Alan

Jan Vigne
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Re: Extreme Snake oil


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And in the case of schizophrenia?

In that case what? What a scizphrenic perceives is still very real to them and that you perceive them as deluded is a reflection on your reality not theirs.


Quote:
Yes and that's why I'd love to read the results of clinical audiology tests conducted on audio reviewers hearing published at the beginning of every piece of gear they make a judgment on.

What purpose would that serve? JGH reviewed equipment well past the age where his hearing would have been less than optimum as judged by an audiologist. Yet I would trust his judgement of any audio component far more than I do many younger, less experienced listeners. You are talking measured hearing response while I am talking about knowing how to listen well. I'm not sure there are two people who listen alike so I am quite uncertain what value a hearing test would provide.

Superstitious junk?! OK, I'll cancel my order for the gold plated monkey's paw.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Extreme Snake oil

My, that's an odd post.

I mean you titled this thread "Extreme Snake Oil". That's a reasonably sweeping statement on the scale of sweeping statements. I guess that goes to show how the words you see can be interpreted in different ways, huh?


Quote:
Im a big believer in cables and will defend that against Ethan and the other cable disbelievers. I believe in a lot of the various tweaks, even the ones that i personally dont agree with ( blocks, risers, expensive plugs etc ) I will at least admit that there could be differences even if not perceiveable to myself.

What i stated is that ths whole magentizing of CD's improving sound is uterlly ridiculous and that I cannot see any merit whatsoever in the concept.

See, now I read those sentences sort of linked together all from the same person in the same post and when I get to " ... is uterlly ridiculous and that I cannot see any merit whatsoever in the concept" my head sort of snaps back and I go, "What the f...?!" Maybe it's just me but it seems like if you believe in things you don't personally agree with then it's kind of like you're doing a triple Lutz/axel/whirlygig thing and landing on your ass to suddenly say you don't believe in the things you don't agree with. I feel sorry for anybody who's tried so hard to make that lutz/axel thing and landed on their butt. But there you are, laying on the cold hard ground going, "I will defend your right to believe whatever you want to believe unless I really don't believe what you believe." I used to get the same feeling every time I watched a Russ Meyers' film.


Quote:
This is based on my extensive understanding of digital signalling. Of course everyone has the right to their own perception's, im just stating on this particular issue i see absolutely no technical back up in any way sense or form.

To which I replied something like, " ... and you won't bother to find out what you don't know." To which you took offense.

I found that offensive.


Quote:
To answer your point about everyone understanding 1 & 0's I would agree that the basic concept is familiar but one you start talking about multiplexing, quantisation error's, bit rates, sampling rates etc im sure the understanding level will be reduced. Your simplistic statement about everyone understanding 1 & 0's indicates that you have a very limited understanding yourself.

Honestly? "We all understand 1's and 0's" indicates I don't understand 1's and 0's?

How's that work?


Quote:
Out of interest would you like to publish your technical resume to enlighten the forum on your technical expertise in the digital world, i have happily listed my basis for dismissing demagnetizers.

No, I wouldn't. You didn't "happily" supply anything. You supplied your resume in a fit of pique because you felt I had wounded your ego. Actually, I guess I did or you wouldn't have been so piquish. You thought arguing from a standpoint of authority would be sufficient. It's not. My ego is not wounded and my authority is I believe I can count to 1 starting from 0. You can't argue with that.

Resumes are not what we are discussing here. If you would care to make the thread about how much you know about 1's and 0's and everything in between, that's your right, but that's not digital.

I am saying the dismissal of a product as "snake oil" just because you disagree with it is something you should not disagree with because you will argue for the right of anyone against Ethan to not believe what you are arguing ... if you believe ... but not if I argue ...

Geez, now you got me talkin' like that!

As to your "basis for dismissing magnetizers" you still haven't said whether you've tried one. If you haven't, you're just stating what you "know" - which ain't metalurgy - and you're not interested in any other information. Now, isn't that where we started?

Welshsox
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Re: Extreme Snake oil

[ My ego is not wounded and my authority is I believe I can count to 1 starting from 0. You can't argue with that.

Resumes are not what we are discussing here. If you would care to make the thread about how much you know about 1's and 0's and everything in between, that's your right, but that's not digital.

JV

Interesting that you state that counting from 0 to 1 is not digital. Thats exactly what digital is, its now clear that you dont have any non magazine read technical understanding and cannot comprehend where im coming from technically and as with most people who dont understand you are threatened by that and your automatic defence mechanism is to attack my statements.

I do not need to try a demagnetizer to know they are absolute snake oil, as ive repeatedly stated i am attacking this particular product not the whole world of tweaks.

The fact that you have offered no defence of the product other than attacking my right to dismiss the product further demostrates that you are just being a hifi groupie blindly following the herd.

Alan

Jan Vigne
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Re: Extreme Snake oil

1's and 0's are digital. It's the "everything in between" that's not. But then I'm no digital expert like you are.

I have not "attacked" your statements.

If you feel you do not need to try a product before you dismiss it as "snake oil", there are a whole group of questions I had asked in an earlier post that have been ignored. I have no interest in a pissing match with you but, if you'd care to discuss the idea of how you arrive at the claim of snake oil without complete knowledge of a device, then you might answer those questions and we can proceed from there. This isn't about digital and it's not about one specific product. This is meant to be a discussion - on my part at least - about how products and ideas and the people who promote them are unfairly labelled by those without the desire to open their minds and listen to what is being played. Snake oil comes in all varieties and the one you are espousing is just as dangerous and any other.

What you've said is you believe everyone has the ability to decide for themself which products work for them and which do not. You believe that is their "right" even if you disagree with the product they promote. How then can you turn around and declare any product as snake oil when you simply disagree with its premise and the people who promote the idea?

The premise is not a matter of merely 1's and 0's, the premise here is demagnetization of a disc. The discussion is not about 1's and 0's - about which I concede you know more than I do when it comes to digital communication - but about how you go about labelling a product as "disagreeable" or even "snake oil". The discussion is about how you arrived at your conclusion using only what you already know and ignoring what might still be there to be discovered. The discussion is about ignoring the possible and shielding yourself with something you feel you learned years if not decades ago. Its about hunkering down and not allowing anything new to enter.

