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Scooter123
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Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

I'll confess, I got my degree in Mechanical Engineering. In addition I am qualified as a Journeyman Machinist so I am a bit rare, I actually know what it takes to manufacture what I design. Which means that I had 2 courses in Electrical Engineering, just enough to have a basic understanding of electronics. However, 110V 60 hz AC power is really really basic.

I recently read a review where the reviewer went on and on about the benefits of a 2000 dollar plus power cord. Magic transformation of the bass drive, etc, etc, ad nauseum. Frankly, I don't think that reviewer heard anything except his expectation that the 2000 dollar power cord "had" to sound better simply because it cost so much.

Why? Simple, 110V 60 Hz power is power, period. No power cord is going to change that.

Lets cover the basics of AC power. First, there is Voltage. That does vary in the home but a power cord will do nothing to alter the Voltage at the amplifier. Second there is Amperage. That is limited by the circuit leading up to the wall outlet and no power cord will change that. Third there is Phase Angle. This is a condition where the Voltage and Current waveforms are out of "sync". Changes in Phase Angle are caused by electic motors or flourescent lights but it takes a LOT of consumption by either to have a significant effect. BTW, power companies routinely audit for Phase Angle because it can make electric meters read "low". Your typical home doesn't have enough horespower in phase angle changing motors to have an effect on Phase angle that would be noticible, probably less than 5% change in the most any of us would have. Third, there is the frequency of the incoming power. No power cord on earth will change that, what you get is what you get. BTW, it's also pretty darn good, those power station generators are hugely massive flywheels and they don't change speed very quickly at all. There may be as much as a 2 hz "drift' in the 60 hz power signal but it's expressed over HOURS and really wouldn't be audible. Last there is Noise, which is probably quite typical in a home environment. However, Noise is so easy, and cheap, to filter out that I would expect that every amplifier made has a very effective noise filtering network built into it's power supply. Most likely, just one 2 dollar capaciter and a small inducter is all that is needed.

So what's left to explain that "magic". According to the web site for the power cord, it provides an additional level of noise filtering. I'm sure it does. Nowever, the internal fiter in the amp probably reduces the noise by a factor of 75 db or more. Suppose that it gives an additional 6 db of filtering. Folks, that is a difference between 0.000000029 and 0.0000000075. Which means that the noise signal that might rob a bit of power from the amp is really really really MINISCULE. I suspect that the difference in noise level is probably well below the measuring threshold of any measuring equipment made.

So what's left to explain the "magic". Anyone remember the Advent Loudspeaker and Henry Kloss? He was my kind of guy, a basic nuts and bolts engineer who had no use at all for the "smoke and mirrors" that is so common in high end Audio. At the time he stated that his speakers really didn't need to produce more that 15,000 hz because no one, except for small children and dogs, could hear any higher. So producing a tweeter that could put out 100,000 hz was just stupid and he wouldn't do it. Know what, Stereophile recentlty did a reprospective review of those Advents and rated them quite highly. Not bad for a speaker built more than 30 years ago without a computer in sight. Guess Henry was right, we really didn't need frequencies we can't hear. Bottomline, these types of components are just "smoke and mirrors". If you really think your gear sounds better with one of these power cords it's only because you don't want to think you spent 2 grand and can't hear anything. It's amazing the capacity for the human mind to "adjust" it's perception to meet our expectations. Just remember that a double blind jury pulled off the street won't hear a damn thing and neither will your mate.

Folks, this is just one example of the kind of "cons" you'll always see in Audio. What amazes me is the reviewers who seem to be perfectly reasonable and intellegent will buy into stuff that any good engineer will tell them is completely bogus. Bottomline, if it's really expensive and the explanation sounds a bit flaky, don't buy into the hype. If you want to give it a try, go ahead. Just make sure you can get a full refund if you don't hear any difference. That's what I do, if I can't hear it, I don't keep it.

PS, for me, high end speaker wire - Hype. 14 gage zip cord sounds just the same. Hi end interconnects, worth it as long as they are reasonable (50 bucks).

Buddha
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

Simple math:

Plus...

Plus...

Equals how too many audiophiles handle the hobby.

Jeff Wong
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

There's no easy answer. There will be products that do nothing as claimed, there will be ones that do something (but not why as claimed), there will be products that work as advertised, et cetera; there will be people who will dismiss things out of hand because of what they think they know without ever trying something, there'll be people who'll buy into something blindly. It all boils down to deciding for yourself what works and sounds good. If you hear no change, more power to you -- you just saved a boatload of dough. I happen to have found products that offered improved enough performance that I plunked down some long green. The explanations and science might sometimes be of a dubious nature, but, I heard differences that I deemed positive and am happy. Someone else may have a different experience. I've heard enough aftermarket power cords over the last 10 years to know they can and do change the sound of some components to varying degrees, sometimes profoundly. Your experience may very well be different, and that's cool. I just don't get why some people get worked up about how others spend their discretionary income.

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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio


Quote:
"...Your experience may very well be different, and that's cool. I just don't get why some people get worked up about how others spend their discretionary income."

Ah, therein lies the rub.

I think people get "worked up" because the proponents of any said "tweak" insist that their results are the final, absolute, sonic truth and all who are not in concordance are blasphemers, or worse.

Hi Fi Fundamentalism can be ugly. "Review thumpers" and "tweak thumpers" are as bad a "DBT uber alles" thumpers or the "no difference possible" thumpers.

When you let the Osamas, Falwells, Roberstons, and the like to gain credibility, then they seize the opportunity to claim infallibilty. It happens for either side, but they err: All universal claims are wrong.

As such, they demand retort to help protect people we like...fellow hobbyists.

The Peter Belts of this world are sly, like the serpent. They are driven off, but then always find ways to slither back into to hobby to suck the green life blood from the uninitiated.

We, as ethical audiophiles, have a duty to remember the past, so that others aren't doomed to repeat it.

The price of audio freedom from dogma is eternal critical vigilance.

The "all tweaks work" thumpers are frequently wrong, but seldom in doubt. Better these are discussed critically early than late.

I've wondered why, for so many, the hobby slants in the direction of "all tweaks work until proven otherwise," rather than vice versa

So, the "all tweaks work" people should have a place at the table, but they should be treated like weird Uncle Herb...known to spew word salad, with rare bits of fact mixed in with the giberish.

If only your penultimate sentence was used equally by both sides, then all would be bliss.

Scooter123
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

Jeff, I am not offended by your buying into this hype, it's your money spend it as you wish.

What I am offended by is someone in a position as a reviewer for Stereophile would actually review a product like this and then rave about it. Frankly, I would like to see a LOT more skepticism from Stereophile's reviewers. If something has no logical foundation in Science and cannot be measured with any lab equipment, perhaps they should be a bit more skeptical about the about products like this. At the least, they should state clearly that they don't know why it worked, explain that it may be due to an equipment issue, and warn the reader that those "improvements" may not be heard by others. It also offends me when I go into an Audio shop and they try and shove this junk on me even after I have stated clearly that I can't hear any difference. Perhaps what Stereophile should do is implement a point/counterpoint approach for items like these "magic" power cords or just not write about it until they can explain the "improvement" with real science.

Monty
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

If audio measurements and science were a matter of life and death, like the science that keeps the space shuttle from blowing up, I'd be with you on this sort of thing. However, audio reproduction is as much an art as it is a science and completely subject to personal tastes and value judgements where the sole purpose is to provide enjoyment to the end user.

As an end user, I enjoy learning how things work, but that isn't critical to my enjoyment of how something sounds to me. I can be a complete novice in electrical and audio engineering and still get the end benefit of how something sounds.

