Do you believe in Magic?


Audio Magic, that is.

Let's say that Magic is any effect not explainable by known physical laws. Every audiophile is familiar with debates about Audio Magic, as evidenced by endless threads about power cables.

I recently had an experience that made me question my long held skepticism about Magic. On a whim, I bought some Stillpoints ERS Fabric. I installed it in my preamp (which is filled with noisy digital circuitry) and a reclocker (also noisy) and...

Something happened. I don't know what exactly, but something. Two things in particular seemed to change... the decay of notes, and instrument timbres. Both changed for the better. But where did this change occur? In my listening room? Or in my mind?

If the change was in my listening room, then Magic exists. If the change was in my mind, then Magic does not exist.

One of the great Ideological Divides in audio is the divide between Believers and Skeptics. I honestly don't know if I'm a Believer or a Skeptic.

Do you believe in Magic?

Bryon
bryoncunningham
I doubt it's in your mind. If you listen to your system everyday as I do you can pick out even small improvement/changes. I'm a diehard skeptic but hearing is believing, believe it or not. The big test comes in the following days when you forgot about the tweak, and walk threw your music room and get stopped in your tracks , hearing something that wasn't there before, then recall making a change.
Bryon,

It isn't magic, all you did was put some shielding around your Pre. If you found an improvement, it just shows how badly designed your Pre is.

Surely the designer should have made some effort to shield noisy or sensitive components?

My experience of ERS cloth is a little goes a long way. It is very easy to kill high freq & dynamics with it.
Bryon,
Trust your ears, remove the ERS cloth and see what happens to the sound quality. At this point in audio we`re just able to 'hear' things that can`t be adequately explained or measured yet.Chadeffect`s answer makes sense to me.
I honestly don't know if I'm a Believer or a Skeptic.
Hi Bryon,

That is a good thing, as I see it, because IMO the positions at both ends of the ideological spectrum are fundamentally flawed in numerous ways (that I won’t belabor here), and go hand-in-hand with dogmatism and closed-mindedness. If I may make a somewhat presumptuous comment, your intellectual sincerity and open-mindedness are both refreshing and commendable.

No, I do not believe in magic (although I do like the John Sebastian song :-)).

But my background in electronic design (unrelated to audio) has taught me that many things can occur in a system that are subtle, counter-intuitive, and inherently unpredictable.

Coupling of electrical noise between circuits that are ostensibly unrelated is a leading example. EMI/RFI effects are another example. While those kinds of effects can often be explained in a general sense, once the design has been implemented they can only be addressed by experimentation and trial-and-error. I don’t see anything that is technically implausible, btw, in the experience you described with the particular tweak.

Concerning the broader philosophical questions you raise, my feeling is that each issue and each tweak should be considered on an individual basis, and broad latitude should be allowed for the possibility that subtle and counter-intuitive phenomena may be at play. But that latitude should remain WITHIN FINITE BOUNDS OF PLAUSIBILITY!! A technical understanding of how the elements of a system work and how they interact, and of the theory behind a specific tweak, if applied with a reasonably open mind, can help assure that perceived effects are being attributed to the correct variable, and to better distinguish between the plausible and the implausible, the reasonable and the outlandish, and between pointless overkill and the possibility of significant benefit.

Rather than a believer or a skeptic, I guess you could call me a pragmatist with a technical background.

Best,
--Al
Possibly by minimizing RFI it lowers the noise floor which enables you to hear more deeply into the music? I've always wondered myself, what is going on here but I'm sure there is something that could be explained if we knew exactly what. I have been using ERS Fabric covering the small transformers and impedence converters in my amplifier, a Berning zh270 and a small piece on top of various components for years. I've also tried on top of the speakers to no effect at all. The things you notice are in my experience real but it is important to note as Chadeffect does, a little goes a long way. Judicious use can make a difference/improvement or can just as well not if taken too far.
01-22-12: Tmsorosk
The big test comes in the following days when you forgot about the tweak, and walk threw your music room and get stopped in your tracks , hearing something that wasn't there before, then recall making a change.

I agree with this. Although A/B testing has its place, long term unreflective listening is the most informative way to evaluate sound quality, IME.

