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What is and isn't snake oil?

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  • #16
    Maybe I take a more literal meaning of the term. It is snake oil if it simply can't do what is claimed by whoever is either making it or selling it. However, just because I can't personally hear what something is doing, or can't otherwise verify it, doesn't mean someone else can't. I remember sitting through a demo of some CD treatment over a very good system and honestly heard nothing different in before and after samples. Yet several people in the room gave it the slack jawed "Wow!" almost instantly and paid up to buy the product.
    I've often wondered if in a group session like that, if some people are so worried about not being seen as discriminatingly audiophile enough that they'll make themselves hear things that aren't there.
    But then putting four inexpensive Bright Star Isonodes between my Sound Dynamics 300ti speakers and their stands was so significant an improvement that I didn't want to listen to them without them ever again. I tried to demo that for some non-audiophile friends who wanted an example of an "audiophile tweek" and they all insisted they heard no difference at all.
    However, when someone calls something "snake oil" just because they didn't hear it when they tried it once, I figure they just think a little too highly of their own opinion.
    Steve Lefkowicz
    Senior Associate Editor at Positive Feedback
    -
    Analog: Linn LP12 (MOSE/Hercules II), Ittok, Dynavector 19a, iPhono2; Pro-Ject RPM-1 Carbon, Sumiko Pearl, iFi iPhono.
    Digital: Samsung 300E5C notebook, JRiver Media Center 26, Tidal HiFi and Qobuz Studio), iFi iDAC2, iFi iUSB3, iPurifier2.
    Electronics: Burson Conductor Virtuoso, DIY switch-box with TKD 10K pot, Antique Sound Labs MG-SI15DT-S, Burson Timekeeper Virtuoso, Jolida JD1000P, B&K ST140.
    Speakers: Tekton Double Impact, Tekton Lore, Magneplaner .7, ELAC Debut2 B6.2, Debut F5 and Debut B6, Emotiva Airmotiv B1, Sound Dynamics 300ti.
    Interconnects: Morrow Audio MA1, Vermouth Audio Black Pearl, Nordost Solar Wind, Audioquest Evergreen
    Speaker cables: Morrow Audio SP4, Vermouth Audio Red Velvet, Nordost Solar Wind, Nordost Flatline, Audioquest Q2.
    Digital cables: Straightwire USB Link, Aural Symphonics Digital Standard xxv USB, Belkin PureAV.
    Accessories: Sound Organization turntable shelf, Mondo racks, Pangea Audio Vulcan racks, Pi Audio Group Über BUSS, Monster HTS2000 power conditioner, Sound Organization speaker stands, Pangea Audio speaker stands, Kinetronics anti-static brush, Pro-Ject VC-S record cleaner, Spin Clean record cleaner.
    Headphones: Schiit Valhalla amp, Meze Audio 99 Classic and 99 Neo, Beyerdynamic DT770Pro, 1More Triple Driver Over Ear, 1More MK801, 1More Triple Driver IEM

    http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...ounding-system

    Comment


    • #17
      I can see mass affecting a speaker if its sides or top were not that heavy to begin with- the mass would help those panels from flexing with pressure in the box. That would cause me to be looking for another speaker...

      Comment


      • #18
        Exactly and it shows a lesser build as well lol.
        analog stuff.
        otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 made new by soren
        otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 1/2 combo made new by soren
        sota sapphire used eminent tech ver 2 arm
        new sota nova table has magnetic levitation platter and full speed control and latest motor same arm as above
        thorens td124 sme ver 2 arm
        thorens td125 sme ver 2 arm
        kenwood direct drive sme ver 2 arm
        phono preamp Ml no 25 all re capped
        speakers cust infinity IRS V , new caps and LPS , magnets etc.
        mark levivson pre no 26 amps no 33
        digital three cust servers , win ser 2016 , AO
        Dacs lampi various

        Comment


        • #19
          Just about every little thing makes a difference, and also it's absence.

          For me, it all comes down to price. If it's something I have already lying around the house or can pick up at the local hardware store for cheap entertainment it is just part of my hobby.

          If it would cost me more than the value of equipment I'd be using it with, no thanks.

          My record clamp I am still looking for after the move, not snake oil but have managed to live without these last several weeks of using my stereo again.

          Comment


          • #20
            I just can’t see someone going through all the effort and expense to create, build, market and sell something that does not work.

            The biggest question is how to do this with so many variables where it may or may not work in ones system. For those that it does, winner, those that it does not, tar and feather.