I think a lot of people confuse being and audiophile with being an audio enthusiast. We audiophiles are admittedly a tiny fraction of the audio enthusiast community. We can often get caught up in the "forest for the trees" analogy.

However, it isn't necessary to attempt to understand us. I suspect most of us realize we are the "crazy uncle" as Buddha points out.

I couldn't disagree more with your thoughts on how Stereophile should approach reviewing things. Stereophile is a specialty magazine targeted to a particular sub group of audio enthusiasts...the audiophiles...the crazy uncles...the guys willing to stack coins on the edge of their speakers and place wooden blocks under their speaker cables, all in effort to step closer to an illusion that no matter how closely it can get to the real thing, it never quite strips away that last layer and remains an illusive goal that we continue to pursue.

Pity us, ridicule us, hopelessly try to reason with us, but in the end, we got it bad and there is no cure. Just do us one favor if you would; try not to save us, we are having a blast and enjoying ourselves immensely. If you really want to help us out, just slide a little food under the listening room door every now and then. A growling stomach can interfere with the micro-dynamics.

The challanges facing the print media may ultimately favor your perspective and dilute the magazine to the point of trying to be everything to everybody, much like Stereo Review. But, even if that happens, we crazy uncles will still be playing with wire, foam, blocks and coins...and spending crazy money on things that most people would consider absurd.

ohfourohnine
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

Scooter, as a guy who has probably been hooked on audio longer than you've been alive let me suggest that you relax a bit and try not to take us crazies - or yourself, for that matter - so seriously. We're all, as you put it, a bit rare. Most of us here have, like you, known and loved Henry Kloss and his many excellent products. You aren't reluctant to advance an argument that suggests some interconnects are better than others, but you seem to suggest that the best of them tops out at $50/meter. You're inviting a diatribe, like the one you presented on power cords from some other "rare" fellow with an opposing view.

A lucky guy who devoted his working (as well as playing) life to High End Sound once told me, "The secret of our hobby is knowing when to quit." Good advice, I think. On the other hand, who are you to tell anyone else when to quit?

Put on a record and enjoy the music. Critical listening to the effect of components detracts from the fun.

cyclebrain
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

All of this has to do with the field of Psycho Acoustics.
Let me attempt to explain in layman terms. Layman means people of lesser knowledge like those here. Look it up.
So based on the science of psycho acoustics it has been proven that people are convinced that "when comparing two items, the more expensive one will impress his nieghbor more and thus feed his ego." This does not apply if a scientific double blind test is used.
Listen and decide for your own self.

My apologies to the real professionals in psychoacoustics, a real and interesting field.

Jeff Wong
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

I must admit I'm sometimes bothered that people who don't hear differences in cables often throw the "you're foolish because you believe expensive is always better" argument in the faces of people who hear differences in interconnects and power cords. Expensive isn't always better, but, sometimes it is. It depends on the product. Not all differences are good or necessarily an improvement. An inexpensive product might outperform an expensive one, but, there might be another piece that outdoes both by a tiny margin, but costs a lot more than either of the first two. Is it worth it? Who can say? Sometimes things are priced reasonably, sometimes insanely. The thing is, good sound is addictive... when you find a product that lets you hear deeper into the music and feel more, and experience a greater connection with the music and musicians, it's hard not to plunk down the money once you taste that incremental improvement. I want to hear Sonny Rollins sway and turn his head and experience his horn moving about. I want to hear Shelly Manne whispering to Ray Brown and feel like I'm in the studio with them. My nutty cables and stones and filters get me there.

digitalfrontiers
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

Scooter123,

Hi man, I'm with you. A few years back I returned to one of my favorite hobbies (audio kit / music) and was stunned to see what it had devolved into: cables / tweaks etc. Shysters and snake oil salespersons abounded as did their obsequious followers!

My solution was to begin auditioning equipment for myself - blind or as close to double-blind as possible right from the get go - in every case I found that the rubes were wrong: cables really don't make a difference

Scooter123
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

Well, I'm coming back to Audio after a 15 year hiatus because I need to replace my tired old system. What I have found is a bit shocking. Two thousand dollar de-magnetizers for LP's, 4000 dollar power cords, 3000 dollar inter-connects, etc. etc. etc. And all this "fluff" is recieving review space while real hardware goes unreviewed. It makes it a bit difficult to narrow down your choices when you can't find a review of what is available.

BTW, regarding de-magnetizing LP's, as a qualified machinist I can tell you that you can get a pretty powerful de-magnetizer for a LOT less than 2000 dollars. When you grind steel it gets magnetized and this can cause problems in moving machinery. If I actually believed in something like de-magnetizing LP's, I would hit my local machinists supply for a large bed de-magnetizer and save a ton of money.

Lets face it, the biggest improvement that any of us can make is by "tweaking" our in room accoustics. I suspect that the simple action of moving a floor lamp just 6 inches would have an effect on the sound several orders of magnitude greater than any power cable made. I have finally put my new system on order and my plan is to spend my time on "tuning" the room.

However, I will take a very close look at all those support spikes that are so very popular. We have a CnC Lathe at work that is sitting mostly idle and we could be cranking out "spikes" made with 304-L Stainless by the thousands(304 is non magnetic). Hey, if you can't beat em, join em. I'll just have to make sure that they are priced high enough that they become a "must have". Speaking of which, pricing this fluff must be a real challenge. That 2000 dollar de-magnetizer probably cost less than 50 dollars to manufacture. How do you set a price for something like this when the selling price has no basis on the manufacturing cost?

Whoa, I think I just hit on the answer "why". This stuff isn't really Audio components, it's acutally Art. Instead of a painting you hang on your wall, it's Art that also happens to serve a functional purpose. What should it be called, Audio Performance Art? Geez, we have been placing out equipment backwards all these years. Those connections should really be facing us, all the better to display our Art collection.

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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio


Quote:
What I am offended by is someone in a position as a reviewer for Stereophile would actually review a product like this and then rave about it.

Because that's what the reviewer, an experienced and careful listener, felt after his auditioning.

I don't want my reviewers second-guessing their listening impressions. I don't want my reviewers writing what they feel will be more acceptable to skeptics such as yourself. Nearly a quarter-century ago, Harry Pearson told me that "you have to know when to listen to the crazies"; until such time as I become convinced that everything about audio reproduction technology is known, occasionally the "crazies" might well be on to something unsuspected. As in the case of "LP demagnetization."

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Buddha
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

Those have been some great replies!

1) I'm not offended that reviewers hear things from "crazy tweaks," I'm offended that their curiosity stops at having a person with a vested interest in selling tweaks (i.e. Peter Belt) tell them what is happening.

Is there no intellectual curiosity?

Peter Belt says, "Yup," and that's good enough?

I don't want navel gazing, but I would like to see someone try and wrap his brain around an explanation.

After trying to figure it out for myself, I think you've stumbled upon a 2 or 3 thousand dollar Zero Stat toy.

Speaking of which, I don't recall that item being used in any recent analog reviews.

Seriously, JA measures things, why not an attempt to see what's going on with this hitherto under-utilized "significant difference" maker!

2) When reviewers do hit upon one of these "golden tweaks," there is never any back-thinking, and the tweaks are almost always applied to all gear.

Like in Mr. Fremer's review of the demag toy, he never mentions the global awesome size of the magnets in his table, which, I guess, is his prerogative....but when making some new and golden claim, using more than one table may be useful. Perhaps this is why many manufacturers use acrylic platters. Once you have a device that "changes the sound" of a piece of gear, why the automatic assumption that anything you "knew befroe" is valid?

3) I think different amps sound different on different speakers.

