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

Buddha. This is one example of what I refer to as 'the stumbling blocks' !!
It looks as though you just haven't read what I have written !! I described a simple and easy technique for treating batteries in my reply to John Atkinson on Page 8. If you had actually tried this technique for yourself and heard an improvement in the sound you would already know what I was talking about. If people involved in audio DON'T want to take notice, DON'T want to try things which could improve their sound, particularly things which are free, then that shows where some of the stumbling blocks are !

It is free !! It does not cost you anything to try !! If you try it and it improves your sound, then this means that prior to doing the treatment the battery must have been having an adverse effect. A battery is a battery is a battery - wherever it is. Either in a remote control, in a battery clock on the shelf or in a hearing aid !! If it is having an adverse effect in one place, then it is having an adverse effect in another place. I repeat. A battery is a battery is a battery.

Haven't you ever tried the freezing/slow defrost technique on anything ? Using your domestic deep freezer ? People have been following our simple freezing/slow defrost technique in the UK for over 20 years, freezing all manner of things with great success.

If you have not tried the freezing/slow defrost technique and are prepared to sit and analyse why you have not, then we might be able to find out where the general 'stumbling blocks' occur.

1) If you did not read the technique (described on Page 8) why not ?
2) If you did read it, did you try the technique for yourself ?
3) If not, why not ?
4) Was it because you, yourself, could not see how it could possibly work ?
5) Was it because it was May Belt (or Peter Belt) who was telling you about it ?
6) If it had been anyone else telling you about it, would you have been prepared to try it then ?
7) Was it because you felt that if it WAS a successful technique, then surely some magazine, some reviewer would have told you about it before now ?

Peter discovered this technique in the early 1980s during his investigations into the sound of different cables by listening to the sound of different metals. But, as soon as he put plastic insulation around the bare metals, the sound was worse. After listening to different metal conductors and grading them as to how they sounded, he decided to experiment further. He cooked them in the gas oven !! After doing this, they all sounded better, even the one which had been judged the worst sounding metal. But, again, as soon as he put plastic insulation around the bare metals, the sound was worse. He knew that he could not cook the plastic insulation material in the gas oven, so he tried the opposite - he froze it in our domestic deep freezer. Then when applying this insulation around the bare metals it did not have such an adverse effect. So, he then tried freezing the bare metals !! The result again, was improvement in the sound. The secret for success is, when defrosting, to allow things to return to room temperature very, very slowly.
Our customers and some members of the UK audio scene were told of this freezing/slow defrost technique during the mid 1980s and this technique was also used on batteries.
During this time, completely unaware of each other and not knowing what each were doing, Ed Meitner in Canada was also discovering that by freezing things at cryogenic temperatures he could gain considerable improvements in the sound.

In October 1990, Robert Harley did an article on cryogenic freezing which was published in Stereophile and which described Ed Meitner's findings. I would suggest that people read this article again - particularly a sentence in the middle of the article
" In addition to CDs and LPs, the process has been used on Laser-vision-format video discs, speaker cable, interconnects, integrated circuits and musical instrument strings"

and also the last two columns - particularly the last one:-

"Furthermore, I see CD tweaks as a Rosetta Stone to an audio engineering establishment that dismisses the possibility that freezing a CD, or painting it black, or putting green paint around the edge, or making it from a different material could affect its sound. Because these treatments are considered the epitome of audiophile lunacy and because they are readily audible, some measurement-orientated scientists may, if they listen for themselves, realize that audiophiles are not always the demented mystics they are often accused of being."

This article is, in my opinion, one of the most significant articles in the history of audio !!
In my opinion, the sentence "some measurement-orientated scientists may, IF THEY LISTEN FOR THEMSELVES" should be engraved on every engineers door !!

It was not until 1993 that Jimmy Hughes was able to get his article on freezing using Peter's technique and using a domestic deep freezer published in a UK magazine.

It was then not until 1999 that Greg Weaver published his experiences with using Peter's freezing/slow defrost technique and Greg Weaver repeated what the manufacturer Philips spokesman said "Freezing is like a placebo in medicine - it's all in the mind."

Now, where have I heard THAT before ?

Also in 1999, the New York Times published an article about cryogenically freezing musical instruments !!!!

Then, just a few months ago, (October 2006) Janine Elliot (an engineer at the BBC) described in her column in Hi Fi News that she had frozen a piece of audio equipment following Peter's technique and using her domestic deep freezer and achieved success .

And the latest is Bill Kenny's article where he describes freezing (using Peter's technique) a 20 UK pound ($40) DVD player which then challenged the sound of his 2,000 UK pound $4,000) Primare DVD player !!!

Try the freezing/slow defrost technique Buddha. Try it with an interconnect. Most people have a (bog standard) interconnect (somewhere in a cupboard) which was originally supplied with a piece of equipment but which they have probably replaced with a (superior ?) cable. Try freezing the bog standard cable and then listen to that versus the superior ? but unfrozen cable. I think you will be pleasantly surprised !! AND, it will have cost you nothing to try!!
Regards,
May Belt.

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

As Clark Johnsen said earlier "Again - with the Price !!!"
And, I also say "Again - another knee-jerk reaction - with presumptions." Presumptions that, with any of our treatments, there MUST BE something weird and wonderful involved i.e "blessed pens" (at a price) etc.
Don't Professors rap students knuckles anymore when the students make presumptions without knowing the facts ?
The facts are that the technique described is FREE, FREE, ABSOLUTELY FREE.

Please can people observe where some of the blockages to progress are ?
If some of you, members of the audio fraternity, are prepared to do some experiments for yourself, to try things without pre judging, what chance is there of progress if a self professed Applied Scientist declares that No, he is not going to waste time on what he describes as mysticism ?'

And, Scooter123, do you REALLY believe that J. Gordon Holt's article had no influence whatsoever ? On anyone ? That it was no discouragement whatsoever to some people who might have been prepared to go further ? That, because of an article such as that, some people kept quiet for fear of being scorned ?

If the researchers into hearing aids are like Scooter123 - what he calls 'hard nosed scientists' - and would not be prepared to do experiments, then how can progress be made ? If the researchers WERE prepared to do some experiments such as freezing the batteries, and they discovered that YES, that technique can give improvements i.e make the sound of the hearing aid less harsh, aggressive, and shouty - then they MIGHT then be prepared to try the freezing technique on the ACTUAL hearing aid !!! WOW - just imagine - that technique might even give further improvements !!

I would never recommend that members of the public should themselves freeze the actual hearing aids - they are too precious and too expensive for people to attempt such things themselves - but surely the PROFESSIONALS - the researchers into hearing aids should be seriously investigating this aspect to see what is effective and what can be done in that area ?

But if Scooter123 as a professed 'Applied Scientist' is representative of the 'hard nosed scientists' working on hearing aids, then I am presuming that NOTHING will be done !! Yet again !!

For people interested in the history of scientific discoveries, then study this episode carefully. You are right in the middle of such a period of history !!

Quote from Scooter123.
"Provide some proof within the framework of an accepted field of Science (chemistry, physics, or even quantum mechanics) and perhaps then I will listen."

What Scooter is suggesting is "Present us with all your results, all your research, all your proof - and we will then deign to have a look - until then - keep quiet - don't bother us with concepts, anecdotal examples. We (the scientists) do not want to know until YOU have done all the research you are asking US to do !!

We would all still be in the dark ages if the early pioneers had met that attitude from every one of their contemporaries !!

One of my favourite occurrences from history is what I refer to as the "Dr Hughes Bennett Syndrome" named after the doctor in the Joseph Lister story who said "Where are the germs? Show them to us and we will believe. Has anybody seen these germs ?"