01-22-12: Chadeffect
It isn't magic, all you did was put some shielding around your Pre.

The use of the word 'Magic' is of course ironic. I understand that ERS fabric is designed to, in the words of Stillpoints, "absorb, diffuse, and reflect EMI/RFI energy."

What is puzzling to me is how ERS fabric accomplishes this, given its materials and design. Again, in the words of Stillpoints... "The core of ERS is made of a blend of carbon fibers of various lengths and sizes... these fibers are coated with metals, such as nickel." I am no EE, but how that design can absorb, diffuse, and reflect EMI/RFI energy is a mystery.

Incidentally, according to Stillpoints... "ERS does not operate under the same principles as a shield." Just what principles it DOES operate under are left unspecified. I assume it's Magic principles.

01-22-12: Almarg
...my feeling is that each issue and each tweak should be considered on an individual basis, and broad latitude should be allowed for the possibility that subtle and counter-intuitive phenomena may be at play. But that latitude should remain WITHIN FINITE BOUNDS OF PLAUSIBILITY!! A technical understanding of how the elements of a system work and how they interact, and of the theory behind a specific tweak, if applied with a reasonably open mind, can help assure that perceived effects are being attributed to the correct variable, and to better distinguish between the plausible and the implausible, the reasonable and the outlandish, and between pointless overkill and the possibility of significant benefit.

Eminently reasonable words from an eminently reasonable man. You are an EE, Al. Can you conjure an explanation for how this Magic Cloth works?

Bryon
A friend had this stuff inside his Meridian 808.2. His application was labor intensive, but yielded high rewards across the board.
Check out magic powers of ERS fabric layed on the dinner table, say magic word "FEED ME" and close your eyes for 1min. You should see the random meal dishes served.

There are also Harry Potter upgrades available to be able to specify menu and using magic words "FEED ME WITH dish1, dish2..."

THANKS.
Can you conjure an explanation for how this Magic Cloth works?
Hi Bryon,

Electromagnetic field theory has never been a strong point of mine, but I’ll give it a try.

The core of the material consists of interwoven strands of conductive material. Placing any conductive surface in the path of radiated electromagnetic energy will perturb and alter that electromagnetic field, to some degree.

I would draw a parallel with placing a physical object in an acoustic field. Some of the sound energy will reflect off of the object back toward the source. The path of some of the energy will also, to some degree, be diverted and spread around (“diffused”). Some minimal amount of that energy will also be absorbed and dissipated in the material, as a result of vibration that is induced. The degree to which those effects occur will depend in part on the relation between the size of the object and the wavelengths of the spectral components of the sound (wavelength being inversely proportional to frequency).

Similarly, placing a conductive surface in the path of radiated electromagnetic energy will result in some amount of the energy being reflected back toward the source. That is the underlying principle of radar. The path of some of the energy will also be altered and diffused. Some small degree of energy dissipation (“absorption”) will also result, related I believe to the displacement of charge carriers (e.g., electrons) along the conductive surface, that displacement being induced by the electromagnetic field.

I suspect that the point to the braided construction is mainly to provide flexibility and to thereby facilitate physical placement in various configurations.

It is probably also reasonable to view the material as functioning in a manner that is similar to a shield, except that the energy that strikes the material is not being shunted to a meaningful ground. Its path is being diverted instead, for the most part (I suspect that the diffusion and reflection effects are more significant than the absorption effect).

Or something like that :-)

In any event, their reference to reflection, diffusion, and absorption effects intuitively strikes me as not being the kind of implausible marketing pseudo-science that is often seen in tweak-related literature. Which is not to say that it will necessarily be beneficial in any given application.

Best,
--Al
Wow, Al. Stillpoints should hire you to write copy! :-)

Seriously, thank you for your thoughtful answer. You are great at putting things in terms that folks like me can understand. I know that your explanations are partly speculative, but acknowledging that, there is still something that puzzles me...

How is it that SO LITTLE conductive material can have a perceptible effect on sound quality? Am I wrong in my assumption that diffusion/reflection/absorption of EMI/RFI typically requires something more substantial?

bc
How is it that SO LITTLE conductive material can have a perceptible effect on sound quality? Am I wrong in my assumption that diffusion/reflection/absorption of EMI/RFI typically requires something more substantial?
Hi Bryon,

That's a good question, and I would think the answer is that it is only a small subset of the digital and analog circuit points in the components that need to be protected from the effects of rfi.

