I’ve been writing about audio quite a bit and coming off our comparison between Tidal and Spotify. Which while I might say Tidal is overkill for some, it is not Snake oil. I wanted to write about some actual snake oil in the audio world.
Let’s start with anything that scrubs USB DAC power feeds, and any cable that costs more than 10 bucks outside of optical, which can still be found for cheap. Fiber is only more expensive because it has to be properly polished to terminate correctly. There’s far too many $10k cables and $1k hdmi cables to list, Sometimes they even get sued. you’ll find those in any other audiophile snake oil article explaining why they are stupid so I will spare you the time. If you find yourself with an interest in these things and learning why some things work and some things don’t I’d suggest checking out EEVblog.
Any anything that claims to upconvert – i.e. Claims to make MP3 sound like FLAC. That data is gone, you’re never getting it back. Sure, you can extrapolate, but it’s not the same.
While not the worst offender in price, coming in at a cool $1,400, it must be a top contender for most absurd in concept. The Blackbody “Ambient Field Conditioner”.
In short, a box which has been painted black. . . that’s it. Apparently black absorbs radiation from the air and makes your music sound better. You don’t even plug it in! Why? Because it’s just a fucking box.
From their own description:
The Blackbody is unlike any other filter or conditioner. All power filters and conditioners address noise found on wires, but there’s another type of noise altogether. Until now, this inconspicuous type of noise has been largely unacknowledged. It is caused by constant electromagnetic interaction between gear and immediately surrounding objects: stands, racks, nearby signal wiring, enclosures, and other objects containing circuitry or not. This type of radiated noise is not confined to wires. The Blackbody works by absorbing these reflections, effectively solving the problem. Being the only conditioner of its kind, it offers a level of performance previously unattainable.
The reviews on that are pretty fantastic.
I purchased 4 units this summer after reading the great reviews. Initially I was skeptical that MY system could be improved by the field conditioner. I have been piecing together my system for over 20 years and tried all the tricks of the trade. I set these all near my components (my Zune, dac, pre-amp, power amp) and after putting on my favorite Chick Corea album I WAS BLOWN AWAY. I consider these a great bargain and worth it at twice the price. The sound-stage was improved dramatically, there was a certain lightness to the sound and the presence of the sounds I was hearing was unreal. The only issue I have with these is that I have to keep them away from my Orgone generators, also I noticed that my Himalayan salt power crystals weren’t repelling as much bad energy, but that was easily fixed by moving them to another room.
What can these small little black boxes do to improve my system? After receiving these Blackbodies from my friend, I simply put them facing north, 35cm away from my Soul Note CDP as instructed. Playing a CD that I had played numerous times whenever trying out any new equipment or accessories. Immediately, I could hear a darker background, the vocal became more focussed and the harsh and edging sound of the violin that usually appears on this CD had somehow gone. Now, what I am listening to now is the true violin sound. In the next three hours I repeatedly played a few familiar tracks with and without the Blackbody, now I am sure I can’t live without these small black boxes whenever listening to music. And I keep wondering what is inside this blackbody?
But who cares?! As long as it can bring back the life of the music, take me closer to the singer, then it’s worth every single cent. The only question is: “How Many More Blackbodies do I need?” But I am sure that adding one or more Blackbodies will definitely bring my system to a new level. Bravo LessLoss!!!
Next up is the
HighEnd Novum PMR Premium MkII – Room Acoustic Resonator Extraordinary
What the hell is this exactly? A gong you set between your speakers and it makes the entire thing sound better. It was reviewed in Stereophile, evidently it is so good, you need to place it two rooms away with the door closed to stop its effects. Cost 5k+
Are they seriously suggesting that instruments are out of time IN A RECORDING?
I mean, come on! This is absurd! This entire presentation is based on the power of suggestion, it’s exactly why drug and no scientific trials are carried out in this way.