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Impact of AC Distortion & Noise on Audio Equipment

Spkrdctr

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I really wanted to believe in this product and the virtues of "clean power". But I haven't found a good refutation anywhere to the basic argument here, which is that the conversion to DC basically cleans up any noise in the AC signal. The closest was an article I think by a Shunyata person that says that a good power cable can somehow help prevent a power supply on the user-end side from introducing noise back into the electrical system at large. Although even if that's true, it shouldn't matter right if the ultimate end unit is converting the signal to DC?

I don't think PS Audio is selling snake oil in the sense that they don't believe what they're doing. I think the power plant does what it says it does. Just doesn't have an impact on audio quality (for me anyway).
Bingo! By George you are getting it. First Shunyata is a scamming, lying, fraudulent, snake oil company that loves to rip off unsuspecting audio enthusiasts. So if anyone from that company says anything they are lying.
I also agree with you on the PS Audio power supply regenerators. They do what they say they do BUT, it has no effect on the audio sound coming out of your speakers. Paul makes a lot of items that are questionable when tested. They are not bad, but they are not usually state of the art when tested. So, he gives you a decent product for an expensive price. A snake oil fraudulent company like Shunyata gives you plain jane stuff along with pure garbage for extreme prices. Mostly Shunyata stuff is junk and does not do what it claims to do.
 

Ingenieur

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Capitalism and consumerism
After they have sold you a source, amp, speaker, which many keep for years, what next to sustain cash flow?
Cables
Power products
Magic dots, etc.

They create solutions to non-existent problems.

I have no issue with any of it. They are not scamming widows out of savings.

Caveat emptor
Due diligence
If too good to be true, likely isn't
If you do not understand technical documentation, don't buy based on it
 

Spkrdctr

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Capitalism and consumerism
After they have sold you a source, amp, speaker, which many keep for years, what next to sustain cash flow?
Cables
Power products
Magic dots, etc.

They create solutions to non-existent problems.

I have no issue with any of it. They are not scamming widows out of savings.

Caveat emptor
Due diligence
If too good to be true, likely isn't
If you do not understand technical documentation, don't buy based on it
The problem is, and I know this is very hard for engineers to believe, 99% of the world has no clue about electrical design and technical documentation and what it means. I'm guessing engineers make up maybe 1% or less of society. So, the 99% of the consumers read marketing material and have to decide. That is why I am so rabid and foam at the mouth over the audio scammers. The consumer has no idea on how to spot fake marketing. Plus, fake marketing is the norm in audio. So, it makes by far most of the audio business kind of of like the mob gangsters. You can buy from Meyer Lansky, or go to another company like Al Capone and buy from him. That is why Amir is so important. I know younger people think Amir isn't all that big of a deal. I can tell you he is a VERY BIG deal. We never had reliable tests in all of audio history that the public could access and learn from and then make buying purchases with that knowledge. Every audio person under 60 should be worshipping Amir as much as Alexander Graham Bell. Well, that might be slight exaggeration, but not much!
 
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Ingenieur

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The problem is, and I know this is very hard for engineers to believe, 99% of the world has no clue about electrical design and technical documentation and what it means. I'm guessing engineers make up maybe 1% or less of society. So, the 99% of the consumers read marketing material and have to decide. That is why I am so rabid and foam at the mouth over the audio scammers. The consumer has no idea on how to spot fake marketing. Plus, fake marketing is the norm in audio. So, it makes by far most of the audio business kind of of like the mob gangsters. You can by from Meyer Lansky, or go to another company like Al Capone and buy from him. That is why Amir is so important. I know younger people think Amir isn't all that big of a deal. I can tell you he is a VERY BIG deal. We never had reliable tests all of audio history before that the public could access and learn from and then make buying purchases with that knowledge. Every audio person under 60 should be worshipping Amir as much as Alexander Graham Bell. Well, that might be slight exaggeration, but not much!
I know that. In fact at times I think 99% of the engineers do not understand technical documentation. ;)
 

rdenney

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Capitalism and consumerism
After they have sold you a source, amp, speaker, which many keep for years, what next to sustain cash flow?
Cables
Power products
Magic dots, etc.

They create solutions to non-existent problems.

