Motorman's New Scam Of The Week - the miraculous Furutech LP Demagnetizer

I thought I would find enough snake oil to write something amusing each week.  Partly because I was busy, and party because no particularly expensive scam caught my attention, I have not nominated a new ridiculous piece of audiophile nonsense . . . until now!  Today's new piece of ridiculous snake oil that no audiophile can do without is the Furutech LP Demagnetizer.  Yes, you had no idea that you needed one, did you?  This little baby showed up for the bargain basement price of $1,845.00 (retail, $2,715).

What does this amazing product do?  It demagnetizes your vinyl, because your vinyl contains carbon and carbon attracts a magnetic charge.  That magnetic charge apparently adds "a layer of grit, glare, and haze," that the LP Demagnetizer magically removes. Of course, once your LP has be run through the Demagnetizer, it will reveal the usual "smoother treble and increased dimensionality," according to The Absolute Sound.  Presumably given a nod to just how dumb that may sound, particularly for $2,715, Absolute Sound actually acknowledges "Nor is it an essential piece of equipment. You can probably get more bang for the buck by upgrading a cartridge or tonearm or maybe even by improving the isolation of your ’table with a device like the Minus K product. But if you’re pretty much set on your analog rig and looking for a nifty upgrade—one, let’s face it, that will likely have your friends questioning your sanity  . .  . then the Furutech DeMag is a no-brainer."  

In other words, if you love your current analog rig as is, but feel compelled to waste money on snake oil that you don't need, the Furutech is a "no-brainer."  Let's put aside the fact that The Absolute Sound's review lacks of any type of double-blind listening study, which is the anathema to snake oil salesman, and lets put aside the fact that if LP's really needed a demagnetizer, you can pick one up for $30.  It is more likely that the purchaser of a $2,715 Furutech is the person without a brain.

6Moons adds to the completely unscientific and totally subjective chorus by saying " It seemed as if analog was even more analog. That little edge on middle and high notes, that glare, was completely gone now. Overall the sound was warmer, more rounded and fuller of color."  Of course -- it makes "analog more analog."  Do we check our common sense at the door when we buy audio gear?  I could never figure out why my already wonderfully warm sounding vinyl had "that little edge on the middle and high notes."  Thank you Furutech!  Now I know.

A voice in the wilderness -- Gizmodo, an organization that does not seem beholden to exaggerated and unmeasurable claims of "making analog more analog," summed it up nicely: "Furutech DeMag Demagnetizes Your Money Away"

As always, if you are one of those people that light their cigars with $100 bills, and think nothing of spending $2715 on something that admittedly looks pretty cool even if its worthless, I guess you may be the target market.  But if you haven't checked your common sense at the door . . .

Have Furtech DeMag great unit improves LPs ,cd and cables a great upgrade!!

Thank you Moto Man.  What were the results of your listening tests? 
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Moto man wrote,

"What does this amazing product do? It demagnetizes your vinyl, because your vinyl contains carbon and carbon attracts a magnetic charge. That magnetic charge apparently adds "a layer of grit, glare, and haze."

Not wishing to judge too quickly but it appears, at least based on the results of a preliminary Google search, that the Carbon atoms found in the chemical Polyvinyl Chloride - the main ingredient found in LPs - are actually not magnetizable. So perhaps some other theory might be offered to explain why demagnetization of LPs and CDs works.

From the Ferro Carbon Project website:

"To date, the observation of ferromagnetic properties has only been observed as a small fraction of some carbon samples. Pure carbon can take many forms, ranging from graphite to diamond, alongside more recently discovered forms such as the fullerenes � C60. Ferromagnetic behaviour has so far been observed in pressure and light polymerised fullerenes and irradiated graphite, amongst others."

cheers, GK

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Carbon black impurities is what the Absolute Sound press lazily tries to blame for magnetism.

Furutech website:
The fact is that pigment added to the plastic during the manufacturing process is the culprit. The minute amount of ferrous material in the pigment causes LPs to become magnetized. Testing at the Tokyo Nanotechnology center with a IHI Gauss meter showed that after an LP was treated with the deMag the magnetic field of the LP was lowered from 620~630 nT to 572~582 nT (nanotesla: a unit of magnetic field strength,1 Tesla = 10,000 gauss)
Earth's magnetic field is 50,000nT.

From IARC monographs

Carbon black that is made from high-sulfur feedstocks frequently contains detectable quantities of extractable aromatic compounds that contain sulfur such as benzothiophene derivatives (Lee & Hites, 1976; Nishioka et al., 1986). Trace amounts of a variety of inorganic elements (e.g. calcium, copper, iron, manganese, potassium, lead, arsenic, chromium, selenium and zinc) have also been identified in some analyses of samples of carbon black (Collyer, 1975; Sokhi et al., 1990; Cabot Corporation, 2005b)
I am skeptical about how trace ferrous metals can get and stay magnetized over a record, or have a geometry that creates a magnetic field large enough to disturb a cartridge. That may be reflected in the nanotesla scale numbers.

