There's no shortage of audiophile products on the market making dubious - if not outrageous - claims. But not often enough are these products put to the test - literally - and subjected to critical objective analysis. Mostly they're reviewed subjectively (and almost always favorably) by non-technical writers in audiophile publications.
Now, finally, some of the folks at diyAudio are taking an objective look at one longstanding audiophile "tweak" favorite. It's a $92 device claimed to have been originally developed for military applications ("many of which are still highly classified") and which boasts a number of impressive-sounding features:
- Based on quantum/superconducting technology
- Operates on the quantum mechanical level to regulate the flow of electrons that make up the signal
- Strips quantum noise energy off the electrons, streamlining their flow in a "slipstream effect" through ensuing conductors
- Dissipates unwanted quantum noise energy as heat rather than allowing it to emerge as a "layer of contamination residue" over audio/video information
- Reduces quantum noise and increases signal velocity, resulting in performance improvement beyond what is attainable by any cable alone
- Uses a combination of rare earth metal oxides in a ceramic form to absorb and dampen 1/f noise
Now I'm no quantum physics expert, but the first thing that comes to mind when I read the above is the "Turbo Encabulator." But apparently audio reviewers who have "tested" the device with their ears are impressed:
- "Once in a lifetime there comes along a technology that breaks new ground and is easily worth its weight in gold" 1
- "Smoothed out all of the wrinkles in timing, dynamics, and space, and brought all of the musicians together as a musical whole" 2
- "The music flows with a greater sense of ease—it is simply more musical, and more whole" 3
- "Viagra for the ears and the soul" 4
What the diyAudio folks have proposed - and are in the process of performing - are a series of objective tests on the product (such as impedance, noise, distortion and RF measurements) followed by some controlled listening tests. While these tests will never satisfy the "you can't measure everything you can hear" subjective crowd, they do promise to shed some much-needed light on one of the more dubious areas in consumer audio.
So what do the results show so far? The first round of testing has been completed and the results are due out momentarily, but early word is that there's "no real difference between one of these [devices] and an ordinary 0R025 resistor." What a surprise.
Well, perhaps the RF tests will reveal something more extraordinary. Or not. You can read the complete diyAudio forum thread (now at 800+ posts and counting) or follow the testing progress at the wiki testing page.
Comments, questions or suggestions? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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