Snake Oil Product of the Year Awards

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aardvarkash10
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Post by aardvarkash10 » 12 Jan 2010 22:01

jon tiltman wrote:
Fuses do make a difference albeit not as profound as the Thor. I'm not disagreeing with the theory that they shouldn't but I also suspect that you're so convinced that you're right that you've not tried it.


JT
So, let me get this straight. On an intellectual/engineering/science-based level, you feel that a fuse should not make a difference. Which only leaves a metaphysical/religious/faith-based level at which you believe they do.

So, how is it that I am the one in denial here?

Jorlsafar
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Post by Jorlsafar » 12 Jan 2010 22:34

EdAInWestOC wrote:
Jorlsafar wrote:Snakeoil product number one of the noughties is no doubt all of those LP
issues/reissues marketed as "Audiophile 180 grammes pressing", "made from
virgin vinyl", "Analogue sound - as it was meant to be", and similar,
whereas in fact the master copy for the LP in question is made from a
remastered Zi-Di from say 1996, the LP is not round, the LP is noisy, etc.

That is to me real snake oil. The odd hockey puck has snake oil written all
over itself and it is very hard to distinguish these from prank tweaks on the
prank web sites posted by the original poster. Such snake oil can be
charming.

Claims about "audiophile" quality - on the other hand - in LPs are more
difficult to see through.
They are not all bad. In fact some of them are damm good, some are terrible...just like original pressings.

Catagorically dismissing a group of products does not lend a lot of credibility to the one claiming such a thing.

It's like saying all MM cartridges are such and such or only uni-pivot tonearms are worthy of consideration. Not very convincing...

Ed
Perhaps my post came down a bit too cathegorically. I agree that they are
not all bad. In fact, most of them are good. I am however convinced by
recent purchases that there could be an element of snake oil in claims
such as "audiophile pressing". One example of very good reissues that
really adds something to the existing pressings is the recent reissue of
the Kraftwerk catalogue. A very bad example is one issued by a label
that calls itself, yes, "180 vinyl"; the title in question left out here.

A general word of advice is not to take too seriously what you read on the
net, be that record companies' claims of audiophilia or postings about
snake oil on audio discussion forums.

A very good night to you, sir EdAInWestOC.

Best /J

Jorlsafar
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Post by Jorlsafar » 12 Jan 2010 22:55

NickT wrote: I steer clear of new 're-issues' and try and track down older original issues.
+1

Guest

Post by Guest » 13 Jan 2010 01:15

At one level this is very funny. At another level, how can anyone decide, based upon what anyone testifies, what is real or what is either phony or some psychological trick of the mind or simple error ? And how can anyone then simply accept what another says here about how things sound ?

At face value, empirically, one can't.

Co-existance of differing opinions about sonic differences in mains fuses, for example, is simply absurd.

What's more, there's a whole class of such 'snake oil' issues about which it seems there can be no resolution or consensus. Perhaps then it's a matter of building some profile of reputation of what members post and matching to one's own experience. But that's not really resolution, and one gets to predict who will hear what with some accuracy.

How strange it all is. I think general acceptance that psychological tricks are common would help. Because through it all, there are real improvements amongst the chaff, and testimony per se doesn't help much to sort it out.

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Post by MonkeyBoy » 13 Jan 2010 01:16

Bebé Tonto wrote:
jon tiltman wrote:Better (or even better, no) fuses in UK mains plugs do make an audible improvement
Solid electrical theory says "no". A fuse is only a conductor and it's usually placed on the transformer's primary where it simply conducts vulgar, noisy, unstable AC current.
Bebé Tonto, the worst part about this statement is the comment on the "unstable" AC current. I am a board certified AudioPsychiatrist. and I think I can help. My fee is a modest $500 and hour. Of course, unstable current tends to be vulgar and often noisy, not to mention dangerous to itself or others. My secretary would be glad to make an appointment. Whatever you do, don't play any AC/DC until we have this issue resolved. It may take years of therapy, but it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make. :lol:

How's that for snake oil? If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with....

