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JIMV
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More Alchemy

Again Sam spends a couple of pages on magic/quackery, and again the price is offensive...I do not mind being a sucker now and again but the scale as evidenced by the price of the magic gong is scary.

When will Sam return to actually using all his space for audio reviews?

remlab
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Sam

Have you tried wearing it like a hat? 

JIMV
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I think I have figured it out...

This is the May issue BUT, we get it in April making it the 'April Fools' issue as well. How else can we explain so much flummery and humor...Sams Magic Gongs, Art's cosmetic section and Michaels $10K cartridge....No sentient being could take any of this seriously so I guess I was simply 'April Fooled'. Ya got me guys!

Boy, it will be good to get back to real audio stuff next month.

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Art spent 2 issues on magic beans–

Sam has always been into alchemy. IIRC he was the guru of the green CD pen. Now Art Dudley just blew me away spending two issues writing about the Belt Magic Beans™. Really I expect more from Art. Sam/Tom I just look at as a humor column.

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But

But did you guys enjoy reading the columns?  I did. I thought they were hilarious and wonderfully written.  Plus, I thought it was just fun to hear about the experience of living with such unusual products.

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I agree it was well written,

I agree it was well written, but must note the name of the magazine is 'Stereophile' Not 'Flummery on Review'...If one wants quackery, go to Salem and you can find entire shops dedicated to magic crystals, odd potions, and inexplicable phenomenon only experienced by true believers..What is next, an interview with Cotton Mather on the audio of those Witch Trials conducted by the socorer of the month.

Seriosuly, the magazine has limited space...it is an audio magazine. Just like politics, alchemy belongs elsewhere...

And I have to also note Michaels very, very, very, very expensive cartridge IS an audio item, even if only purchasable by oil shieks, crooked Hedge fund managers (AKA Corzine) and deposed Monarchs who manages to get out ahead of the mob with the nations treasury intact.

Stephen Mejias
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hi-fi

And I have to also note Michaels very, very, very, very expensive cartridge IS an audio item

The Passive Multivocal Resonator and P.W.B. Electret products are also a part of the hi-fi hobby, whether we like it or not. I have seen them in listening rooms and at dealer showrooms. Yes, it makes the hi-fi world wacky, but it can also make this world fun and interesting.

JIMV
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But at quite a cost

As always in our hobby, there is a direct relationship between the cost of build and sale price. The more vast the difference, the more likely the thing is a scam of some sort.

There is a difference between wacky fun and simple minded....

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simple-minded?

JIMV wrote:

As always in our hobby, there is a direct relationship between the cost of build and sale price. The more vast the difference, the more likely the thing is a scam of some sort.

There is a difference between wacky fun and simple minded....

Okay. Did you read the part in "Listening" where Art explains: "The ratio of the number of free tweaks openly described by Peter and May Belt to the commerical products offered for sale by P.W.B. Electronics is now something like 30 to 1." (April, page 42)

Or the part where he explains that Peter and May Belt will send samples of their Electret Foil and Cream, free of charge, to anyone who requests them? (May, page 45)

Does that mean anything to you? Who are you calling "simple-minded"?

JIMV
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And yet.....

What does the Diner Gong cost, or the odd devices of a month or so ago...As long as someone crams $50 in parts into an $800 price and describes the way it works in a style remaniscent of those old clerics talking about dancing angels and pins, I must note the quackery involved.

I do not begrudge the folk who buy such oddities, I just note 'a fool and his money' and decry the magazines defense of such way over the top prices...

If every now and again, someone stepped up and said..."Heh, bitch slap comming! This thing, even if it works, is certainly not worth the price charged. It is a hodegpodge of unimpressive parts in a sheet metal box sold for a dozen times its cost."

There is a scene in a very old Woodie Allen film, 'Love and Death', in which a seriously cuckolded man lies dying in bed after losing a duel over his wife's dubious virtue. As he explains how he got into this pickle, how his wife was slandered, everyone else in the room is doing all they can to keep from laughing. I can see the staff at Stereophile all gathered to discuss some of this flummery all doing the eye roll, and wink-wink, nod-nod, as they avoid the very real excessive cost and the Malleus Maleficarum description of the 'science' that goes into it.

You folk have got to know better. Sometimes the Emperor is NAKED and his clothing overpriced. When you insist he is clothed some of us notice.

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Kinda, but not really.

I enjoy reading about quakery sometimes and I find it interesting on a certain level. I found it odd that Peter wasn't part of Art's interview. I would have liked a more probing interview, as it is he seems rather passive. I find it rather troubling that he found that the cream worked however. It makes me doubt his ability to real differences, and that's where the real trouble is. 

As for $10K carts, that's the kinda stuff I actually read Stereophile for. I find it exciting to hear about the new frontiers in audio. I find it annoying when people complain about the super expensive stuff, it just comes across as jealousy. As for the stuff I can actually afford myself, I talk to my local dealer and usually try it out. I trust him and my own ears far more than any reviewer anyhow.

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Why?

popluhv wrote:

 I find it rather troubling that he found that the cream worked however. It makes me doubt his ability to real differences, and that's where the real trouble is. 

But why wouldn't it make you wonder if the cream actually works?

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Good question

I've got several thoughts on this, so I'm just going to throw 'em out there:

Firstly is that this is one of those tweeks that are making no real claim to anything testable or scientific, e.g. the Tice Clock (which Art also liked, but his daughter didn't if I recall). 

The Belts' explanation is that this is altering the listener's perception. Well, in a sense that IS what is happening: Art's perception is altered in that he is looking for a change in his system, listening for specific things and finding them. But if you were to listen to an LP once, then listen a second time looking for "inner detail" or spaciousness etc., I'll bet you find it simply because you were looking for it harder the second time. You don't need a device or cream to do this. Any real change caused by a tweek would noticably dissapear when the product is removed. However, the Belts' tell us that this tweek cannot be undone (although he may be producing a magic towel in his workshop at this moment to fix that). 

I've tried some tweeks in the past, with varying results. I've found that applying some of them cause me to hear something new, but the removal of the new tweek doesn't make that realisation go away; I'm just paying more attention now. In particular, I tried the white belt from Rega on my P3 2000 and had this experience. Any slight detail I noticed, remained after I switched back to the old belt. Fortunately I was able to return the belt from where I bought it.

For these reasons I wonder if the cream actually works in the same way I wonder if Scientology is really true, i.e. not at all.

However, just for fun I'll make a deal with you Stephen: I'll try it if you do. We can compare notes later. Let me know if you're down.

-Nate

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Mattie Ross would have a field day with Stereophile
JIMV wrote:

There is a scene in a very old Woodie Allen film, 'Love and Death', in which a seriously cuckolded man lies dying in bed after losing a duel over his wife's dubious virtue. As he explains how he got into this pickle, how his wife was slandered, everyone else in the room is doing all they can to keep from laughing. I can see the staff at Stereophile all gathered to discuss some of this flummery all doing the eye roll, and wink-wink, nod-nod, as they avoid the very real excessive cost and the Malleus Maleficarum description of the 'science' that goes into it.

You folk have got to know better. Sometimes the Emperor is NAKED and his clothing overpriced. When you insist he is clothed some of us notice.

 

Or even from the movie and or book True Grit...

 

Mattie Ross: How much are you paying for cotton?
[Stonehill looks up from his desk]
Col. Stonehill: Nine and a half for low middling and ten for ordinary.
Mattie Ross: We got most of ours out early. Sold it to Woodson Brothers in Little Rock for eleven cents.
Col. Stonehill: Then I suggest you take the balance of it to the Woodson Brothers.
Mattie Ross: We took the balance to Woodson. We got ten and a half.
Col. Stonehill: Why'd you come here to tell me this?
Mattie Ross: I thought we might shop around up here next year but I guess we are doing all right in Little Rock.