With all the impedance changes and demands placed on an amp by different speakers, I'm surprised people have a problem with that.

4) When the profit margin goes beyond a certain point, many consumers get angry. I think you see that with tweaks and cable (and cartridges) more often than with other gear, hence, all the whining.

5) JA, I'm glad you like letting your reviewers write what they feel. You also have to let the consumers/readers react how they feel.

It's only fair.

6) What with all this magnetism and cable stuff and untreated CD's and proper transports...can anyone explain how my computer can use all that stuff and actually continue to work?

Functioning computer programs seem less forgiving than musical signals, but I can't find many computer mags that talk about demagnetizing CD ROM's to get better "transfer of data."

Same goes for cables - the ones in my computer are pretty weak looking. My disc drive is 20 bucks.

If Hi FI manufacturers were in charge of making computers, we'd have million dollar Dells and three million dollar Apples.

Maybe I'd have better font definition, or slower internet loading with improved color temperature?

7) All this tweak stuff is good, but how about a disclaimer for some of these reviewers that says something like,
"Remember, this is the Harmonix disc guy who no longer uses or mentions Harmonix discs. He also raved about Mpingo discs on floorboards and thought you should rub Armour All on your CD's."

Reviewer claims to have valid hearing with regard to a new product should be placed in the proper context. Sort of a won/lost record so we can see where the reviewer's staying power comes into play.

8) JA, you are OK with measurements, I'd like to see your explanation of the LP demagnetizer in the context of all the other magnetic things going on with Fremer's Continuum.

I smell a placebo, which, fortunately, can smell any way you like.

Lamont Sanford
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

Well, that is what Ebay is for and the remanufactured market. You don't have to purchase the best and most expensive system components to find an end to a mean and still consider yourself an audiophile. Now, I can go out and get myself into unnecessary consumer debt and buy a system to rival anyone here but that would be financial stupid, now wouldn't it? The bottom line is to be "buyer beware" and don't get yourself into debt just to keep with the Jones'. Get it? Most of the expensive shit is overrated anyway.

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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio
Lamont Sanford
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio
Scooter123
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

I love the Furotech white paper. I remember when Monster cables were the "in" tweak. one touted advantage was that the Monster cables had a much higher strand count. Now IT'S SOLID CONDUCTER !!1 Talk about a 180 degree flip, wow. What I do not get is why COPPER. After all Silver is the most conductive metal and at the prices they charge these cables should be .9999% silver, not some cheap copper (although copper aint cheap anymore).

Me, I like 14 gage zip cord just fine for my speakers. I'll pay for the higher priced interconnects for two simple reasons. One is that they transmit a signal that is going to be amplified and they have better shielding than the freebies. Reason two is because most have a screw type clamping end which means they stay tight. However, I won't go overboard on interconnects for one simple reason. Once you have a decently shielded cable with a good clamping end you hit the point of diminishing returns. A 100% increase in physical shielding may only result in a .1% inchreas in noise rejection. For me, that small of an increase is NOT worth the staggering cost.

John, I do understand your point about exploration and crazies. However, sometimes it just goes too far. Come on, de-magnetizing LP's??? I am not even sure if the residual magnetic field in an LP can be measured. What I am sure of is that the magnettic field generated by the power wires to the motor and the motor inself is at at least 1000 fold greater, at the position of the pickup, than any magnetic field on the LP. Next thing you know, you'll be testing a hand cranked turntable that costs 50 grand. But then you have to deal with all the magnetic fields generated by the amp, pre amp, speaker wires, etc. At some point I would hope that you just say enough is enough.

Here is my suggestion, keep reviewing some of this off the wall stuff. It is fun to read and a good laugh. However, at the same time how about swinging by Circuit City or Best Buy and grabbing some of what they have on their shelves and reviewing it. Frankly I am real suspicious about some of the power claims for what being sold to the masses and would love to see if those 100 wpc claims for a 7.1 reciever are true or a complete hoax. It's been much too long since "consumer" audio recieved any scrutiny and I suspect that they may be pulling the same tricks they did back in the 60's. Plus, it just might widen your readership and that would be a good thing. I don't envy anyone trying to publish in today's environment.

Buddha
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

Perhaps another reason "people get so worked up" about these products:

A quick search of old Stereophile reviews and another glance through this month's issue tell a tale.

Other than noticing JA didn't list "associated equipment" with his review, the only tweak I found in reviewers "associated equipment" was a plethora of wooden blocks.

Either they have superceded all previous tweaks, or there is a placebo lifespan that takes these tweaks out of reviewer's systems after a certain amount of time.

I found:

Harmonix RFA-78 room treatment discs that Michael Fremer used to flog. Now, they must not work any more, as they have vanished from his associated equipment.

Too bad, he directly stated that they had a "profound" effect.

He also used to support the benefits of the Coherent Technology clock. I guess his local electrical company must have installed one at the plant and he no longer needs this "original and still the greatest" sound enhancing device.

Let's not forget the Mad Monks of Shun Mook. The Mpingo discs and Spacial Control Unit!

Quoted from Stereophile:

"...the Shun Mook treatments enabled us to tweak and micro-adjust the sound to absolute best effect. We were able to dial in frequency response for a smooth, seamless, top-to-bottom, cohesive, Zen-like, harmonious presentation. Images took on a solidity and palpability that was positively scary. I've used that term before, but instead of drawing attention to the pyrotechnics, these treatments allowed me to sink deeply into the music's wash and feel its meaning---with rock, pop, jazz, classical, you name it. That's what it's all about, no?"

Why aren't these babies still being recommended?

If they really did that, where'd they go from all the reviewers' systems?

From Sam Tellig:

"...I'm very pleased with my $24.95 Radio Shack Micronta Jumbo LED Alarm Clock (Catalog #63-766)..."

From Jack English:

"...I'd become accustomed to what the clock did, but remained consciously unaware of its effects, never noticing them until the clock was removed and the modified Versa's lowered noise floor made the disappearance of the clock's relatively modest improvements more audible. Once this improvement was taken away, a very slight harshness crept back into my system. Reinstating the clock removed the harshness. Much to my surprise, the TPT-treated clock did have a positive effect in my system. It's back in and staying in.

Wow, and this baby is no longer in reference systems, either.

A few last questions:

I read the Triangle piece by Sam this month, but the review seemed incomplete. How did they sound with coins on them? I would expect him to try that on every speaker after finding how effective they were.

_______________________________
_______________________________

Audiophiles seem to have short memories when it comes to recalling when we were bullshitted.

The ones who do remember get called "closed minded" for not hearing every new tweak that someone is plotzing over this month.

I look forward to the October, 2010 issue and seeing if Myrtlewood blocks are still listed in as many reviewer's pieces.

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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

Differences that are audible due to special power cords or power conditioners are, in my opinion, entirely due to grounding issues IN SYSTEMS USING UNBALANCED INTERCONNECTS!

In a system which uses BALANCED INTERCONNECTS, these grounding issues no longer are relevant and power conditioners and special AC cords no longer have the potential to make any difference in sound quality.

If people would simply realize that unbalanced interconnects are a low-tech, low-fidelity mode of connection, a lot of this nonsense would go away! Trying to build an audiophile-quality system using unbalanced interconnects is like trying to build a race car starting with an engine from a Yugo or a 1952 Chevrolet.

Those who are spending money on expensive power conditioners or cords would be well advised to put their money into an all-balanced system instead. An unbalanced interconnect is so inherently flawed from a technical standpoint as to be laughable; it will always require expensive band-aids and workaround schemes to TRY to get to the level which is EASILY achievable with an all-balanced system.

