The "Snake Oil" Trope


Yeah I know, a controversial topic, but after 30+ years of hearing both sides and seeing how the argument has evolved over the years, I want to say my piece.

First, I want to debunk the idea of ever using the term, "Snake Oil" because it has been incorrectly appropriated and is not being applied genuinely. For a product to be "Snake Oil" it isn't a simple matter of, "it doesn't do what it claims to do." It has to contain a few more qualities. Chief among them, the materials or ingredients have to be fake, falsified, or non-existent. I have yet to encounter a single premium cable manufacturer who has claimed to use copper or silver and it was fake.

This would be an example of cable "Snake Oil" if it existed:

Company claim: "A 10 gauge speaker wire made of ten 9's pure silver, extracted from conflict-free mines, using NASA quality FEP dielectrics, braided in 24 strands of 17 gauge wire, all concealed in the newly developed element, Star-Spangled-Bannerite, that enhances and boosts all frequencies, repairing broken audio as it travels down the conductor."

Reality: Cutting open the wire you find 3 strands of 14 gauge aluminum wire, wrapped in Glad's saran-wrap, threaded through a 10 gauge rubber garden hose, covered in a fancy colored net.

My biggest problem with the nay-sayer community is the hypocrisy of their accusation that premium quality cables are "Snake Oil" when their charts, measurements and tests have the same level of skepticism they purport to debunk. Using "Snake Oil" to prove "Snake Oil?" Ask yourself the following questions when you next see some online or vlog rant about how cables don't make a difference and they have the measurements to prove it:

1) Did they actually connect the cables to speakers and listen?
2) If they made measurements, did they show you how those cables were connected when they conducted the tests?
3) If it is a vlog, did they show in the video live footage of them conducting the test or is everything after-the-fact?
4) How does the test prove quality and how does the author quantify "quality?"

99% of the time the answer is "no." You just see people posting pictures of charts that could have been made using any form of software.  Heck, I could make one in Photoshop that dictates any conclusion I want. The truth is, there isn't a single form of equipment or measurement software that tests the actual perceived quality or clarity of a signal.

For example, "that guy" from Audioholics posted a video bashing a $4000 Audioquest speaker cable.  He claims to have run it through tests and he posted pictures of graphs that he gave conclusions for.  Not once did he show how it was connected to the machines or equipment. More over, he claimed to have broken the cable, by easily snapping off the banana plug (made of pure copper coated in silver). Well, if that were true, then how could he have possibly connected the cable correctly to test it?  He also claimed the cable was on loan from Audioquest.  Red flag. Audioquest does not send out one speaker cable to test; they'd have sent out a pair.  He also wasn't at all concerned that he had broken a $4000 loaner cable.  Therefore, I suspect someone else broke their own cable and let "this guy" borrow it for a video. Lastly, he claims to test the effectiveness of the "DBS" system by showing you a digital read out on some other machine.  He claims to unplug the DBS system live...but...off screen, and the digital read out changes. That makes absolutely no sense, since the DBS system isn't tied to the actual conductors or connectors. It's a charged loop from end to end and only keeps the insulation's dielectric field charged. So unplugging it while a signal is being passed through the cable wouldn't change anything. Therefore,  the nay-sayer argument, in this instance, was nothing more than "Snake Oil" trying to prove "Snake Oil."

Another time, someone was given a premium XLR cable, but had no idea what an XLR cable was.  They didn't recognize the connector format; a red flag straight away!  Then goes on to claim all the different measurements they took from it and how it was no better than the free cables you get from manufacturers.  Well, if that is true, how was this cable connected to the equipment? If he didn't know what the XLR format was, then it stands to reason they didn't have an XLR input on the equipment they used to test. Therefore, how in the world was this an equitable or viable test of the quality if the cable's conductors weren't all being used correctly during the test? Not once did this person connect it to an audio system to say how it sounded. How do electrical measurements translate into sound quality if one refuses to listen to it?

My final argument against the nay-sayers is one they all have the most trouble with. They don't use the Scientific Method.  For example, where's the control in these tests? What system or cable do they universally *ALL* agree is perfect and that they test against? The systems and cables always change and are never consistent. Why is it that they argue for an A / B test, but aren't willing to set one up for themselves? As if it's someone else's responsibility because they refuse to be responsible for their conclusions. Why is it that they only test low end or middle grade cables, but never seem to run these tests on the highest levels? Why is it that the majority of nay-sayers never purchase any of this equipment to find out for themselves?

