The Clever Little Sharp

After following the clever little clock thread to its current uselessness, I had come the conclusion that the whole concept was total nonsense. The fact that this product’s effect can’t be explained in literature and is, in fact, almost secretive leaves me suspicious. But like many curious audiophiles, I just couldn’t resist doing an experiment.

Before I go further, I must say that I was willing to chalk my findings up to a small personal victory not meant for publication. This is primarily because I didn’t want the negative responses pointing at the fact that I was either crazy or was hearing things that were self-induced.

Over lunch last week, I decided to go to the local discount store and purchase a battery operated clock. I proceeded to the clock counter and proceeded to make a $9.95 cent purchase into a major buying decision. Battery operated w/cord?, LCD or LED display?, black or silver case?, atomic auto setting?, etc. etc. There were probably more than 15 models between $7.99 and $14.99. I ended up with the Sharp LCD atomic clock w/day & date for $9.95. I have no idea whether any of these features are detrimental to the end result, and I doubt if I will ever buy 12 different battery clocks to find out.

I waited for the clock to automatically set itself and set it on a computer table in the room. While I played a few selections waiting for the system to totally warm-up, I thought I noticed a more palatable nature to the sound – actually more musical and warm. There you go, I thought, hearing a change because you want to. I left the room and took the clock outside and laid it on the concrete patio behind my home. About ten minutes later, I returned to listening and darn if something wasn’t missing. This is beyond crazy. I put the experiment on hold.

Later that evening, my son came over for a visit. He is no audiophile, but has the virtue of having 26 year old ears. He has called changes in my system in the past with relative ease and I consider his hearing above par. I asked him to sit in the sweet spot and evaluate if there was a change. I played a selection from Dan Siegel’s Inside Out CD for a reference and then brought the clock in and hid it behind the computer monitor. I requested that he keep his eyes closed and did not let on to what, if anything, I was doing. Midway through the same selection, he smiled and asked “what did you do?” I asked “Why, what are you hearing?” He went on to say that the midrange opened up and is more airy and the bass is more defined, tighter and deeper. I must admit that I thought I was hearing the same thing. I laughed at this point and said to wait until we do this a couple more times. After running back between the patio and listening room a few more times, I finally showed him what I was bringing into the room. His reaction was NOooo! NO WAY!

Even after this, I though that there is no chance that I will post this to Audiogon. It’s like seeing a UFO (not that I have) and trying to convince someone who hasn’t that it is real. Must be a blimp, right?

I decided to enlist my long-time audio friend Jim J. to see if my son and I were both crazy. Now, his ears are variety 1945 (or so – he won’t admit his age) but they are golden by audiophile standards. I proceeded to pull the same trick on him, not letting on to what if anything I did. I will tell you from past experience, he will call the session exactly like he hears it. This means that he will also not say that there is an improvement or any change if it simply is not there. He is as close to the perfect candidate that I would find or trust.

A similar thing happened, but rather than a smile, it was a sinister grin. “What are you doing?” He said. “What is that thing you went and got? It isn’t radio-active is it” he joked. “Well it is atomic” I said as I laughed. COME ON, what is the deal with this? I joking replied that it was top secret, but admitted I really have no idea. What did you hear? He replied that the overall openness and air around each instrument had improved as well as a cleaner, more defined presentation.

I’m sure that many will think we are all crazy, but I thought the open-minded would appreciate the information. I have no idea why it works, nor what the difference is with the supposedly modified clever little clock. I do know that for $9.95, a stock Sharp will enhance your listening. And if it doesn’t, return it to Walmart.

That's my story and I'm stickin to it.
Have you thought about trying multiple clocks? If one is good and two is better, I would buy $500.00 worth of those things and scatter them all over my listening room!

In your experiment, did you ever "fake" bringing the clock back in (or taking it out), or did you either add or remove the clock every time you left the room?
Some guy selling a clock for a hundred bucks...I would never believe. This post by you.....priceless....I am going to go at lunchtime today and buy one (really). I'll let you know!
I wonder how the average Wal-Mart clerk will react when the audiophiles descend, asking which clock soundstages better? There is a walmart on my way home - ironically there is no clock in my listening room, and I had been thinking about buying one, since I often lose track of time down there, which can be detrimental to my ability to have "relations" with my SO, if you know what I mean :)
I prefer tubes (I have a nixie tube clock in my listening room).
Fascinating results from your experiments! Can you tell if the clock puts out any sounds? like, perhaps a high pitched, nearly ultrasonic whine? Have you tried putting a padded box around it?
To answer some of the questions;

I haven't tried to put anything around it - padded box, etc. I have put it in different locations within the room and it is consistant in each location. I haven't tried other rooms

I have not tried to fool any of the listeners by pretending to bring something in and did not. I probably should have but since 1) they didn't know what I was bringing into the room 2) that it wasn't related to the system since it was on the opposite side of the room 3) I could have been bringing in nothing, or a rock just to play a game on them. These factors lent credibility to the test.