Audiophiles need to wake up to this reality, and the audiophile press needs to educate people and stress the flawed nature of unbalanced interconnections; manufacturers of high-end equipment need to COMMIT to making balanced-only equipment and reviewers need to stress that this is the only way to go!!

The situation we have now reminds me of 30 years ago when some manufacturers dragged their feet in the changeover to radial tires, because they had to COMMIT to redesign of suspension components, etc., despite the unquestioned superiority of the radial tire. What should have taken place overnight took more like 10 years, and foreign manufacturers had to drag the US ones kicking and screaming.

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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio


Quote:
Differences that are audible due to special power cords or power conditioners are, in my opinion, entirely due to grounding issues IN SYSTEMS USING UNBALANCED INTERCONNECTS!

"grounding", being the key word. This is why that third connection was installed on power cords and power outlets.
I've yet to hear a logical/comprehensable explanation as to why a $$$$ power cord is so much better than a basic one, that will adequately handle the voltage and current draw. If power cord science is so advanced I would make the assumption that countries that use a voltage/Hz, different from ours, would need power cords designed specifically for that country. It wouldn't be as simple as changing the connectors on the ends of the cables so as to fit the electrical connectors. Where will it end.

FWIW: As was explained to me; the reason for balanced interconnects, in commercial gear, is to eliminate the noise generated by connecting cables that may to close to power cords, fluorescent lights, etc., etc.

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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

"Differences that are audible due to special power cords or power conditioners are, in my opinion, entirely due to grounding issues IN SYSTEMS USING UNBALANCED INTERCONNECTS!"

Ground is not ground at all when considering RF. RF gets into the chassis through the power cord ground wire, and into he circuitry.

As far as being "balanced", or balancing out, a design would be fortunate to be within 20db of true balance (depending on the number of stages) simply because of all the differences in component tolerances.

There is also the problem of constant balancing from bass through to the highs, which is nearly impossible.

There are alot of internal problems in the electrical designing balanced components. The designs are much more complex, more parts, more power supplies etc. Each adds a distinct flavor to the music, which isn't accurate.

There can also be an extra power supply involved, depending on the design. The power supply is probably the worse offender when it comes to tainting music.

As one can see, there are alot of problems associated with balanced that is not associated with SE.

JoeE SP9
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

When I got my BSEE in 1974 I thought I knew all there was to know about amplifiers and wire. All properly designed amplifiers and all wire sound the same. NOT! Over the years I have been dragged kicking and screaming into the subjectivists camp. It's not that I don't believe in measurements. I just think we may not be measuring the right things. Don't get me wrong, I started a thread on this forum about ridiculously high wire and cable prices. I still don't understand how a 5 foot pair of speaker cables can cost more than a class A rated amplifier.
It still comes to the fact that I my buddies and many other listeners hear differences that strict objectivists say should not be there. If you, and at least one other contributor here can't hear those differences then don't spend your money on what you can't hear. Just don't get indignant when we report hearing things you can't or won't. If we spend money on expensive wire or cables or wood blocks just remember it's not your money. This is a hobby for most of us. We are allowed to have fun any way we want.
PS: You could be wrong about what you think. Maybe there is no "con"

May Belt
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

>> The Peter Belts of this world are sly, like the serpent. They are driven off, but then always find ways to slither back into the hobby to suck the green life blood from the uninitiated.<<

I was very dismayed to read Buddha's comments (quoted above) regarding Peter Belt.

Yes, Buddha, you have the luxury of having freedom of speech but this luxury comes with responsibility - responsibility not to make snide, off the cuff remarks about named people without any evidence.
You do not know Peter Belt, you do not know what he does nor what he has done in the past and yet you make knee jerk comments about him from no background knowledge.

Peter and I have been 'professionals in the audio industry' for over 50 years !! Peter is not sly, he does not disappear and then 'slither back', he is constantly at work in audio. What does happen occasionally is that someone re-discovers what Peter is on about, re-discovers what his techniques and devices do and decides to comment on them, yet again.

From the words you write Buddha, you appear not to have had experiences of unusual things changing sound. You appear to favour the policing of mentions of 'Tweaks' through some desire to protect (unknown) people from being (in your opinion) 'conned' - without giving the various reviewers of these 'Tweaks' credit for them having enough intelligence to assess for themselves whether they are being 'conned', without giving the various reviewers credit for them having enough intelligence to assess for themselves whether the effect they can hear is because of 'suggestion', 'placebo effect', 'imagination', 'mood', or 'effective marketing', and without fully appreciating that the reviewers are merely describing what they have experienced and have chosen to share their experiences with the public !!
Regards,
May Belt.

Quote:


Quote:

May Belt
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

A very refreshing and down to earth 'posting', JoeE. Yours are so obviously the sentences from someone who has experienced what many others in audio have been experiencing. Jeff Wong has also written using similar descriptive sentences (see quote below). You can always tell, from the sentences and words that people use, which stage of awareness they have reached.

As Jeff Wong states:-
>>There will be products that do something (but not why as claimed)......
there will be people who will dismiss things out of hand because of what they think they know without ever trying something. . It all boils down to deciding for yourself what works and sounds good."<<

All so very different from the sentences which Buddha uses.
Regards,
May Belt.

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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

Every DEBT is necessary, remember, you will regret what you didn't do, more than what you did do. do they have SACD in North Korea and IRAQ? Hmmmm, how bout' some strip clubs and magazines, betcha that would calm all them maniacs down. Maybe North Korea needs more SACD players and SACD with some good speakers, then they would not bother trying to impress the world that they too along with us, can blow teh world to pieces, then who delcares victory? Everyone is NUTS, including our own fearless leaders..there should be a TEST before being allowed to run for any office, even a $6/hr worker probaly gets more tests for drugs and mental attitude than our politicans, oh that's right they set policy, and exempt themselves, it's nice to be KING.

RGibran
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

As a registered forum member, you can choose to

Buddha
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio


Quote:
>> The Peter Belts of this world are sly, like the serpent. They are driven off, but then always find ways to slither back into the hobby to suck the green life blood from the uninitiated.<<

I was very dismayed to read Buddha's comments (quoted above) regarding Peter Belt.

Yes, Buddha, you have the luxury of having freedom of speech but this luxury comes with responsibility - responsibility not to make snide, off the cuff remarks about named people without any evidence.
You do not know Peter Belt, you do not know what he does nor what he has done in the past and yet you make knee jerk comments about him from no background knowledge.

Peter and I have been 'professionals in the audio industry' for over 50 years !! Peter is not sly, he does not disappear and then 'slither back', he is constantly at work in audio. What does happen occasionally is that someone re-discovers what Peter is on about, re-discovers what his techniques and devices do and decides to comment on them, yet again.

From the words you write Buddha, you appear not to have had experiences of unusual things changing sound. You appear to favour the policing of mentions of 'Tweaks' through some desire to protect (unknown) people from being (in your opinion) 'conned' - without giving the various reviewers of these 'Tweaks' credit for them having enough intelligence to assess for themselves whether they are being 'conned', without giving the various reviewers credit for them having enough intelligence to assess for themselves whether the effect they can hear is because of 'suggestion', 'placebo effect', 'imagination', 'mood', or 'effective marketing', and without fully appreciating that the reviewers are merely describing what they have experienced and have chosen to share their experiences with the public !!
Regards,
May Belt.

Sadly, I have too much experience.

There are plenty of tweaks that work for people, I have no quarrel with those, or their makers. Then there are those that take advantage of the gullible. I mentioned some that had the lifespan of a hoax and propmtly returned to the land of tall tales. Mr. Belt's products met muster.