Stephen Mejias
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tice clock, etc.

popluhv wrote:

I've got several thoughts on this, so I'm just going to throw 'em out there:

Firstly is that this is one of those tweeks that are making no real claim to anything testable or scientific, e.g. the Tice Clock (which Art also liked, but his daughter didn't if I recall). 

I'm not sure about that. In Listening #85, Art discusses our history with the Tice Clock. Are you thinking of Listening #107, in which Art discusses the Acoustic Revive RR-77 pulse generator?  He and his daughter both heard differences when the RR-77 was activated, but they heard different kinds of differences.

popluhv wrote:

The Belts' explanation is that this is altering the listener's perception. Well, in a sense that IS what is happening: Art's perception is altered in that he is looking for a change in his system, listening for specific things and finding them. But if you were to listen to an LP once, then listen a second time looking for "inner detail" or spaciousness etc., I'll bet you find it simply because you were looking for it harder the second time.

Maybe so, but you could say that about any review.  Art is a good reviewer and I trust him. I don't think he was looking to hear a change. He even says that sometimes he didn't hear a change. When he does hear a change, he in fact says that he "was startled that I heard any change at all."  Sometimes the change is good, sometimes the change is bad.

I think he reports his experiences responsibly and accurately.

popluhv wrote:

I've tried some tweeks in the past, with varying results. I've found that applying some of them cause me to hear something new, but the removal of the new tweek doesn't make that realisation go away; I'm just paying more attention now. In particular, I tried the white belt from Rega on my P3 2000 and had this experience. Any slight detail I noticed, remained after I switched back to the old belt. Fortunately I was able to return the belt from where I bought it.

What you're talking about is something a bit different -- not simply confined to tweaks -- and it's something that I imagine every good reviewer struggles with.  Is the change really there?  

Without getting too deep into it, I'll just say that a good reviewer works very hard to make sure that the changes he or she hears are reliable and repeatable.  Otherwise, WTF?  We won't report them.  Or we'll report that we haven't heard a change.

The fact that you could hear those slight details even after returning to the original belt is not solid evidence that the upgrade didn't work. It only means that you can now hear those slight details. It's difficult to forget what you've heard. The question then becomes: Did the new belt bring those details to the fore?

I know for a fact that my little plastic Dell computer speakers suck. However, once I hear aspects of music through my hi-fi at home, those same aspects usually translate, albeit poorly, through my computer speakers. I know that the details are there, and so I hear them. This doesn't mean that my hi-fi doesn't work.

popluhv wrote:

However, just for fun I'll make a deal with you Stephen: I'll try it if you do. We can compare notes later. Let me know if you're down.

Thank you for the offer, but I'm not really interested. I don't mean to be flippant or anything. I'm just not interested.

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I Don't Enjoy Such Nonsense As Has Recently Filled The Pages

I find it offensive and insulting to the intelligence of the magazine's readers.

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Why?

Why? What nonsense? I find nothing offensive or insulting in Art or Sam's columns, and I've read them very closely, a number of times. 

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I am a scientist

Perhaps that explains it, Stephen. I see annoying nonsense where you see interesting things.

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You're correct, I was

You're correct, I was thinking of review no. 107, not 85.

As for Art's relliability, I am pretty much inclined to believe him and the rest of his colleagues. That's why I find it so troubling to read something so unbeleivable. If I didn't value his opinion to begin with, there would be no loss here.

Yes, the perception would be affected in any and all listening tests. You make a good point about the Dell speakers. That makes sense, as I am certainly a believer that one can learn to listen better. I'm sure that the fact of the matter is that both things happen to some degree when a real change is in effect. All in all, I'm simply inclined to doubt the reallity of what Art heard. That doesn't mean I doubt his sinserity though. 

Initially I was surprised that you declined to compare the cream with me, given your interest in this forum. However, if I look at it from your point of view, accepting to review something 'cause a reader suggests it would set a precedent and open a flood gate of "hey, why don't you try this... and this..." etc. so, no problem.

-Nate

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i am a person

BigBuck wrote:

Perhaps that explains it, Stephen. I see annoying nonsense where you see interesting things.

I guess it depends on what you're looking for.

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time

popluhv wrote:

Initially I was surprised that you declined to compare the cream with me, given your interest in this forum. However, if I look at it from your point of view, accepting to review something 'cause a reader suggests it would set a precedent and open a flood gate of "hey, why don't you try this... and this..." etc. so, no problem.

-Nate

That's not really my concern. I'm open to all kinds of suggestions for reviews and articles. My main concern is my time, and I'm simply not interested enough in the products to spend the time working with them. (For the same reason, I would decline offers to review computer audio devices or extremely expensive products -- they just fall outside my interest.)  I'm glad Art did it, though.

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Only talking about the gong....

Maybe alchemy and magic are involved, but there could be some real-ishness to the gong…

Those bell bronze devices are likely to actually do something. I will leave it to others regarding the beneficience or audibility of the effect.

Basically, they are resonating devices.

Smack a bell or a cymbal and you generate sound at certain frequencies. No big deal.

Perhaps the maker chose to make his device with a resonant frequency (and associated harmonics) that are somehow pleasing to Sam’s (or others') ears when they are present in the room being stimulated by sound.

Kinda like how a cabinet or something on the wall might resonate when the bass is turned up too high, only more euphonic to Sam.

I could see where the chosen resonant frequency may add the sensation of a little more air, or give an illusion of a change in spacail cues that Sam doesn’t usually get from his gear without the large bell thing in the room.

He might like it, others may not.

It would be interesting to see what he thinks over time, because the bell has an obviously limited repertoire – it can only ring at the frequencies it rings at….at varying amplitudes. Similar to one of those old light organs that blinked with the music – cool for a bit, then monotonous.

It certainly isn’t exactly something that enhances sonic accuracy – I would predict a relatively rapid drop off in sonic joy as a listener experiences the same ringing with every damn recording.

A one trick pony may be amazing for….however long it takes to get used to one trick…but then your brain gets used to the sameness of the effect, and something like the bell may lose its luster.

For fun, get a drummer's cymbal and stand for it and place it between your speakers and then play some music. Then, suddenly mute the speakers and you’ll hear the cymbal continue to vibrate and decay as its stimulus is lost. The bell Sam reviewed likely does the same thing, only lower in amplitude.

Too bad JA didn’t get the product for a measuring session.

He could plot its resonant frequency, decay rate, and compare frequency response curves of the speakers in a room and then compare with when the bell is present.

Lots of cool measuring could be done. I know, JA is busy, put if you look at all the content in this issue devoted to these sorts of tweaks, the magazine is telling us over and over and over that these are 'important topics,' but not important enough to try to measure.

The price of the gong would also seem to place it in the worthy of mentioning realm, too.

Anyway, I look forward to Sam telling us how the gong tweak affected his three coins on the speaker tweak!

 

Last question: Is it coincidence that so may column inches are 'reprting' on this sort of tweakery, or did Stereophile do some marketing research that showed general interest? Is it using controvery to stir up interest? It does seem like we've had a sudden flood of gongs, trips back to the 80's for creams and foils, etc....

 

One last, last point....

Art made a goof on his Joseph Lister story. He lifted it right from May Belt's lips (as seen on previous posts here in past years) and presented it as though it was his thinking and not a scripted prompt he had been given. A search of these forums will bear out my claim.I don't mind it, but it's like directly using May's marketing preamble and presenting it as his own thinking.

In 2009 and onward, May was here spouting about the exact same illogical appeal...

Art should credit her for what he lifted, it does cloud his column, somewhat.