I did not "attack" your "right to dismiss"(?) any product. I suggested you might possibly open your mind and your ears before labelling something or someone as undesireable and unfit. If you'll calm down, we can have a discussion. If you go on as you have, ignoring my questions and belittling my responses, then you won't come away from this discussion with any more knowledge either. You'll just be pissed off at me because I chose to disagree. No discussion, you'll have made up your mind once again.

Would you like to discuss this or would you care to call me another name? If you wish to discuss this, please go back and answer those few questions I asked. If you feel you've proven you know everything and I know nothing, goodbye, see you on the next thread.

May Belt
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Re: Extreme Snake oil

It is because you have stated your knowledge that I am responding to your 'posting'.

You are not the only person in the whole wide world who understands about digital processing. You have to give people credit for having sufficient knowledge and sufficient understanding and sufficient intelligence to know that the whole original concept behind digital processing is that once the information has been processed into digital form (0s and 1s) then it should not be able to be corrupted !! Presumably it is on THIS that you are basing your dislike for people claiming changes in their sound by doing such things as applying a demagnetiser to such as a CD. But many other people ALSO understand that once something has been digitally encoded, then it should not be able to be corrupted or altered, so how can what is being claimed (their experiences of improving their sound) be happening ?

Michael Fremer in his article on demagnetising vinyl discs actually started his review with the words "I didn't want them to work. I really didn't."

What you are not doing is giving people the credit of having as equal an intelligence as you, as equal an understanding as you, when they chose to describe what they have done and what improvements they have gained in their sound when doing what they did and which then appears to contradict what is generally believed !!!

Do you really think that people, numerous people, many of them audio journalists with a credible reputation to uphold and protect, of equal intelligence as you, would risk being ridiculed by describing what improvements they have gained in their sound by doing such things with CDs as painting the edge of a CD, as applying chemicals to the label side of CDs, to applying different colours to the label side of CDs, to cryogenically freezing CDs, to applying a demagnetiser to CDs and so on, if they did not think it was important to inform people on how to gain improvements to their sound ?

What you are not doing Alan is starting at the end - as Jan suggests - at the improvements in the sound people are describing - and then working backwards to try to work out what must be 'going on'. In other words, so much of science started, originally, at the OBSERVATION stage !!! Because, from so many people's experiences, SOMETHING is going on - to be sure !!!

But you seem to be dismissing that ANYTHING could be 'going on' which needs investigating. To quote you :-
>>> "What i stated is that ths whole magentizing of CD's improving sound is uterlly ridiculous and that I cannot see any merit whatsoever in the concept. This is based on my extensive understanding of digital signalling." <<<

Dismissing people equally as knowledgeable in 'digital signalling' but who have TRIED applying a demagnetiser to a CD and gained an improvement in their sound and who then end up with the problem with what they have observed but with no valid explanation other than it must have something to do with magnetism !!

Ethan equally being as dismissive :-

>>> "No, because the demagnetizer is not in use when the cartridge is playing. Plastic cannot be magnetized or demagnetized, so a vinyl demagnetizer is BS snake oil by definition.

But how in the hell can they state that CD's are affected ? - Exactly - same BS snake oil. They prey on consumer's lack of science education." <<<

Ethan is dismissing people's experiences (and presumably dismissing their intelligence) - and presumably INCLUDING audio journalists in that category - as well as accusing the consumer of "lack of science education".

Jan is right. You started this thread with :-
>>> " Extreme Snake oil.
But it is just ridiculous that magentizing a plastic disc could affect the sound of a digital signal. This type of thing gives hifi a bad name." <<<

Again, as Jan says, discussion about such things has been round and round the houses. Just the most recent was after Michael Fremer described applying a demagnetiser to a vinyl record and gaining an improvement in his sound. To which Buddha accusingly responded with

To Quote directly from Buddha in his reply to Michael Fremer :-

>>> "Does respect require that we buy lines of specific bullshit that you parrot courtesy of a marketing firm? Did you do anything other than memorize what Furutech told you?" <<<

And Ethan Winer responded earlier to the same subject by publishing a letter he had originally sent to the CEA :-

>>> "I sent this letter in November 2006 to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA):

Quote:
Hi,

I'm working on an article for a major audio magazine about fraud in marketing for audio products. I noticed you gave an award to the Furutech CD "demagnetizer" and I'm wondering on what basis you determined this is an award-winning product. As best I can tell this device is pure snake oil with no basis in science. So please forgive such a direct and possibly rude sounding question, but did they pay you for this award? If not, is there a way you could put me in touch with one of the judges or the person in charge who decided this product is worthy of an award?
Thanks.
Ethan Winer " <<<

******************

It is obvious, Alan, exactly where you are coming from technically with your comment :-
>>> "I do not need to try a demagnetizer to know they are absolute snake oil" <<<

You KNOW they don't work, you KNOW they don't change the sound, in the face of many people, equally as technical and as knowledgeable as you are, describing how the technique DOES improve their sound !!!

You see, you are not solely "attacking this particular product" you are also attacking the various people's intelligence, knowledge and integrity who chose to describe their experiences with this product (or technique) !!!!!!!

As one example of what I am meaning I quote another statement by you :-

>>> "I do actually believe in speaker cable making a huge difference." <<<

I am presuming that if you were an audio journalist and you heard (as you describe) "a huge difference" in your sound from installing a certain speaker cable and you wrote about what you had experienced in a Hi Fi journal, knowing your own knowledge and expertise, I don't think you would be so 'laid back' in any reaction to such as Ethan Winer referring to what you might have experienced (and written about) as "BS, They prey on consumer's lack of science education" OR, merely as a consumer of audio products, having experienced exactly the same thing (an improvement in the sound by installing a certain speaker cable) having your experience dismissed by such as Ethan as "your lack of science education"

I have just been reading a review of a VSE flat copper ribbon speaker cable by Adam Goldfine in Positive Feedback Online which, quite forcibly, has reminded me of the "Cable Controversy" article I wrote many years ago.