I have not tried multiple clocks as of yet. I was hoping that many of you would take this to the next step and do more experimenting.
You should see if the guys over at The Upgrade Company would mod it for you. I hear the SE version is better.
Could you post a link to a picture, or a model # so we all know which version to look into?
Bought one at lunch, like I said I would. It's in the trunk of the car. Have to tell you though, someone at Wal-Mart got wind of this impending fad because the PRICE HAD GONE UP. I paid $9.96.
Try putting it on Vibrapods and using gold plated batteries. Also, by setting the clock ahead one hour will provide more PRAT while setting it one hour behind makes things more musical. :>)

Come on..... BUT, if it works for YOU then that is all that matters. The mind is a wonderful thing.
Vibrapods are good, but, what "The Clever Little Sharp" really needs is a Siltech Ruby Mountain Signature G6 for the battery recharger. A serious power conditioner, dedicated rack, Poly Crystal cable towers, Shun Mook Diamond Resonators, Shakti EMI Diffusor Stone are just some of the tweeks that will get your "Clever Little Sharp" on its way, at least untill your willing to get really serious about really getting the most out of your investment. Oh and don't forget "Peter's Belts".
Bgrazman, I've got one of those tube clocks in my office. Great conversation piece!
It's already audio night at the comedy club. Or is it conmedy night at the audio club?
838 words and not a damn bit of sense...
heres a link to the Clever Little Sharp
Never said it made sense, just a sonic improvement.
Tgun5, there is a very simple and predictable explanation for what you describe. Yourself, your son, and your audiobuddy were all psychologically primed to report some kind of audible change between the two trials, and unconscious logic would dictate that if you were making a change, it should be for the better. Just because you didn't actually tell your son or your buddy what exactly you were doing doesn't mean this heightened expectation wasn't being created. It was not a double-blind test, meaning you (the tester) were full of positive expectations when you tested not only yourself, but also your other two subjects, to whom that expectation was subliminally communicated via unconscious cues you provided them. Congratulations, you have done an educational experiment confirming the power of this well-known tesing bias phenomenon. I hope you know, or can imagine, what kind of tests you really need to run in order to discover whether either yourself or anybody else can actually detect an impact on the sound from the clock's presence to a statistical significance. If you do those tests, I think you'll find the effect is infinitely less than the variety you've demonstrated so far. (In fact, even if you just continue doing informal A/B trials involving only yourself, you stand a very good chance of coming to the conclusion that the clock was never doing anything at all for the sound.)

I've got to admit, the "other" threads on this topic notwithstanding, it still absolutely blows my mind that people as educated and high-earning as audiophiles tend to be, can so often fail to display even a basic grasp on such elementary principles of human sense, perception, and behavior related to listening, as well as scientific procedural principles in general...And I find it not a little ironic that a hobby so dependent on applied technology can also be so infected with an inclination toward the anti-scientific, the magical, and the self-delusionary. Are audiophiles really this ignorant and gullible? Are they even more ignorant and gullible than people in general? It seems like they shoudn't be, and I'm pretty sure that once upon a time they weren't, but today? I don't know...
Zaikesman...Given that music itself can be (non-)scientific and magical (for sure) if not 'self delusionary', is it any wonder that those of us with an interest in music might have inclinations along the same lines? I bought a clock yesterday, it seemed to make a difference--then I noticed that my digital phase switch was in the opposite of its normal position. So I switched that and the sound seemed regular, except, after a few minutes, I thought, geez this IS better. Personally, if it's a delusion, I'm glad the object of my delusion is a $10 item that a fellow audiogoner 'discovered' and not some $10 -$100 thing that a specialty company has touted and marked up to $100-$1,000 or more. This is, after all, a hobby, and if there is no fun left in the hobby, it's time to find another one, IMHO. Good work Tgun5!
Good one Z-man.

Now let's see what someone who has more or less an opposite view of things has to say. This link is an article by and about Brian Josephson, Nobel Prize winner for quantum physics:
Zaikesman, I have read explanations like yours many times, so this phenomenon is certainly not new or unknown to me. However, your explanation assumes many things.

It assumes that every tweak we try will produce a change for the better if our subconscious decides this prior to listening to it. This is simply not the case. I have tried numerous tweaks over the years and many have produced zero to very negative results. This means that with each tweak, I have subconsciously predetermined whether there will be no change, a negative change, or positive change. This is ridiculous.

It assumes that every one has been gifted by God with the same ability to hear. If we were all blessed the same, there wouldn’t be enough Olympic gold medals to go around.

It also assumes that you know the people involved, which you don’t. You explain that my excitement and subliminal cues affected the outcome. I can assure you that Jim J. is less interested in agreeing with me and more interested in telling the truth as he hears it. Over the past 30 years, we have used each other to check and verify what each of our systems is doing. Many times, the conclusion is negative, not positive. If anything, I have learned over the years not to show excitement for Jim actually enjoys bursting my bubble.

Do you really believe that I wanted to report that a stinking clock improved the sound? I find this concept ridiculous and it quite frankly, it may make me to appear to be an idiot – and in so many words, you point this out.