I still love Art, just watching out for journalistic integrity and all.

 

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Integrity

 

I can assure you that Art, using the Joseph Lister story, was his own thinking and was not from any scripted prompting from me.      I should be so lucky I have the power to “prompt” people !!

 

I would presume that he used that example because it IS apt and because he has probably read exactly the same history books as I have and has recognised a similarity with reactions in the present audio industry with reactions to Joseph Lister and the whole “germs in the air” issue.

 

The “germs in the air” issue came about through a chance event – from Louis Pasteur having problems when he made his own wine !!      On hearing about Pasteur’s new concept of ‘something in the air which must have caused his wine to ‘go off’ – what Pasteur named “vibrios”- made Dr Joseph Lister consider “Could the ‘things in the air’ possibly be the cause of my patients developing septicaemia ?”

 

The “germs in the air” concept was revolutionary because back then, over 100 years ago, the belief structure in the medical profession was that the microorganisms which caused septicaemia were already in the patient’s  own‘ bad blood’ and which might (or might not) erupt spontaneously.   Meaning that there was nothing anyone could do and certainly NOT be doing something OUTSIDE the patient !!!

 

It is also some of the reactions to Lister’s concept which show a parallel with today’s world of audio.

 

To quote from one biographical book on Lister and Pasteur’s discoveries :-

 

>>> “The attacks took on a form similar to that mounted against most discoveries:

 

Disbelief in the basic idea that microbes, as deduced by Pasteur as the cause of fermentation, were the cause of hospital infection.   It was dismissed as a lot of nonsense.

 

It must be remembered that those who challenged Lister  were not bad men. They were good doctors and surgeons at the top of their profession.   Most in their time had had to learn to accept the awful horror of hospital infection and they had to develop their own ways and means of coping under the circumstances.   After many years of effort they were bound to find it difficult to believe in a cause of disease which they could neither see or touch.  

 

A good example of this disbelief was Professor Sir James Young Simpson of Edinburgh.

 

Simpson had discovered the value of chloroform as an anaesthetic in 1847.   He, like other great discoverers, had had to endure attack and scorn until the world realised that he had done something to relieve human suffering.   Surely he, of all people, would have been the first to understand and support this new concept.   But no, he thought Pasteur’s work nonsense.

 

Then there was Dr Bennett, Professor of Medicine in Edinburgh, who was an expert with the microscope.   He disbelieved Pasteur because he could not see any microbes, either in wine or wounds.   “Show us these germs and we will believe”, he would say, “Has anyone seen these germs ?”, as well as many other humorous but disparaging remarks.” <<<

 

And so on !!!!!

If you want a parallel to Professor Sir James Young Simpson in the Lister story from the world of audio  I will give you Peter Baxandall.

Peter Baxandall was a highlyrespected audio engineer  who, in  1985, during a talk he gave to the British section of the Audio Engineering Society, said (amongst other things) :-

>>> “I do not believe that the use of expensive, special loudspeaker cable - no matter which way round they are connected - confers any sonic benefit whatsoever.   I do believe that all this business about single-crystal, high purity, oxygen-free, connecting cable is just a load of ABSOLUTE HOGWASH” <<<

If you want a more up to date (2007) reaction I will give you Jim Austin.

 

In reply to some questions I put to him he replied :-

 

>>> “    Vinyl demagnetizers make no sense to me, but I haven't given it a lot of thought. Is MF wrong about those? Could be? Or there could be something else going on besides "demagnetizing." And I could be wrong.

    Nordost liquid? Never heard of it, never tried it. A static charge on speaker cables could affect the sound in principle, but I doubt it.” <<<

And who then went on (in 2011) to describe some subjectivist reporting so :-

>>> “Subjectivists, meanwhile, sometimes seem to intentionally hold themselves up for ridicule. A few audio writers, especially for the online 'zines, seem eager to prostitute themselves for the latest preposterous product” <<<

Using the technique of ridicule and attack (exactly as in Lister’s time) instead of maybe (just maybe) realising that very many people are hearing improvements in their sound, from doing ‘out of the ordinary things’, which are not fitting in with the present conventional electronic and acoustic theories.

 

Engineers can discuss engineering aspects between themselves to their hearts content but as soon as they enter into discussions on the subject of listening to music, and on various people’s descriptions of what changes to their sound they can hear, then they step into another arena.

It is like - way back 100 years ago – surgeons discussing different surgical operation techniques but then wanting to also enter the entirely separate discussions being conducted between people about WHAT might be ‘in the air’, and WHAT techniques they have been experimenting with to prevent problems caused by what might be “in the air”.    The surgeons would have to enter those new discussions at stage ONE, or stage two, i.e at the same starting level as everyone else.     

Sir, Art’s reference to Joseph Lister was, IS, very apt !!   I would seriously suggest that Art’s reference was certainly from his own thinking.    Which, I would therefore suggest, does not alter his  “journalistic integrity” !!

Regards,

May Belt.

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Really? Really? Really?
Stephen Mejias wrote:

...(For the same reason, I would decline offers...[of] extremely expensive products -- they just fall outside my interest.)...

(1) I'm not quoting you out of context here and (2) you have got to be living in world other than your readers.  You are still not listening.  Virtually everything reviewed in the magazine is extremely expensive.  Come on, I can't believe you set yourself up for this one.  Unbelievable.

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Regarding Art, May, and Lister...

Methinks the lady doth protest too much.

A simple search of past posts here will prove my contention regarding how things passed from May's lips to Art's keyboard. 

I will skip getting into the utter illogic of the comparison of Lister and Beltism. 

A little journalistic transparency is all I was asking for.

 

 

 

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yes, really

Lamont Sanford wrote:

Stephen Mejias wrote:

...(For the same reason, I would decline offers...[of] extremely expensive products -- they just fall outside my interest.)...

(1) I'm not quoting you out of context here and (2) you have got to be living in world other than your readers.  You are still not listening.  Virtually everything reviewed in the magazine is extremely expensive.  Come on, I can't believe you set yourself up for this one.  Unbelievable.

Set myself up for what?

Why do you think I write a column called "The Entry Level"? The products that are most interesting to me are those that I can actually afford. Even now, 12 years into my career with Stereophile, my lifestyle remains much closer to the person who is just starting out, who is perhaps moving into his or her first apartment, working toward having a little money to spend on nicer things. For most people, five hundred dollars is a LOT of money to spend on a pair of loudspeakers; $400 is a LOT of money to spend on a turntable; $200 is a LOT of money to spend on a pair of cables. I understand that. Because I do understand that, I feel better able to speak to those people, and perhaps explain why the products are (or are not) worth the money.

Plus, I think the most affordable hi-fi components are also often the most exciting, attractive, and fun, and I think they often offer greater value than more expensive products. I’m much more interested in a high-quality $300/pair loudspeaker than in any $30,000/pair loudspeaker, simply because the former is much more realistic to me – it fits into my life. 

And while most of our readers can spend much more money on their hi-fi, those readers can still get useful, entertaining information from my work. They can be reminded of the elements of their own enthusiasm, rekindle that enthusiasm, and perhaps find products that can be considered for others who are just starting out, whether friends or family.  

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  "I will skip getting into

 

"I will skip getting into the utter illogic of the comparison of Lister and Beltism."

Actually the comparison of Lister and Beltism is rather appropos from the standpoint that audiophiles expect that everything that affects sound must be in direct contact to the audio signal in the electronics or affect the acoustics of the room.  When something comes along that does not affect the audio signal in any way, not electronics, not cables or wires, not the speakers, and not room acoustics, then it's logical to compare it to germs in the air.  Of course, before Lister, everyone thought germs were spread only by direct contact. 