What I have discovered after 30+ years of arguing this topic, is that the nay-sayers just don't want to have to buy expensive cables.  Instead they seek out any form of cognitive bias they can find to use as justification to not buy it.  Then suddenly concern themselves with other people's purchase power and tell them not to purchase such cables, as if these people are spending their money. Or they claim that they should have spent all that money on better equipment. Touche', but if they bought better equipment, they'd still buy premium cables to push that better equipment. That's like saving your money to buy a Lamborghini, then deciding on buying 15 inch steel rims with narrow tires for it because wheels are wheels...they bought a better vehicle, so won't need premium tires...or premium gas because the engine is superior. *eye roll.* What it seems to boil down to is that they don't like the idea that just buying premium cables alone can surpass a high grade, well-engineered system. To borrow from my car analogy, buying premium tires for a 4-cylynder hatch back won't make it go any faster, but it will effect some performance, likely gas mileage and road grip. Using the same analogy, buying better cables is akin to buying a turbo kit, back-exhaust system, better suspension, better intake valves, better cold air filters, etc to make that 4-cylinder hatch back perform nearly as well as a stock   Lamborghini.

Final thoughts, "Snake Oil" salesmen back in the day weren't just interested in defrauding their customers, they wanted to do it with the least amount of effort. They didn't try to get authentic, high quality ingredients to make the oil look or taste better.  They used whatever was on-hand and as free as possible. Cable companies sure seem to go out of their way to acquire the best possible conductors and materials, and have R&D teams engineer complicated wire geometries and spend years finding ways to treat the cables, or develop active tech to impact the signal, just so they can make a few bucks. If the product had absolutely no impact on sound quality, at all,  it wouldn't take long for well-engineered systems to reveal their faults and the industry would tank, almost over night. Clearly, they haven't and it's because it isn't "Snake Oil" no matter how many times that old trope is trotted out.

One of the serious problems in this entire discussion is that the perception of "quality" is 100% subjective to the listener, the state of the equipment, the room it is being conducted in, and health of the listener. After years of auditioning my system to people, I realized it isn't a simple matter of asking, "How did that sound to you." You have to be very specific.  Ask, "Did you hear that specific sound?"  9 times out of 10, they'll say they didn't hear it.  So you play it again and point it out.  Then they light up and realize that no matter how many times they heard that song, they had never heard that particular sound.  Then they go and compare it to the car radio or through their device's ear buds and realize they cannot hear it or couldn't hear it as clear.  Then they come to respect what you're trying to achieve.




Previewguakus
Very well put. I'm sure someone will chime in and chastise you soon. 
@rocray

Let'em.  :) Won't change my opinion, my system, my purchase habits and it won't win them or me any accolades or awards. :D
since you claim nobody is fibbing, please do explain “ Quantum Tunneling “. i am on the board of a Quantum Software company, chock a block full of Q phd level folks…nobody seems to know…

Good thread tho….
So it boils down to "It's your money, and your business".

I agree 100%. 

It does get old people trying to save ME.

Like Master M said. "What if I don't want to be saved?"

Sharing an experience, experiment, new "THING" is fun.

An opinion on the other hand without even trying a product, I flush like the waste of space it is.. We have a few heroes around, trying to save US from ourselves.. Comical, and VERY sad in some cases. I'm almost (but not quite) embarrassed for them.. :-)

I'm glad I have a prayer list..

Check out the Quantum thread..

Regards
The term is just plain insulting and serves mostly to let us know whoever is using it is not one to be taken seriously.   



Heavy - please pray for my $71


since you claim nobody is fibbing, please do explain “ Quantum Tunneling “. i am on the board of a Quantum Software company, chock a block full of Q phd level folks…nobody seems to know…

Good thread tho….
I think Quantum Tunneling is legalese for the requisite number of rabbits needed to make a proper sized warren.

All the best,
Nonoise

one million voltrabbits give or take..

Seriously, fuse on order so i can listen in REF5se first

i just find the quantum bit over the top marketing…because in the end EVERYTHING is Quantum and Seismic…


@tomic601

I have no idea what "Quantum Tunneling" actually is.  These companies use fancy names for their processes and tech. Much like Audioquest calling impure copper that has been mixed with sulfur as "Purple Copper" and standard, regular, everyday copper as, "Red Copper." *eye roll* 

I assume this is about Synergistic Research's "Quantum-Tunneling" tech?