Assuming reasonably good design, the only digital circuit points that would be susceptible to rfi-related noise are those at which jitter might be an issue. That might be a small handful of circuit points, or even fewer. And only a few kinds of analog circuit points are likely to be susceptible, such as what are known as "summing junctions" that are within wideband feedback loops. So judicious placement of the material near those points, or near sources of rfi that could affect those points, would presumably be sufficient to make a difference.

I note that the Stillpoints web page on the ERS material states that "effectiveness will be maximized when placed internally near either EMI/RFI generating or EMI/RFI susceptible circuitry within the enclosure."

Best,

-- Al
That all makes sense, Al. Still, I feel like there's still a touch of Magic in it, in the sense I stated in the OP.

Among the stranger things commonly reported about ERS fabric is that using too much of it tends to diminish high frequencies, as Chad described in this thread. That is puzzling to me. Could it be that using too much ERS fabric somehow affects certain circuits in the way that high capacitance interconnects can act as a low pass filter?

And something else you said struck me:

...the only digital circuit points that would be susceptible to rfi-related noise are those at which jitter might be an issue.

Eureka! THAT explains my experience with ERS fabric. The two changes I reported in the OP were...

--the decay of notes
--instrument timbres

...both of which I associate with jitter. That association is a result of my experience adding a reclocker to my system. The raison d'être of the reclocker is to reduce jitter. Adding the reclocker provided me with an impression of what jitter sounds like, or more importantly, WHAT THE REDUCTION OF JITTER SOUNDS LIKE...

It sounds like what I heard after installing the ERS fabric.

This explanation is consistent with my placement of the fabric:

1. preamp power supply
2. reclocker (with an Audiocom Superclock 4)
3. preamp master clock (another Audiocom Superclock 4)

#2 and #3 are both digital circuits where the amount of jitter has a significant effect on sound quality. I think I can say with a reasonable amount of confidence that the ERS fabric is helping to reduce jitter.

Thank you, Al, for leading me to this realization. I still don't know whether Magic exists, but I am more confident that the changes I heard exist in my listening room and not in my mind.

bc
You're welcome, Bryon! Glad I was helpful.
Among the stranger things commonly reported about ERS fabric is that using too much of it tends to diminish high frequencies, as Chad described in this thread. That is puzzling to me. Could it be that using too much ERS fabric somehow affects certain circuits in the way that high capacitance interconnects can act as a low pass filter?
I suppose it's conceivable that the presence of the material could affect the amount of stray capacitance that exists between various circuit points. But I would expect the sonic effects of that, if any, to be highly inconsistent among different components, and among different positionings of the material.

A much more likely explanation, I would think, is that low level broadband noise (i.e., hiss) in the upper treble region is being reduced, and that is being subjectively perceived as a diminution of the highs.

I've seen it stated in a number of articles that I've read in the past that low level high frequency hiss tends to be subjectively perceived as "air" and ambience. Which would seem to make sense.

That reduction in high frequency low level noise could conceivably occur either in digital circuitry, via effects on the amplitude or spectral characteristics of jitter, or in analog circuitry, via effects on the amount of noise that is directly coupled into the signal path.

That's my speculation, anyway.

Best,

-- Al
I used a liberal amount of ERS fabric, and I didn't notice a diminishment of high frequencies. That could be because of where I placed it, or if your hypothesis is correct, it could be because it merely removed some high frequency hiss.

I agree with your observation that some audiophiles perceive high frequency hiss as "air" or ambience. Personally, I tend to perceive it as noise.

In fact, with the ERS fabric installed, I can say that there is simultaneously LESS hiss and MORE ambience.

bc
Bryon and Al, just saw this thread. Fascinating and informative. You two, along with Atmasphere, have taught me more on this site than anyone. I always look forward to your observations and comments.
Thank you for those kind words, Learsfool. I very much enjoy your contributions as well. Having the point of view of a highly experienced musician is always informative. In addition to which, you are a true gentleman.
I second Bryon's response to your kind comments, Learsfool. And I've learned a great deal from your posts as well.