If you believe that differences in sound at the upper level are dependant upon applied technology, I wouldn’t disagree. I also point out that the most tweaks are applied or designed using a scientific concept, yet this does not mean all variances within the concept affect the sound equally. Take cable risers for example. The concept is that raising the cables off the floor reduces the amount of static transferred from carpet. Makes sense, but different brands of ceramic risers sound dramatically different. This evidently has to do with the type of glaze used and its RFI/EMI rejection. Should glaze make a large audible difference in cable risers? Probably not, but it does. And risers of acrylic, cardboard or wood also sound different. Regardless of the reason, this is where the “magical” part of this hobby comes into play. To the average person, this would sound crazy and certainly make no sense. To the audiophile who has taken the time to compare, it is fact.

Do I believe the clock is magical? Absolutely not. But like the glaze, some things produce results that are beyond expectation and understanding. Besides, the clever little clock supposedly does operate under some scientific theory that I previously decided was bunk. It apparently is not.

I believe this is less about a double blind test and more about your desire to disprove and argue. I think you may be in the wrong hobby. Or maybe you aren’t. You might consider opening a company that offers double-blind testing services to audiophiles, making sure their methods conform to the limits of science.

I have offered a cheap experiment that anyone who wants to take the time and effort can do. If you don’t want to spend the $9.95, have predetermined it will not work, cannot trust your hearing, or think your system does not have the resolution capability, simply do not do it. It’s pretty simple.

As far as this clock, I trust both my hearing and Jim’s and our ability to report the differences accurately. This is part of the hobby and knowing what and how to listen to improve the sound. I simply do not need a double blind test to verify this. My sound is proof of this fact.
Tarsando, from your posts it seems you've been very influenced by the price of the tweak. Obviously value is an important component in any buying decision, but it is also just another element that can unduly influence your decidedly non-scientific listening experience.

Geoffkait, Mr. Josephson is concerned about the blinding effect of orthodoxy in physics research. Are you in any way insinuating that there is research behind the CLC? If so, please submit to journals for peer review. Only then would anything in Mr. Josephson's article have even the slightest relationship to the CLC.
Tgun5: Your appeals to supposed exceptionalism (the "gifted listener" paradigm, that I don't know *your* friends, etc., as if somehow you and these people are beyond the limitations and foibles of mere mortals) is simply self-justification for running the most casual and misleading of experiments. The stuff about not carrying expectations into your trials is hooey. Baby, you read about a clock improving the sound, you went to the mall and paid money for a clock, hoping it would improve your sound. Get real. This is all your perogative of course, but if you feel so strongly that you've reached a valid conclusion, why not go ahead and run some real tests with your "golden-eared" friend and see what holds up?

I trust both my hearing and Jim’s and our ability to report the differences accurately. This is part of the hobby and knowing what and how to listen to improve the sound. I simply do not need a double blind test to verify this. My sound is proof of this fact.
Circular reasoning is proof anything you want it to prove. Personally, I've never done a double-blind test. You need at least 3 people to do so, and I don't have "audiobuddies". But I've tried my best to avoid the need by being as rigorous with myself and my auditioning procedures as I can on my own. Many is the time I've revised my initial, or even second or third, impressions of some change I made in the system. The difference between you and I isn't the acuity of our systems or ears, it's in how we perceive "reality". That's why you're sure the precise glaze on your cable risers makes a "dramatic" difference. (Visit the other thread and read my take on Audio Machismo for a diagnosis.) Believe it or not, I'm a musician, record collector and audiophile, not an EE who spends his time measuring zip cord for grins. But those freaks are starting to look more and more reasonable to me...

Tarsando: If you really feel that what brings "fun" to listening is doing whatever silly nonsense the other guy is doing, have at it. But you're right -- you seem to be in great company when it comes to audiophiles feeling confident in proclaiming that however the sound of their system strikes them at any given moment, well golly gumdrops, that certainly must be to the credit of the system, and not laid at their own feet for their pitifully casual auditioning procedures ("I listened for 10 more minutes and decided, hey, this really is better!"). Gimme a break. "Discovered" the tweak? The man copied some other guy -- except that he left out the part which supposedly makes the tweak work if you believe that guy. Nevertheless, you want to know which exact clock he bought -- even though he chose his at random, and even though Machina Dynamica says it doesn't matter which clock is used (true enough!). And we marvel at lemmings...

Guess Geoffkait'll have some 'splainin' to do. On the other thread, Sherod posted a while ago that he could certainly understand Mr. Kait keeping his "theories" and "practices" a secret, since otherwise somebody might copy his product and steal his business. Well sure, I thought (but didn't post at the time): If they knew what he really did -- meaning didn't do -- and still believed in fairies, they would just buy what he buys (and then resells with a sticker put on) and cut out the middleman. The "secret" he doesn't want you to know is that there is no secret -- just a damn clock, no different from the one half of us have upstairs and just as good for telling the time. Now the "cat's" out of the bag and Tgun5 has "proven" that you don't need Machina Dynamica to gain this wonderful sonic advantage (whatever it is). I'm lovin' life...
Onhwy61 - I'm not insinuating anything, just offering a point of view of someone known for his work in quantum physics as well as paranormal research.