 

Geoff Kait

Machinadynamica.com

Anton
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Lister, of course, had a testable hypothesis.

Lister's applications worked regardless of whether or not the recipent knew what poultice was applied.

Lister could construct legitimate data from his experiments.

If one of Lister's poultices did not work, the recipent was not 'blamed' for lack of sensitivity to such a fine poultice, and Lister did not claim universal applicability of his products. They were only required in certain instances for certain people.

Lister's treatments would not benefit the recipient merely by being placed somewhere in the same room as the recipient.

-

The poor choice of 'honor by word association' that Art seems to have taken from May is nonsensical.

Not that Art might have heard something, just that illogical associations should be avoided.

Perhaps using Joseph Smith or Franz Joseph Gall would be more apropos.

The scientific version of "they all laughed when I sat down at the piano" that Art borrows from May is inappropriate.

On the plus side, however....Art and May did choose an example of a treatment that only applies to those who require the assistance of the poultice, and people who are not injured/infected in some way would obviously not require this sort of intervention.

Even Lister knew to leave 'normal' people alone. Lister was trying to help the infirm resume a healthy state - like those of their already healthy peers.

So, the example is apropos in this one sense: by citing an example that does not put forth the nonsense that every audiophile or patient requires May's or Lister's administrations, Art got a small detail right. There are admittedly those who are not in need of such things in order to have the same beneficial outcome as people who do require them! 

Again, not arguing with what Art says he heard, just that the Lister/Belt analogy is faulty.

May owes Art a debt of gratitude that he did not choose Franz Joseph Gall and his theory of phrenology as the exemplar for Belt tweaks.

Best wishes.

 

 

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Lister and Beltism

Sorry to be disagreeable, but it's simply not true, a strawman argument, to say that only those in need of the (Belt) treatment need apply it.  In fact, Beltism works just as well whether the listener is aware the treatment is in place or not, or whether he feels any need for its application.  Like most tweaks, Mpingo discs, tiny bowl resonators, Schumann Frequency generators and such, there is no requirement that the listener be in need of them or that he even be aware they're in place. The interaction of the mind with it's immediate surroundings, a subconscious interaction, is not subject to the whims, biases, or intentions of the listener, it's something that cannot be controlled and occurs automatically.  A perfectly healthy individual may, in fact, respond better to the Belt treatment than an infirm, nervous or overly biased one.  In the same way a healthy person might respond to better interconnects or better speakers.

 

Geoff Kait

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Anton
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That wasn't disagreeable at all!

I simply contend that a claim that Belt tweaks are a panacea is not supported by the facts.

Even may uses Lister as her exemplar. She obviously knows, at some level, that claims of universality for any tweak of this type is fallacious.

May claims there are no "healthy" people, only those who are treated or yet to be treated.

In your claim about a 'perfectly healthy' individual, we find another place where we disagree. In May's world, this 'healthy' person would only become 'perfectly healthy' after being treated for an imagined malady of some sort. Even Lister did not insist that every person on earth requires his poultice to gain a state of normal health! I do hope she can learn from her own example. Only people with a problem required Lister's therapies..... the same for May's medicinal mechinations.

In May's schema, everyone is pathologized, which is another digression into illogic.

I wouldn't mind if she said that 'potentially' anyone may benefit from her therapy, but she steadfastly lays blame on those who do not require her medications as having missed something rather than admitting that they may already be 'healthy' and enjoying the same experience for which may requires therapy to experience.

Some people are happy without medication, others may require medication to get there.

It's all good, just that May's claim of universality is balderdash.

 

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So called alchemy

 

You have got completely the wrong end of the stick, Anton.

The significant part of the Lister story, which appertains to the world of audio, are the various reactions to the concepts, put forward first by Pasteur and then continued by Lister.

Long before Lister began to use what you call poultices on his patients, Pasteur had been working with his perfectly OK wine, until that is, he left the tops of the bottles open to let the fermentation bubbles escape.   After doing that, for some explicable reason, he found his wine had ‘gone off’.   Which, to Pasteur, pointed to the fact that there must be ‘something’ in the air, ‘something’ adverse, already there – which no one had been aware of.  

So, the story starts with the wine being OK.   But then came the realisation that everything can’t be OK, if ‘something’ could send the wine off !!!   Nothing to do with ONLY ‘treating’ what appears wrong !!!!

Which then brings me to the role of significant people.   I would regard, at that time, at that period, that Louis Pasteur, the famous French chemist WOULD be such a ‘significant person’ someone not to be dismissed ‘out of hand’.   Certainly someone whose experiences should be taken notice of.   I don’t mean to be believed without question – but certainly someone whose experiences warranted better consideration than was accorded him.

It was the outright dismissal of such a person’s experiences which is the parallel with much of what goes on in the audio industry.

As I have said many times.   Take out of the discussion all the Belt techniques which seem to give you such problems.   You are STILL then left with various significant people’s experiences with :-

Cryogenic freezing.

Colouring the edge of CDs.

Different cables sounding different.

Directionality in some wires.

Directionality in some fuses.

Dieter Ennemoser’s C37 lacquer.

Shun Mook devices.

Harmonic Discs.

Shakti Stone.

The lacquer which Sonus Faber use on their speaker cabinets (which they claim is ‘friendly to audio’).

Nordost ECO 3 liquid.

Applying a demagnetiser to LPs and CDs.

(Small size !!) Room resonance devices.

Aiming a hair dryer containing Tourmaline balls at a CD.

Applying various crystals.

The Schumann Resonance device.

The Stein Music device

The Less Loss device.

To name but a few.  

And, many of those had their origin with a chance event.   They were NOT discovered by gleaning information from audio, electronic or acoustic text books !!!!

Why all these devices or techniques can give improvements in the sound will not be solved by some members of the world of audio dismissing them as ABSOLUTE HOGWASH or by accusing some audio writers of “prostituting themselves” because they choose to write about them

In exactly the same way that nothing would have been solved by members of Pasteur’s and Lister’s peer group ridiculing them and dismissing their concepts ‘out of hand’ !!!!

It is not a case, as you suggest, of only looking at what one knows as wrong.

The WHOLE of Pasteur’s environment (the outside air) was a problem in the making of his wine – that is why he had to design a contraption which he could place over the top of the wine bottles to allow the fermentation bubbles to escape but which would prevent the outside air getting in.

The WHOLE of Lister’s environment was wrong – that is why he developed his carbolic spray with which to surround the patient before he made any surgical incision.

>>> “Only people with a problem required Lister's therapies..... the same for May's medicinal mechinations.” <<<

You have the most peculiar interpretation of Lister’s and our concepts.

When people are making wine, they do not identify a problem with their wine ‘going off’ and then, later, attach an appropriate device to their fermentation bottles.      They KNOW now that there is a problem with ‘something’ in the air – because of Pasteur !!!!!   But, before Pasteur they did not know – even though the problem had been there – all the time.

For example, if you never introduce the Schumann Resonance device into your room, you will never know that there was/is a problem with how you are resolving the complexity of the music !!!!!!!    When you hear the effect of the Schumann Resonance device i.e. an improvement in the sound, THEN you are made aware.   Nothing to do with a person being not healthy and therefore in need of it, or healthy and not needing it..  The modern environment is ‘throwing so much at us’ and we are attempting to ‘cope with it’.   It then becomes a personal thing as to how and what we react most to.   Each to his own.

The problem of the modern environment is there – whether you want to do anything about it is your choice.    Others are (and have been) merely informing you of ways you can try.

How is ‘healthy’ or ‘not healthy’ anything to do with such as applying the Nordost ECO 3 chemical to the label side of CDs, to the labels of LPs, to the outer insulation of cables (including AC power cords) ?