The controversy surrounding cables and the sound of different cables has not abated one iota ! Aptly illustrated by Ethan Winer's latest response :-
>>> "Once you understand why other people fall for the stuff that you know is BS, then you'll understand why magic clocks and "premium" speaker and AC power wires are BS too." <<<

Regards,
May Belt.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Extreme Snake oil

Hello again, May. Hope things are going well for you.

Alan, what if the results of applying the demagnetizer are real but the cause is not actually the demagnetization process? What if by working within our comfort zone we searched for an answer that fit into our known universe. Not the known universe everyone remebers from watching Carl Sagan on P.B.S. but the known universe within our own personal pool of knowledge - in this case demagnetization of a CD.

We prefer things to be orderly and neatly packageable into bundles we can store alongside all the other information we have in our mental closets. We put together wars in neat and tidy packages made up of things we think we know. We wrap financial policies around things we know so they fit into a nice box and can be placed on a shelf. We do the same with large thigns and small things, things done to us and things we do to others. They all fit into a box so we can feel comfortable sleeping at night.

This group of blue packages contains all of our knowledge of this group of "knowns" and that group of red packages contains our knowledge of that group of "knowns". When we come across a package that doesn't fit with everything else we have on the shelf we have to make a decision where it can go. It's typically the most convenient thing to place the green package with those things that it most closely resembles, possibly even wrapping it in blue-green paper to help us understand better how it fits with our other knowns. It saves us trouble and keeps things nice and orderly when we want to find something we know is in there. It also prevents us from finding space for anything new.

But what if the new is neither blue nor red but truly green?

What if the new is important?

What if in the process of trying to fit everything neatly into our closet we bend and squish the package to make it resemble every other package we know is on our shelf but it it really is a different thing?

If after all the bending and squishing it still doesn't fit, do we just throw it out and say it is irrelevant or it just doesn't fit with all our other packages? Or do we build a new shelf? If we don't already have the materials to build that shelf today, do we just throw out what doesn't fit and never even look for a new shelf?

What if the demagnetization is not the actual thing that makes this particular product have an affect? What if what makes this product effective is something we overlooked or hadn't even noticed yet? We've bent it and squished it and by calling it demagnetization we have tried to make it fit into our closet but in reality it requires a totally new shelf or even a new closet?

What if the designers of the demagnetizer thought they knew how their product worked but they were wrong too and they just stumbled across something they didn't understand but for convenience sake they assigned the efect to their "magnetization" box? If the product gets its effect from something other than demagnetizing a disc, if it is really a green box and not a blue green box, would you then feel differently about the product? Even if you still didn't understand exactly how it got its effect? Would you open the box and peer in every now and again until it made some sense to you? Or would you insist it be bent and squished and put in colored paper so it fits on the same shelf with all your other "knowns"? What if the results of applying the demagnetizer are real but the cause is not actually the demagnetization process?

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Re: Extreme Snake oil

Exactly what I asked on another thread. What if the change is real but the cause unknown?

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Re: Extreme Snake oil

Answer your own question. What if? What if you are then met with claims of snake oil?

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Re: Extreme Snake oil


Quote:
You KNOW they don't work, you KNOW they don't change the sound, in the face of many people, equally as technical and as knowledgeable as you are, describing how the technique DOES improve their sound !!!

Regards,
May Belt.

Yup. We're talking about religion and belief systems trumping observation and actual experience.

This is another case of deep-seated fear of "the other." In this case, it is fear of the unquantifiable, of something that cannot be neatly encapsulated, described, and named. Hence it is walled off and rejected out of hand. So unshakeable is the religious faith in so-called "science" that actual experience with the product is deemed unnecessary. Ironically, while invoking the name of "science," the investigation and observation which are at the core of scientific research are rejected out of hand.

jason victor serinus

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Re: Extreme Snake oil

Well, it's never dull around here...

rvance
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Re: Extreme Snake oil

Yes, JVS, ironic is apt. Dogmatic recitation of scientific truths does seem religious.

But what is typical and built into the scientific paradigm is the unavoidable heirarchy created within the observer/observed dynamic. The observed is relegated into a subordinate class within the relationship established by the scientific method. This unavoidably changes the essential nature of the observed and assumptions about the behavior of the observed can be tainted by this false heirarchy. The observer assumes a superior status which can unconsciously affect their judgment. Thus the myth of the objective consciousness as described by Roszak, Matson and others.

Which doesn't mean that scientific knowledge is not valuable and necessary to our understanding of the nature of things. I think we just need to see all the possibilities May, Jan and others value.

And whichever "side" of these beliefs we espouse, it can be discussed with civility and mutual respect, even when our own position is summarily dismissed without due consideration.

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Re: Extreme Snake oil


Quote:
I have a degree in digital electronics and telecommunications ... I have 25 years experience in theory and practice, all directly related to digital communications.


Quote:
Im a big believer in cables and will defend that against Ethan and the other cable disbelievers.

Alan, if you really understand electronics at this level, surely you understand that you could measure test signals at the speaker terminals with different wires, and determine exactly what changed from one wire to another.

Have you ever done this? I think it's great that you're willing to "defend cables," and this sort of test is the best way to convince me and others that think like me. With your job and background I'm sure you have ready access to all the test gear needed, yes?

--Ethan

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Re: Extreme Snake oil


Quote:
Well, it's never dull around here...

Mmmmmmmmm....Popcorn!!

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Re: Extreme Snake oil


Quote:
... this sort of test is the best way to convince me and others that think like me.

Or you can decide not to think like anyone else. Thinking "like I do" leads you to not thinking at all. With that approach you are repeating what you've been told you should know. You are working from niether end of the problem, not the result or the premise. Here in Texas we call that teaching to the test and our schoolchildren test with scores that are among the lowest in the US.