Actually your snippy attitude tends to support Josephson's point, now that I think about it.

You're not insinuating anything and you're not really saying anything. You're just trying to make a honest dollar selling something to somebody who wants to buy it. Nobody is twisting the buyers' arms, so it's all good. Just don't drape yourself in the guise of science. Good science is separated from bad science by the peer review process. I'm sorry you consider it snippy to be asked to submit your "research" to those best equipped to understand it.
Onhwy61 - Where do you get the idea I'm draping myself in the guise of science? If anything, I'm going out of my way not to do that. I'm simply saying the clock works. Period.

Why would I want to submit anything about the clock for approval to the scientific community? You're not following the Josephson arguments very well.

I routinely wear an Ultmost digital talking watch, equipped with calender, stopwatch, and 4 distinct alarms. . . although sometimes I do not and I leave it on the night table. It has never remotely occurred to me that I should be hearing something different under differently 'clocked' circumstances. Or perhaps digital wristwatches do not qualify as 'audiophile grade'? Or is a trip to the local Walmart needed to commence the 4th dymensional particle entanglement, quantum dripping audio improvement? Yet I have a real problem. . . I already have at least 5 other various electronic clocks running at all times within 50 feet of my system, and twice as many digital watches sitting around. Is my system already chronographically optimized? Or is there still a way to improve it?
c'mon dude, you gotta get yourself sth with a fancy name, that is specifically targeted at gullable audiophiles - then it will work for sure. no ordinary tissot, rolex or timex will work. its gotta be ATOMIC and have some placebo effect embedded :)
And you are wrong again Zaikesman. You said "Baby, you read about a clock improving the sound, you went to the mall and paid money for a clock, hoping it would improve your sound. Get real." I CLEARLY have said over and over again that I expected nothing. I was hoping for nothing. I thought the clock was bull. What do you not understand about these statements?

And yes, there is clearly a difference in the sound of ceramic cable risers. Many here on Audiogon could probably attest to that fact. The trouble is, many that call themselves audiophiles don't take the time to experiment, but they are full of opinions that are OK for print.

Yes, I believe that either you don't care enough to try, can't really discern differences, or refuse to hear differences due to your intellect.

What I really believe though is that you just enjoy a good argument.

Regardless, everyone here is always welcome over for a listen.
Nothing 'pitiful' about casual auditioning damn procedures at all, golly gee...just listening...I ain't runnin a lab aint writing a column ain't being a sir! If I want scientific listening experiences I go get my ears tested...If I want science of most any kind, I don't go lookin on the web. The fact that the clock is cheap makes it easy to try out. Given all the expensive equipment and 'tweaks' out there that people are making money on, it's nice once in a while to 'tweak' my nose at some snobs and fakes. Sell me some dots at $500 I say no thanks, sell me some dots at Home Depot for $1.00 I say, hey! Blue Tack vs its absolutely equivalent office depot counterpart. Once again, good job Tgun5 and the naysayers can go do their science as they please.
Hell, I've seen posts here that debated things like the effect of receptacle wall plate material. So why is THIS causing sacrilege? Because it defies common sense or knowledge? My common sense once told me that an "EMF sponge" is nonsense. Yet I swear to the effect of Shakti Stones on my tube gear and digital processors.

So maybe there is something to this that we don't know about yet. The so-called atomic clocks are tuned into a government station that transmits on a frequency of 60 kHz to consumer devices. These clocks pick up the frequency to self-align. Maybe, just maybe (I ain't no physicists), there is noise generated from these clocks that have fundamentals of the 60 kHz pulses.

When we process sounds, it's well known that our brains can fill in lower fundamentals of tones that we hear without that lower tone actually being generated. In other words, an audio illusion. Again, without any scientific evidence to back this up, there may be an illusory effect when one is in proximity to these clocks when they're tuned into the alignment frequency. Maybe this explains the post - unless you're messin' with our heads, dude :)

In all my posts, I have never ever questioned or commented on what other people state they hear or don't hear. If I have never listened to something, then an opinion on my part is just plain uninformed and doesn't add to the debate. Is there something to this? For 10 bucks, I will try the same thing - then I'll see for myself. If I don't hear anything different, I'll chalk it up to my physiology and call it a day.

There may be an explanation; but I think it may be illusory and not have anyhthing to do with an internal change in electronics, speakers or power line quality. A way to prove this would be to put one of these clocks in a room with live musicians and see if there is the same effect.
I CLEARLY have said over and over again that I expected nothing. I was hoping for nothing. I thought the clock was bull.
Sure, sure. That's why you then went and bought a clock --but not even the clock in question -- because you thought it was "bull". You're a debunker, only a thrifty one.

Let me ask you something Tgun5: Why is it so hard for you to admit to being human? Do you honestly believe it's more probable that it's the clock that makes the sound better, when you yourself can offer no explanation for how, when you admit it's absurd, *and* you acknowledge you're aware of the reality of psychological effects that are well-established -- as well as the type of testing which can counter those effects?