From my experience in building and troubleshooting telephony servers, we had extensive experience in what electricity does to components. Like having to add additional copper conductors to circuit boards because regardless of power supply, the board couldn't actually send the necessary voltage to the peripheral. Or when you subject a circuit or chip to massive voltage, it begins to eat a path; especially through silicon. We found that over time, the electricity will cut a path through the circuit until it reaches a post and then permanently shorts. So we ended up in a quandary when we found we had to send massive voltage to a peripheral to keep it powered at a level to perform its function, but at the same time reduced its life span because the chips were being degraded faster than expected.

With that said, it stands to reason that if you subject a conductor with an unrealistic amount voltage (1,000,000 volts), it will cut pathways in that conductor. I believe that was the entire point of "Quantum-Tunneling," to create a current pathway for lower voltage signals to pass through with lowered impedance. This would work as a portion of the impeding material was burnt out, but at the same time, might have compromised the life cycle of that conductor.

Regardless of what they call it, it does appear to have an impact on the signal.  When I connected my Foundations to my Audioengine S8 subwoofer, replacing Audioquest Ruby X3s, the bass wave had dropped in loudness, but there was an increase in intensity.  Then leaving the system running continuous music overnight, the bass level returned and the intensity had increased further.  After a few days, the subwoofer was performing as if I had increased its volume and was so tight that fast-paced bass rhythms were clear and distinct. 

So, I formulated my opinion that for the money, their product was better than what I was using in Audioquest and in some cases, cheaper.

*Shrug*  I hope that answers your question. :)
Patience goes a long ways OP. I walk away and listen for very short periods. My ears won’t hold up for accurate listening beyond 5-10 minutes. I love it when people give reviews on stuff after one or two sessions. 2-4 hours.. I use to cover speaker for a WEEK before I’d listen.. YUK..

It takes weeks for cabling to settle and sound they way they are going to from new vs settled in and broken in..

Used, and broken-in equipment at least a few hours and if contact goo is used, a couple of days at least..

"Snake oil" is tossed around like "Troll", Thought it seems naysayers TROLL the rank and file of all the sites..

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Heavy - please pray for my $71

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

So do you want the money back or the fuses?

I got your fuses at my house.. OPS!.. Wrong prayer. :-)

I ordered a pair, too.. I sure can't speak on the subject if I don't give it a try..

Supply and demand... pretty simple.

Regards
a timely review commentary FWIW re: cables do matter...

link 
Cardas Clear Reflection. A HiFi Cables Review. | Steve Huff Photo

Cardas Clear Reflection. A HiFi Cables Review.- By Steve Huff

Ahhh Cables! A touchy and controversial topic in the realm of audio though today I feel more are seeing the reality of what quality cables can bring to a quality system. Even so it seems like some out there still feel like “cable is cable” yet others who are into this crazy audio game spend $50k (or much more) on cables without blinking an eye (I have a friend in California who owns a full loom of Nordost Odin 2)! Crazy as that is a loom that sets you back 6 figures, for cables!

Me? I am a guy who has been lucky enough to try cables that run the gamut from low to mid to high end. From $20 to $20,000, I have heard cables in my audio journey of all price ranges! So yes I do know the reality of the cable game and yes CABLES DO MATTER when you have a system that is revealing enough to show you these differences.

While I would never personally spend $20k, $30k or $50k for cables I do know 100% without a shadow of a doubt that good cables do make a difference in a quality audio HiFi system. Sometimes this difference is small while at others times it can be quite dramatic, as big as an amplifier change or pre amp change. It all depends on your system and how you have it set up.

If you have a system set up for background music than any $20-$200 cables will do. DO NOT spend a fortune on cables if you just listen casually. If your system is set up with a “sweet spot” for maximum depth and imaging then cables can bring changes in all areas of the sound you are getting and can be the difference between “GREAT SOUND” and “OTHER WORDLY SOUND”.

Snake Oil? It exists…but not in the well known brands that have stood the test of time.