I have no issue with any of it. They are not scamming widows out of savings.

Caveat emptor
Due diligence
If too good to be true, likely isn't
If you do not understand technical documentation, don't buy based on it
What I don't understand is where the FTC is in all of this? There are laws in the U.S. for implied warranty and fitness for a particular purpose, and from my limited legal understanding these are baked into common law, or even by statute in many states. Disclaiming the implied warranty in the written warranty doesn't hold up in most states. Meaning: If a company sells a product with the claim that it does X, and it doesn't do X, then the buyer has a valid warranty claim no matter what the manufacturer disclaims in the fine print. If it does not serve the purpose for which it was advertised, it fails its implied warranty.

That's why most purveyors of supplements state "this product is not sold to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease" in addition to a money-back guarantee. They put that there because the FTC (and probably the FDA) required them to. I don't understand how a seller of magic dots, rocks, grounding boxes, and the like avoid having to add a similar disclaimer, and I can only think it's because nobody has ever filed a complaint or brought suit. For a $50 magic dot, nobody is likely to do that. But for a $10,000 grounding box (or whatever the price was--I blocked it), I would think the FTC would be all over it.

Some of the claims I've seen appear to me to be fraudulent, not just failing of their implied warranty.

A $10,000 power cord at least carries power, so if it carries power it meets its implied warranty. The PS Audio stuff doesn't improve anything but at least it does what it claims to do. But the magic dots, rocks, bricks, grounding boxes and stuff like that?

There are placebo products in every industry, from gasoline additives to magic mattresses to roof insulation products. Many of those are no longer on the market, because the FTC stepped in, or the press did an exposee, or there were so many warranty returns the company went belly up. Shinola put "Made in Detroit" on their watches that used Swiss or Asian movements and the FTC thumped them. They were only assembled in Detroit. How does the audio business avoid that sort of scrutiny?

I'll answer my own question: Buyers insist there is a difference, apparently on the basis that there must be. MF once, in a video, mentioned his Ted Denney (no relation, thank God!) whatever devices and said, "I can hear the difference." The implication is that if you can't hear the difference, you aren't good enough. So, people hear the difference because they don't want to be any less skilled at listening than MF. But they know in their heart of hearts it's BS, or they wouldn't resist properly controlled subjective testing as emotionally as they do.

That's how these purveyors get away with it. Sure, TD's company offers in-home trials, but the claims of purpose for the magic dots include adding/removing EM fields by placing the thingie near the equipment, to which it will become inductively coupled. (Any unpowered coil will be inductively coupled to a field if there is one, so, uh, what?)

Readers should realize that the magazines represent their customers, and their customers are their advertisers, especially with content free for reading on the Internet. So, though I have no doubt that MF believes what he says, there will be little editorializing away from it even if the other editors roll their eyes. The last such I can recall was when Gordon Holt stated that the high-end had ruined the audio business by severing the connection between measured performance and subjective evaluation for too many products--the opposite extreme of what he complained about in the 70's when he started Stereophile as a place where subjective listening could accompany measured performance on equal footing. JA measures things, but I doubt he would measure any of these real snake-oil products and if he did, he would probably feel compelled to pull his punches in his written comments to avoid the fallout. I'm sure he would deny that--I would if I were he--but the acceptance of these silly products has slowly migrated to its present silliness over several decades, and we don't always notice.

So, we have no fourth estate in the audio industry, and a viable fourth estate sustains an informed market, which is a key element of a functioning free market. And because we've had no fourth estate for so long, the market has become extremely distorted as a result of claptrap being repeated endlessly enough that people start to accept it.

Rick "the internet is a poor fourth estate, despite the good work and intentions of people like Amir" Denney
 

Ingenieur

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They don't state absolutes or numbers in most cases.

Best cable in the world?
You decide.

A realism only imaginable before.
See for yourself.


How do you argue against that?
You can't legislate common sense.
 

MaxBuck

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If the FTC truly protected against consumer fraud, GNC would not exist.
 

Ingenieur

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If the FTC truly protected against consumer fraud, GNC would not exist.
Limited resources
Priorities
Not sure hifi gear is high on the list.
If even fraud. You buy a cord, you get a cord.
Misrepresentation? Perhaps
But they hear a difference, they can't help it if you don't. Hard to prove in court.