And, Scooter, I would suggest you read my reply to Buddha where I give details of some people's experiences using the freezing/slow defrost technique over a period of 20 years. And, these examples are only the ones I know of. There may easily be many more. How many results, how many anecdotal examples are required before the 'hard nosed scientists' involved in researching into hearing aids are prepared to have a look ?

And, Scooter123, just who IS the onus on to investigate ? I personally would have thought the researchers working on hearing aids !!!!!!!!!
Regards,
May Belt.

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

>>> I evaluate audio faith healing..err, esoteric tweaks and political promises in much the same way: I watch where the money is going.

"Treated" hearing aid batteries could've been a particularly fine, high-margin revenue stream, because unlike some other tweaks, they need frequent replacement! <<<<

Again, with the price !! Again with the mockery. "Audio faith healing to improve the sound of hearing aids OR a simple freezing/slow defrost technique which is FREE "
Which is it 4 season ?
Regards,
May Belt.

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


Quote:
Buddha. This is one example of what I refer to as 'the stumbling blocks' !!
It looks as though you just haven't read what I have written !! I described a simple and easy technique for treating batteries in my reply to John Atkinson on Page 8.

May - In the future, it might be best to provide a link to the post in question. As it happens, your battery technique appears on page 5 for me:

http://forum.stereophile.com/forum/showf...part=5&vc=1

Different forum settings among members will guarantee we won't have the same reference.

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

May, I can assure you that in the US there are many many areas of the country where batteries have been frozen and thawed numerous times. Park a truckload of batteries overnight on a North Dakota winter and I can assure you that the contents of that uninsulated semi trailer will be in a deep freeze. Same thing happens if the batteries are left in a car for any length of time. There are regons of the US where winter temperatures routinely drop down to 40 below F. In Alaska temperatures can drop low enough to actually freeze carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. So how come nobody with a hearing aid that resides in a climate where frozen batteries are common has never eported that their hearing aids suddenly sound better? If this really worked I am sure that it would have been noticed and reported. The reason it hasn't happened is quite simple, it doesn't work. The only time the mystical tweaks like this work is when it's been suggested to the subject that it will work.

chambers1517
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

I have been following this post and decided to add my experience. I got hooked on audio several years ago. I was looking for some nice speakers and went into a high end audio store just to look around. They had a set of speakers that blew me away. They were about 20 times more expensive than I wanted to pay but were worth it. It took about 5 years before I was able to get them. Now I was hooked and wanted to upgrade everything. I bought an expensive amp,Pre-amp,Tuner and Turntable. I finally decided it was time for a cd player. I went to the store and the guy I always bought from showed me the best player for my system. He also said with this player and the rest of my components it would be a waste not to get good cables. I really did not want to spend that much on cables but he was always right. I took everything home and hooked it up. Wow, what a difference. I could not wait for my wife to get home and hear. Her first comment was " I don't hear any difference". I had an old cheap player I was useing. I thought she must be deaf. I switched back to the old player and cheap cables and she still did not hear anything. I was talking to a friend at work who also loves audio so we decided to do a test. We put the amp and cd players in a seperate room and one of us would listen while the other switched inputs. After about 6 hours I can say 100% that the high priced amp and cables sounded no different than the cheap ones. I took the cd and cables back and have not been back. I work in a technology based enviroment and was discussing this with a group of co workers. One in particular was an audiophile and didn't want to hear this bull. We got together with 3 of his friends and spent the day listening and switching everything. One guy had some very expensive speaker wire. We hooked those and lamp wire to my amp. One set on A one on B. Since A and B on my amp are one channel we could listene to A or B and even A+B and no one could reliably tell a difference. I know this is a hot button to some, but I will never believe any tweak until I hear it blind and can tell a difference. Anyone who speculates that ink or wires or whatever makes a difference without blindly proving it, is fooling themselves. I know, I've been on both sides and looking back can't believe how silly I was.

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

chambers1517,

Thanks for sharing your experience with us. How fortunate you are in your inability to distinguish a difference in sound between your old CD player and todays wonderful crop of $750.00 and up models. I am truly envious. You have saved yourself a boatload of cash and can rest easy the remainder of your life, no longer wondering, but knowing your not missing anything.

Cheers,

RG

chambers1517
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

Sorry about not being more specific, but we were using the digital out on both players. My pre-amp was doing the conversion. It's not that my ears are inferior but the reason I could not hear a difference is that there is no difference.

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

Chambers,

> ... so we decided to do a test. We put the amp and cd players in a seperate room and one of us would listen while the other switched inputs. After about 6 hours I can say 100% that the high priced amp and cables sounded no different than the cheap ones ... We got together with 3 of his friends and spent the day listening and switching everything. One guy had some very expensive speaker wire. We hooked those and lamp wire to my amp. One set on A one on B. Since A and B on my amp are one channel we could listene to A or B and even A+B and no one could reliably tell a difference. <

I applaud you for going to the effort to test this in a practical manner. Most telling is that, initially, you really did believe the sound had been improved! In her unbiased innocence, your wife was like the child who cried the emperor has no clothes. If only the "believers" would put enough faith in their own ability to distinguish real change from fantasy, and try tests like yours, I'm sure they would come to the same conclusion as you did. Indeed, no other conclusion is reasonable. But some people prefer to believe in magic and mystique. So they denounce proper testing rather than trust their own senses, which would force them to accept the brutal truth.

--Ethan

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

"It's not that my ears are inferior but the reason I could not hear a difference is that there is no difference."

Interesting experience. But just because you or your wife could not tell the difference does not mean "there is no difference" in other systems, setups etc. Quite a conclusion with just one story. What about Ethan's evidence of comb filtering causing listening problems because of head movements?

Also interesting that just one negative anecdotal story carries so much weight with some, yet the "some" are the ones who consistenly dismiss other's consistent findings as of no value.

Recently, at another's house, we found one amplifier could easily pickup some whispering in the left channel of a song, while with the other amp we could not, as hard as we tried. Tried it back and forth, blind, whatever, and the difference was telling. I guess amps with great specs do not always sound the same.

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

October, 1990??!!! You are basing an opinion (about tweaks in general and cryogenics in particular) on Bob's hypotheses of 16 years ago??? Do you have any idea about how much CD players have changed since then?? Of course, you had to theorize about tweaks then -- players were so jitter and vibration prone you had to resort to all sorts of quackery. My first state-of-the-art CD player was purchased new in 1997 (I had purchased cheap Sony models up 'til then). It was the "brand new" I-squared-S technology as executed by Audio Alchemy -- the DTI-Pro 32 was inserted between their DDS-Pro Transport and their best DAC. "A flat-out miracle product," enthused Harley, at that time. Putting the Pro 32 on a goddam PILLOW improved the sound, the isolation was so bad. Freezing it and basting it with Heinz before barbequeing might have improved it further, if I had had the wit to try it. Yet, it was superb comparatively -- all the way to about 75% of what I was getting out of a $700 ( total -- including phono preamp, cartridge, arm, and platter) analog system. Unheard of, in those days. And this was 1997!! Seven years AFTER 1990. Players (one-piece as well as separates) have progressed eons, and many have what were once considered to be exotic tweaks as run-of-the-mill, factory build-ins currently. May, you are moon-walking again.

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

Calling this cooked-up crock of bad generalizations "anecdotal" is too kind, 301. This sad tale doesn't even rise to the level of bad fiction. No brand names, no prices, no room dimensions, no time-frame (he waited 5 years, an eternity in speaker materials and computer-modeling developments, to get something 20 times...20 times what, 75 bucks??), room-running, confusing hook-ups to AB speaker connections (what was this, a Pioneer reciever??), and on and on. Your points are well-taken, but his is a very foolish attempt at bad logic and worse procedures. ALL amps sound different, regardless of cost (as you note), and reference to some nameless dealer as a purveyor of state-of-the-art hokum merely tops this thing off as a total fabrication.

chambers1517
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Re: Why do so many buy into the "cons" in high end Audio

Tatal fabricatin is not even close. Everything is true. I could give exact details to everything but then the people who think that a 1cm green line on a cd improves the sound would have that many more reasons to claim my test were invalid. I live in east Tn. I welcome any of you guys to get together with me and do some experimenting. It would be great fun and maybe one of us could learn.