Let me put it another way: If things were reversed, and it was me who came on the forum saying that buying a clock somehow improved my sound, and you were the stone skeptic you claim you were, would you think it was the clock that was "working", or that it was in my mind? The answer must be the latter. So why can't you apply that to yourself? Just look in the mirror.

I believe that either you don't care enough to try, can't really discern differences, or refuse to hear differences due to your intellect.
There's a difference between trying things that could plausibly have an effect, and bringing magical totems into the listening room. I do the former same as any audiophile, and have routinely heard differences, usually subtle but often still valuable (though sometimes not), between rational tweaks like cables, tubes, suspension devices, and power conditioning. The way I see it, I'm actually *more* curious than you, because I'm not afraid to critically examine what I think I hear.

But you're right, I refuse to delude myself that clocks, little wooden disks, etc. that have no means of causation are worthy of idol worship. I think (or hope) the majority of audiophiles are still this way, and that even for those who aren't, these nonsensical fads do ultimately seem to come and go without leaving much of a mark in the end -- surprise surprise (even if something always comes along to replace them when they get tired, and even if those new things often seem suspiciously recycled). Get back to me if you still think putting a clock in the room does anything for your sound a year from now.

It boils down to this: You tried a tweak that even you agree shouldn't be able to accomplish anything at all, you found yourself thinking it actually worked but couldn't imagine why, and you did some tests that you hoped would help confirm or refute what you were having a hard time believing you were hearing. So, I came on the thread to offer you an alternative theory, one far more plausible than any other, about why all this seemed to happen the way it did. Despite it making perfect sense, you rejected it out of hand even though you can't offer another explanation. Therefore, you must think it less likely that you and your friends are subject to psychological phenomena common to all of us, and more likely that your clock is magic.

That's not only silly, it's arrogant and hypocritical. I wondered above at the seemingly incongruous fact that audiophiles as a group are doubtlessly better-educated and higher-earning than the population as a whole (disclaimer: I can't say I fit that description), yet in some ways many audiophiles behave as if they're more scientifically ignorant and gullible with their money than I believe most typical non-audiophiles would be faced with the same lack of evidence and plausibility.

But now I think I may have gotten it backwards: It's not that audiophiles in the camp of the Clock are carrying on as though they were ignorant and gullible *despite* being better-educated and higher-earning as a group; they're actually prone to acting that way precisely *because* of those things. Guys really *do* think they can hear better than other people; really *do* think they're not subject to the same pitfalls of the mind as the riff-raff; really *do* believe they're somehow exceptional -- more perceptive, more refined, more confident, beyond mere science, beyond questioning, beyond logic, beyond the technology they don't even understand, bold pioneers on an unacknowledged frontier.

Normal standards of reason and scrutiny obviously can't apply to such an elite group, on an aesthetic mission. To question them is to doubt them is to insult them. With their expensive gear and the encouragement (or peer pressure) of this frequently delusionary community of insecure neurotics, they've come to believe they're in a way superior to mere mortals, that simply acquiring a little practice and an esoteric vocabulary means they know and can tell things less sensitve people can't. Well, what it also means, apparently, is that they're prone to losing touch with reality in a particular, peculiar manifestation, on top of all the other baseless superstitions plenty of non-audiophiles, with or without learning and wealth, can tend to believe. And then we ask why the music-loving public at large seems mostly indifferent to being granted the privilege of sharing in the joy of our wonderfully pretentious hobby...

Enjoy your clocks while you can guys, there's no point arguing about it anymore. At least you've stymied Kait in a way I never could have, and for that I thank you.

I agree that expectation explains many of these highly implausable or irrational tweaks.

The same food can taste much better when presented nicely in a classy environment.
"while you can"...I guess that would be equal to a listener's lifetime. Not a bad deal for $10 bucks.
Zaikesman, while you are more reasonable than many others demanding experiments to "prove" an effect, you also fail to realize that the so-called placebo effect works both ways. Prior conceptions, such as yours, that there could be no effect can condition not hearing one. Were medical studies to suggest to subjects that this medicine will have no effect, it would minimize its effect.

No doubt some are more susceptible to suggestion than others, and I think Tgun5 has you about his rejecting other tweaks where your logic would suggest he would embrace all tweaks.

As you have said somewhat dismissively here and elsewhere, there is no resolving the dispute between those who demand experiments with some blinds and others who merely want to report their experiences. I personally find Tgun5's report fascinating.

I would add one additional personal experience. Long ago before Tice copied them, a small Iowa company made the EAU-1 clock. This was not battery powered. I bought one and found that it had a positive effect if plugged in the right way. It has a two prong plug. Scott Nixon suggested that RadioShack had an identical clock, which they did. I bought one and unlike Scott found it failed to give any improvement regardless of how it was plugged in.