An educated college grad buying a $5,000 power cord is not going to get much sympathy.
'should have known what he was doing'

Been happening for years, can't even find any class action lawsuits, which is odd considering how lawsuit crazy we are.
Lawyers must see a no win scenario.
And I'm sure the advertising claims are vetted by lawyers before published.

The only defense is knowledge, and don't buy.


This is GREAT! A long read but entertaining.

Excerpt
Further, if any of these patents or trademarks has been licensed to any entity, please provide me with copies of the licensing agreements. I assume that Monster Cable International, Ltd., in Bermuda, listed on these patents, is an IP holding company and that Monster Cable's principal US entity pays licensing fees to the Bermuda corporation in order to shift income out of the United States and thereby avoid paying United States federal income tax on those portions of its income; my request for these licensing agreements is specifically intended to include any licensing agreements, including those with closely related or sham entities, within or without the Monster Cable "family," and without regard to whether those licensing agreements are sham transactions for tax shelter purposes only or whether they are bona fide arm's-length transactions.

After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1985, I spent nineteen years in litigation practice, with a focus upon federal litigation involving large damages and complex issues. My first seven years were spent primarily on the defense side, where I developed an intense frustration with insurance carriers who would settle meritless claims for nuisance value when the better long-term view would have been to fight against vexatious litigation as a matter of principle. In plaintiffs' practice, likewise, I was always a strong advocate of standing upon principle and taking cases all the way to judgment, even when substantial offers of settlement were on the table. I am "uncompromising" in the most literal sense of the word. If Monster Cable proceeds with litigation against me I will pursue the same merits-driven approach; I do not compromise with bullies and I would rather spend fifty thousand dollars on defense than give you a dollar of unmerited settlement funds. As for signing a licensing agreement for intellectual property which I have not infringed: that will not happen, under any circumstances, whether it makes economic sense or not.

I say this because my observation has been that Monster Cable typically operates in a hit-and-run fashion. Your client threatens litigation, expecting the victim to panic and plead for mercy; and what follows is a quickie negotiation session that ends with payment and a licensing agreement. Your client then uses this collection of licensing agreements to convince others under similar threat to accede to its demands. Let me be clear about this: there are only two ways for you to get anything out of me. You will either need to (1) convince me that I have infringed, or (2) obtain a final judgment to that effect from a court of competent jurisdiction. It may be that my inability to see the pragmatic value of settling frivolous claims is a deep character flaw, and I am sure a few of the insurance carriers for whom I have done work have seen it that way; but it is how I have done business for the last quarter-century and you are not going to change my mind. If you sue me, the case will go to judgment, and I will hold the court's attention upon the merits of your claims--or, to speak more precisely, the absence of merit from your claims--from start to finish. Not only am I unintimidated by litigation; I sometimes rather miss it.
 
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Ingenieur

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Here's one

The Monster class action lawsuit alleged that the marketing for the product made customers think that they needed to spend more money to get the most powerful cable available for high definition televisions.
 

Weeb Labs

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and has a noisy fan to keep it cool.
So, I'm not the only one to receive a unit with a rattling rear fan. I've been meaning to disassemble it and fix this since purchase in 2019. It really is quite infuriatingly loud when attempting to test radios. :facepalm:

1641323419955.png


Quite a fun not-so-little supply to play with, though!
 

rdenney

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Here's one

The Monster class action lawsuit alleged that the marketing for the product made customers think that they needed to spend more money to get the most powerful cable available for high definition televisions.
Warms the cockles of my heart, it does.

Rick "wondering how many users had attested to the markedly greater clarity of their HD-video images using the super cables" Denney
 

Spkrdctr

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What I don't understand is where the FTC is in all of this? There are laws in the U.S. for implied warranty and fitness for a particular purpose, and from my limited legal understanding these are baked into common law, or even by statute in many states. Disclaiming the implied warranty in the written warranty doesn't hold up in most states. Meaning: If a company sells a product with the claim that it does X, and it doesn't do X, then the buyer has a valid warranty claim no matter what the manufacturer disclaims in the fine print. If it does not serve the purpose for which it was advertised, it fails its implied warranty.