Results should convince an astute mind, tests are not the answer. To paraphrase Henry Kloss, "If you know the answer, its not reasearch".

Ethan, that has always been your side of this discussion, test and if the test doesn't give the results you want or what you expect or that fall in line with your observation, then stop and go no further. You've proven nothing can exist, nothing can happen. No need for curiousity. And, in your case, Ethan, we know you know everything - you've told us that already. No need to repeat that test.

If JGH had thought like Julian Hirsch, Stereophile would not exist. We would be reading by candlelight and not listening to Muddy Waters.

What ever happened to thinking for yourself?

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Re: Extreme Snake oil

Jan

To be honest I dont really care about red or blue pills. I have an extremely open creative mind with which i constantly learn new things.

This mind is telling me that demagnetizing CD's is bullshit and im sorry ive made that decision unless anyone can give me any real science to demonstrate otherwise. This doesnt mean im closed to the multitude of other things going on, it just means that in this world with our known technical values as they exist that it makes no sense and im sticking to that opinion. I find it interesting that more people are upset that i make a definitive stance on one small issue than anything else. The insecurity of this forum is never more apparent then a situation like this, my stance is taken as some slight on the hobby rather than the simple technical dismissal that it is.

Ethan brings up a very good point, i do have access to a wide range of acoustical test equipment but that equipment is almost exclusively focused on the quantity and direction of sound. Whats important in my world is SPL level and polar plots, i have no idea how you could prove the merits of different speaker cables. How does one measure perception ? how do you measure the imagery of a sound ? maybe you could do it with a holographic polar plot but im not sure if this equipment exists.

Im sure Ethan would agree that nobody wants to really quantify these things, if they were measurable than the whole mystique and black magic could be removed and value engineering could be applied to hifi and thats the last thing the industry wants !! actually having to prove why ur $1000 speaker cable is better than a $100, that would be a hifi salesman worse nightmare, as long as hes got magazines telling everyone that its better all he has to do is rely on the insecurities talked about earlier to ensure people spend the money !!

Alan

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Re: Extreme Snake oil

Jan, I truly appreciate critical analysis and exacting standards. But, according to the analysis you describe, as long as someone ventures off into the ostensibly "unknowable," they can say whatever BS they choose, and no one will be permitted to challenge it. Example: I think that the Heaven's Gate cult was total, utter, and complete BS. My own experiences and knowledge tells me this, and just because I didn't commit suicide along with them to determine whether they entered some special afterlife does not prevent me from being able to say this with confidence. If Einstein or Plato believed them enough to join in, I still would dismiss it.

I'd also like to point out that there are observational scientific tests that factor in perception - among the most common of these is an A/B test (whether blind, double-blind, or unblind, formal or informal, with multiple subjects or one, etc.).

We do not have to buy into anyone's perceptions, regardless of their intelligence, because perceptions can be wrong. This is also something that is difficult to control in A/B tests, and if the significance of the test falls below a certain threshold, it may not be controllable. But, if what is being tested is below that threshold, you must be very critical of single-person informal perception for the exact same reason.

So, while I do greatly respect many audio reviewers, including Fremer et al., people are perfectly capable of disagreeing with them. The evidence one is presented with is, first, one's experience and knowledge and, second, the stated perception of well-respected reviewers. If you determine that the former outweighs the latter, then you can judge accordingly. If one is then presented with further evidence (including, but not limited to, a scientific test of some sort), then one might change his mind.

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Re: Extreme Snake oil


Quote:
I think that the Heaven's Gate cult was total, utter, and complete BS. My own experiences and knowledge tells me this, and just because I didn't commit suicide along with them to determine whether they entered some special afterlife does not prevent me from being able to say this with confidence.

Of course they had to commit suicide. There was no other choice! Did you see the movie? OMG! Michael Cimino is probably responsible for untold thousands biting the big one.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Extreme Snake oil

It's obvious you've made up your mind.

Everyone is insecure except you.

Your mind is telling you one thing and, if anyone disagrees, they are insecure. Might I remind you that you were the one who listed his resume as proof you knew completely that of which you spoke. You challenged me to produce my resume just to prove you know more than I do. I conceded you know more than I do about digital communication. I'm not so insecure that I cannot admit you know more about that area than I do. Your resume is full of knowledge regarding digital communications - but not much in the way of metalurgy and that's who I would expect to be an expert on demagnetization. But you know what you know and according to you I know nothing.

Not that I know all there is to know about magents. I don't, not by a long shot. But I don't care precisely how the process is done, only that it gets done. If I hear the results, then I can stick the process in any convenient box I choose - or no box at all if that's what suits me. I was never told when I signed up to be interested in music and audio that I could only listen if there was an explanation attached. Were you?

Perception is the result, if I cannot easily find a box in which it fits, I don't discount the result. If you must find a box before you can enjoy the results, then that is something you will have to deal with. I came for the music.

Let me once again remind you that you were the one who declared me brain dead when it came to digital. That was your way of winning the debate, pulling your security blanket around you and denying me a corner.

Here's my opinion of this forum that I've been on for a while now. Whenever anyone chooses to disagree they are considered to be arguing. Most everyone thinks I argue with everyone. I don't, I choose to disagree and then someone else turns what I've said into an argument in their mind. They suddenly begin pulling their security blankets around them. They don't answer my questions, they ignore that I might have a reason to disagreee. And we always end up at this same point. No discussion because they've made up their mind.

No one here has to argue and no one should be insecure. It's a forum. We come here to discuss audio. Some of us are experts in one area and some experts in another. Some know litterally nothing at all but they bring the freshness of someone willing to learn. But I can only assume we are all here to discuss audio and music. To learn and to share. Unfortunately, that seldom happens.

The quickest response to a disageement here is to draw back, not to the high ground but to your trenches and then pull the dirt in around you. You accused me of not knowing about digital because I asked whether we all understood 1's and 0's. I know what I think of that but you tell me what you think, which one of us is the most insecure in this discussion? You, because you know all you need to know about something you might not know anything about? I ask not to argue but to disagree with your assessment of the thread and the forum.