As I say, take all the Belt techniques out of the discussion, and you will still have to explain the effect on the sound of all the other things I list.

>>> “Art and May did choose an example of a treatment that only applies to those who require the assistance of the poultice, and people who are not injured/infected in some way would obviously not require this sort of intervention.” <<<

As I have said, Anton.   You have a most peculiar interpretation of our treatment.   Are you saying that people who are not injured/infected would not require such as the Schumann Resonance device ?

Regards,

May Belt.

geoffkait
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Beltism

I happen to agree that tweaks will not work on some systems but that should not be construed as saying they not universal.  We know that many tweaks, Shun Mook discs, green pen, the Belt rainbow foil, Schumann frequency generator, Shakti Stone, to name a few, do not perform as expected in some systems.  This does not mean they are not universal, it is only an indication that something is wrong in the cases where the tweaks failed to show up - the listener did not follow instructions, the system was not up to the task or there were problems in the system, the tester's hearing was not up to snuff, etc.  

The explanation that many problems in the modern environment negatively affect the individual's sense of hearing should not be construed as any sort statement that physical, emotional or psychological problems exist.  If you attend a concert and can't make out the lyrics due to crowd noise, it is not because you are suffering some sort of psychological or physical malady.  It's simply because you can't hear over the crowd noise.  The Belts are saying that, even in the relative quiet of the listening room, the "noise" produced by many different problems in the environment limit your ability to hear properly or completely.  This "noise" is not related to acoustic noise like crowd noise, or electrical noise in the system, it is related to the interaction of the environment with the listener.  That's Beltism in a nutshell.

Geoff Kait

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Anton
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On to more devices....

"Are you saying that people who are not injured/infected would not require such as the Schumann Resonance device ?"

I am saying that there are people who do not require that tweak because they are already fully enjoying their systems and the sound.

So, yes, there are people who do not require a Schumann Resonance Device in order to garner as much joy/detail from their listening rooms and systems as those who may require the device.

Same with Lister and modern technology - there are those who feel just fine without being on, say, an antibiotic and there are those who may feel better with one on board. For some people, Belt type teaks may be required to achieve the same level of sonic pleasure and nuance as it is for people who are already 'healthy.'

Much of this boils down to salesmanship.

A given audiophile may not require Belt tweaks, synthetic/artificial Schumann enhancement that goes above and beyond what is already naturally present, antibiotics for an underlying otitis, blood pressure medicine, or any number of extraneous interventions in order to enjoy equal sonic benefit as people who do require such enhancements. Some people need Viagra, some don't. A claim for a tweak saying it addresses some universal deficiency present in all audiophiles is outlandishly untrue.

Art noticed some of the Belt tweaks did nothing. Was he wrong? Or, could it be he simply did not require 'therapy' for a problem that didn't exist for him?

Art may be able to sonically get it up without someone having sold him sonic Viagra. That's all.

 

 

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Nope, not universal...

You say, "This does not mean they are not universal, it is only an indication that something is wrong in the cases where the tweaks failed to show up..."

It may, in fact, mean that the person in question simply does not require this product.

Or, to try to agree with you: "Something is wrong in cases where the tweaks failed to show up..." because the tweak may not be required for that person, and adds nothing to his/her experience that was not already present.

Not everyone needs Cymbalta to be happy. Not everyone requires a belt Tweak to get the same joy from their systems. If someone does not require Ambien in order to sleep, then it is not that something is wrong with them - they are already enjoying the same experience that another person requires a tweak to achieve. (They call meth addicts 'tweakers' for a reason, you know!)

Shouldn't be controversial, really.

Only big pharma seems to think we all need their product. I would certainly hope May wouldn't promote such a hegemonious and hubristic hypothesis.

geoffkait
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Beltism

"You say, "This does not mean they are not universal, it is only an indication that something is wrong in the cases where the tweaks failed to show up..."

It may, in fact, mean that the person in question simply does not require this product."

............Nobody has a requirement for any audio tweak, tweaks are for folks who are trying to get better sound.  Not everyone subscribes to tweaks, obviously.  You seem to be saying there is something inherently wrong or sick in trying to improve one's sound.  

"Or, to try to agree with you: "Something is wrong in cases where the tweaks failed to show up..." because the tweak may not be required for that person, and adds nothing to his/her experience that was not already present."

...........as I've already pointed out, the problems are present in everyone, whether we choose to acknowledge it of not.  I also gave you examples of other tweaks that fail on occasion - but not because the benefit they provide is already present!

"Not everyone needs Cymbalta to be happy. Not everyone requires a belt Tweak to get the same joy from their systems. If someone does not require Ambien in order to sleep, then it is not that something is wrong with them - they are already enjoying the same experience that another person requires a tweak to achieve. (They call meth addicts 'tweakers' for a reason, you know!)

Shouldn't be controversial, really."

...........Of course, the word joy is very subjective, I'm sure we can find many examples of folks who are very happy with their boom boxes.  We were are perfectly happy with black and white TVs until color sets came out.  And were joyous with our 32 inch Panasonics until we saw 50" LED flat screens.  I think they call that progress.

"Only big pharma seems to think we all need their product. I would certainly hope May wouldn't promote such a hegemonious and hubristic hypothesis."

............Don't worry, she doesn't.  

 

Geoff Kait

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The argument thus far seems to leave out another possibility...

The possibility that there is no effect at all, despite the claims to the contrary. The Emperors new Clothes effect...

 

 

Just because some number of folk claim something does not make it so...The herd effect.

Anton
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Not passing the smell test.

"You seem to be saying there is something inherently wrong or sick in trying to improve one's sound. "

 Not at all.

 Just saying not everyone is suffering some sort of Belt Tweak deficiency.

 Someone may have a very damped room and I would not agree with another tweak salesman who was trying to sell that person a product to dampen the room further.

 Not everyone needs the same tweaks is actually what I am saying.

 ".......as I've already pointed out, the problems are present in everyone, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not. I also gave you examples of other tweaks that fail on occasion - but not because the benefit they provide is already present!"

 I hardly think that is a diagnosis worthy of being acknowledged as correct!

 However, it does give a glimpse into May's philosophy. She, and you, maybe, think everyone has some problem that her product will solve.

 There are many tweaks that are not required by a person or room in order to enjoy the full measure of the system's abilities. You and May listed many spontaneously!

 There may be people who are fully able to be tuned into the Schumann Resonance of the earth without paying a purveyor of goods for an enhancement. Others may need this item to catch up to those who are already grooving.

 Universal pathologizing is universally inaccurate.

The inability to see that some people may not require a tweak is a scary proposition. Patently arrogant - but I can see this point of view coming from an acolyte of a given philosophy. Misery loves company, and all!

 Some people may, in fact, gain a full measure of sonic joy from a boom box. I wish I could...it would save cash!

 It is further arrogant and incorrect to assume that others are suffering some sort of deficiency due to a lack of any given tweak.

 Ask them, they can explain their joy and what the music is doing better than another person who is surrounded by tweaks and talismans.

In this case, who is really "defective?

 :D

 "Progress," you say?

 I disdain all TV, and get more pleasure from that than anyone with an electronic behemoth souring their home environs!

 I also hope they never make progress with Ansel Adams pics and leave them in their glorious black and white splendor.

 A pox upon this progress you promote!

 Universal tweak is an oxymoron.

 

 

Lamont Sanford
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Wrong

Universal tweak is not an oxymoron.  "Apple Tech Support" is an oxymoron.

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Further on the subject

Anton, You seem to be obsessed as to whether people are healthy or unhealthy when they try and then experience the effect of various ‘tweaks’.   As much obsessed as another Anton (who is Buddha on this Chat Forum) – or are you the same Anton ?

