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Old 03-19-2022, 05:55 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Audio equip: What are your favourite scams?

You there. Yes, you.

The world of audio equip is just so ripe for myth. Tone and quality are often hard to pin down in quantitative ways and if you spend $$$ on a piece of equip, you have placebos and various cognitive biases that are going to try to fool you into thinking it's somehow improved things.

HOWEVER. We know (or should know) that when audio equip is blind tested, listeners (including audiophiles) often can't reliably identify supposed higher quality gear, like preamps, dacs or cables.

We may have an inkling that the higher up in price you are, the less you get for your money. At worst, we're paying for snake oil.

So what are some of your favourite worst ways (pet peeves) in terms of wasting money on audio equip?
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Old 03-19-2022, 06:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Starting off with something, my nr. 1 pet peeve is probably the supposed superiority of analogue mediums to digital ones, particularly LPs.

It doesn't affect me much personally in terms of gear, but the idea that vinyl is better than digital seems so widespread. People don't know or think about the limitations of the medium or the sacrifices made in the mastering process. They don't know much about needle fidelity / jumping or other things causing distortion. They just regurgitate unquestioningly that LPs are the superior medium.

You might have a personal preference for a sound with less bottom end playing at a slightly warbled speed over the hiss of a needle, but it's not objectively better.

If people spend tons of cash on a turntable, that's fine if it makes them happy. It's a bit like religion. I'm just glad it's not my monays.
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Old 03-20-2022, 06:53 AM   #3 (permalink)
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From 2013 - Furutech Powerflux: The Most Expensive Power Cable Ever

Powerflux conductors are 68-strand a (Alpha) OCC twisted around µ–conductor strands with a special-grade PE insulation or dielectric. (Alpha conductors are fine OCC wire treated with Furutech’s Alpha Cryogenic and Demagnetizing process.) The dielectric is surrounded by an inner sheath of RoHS-compliant PVC incorporating carbon powder that enhances damping, and that in turn is covered by a full a (Alpha) conductor wire braid shield. Another flexible PVC outer sheath and a Nylon braid jacket finish the job.

Price: $1800 in 2013.

Let me clarify... this cable has nothing to do with delivering your pro audio signal, or your video signal... this is the short black cord that plugs your unit into the motherf***ing wall. $1800.

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Old 03-20-2022, 08:22 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Who am I to tell other people that what they are hearing doesn't sound superior to them.
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Old 03-20-2022, 12:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by rostasi View Post
Who am I to tell other people that what they are hearing doesn't sound superior to them.
I think that's a pretty weak attitude towards misinformation. Who am I to tell someone with cancer that colloidal silver is a scam that won't kill their tumors and instead poisons them?

IMO marketing and selling lies is harmful, to wallets or otherwise, and fighting those lies can help people.

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Originally Posted by innerspaceboy View Post
From 2013 - Furutech Powerflux: The Most Expensive Power Cable Ever

Powerflux conductors are 68-strand a (Alpha) OCC twisted around µ–conductor strands with a special-grade PE insulation or dielectric. (Alpha conductors are fine OCC wire treated with Furutech’s Alpha Cryogenic and Demagnetizing process.) The dielectric is surrounded by an inner sheath of RoHS-compliant PVC incorporating carbon powder that enhances damping, and that in turn is covered by a full a (Alpha) conductor wire braid shield. Another flexible PVC outer sheath and a Nylon braid jacket finish the job.

Price: $1800 in 2013.

Let me clarify... this cable has nothing to do with delivering your pro audio signal, or your video signal... this is the short black cord that plugs your unit into the motherf***ing wall. $1800.

Nice! That's the worst thing I've seen in terms of audio equip. Holy crap
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Old 03-20-2022, 03:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I guess I'll have to play MadLibs® when it comes to that comparison,
'cause it ain't working on it's own.

The fact that you interpret a person's audible perception of sound as
something that's a result of misinformation is a pretty strange take.
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Old 03-20-2022, 03:58 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by rostasi View Post
The fact that you interpret a person's audible perception of sound as
something that's a result of misinformation is a pretty strange take.
Nice strawman? You seem a little off-topic. Check the thread title and first post. It's about snake oil, scams. It's not about consumers who like something, but people and companies making things that by and large don't work or have no special value, but that they still sell at inflated prices.

These things affect more than just the people who enjoy their 3000 USD analog/digital converter. It also affects the many more people who can't afford that, but feel like that's what they should have and their 150 USD DAC is probably ****.

If you think your directional, burnt in cables are the ****, go ahead and enjoy them. This thread is more about the people making and selling them.
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Old 03-20-2022, 04:24 PM   #8 (permalink)
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OK, so I'll just answer the topic question and just ignore your first reply to it (?)

Even tho I can't ever say that I have a "favorite" scam (which would be a contradiction),
I will acknowledge that there are grifters in the world and I just try to steer clear of them.
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Old 03-20-2022, 05:01 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I'll concede I'm not doing a concise job of pointing out the offending scam in my first reply, but I also wrote that I'm fine with the people spending a ton of cash on a turntable.

The scam is people who market LPs and turntables by saying it has a superior sound quality. They might say stuff like LPs can reproduce ultrasonic frequencies and that these improve the music (not so according to blind test studies) or claim that it's not possible to faithfully recreate audio with 1s and 0s (it is).

I'd rather say LPs sound different and that may or may not be more enjoyable.

As far as lies go, this LP one is relatively tiny and calling it a scam might be a little harsh. Still, I picked it because of how prevalent it is.
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Old 03-20-2022, 05:31 PM   #10 (permalink)
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OK, I can see that line of approach to the topic.
In that case, I don't have anything to add because
I don't read high-fidelity type magazines or ever
have strong opinions about such things unless it's
technology that hinders overt communication
(like cellphones) or one that's performance-based
usage in large scale installations.
Scammers gonna scam tho.
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