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Snake Oil Department, Top This

rwortman

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The problem is this: if knowledgeable people do NOT energetically resist the encroachments of lunatics and con men, then that constitutes "tacit agreement". Over time, tacit agreements by the thousands can reshape reality, so to speak. When that happens, businesses follow, and the next time you go out to buy something, they WILL be spending your money.

Ouch!

Jim
People have been energetically resisting con men and lunatics for thousands of years without much to show for it. It’s endemic to human civilization. They still won’t be spending my money. It’s my choice what to buy. The hi-fi world has been bloviating about this sort of bullsh— for the better part of 60 years now and I can still buy a standard coax interconnect and zip cord speaker wire. I have no trouble finding the sort of components I prefer to own.

Not arguing with a lunatic is tacit agreement only from the perspective of lunatics. Caring what lunatics think is a fools game. What goes on here may sway an occasional convert but is not going to change the minds of most of the subjectivist community. Mostly we are preaching to choir and telling each other how smart and discerning we are.

Some days, I am not even sure myself. My system sounds better to me than it ever has with my current speakers and the things I have changed (preamp/DAC and power amp) aren’t supposed to make much of an audible difference. I didn’t do any blind testing, nor do I intend to. If it’s all a pleasant illusion, OK. If no one else believes it, that’s OK too. The need to convince others that I’m right isn’t as strong as it used to be, and regarding audio, is almost gone.
 

Ken1951

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If special wood makes a violin sound different than special wood on my turntable or speakers should too.
Way back in my playing days my choice of reed really made a difference. However, I didn't believe that it made any difference as to what type of wood I put my TT on. Maple, Cherry, Oak, Mahogany, Teak, Bamboo - well it all sounded the same to me! :cool:
 

Motoman4540

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Now that HAS to be an April Fools' joke... surely.
I went back to the KEF site to link the description and it apparently was an April Fool's Day joke, since there is a link there that says "April Fool's" and it was posted open March 31. So that is apparently not a real product. It was just too stupid to be real!
 

DonR

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I went back to the KEF site to link the description and it apparently was an April Fool's Day joke, since there is a link there that says "April Fool's" and it was posted open March 31. So that is apparently not a real product. It was just too stupid to be real!
Very hard to tell these days.
 

Motoman4540

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Fresh from my success with the Shun Mook miracle $5600 wood record clamp, I would like to present another nominee. Today's new piece of snake oil that no audiophile can do without is the "Furutech LP Demagnetizer." Yes, you had no idea that you needed one, did you? This little baby showed up for the bargain basement price of $2,715.

What does this amazing product do? It demagnetizes your vinyl, because your vinyl contains carbon and carbon attracts a magnetic charge. That magnetic charge apparently adds "a layer of grit, glare, and haze" that the LP Demagnetizer magically removes. Of course, once your LP has been run through the Demagnetizer, it will reveal the usual "smoother treble and increased dimensionality," according to The Absolute Sound. Presumably given a nod to just how dumb that may sound, particularly for $2,715, Absolute Sound actually acknowledges "Nor is it an essential piece of equipment. You can probably get more bang for the buck by upgrading a cartridge or tonearm or maybe even by improving the isolation of your ’table with a device like the Minus K product. But if you’re pretty much set on your analog rig and looking for a nifty upgrade—one, let’s face it, that will likely have your friends questioning your sanity . . . then the Furutech DeMag is a no-brainer."

In other words, if you love your current analog rig as is, but feel compelled to waste money on snake oil that you don't need and does nothing, the Furutech is a "no-brainer." Let's put aside the fact that The Absolute Sound's review lacks of any type of double-blind listening study, which is the anathema to snake oil salesman, and lets put aside the fact that if LP's really needed a demagnetizer, you can pick one up for $30. It is more likely that the purchaser of a $2,715 Furutech is the person without a brain, i.e., a "no-brainer."

6Moons adds to the completely unscientific and totally subjective chorus by saying " It seemed as if analog was even more analog. That little edge on middle and high notes, that glare, was completely gone now. Overall the sound was warmer, more rounded and fuller of color." Of course -- it makes "analog more analog." Do we check our common sense at the door when we buy audio gear? I could never figure out why my already wonderfully warm sounding vinyl had "that little edge on the middle and high notes." Thank you Furutech! Now I know.

A voice in the wilderness -- Gizmodo, an organization that does not seem beholden to exaggerated and unmeasurable claims of "making analog more analog," summed it up nicely: "Furutech DeMag Demagnetizes Your Money Away"

One small problem with Furutech's patter is that it appears, at least based on the results of a preliminary Google search, that the carbon atoms found in the chemical Polyvinyl Chloride - the main ingredient found in LPs - are actually not magnetizable. So perhaps some other theory might be offered to explain why demagnetization of LPs and CDs works.