Best regards,
-- Al
Other types of materials used to absorbe RFi EMI digital hash inside equipment is Antistatic foam.
Years ago in Stereophile this tweak was mentioned by a fellow from Holland.
Others (in posts such as this) then preceeded to slam him as a quack.Anyway, I have used antistatic foam inside of a few items to good effect.
Especially an Adcom DAC.
Anyway, I can see ERS cloth being a similar product, it soaks up the radiated RFI EMI and lowers the noise floor, and allows more detail to be heard.
Others (in posts such as this) then proceeded to slam him as a quack.

Perhaps I misunderstand what you are saying here, Elizabeth, but you appear to be referring to my post initiating this thread. If so, I'd like to point out something that I thought was self evident... My post was ironic. If you read my comments throughout the rest of the thread, you will see that the only person I'm "slamming" is myself.

Bryon
Not sure what is going on here. I don't believe in magic. One thing to keep in mind, don't overheat your equipment with this stuff. If that happens, it may go up in a puff of smoke! Just a possible scientific fact here.
A much more likely explanation, I would think, is that low level broadband noise (i.e., hiss) in the upper treble region is being reduced, and that is being subjectively perceived as a diminution of the highs.

I've seen it stated in a number of articles that I've read in the past that low level high frequency hiss tends to be subjectively perceived as "air" and ambience. Which would seem to make sense.
Almarg (System | Threads | Answers | This Thread)

I've heard about this from several sources also. One problem I have with this is the fact I can still hear this hiss in the music I transferred to a CD. With this same music on the CD, it seems to have lost the those high frequencies, some of us refer to as air. Possibly, there may be a higher frequency hiss that we don't actually perceive, but may be there on analog, and cut off by the filter in the D/A converter.
The refferal was to the guy with the antistatic stuff being called a quack, no reference to THIS op post. Sorry I was not clear.
Thank you for clarifying, Elizabeth. FWIW, my own personal history of skepticism about what I've been playfully referring to as 'magic' is counterbalanced by my willingness to try nearly anything. Among the "magical" devices in my current system are tweaks from Shunyata, Synergistic Research, Gingko, Bright Star, Mapleshade, Black Diamond Racing, and now Stillpoints.

Collectively, this adds up to a sizable investment in equipment that, quite frankly, I'm not exactly sure what it does. I know very well what THE MANUFACTURER says it does. But that is something else entirely.

You may wonder why I would keep this stuff if I'm uncertain about what it does. The answer is that I'm irrational. "What if you sell it and lose something critical to sound quality?" my irrational mind says. "Okay," I tell it, "we can keep it." Then my irrational mind goes to sleep and I'm left there wondering why I've spent thousands of dollars on Magic.

Bryon
no one has defined magic. until this happens, non-elctronic tratments may have a rational basis and an objective explanation.

pulling a rabbit out of a hat or other activities of a magician may be perceived as magic but upon analysis, it;s usually a matter of the hand is quicker than the eye.

i suppose in audio "things", which seem on the surface have no reason to have an effect upon the sound of a stereo system, might be construed as magic.

however, in many cases the initial attitude is based upon a lack of understanding of how something might function.

some product either is perceived as having an audible effect or is perceived as not having an audible effect.

i doubt magic is the apt word to use to describe such a product.

some products can be analysed as to their potential affects upon sound , but those which cannot be explained to have some sonic affect, still may be perceived as having one.

in naby cases it's the placebo effect.
Magic is perhaps best defined as making change happen in accordance with one's will or intention. While this is initially an easy proposition if done with out much thought the possible consequences can be severe.
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

Arthur C. Clarke said it best.
Mr Tennis I can't speak for the OP but it seems clear to me that "Magic" is being used in lieu of a clear understanding as to what is going on to cause the sonic change. Based on his thoughtful comments and quest for understanding the "why" of it all I doubt it was meant in any literal sense. The key statement in his opening is "known physicals laws". Of course there is a reason that things happen in audio and other disiplines that often seem contrary to logic nor can be explained by current measurement parameters but what is it, real or perceived? It happens all the time in this hobby and who really believes it's magic? You can only believe what your ears tell you.
Wasnt that song by the Loving Spoonful.
Wasnt that song by the Loving Spoonful.
Yes it was! John Sebastian, to whom I referred earlier, was their lead singer, and the composer of the song.