I asked another question that got ignored so let's try this again. What if the effect is not the result of demagnetization? What if demagnetization is just a handy reference from which to begin - a convenient box to place the result into? What would your response be to that idea? Would that not be similar to someone who investigates cables only on the basis of L,R,C and ignores all the other components of why cables make a difference? Or am I mistaken and you feel cables are only a function of L,R,C? I mean if that's what makes you comfortable about cables, that's fine. I ask not to argue but because I choose to disagree.

If the process of making a CD sound better had nothing to do with demagnetization but did cause an effect you could distinguish as an improvement, would you be more willing to accept the results?

Finally, your little dig at audio salesmen is quite off the mark. You are once again looking for someone else to make responsible for your actions. Possibly a few audio salesmen would wither on the vine if everything they sold had to be measured to prove its value but most would survive quite handily I'm certain. Not because they sell products that can be measured with test equipment but because they sell products that people tend to judge by listening and making subjective decisions. Those people come into the shop on their own accord because they want to hear music. If they don't hear what they want, I never had one client break out their test gear to prove I was not telling the truth.

The degree of cynicism that exists on this forum is only superceded by the level of insecurity displayed when anyone chooses to disagree.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Extreme Snake oil

Sorry, but I simply don't get the premise of your entire first paragraph. No one is asking you to commit suicide when you decide whether the music is more involving or not. You wish to debate religion and that's not the purpose of my disagreement with Alan. However, I do find it interesting you know with certainty what happens after someone dies. Maybe we can take that up in a different portion of the forum.

I simply will not discuss blind tests. If you want to bring them into this thread, someone else will have to deal with that BS. I do not choose which selection of music I listen to by conducting blind tests and I do not choose my components that way either, or my dog, or my home or my car. I mean, can you imagine picking your car by a blind test?! Wouldn't that be the logical extension for someone who insisted on DBT's for everything in their life?

Other than you hanging your hat on DBT's no one is asking you to buy into anything. You are not required to hear exactly as I hear and the same is true the other way around.

You are free to disagree with anyone just as I am. But if you take a disagreeement to be an argument where there must be a winner and a looser, then we part ways. When you say, "The evidence one is presented with is, first, one's experience and knowledge and, second, the stated perception of well-respected reviewers", I have no real idea what you mean. Your "knowledge"? Knowledge of what? I rely on my knowledge of live music and I decide based on how close the performance approaches that ideal. I truly do not worry whether I have a box in which to place everything that results in my greater enjoyment of the music, that box would get too cluttered too quickly.

I am generally amused - if that's the right word - by those who do require a "knowledge" of everything that occurs in a system because they typically are more involved with the system than the music. To that end I do not require a scientific test to prove what I hear any more than I require an audiological exam of the writer before I find their prose interesting. I encourage a healthy interest in the process of a system - I think everyone should know a bit about how stuff works - but I don't worry about what you or anyone else feels about my system when I sit down to listen. If you prefer 300 watts and I am satisfied with 3 very good ones, what's the beef? We are not the same, that's why there are different components.

How many of the members here chose their equipment based on specifications? How about your speaker cables? How many know the capacitance per foot of your speaker cables?

If a component had "better" specs, why didn't you choose that instead? How about a nice Yamaha reciever for everyone? 0.0001 T.H.D.!

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Re: Extreme Snake oil


Quote:

If a component had "better" specs, why didn't you choose that instead? How about a nice Yamaha reciever for everyone? 0.0001 T.H.D.!


Truthfully, a yamaha that is compentent is probably all one needs..I

judicata
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Re: Extreme Snake oil

Jan - I like you. You're probably the single most thorough poster on here when you answer others' questions, including my own. That said, I wish you were a more careful reader - most of this post is going to be correcting your negligent mischaracterizations of my statements.

First, I didn't say I knew for certainty what happens when someone dies. I don't know the quantity of water in the ocean, but I believe it is more than a gallon. It's just an example, it happened to involve religion. I'm perfectly comfortable saying that the cult members (or those religious adherents if you prefer) did not experience what they apparently thought they were going to, without actually having been there and done that.

I didn't intend to engage you DBTs. In fact, I only mentioned them off-hand as a variation of A/B testing - which is just comparing one thing to another. I've seen you advocate for A/B tests (i.e., suggest someone to compare something). It is amusing to me that you say you don't want to engage in a DBT debate, then you launch arguments against it, though - you're really just saying "I'm going to throw my arguments against DBTs, and I don't want you to respond." I'll compromise - I won't go on and on about them, but I will say that if you purchase anything based on aesthetics, DBTs probably aren't the way to go (in case you don't get it - it's the second letter ("B") that prevents them from being useful in such situations). Your argument is clearly "DBTs are stupid for these things: X, Y, and Z. Therefore, they are stupid for audio." If you can't figure out the faulty logic, I won't leave you in suspense: there are clearly things that DBTs work darn well for (e.g., pharmaceuticals), even if they aren't absolutely perfect. If you wanted to argue they are bad for audio, we'd have to discuss the details, controls, and variables, and the differences between dogs, pharmaceuticals, cars, and audio. Since you didn't go into any specific reasons why DBTs are bad for audio, aside from the strange syllogism I addressed), AND you stated that you didn't want to get involved in it, AND I didn't even intend to argue about DBTs, I'll stop there.

Whatever - if I seemed to rely on DBTs in your mind, just replace it with UNblind, informal A/B and nothing I said will really change.

Also, I specifically referred to A/B testing because I do NOT heavily rely on charts and graphs, except for the obvious, and I wanted to make that clear. I don't have the equipment or the patience to analyze all of it. Of course, like you or anyone else, I like to know if my equipment is compatable with everything else - for example, I like to know my amp won't fry my speakers or itself. But, I get stuff because I think it sounds better. If I can't really audition, or don't have the time, I'll roll the dice and buy something and hope the reviews are right (subjectively). I also read reviews and posts with graphs if they have interesting explanations and descriptions - it is fun stuff to learn. But, at the end of the day, I don't rely a great deal on them.