That's why most purveyors of supplements state "this product is not sold to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease" in addition to a money-back guarantee. They put that there because the FTC (and probably the FDA) required them to. I don't understand how a seller of magic dots, rocks, grounding boxes, and the like avoid having to add a similar disclaimer, and I can only think it's because nobody has ever filed a complaint or brought suit. For a $50 magic dot, nobody is likely to do that. But for a $10,000 grounding box (or whatever the price was--I blocked it), I would think the FTC would be all over it.

Some of the claims I've seen appear to me to be fraudulent, not just failing of their implied warranty.

A $10,000 power cord at least carries power, so if it carries power it meets its implied warranty. The PS Audio stuff doesn't improve anything but at least it does what it claims to do. But the magic dots, rocks, bricks, grounding boxes and stuff like that?

There are placebo products in every industry, from gasoline additives to magic mattresses to roof insulation products. Many of those are no longer on the market, because the FTC stepped in, or the press did an exposee, or there were so many warranty returns the company went belly up. Shinola put "Made in Detroit" on their watches that used Swiss or Asian movements and the FTC thumped them. They were only assembled in Detroit. How does the audio business avoid that sort of scrutiny?

I'll answer my own question: Buyers insist there is a difference, apparently on the basis that there must be. MF once, in a video, mentioned his Ted Denney (no relation, thank God!) whatever devices and said, "I can hear the difference." The implication is that if you can't hear the difference, you aren't good enough. So, people hear the difference because they don't want to be any less skilled at listening than MF. But they know in their heart of hearts it's BS, or they wouldn't resist properly controlled subjective testing as emotionally as they do.

That's how these purveyors get away with it. Sure, TD's company offers in-home trials, but the claims of purpose for the magic dots include adding/removing EM fields by placing the thingie near the equipment, to which it will become inductively coupled. (Any unpowered coil will be inductively coupled to a field if there is one, so, uh, what?)

Readers should realize that the magazines represent their customers, and their customers are their advertisers, especially with content free for reading on the Internet. So, though I have no doubt that MF believes what he says, there will be little editorializing away from it even if the other editors roll their eyes. The last such I can recall was when Gordon Holt stated that the high-end had ruined the audio business by severing the connection between measured performance and subjective evaluation for too many products--the opposite extreme of what he complained about in the 70's when he started Stereophile as a place where subjective listening could accompany measured performance on equal footing. JA measures things, but I doubt he would measure any of these real snake-oil products and if he did, he would probably feel compelled to pull his punches in his written comments to avoid the fallout. I'm sure he would deny that--I would if I were he--but the acceptance of these silly products has slowly migrated to its present silliness over several decades, and we don't always notice.

So, we have no fourth estate in the audio industry, and a viable fourth estate sustains an informed market, which is a key element of a functioning free market. And because we've had no fourth estate for so long, the market has become extremely distorted as a result of claptrap being repeated endlessly enough that people start to accept it.

Rick "the internet is a poor fourth estate, despite the good work and intentions of people like Amir" Denney
I can answer this one. Having hung out with lawyers before it comes down to this. You get the legal rights that you can afford. Period. There are exceptions but I will not go down that trail. So, you want to take on a company? How much money do you have? They will not take it for pay at settlement as it is not an injury case. You probably will not win anyway. So, businesses can usually get away with anything as long as they are not injuring someone. Injuries are where the money is, oh, and that means permanent injuries, not something you recover from fairly easily.

So audio companies do not even think about any legal issues just because a product claim is not valid. The FTC was made into a toothless dog years ago and has now morphed into a tiny cuddly kitten that will not do anything, as all it wants is some cuddling. Sad to say but our society is rife with corruption. Government is totally corrupt. Federal, State and Local. Businesses? Corrupt. It is the new American way. That's all I will say for now.