I still recall the expensive saftey pins, the pricey tin foil for my walls, the "water reformer," among other things.

Maybe I've overlooked how these great devices have taken hold of the hobby and become incorporated into our listening?

There are a few dependable maxims in audio:

1) If something works, it will remain.

2) If something doesn't work, it will not remain.

3) There are BS cycles that have a lifespan just long enough to fool a new generation of listeners and line the pockets of those who confabulate.

_________________________________
_________________________________

Some Peter Belt "classics:"

(Quoted from J. Gordon Holt, Stereophile)

Logan
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

As a scientist in a former life I just couldn't buy into the up-market power cord thing. But when I bought a close-to-the-high-end amp friends put so much pressure on me to replace the stock electric kettle power cord that I was forced to investigate. Result: power cord A from a reputable company (around $300) had no discernable effect after a months listening. As I had expected. Power cord B from an equally respectable manufacturer (around $300) made a vast, lasting, and reversible difference despite my initial disbelief and so I bought it. Both cords were terminated with Wattgate IEC connectors so the difference did not reside there.

But nobody can say that I was swayed by the psycho-acoustic phenomenon related to the "I've just shelled out megabucks on this so it must sound better" syndrome. I had paid out nothing on either cord before extended audition.

A similar set of events occurred when I investigated power line conditioners. One worked well with my system; others didn't. There is thus a synergy factor involved here, which is why I decline to identify A and B. They worked for me but they might not work for you.

But as for demagnetising vinyl records: when someone explains to me how to demagnetise something that is not paramagnetic in the first place then I'll give that a try too, providing that the purveyor of such goods allows me a free trial. Even if pigs are flying by at the time.

mjalazard
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

Hey, I found a Peter Belt product that actually serves a useful purpose:
http://www.buckle.com/jump.jsp?itemType=...;code=SEARCHDEX

JoeE SP9
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

Your experience mirrors my own with wires, cables, spikes, power conditioners and other things I won't mention.

Scooter123
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

Since it was a review of a 2000 dollar plus power cord that caused me to start this thread, here are my thoughts on the power cord issue.

First, amplifiers require an adequate supply of power, which means that you need a power supply that can satisfy any load the amplifier demands. So if your running something like Pass Labs big class A amps you need a power cord that is properly sized for the load. So it's quite reasonable that a power cord may result in a discernable improvement if it provides more current carrying capacity than the "standard" cord. However, connecting that type of amp to a typical 15 amp circuit common to many homes is NOT a good idea. Basically, if your going to get this type of equipment the first thing you should spend money on is an ELECTRICIAN, NOT a new power cord. Some of the high end amps I have looked at should ONLY be used on a DEDICATED 30 amp circuit and I have seen some that really require a dedicated 30 amp 220 volt circuit.

I have also see that tube amps based on very simple, and basic, circuits are very well regarded. It's quite likely that in this case a power cord that provides EMI filtering could result in a better sounding system. That is because adequate filtering of the power supply was left out in an effort to preserve the purity of the amplifier. However, I would expect that any good Electrical Engineer could put together a very efficient EMI "trap" with about 15 bucks worth of parts from Radio Shack.

So yeah, it can make sense that a better power cord could result in a better sounding system. However, I personally think that once you hit a certain point, throwing more money at the power cord won't result in any discernable improvement. AND, if you haven't had a dedicated circuit wired for your system, spending money on a megabuck power cord is probably a total waste. I would find it very interesting to know just how the power circuit is wired for these reviewers. Perhaps the capacity of the service panel, and gauge of wire used in the supply circuit, should be added to the associated items list in the reviews.

It might also be a good idea to also check the "load factor" at the outlet simply because "load factor" could have an effect on the way that a system sounds. As I remember it, when the current and voltage get out of phase (load factor), the efficiency of any device being powered will drop. JoeE, since you are an EE, perhaps you could clarify "load factor" and it's effects, it has been way to long since my power lab and I am real hazy on it. I suppose that it's possible that some of these power cords have the effect of correcting for "load factor". If so, without actual measurements, the improvement could be of a hit or miss nature because it probably varies from home to home and perhaps block to block.

PS, what's with Nelson Pass. He builds some of the biggest amps on the planets and seems dedicated to building huge horn speaker systems that could be powered by miniwatt amps.

JoeE SP9
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

I have had 3 dedicated lines for my AV gear for ten years. All have their own 20 amp breakers and the power amp line is on a different phase than the other two.
BTW: The ground connection on your electrical service can have a significant effect. I have a six foot grounding rod driven horizontally into the ground 4 feet underground. It goes through one of my basement walls. DUP says it isn't up to code. I don't care, it works for me.
The truth is I don't know why there is a synergy with some wires cables and power cords. The idea of power cords providing EMI filtering when used with tubes amps is entirely possible. Simple tube amps mean less parts, less parts mean less to mess up the sound! Some SS stuff is so complex it's almost as if it sounds good in spite of itself. A lot of Nelson's SS designs use very simple circuits. The Aleph series of SE SS amps are a good example.
The PS Audio line of power generators do a lot towards minimizing load factor because they can generate AC with a higher line frequency. This makes load factor less of a problem because the higher line frequency makes it harder for current and voltage to get out of phase. Long time for you since a lab!!!! I graduated in 1976!!!! So its been more than thirty years. I use DIY cable made somewhat like Kimber KCAG (2 silver wires for signal and ground and a copper drain wire grounded at the output end, all braided) . There is no shielding for EMI or RFI yet to my ears in my system it sounds better than anything else I've tried.
I saw the transmission line sub on Pass' site. I just got 2 8" woofers to try out the smaller TL sub. It's such a simple inexpensive project any DIY'r should give it a try.
Who can fathom Nelson Pass? My favorite picture of him is from a Stereophile cover. He's standing next to a speaker he invented that produced massive amounts of ozone. I've heard it caused him to have a stay in a hospital.

Scooter123
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

Joe, I'm not that far behind you, got my BSME in 1978 and my Power Lab course was in 1974. As for your slightly unorthodox ground, I wouldn't worry about it. From your description it's well below the frost line so there shouldn't be any worry about it being forced out of the ground by frost action. My system ground is 6 feet of copper driven straight down thru the slab in my basement so it's not that different.

Monty
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

I built my house about 5 years ago. When driving the ground rod I quickly discovered that I was on solid limestone about a foot under the soil.

Care to guess how deep my ground rod is? Yup, she's about 2 feet deep. I whacked that puppy right off and beat up the top with a hammer...and told the inspector that I had a Hell of a time driving that thing all the way down.

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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

Actual earth grounds are just for lightning safety. They have no relevance at all to an audio system. Each component in the system already has its own internal reference point, which unfortunately is often called "ground" and is perhaps why some may come to think that a literal earth ground has some relevance.

And the safety ground, which is tied to neutral at the service panel and ultimately to the actual earth ground, aside from it being there for safety purposes in the event of a failure on the hot lead which could contact the chassis and present a shock hazard, and perhaps as a path for electrostatic discharge, does nothing more than cause ground loops and other noise.

se

May Belt
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

Because you personally do not know how to 'treat' common or garden materials to give them different properties does not, by definition, mean that it cannot be done - it just means that you personally, Buddha, do not know how to do it !!

Seeing you repeat J. Gordon Holt's throwaway sentence about 'improving the taste of one's breakfast' reminds me of yet another similar reaction by a UK magazine around 20 years ago. Peter had been describing to people how there is a peculiar "odd and even rule" occurring at times with audio and sound. Sure enough, the next headline to appear in a UK Hi Fi magazine was "Peter Belt claims that you can improve your sound by wearing odd socks !!"