As it should be clear, I do NOT require knowledge of how everything works before I'll buy it. But, if I do have knowledge that I'm confident in, and it conflicts with reports or reviews of a product, I'll go with my prior knowledge unless I determine that the reports are strong enough to overcome it.

If you want to argue whether we should always believe reputable reports and allow them to displace whatever previous knowledge we have, then go ahead. But I disagree. There are numerous reasons that a report could be wrong, many of which do not involve dishonesty.

cyclebrain
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Re: Extreme Snake oil

After reading through this I find it hard to believe that DUP was banned.
Demagnetizing a CD. The metallic aluminum material is non-ferous and thus non-magnetic. The plastic in the disk is not magnetic but is subject to the storage of a static charge. I see no way that any of this could affect the method that a CD uses to retrieve data, reflection of a beam of light.
And to not dismiss any product that one hasn't tried is not realistic. Should we all go out and buy every product and try it? Great for the manufacturers but not going to happen. In this real world we have to make decisions based on our best knowledge (belief).

Jan Vigne
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Re: Extreme Snake oil


Quote:
if an amplifier is competent and not driven beyond its ratings, it will sound like any other competent amp.

You and I disagree here. I won't deny they may sound the same to you but I am not you. And, no, I won't participate in a DBT to prove my point. I also feel most audiophiles are not "conditioned to respond" in case anyone (Ethan with his $100 bet) was about to ask. I've known too many that chase after tweaks without thought or fore knowledge, but that group is no different than an equally obsessed golfer, a fisher, an amateur wordworker, etc. That's why Tiger gets the big bucks for endoresments.

Finally, I'm not making a connection with this and Extereme Snake Oil. Are you suggesting everything should be labelled snake oil? Just pick the one with the specs you like and don't concern yourself because it all sounds the same?

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Re: Extreme Snake oil


Quote:

Quote:
if an amplifier is competent and not driven beyond its ratings, it will sound like any other competent amp.

You and I disagree here. I won't deny they may sound the same to you but I am not you.

Stereophile reviewer Bob Deutsch writes about this topic in the February issue. Bob, who taught experimental psychology at York University in Toronto until his recent retirement, points out that people divide into "Levelers" and "Sharpeners" when it comes to perception. Levelers tend to diminish the perceptual effect of real differences whereas Sharpeners tend to exaggerate them. Each is right _for them_. From this dialog it looks as if Jan is a Sharpener and Ncdrawl a Leveler, thus agreement will never be reached.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Jan Vigne
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Re: Extreme Snake oil

I am not unfond of you either but I have other commitments.

As I read your post once again I believe you have made it clear you are confident you know what did not happened to the cult members after their suicide, that would imply some knowledge of what did occur. But whether I rightly or wrongly unscrambled your run on sentence is beside the point. You are still bringing something into the discussion that doesn't belong here. You're making a cult belief system the equivalent to the acceptance of an audio product. Those are not the same.

Nor have I have suggested unadulterated BS cannot be challenged for what it is. I do happen to disagree with your view of the HG cult but that's beside the point. Everyone needs something to believe in. They just shouldn't need something so badly they do themself great physical or emotional harm in the acquisition process.

I have said closing off your thought process to what you consider BS is the wrong choice. We can go back to racism if you like, it is BS. Would I suggest no one challenge such behavior? Hardly. But that is not the equivalent of declaring an audio tweak to be "Extreme Snake Oil" simply because you disagree with the process as defined by the seller. You are taking an extreme from another belief system and attempting to fit it into your thinking of how to disprove an audio product. It doesn't work that way. Declaring racism BS is logical. Declaring an audio tweak to be ESO because you do not agree with the how it supposedly operates is illogical and quite another matter. I doubt you'd be able to get marchers into the streets to stop an audio tweak from existing. Just as difficult would be getting Congress to pass laws against audio tweaks. Given the particular circumstances - as in Mississippi in 1963 - declaring racism to be BS and being prepared to pay the consequences would take great moral courage. Declaring an audio tweak to be BS on the Stereophile forum requires nothing more than great cynicism and one finger. I hope that makes clear to you just how far astray you have wandered to make a poor analogy.

As far as my comparisons and your "A/B test (whether blind, double-blind, or unblind, formal or informal, with multiple subjects or one, etc." once again we are not on the same page. It is true I have always suggested anyone considering a purchase should audition the product under review if at all possible. My suggested comparison in this case is the reproduced music against the real thing - live music. A/B's, DBT's etc. virtually always pit one product against another. I find such tests to be uninformative since you could find yourself with two products neither of which can do a good job at reproducing the sound of live music. A/B'ing a $39 boombox against a $100 car stereo is not a comparison, it is a waste of time. You are left to choose between the lesser of two bad choices. That is not a "comparison" against the real thing unless you allow for gross errors to make their way into the decision making process which then becomes not a decision but a submission hold. A/B tests as I understand your description are for two sips of cheap wine from a paper cup.

The rest of your post has just as wrongly described my position. Sorry, you got it wrong.

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Re: Extreme Snake oil

Jan

I think ive been around long enough for you to know that i have no interest in debating anything political racist or religious, others can go down that road.

Im still confused as to why you keep on fighting against this demagnetizer. Im not advocating specification's as a final decider on anything, what i am saying is there needs to be metrics of some sort for any tweak to be believeable. There are hundreds of potentially silly tweaks that i can give credence to. An example would be a vibration stone on a CD player, it seems obvious at first glance that this is BS but it could be that the reduction in vibration enables more accurate laser tracking and therefore better bit resolution. This doesnt match my own thoughts but is at least plausible. There is nothing that gives credence to a demagnetizer working on a CD.

We will just have to disagee, we have both made our positions clear.

Alan

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Re: Extreme Snake oil


Quote:

Quote:

Quote:
if an amplifier is competent and not driven beyond its ratings, it will sound like any other competent amp.

You and I disagree here. I won't deny they may sound the same to you but I am not you.