Several weeks ago, I again tried removing the EAU-1 and then reinserting it and checking which way the plug was inserted. It still has a positive effect and also gives me the time in my listening room.
I suspect that the difference between those that believe in these 'irrational' tweaks and those that don't, is probably the same as those folks who can be hypnotized and those that can't. The effect is 'real' for the hypnotized person and good for them! For me, however, knowing that a person can be hypnotized, is not useful information, since I am of the 'non-hypnotized' type and the 'hypnotizable' persons' experiences are not relevant nor repeatable with me. I do envy, however, those who are 'hypnotizable' since the seem to have more experiences, real or not! :)
Bob P.
Really folks, do you mean to tell me that you did not have a digital clock within 100 feet of your system prior to being infected by the CLS bug and taking a trip to Walmart? Do you mean to say that the clocks in your microwave, convection oven, stove, toaster, fridge, security system, VCR, DVD clock radio, alarm clock on your night stand, pocket alarm in your brief case, your watch, your better half digital watch, your kid's watches, your computer clocks, your car/SUV/minivan clock. . . are somehow all differently ineffective and you need to take a trip to Walmart to find one at random that will for sure improve your system? The notion is just so bizarre to leave me speechless!
Back in the early 80's Enid Lumely a writer for the Absolute Sound wrote an article or two that anything digital in the listening room even if it was not wired to the system had a negative effect on the music.Those beliefs were hotly debated at that time, and that writer fell from the bookshelf. So skip ahead to the present where most everything has something digital inside. Certainly our rooms are filled with a digital brew of Rf backfed and forcefed and a similar controversy over something digital in ones environment is taking its place again in the present time.Tom
Guidocorona, speechless but yours is just an alternative hypothesis nevertheless.
Guidocorona, very well put. To Theaudiotweak's point we are bathed in electromagnetic fields, although I think the digital point is irrelevant. Electromagnetic fields are simply electromagnetic fields.

Tbg, you sound like those people who pooh-pooh evolution as "just a theory".

My neighbors just installed a Grohe Ladylux (stainless steel) kitchen faucet last week. My system now sounds slightly more liquid. Not having to posit let alone demonstrate a plausible causal link opens the door to pure nonsense. After all, doesn't you system sound worse when Mars and Venus are in in conjunction? Mine does! Well at least I believe it does.
Onhwy61, I certain don't see myself as a critic of science, just as a critic of how much we know through science, at least thus far. Certainly good science is always prepared for a paradigm shift where we realized what we thought we knew was wrong.
TBG, I am looking forward to the mountain of mathematics to go with the CLC/CLS scientific paradigm shift. . . as far as I know, every time there has occurred such a scientific paradigm shift we have seen an extremely significant mathematical body to go with it. . . I am looking for Geoff Kait, and the various other new agers to bring forth their mathematical body of work and submit it to peer review. . . unless of course, this upcoming new age shift is sooooo 'shifty' that no math is required.
No mountain of math, usually an observation that is implausible. I am not saying by any means that the CLC is such, but your mockery is irresponsible for a scientist.
unless of course, this upcoming new age shift is sooooo 'shifty'

....remove the alphabets' Sixth letter from above sentence.... ;)
Zaikesman: WOW, where do it start? I feel the need to answer your questions, but I feel that you have read my previous answers and are not absorbing them. Maybe I’m assuming that my explanations are complete enough and they aren’t. In either case, I’ll do my best to qualify what I previously said.

Sure, sure. That's why you then went and bought a clock --but not even the
clock in question -- because you thought it was "bull". You're a debunker, only
a thrifty one.

I said this (that it was bull) to make it clear that I expected not to be writing a report at all. To write a report saying the clock didn’t work would have proven nothing other than to solidify my own feelings on the subject. After reading what little information and theory the CLC is based on, I also had a suspicion that there was no proprietary engineering being done to the CLC. I surmised that if there was going to be a difference at all, it would probably be because of the clock, not some modification to a clock. This would still not have proven whether the CLC actually works, but it would have closed the door on this subject for me. Yes, the cost of $10 was the incentive in giving it a try. I would never have tried the $200 CLC because I WASN”T convinced of the theory. I still don’t understand it. I also said previously that I was an open-minded individual. The combination of this and the $10 led to the test. For $10, I really don’t have a reason to hypnotize myself into an improvement. Besides, I could have returned it if the $10 was needed for Starbuck’s later. Again, your assertion points to some mental pre-determination as to whether each tweak will work or not before I try them. If this is the case, the clock should not have worked, yet it did. I really don’t understand what is difficult to understand here.

Let me ask you something Tgun5: Why is it so hard for you to admit to being human?

I believe that this whole exercise proves that I am human. I learned some time ago that our minds do not comprehend or understand most of what exists in the universe. I have no problem admitting that. I also know that since scientific and psychological theories are a product of the human mind, by nature they could be inherently flawed. This is a discussion that does not belong on an audio forum. The best argument for the fact that I am human is that I admitted that I was wrong about the clock. This is more than I can say for many who post here.