Jorlsafar, claims of audiophile quality have become like claims on the news of "We have in our studio , an EXPERT in ... they're always EXPERTS these days. Sometimes the claims are true, sometimes the person actually just has the qualification of being able to speak in front of a camera without freezing up or talking like a piece of wood. I figure all reissues these days are really just records that are on the market. Naturally, the quality varies form bad to exhalting.

NickT, I just went through most of the website of your link and it's so full of snake oil I don't think I'll need an oil change for at least a year. It seems as though VirtualDynamics is trying to corner the market on b......t!

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Post by davidsrsb » 13 Jan 2010 02:04

MonkeyBoy wrote:Some of this stuff is funny as can be! mrw00ds, I read the blurbs on your nomination and noticed the patent number of each of them was the same. (this was the painted hockey pucks) I also noticed that they were treated with a proprietary process by the company. My guess is they painted them. The U.S. patent number for them as listed is D364168. If any of you are inventors you will know that patent numbers are never issued with letters, they are simply sequentially numbered and the number are now in the 7,000,000 range. Actually, the last numbers I have seen are over 7263000.
Is this a registered design number, not a technology patent.
If so they have registered the shape/colour of paint - big deal

aardvarkash10
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Post by aardvarkash10 » 13 Jan 2010 02:40

...a telling statement from the Virtual Dynamics website:
Our goal to craft one of the most fascinating audio products you will ever hear!
call me a luddite if you like, but I prefer my power cables uninteresting rather than fascinating, and audibly transparent rather than heard...

My only guess is that the average audiophool is as linguistically challenged as they are susceptible to suggestion.

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Post by aardvarkash10 » 13 Jan 2010 04:52

Sorry to quote this from page 1 of the thread, but it's just too funny. Surely it's all in jest, a spoof on the high end?
Sadly, no.

I always thought this too until I was disabued of this belief in a thread on diyaudio. The lunatic audiophool fringe (which of course allows that there may be a stable and mentally sound audiophool population...) hold Geoff Kait dear to their heart and he apparently has a queue of people prepared to spend money on having their audio gear "treated" remotely, or tying little bags of rocks to their cables...

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Post by bauzace50 » 13 Jan 2010 05:52

Hi,

My guess is that we are in a global climate of subjectivity. What one believes is just as valid as the contrary belief. Some people believe killing maidens is desirable under specific circumstances. While other people believe it is ALWAYS wrong to do so, regardless. A dangerous state of affairs...where the prevailing version might depend on who has more power over those circumstances. Dangerous, and crazy. What is the absolute measure of "correctness"? Is one's stance better than any other? Absolute subjectivity is dangerous. And I can't even imagine a reply to this consideration.

Regards,
bauzace50

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Post by aardvarkash10 » 13 Jan 2010 07:43

as is absolute objectivity bauzace.

My objection to these devices and beliefs is not that objectivity is superior in all cases. My ears, damaged as they are, and my perception, perverted as it is, delights in a certain sound that is best produced by an unbalanced source - by that I don't mean single-ended, but not true to the original.

I'd venture that many of us are like this with a particular weakness for treble, bass or some other more particular signature.

My choice of ideal source sound then is biased toward my particular likes. So I would recommend (or not) a particular item depending on this important and specific to me set of criteria.

Unless you know me well and in all likelihood know me better than I know myself, you cannot know this bias. Worse, I don't know it unless I can compare my belief system directly with yours and agree the differences in perception without rancor.

Here is the kernel of my concerns - those who review these devices rarely if ever front their OWN beliefs and bias fully or truthfully in any meaningful way. So their subjective assessments are meaningless. Given the lack of objective assessments inherent in the type of review I complain about, there is now NOTHING on which the reviewer can honestly recommend or otherwise.

And so they spout meaningless drivel about soundstage, presence, pace etc, etc and the audiophools nod sagely and comment on the beauty of the cloth the emperor is wearing.