            In the end, theres something about keeping it simple, Mick Jagger can only sound so good 😊

            Source Analog: Kuzma Stabi R with 4point 9 arm & Kuzma 40 Cartridge
            Source Digital: Aurender N10 | Brinkmann Nyquist MK II
            Amplification: Dan D’Agostino Momentum Pre Amp and Monos | Boulder Phono 508
            Speakers: Wilson Alexias
            Cabling: Nordost Valhalla 2/Odin: power, interconnects & speaker | Ansuz: C2 power & interconnect | Audioquest Diamond RJ45’s
            Power: Nordost QRT series | Furutech FP55SN cable from 20 Amp Breakers on grounded sub panel to Furutech GTX D NSF receptacle packages | Surge Guard at Main Panel | Keces P3 & P8 | ADD POWR series
            Other: HRS M3X | Stillpoints Ultra 6, SS & Mini | Nordost Sort Cones TC & BC | AQ Vox SE switch | Gigafoil v4 | Vicoustics | Audio Desk Systeme - Gläss

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by UltraFast69 View Post
              I just can’t see someone going through all the effort and expense to create, build, market and sell something that does not work.

              The biggest question is how to do this with so many variables where it may or may not work in ones system. For those that it does, winner, those that it does not, tar and feather.

              In the end, theres something about keeping it simple, Mick Jagger can only sound so good 😊
              This is precisely the mindset marketing people aim their sights on. My nature is to question everything from how something works to why it exists. I look at the equation the other way around, for a solution to have merit you must first have a clearly defined problem.
              Linn Kilmax LP12 | My Sonic Lab | Channel D | Wadia | Innuos | Valvet | KR Audio | Klipsch

              A great challenge of life: Knowing enough to think you are right, but not knowing enough to know when when you are wrong - Neil deGrasse Tyson

              Comment


              • mep
                mep commented
                Editing a comment
                There is no shortage of solutions in search of a problem. Sometimes fake solutions create new problems that requires solutions for the fake solution. Cable bras come quickly to mind.

              • Rob
                Rob commented
                Editing a comment
                that made my day

              • Joe Pittman
                Joe Pittman commented
                Editing a comment
                Mep, thats funny, kind of reminds me of a Monty Python skit, like the Twit Olympics...

            • #22
              Originally posted by kach22i View Post

              ...For me, it all comes down to price...
              I would argue that price is a value judgement. Lots of things in this hobby that aren't snake oil have a high enough price that I do not consider them. Doesn't mean they don't do what they are designed to do.

              I still say "snake oil" implies deceit. If something does what is claimed it is at least legitimate. Whether it has any value is a judgement call for each individual.
              Steve Lefkowicz
              Senior Associate Editor at Positive Feedback
              -
              Analog: Linn LP12 (MOSE/Hercules II), Ittok, Dynavector 19a, iPhono2; Pro-Ject RPM-1 Carbon, Sumiko Pearl, iFi iPhono.
              Digital: Samsung 300E5C notebook, JRiver Media Center 26, Tidal HiFi and Qobuz Studio), iFi iDAC2, iFi iUSB3, iPurifier2.
              Electronics: Burson Conductor Virtuoso, DIY switch-box with TKD 10K pot, Antique Sound Labs MG-SI15DT-S, Burson Timekeeper Virtuoso, Jolida JD1000P, B&K ST140.
              Speakers: Tekton Double Impact, Tekton Lore, Magneplaner .7, ELAC Debut2 B6.2, Debut F5 and Debut B6, Emotiva Airmotiv B1, Sound Dynamics 300ti.
              Interconnects: Morrow Audio MA1, Vermouth Audio Black Pearl, Nordost Solar Wind, Audioquest Evergreen
              Speaker cables: Morrow Audio SP4, Vermouth Audio Red Velvet, Nordost Solar Wind, Nordost Flatline, Audioquest Q2.
              Digital cables: Straightwire USB Link, Aural Symphonics Digital Standard xxv USB, Belkin PureAV.
              Accessories: Sound Organization turntable shelf, Mondo racks, Pangea Audio Vulcan racks, Pi Audio Group Über BUSS, Monster HTS2000 power conditioner, Sound Organization speaker stands, Pangea Audio speaker stands, Kinetronics anti-static brush, Pro-Ject VC-S record cleaner, Spin Clean record cleaner.
              Headphones: Schiit Valhalla amp, Meze Audio 99 Classic and 99 Neo, Beyerdynamic DT770Pro, 1More Triple Driver Over Ear, 1More MK801, 1More Triple Driver IEM

              http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...ounding-system

              Comment


              • #23
                Unless I can hear a difference that I consider to be an improvement, in a blind A/B listening test, I don't really care what anyone else hears or think they hear, nor what measurements may show, I'm not doing it and not spending money on it. That tends to weed out an awful lot of so called tweaks that are claimed to result in improvement of sound.