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

Jeff. You're right. I should have put a link in my reply. I had presumed that Page 8 on the Stereophile page list reference at the top and bottom of each page of 'postings' was the same for everyone !

Whilst I am replying to you I would just like to clarify something you queried earlier re my grading of the different Group I had been referring to. The Groups I was describing were what I call Groups of Awareness not Groups of Tweaking.
In other words, you can be in Group Two of Awareness (having done tweaks on your audio system and heard improvements) and you can do tweaks in your room, hear improvements in the sound BUT could still be in Group Two of Awareness because you have not yet realised what your experience in 'treating ' the room means !!
Or, you can be in Group Two of Awareness, you can then do tweaks in the room, hear improvements in the sound and the realisation suddenly hits you "Wait a moment, if I can hear additional information now I have done something in the room, then this means that the additional information I can now hear MUST HAVE been in the room all the time !! Which means that my equipment, even though I have had it 5, 10 or 15 years and have listened to it all these years, has, all this time, been 'handling' far more information and presenting it into the room than I have been aware of."
THEN, when this realisation occurs, you enter Group Three of Awareness !!
Regards.
May Belt.

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

Again - with a knee jerk reaction !! Moon walking again, am I ?

Just how many people are actually prepared to read things carefully nowadays ?

You were obviously so wanting to rush in and 'take me to task' that you apparently did not read carefully what I had written. I was making a general observation - that something (freezing) has been floating around and used by some for 20 years now. In what I wrote about, I DID NOT concentrate solely on CD players. My references were to show just how many things have been described as 'sounding' better after freezing (either using a domestic deep freezer or by freezing at cryogenic temperatures). I usually try to be quite clear and thorough and take special care in what I write !!

I particularly selected out of Robert Harley's 1990 article the sentence "In addition to CDs and LPs, the process has been used on Laser-vision-format video discs, speaker cable, interconnects, integrated circuits and musical instrument strings"

How general can you get ????
How can anyone miss that ???
How can anyone read what I had written as talking solely about CD players ???

How far behind are you Clinton with what is going on in the world of audio that you can still believe "what were once considered to be exotic tweaks are now incorporated into currently run-of-the-mill, factory build-ins."

Really !!!

Let me quote from an article in the July 2001 Hi Fi News by Keith Howard.

"But listening to cryogenically-treated speaker cables and interconnects proved to be an astonishing experience."
AND,
"Once again, the sound of the treated cables was characterised by manifestly superior transparency. Music was dynamic in a way that simply eluded the other cables one annealed,** (see below May) the other not - more finely etched and yet more weighty and punchy too."
AND,
"Delighted as I am with the outcome of this experiment (although I don't imagine for one moment it will change the minds of those who regard cables sonics as a figment of other's imaginations) I now concede that some one got here before me. I stumbled across a Pearl advert in a 1993 issue of Glass Audio that mentioned cryogenic treatment of vacuum tubes.
Some web searching soon revealed that Ed Meitner was the man behind this; that he had performed similar experiments to mine with cables and a great deal else besides, a decade and more ago. For some obscure reason this had all passed me by at the time."
AND,
"Having heard for myself the astonishing effect of cryogenically treating the copper in speaker interconnect cables, I can't imagine how this process and it's benefits could fade into obscurity."
AND,
"Although Meitner still uses cryogenic treatment himself, for everyone else in the audio industry it appears to have been a case of NIH (not invented here) or maybe IDU (I don't understand)."

** The manufacturer of the cables - Max Townshend - referred to by Keith Howard anneals (cooks) the metal first and then cryogenically freezes the cable !!!

So, Clinton, you firmly believe that things have been "incorporated into currently run-of-the-mill, factory build-ins." do you ? When, as late as 1999, one manufacturer of CD players - (Philips) stated attitude was that "Freezing is like a placebo in medicine - it's all in the mind."

Moon walking am I ?

Regards,
May Belt.

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


Quote:
Or, you can be in Group Two of Awareness, you can then do tweaks in the room, hear improvements in the sound and the realisation suddenly hits you "Wait a moment, if I can hear additional information now I have done something in the room, then this means that the additional information I can now hear MUST HAVE been in the room all the time !! Which means that my equipment, even though I have had it 5, 10 or 15 years and have listened to it all these years, has, all this time, been 'handling' far more information and presenting it into the room than I have been aware of."
THEN, when this realisation occurs, you enter Group Three of Awareness !!

May - I still don't understand why you consider this revelatory. It's obvious that the information is in the room if the treatments you do to the room allow you to hear more. This often applies to tweaks to gear as well... the information is passing through the gear (not necessarily always into the room yet), and a tweak can strip away something that was masking or impeding the full sound from being revealed. I just don't understand why you keep harping on the room treated aspect of all this as a "EUREKA!" moment. If the info has made it as far as the speaker cones and room air, it's going to be in the room. This seems more like a "Well, DUH!" moment. What am I missing in your argument?

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

What if on a cold winter day, i open my windows, let my room cool down to about 20F...and LISTEN, will it sound better? Or will it stop working from teh Cd player freezing up, and teh grease in teh tiny motors and gears gets thick. So the best audio is from Siberia and Alaska!!! And the northern midwest!! Minnisota!!! VanAlstine, made in the deep freeze!!! HA, Legacy stuff is made in Illinois, gets pretty cold there, all they gotta do is leave teh windows open during mfg, they can claim cold treated...raise teh price for nudnicks to pay more for it. How come Philips siad it was nonsense, they invented teh format, the players, the concept, they didn't find anything of value in green pens, freezing, and most other crap. What temp does Blu-Ray need versus CD, is SACD also different, ...did May accidently freeze her bain once, cus' what a line of CRAP!! Eesssh.

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

Aloha,

I was kind of awake all weekend, so I must be running on "dense," but I can't find the specific hearing aid battery procedure.

Is it the same as you mention with the household freezer?

No mocking intended today, really!

As to your questions:

1) If you did not read the technique (described on Page 8) why not ?

I used to work in a facility with an entire range of temperature altering toys, from walk-in RFC Freezers (Really Frigging Cold, which, I think we kept at about -40F), to vats of liquid nitrogen (about -320F).

As an avid hobbyist, whenever an opportunity to "play" with my surroundings presented itself, I went for it!

We even made "ice cubes" out of tequila - a REALLY bad idea, by the way, but that's a story for another time.

We also claim to have invented to recreational use of nebulized vodka, but, again, I digress.

Anyway...we had poor luck with cables - I suspect that any cryogenic therapies (treatments) are not well served by freezing in my case because, even though they are

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


Quote:
If I listened to reviewers, it would take me an hour and a half to get an LP or CD ready to listen to it!

LOL!

And an excellent post, Buddha, shining some much-needed light on the topic.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

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

Fay, until I can produce an official, monogrammed, Monica Lewinsky drool-bib, the name is "Clifton," not "Clinton."

"How general can I get?" Fay, that is the problem. I don't have any "general" components. They are all firmly ensconced in the particular -- the sublunary particular. Your comments seem addressed to the Great Spirit who dwells beyond the realm of all sense experience.

Am I supposed to know this Keith Howard? I must have been passed out when he got to the party. 2001? Is he still with us or has he, too, ascended to the peace that "surpasseth all understanding"?

