Home Isolation Ward

From ebony pucks to magic foil, mystical and controversial tweaks.

RE: Some good questions.


>>> "You mentioned JA twice regarding tweaks, so you seem to subscribe to his listening abilities. Fair enough." <<<

I have not kept up with ALL the audio journalists who write for American traditional (printed) Hi Fi magazines or American Hi Fi Internet sites so I specifically used John Atkinson and Michael Fremer as people who the majority of readers in America would know about. AND might probably have respect for their individual experiences !!

>>> "If those things work for you, and show continued benefit, unlike the examples you mention about JA, then great. But why the need to insist everyone require the same ritual and that it is you (who requires the ritual) claiming that you are hearing something superior to what others hear?." <<<

I (WE) have NEVER insisted that everyone requires ALL the same 'tweaks' as we use and supply. Or insisted that everyone requires ALL other 'tweaks'. In fact, we deliberately encourage people to try many things for themselves as we KNOW that people differ in their individual sensitivities and perceptions !!!!!!!!

>>> "So, if rubbing creme on a table makes your Hi Fi sound better to you, great. Claiming from anecdote that this MUST be true for ALL others is not a valid assertion." <<<

Again, we have NEVER claimed that this MUST be true for ALL others. Can we please keep it at the intellectual level that I KNOW that people (and their experiences) differ !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is irrelevant whether John Atkinson still uses the 'tweak' of painting the edge of a CD green or not. The CRUCIAL part is what happened when he DID !!

It is irrelevant whether Michael Fremer will still be de magnetising his CDs and LPs in a few years time. The CRUCIAL part is what happened when he DID !!!

Their SOUND changed !!! How did it change ? Why did it change ? What changed ?

It is what happens (has happened) to the 'sound' which is the CRUCIAL thing in AUDIO !!

Just because they (and others) might not continue doing the same thing they had previously done and written about, day in, day out, year in, year out, does not discount what originally happened. In exactly the same way that I do not marinade kebabs every time we have kebabs - even though I know that kebabs which have been well marinated TASTE much better and even though I have a recipe for an excellent marinade, a lot of the time I don't have the time, and the energy and the inclination to marinade kebabs every time, day in, day out, year in, year out !!! I might EVEN buy ready made meals. Does that really negate all my experiences with kebabs ???????????????? And, would that really negate ALL that I might have written in the past concerning food ???????????

Nor does it discount all the times I have told other people the recipe for a good kebab marinade !!! That also does not mean that I INSIST that they use it because I have told them about it !! It is their choice what to do and always will be.

It is what happened when John Atkinson used the green pen on the edge of the CD. He heard his sound improve - meaning that he was suddenly able to resolve more of the information within the music. MORE than he had heard the week before - from the same CDs and from the same audio equipment !!

It is what happened when Michael Fremer demagnetised his LPs. He heard his sound improve - meaning that he was suddenly able to resolve more of the information within the music. MORE than he had heard the week before - from the same LPs and from the same audio equipment !!

What you are not doing Enophile is stepping back and looking at what has been happening, from a historic viewpoint, in audio, over these past three decades.

You are not seeing audio professional after audio professional after audio professional 'reeling' (what I call being 'knocked back on their heels') at what they have just experienced. At how their sound has UNEXPECTEDLY been changed !! That they are suddenly resolving more of the information contained in the music AFTER applying a particular 'device' or a particular 'technique' - far more information than they heard the day before, the week before, the month before - from EXACTLY the same CDs, LPs, from EXACTLY the same audio equipment and in EXACTLY the same listening environment.

It is that realisation which makes them 'reel' in disbelief !!

From Jean Hiraga (Editor of the French magazine), in the late 1970s, describing how he had heard different cables and interconnects change his sound !!
The reaction, 30 years ago, to Jean Hiraga's reports was as Keith Howard describes :-
"Eight-on-the-(audio) Richter-scale. Nothing of the old view could be taken for granted any longer. Intellectually, the earth had moved."

Through the cryogenic treatment in the late 1980s giving improvements in the sound !!

Through painting the edge of CDs, demagnetising CD and LPs and so on.
Year after year for the past 30 years, one 'professional in audio' after another 'professional in audio' struggling to come to terms with what they are experiencing.

You just don't see their struggles, do you Enophile ? Or, if you do, they must be meaningless to you - of no particular importance - because you can dismiss them so simply.

Take Peter and I and our techniques and devices completely out of the (audio) picture. As if we had never existed - if it is what Peter and I advocate which gives you problems !!! There would STILL be numerous other techniques and devices which other people have found improved their sound - which have caused 'professionals in audio' to be 'knocked back on their heels' - over these past 30 years and struggling still, today and tomorrow, to try to explain what they are experiencing !!

John Atkinson describes his experiences quite well and simply :-
>>> "I continue to be surprised by things I think should matter having little effect on what I perceive and by things my preconceptions would lead me to dismiss apparently having a significant effect (positive or negative) on perceived sound quality. So when presented with something that appears to defy logic or my understanding of how the world works, I try not to dismiss it, instead filing it away under "things to return to if there's time." <<<

Instead of realising that all those people's experiences are telling you something, something important Enophile, you prefer instead to dismiss them with the equivalent of 'a wave of the hand', a 'shake of the head', a 'grimace of sympathy'.

With such as - "those people must NEED those 'props', those 'talismen', those 'rituals' in order to 'get into' their music better.
With such as - "I would say that there are many tweaks that work, remedially, at best."

