Snake Oil Product of the Year Awards

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TNTTNT
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Post by TNTTNT » 13 Jan 2010 18:28

bastlnut wrote:hallo,

the question of products we label as 'snake oil'.
well, i think that the first problem is that we label them at all.
this creates a certain prejudice before anything at all is known about the product.
As an ex scientist I have to agree with this overall. It is preconceptions which have corrupted science and many scientific experiments, before they even were carried out.

.....On the other hand, I think there is a limit to an open mind in practical terms. If someone knocked on my door and said that they could improve the resolution of my hi-fi system by giving me a ginormous smack in the mouth, I would probably choose not to experiment, although I would ask him to try the house exactly 5 houses along to the right of me.

Wulf

Post by Wulf » 13 Jan 2010 18:39

jon tiltman wrote: Better (or even better, no) fuses in UK mains plugs do make an audible improvement and I'm sure that the only doubters are the people who've not tried it because they're convinced it won't work.

JT
There's an old trick I've used for years, it involves nothing more than rubbing the nickel plating off the fuse caps with emery cloth till they show bright copper and replacing them in the plug. Voila, audible improvement, and what's more it works on anything from a table top radio to a high end valve amp. I'm using some "Hifi Tuning" gold-capped fuses and they work, probably for similar reasons. The above tweak is quick and free, try it and see ;)

Guest

Post by Guest » 13 Jan 2010 18:46

Wulf wrote:
jon tiltman wrote: Better (or even better, no) fuses in UK mains plugs do make an audible improvement and I'm sure that the only doubters are the people who've not tried it because they're convinced it won't work.

JT
There's an old trick I've used for years, it involves nothing more than rubbing the nickel plating off the fuse caps with emery cloth till they show bright copper and replacing them in the plug. Voila, audible improvement, and what's more it works on anything from a table top radio to a high end valve amp. I'm using some "Hifi Tuning" gold-capped fuses and they work, probably for similar reasons. The above tweak is quick and free, try it and see ;)
QED

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Post by bastlnut » 13 Jan 2010 18:46

aardvarkash10 wrote:
bastlnut wrote: i am sceptical of science in general.
i am not saying that it is not good, but it has made no aadvancements in and of itself in a very very long time.
if scientists are so good and knowledgable, why are there none questioning the institution of science anymore?
there are none even questioning the tools they have to use, or inventing new tools!
Sorry bastlnut, but that statement is so very prejudged, uninformed and wrong it eliminates you from any real discussion on the subject.
hallo,

what i wrote has to do with the information i have gathered in the last several years.
i LOVE new technoloigies and discoveries....i gobble that information up!
i love science and the search for the new.
so why do you make such a statement instead of sharing your thoughts and new information?
i find that closed off!

please see below.....
TNTTNT wrote:
bastlnut wrote:hallo,

the question of products we label as 'snake oil'.
well, i think that the first problem is that we label them at all.
this creates a certain prejudice before anything at all is known about the product.
As an ex scientist I have to agree with this overall. It is preconceptions which have corrupted science and many scientific experiments, before they even were carried out.

.....On the other hand, I think there is a limit to an open mind in practical terms. If someone knocked on my door and said that they could improve the resolution of my hi-fi system by giving me a ginormous smack in the mouth, I would probably choose not to experiment, although I would ask him to try the house exactly 5 houses along to the right of me.
regards,
bastlnut

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Post by MonkeyBoy » 13 Jan 2010 18:52

ld wrote:Just to point out how monkeyboy seems to feel about those products in his last post is how I feel about many 'accepted' hifi products which many on this forum testify to hearing effects with. On one level it's funny, and at another it's sort of disturbing. And how do you know which ones are funny and which ones are real at a collective level, where does the a priori knowledge that something might be phony come from ? It doesn't always work, e.g pivot's 1st page post......some uncertainty. Reading material possibly ? I don't read any hifi literature FWIW. It's very strange.
You imply that there is a certain amount of prejudice on my part in regard to many of these products and you are absolutely correct. Since I have lived through far too many situations in which people were less than honest or scrupulous I have no choice but to be skeptical about what to me seem to be outlandish claims regardless of my training and relevant experience or lack thereof. In other words, my bt detector is set on high and there is shall remain. Such a cynical attitude may be disparaged by some, but I find that it has served me well. As for your attitude of adopting the same skepticism toward most audio products in general, I say right on my brotha! Just because something is widely accepted doesn't make it correct or good. Sometimes it just means the sheep of humanity accept it. Sad, but true.

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Post by pivot » 13 Jan 2010 19:05

There is open minded and then there is just bloody gullible.

I had to be open minded to try a Mister Clean Magic Eraser to clean my stylus. To try a $60 phone call that improves my system by "Quantum Teleportation" I'd have to accept that my view of how the universe functions is totaly wacked.