You always hear the term “Snake Oil” in high end HiFi and yes there is quite a bit of that in the audio industry. Some make ridiculous products and claim massive improvements all while knowing their item does nothing but bring a placebo effect to the buyer who spent that cash and now has to justify that cash outlay. Yes, Snake Oil exists in audio but quality cables are not in the “Snake Oil” Category. There may be a brand or two who grossly overcharge for their cables but I know it is possible to find quality and “end game” cables without having to mortgage your home to do so ; )

The issue with me and cables is sort of like the issue I had with phono cartridges. I never wanted to part with too much money on something that didn’t “seem” like it would warrant a huge upgrade to the sound. Spending big cash on something that wasn’t an “electronic” componet that was big, heavy and needed to be plugged in seemed wrong! I mean…Cables? Wire? In fact I have buddies who use lamp cord that they bought from Home Depot for their cables and are 100% happy because they fail to believe that any other cable would change or improve upon the sound.

These guys do not have uber high end systems nor do they have their speakers set up for critical listening so I see where they are coming from. All they need is that lamp cord and they would probably never hear a difference in sound with different cables. These friends often tell me that high end cables are snake oil and that CAN be the case with some unknown brands but with well known brands that have been around a long time (like Cardas) that is 100% NOT the case.

I believe cables can be very important depending on the level of your system. If you have a system that cost up to $2000 total for speakers, source and amp, etc then by all means use cables that are priced accordingly for your systems cost.

On the other hand, if you have a system that runs into the $5,000, $10,000 or even higher up the money chain range one of the best things you can do to “lock in” your systems sound is with a set of well made, high performing cables. One thing to remember though is SYNERGY! If you have a system that leans bright, you want a cable that will inject some warmth into it. If you have a warm system, you want something with more excitement to be brought in. Cables can fine tune your system and for me is always the final step in system building.

I have done so many auditions of cables and have heard the differences in brands as each have a “House Sound” so to speak.  Shunyata, Nordost, Audioquest, Transparent, Swisscables, and Cardas are all brands (and there are more) I have owned and tried out within my systems and sure enough each brand does have a “sound” of sorts that they bring to your system.

I do not believe in nor have I ever heard any cable that was 100% neutral to the source. EVERY CABLE, even the $20 cheapies bring some kind of coloration to your music. 

Finding the one that meshes with your system the best is the key to finalizing a two channel HiFi System. In my experience there is no such thing as a 100% neutral cable as every cable does something to the sound due to the way sound travels down the wire. Some cables add, some take away. Some bring a glow and warmth and others bring stridency and extreme details. What you choose is all dependent on your tastes. My tastes are musicality, midrange magic, a big wide and deep soundstage with some 3 dimensionality. I like warmth over cold and a welcoming sound that doesn’t hurt my ears with a bright thin sound.

While each part of your system (and your room and setup) contributes to the sound of your system, cables are always the final touch for me to add the last level of refinement, polish and magic to my system.

Interconnects, Speaker and Power Cables.

In my systems and for these ears I always have found that the interconnects make the most difference followed by power followed by speaker cables. After hundreds of swaps and tests that is how I prioritize my cables but I have also become a huge believer in using full looms of one brand within my systems after years of mixing and matching brands.

I believe in having quality cables when I have a high quality system because if I were to spend $25k on a system and then outfit it with $20 cables I would be choking it, constricting it and keeping it from performing at its best. I know as I have tried I! I have tried to save cash many times in my life by going cheap with cables only to realize that doing so makes all of the money I have invested in my system sort of a waste. These days I know that if I spend substantial money on my system, even if it is $2500, $5000 (or much more) I want that system to sound its best so I buy the cables appropriate to the system I have built.

The problem I have had previously is that I never wanted to go crazy on cable. Even with being a huge believer in them, it is crazy hard to part with cash for a piece of wire, no matter how much R&D went into it. We all know this. It’s a mental thing as we see cables and say “How can I spend this much money on Wire”!?!?

I have sort of let that go though as after hearing so many brand and so many low end/high end cables I know 100% without a doubt the difference they can bring to a system. But remember the difference may not always be what you are looking for, so auditioning is key (when you can of course).

My New Reference System

Ever since I moved 10 months ago and started planning a true reference system in my new space I knew my cables would have to be upgraded eventually. While I had very good cables (Nordost Blue Heaven full loom) I knew they were actually keeping my new system from performing at its absolute best due to the quality of the pre amp, amp, dac and components I now have installed in this system.