Yes, tweaks that were once considered exotic add-ons are routinely built into contemporary gear. Cardas gold binding posts. Fancy footers and finely-machined cones. Black Gate (and Red Gate and Watergate -- you name it) capacitors. Custom built power supplies. Internally and externally damping chassis damping materials. Internally expanding and externally contracting universal joints (sorry, E.E. Cummings, the Lord rest your soul, I couldn't resist). And what generation of chips are we now in? The next dispensation will arrive at your dealer soon. While some tweaks still work, many that were once the products of window-pane induced hallucinations are now, well, commonplace. Techies out there can suppliment my meager list with hundreds more. While some tweaks still work, the refinements are getting tougher to hear and analyze, because time marches on, Fay, and the advance of technology runs all yellow lights.

Now, what do I do with my wire and my batteries? Freeze them? Then plug 'em back in frozen, or like last week's chicken, gradually thaw as per FDA and USDA guidelines? If I have to thaw 'em, why freeze 'em in the first place? If I use them while still frozen, do I have to encase them in Depends, to collect the inevitable drip?

Yes, Fay. Moonwalking, are you. Nanu, nanu. Over and out. Ten-four good buddy.

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

"Get together...and do some experimenting"? Well, maybe the next time I'm in Tennessee. But don't invite Bigfoot, okay?

Seriously, Chambers, all this sounds either badly managed (what can you determine from another room?) or badly fictional. Your recollection about the wife is actually kind of funny -- you thought the changes in your system sounded "fantastic," yet turned on a dime when she told you you'd been had. Was this before or after she crowned you with the cast-iron skillet? And these friends sitting around plugging and unplugging cables in and out of various "A," "B," and "A+B" holes in your...what? old preamp? new preamp? integrated amp? receiver?

Sorry, Chambers. I'm sure you are a very fine fellow, and your wife is a gorgeous southern belle (if a bit on the testy side), but this isn't why I would plan a trip to Tennessee.

Cheers, and happy listening -- to whatever you ended up with.

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

Sorry for the generalities in my forum. I was in a hurry and probably didn't elaborate in great enough detail. I had a dedicated listening room downstairs which I insulated and tried to isolate from the rest of the house. I had actually bought a front projector back when the technology was just getting started. I purchased a screen and also purchased 3 smaller siblings for my speakers. The room did not sound the same once It was turned into a theater. I eventually rebuilt the room and recessed the center and back speaker into the walls. Once I was finished The room sounded much better but I missed my listening room. I never liked any of the surround formats as well as stereo and when I listened to music It was always in stereo. I had my equipment installed in a spare room with repeaters. I had easy access to my equipment. I had a plate on the wall that all speaker and equipment was wired to and changeing equipment was simply a matter of unplugging it from the wall plate. I always questioned what sonic compromises I was making with this setup and when my wife made her statement I really wasn't sure, so I invited friends over to determine what was going on. We compared speaker cables against the ones in the wall. Interconects against the ones in the wall, and different components. One person would make changes while the rest of us would listen. I discovered you can hear many differences that simply don't exist. This was one of the most interesting things audio wise I have done and would love to repeat it. I have one friend who borders on extreme with his philosophy towards tweaks and he is great fun. Every time he would misidentify a change he could come up with a reason. We recently sold this house and are in the middle of construction of a new one. I will have a listening room and a seperate theater room in the basement. I never could get over my equipment being used for theater

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

Could be very true in your venue. Alot of forces at work, including the room acoustics etc. Also, from a different standpoint, the power of suggestion might also come into play since she knew about the changes. Hard to tell.

I have read posts where the wife comes home, hears the stereo playing, and states the sound is different. She had no idea any change had taken place according to the posts, but he had installed a new component which she did not know about.

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

My first wife routinely did just that. If the change was something she didn't like I would hear about it immediately. Changing from tube to SS amplifiers caused a very heated argument. SS did not sound good to her.

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

There are two things going on Jeff with the 'information in the room' thing.
1) Yes, it is blindingly obvious that if the information has got as far as the speaker cones and into the room, then it is in the room.
2) But, what many people do not do, is, after discovering that after doing something in the room and hearing additional information, they do not go back in their thinking and reassess their old beliefs. Their old belief was that what they had been hearing up to that point in time i.e all the time they had had that particular equipment - was all that that equipment could 'handle'. They do not seem to want to think back and say "Wait a moment. For the past 5, 10, 15 years I have been blaming the cartridge for not being revealing enough or for the tweeter for not being revealing enough, or for the amplifier for not being powerful enough or for the tuner for not being receptive enough. But, I have not touched the cartridge, or the tweeter, or the amplifier or the tuner so that means that the equipment I had been thinking was at fault - not good enough all this time - is actually quite remarkable !! It CAN actually 'handle' a wealth of information - far more information than I have ever realised !!!!"
THAT is what I refer to as awareness !! Which IS something different to just saying "Oh, yes, obviously the information is in the room." DUH.

But, Jeff, the audio industry want people to continue thinking that the equipment they already have is not quite good enough - that what they should have is something new !!

Buddha suggests that he would be spending an hour and a half with all the 'tweaks' reviewed over the years by reviewers just to listen to a disc. It is not WHAT the 'tweaks' are, it is what they are DOING, what they are telling people is happening !!
Take one of the 'tweaks' he mentioned - Harmonic Discs. If the people could/can hear improvements in the sound after attaching these Discs around the room, improvements such as greater height, greater width, greater depth, better separation of instruments, more open and airy sound - and to have suddenly lost the 'boxy' sound, WITHOUT DOING ANYTHING TO THE BOX OF THE LOUDSPEAKER, then, logically, this means that the box of the loudspeaker was NOT and therefore had not been the cause of the boxy sound !!! But, my experience has been that people do not want to face that challenge to what they have believed. They do not want to face the realisation - that their belief that the loudspeakers they have had for 5, 10, 15 years were causing the 'boxy' sound - had been wrong. This realisation that the box of the loudspeaker quite probably is NOT the cause of the boxy sound flies in the face of conventional theories and they do not want what they have been taught (or learnt) to be challenged - it is too painful !! So, instead, they turn on the people who are describing what they have heard !!!!!
Before I get a lecture from people on cabinet resonances and the internal back air pressure wave reflections inside loudspeaker cabinets, and the technical aspects of crossover networks, let me say that I have helped manufacture more loudspeakers than I have had hot dinners and I have had more people claim they have 'lost the boxy sound' without touching the box of the loudspeaker than I have had glasses of wine !!!
So Jeff, to begin with, let me paint a scenario.
No-one knows what information is missing - what information is available, in the room, until we do something, in the room, which shows us just what we have been missing. (See my answer to Buddha re Martin Colloms experiences with the Harmonic Discs).

When you, Jeff, can describe "You try something, and suddenly, you're hearing music you thought you were familiar with in a new way. "Hey wait! That wasn't like that before! I can hear the wood body of the guitar now and that harmonic of the string over that note!"

And when a reviewer can recently describe, after carrying out a room treatment "This is a hard one to explain - it sounds as if I'm finding more and more detail (it almost seemed as if that was the case)"

So, no-one knows what wealth of information audio equipment is capable of 'handling'.

Imagine, Jeff, you are a manufacturer of audio equipment. You think you are hearing what your equipment is capable of 'handling' UNTIL you do something, in the room, which makes you aware that there HAD BEEN additional information, in the room, which had been 'handled' beautifully by your equipment but you had not previously been aware of that fact !! Additional information, already 'handled' by your equipment, but which you (the human being) had not been resolving correctly.

Now, if you exhibit at a Hi Fi Show, surely you would want potential customers to be able to 'hear' what your equipment was capable of, so, surely again, you would want to do the same (or similar) treatments in that demonstration room to enable potential buyers of your equipment to hear your equipment to it's best advantage ? To hear what it IS capable of. ?