Do You Believe In Magic?

Great song, IMO.

Regards,
-- Al
01-23-12: Mrtennis
no one has defined magic.

I did. It was the second sentence in the OP: "Let's say that Magic is any effect not explainable by known physical laws." That is a definition. It may not be a definition you like.

i suppose in audio "things", which seem on the surface have no reason to have an effect upon the sound of a stereo system, might be construed as magic...

i doubt magic is the apt word to use to describe such a product.

Ahh... literalism. MrT, the use of the word 'magic' is ironic. I said as much in an earlier post. Tubegroover was exactly correct in his interpretation of my remarks. I'm using the word 'magic' to refer to an effect about which there is little understanding, even among experts.

The contrast to magic is mechanism. So that I'm not accused of failing to define 'mechanism,' let's say that a mechanism is any physical entity, property, or law that explains an observable effect.

That brings me to an observation about magic and mechanism that I hope will constructively contribute to this thread...

One man's magic is another man's mechanism.

That is to say, the understanding of physical laws varies from individual to individual. Al has an expert's understanding of physical laws. I have a layman's understanding. As a consequence, some things that are magic to me may be nothing more than mechanisms to Al. Put another way, magic isn't magic to a magician.

Which brings me to Geoff's reference to the famous Arthur C. Clarke quote about sufficiently advanced technologies being indistinguishable from magic. The essence of that insight is identical to the observation that one man's magic is another man's mechanism.

Which brings me back to magic in audio. No doubt there are some observable effects that are unexplainable to me but are explainable to experts. But there are other observable effects that are unexplainable EVEN TO EXPERTS.

And that is why I call it Magic.

Bryon
"Any sufficiently advanced self delusion is indistinguishable from marketing hyperbole."

Ken
a connotation of magic might be something which is perceived but has no objective basis.

i don't believe that magic exists in the empirical world. i believe there are perceptions which cannot be explained, using scientific principles. either the perception is erroneous, or engineers and "scientists" have not yet discovered the parameters necessary to measure or explain the perception , objectively.

the problem with subjective judgment and sense perception is the possibility of hearing that which is not present , or failing to hear that which is.

.

so, it would seem that magic is a term which may be used, when someone has no explanation as to the occurrence of an event.

there is an explanation. however, it remains to be discovered by a brilliant person.
One major problem with a lot of these tweaks is the fact that they are being used on equipment designed by Engineers with known scientific knowledge about how these things work.

If they didn't have this known and proven knowledge, we wouldn't have audio systems with analog, digital, and all kinds of other equipment involved in the process, used to make this reproduction happen.

If these Engineers go outside the limits of these known and proven scientifically proven facts, things don't work.

With the fact that they design these things with this known and proven scientific knowledge, and they say some of these things cannot work like this because it is outside the range of working proven parameters, it would make total sense to accept this. Don't forget, they designed, and made these products possible.

If it wasn't for these people with this knowledge, we wouldn't be able to discuss it here either. A lot of these tweak guys couldn't make any of this happen. These are just facts.
These tweaks, if one assumes they work, seem to indicate that the knowledge of the design engineers is either not perfect or there are other factors one must consider besides electronics circuit design and speaker design, such as room acoustics and elimination of vibration, that are either overlooked or can't be addressed by the design engineers. Knowledge is not an absolute and continues to evolve. They do the best they can under the circumstances. :-)
such as room acoustics and elimination of vibration, that are either overlooked or can't be addressed by the design engineers.

Yes, room acoustics, vibration problems, and other variables make perfect sense. This is still dealing with facts that are known. Coming up with new designs, such as better amps, D/A converters, and other new gear, yes. The same laws will apply in designing new technologies.

Science always worked one way. Changing that is not going to happen.
You have a keen insight into what others know and appear to have a command of all scientific knowledge and for that you are to be commended. And I suppose this is an appropriate place to thank the original designers of the CD for creating perfect sound forever.

;-)

01-24-12: Geoffkait
You have a keen insight into what others know and appear to have a command of all scientific knowledge and for that you are to be commended. And I suppose this is an appropriate place to thank the original designers of the CD for creating perfect sound forever.