In my lifetime I have had cables from Nordost, Monster, Shunyata, Blue Jean, Cardas, Anti Cables, AudioQuest, Swisscables, Acoustic Zen, Transparent, and many more. I have auditioned several models form each brand as well even hearing a $25k set of cables from Nordost that actually left me a little cold as they didn’t really synergize with my system at the time. I once was enthralled with another set of pricey cables from a newer brand yet found they were cheaply made when a connector broke within 3 weeks (after I bought them, so did not review them). I once fell for hype on Audiogon from a seller who claimed his $1200 interconnect beat others in the $8k range. He even had user reviews to prove it. When it arrived I burned it in and thought it was nice but about equal to a $500 interconnect. I sent it back. It’s not easy finding the right cable for a high end system that leaves you 100% satisfied and happy but when you do, you will know it.

My mainstay over the past few years has mostly been Nordost and I usually stayed in the lower realms due to cost (Blue Heaven and Red Dawn and used Valhalla at one time) but I always liked their wide open sound with micro details and even some warmth in their current lineup but climbing the Nordost ladder is a tough pill to swallow $$$ wise.

Even so, when listening to my system TODAY I felt as if these Blue Heaven LS cables were holding it back from being as good as it could be, especially after hearing the Cardas Clear Reflection cables I will be talking about in this review


Oh yea…THIS IS A REAL THING TOO…Burn baby Burn!

When I took out my Nordost Blue Heaven LS and swapped in the Cardas something unexpected happened.

The sound became a bit flat, a little dull, somewhat compressed and I was not thrilled. The effect was like I threw a light blanket over each speaker. I was in shock and then realized I had one of the speaker cables hooked up wron (red to black, black to red) which screwed with the polarity! They were now out of phase…OOPS! Lol…after I fixed the issue I heard a warm, full and big sound but it lacked excitement and detail. Hmmm. I also remembered having this happen to me before with Audioquest cables but with Audioquest it was the opposite. The sound was bright, etched and harsh when I first inserted a new set into the system and after a while they calmed down and came into their own.

Reading up about Cardas and talking with Dan at Dedicated it was recommended that these cables burn in, and yes, cable burn in is real. While 200+ hours is recommended it didn’t take that long for the cables to change in a huge way. I’d say 20-40 hours and the cables started to transform into something truly special and unique.

By 100 hours it was a completely different animal and there was nothing muffled, closed in or flat about the sound. The cables were extremely open and bringing a transformational sound to my now truly reference system. I was smiling from ear to ear as the sound coming out of my system now sounded truly polished, complete and lacked nothing at all. I mean, nothing. It was all there – detail, air, warmth, glow, body, 3D imaging and such an organic fluid sound that was much more “complete” than with the Blue Heaven

In fact this cable brings that legendary Cardas fullness, warmth and beauty but also adds an extended top end and a fluid liquid midrange with such a nice full bass performance as well. The sound is much more life-size and complete over my Blue Heaven cables. So much so that when I added them back in I heard what was missing. It was like there were holes in the music with the Nordost when I did a side by side. It was quite jarring to be honest.

With the Blue Heaven in place the sound was energetic, fast and lacked a bit in midrange fullness and sweetness at the top end. The midrange lost some of the magic and presence as well. Truth be told, I had a hard time listening as the sound became thinner and a tad more excited. With the Cardas Clear Reflection back in the magic was back and I had a mature, full, liquid, flowing presentation. Instruments sounded so real, so fleshed out and as if there was a magical light around them giving them a little bit of glow and this is where I heard a huge improvement. Not a hint of harshness or glare nor was there any hint of being closed in or overly warm. These were gorgeous cables and truly changed the sound of my system for the better over the full loom of Nordost Blue Heaven that I had for the last 2 years.


With that said, it stands to reason that if you subject a conductor with an unrealistic amount voltage (1,000,000 volts), it will cut pathways in that conductor. I believe that was the entire point of "Quantum-Tunneling," to create a current pathway for lower voltage signals to pass through with lowered impedance. This would work as a portion of the impeding material was burnt out, but at the same time, might have compromised the life cycle of that conductor. 
Being the pathetic layman I was always meant to be, I saw it as some kind of conditioning of the fuse to make it easier by blasting a path, cutting down the burn in time. 

Close, but only a puff of the cigar, which is fine with me. 