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Post by henkuk » 13 Jan 2010 07:47

bauzace50 wrote:Hi,

My guess is that we are in a global climate of subjectivity. What one believes is just as valid as the contrary belief. Some people believe killing maidens is desirable under specific circumstances. While other people believe it is ALWAYS wrong to do so, regardless. A dangerous state of affairs...where the prevailing version might depend on who has more power over those circumstances. Dangerous, and crazy. What is the absolute measure of "correctness"? Is one's stance better than any other? Absolute subjectivity is dangerous. And I can't even imagine a reply to this consideration.

Regards,
bauzace50
Of course, I agree on that statement. And beliefs are just that, beliefs.
I prefer to buy products based on proof though and from company who underpin their product marketing with solid science in their development process.

We can talk about interconnects and see why they are different from a scientific standpoint and therefore might work different, capacitance is one factor for example.

However, all these snake oil products never mention data collected during the development of the product. They always have a vague claim like soundstage, resolution etc. Nothing of this is objective, nothing can be proven, nothing can be argued from a scientific point of view. It's just that, claims and clever marketing. And they exist to lift money out of people's pockets. For that though, I kinda have to laugh as they provide amusement for their blatant charlatan approach to business, more front then Brighton!

And you know what, it's exactly the same type of brainwashing that kills music and individuality.

"If you don't believe that fuses make a difference, sir, there is something very wrong with you......"

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Post by mrw00ds » 13 Jan 2010 10:24

bauzace50 wrote:Hi,

My guess is that we are in a global climate of subjectivity. What one believes is just as valid as the contrary belief. Some people believe killing maidens is desirable under specific circumstances. While other people believe it is ALWAYS wrong to do so, regardless. A dangerous state of affairs...where the prevailing version might depend on who has more power over those circumstances. Dangerous, and crazy. What is the absolute measure of "correctness"? Is one's stance better than any other? Absolute subjectivity is dangerous. And I can't even imagine a reply to this consideration.

Regards,
bauzace50
Little did I know the can of worms that'd be opened when I started this thread! (Naive? I am relatively new here...). Bauzace50 raises an interesting point. In these days of burgeoning religious fundamentalism it's interesting to see a parallel with the many miracle "cures" on offer, similar to the many faith-related "cures" that have flourished throughout the centuries into our own day.

It seem to be about largely that - faith - wanting to believe. We're all in search of some audio Nirvana, and I'm no exception. What that Nirvana is differs from listener to listener... in my case, regular visits to hear the Liverpool Phil convince me (a) that my humble equipment, while it gives me a lot of pleasure and sounds great, will never come close to the real thing, and (b) as a freelance classical musician I'm never going to earn enough dough to indulge in the really high-end stuff.

But Vinyl Engine seems to be a very broad church. And there are acquaintances of mine who think my adherence to what they see as an obsolete medium is just nuts. Others become converted after one hearing.

I personally don't believe that fuses make a difference, but if it makes you happy then fine. The point of this thread was to humorously draw attention to the audio equivalent of unscrupulous TV evangelists, who might not even believe a word of it themselves, but are just after your money.

And we've certainly seen a few of those. Keep 'em coming.

Guest

Post by Guest » 13 Jan 2010 10:33

henkuk wrote: We can talk about interconnects and see why they are different from a scientific standpoint and therefore might work different, capacitance is one factor for example.

However, all these snake oil products never mention data collected during the development of the product. They always have a vague claim like soundstage, resolution etc. Nothing of this is objective, nothing can be proven, nothing can be argued from a scientific point of view. It's just that, claims and clever marketing. And they exist to lift money out of people's pockets. For that though, I kinda have to laugh as they provide amusement for their blatant charlatan approach to business, more front then Brighton!

And you know what, it's exactly the same type of brainwashing that kills music and individuality.