Stereophile reviewer Bob Deutsch writes about this topic in the February issue. Bob, who taught experimental psychology at York University in Toronto until his recent retirement, points out that people divide into "Levelers" and "Sharpeners" when it comes to perception. Levelers tend to diminish the perceptual effect of real differences whereas Sharpeners tend to exaggerate them. Each is right _for them_. From this dialog it looks as if Jan is a Sharpener and Ncdrawl a Leveler, thus agreement will never be reached.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

I have had discussions with a lot of designers in the past over this one - - The "if you have two amplifiers that sound different, which one is lying?" - I find this fascinating as a subject - I have to agree with the theory and premise of the first statement - though I say it differently. Though I also have sympathy with the second statement

My version follows a design premise "A perfect amplifier is a gain component only, and has no other influence over the original signal."

But the human brain has a great many filters - all out of control and seemingly have differing priorities from person to person. Not being a Psychologist I'm out of my depth as to how and why they operate.

It comes across that we hear what we want to hear sometimes - It is also dependent on health, colds, anxiety, frustration, ....in my case, lack of sex.

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Re: Extreme Snake oil


Quote:
After reading through this I find it hard to believe that DUP was banned.
Demagnetizing a CD. The metallic aluminum material is non-ferous and thus non-magnetic. The plastic in the disk is not magnetic but is subject to the storage of a static charge. I see no way that any of this could affect the method that a CD uses to retrieve data, reflection of a beam of light.
And to not dismiss any product that one hasn't tried is not realistic. Should we all go out and buy every product and try it? Great for the manufacturers but not going to happen. In this real world we have to make decisions based on our best knowledge (belief).

I completely agree with this summary. I know less than nothng about the science of the issue other than your post and also do not see how the gadget could do anything.

That said, if I tried the thing and heard a change, in addition to being astounded, I would suspect the device is doing something other than magnetic that accounts for the change.

I cannot explain cable changes or power cord changes, but I hear them.

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Re: Extreme Snake oil

now that is interesting, JA... I need to look through the archives and reread that one.


Quote:

Quote:

Quote:
if an amplifier is competent and not driven beyond its ratings, it will sound like any other competent amp.

You and I disagree here. I won't deny they may sound the same to you but I am not you.

Stereophile reviewer Bob Deutsch writes about this topic in the February issue. Bob, who taught experimental psychology at York University in Toronto until his recent retirement, points out that people divide into "Levelers" and "Sharpeners" when it comes to perception. Levelers tend to diminish the perceptual effect of real differences whereas Sharpeners tend to exaggerate them. Each is right _for them_. From this dialog it looks as if Jan is a Sharpener and Ncdrawl a Leveler, thus agreement will never be reached.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

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Re: Extreme Snake oil


Quote:
This mind is telling me that demagnetizing CD's is bullshit


Exactly, because you understand the science enough to know that it can only be bullshit. If for some reason, that you and I don't understand, it were not bullshit, those who promote demagnetizing CDs would have found a way to prove it really changes the sound. But they never do. All they have is BS market speak, and pseudoscience sometimes with bogus graphs meant to fool the technically illiterate.


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i have no idea how you could prove the merits of different speaker cables.


Very simple! The only things that matter are frequency response, distortion, and noise. So measure those with plain 14 gauge zip cord, then again with any proposed "alternative" wire. There's your answer, whether others accept it or not.


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How does one measure perception?


You don't, but you don't need to. Perception is outside of the physical world, entirely in the mind of the listener. How someone perceives sound is unrelated to the actual properties of the sound. So don't even bother with that. Just measure what is real, and you'll have The Truth. Perception will always follow.


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if they were measurable than the whole mystique and black magic could be removed and value engineering could be applied to hifi and thats the last thing the industry wants !!


No shit, Alan. But do we really want to go back to the dark ages - literally - where superstition supercedes knowledge and logic?

--Ethan

Jan Vigne
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Re: Extreme Snake oil


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Levelers tend to diminish the perceptual effect of real differences whereas Sharpeners tend to exaggerate them.

I have to take some exception to the terms "diminish" and "exagerate". In either case they would represent the extremists from each opposing camp and (to paraphrase once again) extremism in the defense of anything is a vice. The extremists typically comprise a tiny portion of any group.

However, I can see the "diminishers" sitting contentedly listening to their favorite music through a decades old system of Garrard 301/V15II, original McIntosh tubed pre and power amp and 15 Ohm LS3/5a's (with an AB1 included to bring the bass response down to a respectable 45Hz) while sipping 12 year old Chivas. Interstingly, I own several of those components and there's a bottle of Chivas here somewhere. These people are the music lovers more interested in the albums they purchase than in the latest tweak or the newest circuit. They are the people who attended McIntosh clinics every year for decades (much to the chagrin of numerous Mac dealers). They purchased Mac once because it promised a lifetime of musical enjoyment and they were able to distinguish between an Eico integrated amplifier and a Mac MC275. To say these people have diminished their choices would seem to exagerate their reasoned selections.

The "exagerators" would also seem to be ... "diminished" in this context. You can be a dedicated audiophile without being an exagerator. In my mind I see exagerators as those who use the words "jaw dropping" or "I sat gobsmacked" far too often when discussing new components or tweaks. Exagerators would, I think, come up with phrases such as "Best in Class", "The Best Sound From Any Disc", "New Full Range Reference", "Records to Die For", "Sonic Perfection" or "The Stunning Sooloos System" to quote just a few of the bits of eye candy found on Stereophile's front covers over the last few months. The concept of "exagerators" takes me back to the days when the amplifier of the month dominated the high end audio press for nearly a decade. It is a description I would apply to all those "audiophiles" who have never listened to the "B" side of a 180 gram pressing.

I would suspect that as there is in all things there exists a majority of people who share a middle ground with a desireable helping of yin/yang in each of them.

If there were no "diminishers" we would be forced to sit through hours upon hours of symphony performances exalting the nearly forgotten composers we find in The Musical Heritage Society's clearance flyers. If there were no "exagerators", "The Last Kiss" would rank among the great youth athems alongside "Oh, Pretty Woman", "Hound Dog", "I Want to Hold Your Hand", "Boogie Chillun" and "Take Five".