All the best,
Nonoise


Audiophoolery is a  perfect hobby for ridiculous, tech-talk marketing and enthusiastic chest pounding.

The challenge for the consumer is determining what and who they want to believe in order to move forward.

Gaukus, your last reply mentioning "sending voltage" is concerning. Voltage doesn't move. Current does. Just pointing this out as my instructor did  45 years ago.
@tablejockey

I would insist that a better argument isn't that the hobby is ridiculous or that the tech is all "Audiophoolery" but whether or not the price for admission is worth the auditory gains.

You can be concerned with my choice of words, but thankfully that doesn't disprove my point. :)
Thank you OP for starting a discussion on how inaccurate misleading and harmful it is to use loaded terms like snake oil. Far better to stick to the subject and deal with things in a more forthright manner.

Unfortunately, look what we got instead:   

Nonsense: "since you claim nobody is fibbing" (which you never did).   
More nonsense: Quantum Tunneling, voltrabbits, audiophoolery, chest-pounding.
And of course:
Being the pathetic layman I was always meant to be,

So we did get that delicious little slice of reality. Not a total loss after all.
There are a couple points that have been brought up earlier,that I agree with 100%.  First,if you have not tried a product, other than your own personal bias,how can you come up with a meaningful opinion? Because it costs more than I can/will spend,I have to justify it?  Second,and IMHO this is a big one, I don't believe in spouting off on how others spend their money. Unless it involves your spouse/SO,or the government,guess what,  you don't get a vote.  
says the king of as yet unheard but praised hyperbole 


@tablejockey I do hope you are able to visit Carlsbad this Fall into winter. Bring some favored LP and your multi meter, ears attached. I think i can learn from you ;-) Heavy the invitation stands, cannot guarantee Rabbit friendly 
Is it important to know which cable is in use in order to perceive the difference? 
@asctim

Your question is missing context. You must have all pertinent cables attached for your sound system and source in order to produce the music you want to play.

For example, if you changed the cables on your CD player, but are playing music through your record player (phonograph), then you aren't able to perceive how much difference the new CD cable is providing because music isn't being played through it.

Can you rephrase your question?
One of the best posts I've read here in years thanks Guakus!
@jond

Anytime :)  Actually, believe it or not, thus far this is the best reception I have ever had in an audio forum. :D

I posted about Quantum Tunneling in another thread, on SR fuses.  Their description of the process changes subtly from one color of fuse to another.

As far as my understanding of the concept is concerned, I believe that in scientific discourse it is what one might call a phenomenon, whereas in product literature it features rather as a treatment that is applied to something (wire, fuse, etc.).
@twoleftears

I only know of "Quantum Tunneling" from reading about the processes that Synergistic Research uses on their cables.  Apparently the procedure isn't limited to fuses. :)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_tunnelling

As I said, it's a phenomenon, not something that you do to something else.
@twoleftears

That is a fascinating article, but it doesn't address audio.

This is from just about every spec sheet for Synergistic Research's products:

" Quantum Tunneling: Post Production process, 1 million volts are passed through finished cable providing a “canal” that allows electrons to pass more freely through conductor material and connections "

This is why I use it as a process applied to a something. :)
Sales 101 >>>

1. The approach.
2. The presentation.
3. The Close. 
4. Isolate the objection.
5. Close.
6. The average sale is made on/after the fifth "no." 
7. Close.

Start watching TV commercials through the eyes of a salesperson. You'll see that items one through three above are used every time. It is no different in selling products intended for use in this hobby. 

Frank
I don't remember anything about a "canal" from my metallurgy course.....must have been sleeping 
"...What I have discovered after 30+ years of arguing this topic, is that the nay-sayers just don't want to have to buy expensive cables..."

I'm sure this is the main reason. The Proletariat unable to achieve a higher position must chastise the Bourgeoise to feel better about themselves.  
You will probably pick up on this guakas, but it helps to realize some here never will bother to try and understand what you are saying. They already have their canned arguments ready to go and roll them out no matter what.

So case in point you go to the trouble of explaining Quantum Tunneling is a process used by Synergistic Research, this is ignored in order to drone on never learning a thing. It is exactly as if you had said Windows is software only to be presented with the totally irrelevant argument that no a window is a hole in a wall filled with panes of glass. This happens all the time here with people talking past each other one never bothering to listen to the other.