I was reminded of this just a month ago when, in a reply on Critics Corner, John Atkinson mentioned that one of the accessory 'tweaks' he used consistently were the Ayre Myrtle Blocks - but John also added "don't ask me why they have an effect". According to the manufacturer, these Blocks are made from Myrtle wood and to specific 'Golden-section ratio' dimensions AND, they are recommended to be used in threes !! Now if John Atkinson were to do the following experiments, I think he would be intrigued and nonplussed (to say the least). If he has found that using three Ayre blocks under a piece of equipment gives him an improvement in the sound, if he now adds a fourth block under the same piece of equipment, he will find that he will lose the improvement in the sound !! And, this is from using just one more Block made from the SAME wood, with the SAME Golden-section ratio dimensions !! But if he now adds a fifth block, back will come the improvement in the sound !! If he uses a sixth block, he will lose the improvement again and, to regain the improvement in his sound, he will either have to use a seventh Block or remove the sixth Block, or go back to using three Blocks !!!! The peculiar 'odd and even rule' is at work here!! We are talking here about Blocks made from the SAME wood with the SAME Golden-section ratio dimensions but with the sound being totally dependent upon whether you are using odd or even numbers of them !!

Something else which appears to have been exercising some people's imagination.

Quote from John Atkinson.
>> Nearly a quarter-century ago, Harry Pearson told me that "you have to know when to listen to the crazies"; until such time as I become convinced that everything about audio reproduction technology is known, occasionally the "crazies" might well be on to something unsuspected. As in the case of "LP demagnetization." <<

***************
Quote from Buddha.
>> I don't want navel gazing, but I would like to see someone try and wrap his brain around an explanation.
When reviewers do hit upon one of these "golden tweaks," there is never any back-thinking, and the tweaks are almost always applied to all gear. Like in Mr. Fremer's review of the demag toy,
JA, you are OK with measurements, I'd like to see your explanation of the LP demagnetizer in the context of all the other magnetic things going on with Fremer's Continuum.
I smell a placebo, which, fortunately, can smell any way you like.<<
**********
Quote from Scooter 123
>> John, I do understand your point about exploration and crazies. However, sometimes it just goes too far. Come on, de-magnetizing LP's??? <<
****************

In the beginning paragraphs of Michael Fremer's report on demagnetizing LPs, he states that "he didn't really want the technique to work" and that he decided to look for anything which could be a semi-plausible explanation - even looking at what Peter Belt might have in the way of an explanation!!! Because, presumably, he knew (as many people know) that for over 20 years we have had Foil and Cream where we recommend people apply strips of Foil to the LABELS of LPs, or apply a small amount of our Cream to the LABELS of LPs, to give them an improvement in their sound !! Presumably also he is aware the Nordost have a chemical which they also recommend people apply to the LABELS of LPs, to give them an improvement in their sound. We also recommend that people can apply the strips of Foil and the Cream to the LABEL side of a Compact Disc to improve their sound (as equally) Nordost recommend that people apply their chemical to the LABEL side of Compact Discs. We also recommend that people apply a small amount of our Cream to the outer insulation of cables, ALL cables, (interconnect and AC power cable) to gain improvements in their sound (as equally) Nordost recommend that people apply their chemical to the outer insulation of ALL cables !!!
So, Michael Fremer was obviously aware that 'there is something going on' which happens, and which can change sound, but which does not make technical sense (technical in the terms of electronics and acoustics) !!

To begin to understand you have to start at the end - at the observation !! How many times in the history of science have discoveries been made first by people initially observing something happening ? You do not start with "I have not been taught that demagnetizing an LP will improve the sound, it is not in the text books, therefore it cannot happen". You start with people's observations, with people describing their experiences and then work back from there. You ask a few questions but, I would suggest, not the questions "Is Michael Fremer hearing improvements because of suggestion, because of the placebo effect, because of imagination, because of mood changes, or because of effective marketing." I would suggest that you give Michael the credit of having enough intelligence to be able to assess, long before he writes such an article, as to whether he could have been influenced by any of those things.
I would suggest (at least) two questions.
1) Is the demagnetizing process extracting additional information from the LP which had not been extracted before - is that why the sound was described by Michael (and, apparently, by others) as 'having improved'?
If you think that this could be the case, then the 'measurers' should be able to 'measure' differences in the information from identical (musicwise) LPs - one demagnetized and one not. If the measurers cannot measure any differences, does that mean that there are no differences or that there are differences which cannot be measured only heard? Or, could there be another explanation as to why no differences can be measured ?
2) Had the additional information (now being heard after the demagnetizing process has been applied) already PREVIOUSLY been extracted from the LP and was already in the room, available to be heard, but Michael was only able to resolve this additional information correctly after an effect had been created on the LP by the demagnetizing process ?
If this could be the case, then it would not be measurable. Because the additional information would already be 'in the room' - from both the demagnetized LP and the non treated LP. !!

One sentence from J. Gordon Holt's Stereophile article on Peter Belt you did not quote, Buddha, was about John Atkinson. J. Gordon Holt reported that "John Atkinson felt that he heard a difference between when an LP was 'polarized' correctly and incorrectly during a demonstration run by Hi Fi Answers" This was a demonstration using a 'PWB treated Brush' on an LP. You CAN polarize materials and human beings CAN 'hear' polarized things !!
Try the following experiment.
Take two leaves from a tree and place one the correct way up on top of each of a pair of loudspeakers. Listen for a short time to some music, then change the leaves over so that they are the wrong way up. The sound will be perceived as 'worse' when the leaves are the wrong way up !! The leaf is a polarized object - polarized through the leaf and we (human beings) can detect that polarization !! I have now forgotten exactly how Richard Feynman described how a seed KNOWS to send a root downwards and a shoot upwards - but I think he described it as having something to do with polarization resulting from the particular concentration of sugar. Anyway, the seed and the leaf know all about polarization.

What surprises me Buddha when you say that you have been in audio for 40 years is that you still are not aware that water pipes affect 'sound'. Enid Lumley knew this 20 years ago, they are part of her list of what she referred to as "Gremlins" - things which she found affected 'sound'.

The audio industry really cannot let this rumble on for many more decades. The audio industry must surely have to begin to take note of what the Tweaks (and Tweakers) are telling it. How much longer can you have it going on like it is ?
To give a few examples. John Atkinson states that he uses the Ayre Myrtle Blocks but "does not know why they have an effect". John Atkinson, in describing how he had heard painting the edge of a CD with the Green pen give improvements in the sound said "But as to how it works, don't ask." In the October 2006 issue of Stereophile, in a review on the Super T amp, Wes Phillips described how he had improved the sound of the Super T amp after placing a Shakti Stone on it and said "I have no idea why the Shakti Stone works." Michael Fremer did not wish to review the demagnetizer as he could not see how it could work.
Regards,
May Belt.

CECE
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

"load factor" that's the POWER FACTOR, leading or lagging current or voltage. "Load factor" usually refers to the diversity of loads, as in most residences ain't gonna have everything on at once, AC, Electric stove,heater,every outlet ,everylamp, every electric small appliance,every large appliance washer,dryer,water conditioner, all 3 AC units on in those super large houses (6700sq foot beasts) etc etc, which is why they can have service panels rated a lot less than you would ASSume is needed, there really is SCIENCE,NUMBERS, and REALITY at work in electrical stuff, not magic. Anything less than 90% PF is considred low PF. Utiltys don't like that, it causes them to provide larger service for wasted energy. Simply look at lamp ballasts, an inductive loading for the obsolete magnet core ballasts, they did power factor correction usually with a capacitor across it PF isusually an issue with large loads of one or teh other type load. It also effects the electric bill. 100% PF is perfect, as in a pure resitive load. All energy is converted, mostly converted to heat energy, very littel light as in incandescant lamps. Where anything less than 100% is wasted energy. Real life no such thing really as 100% PF. Motors,electronics all non reistive loads to the line. I'm sure a magic wire marketeer will probably now come up with PF correction cords....Hey, I should, then you won't hear me mock the power cord business, cus' I'll make big bucks, and say it's the next incredible breakthrough. BaBaBooey cord, from my lips to your amps.