Bebé Tonto

Post by Bebé Tonto » 13 Jan 2010 19:12

pivot wrote:There is open minded and then there is just bloody gullible.

I had to be open minded to try a Mister Clean Magic Eraser to clean my stylus. To try a $60 phone call that improves my system by "Quantum Teleportation" I'd have to accept that my view of how the universe functions is totaly wacked.
What if i lent you my Acousto-Sphere for you to test it?

http://www.nathanmarciniak.com/elementa ... Sphere.jpg

"Now listen to your least favorite recording. You will quickly see how much worse is the sound is..."

Guest

Post by Guest » 13 Jan 2010 19:14

Monkeyboy wrote
In other words, my bt detector is set on high and there is shall remain. Such a cynical attitude may be disparaged by some, but I find that it has served me well.
You are not alone. Why does anyone need convincing that marketing BS is anything other than what it is? That's what marketing is all about; convincing us that we need something that in truth we don't. Hell, the UK public were sold a dodgy dossier and were convinced to invade another country because of the misleading information within it, but that was sold as the truth! (your's without prejudice etc etc your honour).

There's actually very little ground breaking in present day hifi design around for the majority of punters at real world budgets. The after-market business is probably worth as much as the main component sales business when viewed collectively. If these products are genuinely needed for bettering the main component "sound" then all I can say is that we're all in trouble...but happily, back in the real world, that simply cannot be true.

There is a difference between £4 per metre speaker cable and say a good £20 per metre cable....but a £1000/m? Do me a favour. Equally so of interconnects. If a system is so wrong that someone is convinced of spending say £500 on vandenfrog platinum leads...with aloevera...to "correct" the sound, then all that is happening is that the signal is being manipulated (ie detracted from) in some way to tame that brigtness etc. This of course is slightly tongue in cheek, as there undoubtably is a difference and a worthwhile one between some interconnects, but you simply do not need to shell out £500 per metre to maintain signal integrity. Trial and error with cheaper leads is the sensible solution.

As for cones that sit atop speakers and CD players claiming to improve detail resolution or high-tech cable collars which "tune" sound or all the rest of that BS out there, anyone who argues that there's merit in these things from an honest hifi perspective is deluding only themselves and I would be surprised if the rather more sensible people on here took offence at that. Still each to his own.....anyone in the market for acoustic room dampers? buy three of these from me at $99.95 and I'll throw in one for free. They may look like empty egg boxes, but heck, that's what innovation's all about :wink:

Guest

Post by Guest » 13 Jan 2010 19:44

Bigears wrote:There is a difference between £4 per metre speaker cable and say a good £20 per metre cable....but a £1000/m? Do me a favour. Equally so of interconnects. If a system is so wrong that someone is convinced of spending say £500 on vandenfrog platinum leads...with aloevera...to "correct" the sound, then all that is happening is that the signal is being manipulated (ie detracted from) in some way to tame that brigtness etc. This of course is slightly tongue in cheek, as there undoubtably is a difference and a worthwhile one between some interconnects, but you simply do not need to shell out £500 per metre to maintain signal integrity.........
Another fave rant is why certain hifi items are tagged with prices and referred to as such. IF there is a difference in said speaker cables or whatever hifi product, why don't we describe it in terms of the feature that is the benefit, or the technology behind it, and then know it and published as such so one might aspire to obtaining that benefit and knowing what one is getting? It's very strange.

BTW, Bigears, "undoubtably" plainly is an inappropriate term !

Guest

Post by Guest » 13 Jan 2010 19:51

not in the context given. I dont have any doubts about the worthwhile differences between my packages interconnects supplied with a tape deck (remember those?) and the modest quality ones replacing them, hence "undoubtedly" is an eminently suitable expression in this context. Thats the way it was meant to be read anyhow. Does that mean you don't want an egg box then?

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Post by EdAInWestOC » 13 Jan 2010 20:08

Bigears wrote:Monkeyboy wrote
In other words, my bt detector is set on high and there is shall remain. Such a cynical attitude may be disparaged by some, but I find that it has served me well.
You are not alone. Why does anyone need convincing that marketing BS is anything other than what it is? That's what marketing is all about; convincing us that we need something that in truth we don't. Hell, the UK public were sold a dodgy dossier and were convinced to invade another country because of the misleading information within it, but that was sold as the truth! (your's without prejudice etc etc your honour).

There's actually very little ground breaking in present day hifi design around for the majority of punters at real world budgets. The after-market business is probably worth as much as the main component sales business when viewed collectively. If these products are genuinely needed for bettering the main component "sound" then all I can say is that we're all in trouble...but happily, back in the real world, that simply cannot be true.

