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HiFi is All a Scam - Roger Skoff Finally Admits All

09-09-2014 | By Roger Skoff | Issue 75


That's right, HiFi is a scam, and you, I, and every other audiophile, music lover, and HiFi Crazy have all been laboring under a misapprehension for all these many years. To make it even worse, even those people I've been maligning for so long by, in my innocent ignorance, calling them fools, trolls, "flat-earthers," troglodytes, and even worse, have been suckered, too, just like the rest of us, and now, just as we do, they must recognize the error of their ways, repent, recant, and seek, along with us, a new path to a more scientific reality.

To understand how all of this came about, and what we can do to finally correct it, we first need to look at what actually goes on at a concert, in a recording studio, or at a "location" recording venue: The simple fact is that one or more people—or even as many as a thousand (for one spectacular Los Angeles performance of the Mahler Symphony No. 8), get together and, by vibrating their vocal cords, banging on percussion instruments; plucking or hammering on strings of some kinds and using stretched horse hair to vibrate strings of other kinds (attached to boxes of various kinds and shapes); or even by blowing through or across brass or wooden tubes or, in one or more of many other possible ways, get the air around and between them to rhythmically vibrate. Then various pressure-sensing devices placed strategically among all those vibrating things and people pick up some of the vibrations and turn them into electricity, the pattern of which is then recorded in one or more of several ways and used as a template to later drive air pumps that will seek to recreate in another locale, for a different audience, some of the vibrations of the original event.

There are inefficiencies, of course: Air, like any other physical medium, is subject to inertia, and may not with total accuracy pick up the vibrations of all of the various sources. Similarly, the pressure sensors (they call them microphones) that are scattered around each have a physical diaphragm that is also subject to inertia and cannot, therefore, ever be relied upon to convert the vibrations to electricity with total accuracy. And, all else notwithstanding, there's also the problem of multiple sources: With many sources of vibration all likely vibrating at different complex combinations of frequencies at the same time, and with their air-borne energy being carried to, and either absorbed by or reflected off of, the surrounding walls floor and ceiling (and all of the various vibrating bodies, themselves) it's likely to the point of certainty that different patterns of vibration, from different sources, both original and reflected, and of the same or nearly the same amplitude will, after traveling different distances, arrive out-of-phase to each other at one or more of the various sensors simultaneously, effectively canceling each other out and preventing even the possibility of the effective capture and conversion of the lost vibrational energy.

All of these factors must lead inevitably to an understanding that the recorded templates can never truly represent the original vibration patterns. When we further consider that, even if we disregard completely the possibility of distortion or inaccuracy in the electronic recording and playback of those patterns, the fact still remains that the air pumps (they call them "speakers") that must turn them back into patterns of vibration in the air, being physical systems involving the movement of physical diaphragms (effectively the opposite of those of the sensors), are also subject to inertia, and therefore to further inaccuracy, we must finally recognize that absolute or even near-absolute accuracy in re-creating the original patterns of vibration is impossible.

Even so, that's not the real problem. What the real problem is is that audiophiles, music lovers, HiFi Crazies, and all the rest still fail to recognize that what they think they hear is not "sound" (as they, despite all rational explanation, still insist on calling it) but simply a pattern of vibrations—initiated as vibrations; recorded as vibrations; reproduced as vibrations; picked-up by their ears as vibrations; and transmuted to "sound" only in their minds, by their minds.

Other than that, sound is a complete fantasy; a hallucination—just one more example of HiFi voodoo and possibly even the dread "placebo effect."

Since becoming aware of this, not only I, but others, (including more than one independent test laboratory) have measured every aspect of the process—from the creation of the original vibrations by the instruments or the people "singing," all the way through the recording and playback process; to finally placing sensors in the ears of a panel including not just ordinary people, but also degreed experts such as engineers and physicists (and even, for good measure, a non-denominational clergyman), and NOT ONE OF OUR MEASUREMENTS EVER SHOWED ANYTHING AT ALL OTHER THAN PATTERNS OF VIBRATION TAKING THE FORM, IN AIR, OF SMALL VARIATIONS IN PRESSURE, AND, DURING THE ELECTRONIC STAGES OF THE PROCESS, OF EQUALLY SMALL VARIATIONS IN VOLTAGE AND CURRENT, ALL ENTIRELY CONSISTENT WITH OHM'S LAW AND THE FINDINGS OF THE A.E.S. AND OTHER LEARNED SOCIETIES. OTHER THAN IN THE UNSUPPORTED IMAGININGS OF THE PANELISTS, WE FOUND NO EVIDENCE OF "SOUND" AT ALL!

Forget all of our past discussions over the relative merits of tubes and solid-state; forget whether cables, cable lifters, room-treatments, power conditioners, "magic boxes," magic bowls, and other hotly-disputed "tweaks" work; forget it all: It's all a scam.