Then there is the incessant bickering about minutia like voltage isn’t sent current blah blah yada yada. Every dodge under the sun is pulled out all to thwart any progress in understanding ever being made.

Quantum Tunneling, whatever is really going on, involves using a Tesla coil to zap extreme high voltage on the order of millions of volts through wire, a process that does seem to produce permanent changes. Don’t know why this should be so controversial, it is fundamentally no different than cryogenic treatment. I know at least one other person with a Tesla coil doing stuff like this.

Getting back to the subject at hand, whatever it does and however it works it clearly is not snake oil. It is just something certain people have a hard time understanding. Also probably something they have a hard time hearing. If they would even be willing to try.   

Uh oh. Doesn’t narrow it down much now does it? ;)
"3 strands of 14 gauge aluminum wire, wrapped in Glad’s saran-wrap"

I use Glad brand BPA-FREE plastic wrap and freezer bags exculsively.

Never tried them in a High-Fi setup though.

Also curious as to why you are using $3,500+ of power conditioning and cables with <$300 speakers.

My cables and power conditioners cost around $1500 years ago and I use them with vintage Elac S517 drivers that I purchased for $5/pair.

To make it better/worse there were a pair of the S517’s in each speaker cabinet (again $5 for the the two cabinets).

One pair was branded Elac S517 and the other identical pair was branded Herald Electronics.

I sold the Elac badged pair for $300 and kept the Herald pair.

With all this considered I’m using $1500 worth of cabling/power conditioning with speakers that set me back -$295.

DeKay
"I would insist that a better argument isn't that the hobby is ridiculous or that the tech is all "Audiophoolery" but whether or not the price for admission is worth the auditory gains."

guakus- no argument on the hobby/technology  all being audiophoolery.
As in other interests that can get pricey, you just have to laugh at  what is available to anyone with an open wallet.

"You can be concerned with my choice of words, but thankfully that doesn't disprove my point. :)"
I'm afraid after 40 years, I'm haunted being admonished by my instructor
when a voltage sentence/question  also contained a verb suggesting it "moves."

oregonpapa-
May I add to Sales 101?
ABC=Always Be Closing

tomic601-
I couldn't place the window shot in your profile. I'm in Long Beach-Ghetto by the Sea. We have it all-nice along with crazy/disgusting all within a couple of miles.

I would like to pedal my everything carbon fiber, ceramic bearing bicycle for a beer/tunes. 
@dekay

" Also curious as to why you are using $3,500+ of power conditioning and cables with <$300 speakers. "

Because I like the way those $300 speakers sound. I knew they could sound better. Apparently, Audioengine also believes they could sound better because they also offer "Premium" versions of their basic cables.

Speakers, to me, are nothing more than a box with drivers that produce a specific range of sound controlled by a crossover. Much of the expensive costs are the materials they use to make the box.  Like, Cherry Wood, Polished Oak, etc.

The frequency range is of the A2+ is 65hz to 22Khz. The S8 subwoofer covers the remaining range down to 20hz. Who cares if it didn't cost me $10,000. They are extremely well engineered and have beautiful sound quality, after I pumped $3500.00 and counting into it.

My system, my choice. :D
More freely = less resistance. I am sure a power hungry world is just salivating over the prospect of a more efficient electrical grid. Texas exempted, they are just waiting for electrical power midwinter..

Cue the big oil likes it this way conspiracy crackpots..

Seriously OP, i think you are aware, i am a cable believer. 

What with company paid life, don’t  tell spouse i am messing around with a Tesla coil in the woodshed.

Also, no doubt you have discovered Quantum Tunneling does zip for a self effacing sense of humor

Carry on.
@Millercarbon

Doesn't really bother me that folks don't "get it."  I am used to that.  I wanted my point of view posted for posterity as it can be found via Google Search. ;)

I have always been the odd duck.  I don't strive for popularity.  I strive for happiness.  I am happy with my setup and to date, no one who hears it says it sucks. :)
@tablejockey Do it! We are on the stinky water Lagoon, just south of Carlsbad Village! I worked many countless hours between El Segundo and Seal beach…. my fave old world Italian place is in Long Beach. I ride 100-150 miles a week, but i cheat with a Quantum enabled ebike.

For the sales guys: Make the Ask ! It works for $250 m jets…. ask me how I know…
"...workin'....workin'...workin' in th' quantum mine, goin' down down down, workin' in the quantum mine *whoops* 'bout to step down...