"If you don't believe that fuses make a difference, sir, there is something very wrong with you......"
There's not even consensus as to whether pivot's quote on the 1st page is a spoof or not !

Even interconnects, which we all have to use, attracts no consensus on whether sonic effects exist or are real. Furthermore, there is often widespread belief that science backs claims when in fact there is no scientific substance upon examination. And still furthermore, our own experience apparently can tell us that when we try something there can be a difference even when objectively we can't measure one.

It makes a fertile bed for exploitation. Underpinning it is the simple 'try it and see' test. Because when most of us try such things we might be vulnerable to note an effect, perhaps even when there isn't one. Just knowing that helps to make some sense of it all.

Is there another industry or pastime interest like it ? It seems crazy to admit opposing views about so many foundation issues. b_50 puts it well.

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Post by mrw00ds » 13 Jan 2010 11:02

I agree, ld. We are vulnerable to notice an effect, in direct proportion to the amount of money we've spent on the tweak. I suspect I'm more critical of recordings I've borrowed from friends than those I've shelled out hard cash for. I've made an investment in believing it's great.

Somebody on another thread mentioned the phenomenon that, sitting in solitary isolation and marvelling at the sound of a new 180g pressing (and there are some great ones out there as well as some rubbish!), once you play the same album to a friend it always sounds worse!

The psychological factors at work with comparative listening are probably too complex to evaluate. As you say, as long as you're aware of that then some form of balance is achievable.

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Post by EdAInWestOC » 13 Jan 2010 12:05

Jorlsafar wrote:
EdAInWestOC wrote:
Jorlsafar wrote:Snakeoil product number one of the noughties is no doubt all of those LP
issues/reissues marketed as "Audiophile 180 grammes pressing", "made from
virgin vinyl", "Analogue sound - as it was meant to be", and similar,
whereas in fact the master copy for the LP in question is made from a
remastered Zi-Di from say 1996, the LP is not round, the LP is noisy, etc.

That is to me real snake oil. The odd hockey puck has snake oil written all
over itself and it is very hard to distinguish these from prank tweaks on the
prank web sites posted by the original poster. Such snake oil can be
charming.

Claims about "audiophile" quality - on the other hand - in LPs are more
difficult to see through.
They are not all bad. In fact some of them are damm good, some are terrible...just like original pressings.

Catagorically dismissing a group of products does not lend a lot of credibility to the one claiming such a thing.

It's like saying all MM cartridges are such and such or only uni-pivot tonearms are worthy of consideration. Not very convincing...

Ed
Perhaps my post came down a bit too cathegorically. I agree that they are
not all bad. In fact, most of them are good. I am however convinced by
recent purchases that there could be an element of snake oil in claims
such as "audiophile pressing". One example of very good reissues that
really adds something to the existing pressings is the recent reissue of
the Kraftwerk catalogue. A very bad example is one issued by a label
that calls itself, yes, "180 vinyl"; the title in question left out here.

A general word of advice is not to take too seriously what you read on the
net, be that record companies' claims of audiophilia or postings about
snake oil on audio discussion forums.

A very good night to you, sir EdAInWestOC.

Best /J
Well said...I agree that there are too many "me to" companies out there pressing garbage and plastering stickers on the packaging making those claims. It will be the same no matter what the market.

If there is money to be made, there will be some quality to be had and way too much snake oil. It gives the audiophile industry a bad name and fuel to reviewers that have too little imagination to write about anything original.

Personally I stick to a very few labels and avoid anything else until I hear from reliable people that another label is worth the trouble.

I get a little scratchy on this subject because its too easy to label the audiophile labels as all nonsense. I lived through these decades (in fact a bit earlier) and remember it quite differently.

The audiophile label thing started and gained popularity because of the poor quality of original pressings. They would not have suceeded if the original pressings were of such great quality. They cost more and personally I would have not spent the money if they were not worth it.

I replaced original pressings when they were not of decent quality and audiophile pressings were superior. I own quite a few audiophile pressings.

Ed

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