Where do the "perspectivers" sit in relation to the "diminishers" and the "exagerators"?

tomjtx
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Re: Extreme Snake oil


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After reading through this I find it hard to believe that DUP was banned.
Demagnetizing a CD. The metallic aluminum material is non-ferous and thus non-magnetic. The plastic in the disk is not magnetic but is subject to the storage of a static charge. I see no way that any of this could affect the method that a CD uses to retrieve data, reflection of a beam of light.
And to not dismiss any product that one hasn't tried is not realistic. Should we all go out and buy every product and try it? Great for the manufacturers but not going to happen. In this real world we have to make decisions based on our best knowledge (belief).

I completely agree with this summary. I know less than nothng about the science of the issue other than your post and also do not see how the gadget could do anything.

That said, if I tried the thing and heard a change, in addition to being astounded, I would suspect the device is doing something other than magnetic that accounts for the change.

I cannot explain cable changes or power cord changes, but I hear them.

One possible explanation is the placebo effect.
As a subjectivist leaning listener it surprises me that so many rule this out so easily.
An awareness of placebo and a willingness to do some blind testing can save one a lot of money in the long run.

And, no , I don't think blind testing is the W/O it's own problems.
I do think it can be one of many useful tools in making a purchase decision.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Extreme Snake oil


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I think ive been around long enough for you to know that i have no interest in debating anything political racist or religious, others can go down that road.

Religion and politics do not fit into this discussion IMO. Their only connection would be their existence in a belief system that is sometimes not completely rational. By that I mean the choices made are not based on actual facts but on what one person chooses to believe. When someone chooses to ignore the possible, is there a God or can a CD be demagnetized, they are just as wrong as the person who opens their experiences to any and all comers. Neither situation generally ends well.


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Im still confused as to why you keep on fighting against this demagnetizer.

"Against" the demagnetizer? I'm not fighting "against" the demagnetizer. Nor am I fighting for the demagnetizer.

You've been around long enough to know I don't fight "for" or "against" specific items unless there is a real need to do so. I think the fact you feel I am "fighting" one way or the other over this demagnetizer means you really haven't paid attention to what I've said over the last few pages.

There is no "fight" in my discussion to begin with. And the demagnetizer is merely the latest item to be labelled unfairly as ESO IMO. That is why I entered this discussion thread.


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Im not advocating specification's as a final decider on anything, what i am saying is there needs to be metrics of some sort for any tweak to be believeable.

Just as with cables, shouldn't the "metric" in this hobby be what you hear? If measurements aren't all that important to you, why concern yourself with them at all? If you had your druthers and you controlled Stereophile, which specification or measurement would you throw out and which would you keep? Which is the most important and which the least important when it comes to what you actually hear? If you cannot answer that question, why concern yourself with specs in the first place? Surely you've heard a fifty watt amplifier that performs better than a 100 watt amplifier. I would suspect you've heard a $500 speaker do its job better than a $2k speaker. Why do specs matter at all for you, Alan?

You're concern here, as I understand it, is whether the item can actually "demagnetize" a CD. Why bother with that thought? If you "rationalized" cables the same way, you would be buying your zip cord from Ethan. It is the result that counts not the BS marketing from any company. If you saw a VPI turntable laying in the trash on the street side, would you pick it up? Or would you go home and read the marketing behind the product before you made your decision?


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There are hundreds of potentially silly tweaks that i can give credence to.

Then that would make you "silly". Only give credence to the ones you have experience with. The rest leave for someone else to try and give their credence for you to read about. I'm not advocating we all go out and buy each and every tweak there is. That too would be silly. I'm just saying let's not close our minds to the possibility that soemthing we do not understand might actually work to our benefit. Let's not label things ESO simply because their technical explanations clash with our collection of "known" boxes.


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An example would be a vibration stone on a CD player, it seems obvious at first glance that this is BS but it could be that the reduction in vibration enables more accurate laser tracking and therefore better bit resolution.

I don't know which "stone" you are referring to here. There are people who place bags of lead shot or sand on the top of their CD players and report an improved performance. And there are those who employ a product such as the "Shakti Stone" which is actually the Shakti Electromoganetic Stabilizer and sits atop various components. The latter is controversial because ... well, because it is. People don't like spending large sums of money for something they don't understand and they resort to calling things they don't understand ESO's. However, the Shakti Stone has actual controlled tests which prove its effectiveness in both the audio and the automotive worlds. You can go to their web pages to find these tests. So, while you might not understand its operation, it has scientific backing for its effectiveness. Would you buy it after seeing the test results or would you still insist it is ESO because you do not understand how it operates?


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We will just have to disagee, we have both made our positions clear.

Well, Alan, I find it regrettable you feel that way. You seem as though you have sufficient intelligence to carry on this conversation but you have chosen not to answer any of my questions. If this has become a one sided discussion, then there is no need to carry on. If you have closed your mind to the possibilities of the "demagnetizer" working under any circumstances and you refuse to consider my questions as worthwhile, then you might as well drop out. We've been through this quite a number of times on this forum and the results, as I've said, are often the same. No one changes their mind because they've made up their mind not to be changed before they ever got to this forum.

Speaking of that ... Hello, Ethan!

Jan Vigne
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Re: Extreme Snake oil

Ethan, that is probably the single most contradictory post I've yet to see from you. You're slipping. Usually you can come up with some sort of "stick your heels in the ground" BS to make things sound more interesting than you really are but this one didn't even rise to that level. One thought ignores the other and then you come along and stomp on all the rest in the next sentence. What's the matter, guy, is "It isn't so" just not enough for you any more?


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But do we really want to go back to the dark ages - literally

I agree. Does it make any sense to totally ignore the last fifty or more years of history in the audio world? Starting in the 1930's the effort to build better quality components was largely driven by what people heard. To throw all of that out the window just to satisfy one's own ego is ridiculous.

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