CECE
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

Then you are supposed to drive more than one as in 2 within a certain distance of eachother, this is not the same as when some audio quack decides to add a "dedicated" ground rod to his home stereo, THAT is a disaster waitng to fire up!!!. And if you do a resitivity check and it doesn't meet NEC requirements for minimum resistance due to soil type,moisture content rock as you had etc. Also realistically it's very rarely done exactly as per code, how many installers do the reistance check in the building of homes in a development, probaly not. If your inspector didn't enforce NEC rules, he ain't doing his job either. i think ground rods need to be at least 6 ft in teh ground, AND teh clamp used to attach teh ground wire be rated for it's use, many are not teh correct type, look into it. amazing how thre are standards and specs in all things electrical, except when it applies to audio TWEAKS and magic. There the imagination is all that matters. May the Mapingo disc bless you. and the ByBee electron catcher keep you clean. And add another audio safety pin through your nose and call it PUNK.

ethanwiner
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

Scooter,

> I recently read a review where the reviewer went on and on about the benefits of a 2000 dollar plus power cord. <

Yeah, it wouldn't be so bad if they were a bit more subdued, such as "I heard a small but real difference." And it wouldn't be so bad if they didn't feign skepticism, such as, "I really didn't expect to hear such a big improvement. In fact, I didn't even want to hear any improvement because the concept makes no sense to me."

But when they go over the top with superlatives, it makes me question how good a listener they really are.

Anyway, HERE is my take on this stuff. It seems to me this explains pretty much all of these otherwise unexplainable listening experiences.

--Ethan

Buddha
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

Well, we can continue with "Belt-isms," that's fine.

From your current site:

http://www.belt.demon.co.uk/whatamess.html

"To restore a significant temporal (time) symmetry to any person's senses, it is necessary to acquire one photograph which was exposed when the person was young and another photograph exposed when the person was older. Each photograph is placed, individually, into it's own clear plastic bag. The two plastic bags, each containing a spaced time photograph of the same individual, should be placed inside the freezer compartment of the domestic refrigerator. This will create a most unusual beneficial phenomenon. After placing the two separate photographs within the freezer compartment, either live or recorded music should be played within the listening room. A significant improvement to the musical sound should have taken place. Removing the photographs from the freezer compartment should produce an immediate adverse response if the music is played again. Replacing the two photographs within the freezer compartment will immediately restore the beneficial improvement in the sound. It should be noted that it is not necessary for the photographs to reach the low temperature of the freezer compartment. This experiment demonstrates that within the freezer compartment, there exists a high degree of symmetry and that this symmetrical condition is imposed on the temporal asymmetric condition of the two chronologically spaced photographs and is, in turn, imposed on the senses of the human subject of the photographs. It is unfortunate that the vast majority of people, including many who work in science and technology, do not appreciate that a photograph functions within the quantum mechanical world."

Or...

"The next part of the experiment requires the possession of a fine point Red Staedtler Lumocolor pen (model 3l3). These can be obtained from most stationery shops. We have, for some time, been supplying a specially treated version of this Red pen - known as the "x Pen". Whilst it is highly desirable to use one of these specially treated pens, an untreated pen, purchased at a stationery shop, functions sufficiently to produce worthwhile results."

"Within nature, there are now a number of established effective number sequences.

One of these is 'x 26 'x

If this number 'x 26 'x is written with the Red pen on both sides of each of the plastic bags which contain the two photographs of the individual, the number will become more closely associated with that particular individual. For that person to beneficially interact with any object within their home environment, all that is necessary is for them to write that number, using the Red pen, on an object. We would draw attention to the two small dashes which are positioned at the left hand side of each 'x and which should always be included. The effect of writing the number (as illustrated) on such items as the printed side of a Compact Disc., the transparent window of a magnetic tape cassette., inside the cover of any magazine or book., on both labels of a vinyl record - in fact any and all articles where the written number cannot be damaged by abrasive handling. It is also necessary to write the number on the outer storage cases of magnetic tapes., C.D.'s and vinyl records. We would particularly draw attention to any form of battery. A battery, by having a positive and a negative concentration of energy, creates a chronic asymmetric situation. Writing the number on the outer case of a battery imposes a significant beneficial symmetric pattern. It is particularly necessary to treat the battery within all torches, cameras, remote controls and calculators etc.

After treating the batteries as described above in a hand flashlight (torch), the light from the torch should be shone directly onto the written number, including the number written on the plastic bags containing the photographs. It is necessary for the treated photographs to be stored within the freezer compartment at all times."

"After beneficially treating an object as described, to ascertain the efficacy of this treatment, place a plain transparent plastic sheet such as a plastic bag between the light from the torch and the number written on an object. Illuminating the torch so that the photons have to travel through the plastic before activating the Red 'x number will again impose an adverse asymmetric pattern on the object. Listening to some music after this adverse treatment will show a deterioration in the quality of the sound. Reactivating by illuminating the Red 'x number directly from the torch will restore the beneficial symmetric pattern. It is necessary to activate each Red 'x number.

A severe asymmetric situation, in most homes, is created by every reflecting mirror. The number should be written in the corner of the mirror and activated by the torch. After cleaning, it will be necessary to replace the Red 'x number and reactivate."

I especially like this part:

"A noticeable feature of these experiments is that if just one person has their photographs beneficially treated as described, every other person in their presence will experience the same beneficial improvement to the perceived sound.

More:

"In order to beneficially freeze an object within a deep freezer, it is necessary to go through an adverse period of time within the premises until the object being frozen reaches the lowest temperature within the deep freezer and acquires the symmetric pattern of the deep freezer. The object should then be removed, insulated and very slowly defrosted over a long period of time. A far superior treatment is to number the object by a 'treated' person using the Red pen technique.

More:

"One Gold and one Silver topped 'mirror' device should be attached to the outer case of a C.D. player, or amplifier, or tuner etc. After attaching the 'mirror' devices to the outer case of the piece of equipment, the Red 'x number should be written on the equipment case and activated using the torch. The beneficial effect on the sound will readily be appreciated."

_______________________________
_______________________________

I know that was alot of reading, but these are not my words, they come from the keyboard of an "audio expert...who wants your money."

It's tough in this hobby. Like with religion, people want things, and then placebo vending snake oil salesmen/women are more than willing to oblige those people's needs with bullshit.

Hint for you: Mr. Fremer did want to hear a difference. All audiophiles do. He used to "hear the difference" with the Convergent Technology clock, too.

I like his column, but he was either lying to himself or his readers when he said he "didn't want to hear a difference."

As Stephen would say:

We
All
Want
To
Hear
A
Difference

______________________________
______________________________

Anyway, this is a fun topic, and you open up new vistas:

In your leaf example, which is the "right side" of a leaf?

If my amp inverts polarity, how do I place my leaf?

I'm open, but you just hand out crap like that - broad generalizations - without insight into the situations which may affect leaf placement.

It shows you don't give a shit about what's really going on, you just have a certain agenda.

Fine, I have one too. To try and get people to think about a larger part of the logic of someone's sales pitch.

You want leaves on speakers to change the sound?

Fine.