;-)
Geoffkait (Answers | This Thread)

"Perfect sound forever" Another good example of marketing hype. No science needed here. :-)
Glad to see you're coming around to seeing it my way.
**** Knowledge is not an absolute and continues to evolve.**** - Geoffkait

Exactly! Very interesting exchanges here. Thanks Bryon, and I commend
your open-mindedness. As you stated, discussions such as these often
point to a basic dividing line among the participants' mindset: our comfort
level with the idea that we don't yet know everything that there is to know.
I have a strong suspicion that many of these "magical" effects
will have a solid scientific explanation as the understanding of engineers
becomes more sophisticated. When it comes to this hobby, I have always
found more value in giving the observer of a particular unexplainable
effect the benefit of the doubt, than in assuming that because there is no
"scientific" explanation it must be a figment of his imagination.
We continually underestimate the complexity and fragility of the sound of
music, and the processes needed to record and play it back faithfully.

"The hills are alive with the sound....." :-)
One has to keep an open mind and Byron and Al do so in such a refreshingly open manner. Thanks to the both of you for your keen insights and wordsmith.

To the naysayers out there that theorize that engineers 'know' what they build and what we hear is what they intended doesn't cover all the bases. Isn't there a predictive theory that can be proven over and over without having all the facts and yet it can be demonstrated over and over again? Associated responses can be accurately predicted leading to that accompanying something else that yet has to be proven but is there, nonetheless. We just don't know how to measure it with what we now have. Not only can we predict it, but we can eliminate it by changing the associated responses and we don't have the answer or the ability to identify it. But it is there, lying in wait. mocking us until we know its name.
****and we don't have the answer or the ability to identify it. But it is there, lying in wait. mocking us until we know its name.****

Excellent!
"When it comes to this hobby, I have always
found more value in giving the observer of a particular unexplainable
effect the benefit of the doubt, than in assuming that because there is no
"scientific" explanation it must be a figment of his imagination.
We continually underestimate the complexity and fragility of the sound of
music, and the processes needed to record and play it back faithfully." I find it heartening that there are others, on these forums, so enlightened. There are SO MANY instances of contemporary science's conceptions, or those bound to it's limitations, having to catch up with reality. ie: the Bumblebee (http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=105&article=1366)
i think that i have found a concise definition of magic:

any phenomenon for which there is no rational explanation.

i reserve judgment of the effectiveness of a tweak after i have experienced it several times, because the placebo effect is alive and well.
I hear you about the placebo effect Mr. Tennis, easy to succomb to if you allow it. This is why when evaluating anything it really takes time and extensive listening to determine that the effect of anything added is real or that what you initially think you hear you are consistently hearing upon repeated listening. On the other hand there some of these "magic" devices per Bryon's definition that have an initial significant perceived change that remains and can clearly be heard when removed. I used to be a hard core skeptic of many of these tweeks and am always skeptical of devices that don't add up to their claims, at least the ones where change/improvement can't be discerned with my less than "golden" hearing.
This whole discussion exemplifies everything I have come to understand about the truth AND destiny of this hobby: The MUSIC taking a backseat to the never-ending analysis of SOUND, and the countless hours wasting on getting that little one last drop of improvement. Louis Armstrong, John Lennon, and Mozart must be laughing from Up There. And please, dont serve me the argument that in the long run, this will make us enjoy the artist more. It may, of course, but by the time this happens, another upgrade-tweak-inducing insatisfaction will surface and start this whole quest for ''finding the air around the instruments''(that's what it's all about right?) process again. This hobby is about GEAR and SOUND, not music, and this topic is proof of it! I am not judging, no wright or wrong, but, as I like to say - let's call a cat a cat at least! Thanks once more for making me see the light!
Well Sonicbeauty, wouldn't you agree that we wouldn't be "audiophiles" if "the sound of music" were not also a consideration to the music itself? I can't disagree with you on the fact that we probably waste countless hours focused on the sound to get to the soul but if that's what it takes it is more a consideration each of us has to make to determine the worth and value of it. Your point, I get it and I'm sure many reading this do as well but having said that I wouldn't trade those "wasted" hours as they have been educational, enlightening and in my estimation have made me enjoy recorded music more so to that end it is worth it to me but I can only speak for myself.
01-26-12: Sonicbeauty
This whole discussion exemplifies everything I have come to understand about the truth AND destiny of this hobby: The MUSIC taking a backseat to the never-ending analysis of SOUND, and the countless hours wasting on getting that little one last drop of improvement.

