Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Snake Oil and Audio Woo

Trent Wolbe is at the High End tradeshow in Munich, which is apparently an audiophile show:

These crystals, available in a range of formats from 30mm nugget (€200) to 110mm sphere (€700, optional illuminating pedestal €280), are to be placed at strategic locations throughout a listening environment to cancel out harmful electromagnetic “whirls” that result from the interaction between speaker drivers and the earth’s own magnetic poles. Much like the TMA-1 obelisk from 2001, the crystals are electromechanically “programmed” with specific crystalline data for three whole months to counteract the “elektrosmog” that apparently poisons most listening atmospheres.

The term “audiophile” has been so destroyed by those who swindle things like these.

Coincidentally, I stumbled across Peter Aczel’s “The Ten Biggest Lies in Audio” today (PDF, page 4). Aczel is the editor of The Audio Critic, a publication for people who care about the quality of their stereo gear without any audio woo nonsense. In “Ten”, he discusses the ten most grievous claims of the audio woo industry:

At the dark end of that spectrum, however, a new age of ignorance, superstition, and dishonesty holds sway. Why and how that came about has been amply covered in past issues of this publication; here I shall focus on the rogues’ gallery of currently proffered mendacities to snare the credulous.

A truly great list. If there were an eleventh item on that list, I’d suggest any of the bullshit crystals, “vibration controllers”, or “vinyl stabilizers” — none of which do a damn thing. Of course, what you do with your own money is your business. But maybe you should reconsider spending $400 on some pegs.