More 'Audiophile' bullsh*t.

More 'Audiophile' bullsh*t.

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Discussion

JDFR

1,219 posts

93 months

Friday 4th January 2013
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TonyRPH said:
I once got into a huge debate on another forum regarding this.

The poster was claiming there were differences in sound between an external USB disk, internal disk, internal SSD and USB dongle.
Please point me in the direction of the thread as it sounds bloody hilarious!

Adrian W

11,616 posts

186 months

Friday 4th January 2013
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Ahh but! If you lived right next to a power station or maybe a railway line, you could have a big conducted Emc problem, nothing that a good filter wouldn't fix for about £30. Just a cap and a choke.

These are for people who can't think of what to buy next, the have Gold Bentley's, gardeners and very expensive underwear.

And they might work, I won't be finding out.

BananaBok

116 posts

105 months

Friday 4th January 2013
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Do the audiophools who go this far ever actually sit and enjoy the music, or do they just sit there identifying potential faults and improvements? Like people who spends thousands on surround sound and cinema systems, and then dont sit back and enjoy a movie, rather sit there thinking about where the bass needs increasing, or how the greens need adjusting on the TV.

It takes the enjoyment and fun out of something that's built purely for entertainment, one thing that caught my eye on the Synergistic website was this:

"Ted visited Buddhist Temples and observed how Tibetan Prayer Bowls altered temple acoustics. These singing bowls affected a sudden shift in acoustics whenever they were activated, and when additional bowls of varying tone were also activated, the acoustics continued to change"

I can just imagine Ted standing up mid prayer song and shouting "STOPPP!! Your accoustics are all wrong, if we knock down this sacred wall and put up a giant wok instead, Buddha is bound to hear you a whole lot better"

These people really need to lighten up, music and movie should be more about enjoyment and less about this insane unachievable perceived perfection these audio types are always fretting about.

TonyRPH

Original Poster:

10,462 posts

126 months

Friday 4th January 2013
quotequote all
JDFR said:
TonyRPH said:
I once got into a huge debate on another forum regarding this.

The poster was claiming there were differences in sound between an external USB disk, internal disk, internal SSD and USB dongle.
Please point me in the direction of the thread as it sounds bloody hilarious!
This was about 4 years ago - on the What HiFi forums IIRC - I'll try to find it...

IforB

8,468 posts

187 months

Friday 4th January 2013
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Adrian W said:
I'm a bit confused by this thread, usually when we discuss snake oil some of us has tried the products and are talking from experience, has anyone on here actually tried one of these?
I've tried out quite a few things that audiophiles often consider essential and have had mixed results.

The majority are hocus pocus and flim flammery, but there are things where I truly have thought "hang on, that sounds different/better"

These were;

Cone feet for not just speakers but for kit as well
Torlyte (sp.) boards
Better/thicker speaker cable (not necessarily expensive stuff made of unicorn pubes and sunbeams)
Blanking plugs for the unused inputs at the back of the amp

I will hasten to add that I have never paid for any of these things apart from the speaker cable.

Things that I have never found the blindest bit of difference from include;

Power conditioners (I've tried numerous Russ Andrews ones and couldn't hear anything different at all)
Fancy Power cables (again tried most of the Russ Andrews range and no difference what so ever)
Speaker wire "bridges" that keep the cable off the floor

And I'm sure there's a fair few other things I've tried and gone "you are having a laugh" I just can't remember them all!

I've a mate who is a serious audiophile and we've tried nearly everything out that we could think of purely from curiosity and some works, but I can't understand why, some doesn't work, some make sense but doesn't do anything and other things have actually made the system sound worse.

It's all interesting, but I certainly wouldn't waste my money on any of it. If there are differences, they are minute and hardly worth bothering with. The only area I would spend decent money on is speaker cable and Phonos. They do make a difference, just don't spend £200/m just get thick cable and connect it properly.
Though I was impressed when I listened to some stupidly expensive silver cable recently, but the idea of paying such a stupid amount for them, just makes me laugh.


toxicnerve

23,342 posts

135 months

Friday 4th January 2013
quotequote all
IforB said:
Cone feet for not just speakers but for kit as well
Seriously? How would coned feet on equipment make things sound better?

I expected more of you man!!!

EDIT: Unless you're talking on a turntable or something to take away any vibrations/keep the needle tracking properly.


TonyRPH

Original Poster:

10,462 posts

126 months

Friday 4th January 2013
quotequote all
IforB said:
I've tried out quite a few things that audiophiles often consider essential and have had mixed results.

<snip>

These were;

Cone feet for not just speakers but for kit as well
Torlyte (sp.) boards

Better/thicker speaker cable (not necessarily expensive stuff made of unicorn pubes and sunbeams)
Blanking plugs for the unused inputs at the back of the amp

I will hasten to add that I have never paid for any of these things apart from the speaker cable.
Protecting components from vibration can be hit and miss, however I've only ever noticed a difference with turntables (which stand to reason).

Some components such as larger capacitors can be prone to microphonic effects - but to actually hear said effects I feel would be extremely difficult.