Guys really *do* think they can hear better than other people; really *do* think
they're not subject to the same pitfalls of the mind as the riff-raff; really *do* believe
they're somehow exceptional

Yes, I do believe that some people hear better than others and this includes audiophiles and unfortunately, musicians. You admit you are a musician so you must know that there are people who CAN sing and those BELIEVE they can sing. The difference between the two groups is that the ones who THINK they can sing can’t hear themselves. Then there are the ones that CAN sing that can’t hear whether they are flat or sharp. My experience is that many audiophiles do not hear as well as others. Probably to the same degree and ratio as good musicians to average musicians. The bad musicians equate to the individuals that hear a good system and wonder why we are audiophiles to begin with. I believe most audiophiles have the ability to hear for the most part otherwise they wouldn’t appreciate the hobby to begin with. We call great singers and musicians “trained”. Trained audiophiles know what to listen for and how to trust what there are hearing to get the results.

Normal standards of reason and scrutiny obviously can't apply to such an elite group,
on an aesthetic mission. To question them is to doubt them is to insult them. With their
expensive gear and the encouragement (or peer pressure) of this frequently delusionary
community of insecure neurotics, they've come to believe they're in a way superior to mere mortals

You have not insulted me by questioning me. Some of these statements are insults, but I forgive you. I do not believe I am superior to “mere mortals”, nor am I insecure as you suggest. I am just as flawed as the rest of us. However, I am absolutely secure in my hearing and the findings on the clock. I am also convinced that I have been blessed with the ability to discern differences in sound, their overall effect on the system, and the proper approach to improving the sound. This would be no different than being blessed with the ability to sing, which I cannot. In any case, these are God-given talents. According to your philosophy that everything needs to have a scientific explanation, God could not exist. Although unscientifically proven, this fact is undeniable, unarguable, and irrefutable in my mind. I guess this also proves I’m human. I certainly am glad to be a human that is sure that Jesus died to forgive my sins.

In any case, I thought my findings would be fun for some to experiment with and would somehow enhance the hobby. I’m glad that it made a difference for at least one member - Tarsando. This makes taking all the heat worthwhile.

I didn’t expect to be attacked to this degree, although one never knows here on Audiogon. The real fact that has been forgotten or mentioned is the impact my findings have on the CLC.

I don’t know that there is any point to take these arguments further as we are very far apart in our thinking and neither will persuade the other. If you do choose to take this further, I would be curious whether you have a list of components, parts, or tweaks in your mind that would, will, or do change the sound and to what degree. In other words, do you believe our “minds” will not allow us to really hear a change in preamps, amps, or speakers? Or whether this starts to be minimal with cartridges, tonearms, and wires? Can you discern the difference in capacitors, diodes, and resistors? Your arguments may in fact challenge whether audio component designers really can hear what they are trying to bring to market and whether these issues affect their design. It also brings the question to whether all audio designers do blind listening tests before deciding each component they use in state-of-the-art designs. I think we all know the answer to that. At what point IS the designer fooled by his own expectations and the hearing/psychology involved? Depending on your thoughts, this hobby may not match your ideals - or at least cause you frustration in dealing with passionate audio idiots like me.
you also fail to realize that the so-called placebo effect works both ways. Prior conceptions, such as yours, that there could be no effect can condition not hearing one.
Tgb, this is a perfectly valid point, and one I stipulated way back in my first 'serious' post on the other thread. It of course could be controlled for by having a blind test performed on me.

I personally find Tgun5's report fascinating.
With all due respect, in my opinion his report is most "fascinating" only if you can't think of a reasonable explanation for how it could be so. There is such a reasonable explanation however, and while it's fairly fascinating in its own right (witness what it can cause), like a magic trick explained, it's not quite as fascinating once you know how it's done.

the EAU-1 clock. This was not battery powered. I bought one and found that it had a positive effect if plugged in the right way.
There is a plausible (even if perhaps not highly probable) method of causation for why this might be so. It isn't out of the realm of possibility that there could be some audible effect, good or bad, obtainable from placing any device on the same powerline in parallel with the stereo system. I own a couple of AudioPrism QuietLines which seem to have a small beneficial effect when used in the same way (in my current house -- previously I didn't think I could hear them doing anything). But that the device happens to be a clock is incidental (except for telling the time of course).

Not a bad deal for $10 bucks.
Tarsando, I'm sure I throw away $10 every day in one way or another. A lot of the Beltian treatments are free; surely you can see that the money's not the main point of debate here.

you sound like those people who pooh-pooh evolution as "just a theory".
Onhwy61, ever noticed how the same people who like to chant that aphorism, do not know or grasp the formal scientific -- as opposed to colloquial -- meaning of the word "theory", which they invariably but incorrectly place in opposition to the word "fact"? They therefore fail to understand that one of the disqualifications for teaching "Intelligent Design" as science is due, ironically enough, to the very fact that it doesn't meet the standards of an actual theory, "only" or no...
Actually, the money is the main point. If, in fact, this is a mind trick and I have been fooled, I have proven that a company can downright lie and charge $200 for something that makes no difference other than through mind games. If this is the case, I have also proved that they can get away with it because we hear what we want to hear. Experiment successful!

