Sounds like a big joke if cartridge is great why would you need this!!
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I am sure that the crystal cost is commensurate with it's sound altering ability. There simply cannot be a crystal that uniformly fits every system and room. Prices may end up tiered I haven't looked I am still trying to assemble the glory of my old set up, which may require a more potent tweak than a crystal I am thinking acoustical geode but they would be ultra high end.
Don't laugh guys. LLoyd Walker is the real thing. Probably no snake oil here, just unconventional thinking that works. No, I haven't heard the thing and I bet it isn't cheap, but I'd be surprised if it didn't change the sound, and probably for the better. Once I wanted to add some weight to my tracking force without messing up the settings. Takes too long to get it back just right. So, I a placed a stainless steel nut on the cart with a speck of tape. Just like we had a quarter on the family's old Zenith console's arm as a kid. I found that the nut improved the sound even when tracking force was compensated for it. Probably if you put your Wife's diamond on the cart the sound would really improve!
If in fact the crystal works by "reducing the EMI/RFI and static electrical noise at your cartridge and record while it is playing," as stated at Mr. Walker's website, a point that occurs to me is that it is likely to not be as effective with high output cartridges as with low output cartridges.
That is in part because in the case of low output moving coil cartridges the inductance of the cartridge and the capacitance of the cabling and phono stage input form a resonant peak at RF frequencies, which will greatly increase sensitivity to some of those frequencies. And it is also because the bandwidth of LOMCs generally extends to much higher frequencies than the bandwidth of high output cartridges.
The results can also be expected to be phono stage dependent, because the effects at audible frequencies that will result from RF frequencies that are input to the phono stage will vary greatly depending on the design of the particular phono stage. And also, for that matter, depending on the value of the load resistance that is being used.
Wow! only $325 for a quartz crystal that probably cost the better part of a dollar. Seems reasonable, but wait, why don't we just go to a mineral or gem shop/show and buy a bunch of different size crystals for peanuts and then try different ones and use the one that works best. It may be $300 of work or intellectual property to have it pre-sorted for us and Lloyd is a most enterprizing guy... I think I'll opt for DIY on this one. Thanks for the tips Almarg and Perditty.
Perditty, you should go for the pretty light green peridot crystal. :)
08-17-13: GeoffkaitGeoff, yes it seems conceivable to me that vibration absorption could be a key factor that is involved. And perhaps also its effects on tonearm effective mass, which of course can make a difference even when tracking force is adjusted to remain constant.
But note that the RFI/EMI/static theory is not mine. I quoted that explanation directly from the Walker Audio website. And note the "if in fact" wording at the beginning of my post.
I myself take no position on how it may work, or even if it works. But if it does work via the electrical means that are stated at the Walker Audio site, I believe that its effectiveness would vary considerably as a function of the various dependencies I cited.
Bengie was I kidding or what!
Laugh all you want ( healthy skepticism is the basis of the scientific process ) but how long ago were we saying the turntable had no effect on the sound, that wires were just wires and that all that measured the same must sound the same!
Try the thing and report back on how wrong I was.
You use the term "scientific process" in relations to this hocus pocus?
All should google "placebo effect" and "the power of suggestion".
But no, it is not snake oil. After all, snake oil is liquid.
Once we had Ed Villchur, Henry Kloss, and the like. Now we have guys whipping up magic points for hundreds of dollars and crystals. And we wonder why high end is dying.
The word Crystal triggers the skeptical part of the audiophile brain, the part of the brain that figures anything new or not in High School textbooks must involve ritualism, psychoacoustics, psychological effects like expectation bias and placebo effect, subliminal advertising, new age mysticism, or hypnosis. I suspect it was for this reason Lloyd refers his little black thinggie as a "crystalline structure," you know, so as not to scare or upset the skeptics.