And yet other people dismissing those people's experiences with :-
"It must be 'auto-suggestion'., the 'placebo effect'., 'imagination'., "having your local priest blessing your listening room", "snake oil", "audio faith healing", "magic talismans", "effective marketing", and so on.

And, yet more simplistic :- "changes in humidity and temperature., environmental changes, barometric pressure, sinuses, mental state., Mood, distraction, fatigue, and so on", the list is endless.

I will use Uncelstu again as an example of what I mean.
You can see from the way he writes that he struggles to try to explain (to himself at least, if not also to others) what he is experiencing when trying this device, that device, this technique and that technique. He KNOWS that the devices and techniques are NOT 'props', 'talismen', 'rituals', 'remedial tools', 'auto-suggestion'., the 'placebo effect'., 'imagination'., "having your local priest blessing your listening room", "snake oil", "audio faith healing", "magic talismans", "effective marketing", and so on.

Regarding your own experiences with crystals, Enophile ?
Your quotes :-

>>> "Undamped crystals leave a little smear. The oil damping leaves the benefit and removes the smear. Interestingly, the oil leaves the crystals more free to do their work.

The damped crystals make for better imaging and sonic decay.

The oil alters the resonance frequency of the container/crystals, with the most significant impact being, like the trough of a Well Tempered Arm, a sort of "instantaneous" damping of induced vibration.

With the crystal/oil matrix, the original vibration would be transmitted, but any continued response to the vibration would be damped.

I find that by attenuating ongoing oscillation produces as better "leading edge" on the sonics - hence, my comment about "smear."

It may be something I listen for that others may not.

The same goes for quality of decay - it seems to make for a more seamless transmission of sonic decay as sounds end - less "smearing" of the end of the signal, as it were.

Not to sound crazy, but there also seems to be a crystal size factor, with too small or too large not getting the job done." <<<

*******

" >>> The damped crystals make for better imaging and sonic decay. "better "leading edge" on the sonics., "seems to make for a more seamless transmission of sonic decay as sounds end - less "smearing" of the end of the signal, as it were." <<<

Just where was that 'better imaging' the week before trying the crystals ? Where was the 'better leading edge on the sonics' the week before trying the crystals ? Why didn't you have more 'seamless transmission of sonic decay' the week before trying the crystals ? Where was all that additional information which was allowing those improvements in the sound the week before trying the crystals ?

Was your experience all (or any) of the things you have listed to describe other peoples experiences or did your sound ACTUALLY change ? Did you ACTUALLY 'hear' all that additional information which enabled you to resolve more of the musical information ?

If your sound did actually change when using the crystals, then perhaps you have an answer to Geoff's original question ? "Any theories as to why the system can sound very good one day and horrid the next? Once the usual suspects - break in of cables, components, speakers and contact enhancers - are dispensed with, what's left?"

Why did your sound change the very day you used the crystals ? If you remove the crystals, does the sound revert back to being 'not as good' ?

I get the impression that you think I am reacting to the words you use - to your descriptions of 'props', 'talismen', 'rituals', 'remedial' with which you explain your view of 'tweaks'.

I do not react to those specific words, I react to what they represent. I.e your very use of them shows that you are surrounded by a forest but cannot see the wood for the trees. You cannot see what so many people's experiences with all the various 'tweaks' are (should be) telling you.

I don't for a moment think that John Atkinson NEEDED the 'prop', the 'talisman', the 'ritual', the 'remedial work' of painting the edge of a CD in order for him to 'hear' what his equipment was capable of. I would presume that John did not even want to admit to himself (let alone in print to hundreds of others) that painting the edge of CD gave him improvements in his sound.

Michael Fremer, in October 2006, even said "I don't want the demagnetizing of LPs to work. I really don't." !!!!!!! So, he wasn't actually NEEDING that technique as a 'prop' as a 'talisman', as a 'ritual', as 'remedial work' !!!!

Let us look at audio history.

Fifty years ago there was the birth of transistors, when there had only been valves. There was the birth of stereo, when there had only been mono. If there were ANY 'tweaks' then, they would only be such as what support table to use for the record player and, if you wanted better sound then just remove the decorative speaker fronts.

Thirty years ago there was Jean Hiraga and his experiences hearing different cables sound different. There was Enid Lumley describing her experiences 'dealing with the Gremlins' which were having an adverse effect on her sound. There was Ed Meitner describing how you can have much better sound if you cryogenically freeze CDs, LPs, Laser-vision-format video discs, speaker cable, interconnects, integrated circuits and musical instrument strings.

All these the 'saplings', the start of the forest.

Now there is a forest of trees !! A multitude and variety of different devices and techniques which different people have heard improve their sound and which others have confirmed such. It is far too SIMPLISTIC to dismiss all those as - firms out to con people, to exploit gullible people. It is far too simple to dismiss all those people as being influenced by 'auto-suggestion'., the 'placebo effect'., 'imagination'., "having your local priest blessing your listening room", "snake oil", "audio faith healing", "magic talismans", "effective marketing", and so on. It is far too simple to dismiss all those people as NEEDING those devices and techniques as 'props', as 'talismen', as 'rituals' etc.

All these devices, techniques and people are telling you something Enophile. They are telling you that there is something going on which many people are experiencing, something affecting 'sound' which many people are experiencing, something going on which 'defies logic and which challenges the way we see and understand (and have seen and understood) the world of audio, something going on which needs investigating - and NOT dismissing !!!!

I can't put it any better or more simply than that !!

Regards,
May Belt.


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