So, why then are there exhibition room after exhibition room, manufacturers demonstration room after manufacturers demonstration room, Hi Fi Show after Hi Fi Show where audio equipment manufacturers, audio equipment distributors, audio equipment exhibitors etc do nothing to deal with that situation ? Add to that list numerous Hi Fi Retailers demonstration rooms !!! Is it because they do not care ? Is it because they cannot be bothered ? Or, could it be that they are NOT AWARE ? That they have no idea just what wealth of information is already in the room but information which human beings are not resolving correctly.

Because it happens exactly as I have described, then we all have to ask the question WHY ?
If you don't want the answer to be "because the manufacturers/exhibitors do not care, cannot be bothered,", then the only answer left is that "they are not aware just how much information is already in the room, not being resolved !!!!!!!

A quote from Malcolm Steward's report after visiting the London Heathrow Hi Fi Show this September 2006.
"What's more, and in terms of giving value for money to visitors, it might be worthwhile if certain of the exhibitors actually took the time to listen to the systems they intended to demonstrate before inflicting them on show visitors. While hotel rooms don't offer ideal demonstration circumstances, nothing could excuse the sheer awfulness I heard in some of the rooms I visited."
Malcolm is talking about 'Professionals in Audio' !! Not Amateurs !!
So, where are all these AWARE people ?

Now, Jeff, if you ARE aware that, at this precise moment, your existing equipment could STILL BE capable of handling far more information and presenting it into the room than you are actually resolving - actually aware of now, then you are at an advanced stage of awareness. Then, the question you should be asking is "Why aren't others at this same stage ?" Why aren't so many of the 'Professionals in Audio' aware ?

And it is obvious that many people are not because once you reach another stage of awareness, you can no longer use the sentences belonging to the previous stage. In other words you can no longer use sentences describing various tweaks with words such as 'audio faith healing', 'mysticism', 'suggestion', 'placebo effect', imagination', 'mood changes', 'effective marketing' etc. You can no longer react with mockery and ridicule to what people are describing. So, when you see people using those sentences, then you can see where they are in awareness !!

In exactly the same way as when you reach the stage of awareness that it is the earth which moves around the sun, then you can no longer use the sentence "It is the sun which moves around the earth" Even though it appears as though it does - every day !!

Regards,
May Belt.

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

Come on, Buddha, you claim to be intelligent. You say "I can't find the specific hearing aid battery procedure. Is it the same as you mention with the household freezer?"
(i.e. For treating batteries !!!!)

It is like me describing a treatment for wires in one 'posting' and later, in another 'posting' where I am talking specifically about the wire which goes down a pick up arm I say that I have described the treatment in an earlier posting, you say "Oh, May, I can't find the treatment description you say you gave, was it the same description as for other wires ?"

A battery is a battery. Whether it is a round battery, or a square battery or a disc battery it is still a battery !!! And, there are different types of batteries used in hearing aids. Disc batteries for behind the ear or in the ear hearing aids, and normal !!!! batteries for external/separate box hearing aids. Do I really have to spell the (same) treatment out separately, each time, for each battery shape or use ? Surely not Buddha !!!

I have no problems if you have tried different 'tweaks' and they have not worked for you. No problems with that at all. What I have problems with are the 'blanket, dismissive' comments you make such as " 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."

As I have said a few times. It is not that Peter disappears (to use your expression) "to slither back into the hobby to suck the green life blood from the uninitiated."
But more that some people re-discover what he found out, try it for themselves, and report their experiences.
I am presuming that you would never use that same expression regarding Ed Meitner.
I.e. That Ed Meitner was "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." just because some people are re-discovering what Ed Meitner found out over 20 years ago, are trying it for themselves, and reporting their experiences.

>>> I tried extensive disassembly with cable parts - all the way down to the basic elements, but still no luck. <<<

Now THAT I really find hard to believe !!! Not that you have not tried but that you cannot hear any difference.

Buddha also says that he has tried cryogenically freezing cartridges without hearing any improvements in the sound. In the June 2006 issue, Hi Fi News, there is a review of the Japanese Zyx cartridge (which has had the wires cryogenically treated) and a review of the Hadcock Pick Up arm which has been cryogenically treated. The reviewer commenting on the Hadcock arm "To say I am impressed is an understatement. If you can find the extra to buy the Cryo, do it."

Are all these people (spread over a period of 25 years !!!!!!!) who claim that freezing (cryogenically or domestic freezer temperatures) improves the sound using it merely as marketing HYPE - as a method to sell equipment, wires etc or is the freezing technique actually effective ? Who are you going to believe ? What percentage does it have to reach before more people begin to take more notice ?

You are on safe ground John, when you agree with Buddha's sentence "If I listened to reviewers, (and used all the tweaks they describe) it would take me an hour and a half to get an LP or CD ready to listen to it!" because it is a truism. Yes, it would take Buddha an hour and a half !!! A truism if ever there was one. Buddha uses the 'time' element of his truism and this allows him to belittle the tweaks he has listed !!
But, John, by agreeing with a truism, (that it could take hours and hours) it also enables you to sidestep the implications of these 'tweaks' and what these tweaks are telling you (and the audio industry)
I have described (to Jeff Wong) one of the tweaks which Buddha mentioned - the Harmonic Discs. I remember Martin Colloms describing his experiences (successful) with placing these Harmonic Discs around his room and neither you or I would deny Martin's listening abilities.

To quote Martin :-
"I was highly sceptical that these discs could improve my listening room, which is known to have good, well-balanced acoustics........ They were fascinating in that they had zero effect on the primary room acoustic........ Yet something WAS significantly different. The room seemed to allow a wider dynamic range and allowing for darker, deeper silences between musical notes. The decay structure of individual notes was cleaner and clearer...... Moreover, stereo focus and image uniformity were surprisingly improved. Singing voice became more natural and articulate, with a surprising improvement in intimacy and presence. Complex material was definitely clearer, while massed choir showed better definition and clarity...."

It is irrelevant what equipment Martin was using or who made or how much it cost. The fact is that prior to using the Harmonic Discs Martin had not been 'hearing' all that his equipment had 'handled' !! He had NOT BEEN AWARE that there was additional information in his room which he had not been resolving correctly.

Look at all these people's experiences and what those experiences are implying.
1) That audio equipment, whoever it and however much it cost is perfectly capable of 'handling' a wealth of information - far more information than anyone has realised !!
2) But the audio magazines rely on advertising revenue for their very existence and the advertising revenue comes primarily from manufacturers and retailers wishing to sell NEW equipment.
3) So, the magazines have to lean HEAVILY on the side of articles saying to their readers (potential customers) "If you do not think you are hearing the music as well as you think you should, then what you need is Joe Bloggs new $5,000 CD player, Jack Smith's new $10,000 amplifier or Bill Brown's new $20,000 loudspeaker system."

And, tell me John, exactly how is Buddha's posting "shining some much-needed light on the topic." ? Which part are you going to come down on the side of ? The part where Buddha says that he has tried cryogenically freezing cables and could not hear any improvements in the sound whilst, on the other hand, Keith Howard says that he has heard remarkable improvements from cables which HAVE been cryogenically frozen ??
You can't be on both sides of the fence simultaneously.
Regards,
May Belt.

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

May - It seems to me that the discs you speak of are a poor example for the case you're trying to make. It is my contention that this kind of tweak is additive and is taking the information in the room and enhancing it via harmonics. I also must disagree with your suggestion that current gear is probably good enough. If my placing a Shakti Stone on a DAC (note its place in the chain), opens up the sound and more info is revealed, that doesn't mean the information was in the room yet. What it does suggest is that the bottleneck occurred at the DAC, probably due to poor shielding from RF or EMI that the Shakti handled. Once this treatment is applied, the flow of information then makes it to the speakers and into the room. At this point, I would agree with you that the information is in the room. But, it also tells us, the DAC could've been built better.