                Main:VPI TNT V, SME V, Koetsu Urushi, Vendetta SCP2-D, Conrad Johnson Premier 14, Conrad Johnson Premier 11a, Wilson Maxx 2, Inouye power conditioner

                #2 Sota Cosmos, SME V, Lyra Clavis, Bryston BP17, Conrad Johnson Premier 15 phono, Classe DR3 VHC, Martin Logan CLS

                #3 Classe DR-7, Classe DR3 VHC bridged monos + PSE V monos (bass), Classe DAC1 DA converter, Vandersteen 4A

                #4 (AV) Marantz AV 7702 Mk2, Rowland 5, Wilson Maxx 2, Vandersteen VSM-1 (x4), Hsu VTF-15H Mk 2 (x2)

                Comment


                • Steve Lefkowicz
                  Steve Lefkowicz commented
                  Editing a comment
                  that sounds like plain old common sense!

              • #24
                I would have sworn that the dialectric bias system on AQ's upper line of ICs was snake oil. I would have argued the point.

                I ended up trying the AQ Leopard's for my phono IC and dammed if the DBS makes the cable sound better. It is a very low level kind of thing but its there.

                For a phono IC it seems to be a good thing.

                Now when it comes to sitting wood blocks on the top of my preamp...I'll save my money.

                Ed
                Life is analog...digital is just samples thereof
                https://www.edsstuff.org

                Analog: VPI Prime TT w/Walnut Plinth, HRX Pulley + 3 Belt Drive + ADS Speed Ctrl, 3D Dual Pivot Assy, Tru Lift, HW-40 Feet
                Analog 2: Ortofon Windfeld Ti + Bob's Devices VPI Sky 30 Stepup Transformer + Liberty Audio B2B-1 Phono Preamp, Stereo Squares Dust Cover
                Analog Care: VPI MW-1, Kirmuss KA-RC-1, Record Doctor V, Hunt EDA VI, AQ Brush, Discwasher Record Care Kit
                Digital: TASCAM UH-7000 High-res USB Interface, Pioneer Elite DV-47Ai Universal Disc Player, NAD C448 Internet Radio/Streamer
                Digital 2: Digital Audio Workstation (Toshiba P75-A7200 w/MS Windows 10, 24GB RAM, 1.5 TB Crucial MX300 SSD Internal Storage, Intel i7-4700MQ Processor)

                Amp: Rogue RP-9 Line Preamp, Schiit Loki Tone Ctrls, Parasound A21 Power Amp
                Speakers: Magnepan MMC2, REL T9/i Subwoofer
                Headphones: Stax Lambda Pro + SRM 1 MK II, Focal Clear + Schiit Lyr 2
                Wires: Kimber Hero ICs, Kimber 8TC Speaker Cables, AQ Leopard Phono IC, Pangea Silver USB Cables, StraightWire Expressivo ICs
                Power: Furman Elite 15 PFi

                Comment


                • #25
                  Originally posted by EdAInWestOC View Post

                  Now when it comes to sitting wood blocks on the top of my preamp...I'll save my money.

                  Ed

                  What about Concrete blocks?

                  Comment


                  • #26
                    Originally posted by EdAInWestOC View Post
                    Now when it comes to sitting wood blocks on the top of my preamp...I'll save my money.

                    Ed
                    Now don't be dissin' the VPI magic bricks... See https://www.psaudio.com/pauls-posts/fear-of-tweaks/

                    I actually own a couple of these - they came with my giant Class A amps when I bought them, and I played around with them. Subtle but detectable change dependant on what gear you set them on. I never saw the need to rush out in search of additional bricks.
                    Main:VPI TNT V, SME V, Koetsu Urushi, Vendetta SCP2-D, Conrad Johnson Premier 14, Conrad Johnson Premier 11a, Wilson Maxx 2, Inouye power conditioner

                    #2 Sota Cosmos, SME V, Lyra Clavis, Bryston BP17, Conrad Johnson Premier 15 phono, Classe DR3 VHC, Martin Logan CLS

                    #3 Classe DR-7, Classe DR3 VHC bridged monos + PSE V monos (bass), Classe DAC1 DA converter, Vandersteen 4A

                    #4 (AV) Marantz AV 7702 Mk2, Rowland 5, Wilson Maxx 2, Vandersteen VSM-1 (x4), Hsu VTF-15H Mk 2 (x2)