Valve equipment on the other hand is a different story. Valves are very microphonic, and I think that airborne vibrations are probably a bigger worry than vibrations through the chassis / stand.

The blanking plugs are another hit and miss item for me - if the equipment is designed properly in the first place, RFI should not be a problem through an unused phono socket.

As for speaker cables... well I think enough has been written about those! Suffice to say that thicker (to a point) is always better than the thin stuff most people tend to use.

Of course length plays a part here too, but I am referring to the average run of 3 - 5 meters.




IforB

8,468 posts

187 months

Friday 4th January 2013
quotequote all
toxicnerve said:
Seriously? How would coned feet on equipment make things sound better?

I expected more of you man!!!

EDIT: Unless you're talking on a turntable or something to take away any vibrations/keep the needle tracking properly.
I have no idea why it made a difference and I have tried to work it out for myself and simply can't. The main one was when I lobbed a Naim HDX onto the feet and the sound went all squiffy. I honestly thought that I must have stuffed up some of the connectors, but when I checked, everything was fine. I took it off the feet and it went back to normal.

Very odd.

Then I tried it on a CD player and again, the difference was noticeable. This time though it did sound better. So I went back to scratch, used the same piece of music and tried again and there was a small, but noticeable difference.

To this day I can't rationalise it really and my own kit sits on the feet that they came with, so I certainly didn't think it worthwhile, but I could hear a difference.

The Torlyte things worked well too. Again no idea why!

Compared to most audiophile nonsense, these things are cheap, with feet being just a couple of quid, so if they work, great, if they don't, no biggie just lob them in the bin!

AdeTuono

6,270 posts

185 months

Friday 4th January 2013
quotequote all
IforB said:
I've tried out quite a few things that audiophiles often consider essential and have had mixed results.

...there are things where I truly have thought "hang on, that sounds different/better"

These were;

Blanking plugs for the unused inputs at the back of the amp
Really?

Adrian W

11,616 posts

186 months

Friday 4th January 2013
quotequote all
A lot of people use squash balls cut in half

toxicnerve

23,342 posts

135 months

Friday 4th January 2013
quotequote all
AdeTuono said:
IforB said:
I've tried out quite a few things that audiophiles often consider essential and have had mixed results.

...there are things where I truly have thought "hang on, that sounds different/better"

These were;

Blanking plugs for the unused inputs at the back of the amp
Really?
The blanking plugs ground the input connectors IIRC. It can make a difference if you seem to be picking up noise on your amp. I suspect it's an issue with older stuff mainly.

TonyRPH

Original Poster:

10,462 posts

126 months

Friday 4th January 2013
quotequote all
AdeTuono said:
IforB said:
I've tried out quite a few things that audiophiles often consider essential and have had mixed results.

...there are things where I truly have thought "hang on, that sounds different/better"

These were;

Blanking plugs for the unused inputs at the back of the amp
Really?
The theory here is that unused inputs will pickup stray RFI and corrupt the sound.

However, many amps have an RF filter on the input anyway - and also - when the input is not used - it's not connected to anything...

Again - it comes down to design, and if the amp is designed properly in the first place, this shouldn't happen anyway.

You would practically need to live adjacent to a radio transmitter for it to be any kind of problem IMHO.

The only time I've had any issues is with a phono input, and in that instance the pickup cartridge was acting as an antenna, picking CD radio signals with some clarity smile

No amount of blanking plugs will solve that.

ETA: As per toxicnerve's reply above - they simply ground unused inputs. (post overlap)




Edited by TonyRPH on Friday 4th January 17:45

tank slapper

7,949 posts

241 months

Friday 4th January 2013
quotequote all
Most of these things that 'make a difference' are purely placebo. Unfortunately the dishonest and the genuinely deluded will make use of that to extract money from the gullible. People convince themselves they can hear a difference, and once they have spent a fortune on something they have to hear a difference to justify the money they have spent.

Your hearing, like most of your other senses, is hugely influenced by psychological effects which makes being objective about something like this extremely difficult. The only way to do it is to use double blind testing. I have taken part in a few such tests on audio equipment with interesting results - mains cable being indistinguishable from a very expensive speaker cable was one, but a more surprising one was being able to clearly tell the difference between two active crossovers of identical design, but being built with different makes of electrolytic capacitors. I don't mean a barely perceptible difference, but one that came out as a clear preference from everyone who took the test. From memory we were asked to choose between "no perceptible difference", "prefer A" and "prefer B" rather than trying to determine which one sounded "better".

I would like to know what purpose the wooden block around that mains cable is supposed to do though. Maybe it is so you can club the salesman with it once you realise you have been stitched up.

MocMocaMoc

1,524 posts

99 months

Friday 4th January 2013
quotequote all
BananaBok said:
Do the audiophools who go this far ever actually sit and enjoy the music, or do they just sit there identifying potential faults and improvements? Like people who spends thousands on surround sound and cinema systems, and then dont sit back and enjoy a movie, rather sit there thinking about where the bass needs increasing, or how the greens need adjusting on the TV.