I do agree with you in the sense that "budget" products are often shortchanged in the high-end industry. There are many products that can pass on high resolution information that people never experience because they've partnered the equipment with similarly priced items that might not show off the true performance of the [perceived] underachiever. This is one of the reasons I have embraced tweaking and modding over the years, to explore a piece's potential before upgrading. While some audiophile friends had revolving doors for gear, I twiddled and tweaked with almost the same setup for nearly 10 years. There comes a time where you just have to admit that the biggest improvement is to move up to better gear. In another thread, I wrote about my experience with a Creek integrated amplifier and some changes I made to it and was going to make to it. But, after adding up the expense of putting in more expensive capacitors and a hand built stepped attenuator with boutique resistors, it became apparent I would get a bigger bang for the buck by getting a new amplifier and preamplifier. Most of the tweaks I'd invested in would still apply.

In my experience, cryogenically freezing equipment doesn't always garner an improvement, or, at least just comes down to being a matter of preference. My friends and I conducted an experiment several years ago. We got 2 identical high-end aftermarket cords and had one of them frozen. The difference in sound was apparent when each was used on a piece of gear. However, I preferred the untreated cord. The frozen one sounded diffused and light with less impact. Better? Not to my ears -- subjective call. Different, though. I wasn't sure if the insulation got damaged during freezing, or if the crystalline structure of the metal was indeed altered by the freezing. I applaud Buddha's attempts to strip things down to the component level in order to reduce damage to things like insulation.

BTW - Both sides of the fence is possible.

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

You know, one of the most wearying things about tweak salesmen is the slippery semantics.

When you talk about "cryogenically treated" items, and use someone who has treated components parts (before assembly) as your exemplar, and then extrapolate to your own tossing of an item into a home refrigerator, you are equating two unequal things.

Beyond the debate about the benefits of cryogenically treated items, what you are really doing is insinuating yourself into a category of

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

I better add one thing.

I didn't mean to imply the cables we played with didn't sound "different" than before/untreated.

As you can see, I said that they didn't make anything sound "better."

Jeff is right on. With the cables, the temperature extreme took away some of cables' outside sleeve/insulation flexibility, even after "thawing."

Kind of how an old rubber band feels when it's been out in the elements for too long.

There were also micro-cracks that appeared in the cable sleeves. I didn't keep them around to watch, but I bet the integrity of the sleeve/insulation was compromised and we would have seen a quick journey down the path of oxidation.

I'd be surprised if there is a cable company that cryogenically treats its cables after they have beeen completely assembled. But then, maybe there is!

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

> interesting that just one negative anecdotal story carries so much weight <

That's ridiculous. By your definition anything related by anyone about anything is anecdotal. In this case the "anecdote" was a report about a test. Whether the test really was valid I can't say because I wasn't there. But from the description it sounds valid. And at least Chambers tried to get to the truth. Which is more than you can say for most believers!

--Ethan

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

Since we are on the subject of "cryogenic" treatment of copper, how about we examine the claims that are made for these treatments. The most common claim is that by cryogenically treating the copper the grain structure is "unitized" into a mono crystalline structure. The claim is that this "stabilizes" the speed of transmission of the signal. Apparently, in untreated copper, the transmission speed can vary with the frequency. I

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

"But from the description it sounds valid."

How would you know since you were not there? A study requires pages and pages of documentation which is examined and studied.

Yet you can make a hunch from a simple post? Are you related to P T Barnum?

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

Hey, Scooter!

There's alot more to this cryogenics stuff than we've mentioned.

We know the process works for metal tool wear, and the postulated effect is, as described, via getting the metal molecules to line up in a more favorable fashion. It can even prolong the useful life a molds for making diecast products.

It seems to prolong the life of gun barrels, too. In that situation, the claim of decreased porosity of the gunmetal is taken as a truism.

The transition to Hi Fi is probably a little tougher to make claims for.

One article I saw claimed that cryogenically treating copper could induce a 7% increase in conductivity.

If that's true, then perhaps we could see improved performance of cryogenically treated conductors.

So, I keep an open mind to what can happen to conductors subjected to extreme tempartures.

OK, that's the first part.

The second part is finding the correct way to do it in the first place.

When we played, we tried to keep the changes from being too abrupt, so we went from lab style fridge to freezer, to 40 below freezer, and then onto a rack above the liquid nitrogen but inside the tank, and finally into the liquid nitrogen. (We did the reverse for "defrosting.")

Even so, that last plunge into the liquid could make for a 200 degree (or greater) change over a short period of time.

Just like you can harm other objects with too rapid a deciline in temperature - try ice water on a hot car windshield in the summer if you don't believe me - we probably didn't do the items any big favor by chilling them that quickly.

The time factor is probably very important. Also, we wanted to make sure that the items all had a chance to reach a uniform temperature, so we left some things in the vat for a week, or longer if we forgot.

We used to do a thing in the lab to cells whose contents we wanted to examine by "heat shocking" them and making them pop their membranes without (theoretically) affecting the cell innards.

I'm sure we did the frozen equivalent to the Hi Fi toys that we "treated."

This could be especially harmful to places where dissimilar metals met - like solder joints, metal/plastic fittings between parts, and parts around other parts - like a wrapping around a wire.

We succeeded at making stuff sound worse in some cases, and no different in other cases.

I wonder if we could have more slowly lowered and raised the temperatures maybe we could have heard something nicer.

So, I admit to believing that cryogenics (not the kitchen kind) can affect metal crystal/lattice structure, and I'm prone to allow for an even more malleable metal like copper to perhaps exhibit these traits in a way that may (as in maybe, not for sure) affect its performance in a cable.

____________________________
____________________________

To further devolve this topic, we also autoclaved (exposed and sealed) cables that we had previously frozen, or not, and didn't find that made any change for the good, either.

So, anyway, lots of fun to be had.

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

"Frankly, I do not know enough about the basic Physics"

>>Don't you think you should do some studying before making any dogmatic claims?

"Bottomline, cryogenically treating copper in a transformer may have a very small effect (I have no idea how long the wire used in a transformer winding is) but for anything else, it

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

benelli cryogenics link, got a nice video of it all

http://www.benelliusa.com/firearms/crio.tpl

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

Ethan, you are right I tried to the best of my abilities to perform a fair honest test and I have to believe my results.

The mind Is an incredibly persuasive tool. I worked 2 nights a week washing dishes while I was in high school. I had a 68 bug and a friend who also worked there had a super beetle. Being a teenager, when we would finish work and leave we would race. His car would slowly pull ahead of mine. I was in an automotive store one day and saw a little device that installed between the coil and coil wire. It was said to improve mileage and performance up to 15%. It was about 40 bucks. I bought one and installed it. It made a big difference. I loved how much better my car was performing and could not wait to surprise my friend the next time we worked. Guess what, he slowly pulled away from me the same as always. Maybe my bug wasn't high performance enough for there to have been an improvement. Maybe there was an improvement and my driveing skills were unable to capitalize on it. I knew there was an improvement until I truly tested it and then it quickly faded away.

I have experienced Comb Filtering or what ever you want to call it. I was setting up my subs in my theater room. I had a test cd and a parametric eq tryin to smooth out the bass. I was useing a spl meter and adjusting different frequencies with the eq. I would leave the room to make an adjustment, come back and other frequencies would be different. I finally put the meter on a tripod and could get close, but if I moved it very much I would get different readings. I took this into consideration while doing my test. This is why one person would make the changes in the other room while the rest would stay in the same position.

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

Chambers, Ethan et al,

Whether it is comb filtering or the "placebo effect" which leads many audiophiles to make ridiculous claims about tweaks (cables, interconnects, power supply cords etc.), I don't rightly know.

What I do know is that comb filtering is very real and, in a typical room, large changes in response can occur at specific frequencies over very small distances (inches). I have measured this myself with an SPL meter. Ethan is absolutely right that this exists...simple physics tells us that this must be true in any reflective environment with waves bouncing around all over the place, furthermore, measurements support the physics.