As always, if you are one of those people that light their cigars with $100 bills, and think nothing of spending $2715 on something that admittedly looks pretty cool even if it's worthless, I guess you may be the target market. But if you haven't checked your common sense at the door . . .

Posting this nonsense is quite cathartic!
 

DonR

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You mean, a Demonetizer?
LOL! Reminds me of the old Python private hospital skit: "We've every facility here for dealing with people who are rich. We can deal with a blocked purse, we can drain private accounts and in the worst cases we can perform a total cashectomy, which is total removal of all moneys from the patient."
 

Motoman4540

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LOL! Reminds me of the old Python private hospital skit: "We've every facility here for dealing with people who are rich. We can deal with a blocked purse, we can drain private accounts and in the worst cases we can perform a total cashectomy, which is total removal of all moneys from the patient."
LOL!
 

rwortman

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It simply means that you keep them in check. And yes, it's a day-to-day and everyday job.
I don’t think anything we do here is keeping the hi-fi scam artists, their acolytes in the press, or their customers “in check”.
 

IPunchCholla

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I don’t think anything we do here is keeping the hi-fi scam artists, their acolytes in the press, or their customers “in check”.
I think it might be a better job than you think. The site gets millions of visitors. I first visited because I was trying to understand what the important features of an amp were and this was one of the few places that laid it out with measurements. Without this site I would have spent 10x more on an amp, with no guarantee it it performed any better than the one I ended up getting. Maybe not snake oil or outright con would have been the result, but I would have been far more susceptible to it. And for every person like me who joins, 100s don’t. But they visit and may also be better guarded against outright cons.
 

HammerSandwich

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One small problem with Furutech's patter is that it appears, at least based on the results of a preliminary Google search, that the carbon atoms found in the chemical Polyvinyl Chloride - the main ingredient found in LPs - are actually not magnetizable. So perhaps some other theory might be offered to explain why demagnetization of LPs and CDs works.
Dismiss it if you like, but when I played the very first demagnetized LP, my wife immediately noticed from the kitchen. It turns out that the rotating magnetic fields affected her carbon-steel knives, so the Furutech allows much thinner, more consistent, tomato slices.

Additionally, it turns out that I don't actually have a Furutech. Or LPs. Or a wife.
 

Mart68

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I don’t think anything we do here is keeping the hi-fi scam artists, their acolytes in the press, or their customers “in check”.
Won't stop them pushing their fake products but it might reduce the number of mug punters that are prepared to buy them.

At the very least it presents an alternative opinion as to the validity of them as opposed to having a consensus that 'everything matters.'
 

Pablo27

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These people are amoral. It's literally fraud and anyone selling them really should have to evidence the claims.

When people argue that its the individuals "choice" to buy these snake oil items that's not exactly 100% true, they'd need to be making an informed decision to do that, and they aren't.
 

Motoman4540

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Dismiss it if you like, but when I played the very first demagnetized LP, my wife immediately noticed from the kitchen. It turns out that the rotating magnetic fields affected her carbon-steel knives, so the Furutech allows much thinner, more consistent, tomato slices.

Additionally, it turns out that I don't actually have a Furutech. Or LPs. Or a wife.
That takes the Placebo Effect to a whole new level!
 

Motoman4540

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Well... actually, precisely positioning speakers in a room does have a profound effect on things like bass, imaging, phase.

Not sure how your comment is relevant to the snake oil rants?
I have a pair of Sabrina X’s and I read that review. it is obviously baloney that moving the speakers 1/4 inch works miracles, unless you as the listener have your head in a vice so that it can’t move at all. That being said, placement is always important, just not the idiotic 1/4 inch statement. The Sabrina X’s are fantastic speakers and I really like them. I routinely move my head an inch or more when listening, and the sound is always perfect. Shame on the reviewer for making it seem as if such tiny changes in speaker placement make all the difference in the world on these great speakers.
 

mansr

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it is obviously baloney that moving the speakers 1/4 inch works miracles, unless you as the listener have your head in a vice so that it can’t move at all.
You mean you don't?

head-vise.gif
 

Motoman4540

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OMG! How funny. New Idea: An audiophile chair that is a modified dentist’s chair . . . Just think how the soundstage will be deeper and wider, the instruments perfectly placed, and instead of one of those little water sprayers that hooks in your mouth, it can spray beer or the beverage of your choice without moving your head and destroying the soundstage!
 

HammerSandwich

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IIRC, Sam Tellig wrote that one of his buddies (The Brass Ear?) had a barber's chair, so that he could adjust his altitude for different recordings.

Edit: Remembered almost correctly. It's in the Apogee Stage review:
I've never visited the Brass home, but I've been told that Brass Ear has this special electric chair. Its place on the floor is carefully marked. The chair is adjustable so it moves up and down. That way, Brass can get the Brass Ears at just the right plane—and he can change the listening plane depending on the recording. This beats readjusting the cartridge VTA. Brass adjusts the height of his ears—vertical listening angle, or VLA!
 
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