On the other hand, if this thing really does make a difference, it can also be heard with a $10 variety clock as well as a $200 variety tweak clock. You just saved $180. Experiment successful!

I never said that this made a gigantic difference. It does make a pleasant change for the better, whether actual or not. I believe I heard and hear what I hear with this thing. Is the difference worth $200 if it is real - NOPE. That means it is certainly not worth $200 if it is percieved. If it is perceived and not actual, it is still worth $10. Certainly! I have paid more for a bottle of wine. Experiment successful!

Now to be serious. This particular tweak is about the money for many reasons. I'm happy with my $10 purchase. I'm not sure whether anyone who spent $200 is happy with their purchase as no one has come forward. Maybe for good reason.

When I get the chance, I will do a double blind test so that this debate can be put to rest. And if there is no difference, I will again admit I was wrong. At that point, I will just be reverting back to my original thought that the clock was bull. Then I will probably keep the clock for its wonderful time keeping ability! We will see.

Sorry I didn't respond to you above Tgun5, we must have been composing at the same time. I don't want to rehash everything that has been written, but most of what you say is confirmation of what I see as the problems inherent in your assumptions:

"I surmised that if there was going to be a difference at all, it would probably be because of the clock, not some modification to a clock"
"Trained audiophiles know what to listen for and how to trust what there are hearing to get the results"
"I am also convinced that I have been blessed with the ability to discern differences in sound, their overall effect on the system, and the proper approach to improving the sound"
I do find it just a little intriguing that once again, I seemed to have "hooked up", so to speak, in one of these threads with an audiophile who unshakably believes in his own infallible ability to detect changes in sound caused by something he admits couldn't have any possible effect -- this despite not taking measures to ensure his results aren't spurious -- and that such a person also makes a point of correlating their position in this regard with their religious belief. As you've surmised, and as I told Wellfed offline, it is indeed true that I don't share any beliefs of that type, for whatever that's worth. Although this sample size is certainly too small to judge from (ha! :-), it does make one wonder about the possible connection between faith, or the ability or willingness to believe, and the types of audiophiles we are.

Anyway, the main thing I'm trying to get across here is that "open-mindedness" doesn't just mean being willing to contemplate anything that's suggested by someone -- I could suggest that bringing a rubber ducky into the listening room makes the sound better. It also means a willingness to question oneself. In your threadhead, you expressed what sounded like a sincere desire to test the results you say you found so suprising. I'm simply pointing out, if you care, that you haven't actually accomplished that yet, and why.

I can sympathize that repetitious A/B tests and especially blind tests are not very enjoyable as an entertainment activity, and are a pain in the neck to perform. I think it's great that you're now willing to attempt them if you can, and in fact I think that willingness is more important than if you ever actually do. It's not my desire to "make" you give up your clock by proving you "wrong" -- frankly, I'd rather you acknowledge the human susceptability of yourself and your other listeners, but then go right on enjoying whatever it is you think the clock is doing for you. If you really do perform the number of blind trials necessary to get a reliable answer, there's no doubt you'll discover that you and your friend can't identify the clock's presence unsighted, and though you'll have learned something valuable (not about the clock, but about listening and about yourself), you'll also be at least a little disappointed I'm sure, and it's not my aim to be the cause of that.

At least we agree on the impact of your adventures regarding the Geoffkaits of the world (assuming, of course, that this whole thing isn't actually a kind of 'reverse troll' on your part, which would *make* you one of the Geoffkaits of the world ;^). I pointed out his apparent dilemma several posts ago, but so far silence...

PS -- BTW, I didn't say I was an especially *good* musician ;^)
reading all these strange topics sometimes i wish we could read more about clever little audiophiles...
TBG, you may have a point, in that significant bodies of math accompanied paradigmatic shifts mostly in those sciences where mathematics was already applied, e.g. Physics and Astronomy, from the copernican/Galilean revolution to Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. In other natural sciences, such as biology and geology, paradigmatic shifts preceeded any mathematical modelling by a significant amount of time. having said this, I contend that CLC/CLF and the various other devices even vaguely related to them seem to fall in the former category, especially considering that they often seek legitimacy in physical phenomena, such as particle entanglement, multi-dymensional geometries, Doppler effects, coherent light emission, quantum state cloning (a physical impossibility according to my admittedly limited understanding of commonly accepted peer-reviewed physics), and the likes. The non mainstream devices created for our beloved audio high end seem to point towards a new non orthodox physics, often derived from hypothesised macroscopic implications of sub-atomic phenomena. I am looking forward to some seminal and rigorous body of work which can explain their unique and apparently non causative behavior.
Guidocorona - one need look no further than Sheldrake's (PhD biology, Cambridge) The Presence of the Past, Roger Penrose's (Nobel winner for physics and world class mathematician) The Emporer's New Mind (quantum physics of the mind), Bohm's concepts and P.W.B.'s Electronics' concepts/theories of how sound is affected by objects and materials totally unrelated to the audio signal.

If one is prepared to look.

BTW the Clever Little Clock will kick the CLS's butt. :-)