There is a difference between £4 per metre speaker cable and say a good £20 per metre cable....but a £1000/m? Do me a favour. Equally so of interconnects. If a system is so wrong that someone is convinced of spending say £500 on vandenfrog platinum leads...with aloevera...to "correct" the sound, then all that is happening is that the signal is being manipulated (ie detracted from) in some way to tame that brigtness etc. This of course is slightly tongue in cheek, as there undoubtably is a difference and a worthwhile one between some interconnects, but you simply do not need to shell out £500 per metre to maintain signal integrity. Trial and error with cheaper leads is the sensible solution.

As for cones that sit atop speakers and CD players claiming to improve detail resolution or high-tech cable collars which "tune" sound or all the rest of that BS out there, anyone who argues that there's merit in these things from an honest hifi perspective is deluding only themselves and I would be surprised if the rather more sensible people on here took offence at that. Still each to his own.....anyone in the market for acoustic room dampers? buy three of these from me at $99.95 and I'll throw in one for free. They may look like empty egg boxes, but heck, that's what innovation's all about :wink:
Watch it there ears...with an attitude like that you could be accused of coming from the east coast of the USA. BS is the defactor reaction to a lot of things here. BS first, followed by prove it.

Ed

Guest

Post by Guest » 13 Jan 2010 20:16

Bigears wrote:not in the context given. I dont have any doubts about the worthwhile differences between my packages interconnects supplied with a tape deck (remember those?) and the modest quality ones replacing them, hence "undoubtedly" is an eminently suitable expression in this context. Thats the way it was meant to be read anyhow. Does that mean you don't want an egg box then?
No worries, Bigears, thanks for clarifying, I really didn't get that !

More generally, simply because one has no doubt does not quite make it undoubtable. That's another principle when it comes to these things.

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Post by aardvarkash10 » 13 Jan 2010 20:19

bastlnut wrote:what i wrote has to do with the information i have gathered in the last several years.
i LOVE new technoloigies and discoveries....i gobble that information up!
i love science and the search for the new.
so why do you make such a statement instead of sharing your thoughts and new information?
i find that closed off!
Well, in part because it give creadance to your statement, but since you ask and since you are located almost on top of it, how about the hadron collider as a new tool?

If you refer to more theoretical and analytical tools, how about the various advances in mathematics that allow the description of multiple dimensions, and hence move us into greater understanding of quantum physics, itself an area where new discoveries and new tools (both analytical and experimental) are constantly being developed.

If instead you refer to the actual logical process of scientific discovery and a need for a more subjective or relative approach you are a lost soul. You may as well move to Kansas and harrass the schools there to teach creationism as a valid scientific theory.

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Post by henkuk » 13 Jan 2010 20:34

bastlnut wrote:hallo,

the question of products we label as 'snake oil'.
well, i think that the first problem is that we label them at all.
this creates a certain prejudice before anything at all is known about the product.
there it is again, the label 'product'. this connotates that it is something to buy.
ok, in most cases it is, but that alone puts it into a sceptical light for the most of us.

i am sceptical of science in general.
i am not saying that it is not good, but it has made no aadvancements in and of itself in a very very long time.
if scientists are so good and knowledgable, why are there none questioning the institution of science anymore?

to say the least, when a claim of 'there is no scientific evidence to support....blah blah blah' it is not taken seriously by me at all.
it is a diversion, that is all. most turn off their scepticism at this point so it is a good sales technique.
[/u]

regards,
bastlnut
Since you are in CH, why don't you argue this point with a friend of mine in Lausanne who does research into new drukqs to treat cancer patients and prevent body wasting in HIV infected people? He will tell that science is ALL we have, the rest is hogwash.

Obviously not the same as our field of interest but still, basic data collection, verification thereoff, and then establishing what x does in y based on that data should be part of all processes used to develop a produt.

And yes, we call it a product. Simply because if someone markets and manufacturs this and then goes out to physically sell it, it's a product.
Especially if it' s done with the view to MAKE MONEY.

So if I understand your post correctly, I respectfully disagree. If I missed the point, feel free to tell me so, I am not at risk of ever winning a Nobel prize so I am happy to be told that I am wrong.....

Unless it comes to fuses :D

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Post by davidsss » 13 Jan 2010 22:46

I agree that the scientific method has been pretty much a static entity for many years. I don't think this is a problem personally. I think problems arise when people misuse science or when people claim that the only way to view the world is through the prism of scientific thinking.

Science has given us great advances in technology and understanding the world. It is an incredibly powerful tool. But it is not the only tool. If I was looking at many of the strange and somewhat dubious products being referred to in this thread I think that the scientific method would be a most appropriate tool for analysing their effectiveness and assessing the marketers' claims. However, it would not be the only tool I use because the enjoyment of music is a subjective experience. That said, I wouldn't buy one of these "enhancement" products unless I could, subjectively, hear an improvement, and if someone could give me an explanation for the improvement with some scientific basis in fact.

DS

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