The average person may be largely ignorant of these effects because our ears/brain do a fairly good job of evening out most of these effects in what we perceive as sound. There are many interesting accepted facts about our peculiar hearing system; we are fairly insensitive to harmonic distortion but very sensitive to intermodulation distortion. In fact we all go around in our daily lives quite oblivious to how sophisticated and "tuned" our hearing sytem actually is.

Nevertheless, anybody that professes a real interest in audio reproduction and has done any reading/research on audio sound quality ought to be well aware of Comb Filtering.

Why then are most audiophiles not well aware of Comb Filtering?

A possible explanation is that many people are quite comfortable in accepting things without questioning anecdotal evidence or their own observational skills. After all, the sun does appear to go round the earth at a first glance and people accepted this for many centuries.

There is a myriad of highly improbable beliefs held by large groups of humans over various historical times, all without any evidence, repeatable experiments or test measurements to support them. Some good examples are Apollo, Zeus, Mithras, Oisris, Dionysus, copper wrist bracelets, lucky charms, the earth is only 4000 years old, in fact, I could go on nearly forever with examples. Some beliefs have fallen out of popularity to be replaced by others that are equally improbable but remain strong even today.

The speaker cable belief and need for extremely expensive speaker cables for high quality audio reproduction seems to have originated roughly 30 years ago. Perhaps it will come and go as others have done.

Audio "cons" are no different from many of the above...they enjoy similar widespread success as do many other improbable beliefs.

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

I don't think many (if any) of the regulars deny that comb filtering is real or exists. But, we don't necessarily agree that it is the single answer (apart from being delusional) to why tweaks and interconnects can make differences in sound that Ethan suggests.

I understand his firm stance. He sells a product based on science and must stand behind it and back it up with science. I like science and enjoy it when it supports and explains things, too. But, I am open-minded and not arrogant enough to believe man knows everything. There are things we probably don't know how to measure, or in the right way yet. When I find tweaks and cable changes produce consistent, repeatable results (over time), I have to give weight to what I'm hearing.

Ethan's comb filtering explanation for why tweaks seem to work is very convenient. But, I don't think anyone has pointed out that it should apply when no tweak is used and we move our heads. If sound is going to be different every time we move (I'm not suggesting it isn't) it's going to be tough to make any determinations, tweak or not. Life is short and there's lots of music to be experienced and enjoyed. The time spent typing tirades and arguments could've been used to listen to tunes. Go! What are you waiting for?

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


Quote:
why tweaks and interconnects can make differences in sound

I suspect Comb filtering is just one of several possible explanations for some of the more improbable audiophile observations that can't be measured, or tested with scientific repeatability. (Things like changing a power supply cord)

The placebo effect is well known to work in medecine...taking something to make oneself feel better often has the affect of doing so, nevermind if the drug is is simply a sugar pill. Our minds can quite positively or negatively impact our perception (the way we feel about something)....the power of suggestion.

I simply offered another explanation...and a very simple one at that; historically people have been shown to believe all kinds of improbable things. So what is so different about audiophiles that they should not equally suffer these delusions, just like the rest of the population.

I include myself in the general deluded population, as careful experimentation with test instruments has proved to myself that my "gut" beliefs were quite wrong or unfounded on several occasions. This is the value of laboratory testing, measurements and instruments rather than trusting your feelings.

Until someone scientifically demonstrates conclusively through measurements, in a peer reviewed scientific journal, that a tweak works, then I tend to ignore them. I will continue to ignore even popular beliefs like the importance of high priced speaker cables with special construction and materials, simply because, IMHO, popular beliefs about improbable things are all too common.

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

This post has run over 34 pages. We have heard from people who debunk scientists, people who debunk empaths with (claimed) extrasensory powers, people who support all or some of the above, people who are dead, alive, and comatose, and representatives from the Society of the Deaf (who claim to be unable to hear anything). Yet, nothing, nothing has been said to negate the validity of simply listening (in one's familiar surroundings, comb-infested or not) to one's system, while playing familiar software, with a clear idea of what one is comparing his system to. Your abstract statements about placebo effects and the commonplace occurance of comb-filtering mean absolutely nothing to anyone who loves music and has a clear idea of what he wants his system to sound like. Absolutely nothing. Repeat. Absolutely nothing. The need for laboratory validation and abstract measurements, to somehow avoid being duped by audio quackery, simply doesn't exist for the person who wants his system to sound as much as possible like the memory of a live performance. I take the same ears to the concert hall as I take to my favorite listening chair at home. I have well-recorded and poorly-recorded software, both of which need to be accomodated by whatever changes I decide to attempt. I recently bought an expensive digital cable, since the one I was using (while neutral and certainly an excellent bargain) became a suspect in the production of a persistent grain I was hearing while listening to the massed violins in symphonic recordings. Only one way to find out for sure. Buy a better one and see if the problem lessens or goes away. I did, and it did. So I kept it.

You have to know what you are listening for to navigate this sea of relativity. I am fortunate to be in a metropolitan area where I can hear live music every night of the week if I so choose. That is my standard. It is unachievable, but approachable. Now, you can measure, generalize, tout your "science," and express your skepticism about the efficacy of tweaks, but, really, all you have to do is 1) find YOUR standard and 2) LISTEN.

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

It would be cool to arrange a listening tour, where we all got to hear each other's systems. This would include cable agnostics, comb filterers, skin creamists, and everything in between. That would be revealing.

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

Yeah, but cryogenically-treated gun barrels would have to be prohibited.

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

Better bang for the buckshot doesn't appeal to you?

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


Quote:
I recently bought an expensive digital cable, since the one I was using (while neutral and certainly an excellent bargain) became a suspect in the production of a persistent grain I was hearing while listening to the massed violins in symphonic recordings. Only one way to find out for sure. Buy a better one and see if the problem lessens or goes away. I did, and it did. So I kept it.

The point is that patients taking palacebos (sugar pills) very often report significant improvements in health. Therefore personal observations/perceptions are affected by the knowledge that something has been changed ( and the consequent expectation of a change in response...the more money/effort consumed then the higher the expectations).

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301, you missed my point

I noticed that you only took excepton to my making some assumptions. There is nothing wrong in making these types of assumptions as long as they are somewhat valid, revealed, and the mathematics employed is valid. Here's one result that I found using "speed of light in copper" in a google search.

"Internet Speed - Key / Important FeaturesDigital information such as Internet packets travel at 2/3 of the speed of light on copper wire and on fiber optic cables. Since light speed is about 300000 ..."

Soooo, maybe my assumptions were in the range of the true value. The fact is that I was attempting to use an assumption that was heavily "skewed" IN FAVOR of cryogenic treatment.

The point is that in a 2 meter long cable the total transmission time is too short to have any audible effect. That was the point of the math. Do the math for yourself using numbers supplied by Furutech or any other cryogenic proponent and you will find that a 2 meter cable is just too short for the effect of cryogenic treatment to have any audible effect due to time differentials. So one claim for cryogenic treatment of copper is meaningless at Audio frequencies.

BTW, I asked for input regarding capacitance and inductance for a very simple reason. That is so that the only remaining possible effects be examined in a similar manner so that any claim for cryogenic treatment of cabeling can be proven insignificant.

Too often claims are made in Audio that , while true, may be so misleading in nature as to border on fraud. On the face of it a claim of a 33% improvement in transmission speed sounds like to would be extremely beneficial. For someone concerned with bit rate and bandwidth for computer data transmission it would actually be a real significant improvement. However, we are concerned with Audio frequencies, NOT frequencies in the mega or giga hertz range. At Audio frequencies these treatments just do not have an audible effect. If you take the time to check with an expert, you'll find that my math was completely sound and my assumptions were most likely very "skewed" in FAVOR of the claims for cryogenics. Just because you don't like the results does not mean that they are incorrect.