Buddha also was convinced that people must have some deficiency within them and that made them in need of remedial treatment for ours and other devices (tweaks) to work !!!!!

Quote:

>>> “Ask them, they can explain their joy and what the music is doing better than another person who is surrounded by tweaks and talismans.” <<<

If you are not Buddha, then Buddha was ALSO of the opinion that the people who described hearing improvements in their sound from carrying out certain ‘tweaks’, needed those ‘tweaks’ as ‘props’, as ‘talismans’.

You seem prepared to accept peoples’ reports that they never expected a certain ‘tweak’ to reveal as much “additional information” as it did, but you will only accept those reports providing you can regard those people as “needing” that ‘tweak’ because of a deficiency in them or because they “needed” that ‘tweak’ as a ‘prop’ or a ‘talisman.

I am meaning “additional information” such as one, more or all of the following (not MY words, they have merely been picked as a good representative from people’s published experiences).

Quote:

>>> “Most immediately apparent was a slightly darkened (more quiet) background fabric from which every sound seems to blossom more fully.

 

It was just as immediately apparent that there was a reduction of stridency to upper midrange and lower treble bands, a minimization of the "glare" - 

Noises previously buried down in, or slightly masked by, the noise floor are released much more coherently and identifiably

 

One of the more delicious aspects of its effectiveness is the resultant elevated bass performance. While the lowest registers are not any deeper, they are clearly more defined. Picking or fingering of strings in bass runs becomes much more apparent and discernable, allowing a greater ease in following complex bass lines. It also contributes seemingly faster rise times, with clearer decay and fall off than without its application.

 

And talk about enhanced spatial performance! Post treatment reveals more "space" between instruments, and greater "air" around them. We are treated to a more focused soundstage, with greater specificity to images. Staging is typically slightly wider, deeper, and taller, with heightened "illumination" of the rear left and right corners of the soundstage. The result is an overall perspective that is more honest, more faithful to reality, with better focus and more realistically sized.

What I heard was unmistakable.   The soundstage expanded moderately in width, and almost doubled in depth.   The upper midrange and treble was less strident and forward, and better integrated into the midrange.   Transparency was improved:   Image dimensionality was improved significantly, with better localization and differentiation of individual sounds, and there was more “air” surrounding each instrument.” <<<

Now to your quotes :-

Quote:

>>> “They were only required in certain instances for certain people.” <<<

Lister’s warning of “Watch out, there are germs in the air” and Pasteur’s warning  of “Watch out, there are germs in the air” applied to EVERYONE, not just ‘certain people’ in ‘certain circumstances’ !!

Quote:

>>> “Even Lister knew to leave 'normal' people alone.” <<<

Quote:

>>> “May claims there are no "healthy" people, only those who are treated or yet to be treated.” <<<

Please Do Not put words into my mouth which I do not say.    (Incidentally, this was also a discussion technique used by the other Anton – i.e Buddha).  

I DO NOT say that our devices and techniques are only required for certain people !!!

I DO NOT say that there are no healthy people. !!!

Quote:

>>> “Only people with a problem required Lister's therapies.....” <<<

You are back again with the subject of “only people with a problem” !!   The “Germs in the air” were and still are a universal problem for people  - EVERYONE !!!   Healthy or not !!   

Quote:

>>> “In May's schema, everyone is pathologized, which is another digression into illogic.” <<<

Again, DO Not put inferences  and associate them with me which are not true .

Looking at the subject of “germs in the air”,– the germs are THERE – for everyone to have to deal with in some way or other !!   We are ALL involved with the “germs in the air”, Anton, not just the people who are having an operation or who need an antiseptic gauze for an open wound.

Quote:

>>> “but she steadfastly lays blame on those who do not require her medications as having missed something” <<<

Again, please DO NOT put words into my mouth which I do not say.  

As with Lister, Pasteur,  pointing out to people that there were/are “germs in the air”, and in the present audio decade such as Enid Lumley pointing people to what she called “Gremlins in the environment”, no one “lays blame” on anyone !!!!!!!!!

You appear to constantly want to dismiss most people’s reactions after using one, some or all of the various devices from the list I gave as them being somehow deficient in something and therefore needing a remedial solution !!  -  instead of realising (using the parallel of “Germs in the air”) that there are Germs everywhere .   That EVERYONE’S immune system is having to use energy to deal with the presence of the various germs !!    Out of (say) 100  people, I think it would be safe to say that ALL100 will have different immune reactions due to their different life styles and experiences but EVERYONE’S immune system will be having to work and use energy at SOME level in ‘dealing with the variety of germs !!!   Which means that everyone is ‘involved in it’,(i.e the environment) whether they want to acknowledge such or not.   You can’t say “I don’t need my immune system to be working, I have given it the day off, or the week off, because I am healthy.”   You don’t have any choice, the immune system (the reaction with the environment) does what it is programmed to do.

We are living, breathing, coughing, sneezing entities, interacting constantly with our environment, - and doing such with more than just the immune system - a lot of the time interacting quite automatically and unaware of doing such.   

Many of the eminent doctors and surgeons of Lister’s and Pasteur’s day tried to opt out of thinking any further by saying that they ‘didn’t believe’ in the ‘germs in the air’ concept.  

Many of the people today, in audio, who choose to dismiss other’s ‘improvements in their sound’ experiences also choose to ‘opt out’ of thinking further by saying that the “emperor is not wearing any clothes” (i.e. that it has all been imagination at work) are really telling the people who described hearing the additional information I have quoted that what they heard was NOT REAL, that it was only imagined.

It IS real !!!   For quite a number of people more of the musical information IS being resolved better after the particular ‘tweak’ than before.

The “Germs were already in the air” when Pasteur offered advice to people who wanted to make their own wine.   Nothing to do with whether those people who the advice was offered to needed it or not or were healthy or unhealthy.

To name but one thing present in the modern environment.   The modern environment is full of such as RF.(something in the air !!)   Someone on Audio Asylum calling themselves UncleStu is one who most offers advice and some techniques on how to tackle what he suspects is affecting the audio signal.   Whether people act on that advice or not, or use the techniques he described, is nothing whatsoever to do with whether they are healthy or unhealthy !!   Whether they can HEAR any changes after they have experimented with such techniques has also nothing to do with whether they are healthy or unhealthy !!   I go along with most of Unclestu’s DESCRIPTIONS of the changes he hears in the sound.   My personal disagreements with him are solely on his insistence that EVERYTHING (electromagnetism, RF, microwave energy, static and so on) are affecting the actual audio signal going through the audio system !!!   Yes, some of the things can have an effect on the audio signal but not EVERYTHING !!

Let me now put forward a concept  (STILL using the parallel of ‘germs in the air’).

That the producers of one, or more of the devices I have listed have ‘discovered’ something similar to what Peter and I discovered some 30 years ago but their discovery was in different ways, at different times, and in different situations.   And that some chance event was what most likely started the whole process for them.

That such as Dieter Ennomoser’s lacquer is reducing some of the effect of certain ‘’modern germs in the environment’ and therefore allowing the human (hypothetical immune) system to have to use less energy !!   And, therefore in having to use less energy in having to fight the ‘germs in the environment’, more energy is available for the human being to resolve more of the musical information.

That such as the Nordost ECO 3 chemical is reducing some of the effect of other ‘modern germs in the environment’ and therefore allowing the human (hypothetical immune) system to have to use less energy !!   And, therefore in having to use less energy in having to fight the ‘germs in the environment’, more energy is available for the human being to resolve more of the musical information.