                    Comment


                    • #27
                      Curious though, other than something like the Tice Clock from years ago, or possibly that expensive fruit bowl I keep seeing on display at audio shows, what are things people here take as an example of actual snake oil in high-end audio?
                      In other forums cables are at the top of the list, but I think we all can agree here that cables can and do make a real difference, whether you feel that difference is worth the price or not (again, price and value are a different topic). In too many forums, any equipment that cost more than what the poster paid for his gear is viewed as snake oil.
                      If you tried something in your system and didn't work out for you, or if you tried something and didn't hear any difference, do you figure it simply didn't do what they said it would (snake oil), or take as meaning either you simply didn't hear it, or it wasn't effective specifically in your system?
                      Steve Lefkowicz
                      Senior Associate Editor at Positive Feedback
                      -
                      Analog: Linn LP12 (MOSE/Hercules II), Ittok, Dynavector 19a, iPhono2; Pro-Ject RPM-1 Carbon, Sumiko Pearl, iFi iPhono.
                      Digital: Samsung 300E5C notebook, JRiver Media Center 26, Tidal HiFi and Qobuz Studio), iFi iDAC2, iFi iUSB3, iPurifier2.
                      Electronics: Burson Conductor Virtuoso, DIY switch-box with TKD 10K pot, Antique Sound Labs MG-SI15DT-S, Burson Timekeeper Virtuoso, Jolida JD1000P, B&K ST140.
                      Speakers: Tekton Double Impact, Tekton Lore, Magneplaner .7, ELAC Debut2 B6.2, Debut F5 and Debut B6, Emotiva Airmotiv B1, Sound Dynamics 300ti.
                      Interconnects: Morrow Audio MA1, Vermouth Audio Black Pearl, Nordost Solar Wind, Audioquest Evergreen
                      Speaker cables: Morrow Audio SP4, Vermouth Audio Red Velvet, Nordost Solar Wind, Nordost Flatline, Audioquest Q2.
                      Digital cables: Straightwire USB Link, Aural Symphonics Digital Standard xxv USB, Belkin PureAV.
                      Accessories: Sound Organization turntable shelf, Mondo racks, Pangea Audio Vulcan racks, Pi Audio Group Über BUSS, Monster HTS2000 power conditioner, Sound Organization speaker stands, Pangea Audio speaker stands, Kinetronics anti-static brush, Pro-Ject VC-S record cleaner, Spin Clean record cleaner.
                      Headphones: Schiit Valhalla amp, Meze Audio 99 Classic and 99 Neo, Beyerdynamic DT770Pro, 1More Triple Driver Over Ear, 1More MK801, 1More Triple Driver IEM

                      http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...ounding-system

                      Comment


                      • Audioraven
                        Audioraven commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I still want a Tice Clock! They sell cheap when they show up.

                    • #28
                      Steve, it really doesn't matter to me whether I couldn't hear a difference or whether it was arrant snake oil. I go for the functional method where if I can't hear it, the assessment stops there and I don't care why. Could be that there is no difference, or that my gear isn't capable of showing it or my hearing isn't capable of hearing it. Its all the same to me as I don't care about labelling purveyors of snake oil as such - they prey upon the credulous, who probably in some sense deserve it.

                      Do you guys remember Peter Belt in all his English crackpottery? Don't think that he was a knave, but he certainly didsmack of such.
                      Main:VPI TNT V, SME V, Koetsu Urushi, Vendetta SCP2-D, Conrad Johnson Premier 14, Conrad Johnson Premier 11a, Wilson Maxx 2, Inouye power conditioner

                      #2 Sota Cosmos, SME V, Lyra Clavis, Bryston BP17, Conrad Johnson Premier 15 phono, Classe DR3 VHC, Martin Logan CLS

                      #3 Classe DR-7, Classe DR3 VHC bridged monos + PSE V monos (bass), Classe DAC1 DA converter, Vandersteen 4A

                      #4 (AV) Marantz AV 7702 Mk2, Rowland 5, Wilson Maxx 2, Vandersteen VSM-1 (x4), Hsu VTF-15H Mk 2 (x2)

                      Comment


                      • #29
                        Originally posted by wspohn View Post
                        Steve, it really doesn't matter to me whether I couldn't hear a difference or whether it was arrant snake oil. I go for the functional method where if I can't hear it, the assessment stops there and I don't care why. Could be that there is no difference, or that my gear isn't capable of showing it or my hearing isn't capable of hearing it. Its all the same to me as I don't care about labelling purveyors of snake oil as such - they prey upon the credulous, who probably in some sense deserve it.