You'll also note that I DID NOT dispute the claim that cryogenic treatment of copper changes the crystalline structure. Since I routinely use cryogenically treated tooling in my designs, I am well aware that these changes do take place. My point is that even though the crystalline structure has been changed, that change will NOT have any audible effect. The simple fact is that audio cables are too short and Audio frequencies are too low for any effect of cryogenic treatment to be audible. 3 x 10^8 meters per second is just too darn fast.

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


Quote:

Quote:
I recently bought an expensive digital cable, since the one I was using (while neutral and certainly an excellent bargain) became a suspect in the production of a persistent grain I was hearing while listening to the massed violins in symphonic recordings. Only one way to find out for sure. Buy a better one and see if the problem lessens or goes away. I did, and it did. So I kept it.

The point is that patients taking palacebos (sugar pills) very often report significant improvements in health. Therefore personal observations/perceptions are affected by the knowledge that something has been changed ( and the consequent expectation of a change in response...the more money/effort consumed then the higher the expectations).

Hi, Reverb!

Welcome!

I agree with most of what you post, but there's one thing about the placebo effect...it fades over time.

In those studies where people respond, what frequently fails to get mentioned is that placebo effect general diminish, while the effectiveness of the actual intervention tends to remain effective.

I agree with you wholeheartedly that there is an immense placebo effect in Hi Fi. The questions is, how do you identify it and how long does it last?

It's hard to identify because, as many of us illustrate nicely, audiophiles are NEVER wrong or deluded about what their exquisite listening apparati tell them.

One of our mottos should be: "In all other walks of life and hobbies, the placebo effect is real, but not in my listening room."

The placebo effect is too threatening for us Hi Fi types to allow to exist.

Plus, we have the reverse placebo effect to deal with, too; where the DBT Bozos insist no differences exist unless identified their way.

So, the truth is lost somewhere in between - either overly ignored or overly embraced.

I think you can indirectly measure it, though.

I like keeping track of the lifespan of certain tweaks in people's systems. Placebo tweaks tend to disappear from audiophile's listening habits more quickly than actual tweaks that work, and they also fade before people change gear rather than after.

Another place to look for placebos is in reviewers' reference systems. That is a rich hunting ground. In the "reference system graveyard," we see things like the Tice Clock (or a competing brand) that sets a reviewer to waxing rhapsodic about its glorious, profound, and obvious benefit...and then it appears in the "Reference System."

Well, on average, within 12 months the tweak is no longer listed in the "reference system," and its disappearance is not remarked upon. Tweaks and reference systems are not like gangs

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Re: 301, you missed my point

Scooter, there are so many things that can happen to a signal when we try to move it from place to place.

I'm sure (...;)...) I saw something somewhere that looked at changes in the phase of a signal as it passes through wiring that said that there can be shifts in the signal phase at certain frequencies as the signal gets transmitted down the signal path.

If this is true, then that could have a profound effect on what happens to a musical signal as it passes through different types/brands of cables.

I'll use a "lack of in depth knowledge" excemption here and go try and find the article.

You seem to have good takes on things, so I'd be interested in your opinion.

Jeff Wong
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Re: 301, you missed my point

http://www.essex.ac.uk/ese/research/audi...ables_1985).pdf

Hawksford touches on phase errors on page 11 due to the different insulations and signal passing through them:

"Observe the importance of discussing principally a time domain model. Our thesis is attempting to demonstrate that a (copper) conductor exhibits significant memory, that influences transient behaviour by time smearing by a significant amount a small fraction of the applied signal.

Consider the cable construction shown in Figure 3. Allow the generator to input a sinewave for a time >> Td, to enable the steady-state to be established. The bE field between the conductors responds rapidly to the applied signal, as the velocity in the dielectric between the conductors is high. We are assuming here a terminating load to the cable, so there is a net energy flow through the dielectric. Remember as the wave front progresses, so a radial loss wave propagates into each conductor, where the bEs field is aligned in an axial direction.

Now allow the applied signal to be suddenly switched off. The field between the conductors collapses rapidly, thus cutting off the signal energy being fed radially into the conductors. However, the low velocity and high attenuation of the loss wave represents a loss-energy reservoir, where the time for the wave to decay to insignificance as it propagates into the interior of the conductor, is
non-trivial, by audio dimensions.

The bEs field within the conductor can be visualised as many "threads" of bE field as shown in Figure 3. The voltage appearing across the ends of each thread, De, is calculated by multiplying the bEs field by the cable length, L, though more strictly, this is an integral, where

De =

Shadorne
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Re: 301, you missed my point

Interesting. I am familiar with the Hawkford paper, the science behind it is valid...it was not new science in 1985...engineers have long known about these effects (Maxwell died in 1879!) I am also very familiar with skin depth upon which it is based. The text book that is mentioned in the references is still used in electrical engineering today. At higher frequencies than audio, engineers will definitely be concerned with skin depth ( I work for an engineering firm and we do use these equations....a lot).

However, at audio frequencies, these effects mean that a speaker cable will typically roll off the higher frequencies above around 15 KHZ ever so slightly... frankly the effect is of the order of a percent. Engineers and practical minded folks will ignore these effects and treat cables as part of lumped sum circuit with a constant resistance. Capicitance and inductance of cabling have similar mild effects too. There is no need to panic...most of what engineers build is based on very solid and reasonable approximations.

The fact that a slight skin depth effect occurs at audio frequencies should not worry anyone at all. Hearing often stops somewhere between 15 and 20 Khz anyway...furthermore 1% in volume level is generally inaudible. Generally the room and speaker accounts for MUCH more variability in response so as to make this effect negligible.

There definitely are differences between cables of different size/design/dielectric and conductor materials... no engineer or scientist will deny that. There is just not enough differences to really matter in terms of audible response at least not with an appropriately designed amplifier and speaker. (I would not regard a very high output impedance tube amplifier or a very low input impedance speaker as a very good design and I would exclude this from consideration in an accurate reproduction system)

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

Whoosh! You missed the point completely. I don't take sugar pills. There is no analogue for listening. If YOU are vulnerable to the "placebo effect," you have not been to enough live concerts. I am not a patient. I have no health problems. I do not listen for therapy. I listen because I am a music lover. When I listen, the fewer distractions between me and the music, the better. Grain is a distraction. I can hear it. Sometimes it is unavoidable, because it belongs to the software. Sometimes it is avoidable because of the hardware. Sometimes it is both. I do not hear it in the concert hall. The less of it I hear in my listening room, the better. Of course, I could simply buy a cheap equalizer and roll off everything above 6 kHz. Muffling cures grain. That is not an option, because it would rob the music of its life.

Reverb, your name gives you away. You apparently don't know what real music at a live concert sounds like. That is fine. You can rely on numbers. I cannot. I do not hear numbers in the concert hall. Being a believer in numbers makes your task much easier than mine. All you have to do is measure away, regardless of what you hear. Or, as per your name (whatever THAT is), you can merely turn on the reverb machine -- the ensuing echolalia would certainly muffle out any offending spuriae.

Buddha, sorry. But you are full of it on this one. You can't measure your way out of the placebo/non-placebo matrix by counting months and looking for the disappearance of Tice clocks. I haven't changed interconnects for 9 years because, after having tried at least a half-dozen of the latest brands (some going into 5 figures), it was easy to determine that none of them get me any closer to the live performance than the ones I have. I kept the Harmonic Tech digital cable because it helped me hurdle one more obstacle between me and the music, eliminating the grain from my best CD's and making my worst sound more musical.

As Jonathan said, use the appendages attached to the side of your head, and forget the psychobabble about placebos. If you don't have a reference, either find one, or head out out into the sea of relativity -- you can use a runcible spoon for an oar, or bring a distortion analyzer and a portable generator. At sea you will remain. The numbers won't help if you don't know what you are listening for.

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