Really, Geoff. Is it not legitimate to ask questions about such a claim (the notion that certain crystals can absorb RFI or EMI to a significant degree that would result in an audible effect in the average living room)? Or is it you, in fact, who wants audiophiles to behave not like high-schoolers but like pre-schoolers? "Open up wide now, and eat your crystals." I don't say it can't be true, but there must be some support for it in peer-reviewed scientific literature, if it is true. I can find none. Or are you also saying that science has nothing to offer in these matters?
And to those who hear a difference (Perditty): Be aware of the power of the placebo effect. A good test would be to bring a friend into your listening room who has no idea what the subject is, and test him or her for differences in sound with vs without the crystals. By the way also, RFI is detectable, and a reduction in RFI should be measurable.
"I don't say it can't be true, but there must be some support for it in peer-reviewed scientific literature, if it is true. I can find none. Or are you also saying that science has nothing to offer in these matters?"
I suspect audio applications of crystals has not been peer reviewed. Any more than Mpingo discs, Schumann frequency generators, Shakti Stones, the Tice Clock, holographic foil, WA Quantum Chips, tiny bowl acoustic resonators, coloring CDs, and a bunch of other things have been peer reviewed. I suspect two reasons crystals haven't been peer reviewed are the science community is unaware of this application of crystals AND if they are aware of it they might be just a tiny bit apprehensive about tacking such a subject, if you know what I mean. If you think some organization such as AES is going to run out and sign up to look into crystals any time soon, I wouldn't hold my breath.
I put the post out to see if anyone else WHO HAD ACTUALLY TRIED THE THING heard what I did and it seems one other person has had a similar EXPERIENCE.
As I have repeatedly said skepticism [particularly in this case] is a good thing, but to dismiss, out of hand, with NO experience is nether helpful OR scientific. Again first observe then speculate.
I'm generally not one to blow my own horn but I was the first to use crystals in comprehensive ways for audio applications. My crystals debuted at the HI FI Show in London in 2003. As I showed ten years ago Crystals can be applied in many locations, including power cord plugs, RCA jacks of interconnects, near small vacuum tubes, room corners, on top of transformers, on top of speakers, on top of CD players, and many other locations.
Perditty, I meant no slur. Sorry.
Geoff, There has been a LOT of published science on the behavior of crystals in electronic applications. It's actually quite an interesting history dating back to the 1920s. By WWII, quartz crystals were already being used in the defense industry in electronics, and since the method for growing such crystals in a lab had not yet been developed, natural quartz was highly prized and sought after. There is no occult force in commercial audio that could or would suppress research into this area or any other area of science. You greatly exaggerate the power of the industry, and/or you don't quite understand how basic research comes to be done. I have to think that if free (meaning "not in-circuit") quartz crystals (or any of many other kinds of crystals now available) could absorb RFI, there would be a published paper describing this phenomenon. On the other hand, I agree that my failure to find the papers (so far) is no proof that such work has not been done. I will keep looking. There are EEs lurking here. Perhaps one of them knows.
Lewm, I have a good feeling you will get to the bottom of this thing. That's exactly what I think we need, more folks that are determined to find out what in the heck is going on with these devilish little crystals. If you find something somewhere out there in cyberspace regarding crystals and their use in audio systems, I mean other than in clocks, please be so kind as to provide a link. You would think NASA, DARPA, IEEE, MIT, AES, ASA - somebody! - would have at least done some sort of preliminary investigation. I would even settle for the Amazing Randi. Lol
Geoff, I sense your sarcasm, but I am immune to it. Another computer search today reveals mainly that Google finds either confirmation from many sources that crystal oscillators are a source of RFI OR it finds references in the Tweakers Asylum and elsewhere in audio fora, many of which are to your past postings, when I search on any combination of words that include "crystal" and "RFI". I see that you previously denied the probability that Cardas Caps block RFI from entering into an audio chassis, and on Tweakers Asylum you wrote this in 2010:
"I therefore propose there must be some other mechanism in crystals, when used individually or in groups - besides piezoelectric effect - responsible for the change in sound -- at least when discussing RFI/EMI absorption. I also propose that - in almost all cases - the actual operation of a crystal or group of crystals in an audio system has nothing whatsoever to do with RFI/EMI absorption - rather acoustic/mechanical energy absorption!"