Oh, and not that I have an opinion.:rolleyes:
 

rdenney

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So audio companies do not even think about any legal issues just because a product claim is not valid. The FTC was made into a toothless dog years ago and has now morphed into a tiny cuddly kitten that will not do anything, as all it wants is some cuddling. Sad to say but our society is rife with corruption. Government is totally corrupt. Federal, State and Local. Businesses? Corrupt. It is the new American way. That's all I will say for now.
I'm not sure it's all that bleak. And, based on extensive experience, I would blame lethargy and incompetence over malice as a starting point. But it makes me wonder why they came down on Shinola so hard. Shinola was started by Tom Kartsotis, the retired founder of the Fossil Watch Company of Richardson, Texas. Not exactly a business beginner. If the FTC has to be triggered that aggressively to get any action, I wonder who did the triggering in that case. I'd bet that most people think as you do and just don't write letters to their elected representatives, and directly to agencies. That might have a bigger effect that you realize. But you are right that the only person who has standing to be a complainer is one who has been victimized, and these companies run from trouble with their home trial, free return policy.

Rick "no stranger to addressing complaints from citizens" Denney
 

Larry B. Larabee

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Warms the cockles of my heart, it does.

Rick "wondering how many users had attested to the markedly greater clarity of their HD-video images using the super cables" Denney
Larry “If your uncomplimentary closing gets to be lengthier than the body of your post does that mean the novelty is wearing thin” Larabee
 

rdenney

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Larry “If your uncomplimentary closing gets to be lengthier than the body of your post does that mean the novelty is wearing thin” Larabee
It’s not novelty. I’ve been doing this since the late 90’s, in tens of thousands of posts on various forums. Can’t think without it.

Rick “no” Denney
 

Jomungur

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What I don't understand is where the FTC is in all of this? There are laws in the U.S. for implied warranty and fitness for a particular purpose, and from my limited legal understanding these are baked into common law, or even by statute in many states. Disclaiming the implied warranty in the written warranty doesn't hold up in most states. Meaning: If a company sells a product with the claim that it does X, and it doesn't do X, then the buyer has a valid warranty claim no matter what the manufacturer disclaims in the fine print. If it does not serve the purpose for which it was advertised, it fails its implied warranty.

That's why most purveyors of supplements state "this product is not sold to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease" in addition to a money-back guarantee. They put that there because the FTC (and probably the FDA) required them to. I don't understand how a seller of magic dots, rocks, grounding boxes, and the like avoid having to add a similar disclaimer, and I can only think it's because nobody has ever filed a complaint or brought suit. For a $50 magic dot, nobody is likely to do that. But for a $10,000 grounding box (or whatever the price was--I blocked it), I would think the FTC would be all over it.

Some of the claims I've seen appear to me to be fraudulent, not just failing of their implied warranty.

A $10,000 power cord at least carries power, so if it carries power it meets its implied warranty. The PS Audio stuff doesn't improve anything but at least it does what it claims to do. But the magic dots, rocks, bricks, grounding boxes and stuff like that?

There are placebo products in every industry, from gasoline additives to magic mattresses to roof insulation products. Many of those are no longer on the market, because the FTC stepped in, or the press did an exposee, or there were so many warranty returns the company went belly up. Shinola put "Made in Detroit" on their watches that used Swiss or Asian movements and the FTC thumped them. They were only assembled in Detroit. How does the audio business avoid that sort of scrutiny?

I'll answer my own question: Buyers insist there is a difference, apparently on the basis that there must be. MF once, in a video, mentioned his Ted Denney (no relation, thank God!) whatever devices and said, "I can hear the difference." The implication is that if you can't hear the difference, you aren't good enough. So, people hear the difference because they don't want to be any less skilled at listening than MF. But they know in their heart of hearts it's BS, or they wouldn't resist properly controlled subjective testing as emotionally as they do.

That's how these purveyors get away with it. Sure, TD's company offers in-home trials, but the claims of purpose for the magic dots include adding/removing EM fields by placing the thingie near the equipment, to which it will become inductively coupled. (Any unpowered coil will be inductively coupled to a field if there is one, so, uh, what?)

Readers should realize that the magazines represent their customers, and their customers are their advertisers, especially with content free for reading on the Internet. So, though I have no doubt that MF believes what he says, there will be little editorializing away from it even if the other editors roll their eyes. The last such I can recall was when Gordon Holt stated that the high-end had ruined the audio business by severing the connection between measured performance and subjective evaluation for too many products--the opposite extreme of what he complained about in the 70's when he started Stereophile as a place where subjective listening could accompany measured performance on equal footing. JA measures things, but I doubt he would measure any of these real snake-oil products and if he did, he would probably feel compelled to pull his punches in his written comments to avoid the fallout. I'm sure he would deny that--I would if I were he--but the acceptance of these silly products has slowly migrated to its present silliness over several decades, and we don't always notice.