It takes the enjoyment and fun out of something that's built purely for entertainment, one thing that caught my eye on the Synergistic website was this:

"Ted visited Buddhist Temples and observed how Tibetan Prayer Bowls altered temple acoustics. These singing bowls affected a sudden shift in acoustics whenever they were activated, and when additional bowls of varying tone were also activated, the acoustics continued to change"

I can just imagine Ted standing up mid prayer song and shouting "STOPPP!! Your accoustics are all wrong, if we knock down this sacred wall and put up a giant wok instead, Buddha is bound to hear you a whole lot better"

These people really need to lighten up, music and movie should be more about enjoyment and less about this insane unachievable perceived perfection these audio types are always fretting about.
A good stereo, playing a good recording can hit you in ways you cant put your finger on.

I've got an OK (as far as high end goes) stereo, but a mate of mine has gone to town, and has it setup really well. The sound that thing produces... it's weird, it's uplifting, has such a natural clarity and warmth. And at low volumes too. That's the difference - any old system can knock your socks off with it's thumping low end, and set to 11, but a really good system will hit you at medium volume.

These audiofool bullsh*t devices are a waste, but please dont let that put you off appreciating a really good - like full top end, not just a couple grands worth - stereo.

Oh yeah, and these things cost like +5k for CD, amp and x2 speakers. I think all in mine cost about 2k, but that's 5.1 and not really setup for music.

carlymart

589 posts

172 months

Friday 4th January 2013
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this is my mains condiotoner,

http://www.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=http://img.a...

they were £300 at first, picked this up for £50 i have a reasonable hifi home cinema kit with ADA and Yamaha amps sony blu ray pioneer plasma all running off it. does it sound better? i really dont care but its looks great and i like the display

i have tried Isotek stuff when i had a pure hifi and i think it did improve things but not by £800 the same gain could have come from better analog interconnects cables or kit up grades for me.

RedLeicester

6,869 posts

203 months

Friday 4th January 2013
quotequote all
MocMocaMoc said:
Oh yeah, and these things cost like +5k for CD, amp and x2 speakers.
Cheap stuff then hehe

dudleybloke

15,815 posts

144 months

Friday 4th January 2013
quotequote all
the "best" iv seen is the site selling wooden knobs and special water for cleaning your equipment and cables.

its another form of idiot tax.

0a

22,313 posts

152 months

Saturday 5th January 2013
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Best 'tweaking' of a hifi concerns the room the hifi is in - move and get a better room, but even things like carpets, curtains and sofas make a huge difference to how a hifi can sound.

Cable wise, these make a difference up to a point (a relatively cheap point), but beyond that upgrades are pointless.

The biggest BS surrounds digital sources. I used to use a £12 CD player to feed a DAC that listed at £3k (I didn't pay that though, and through sensible buying and selling I made a profit on it!), various friends were surprised when they couldn't detect a difference with the £12 CD player and many thousand pound "dedicated transport" another friend had when played via digital outputs in to the same DAC. Well dur...

Adrian W

11,616 posts

186 months

Saturday 5th January 2013
quotequote all
0a said:
The biggest BS surrounds digital sources. I used to use a £12 CD player to feed a DAC that listed at £3k (I didn't pay that though, and through sensible buying and selling I made a profit on it!), various friends were surprised when they couldn't detect a difference with the £12 CD player and many thousand pound "dedicated transport" another friend had when played via digital outputs in to the same DAC. Well dur...
I think your friends are deaf, or the reast of the equipment was rubbish, there is a big difference, it's just not worth the money, and if you add a clock there is a huge difference.

The_Burg

4,835 posts

172 months

Saturday 5th January 2013
quotequote all
HiFi is a bit weird, everything pretty much is subjective. Objectively digital source and amplification have been near perfect for years by any measurement, (not 100% but near as to nobody seems to even measure any more).

Some things do make a definite improvement, speaker cables and stands make a very big difference.

In theory digital sources are pretty much identical as many have said a PC can't work if there is any error yet when i changed the soundcard in my Vortexbox source the difference was truly amazing, going from an onboard to a dedicated one, nothing special £50 job, this using the same DAC etc this was the only change.

I can see power conditioners making a difference with anything that uses a traditional transformer / rectifier setup. For anything with switch mode supply then as it is effectively a recreated power then i can't see it making any difference on the supply side. There would probably be a good difference if it was applied after the rectification stage to take any noise that has made it past.

Tis a murky world.

Some mad stuff, anyone remember Belt and those little polythene squares you were supposed to stick everywhere? Aligning all the screw heads?

As an side what do the high end Audiophile listen too?
I find it very hard to find anything truly listenable these days on my rather elderly mid price setup, (PC running Vortexbox / Pioneer PDS 901, MF X24/96 or Cambridge DAC2, Exposure XX and Rega Jura), compression and the old loudness war renders modern stuff painful. With a good recording, i have a few tracks recorded by a local band straight from the desk, uncompressed and f@cked with, it is quite staggering almost eerie.

Tip of the Day

If you want to improve the sound for free, unplug and replug everything in, twiddle the plugs a bit contacts do degrade with time.
Tighten all the screws up in your speakers and stands, these work loose over time and can make a huge difference, do it while music is actually playing and you can hear the change.

(Obviously none of this works if it's newish and nothing is loose and contacts are clean).