Then tell me about the parameters you experimented with before espousing your opinion and offering things for sale.

If you "know" the right side of a leaf, then tell me about how it has affected your system in the various ways you implemented it. How about which direction the stem pointed? Tree type. Color. Season the leaf was plucked, or does it have to fall naturally from the tree when its "energy and polarity" are right?

You see, bullshit typically stops at the "first trial" because that's where the bullshit sale takes place.

Good for you.

I'll even try to help you.

Here's some marketing tips:

Sell your gear differently to different latitudes and longitudes. There are immense differences in surrounding land mass and magnetic fields depending on where your system is. Same for type of dwelling.

You could really score with geographically specific tune up kits.

You can do the same for elevation! We already know that this plays a significant role in system performance based purely on air pressure.

Same with relative humidity - you could hook your foil up to a barometer and humidity gauge and let people dial in their foil based on the display.

Start selling "listening" uniforms. I would imagine the clothing a listener is wearing should have a freaking EPIC effect on the sound!

Listening shoes come to mind.

Heck, as NFS pointed out, how about Belt belts? "26's" inlaid in treated leather, specially treated buckle...

You could also "specially treat" those items.

If a leaf on the speaker is significant, try selling listening furniture, floor coverings, and art with "26" factored into the look.

In fact, why not just go and "specially treat" an entire IKEA store, so no matter what we buy, you can cash in by "improving" its effect on the buyer's stereo rig?

At some point, we will have to stop with the reviews of gear, altogether...how do we know if Mr. Fremer has a properly treated tree outside the wall of his listening room. All those random leaf configurations could render all his recommendations non-viable for a desert dwelling listener.

OK, gotta stop in a sec...

Bottom line: When you start with the red pen, leaf, photograph tweak crap, you gotta be ready to go all the way to your logical conclusions.

Did you try pics with the person in different moods?

Polaroid?

3 by 5?

8 by 10?

What brand film or camera?

Prints from digital cameras OK?

The list can grow as you like.

Why, with all this high level Hi Fi exerience of yours are you producing only expensive household crap?

Build an amp. Build a turntable. Build a speaker.

With your 50 years of knowledge, you'd rule the waves if you built gear that took true advantage of your pen, mirror, foil, and "water transformation" knowledge.

Climb out of the meta-hobby dark side and use your powers for good.

Cheers.

Jeff Wong
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

Buddha - I certainly won't try to sell you on the photograph thing (Wes' links to quantum mechanics always leave me scratching my head.) But, if I can get my hovel in respectable condition by the time the NY show comes around, and if you're attending, I'd like you to hear some tweaks. The Shakti Stone on my DAC is like a vacuum pump for my audio penis. I'll show you why my audio penis is bigger than your audio penis.

P.S. Has anyone heard from Clifton? I'm beginning to worry he had a "Lost Weekend".

Buddha
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio


Quote:
Buddha - I certainly won't try to sell you on the photograph thing (Wes' links to quantum mechanics always leave me scratching my head.) But, if I can get my hovel in respectable condition by the time the NY show comes around, and if you're attending, I'd like you to hear some tweaks. The Shakti Stone on my DAC is like a vacuum pump for my audio penis. I'll show you why my audio penis is bigger than your audio penis.

I have no trouble with many tweaks.

I hope I did not insinuate against your stones.

I'm OK with cables having different sound qualities, that good stands are important, etc.

However, by acknowledging the efficacy of some tweaks, I do not have to de facto offer credence to the kind of cynical marketeering BS that some purveyors peddle.

I just have to draw a line somewhere.

Seriously, a north facing speaker should have different tweak requirements than a south facing speaker, based on the pap we are told by some. There are greater magnetic changes by geographic location than occur with some of this de-magnetizing "significant improvemnt" gear.

Somewhere along the audio path, we should call a spade a spade.

I'm sure that there is a line for you, as well.

These days, the last refuge of the audio scoundrel seems to be sub-quantum mechanics.

I'm sick of this shit (pardon my French) mucking up a completely good hobby that needs enthusiasts to enter and be rewarded instead of lured and fleeced.

I expect Stereophile to be on the consumer's side, not giving the Peter Belt's of this world a forum for Mr. Fremer to lend credibility to someone who exists purely to part audiophile from cash.

We have politicians who wrap themselves in the flag or thump the Good Book to fool people. In Hi Fi we have people who sell based on, basically, the "Emperor's New Clothes" concept.

It should be OK to point out their nakedness.

Anyhow, I'd love to hear your gear and see/hear your giant audio penis - in a purely platonic setting, of course.

mjalazard
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

Hello Jeff,
Maybe you could draw a caricature of your fine and large audio penis. Many of us cannot travel to NYC for an audiophile cockfight!
I was wondering if the trick of putting photograps in the refrigerator has similar effects on identical twins? Would a frost-free freezer have the same effect as an old "always on" ice box. What if a person has hypothyroidism or raynaud's phenomenon and cannot tolerate cold? Wouldn't the frozen picture trick have a detrimental effect? What if in one photo you are wearing heavy cold-weather clothes and in the other, you are in shorts and a t-shirt...would that have any effect?
My brain aches...I'm gonna listen to some Lowell George and have a beer!
I hope I don't have nightmares about all this.

FeisalK
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

can't draw a audio penis, but i can show you a knob

Jeff Wong
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

If you place the original negative in the freezer with the print, will that cancel the effects? Would it affect both prints, or only one?

Feisal K - Is that a hardwood, or are you just happy to see me?

CECE
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

The freezer holding the bags of photos, need to be plugged into a ByBee. How can bad electrons make the proper cold? I think the FTC should set up a booth at all hi fi shows, they can sell the BS Collector series of legal injunctions to all these audio tweak gurus. Remember the girl on tv ads for the diet, STOP the INSANITY.

Buddha
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

"Hardwood?"

Isn't that redundant?

I was gonna try the picture thing, but when I looked in the freezer, I became uncertain as to whether the pictures on the food packages might cause unpredictable interactions.

So, I went shopping.

Now, I have new pictures of broccoli with some old pictures of broccoli, and I matched some pre-existing pictures of frozen tamales with some new pictures of "fresh" corn and peas.

I hope pictures on cardboard count.

Then, I did something that really did make my system sound different...

I took out the bottle with this picture on it...

...and I adjusted the fluid level, just so.

Then I adjusted my own fluid level, correspondingly.

My perception of recorded music changed a little!

I think I may be on to something.

Cryogenically treated potato distillate seems to have a slightly salutory effect on certain CD's.

I will be selling this system enhancer at an incredible mark-up soon.

Now, pardon me, I have to go re-adjust my fluid level in a different way.

RGibran
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio


Quote:
What surprises me Buddha when you say that you have been in audio for 40 years is that you still are not aware that water pipes affect 'sound'. Enid Lumley knew this 20 years ago, they are part of her list of what she referred to as "Gremlins" - things which she found affected 'sound'.

Damn right they do! About 6 weeks ago a water pipe under the slab of my listening room developed a leak. Repair entailed rearranging furniture, pulling back the carpet, covering everything in plastic so they could bring in the jackhammer, remove approx. a 3' X 3' section, dig down to the pipe, repair, backfill and repour the concrete.

Two friggin' weeks later another leak developed, just a few feet down from the above. ARGGH! Once again, same scenario as above, except upon repair of this leak, the pressure test revealed there was STILL a leak, which ended up being detected a few feet on the OTHER side of the original leak! NOW i have about a 9' long trench in the listening room. Finally, all is repaired, the room back together, and I can tell you the system sounds Marvelous!

WHY? Because the nightmare and the bleeding has finally ended.....for now!

RG

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