So, we agree (because it's come to be my view as well) that crystals are unlikely to have a beneficial effect via blocking or absorbing RFI, unless you've changed your tune in the past 3 years.
"So, we agree (because it's come to be my view as well) that crystals are unlikely to have a beneficial effect via blocking or absorbing RFI, unless you've changed your tune in the past 3 years."
You need to read what I said again. I didn't say crystals were unlikely to have a beneficial effect via blocking or absorbing RFI. What I said, or at least what i intended to say, was that in most locations audiophiles use them crystal(s) are acting as resonance control devices. I did not say, nor did I intend to imply, that crystals cannot act as RFI/EMI absorbers in certain locations.
I don't want to get into this too deeply on a personal level. I have known Lloyd for years, and I like and respect him highly. In my experience, every one of his tweaks works, but I have not tried them all (as you can tell vis crystals). I think his turntable is one of the finest I have ever seen or heard. The Walker Motor Controller, which I do own, made a sea change for the better in the sound of two of my turntables. It is difficult for me to engage in this discussion without seeming to be disrespecting Lloyd, but I assure you that is not my intention. So Benjie, do you think Lloyd can refer me to a paper in the scientific literature that describes absorption or dissipation of RFI by inert crysals? If so, I will call him. It would behoove him or anyone else making such claims to post the supportive references. I don't by the way deny that you or Geoff hear differences with crystals in or on or near your equipment; I am only wondering whether the given explanation holds water. In other discussions and on other websites, crystals are said to act by controlling "resonance" (as Geoff says in the quoted passages), not by absorbing RFI. Who can argue with something as vague as "resonance control"? Not I.
Geoff, you did write, "I also propose that - in almost all cases - the actual operation of a crystal or group of crystals in an audio system has nothing whatsoever to do with RFI/EMI absorption - rather acoustic/mechanical energy absorption!" I guess you can cling to the fact you used the word "almost".
And what about pyramids? Try this DIY tweak.
Pick up 8 straight balsa wood strips at a hobby shop. Glue 4 pieces of exact length together and make a perfect square bottom base. Then glue 4 more pieces together to form the pyramid. The bottom ends of each piece used to form the pyramid should be glued to the 4 corners of the square base and then co-joined to form the pyramid tip. The length of each piece should be the same length as the pieces used to form the square base.
White glue work perfectly well.
Make two pyramids. Place a large pyramid over your turntable. Place a smaller pyramid over your head.
Your friends and family be amazed by the results!!! You should see my wife's facial expression when she comes into my sound room to see what's going on.
Total cost -- less than $25. I have no idea why or how this DIY tweak works, but trust me, you will see and hear amazing reactions when you play your vinyl rig.
Lewm ... remember the Seinfeld piece when George went to a pyramid doctor to save money. We shouldn't underestimate pyramid power. Hopefully, our EE tech members Almarg and Ralph (Atmasphere) will chime in and explain the science. I'm surprised that EE designers haven't used pyramid power in amplifiers.
Bruce, check out the Nagra amplifiers linked to near the bottom of this page. :-)
Lew, Benjie, et al, my initial post in this thread, dated 8-17-13, quoted in its entirety the explanation provided at Mr. Walker's website. Which was that it works by "reducing the EMI/RFI and static electrical noise at your cartridge and record while it is playing." Not sure what the point of calling him would be.
The only comments I can offer are the ones I stated in that post and the one I provided the following day in response to Geoff.
Microwaves and all manner of RF are everywhere in the room. In order for a crystal to have an audible effect wouldn't the crystal have to act like a giant magnet for RF? If the crystal worked by absorbing RF it would have to continuously absorb all the electromagnetic waves in the room, which are continuously entering the room from outside or being generated in some cases by electronics. Because the electromagnetic waves are everywhere in the room, if the crystal didn't absorb all or most of them, the RF problem would remain. It doesn't make sense and Judge Judy says if it doesn't make sense it's not true.