                        Do you guys remember Peter Belt in all his English crackpottery? Don't think that he was a knave, but he certainly didsmack of such.
                        Enid Lumley might just take the cake for quackery. I followed her ramblings as best I could, how could I not, I was a staunch devotee of TAS!

                        Art Dudley's remembrance of Peter Belt: https://www.stereophile.com/content/...belt-1930-2017
                        Linn Kilmax LP12 | My Sonic Lab | Channel D | Wadia | Innuos | Valvet | KR Audio | Klipsch

                        A great challenge of life: Knowing enough to think you are right, but not knowing enough to know when when you are wrong - Neil deGrasse Tyson

                        Comment


                        • #30
                          Originally posted by wspohn View Post
                          Steve, it really doesn't matter to me whether I couldn't hear a difference or whether it was arrant snake oil. I go for the functional method where if I can't hear it, the assessment stops there and I don't care why. Could be that there is no difference, or that my gear isn't capable of showing it or my hearing isn't capable of hearing it. Its all the same to me as I don't care about labelling purveyors of snake oil as such - they prey upon the credulous, who probably in some sense deserve it.

                          Do you guys remember Peter Belt in all his English crackpottery? Don't think that he was a knave, but he certainly didsmack of such.
                          And yet, I know know people who followed Peter Belt and absolutely felt his stuff made a verifiable improvement in their system. And they were neither credulous nor prone to quackery.

                          But I agree with you in that if I don't hear a difference in my system, I don't much care why. I just take it either my system can't exhibit it or my sense of what I listen for in a system doesn't line up with what they are trying to do.

                          I guess I ask only because of how often in other forums I hear silly comments like "I tried an expensive 'magic' cable once and heard no difference, so they are they are all snake oil salesmen" or some other similar nonsense.

                          Originally posted by Rob View Post

                          Enid Lumley might just take the cake for quackery. I followed her ramblings as best I could, how could I not, I was a staunch devotee of TAS!

                          Art Dudley's remembrance of Peter Belt: https://www.stereophile.com/content/...belt-1930-2017
                          I got to hang out with Enid a few times back in the 1980s as part of a small group of friends on record shopping days, and heard her system. Only fully functioning Mapleknoll turntable/arm I ever heard. Her whole system was plugged into a huge Variac and she adjusted the voltage for each listening session. Her room was enclosed in a Faraday cage. A real character no doubt, though much of what was seen as quackery from her at the time later became fairly SOP for audiophiles later on.
                          Steve Lefkowicz
                          Senior Associate Editor at Positive Feedback
                          -
                          Analog: Linn LP12 (MOSE/Hercules II), Ittok, Dynavector 19a, iPhono2; Pro-Ject RPM-1 Carbon, Sumiko Pearl, iFi iPhono.
                          Digital: Samsung 300E5C notebook, JRiver Media Center 26, Tidal HiFi and Qobuz Studio), iFi iDAC2, iFi iUSB3, iPurifier2.
                          Electronics: Burson Conductor Virtuoso, DIY switch-box with TKD 10K pot, Antique Sound Labs MG-SI15DT-S, Burson Timekeeper Virtuoso, Jolida JD1000P, B&K ST140.
                          Speakers: Tekton Double Impact, Tekton Lore, Magneplaner .7, ELAC Debut2 B6.2, Debut F5 and Debut B6, Emotiva Airmotiv B1, Sound Dynamics 300ti.
                          Interconnects: Morrow Audio MA1, Vermouth Audio Black Pearl, Nordost Solar Wind, Audioquest Evergreen
                          Speaker cables: Morrow Audio SP4, Vermouth Audio Red Velvet, Nordost Solar Wind, Nordost Flatline, Audioquest Q2.
                          Digital cables: Straightwire USB Link, Aural Symphonics Digital Standard xxv USB, Belkin PureAV.
                          Accessories: Sound Organization turntable shelf, Mondo racks, Pangea Audio Vulcan racks, Pi Audio Group Über BUSS, Monster HTS2000 power conditioner, Sound Organization speaker stands, Pangea Audio speaker stands, Kinetronics anti-static brush, Pro-Ject VC-S record cleaner, Spin Clean record cleaner.
                          Headphones: Schiit Valhalla amp, Meze Audio 99 Classic and 99 Neo, Beyerdynamic DT770Pro, 1More Triple Driver Over Ear, 1More MK801, 1More Triple Driver IEM

                          http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...ounding-system

                          Comment


                          • Rob
                            Rob commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Steve, that's a great story.
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