That such as the tiny ART devices are reducing some of the effect of other ‘modern germs in the environment’ and therefore allowing the human (hypothetical immune) system to have to use less energy !!   And, therefore in having to use less energy in having to fight the ‘germs in the environment’, more energy is available for the human being to resolve more of the musical information.

That the Schumann resonance device is reducing some of the effect of other ‘modern germs in the environment’ and therefore allowing the human (hypothetical immune) system to have to use less energy !!   And, therefore in having to use less energy in having to fight the ‘germs in the environment’, more energy is available for the human being to resolve more of the musical information.

And don’t get me started on the effect of Crystals !!

Nothing to do with magic.!!

Nothing to do with people being either healthy or unhealthy !!   

When Art described ‘something’ (improved sound) happening when using the Schumann Resonance device, it surely was nothing to do with whether he was healthy or not.   Or whether he was deficient in something and therefore needed that remedial solution.   Surely it was far more likely that the presence of the Schumann Resonance device was reducing an adverse effect in his environment, therefore he needed to use less energy to counteract it, therefore more energy was available for him to resolve more of the musical information ?

I would suggest that Michael Fremer, Stephen Mejias and John Atkinson (and I might add, many others) did NOT have a deficiency and therefore in need of a remedial solution when they heard an improvement in the sound after a demagnetiser had been applied to an LP.

I would suggest that John Atkinson and Paul Messenger (and I might add, many others) did NOT have a deficiency and therefore in need of a remedial solution when they heard the tiny ART devices improve the sound.

And one can look at the modern equivalent of the “germs in the air”.    Electro-magnetism, RF energy, microwave energy, numerous and different mixtures of chemicals and so on.   They are all THERE, present in the modern environment, and we (human beings) have to ‘deal with them’, one way or another !!   We can’t ‘opt out’ and say the equivalent of “Oh I am healthy so my immune system does not have to do anything at all – the germs do not worry me”.  

The “germs in the air” are a universal problem but there is no single universal solution for them all.

The “modern germs in the air” are a universal problem but there is no single universal solution – hence all the different ‘tweaks’.

You, sir, can opt out of getting involved in trying any of the ‘tweaks’ previously referred to, of course, it is entirely your choice.   No one is forcing you to do anything.   But don’t you think that, over these past 30 years, enough people in the world of audio have shown that ‘something’ is going on that isn’t explained in the audio, electronic and acoustic text books– when people can “hear” such additional information as I have quoted from some most unusual ‘tweaks’ ?????

Or are you still of the opinion that all those people “needed” the ‘props’, ‘talismen’ of the various ‘tweaks’ just to hear what you claim to be hearing without such ?  

The “tweaks” are (or should be) telling you something – and it is NOT that people have to be unhealthy to get benefit from them or that they need them because they have a deficiency which needs a remedial solution or that they need them as a ‘prop’, or as a ‘talisman’. !!

The effect the ‘tweaks’ can have on the sound should be telling you that there is “something” going on which cannot be explained from within audio, electronic or acoustic conventional theories.

On recently going through some of my archive material I came across an article by the then Managing Editor, Frank Doris, in the April 1992 issue of The Absolute Sound  - 20 years ago !!!!!   This article followed from his experience of hearing certain improvements in the sound from an unusual device.   He said :-

Quote:

>>> “I also proposed another theory – that there is something going on here which current scientific paradigms cannot explain.

I must confess, when I got home I had a few more beers.   I hate it when I know something is going on, but I don’t know why !

I want to find out.   This may turn into a life-long obsession.   I want to know the unknown and I must do whatever I can to learn whatever I don’t currently know in the field of electronics and High End audio.” <<<

.

30 years after Jean Hiraga (Editor of the French Hi Fi magazine) first described hearing different cables sound different and 20 years after Frank Doris wrote his article, you, Anton, are still insisting that only people who have “problems” might need to get involved with trying, experimenting with or maybe using so called ‘tweaks’ !!

I believe that there is FAR more ‘going on’ in the modern environment than can simply be explained by your “only people who have problems can benefit from tweaks”.

Regards,

May Belt.

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I think..

everyone "doth protest too much".  If you read in a magazine something that strikes you as bullshit, why not just say to yourself "that's bullshit", and move on to the next article.  If the ratio of bullshit to honesty is more than you can handle, you carry no obligation to continue your subscription.  But what does a rant on an online post do to positively affect anyones life, or our hobby?  

Grunt if you get it.

That's the great thing about it all.  May Belt and her husband may be completely full of said bullshit.  But I'll bet were you to get to know them they have other interests, hobbies, etc., that make them wonderful likeable people.  So what does pissing on thier parade provide anyone?  Maybe certain peoples lack of grace toward others they disagree with about stuff that really doesn't matter much makes THEM the ones the most full of, you guessed it, bullshit.  So if people want to piss around painting the edges of CD's green or smearing magic vascaline on thier candle holders, or wrapping magic pebbles in magic cellophane around the Super Cable of the Month, it's probably not doing anything.  But you know what, I'm pretty sure my room sounds better when I clean it up and dust and vacuum, and that's about as free as it gets.  And you know why?  Because I like my room clean and it makes me happy.  When's the last time you walked out of your house, unhappy, grizzled, and distracted and noticed the buzzing of a fly, and the chirping of the birds?  Think about it.  -- That's a shift in perception with no physical science to back it up.  Are the birds not chirping in the trees because YOU are having a bad day?  

Again, grunt a happy grunt if you understand.

Anton
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Yikes!

May, do you take antibiotics for no reason? 

Why, or why not?

Did Lister have a testable hypothesis?

Why, or why not would that be a consideration?

Like I have said above, if a person needs any given tweak, fine. Others may not need it to reach the same level of contentment/satisfaction/insight or whatever.

An undeniable truth.

Amazing coincidence this Lister stuff from you in 2009 and Art tthis month, eh?

;)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ILikeMusic
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The utility of protest

This discussion will be useful if it gets some people to think twice about spending $2000 on a magic gong (rather than simply cleaning the room, etc.)

This discussion will be useful if it ever so slightly advances the cause of rational thought over mysticism and superstition.

Of course personal insults do not further either of these goals.

Lastly -

"When's the last time you walked out of your house, unhappy, grizzled, and distracted and noticed the buzzing of a fly, and the chirping of the birds?  Think about it.  -- That's a shift in perception with no physical science to back it up."

I do not believe this is literally true.  For example, the following excerpt gives evidence for confirmation bias (which I believe is crititcal to understanding many audiophiles' responses to audio tweaks),

 

“The brain shows a suppressed response to stimuli that a person has seen before, even when those stimuli were presented subliminally, so the person wasn’t consciously aware of having seen them; furthermore, it shows an enhanced response to stimuli that a person is expecting,” says Moulton.

“Because knowledge and expectation bias brain activation, neuroimaging offers us a uniquely powerful test of subtle perceptual or cognitive processes.”

http://psychcentral.com/news/2008/01/04/brain-scans-study-esp/1739.html

ILikeMusic
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Art Dudley admits to confirmation bias?

It seems that Art Dudley, in his article "Schmearing Aid" in the May 2012 edition, admits to being prejudiced in his listening tests.  On page 41 he explicitly suggests confirmation bias is a possible reason for explaining what he thought he was hearing.   And then on page 45 admits that he wants to live "in a world in which [he] has more control over his reflexive perceptions."  And in particular, he does not mind "living in a world in which P.W.B. Cream Electret has an audible effect."  As a skeptic with an understanding of confirmation bias effect, it is not surprising to me that he gives a favorable review to this product.