The easiest criticism is the price of the unit, which is product of marketing. Consumer behavior is what makes audiogon interesting in lew of actually learning about audio.
Ohlala wrote,

"I’m not sure how trace ferrous metals can get and stay magnetized over a record, or have a geometry that creates a magnetic field large enough to disturb a cartridge. That may be reflected in the nanotesla numbers."

Well, exactly. By the same token, are we really supposed to take in on face value that trace elements of some ferrous material somehow managed to wind up either in the atrociously thin metal layer of the CD (which one imagines is a rather pure metal or metal alloy or even 24 carat gold) or in the ink used for graphics on the CD label are sufficiently magnetizable to have the slightest chance of affecting the path of the CD laser or discombobulate some electric circuit or other in the vicinity?

I actually trust industry experts like Fremer, and many others, who did comparisons of demagnetized vs non-demag. and actually bought one for themselves. 

And my rig costs more than $100K, so why not?

The demagnetizer has been tested and reviewed many many many times. Google it. I have not read a bad review...other than from whiners who have never actually tried one. 
moto-man or moto-mouth?
The thing I find humorous in these pure opinionated rants, is the use of the term
"snake oil " and it's context. 
The original Elixir had no snake oil in it and that was the legal issue raised. Lost in all the out of context use of the coined phrase " snake oil " is the FACT the product worked exactly as it was claimed to have.
You might want to try another anolgy that actually fits your opinion that something doesn't work regardless of not offering any acknowledged experience with it......
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If you want to do a "test run" for very little money, pick up an old reel-to-reel tape demagnetizer on eBay (VERY powerful and more than 7 miles of windings ;~)   Place your LP on the spindle, apply power, and rotate two or more times, flip, and repeat.

It's like what my bubbie said about chicken soup:  "It couldn't hurt!"
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Yes, I know I’m the last person anyone would expect to throw a damp towel on the proceedings but in order for an object to be demagnetized it must obviously be magnetized in the first place and in order to be magnetized it must be magnetizable, no? Furutech theorizes the surface is magnetized, but what is there to become magnetized to begin with? The ink? The ferrous impurities in the vinyl, if any? The carbon atoms in polyvinyl chloride? I don’t think so. I’m not buying it. As far as putting a magnetic field back on the LP or CD using a handheld demag, as Furutech warns, of course that is quite possible - if the demag is used improperly.

Now, this is not at all to say that demagnetizing LPs and CDs doesn’t work. My argument is directed only towards the theories floated around on how demagnetizers work. Anyone who has an alternative theory feel free to chime in.

Like you, Motorman - and many others in our community - I abhor snake oil products and scams. If someone found and identified a scam and educates other community members - I think that is a good thing. But simply stating a piece of equipment is a scam without providing any proof is counter productive - doesn't even amuse.

You should not confuse snake oil products or scams with what seems to be simply overpriced. I believe in capitalism - it healthy! If a product in demand can be made less expensive and sold for less - then another manufacturer will sooner or later offer that alternative and create a healthy competitive environment. Remember the first "Quartz Watch"? It was exclusive and expensive - at it's time. Not anymore today.

I bought a used Demag a cople of months ago for $900 on eBay. I am an engineer and I was sceptical about Furutech's claims. I decided to give it a try since I could easily sell it again without a loss. But I still have it and will keep it. I hear what Michael Fremer describes in his review and enjoy using it. The improvement is not dramatic but noticeable in my system. 

Is the MSRP too high? I think so - judged by the estimated cost to make it. But then again - who cares? Nobody is forcing me to buy one.

You think the Furutech is expensive. Try the Acoustic Revive. The Walker Talisman also works, is about $200 but, it takes more effort to use. At least the Furutech or AR allow you to do lengths of cabling as well.

The benefits for their use I'd describe as similar to one using nasal spray when badly congested. The music breathes better.
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05-15-2016 11:13am
"You think the Furutech is expensive. Try the Acoustic Revive. The Walker Talisman also works, is about $200 but, it takes more effort to use. At least the Furutech or AR allow you to do lengths of cabling as well."

From the Walker Audio website for Talisman, note last sentence Re treating cables:

"Magnetic fields and static electricity can greatly affect audio and video playback equipment and source material. The Talisman temporarily dissipates magnetic fields and static electricity allowing the phono cartridge or laser reader to transmit a purer, more accurate signal. Use the Talisman to treat LPs, CDs, SACDs, DVDs, HD-DVDs, and Blu Ray discs, as well as treating your audio and video cables in place!"

This is exactly why I bought a Strain Gauge cart. It’s not effected by magnetism. Can’t wait for Raul to chime in about what A horrible choice I made .

On a serious note, how many things that were once scoffed at (premium cables, balanced cables, power cords, power conditioners, a audiophile ac outlets) that are now considered a standard part of a high end system)
I just read when AR created the sealed Ancoustic suspension speaker, they didn't know how it worked, just that it sounded better.