Lawrd, I'm so tired..

How long, can this go on?"

(...the clock is running...;)...)


I think I found where the real Quantum Tunneling is being done:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04qPdGNA_KM

All the best,
Nonoise
Thank you guakus for saying what needs to be said (unfortunately over and over again)!   

I love the process of listening to new components (all cables are components). Not just in the hopes of finding the next new thing that bring some modicum of improvement to my system, but for the pure love of learning more about this "hobby". Listening to new cables next to my reference cables is part of the journey. There have many been times where there's no clear winner. Quite often there are trade offs, which begs the question, what am I really searching for. Then there are the rare moments that lift me above what I thought was even possible. I say rare because I can't afford to test every component I would like to, not because they aren't out there. 

I believe there are currently more than a handful of manufacturers out there, who like us are passionate audiophiles searching for that same moment of discovery of being lifted above what they thought was possible. 
@69zoso69
Awesome Led Zeplin reference. :)

I know exactly how you feel. I am actually experiencing it right now.  I just got my Synergistic Research Foundation 3.5 mini to RCA cable to replace the Audioquest Yosemite. The first several hours have been "flat." It isn't the high-pitched 'shrill' that tends to get reported regarding silver cables.

The good news is, the cable is proceeding almost exactly like the previous SR Foundation cable did on my subwoofer (RCA to RCA.)  It starts off good, but sort of flat.  Then on the over night burn in, it opened up and started to get great.  Now, months later, it's awesome.  So I figure this cable needs a few days or a week to truly settle in.

I still feel worried it won't reach the same richness the AQ Yosemite was doing. I really don't want to get the AQ Angel.

So, for now, this cable is Schrodinger's Interconnect. It is both a bad cable and a great cable....we will see....;)
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I have a biamped system with an electronic crossover and that arrangement requires alot of cabling, both interconnects and speaker cables.  I have some very sophisticated equipment and I am a serious listener, not a consumer of “background music.”
I won’t pay more than $50 for an interconnect or $100 for a set of speaker cables until somebody does placebo controlled double blind studies on these expensive cables.  I’m just not going to spend a lot of money on wire based on hype and anecdotes.  Also, Ive noticed, and this was true of my career in medicine, when there is a lack of meaningful DATA about a topic, alot of VERBIAGE tends to be generated.
Sounds like you have visited the ANA site. Those wannabe audiophiles don't have the ears/the budget/the system to compare cables so they always state a cable over $50 is snake oil. They try to prove their point bringing in so called NASA experts/PE's to try to prove their point.
I wonder where the lawsuit sits between Synergistic Research and the Audioholics clown?
But what is worse: guys on ANA that are cable naysayers that don't test out the product or have even seen the product calling it snake oil, or, like somebody on many of these threads, without hearing/evaluating some speakers they were getting, already claiming they were better than Wilson's $1M speaker system (which they don't have) and goes out of the way telling people that any model of this brand of speaker is perfect for them while never hearing or even seeing the speaker being bragged about. 
Both types of posting is wrong.
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OP  I have broken off a pair of Audioquest bananas. They are not very malleable. It only took shifting a speaker and snap-snap. 
@russ69 
I'm sure this is the main reason. The Proletariat unable to achieve a higher position must chastise the Bourgeoise to feel better about themselves.  

Maybe it was a faux pas but thankfully if you live in the good old US of A there are no proletariat unable to do anything they want to do. If rising above there circumstances is what they want to achieve they most certainly can. 

I know it's popular to believe it's somebody else's fault and the last part of the quote is most certainly true, shifting blame is self gratifying. I think it's been very unfortunate for future generations of Americans to teach them it's someone elses fault then use the force of government to 'rectify the injustice'. I saw a clip of an elected official not long ago declaring their intent openly, paraphrase ' you got it, we want it, we're taking it'. 

These are the naysayers and scoffers and people who tell you how unjust and immoral of you. What everyone has to realize is rich is always relative. I guarantee you if you a reader of this forum no matter how rock bottom your gear is you are rich to someone.

Twenty years ago I spent homeless nights on the streets of New Orleans. The reason I'm not still there or dead is I knew it was my fault and my responsibility to change my circumstances.  

Tonight I'm sitting listening to a hell of a fine system in a house I own with my wife. 
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