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Positive Feedback ISSUE 29
january/february 2007


Audio Ramblings -Truth, Logic, and Clocks
by Dave Clark


There has been a lot of banter on the various chat rooms regarding items like the Clever Little Clock and other tweaks of suggested worth, suspicious origin and intent, or what have you… the case being that they fly in the face of common sense and the accepted engineering principles of today's audio-world. Simply put, this stuff is whacky and is of such dubious origin, that no same person should take them seriously. Seriously...

All so true …on all counts. Much of this stuff is whacky as all get out and flies in the face of reason, and yet for many they hear a difference and a difference they like with their music. They get serious and others get nasty.  Not so sure why, but let me digress here a bit and get something out for one and all …the Clever Little Clock (CLC) and stuff from Belt does not affect ones' system or music, it is purported to affect the listener by addressing conflicts in our inner-self or sub-consciousness… or something like that, it is all rather convoluted as to how this does that. We have played around with the CLC and Belt items and heard differences (that is we heard what we liked—just reporting on the experience …not making any claims or assurances, no need to shoot the messenger or make fun of my glasses). We do have questions with their claims as to why they do what they do… yeah, okay, so how did you come up with this and why that to address this? Meaning we hear them working (on us?), but make no claims as to why they do this or what is behind them… beyond that, I really do not care what is going on with a component or tweak, as long as it is not thinning my hair or cutting into my sex life.

For those who cast laughs and taunts, well... I spent a few hours talking to a respected engineer, and noted guy with extensive science background, who spent an afternoon with Mr. Belt, and he felt strongly that Belt is not out to trick or fool people. He is quite sincere in his beliefs, as far from the accepted norm they may appear to be—that is Belt truly believes in what he is doing and his products, it is not an act. It should be noted that this person is not a Belt follower, in that he found no difference in any of his treatments—nor any reasonable explanation for how or why any should or would work at all.

What is odd about all this banter about the CLC and tweaks in general, is that people get so concerned that some people do hear a difference with something that is outside of the norm… well outside of their norm… it's a scam I tell you, it's all a scam!

I mean it is all about what you find to be acceptable based on what works for you. Yeah, but lets laugh at people who have different beliefs than us... after all my truth and logic is superior to theirs. Truth be told, the vast majority of audiophiles will suspend truth and logic if they do hear a difference (and we are saying here, a better one and not something that makes them go eww!). Of course, it really ends up being whose truth and logic one wants to suspend, or is willing to cast to the back room ‘til it is okay to let it out. After all if it works for you, do you really care what others who have different thoughts on the matter really think?

Like say…well what about AC cords and …nah, heck make that all audiophile cables. You know, the ones we all use. Talk to an electrical engineer (nah, make that some of the most respected geniuses in audio today—and they are engineers too) and they'll pretty much say the same thing… a decently designed cable will sound the same as the mega $$$ versions and for a fraction of the cost. All that cable hype is bunch of hooey …there is no engineering or scientific reasons that they will sound better than a correctly designed generic cable with solid specifications. Save your money, they tell us… it's a scam I tell you, it's all a scam! Of course there are the other equally qualified and recognized engineers who—with their truth and logic—say otherwise... cables can make a huge difference and, well... here's why I think so... so who is right? You are! Listen for yourself and move on....

See, ahhh, how many of us do hear a difference? I do… have for years. Cables clearly make a difference and there is a difference between cables… for me and for a lot of others. Tons of us buy and use tons of cables (we audio guys tend to weigh a bit—must be all that sitting around) to get the most with what we got. What's so funny is that many of those who use and then defend their cables are the same people who attack and discredited those who hear the effects of stuff like the CLC and other tweaks from the nether world. Funny lot we are!

You know, nothing going on in that them there wire to allow you to hear what you been hearing

Says so?

Says a lot of people who know what they be talking about!

Yeah, but because I hear a difference, then they must not know it all… see, there's stuff going on in wire that they have yet to discover or measure… cause I can hear it. They just can't explain it yet. In time they will though, you just wait and see.

Hey, what about designer capacitors and resistors? Got to be better that that generic stuff …they cost way more money and are hand made using exotic materials by the elite possessors of a secret knowledge that the big boys of mass-produced parts are oblivious to… they must have missed that day in advanced engineering 205. Yeah, I know, they do make a difference to all the mod guys or manufacturers who make or use them… they hear what they do and are willing to pay the money for their magic. Lots of speakers and electronic gear has Hovland, Auricaps, Black Gates, etc. and the people behind these products did it for a reason—they heard a difference, one that they liked and found to be better than the generic affordable stuff. Yet, talk to some of the other key players in speaker and electronics and what do they say… hogwash. Save yer money. All sounds the same, as long as it is built right and specs out as the design requires, you can't tell no difference between caps and such. Ya, fooling yerself my man… it's a scam I tell you, it's all a scam!

So do cables and specialty parts make a difference? Heck, does any of this stuff make a difference? For some, the answer is unequivocally yes. For others they laugh and suggest we should be spending our money where it matters more—the circuit and overall execution of the design …or music, now that is a good place to send some cash… or beer and wine! No, make it Scotch! Anything will sound way better with a splash of some fine spirit. Oh, and a good cigar …now we're talking!

So having one person say something can be heard and another guy saying it can't be heard means what? It means that one guy can and other can't for whatever reason. Why? Heck, who cares as long as they be happy! Different stokes for different folks… who's right, ahhh, the engineers of course. They know it all. Yeah, but which ones?!

Which leads to something else… but actually quite related… what is the absolute sound? I mean your absolute or my absolute? The one today or the one we heard last week… or last year? What about next year? From the front row, mid-row, back of hall… Oh, that absolute… the one we experienced in that weird place two weeks ago… nah, not that one. That one sucked. It was the guy with the tuba when we were sitting across the aisle from the lady with the blue hat… now that was the absolute. Yeah, but I hate tubas and the music sucked and we were way too close… nah, we were just right! Yeah well , if that was the absolute I am buying a CLC to make it absolutely right…

Yeah, but that was the absolute… after all the absolute is simply what things sound like in absolute terms. Absolutely. After all, we can all agree on what something really sounds like… yeah right. My bias, my state of mind, my hearing, my interpretation, my recollection …my WANTS and needs… never going to happen when you got your bias, your state of mind, your hearing, your interpretation, your recollection. Now that sounds like a tuba… dude, man you're deaf! Yeah, to each their absolute.