Although you go on to say “I am not judging, no right or wrong,” your comments read like a criticism of how people spend their time, both here on A’gon and at home in their listening rooms.

If your post is intended to be merely an “observation,” then your observation is a truism. The fact that audiophiles spend much of their time talking about equipment is patently true but entirely uninformative, since every person who participates in these discussions is aware of it. But of course you know that, being a regular participant yourself. So it’s hard to believe that you would post such a vacuous “observation.” That leads us back to… Your comments are a criticism. Your tone seems to support that interpretation:

And please, don’t serve me the argument that in the long run, this will make us enjoy the artist more. It may, of course, but by the time this happens, another upgrade-tweak-inducing in satisfaction will surface and start this whole quest for ''finding the air around the instruments''(that's what it's all about right?) process again.

That doesn’t sound like a non-judgmental observation to me. Maybe I’m being touchy. Taking that risk…

Criticizing hobbyists for how they conduct themselves is odd. If a person flies kites as a hobby, is he subject to criticism? That seems to defeat one of the most significant joys of having a hobby, namely that it provides a place where you are FREE FROM criticism.

I will also dispute the validity of your assumption that audiophiles who are avidly interested in equipment cannot also be avidly interested in music. That is false. I am interested in music and I am interested in equipment, both audio equipment and technology more generally. I suspect there are a great number of people on this site for whom that is true. Interest in music and interest in technology are not mutually exclusive. They are different activities. They are different experiences. They employ different regions of the brain. The enjoyment of one says nothing about the enjoyment of the other.

It’s also worth pointing out that our fascination with BOTH music and technology is ancient and transcultural. They both have their origins in human prehistory. They both exist in some form in every culture on earth. By the prevailing standards of evolutionary psychology and evolutionary anthropology, music and technology are both elements of WHAT IT MEANS to be human.

I would guess that at some level you already know all this, in light of the fact that you are a self-described music lover, yet you yourself have initiated a large number of threads here on A’gon relating to sound quality and equipment design...

The absolute best and worst-sounding CD you own?

Will a transformer, 220 to 100v, ruin the sound?

Are tone controls worth a second look ?

Preamps/amps that look great and''feel' great?

Single speaker wire on bi-posts with jumpers...?

Your ''best kept secret'' speaker choice ?

Most improved last 10yrs: Speaker, amp, or pre?

Anyone went back to using bare wires on speakers?

Amazing ''Overachieving'' products...your pick?

Record weights 'n clamps: Audible improvements?

Your best ''outstanding'' products in last 5 yrs?

Amplifiers: A Keeper for Life. Do you know of one?

Evidently, you have an interest in equipment. If you also have an interest in music, then you are your own “existence proof” that the two can peacefully coexist.

Bryon
Some people can derive satisfaction from a transistor radio and decry even a rudimentary attempt at better sound for their music listening pleasure. But to separate sound from music and the gear its played on isn't a valid argument, at least to me, as I find it fun and rewarding, treating it as a whole.

It would be akin to saying the food you eat is good enough, nutritionally, so don't pay attention to the taste as long as you have good silverware.
As mystifying as the Stillpoints ERS fabric might or might not be, I submit that there are much more mysterious, you might even say preposterous, audio tweaks and devices out there. To name just a few: C 37 lacquer, the tiny little bowls from Tchang and Synergistic Research, the Red X Coordinate Pen and silver rainbow foil from PWB and the original Intelligent Chip (China).
I submit that there are much more mysterious, you might even say preposterous, audio tweaks and devices out there. To name just a few: C 37 lacquer, the tiny little bowls from Tchang and Synergistic Research, the Red X Coordinate Pen and silver rainbow foil from PWB and the original Intelligent Chip (China).
OK, now that is what I call Olympic caliber chutspah!!! Absolutely word class!!!