So, we have no fourth estate in the audio industry, and a viable fourth estate sustains an informed market, which is a key element of a functioning free market. And because we've had no fourth estate for so long, the market has become extremely distorted as a result of claptrap being repeated endlessly enough that people start to accept it.

Rick "the internet is a poor fourth estate, despite the good work and intentions of people like Amir" Denney
I don't think there's an actionable claim against them. First of all, what they say in writing is often incomprehensible. It's hard to pin down a specific claim. When I read the stuff about magnets in High Fidelity Cables it sounds cool but I can't make sense of what it actually does. Second, they don't usually make specific claims you can test. The closest is that it "cleans up" the electric signal or reduces noise, and I suspect most of them could find expert professional opinion that backs them up on some measure of this under certain conditions, Amir's testing notwithstanding.

The real claims are all ultimately about improving the sound for a listener, which is as you say subjective; they have plenty of counter evidence in the form of testimonials of people who do claim that the sound makes a difference. So I doubt it's actionable unless they make specific claims under specified conditions that someone can test and prove false.

Maybe I'm still new to this, but I'm not so harsh as you guys. I think many of these people really believe they are hearing a difference even if it's an illusion. I know from experience that few audiophiles bother to do control testing on cables over a stretch of time, it's a pain. Hell, just moving that 75 pound power plant to switch cables made me not want to do the simple test I described above!
 
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Spkrdctr

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I'm not sure it's all that bleak. And, based on extensive experience, I would blame lethargy and incompetence over malice as a starting point. But it makes me wonder why they came down on Shinola so hard. Shinola was started by Tom Kartsotis, the retired founder of the Fossil Watch Company of Richardson, Texas. Not exactly a business beginner. If the FTC has to be triggered that aggressively to get any action, I wonder who did the triggering in that case. I'd bet that most people think as you do and just don't write letters to their elected representatives, and directly to agencies. That might have a bigger effect that you realize. But you are right that the only person who has standing to be a complainer is one who has been victimized, and these companies run from trouble with their home trial, free return policy.

Rick "no stranger to addressing complaints from citizens" Denney
I have made complaints and I can tell you 99% of the people are blown off. Now if lets say I'm the CEO of GM and I buy a piece of crap and contact the company, Voila! I get my problem fixed. The other 5000 shmucks get zip. Auto companies are pretty bad. If you drive it off the lot and its a lemon, you need to get a lawyer and jumped through the hoops your state requires and that's even IF your state has a lemon law. Most lemon laws have been watered down by auto company lobbying that it takes a near miracle to go through the entire process and win. Which in the end, is really not a win. You are beaten up, worn down and paid half of the price of a car to your lawyer. I have wallowed in the seamy side of life for decades and yes, it has made me very jaded. I feel sorry for the unjaded folk when they get ripped off.

But the kinder, gentler me says to listen to Rick as he still has a good heart. Mine turned to coal years ago, well a slight exaggeration!
 

tmtomh

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There is well-established legal precedent in the U.S. that gives wide latitude to advertising speech. It enables companies to violate the spirit of truthfulness in pretty outrageous ways - the bar for holding them liable for false advertising or fraud is higher than most of us would think is right.
 

kongwee

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I remember these is test probe that plug into the socket to test noise and interface. It is fun to do as power conditioning doesn't get rid noise at all time. It is very unpredictable. Very equipment dependant. But no harm buying such product. Just don't plug power amplifier into all these power conditioning. Amp itself normally have a filer before the rectifying circuit.
 

egellings

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If the power supply is a full wave rectified 60Hz sourced one, garbage that is several diode drops below the filter capacitor charge voltage won't be conducted by the diodes to the capacitor since they are reverse biased in that case. So serious crossover distortion that happens near the 0-volt line just won't get connected by the diodes to the filter caps. As a result, a device powered by a supply showing this problem will not be affected by it. If the peak voltage were to dance around, then Houston, we have a problem.
 
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