Another interesting statement by Dudley in the same article is his admission that his (presumably very high end) stereo system frequently sounds poorly ("like sh*t") to him.  What are the ramifications of this admission on the accuracy of all the equipment reviews that he has performed in his career?  Since he admits that no change to his system prompts this poor sound, we can only conclude that this extremely dramatic change in perception is entirely in his head. Maybe each review should be accompanied by a psychological evaluation of the reviewer on the day that the review was performed (to be listed right after the hearing exam results). To me this is a very strong argument for incorporating some form of blind testing into the review process.

And some advice to those non-skeptical audiophiles considering purchasing a system tweak - buy only those tweaks that you "believe" will make a difference and try to maximize the belief to cost ratio of any tweak that you purchase.

geoffkait
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Controversial tweaks

I was nice of Art Dudley to do the review of the Belt cream and foil, it's quite rare to find someone willing to go out on a limb and review controversial tweaks.  After all that's happened in the last 10 years, what with the Intelligent Chip, tiny little bowl resonators, Schumann frequency generators, clocks and other thinggies that don't affect the audio signal, quantum mechanical dodads, crystals, the Belts' Red X Coordinate Pen and all of the angry, stressed out emails that arrive at the inbox of many reviewers who are brave enough to go out on a limb and review them, it's no wonder reviewers are reluctant to review them these days.  After all, they don't wish to appear stupid, not to mention have to suffer the slings and arrows of incoming post review emails.  I could be wrong, but Art seemed to express in so many words a long felt desire that fhis Whole Thing would just go quietly away.

 

Geoff Kait

www.machinadynamica.com

JIMV
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ILikeMusic hits it

When I began this thread my goal was to note the vast difference between what these unverifiable tweaks cost and what we are charged for them, and the magazines tepid at best noting of these differences. I have stated that I believe the magazine has a duty to folk to advocate the best sound possible for the lowest price, which they often do, but to NOT hype snake oil...Even if the tweaks discussed actually work, the cost is simply absurd...$2K for a magic dinner gong...come on, get real...At $200 it would be outrageous and the reviewers should know it.

 

I realize ILikeMusic did nto say exactly that, but he does make a related point...Our hobby too often does confuse the real with the imaginary, the wishful thinking with the actual improvement and forgets the cost to the proclaimed value.

May Belt
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Controversial Tweaks.
&gt;&gt;&gt; ILike Music wrote.

&ldquo;This discussion will be useful if it ever so slightly advances the cause of rational thought over mysticism and superstition.&rdquo; &lt;&lt;&lt; [/quote

wrote:

I couldn’t agree more.

[quote >>> “it shows an enhanced response to stimuli that a person is expecting” <<<

An enhanced response ALSO happens from what a person is NOT expecting.   That is the survival mechanism at work.

What I call the “ticking clock effect” (this effect may not be so common now in these modern days of more silent clock movements !!).    i.e One  can be sitting quietly (and totally relaxed !!), engrossed in reading a good book when, all of a sudden you look up, startled.   You don’t know what has startled you.  You listen for any strange sounds and hear nothing untoward, you look around you and you see nothing untoward, you smell intently and can smell nothing untoward but ‘something’ has alerted you.   Something had changed  !!!.   Gradually you settle down and go back to reading your book.   Only some time later, when you glance at the clock to see what time it is, you realise that the clock had stopped some time ago – had actually stopped ticking at the time you were startled (became alerted).   It was the DIFFERENCE between one second when the clock was ticking and the next second when the clock stopped ticking that put you on alert !!   We are subconsciously reading/sensing our environment every second, of every minute, of every hour, of every day of our lives.   I would suggest as inherent and as automatic as the immune system.

Quote:

>>>“Because knowledge and expectation bias brain activation” <<<

There was NO knowledge and expectation bias in the example I have just given , but there WAS brain activation.   Straight survival mechanism at work.

Quote:

>>> “It seems that Art Dudley, in his article "Schmearing Aid" in the May 2012 edition, admits to being prejudiced in his listening tests.  On page 41 he explicitly suggests confirmation bias is a possible reason for explaining what he thought he was hearing.” <<<

Without attempting to put words in someone else’s mouth, I would suggest that Art’s initial “prejudice” would have been towards NOT wanting to hear our Cream have any effect  regarding his sound !!!   Because once he might hear any effect, he would have to ask himself  the thorny question - HOW ?,     

Quote:

>>> “As a skeptic with an understanding of confirmation bias effect” <<<

Surely we are ALL as skeptical, with an understanding of confirmation bias effect, as you are ?

I would assume that Art would also have taken that into consideration – as an intelligent and natural thing to do when one is assessing something new and unusual.

Regards,

May Belt.

May Belt
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Sorry, must have pressed the wrong button.

Something happened with the first quote !!

Regards,

May Belt.

Anton
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Art? Skeptical?

May, if you've read Art's column before, you'll know he's not skeptical.

I suggest you read some of his past columns.

Even his preamble to the column was 'antiskeptic.' (Small Lister joke.) He was being preemptively antiskeptic - also like Lister....antiseptic before hand!

wink

Of note, this recent Belt related column is probably the least 'effect' he's ever reported upon for anything. You may wish to cross reference that, but I can't recall Art ever before not hearing anything, or hearing so little.

Art is to tweak skeptic as Berkeley was to materialism.

The spring subjective tweaks drive at Stereophile seemed to damn Belt tweaks with faint praise.

May, do you stand by Art's report?

 

 

 

 

geoffkait
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Art's report

To be fair, Art reported that he heard the cream quite clearly, even though he played it down. He reported that the cream made the sound much more interesting, or words to that effect.  But Art closed with the odd comment,  "I suppose I can live in a world with cream electret."  Geez, Louise, can he be any more non plused?  This is the very definition of damning with faint praise.  As I mentioned earlier, I suspect he probably didn't wish to appear stupid or to have lost his marbles.  It's a post review emails thing.  LOL

 

Geoff Kait

www.machinadynamica.com

ILikeMusic
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"Surely we are ALL as

"Surely we are ALL as skeptical, with an understanding of confirmation bias effect, as you are ?"

What is so sure about this? Why would everyone be as skeptical as me? Skepticism is a trait that varies from one person to the next.

 

I fail to understand the intent of your "survival mechanism" example.  We all agree that humans can detect changes in their environment and that these changes will produce various changes in the person's physiological and emotional state. The concept of confirmation bias, however, gives us a testable hypothesis to predict the likely direction that these physiological and emotional changes will take.

 

"Without attempting to put words in someone else’s mouth, I would suggest that Art’s initial “prejudice” would have been towards NOT wanting to hear our Cream have any effect  regarding his sound !!!"

Art Dudley wrote he does not mind "living in a world in which P.W.B. Cream Electret has an audible effect."   Furthermore he wrote this after delineating multiple things that he is "unenthusiastic" about.  Your conclusion is hard to justify.

 

"Because once he might hear any effect, he would have to ask himself  the thorny question - HOW ?"

I wish this were so.  Most people are not very concerned with how or why (yourself included it would seem). Dudley, to his credit, was almost there when he suggested some possible reasons why the cream was influencing his perceptions.  Several of his possible explanations were in fact testable. Unfortunately he stopped there (as Stereophile reviewers are wont to do) and never made a concrete attempt to conclude on these possibilities.

 

"I would assume that Art would also have taken that into consideration – as an intelligent and natural thing to do when one is assessing something new and unusual."

Why assume this when no assumption is necessary? Dudley writes that he may have "heard the change because I psyched myself into hearing the change."  Did you even read Dudley's article?

 

Lastly, let me suggest that until you put forth a tested hypothesis explaining the workings of your products, you have not suggested anything new or unusual.  As it stands your products are just one more boring example of confirmation bias.

 

 

ILikeMusic
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Why misquote?

But Art closed with the odd comment,  "I suppose I can live in a world with cream electret." 

Please tell us where Art wrote this.

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