What’s your vote for the most ridiculous, overpriced, and useless tweak?

My vote: Furutech Outlet Cover 105 NCF $220, with “special crystalline material that has two “active” properties.” https://www.thecableco.com/outlet-cover-105-ncf.html


Showing 16 responses by cd318

For me it was the horror of spiked loudspeaker stands. Some of these vandalising monstrosities even had spiked top plates!! Ouch!

After all the careful alignment and sitting of spikes through carpet (on crosshead screws no less) what was the improvement in sound? 

Bugger all improvement I'd say! Yet many voices, Linn amongst the loudest, were proclaiming that these items of ironmongery had to be assembled with enough pressure to almost burst blood vessels. Ditto for headshells.

Thankfully the alternative approach of a degree of loudspeaker isolation is now making a comeback.

Eventually we may even see a return back to the days when speakers used to come with small attached rubber feet.

@stringreen , good point. I never got on well with spikes - maybe it was my ancient floorboards to blame. So naturally I'm biased a little, and maybe that colours what I hear. I don't know, but they didn't work for me.

I also hate the thought of record clamps, heavy ones especially because of the additional weight just where you don't want it. 

You're right this hobby is largely about preferences or else it would be easy and we'd all have similar systems.
The best so far.

Shun Mook LP Clamp $3200.00


$3200 to accelerate bearing wear and lower fidelity?

One for the therapists to ponder, or trading standards.

Just take a moment to think what else $3200 could buy you!

@kqvkq9, "When I was a kid working in the amusement park I would sometimes work the Carny side of things. You quickly learned who was savvy and who was a mark. Some of the marks knew they were but played along because they were only throwing away peanuts. Some had no clue.
When I had the stripper living with me I saw the same effect. When I took my friends to her shows for free we would always be treated like marks when we walked in. After we let out that we knew somebody in the show we were treated like family instead of schmucks. The deal was that we weren't stupid enough to actually pay money for the show. We were alright.
Think audio is any different?
Really, do you?"

Nope, but the noobs might not know that most 'slick' businesses work like this.

There's little romance going on, its mainly 'us and them', those in the know and those outside. 

If you really want romance, try DIY, or at at least take a good hard look at the designer first.

I'd say 99% of all tweaks are useless and hence likely to be both ridiculous and overpriced at the same time.

Can we audiophiles really believe that manufacturers and designers operating in an highly competitive cut throat field would deliberately be ignoring all these easy to implement tweaks which might give them an edge over the competition? 

Oh OK, silly question.

Put me down for a Shun Mook LP clamp when it's back in stock...and I'll take some of that ludicrously priced cable whilst I'm at it, and don't forget those gold plated fuses.

Cryogenics or Voodoo, I don't care I'm just waiting for the Star Wars brand to enter the market - I can really feel the Force.


" 'You ever try and ask your power company to correct the direction of the wires connecting your house to the local transformer?'

Yes, the restraining order is still in effect I believe...."

Thanks for that!

A great example of what can happen when a self appointed expert offers an appeal to the imagination entirely devoid of method, experiment and most importantly, evidence. 

The result? A true laugh out loud moment.

Audiophilia doesn't get much funnier than this.. 

"While I do have to offer my compliments to the original poster for a fun idea, it was inevitable that the thread would descend into argument. Why? Well, speaking as someone who has been involved in the hobby for over 40 years, I've watched the lunatic fringe rise from Auntie Enid and Peter Beltto, to well what it has become.

Why would the eye bulging types invade the thread to defend that tweaks and gizmos and Audio Jewelry are the bee's knees? What do they need to defend? Can't skeptics ridicule the craziness that inhabits audio in peace?
Well of course not. If you have something invested in that sort of thing, ridicule is not what you savor. Common sense is the last thing that you want to see.
Consider though, as audio as we know it shrinks as a hobby and home theater and smart speakers dominate, think about the case we make to the public at large and the younger generation for the survival of the hobby.
We have a good sized and mobile group, intolerant of dissent, that posits the most outrageous and laughable positions imaginable. It's bad enough that current hobbyists find the positions untenable, think about how that group looks to people considering the hobby.
Inviting to newbies? I think not.

Wonder why the hobby is shrinking? Who wants to be part of a group that people make jokes about? Who wants to be part of a group that people laugh at?
My compliments again to the original poster for a fun idea. I'm off to finish my cold fusion reactor."

A timely posting with many good points, eg - 

Why would the eye bulging types invade the thread to defend that tweaks and gizmos and Audio Jewelry are the bee's knees?

What do they need to defend?

Can't skeptics ridicule the craziness that inhabits audio in peace?

We have a good sized and mobile group, intolerant of dissent, that posits the most outrageous and laughable positions imaginable.

Who wants to be part of a group that people laugh at?

Thankfully, as always, the reader, experienced or not, should feel free to make up their own mind regarding the intentions and validity of each and every post/ article/ YouTube clip etc.  

Another useless tweak worth mentioning is 180 gram vinyl. Looks good on the sticker but usually has nothing to do with actual pressing quality.


"...My experiment with stones and crystals were great tweaks with positive results but less evident one by one than with the resonators...My tweaking of mechanical vibrations were also evident but less so than the effect of the resonators,but I listen now to my resonators with an already tweaked system, electrically, and mechanically... Without these tweaks perhaps the effect of the resonators would have been there but less astounding in their evidence... All tweaks put my already good system to another level that is for sure..."

I wonder if you have heard of a British satirical magazine called Private Eye? It was originally founded by comedian Peter Cook and features a column called Pseuds Corner.

Your post my friend, I feel would be a prime candidate for submission. Perhaps some of mine too.

It's a dangerous disease, audiophilia, is it not? 

This thread is in danger of being strangely hijacked into a pro advocacy of tweaking via various parties with financial interests in doing so. Strange because there is a concurrent thread advocating tweaks running right now.

Useless plausible tweaks mentioned so far.

Aftermarket mains cables 
Exotic interconnects (non shielded ofc)
Loudspeaker cables (non ofc)
Ridiculous turntable clamps.

As for useless implausible ones, take your pick from any of the seemingly endless ones being regularly hawked here on the audiogon forum by the usual suspects. These sharks insist on proving the old adage that a sucker is born every minute.

Free advertising never loses its appeal I guess. Now let's see if we can stick to discussing useless tweaks, shall we?


“Footnote: I almost stopped reading the post when I saw the poster “has been involved in the hobby for over 40 years.” It’s kind of a tip off of what’s to follow.”

Any possibility you could enlighten us as to what you meant by this? Guessing…only the self-anointed ones have valid opinions? But, eh, what do I know right?"

I think you may have alluded to the answer yourself earlier on in your post. 

"Unfortunate because many newbies are interested in getting started in what can be a rewarding lifetime hobby, they post, and get ‘jumped’."

Let's face it, this can be a daunting hobby to get into. You could never suspect that there's no end of shysters between you and your path to audio satisfaction. Even many dealers, reviewers and forum posters are in on the scam!

Here are the words of one of the most respected figures in this industry, Harbeth's Alan Shaw -

"I have this growing feeling that there may not be one single generally held 'fact' amongst audiophiles that is actually true and demonstrable under controlled conditions. Is it possible that the entire audiophile industry has foundations of sand?

What is odd is that hard, cold physics is (obviously) brought to bear by equipment designers to create and produce physical audio equipment, but that hard, cold physics is then replaced by mythology when the product reaches the audiophile marketplace. I'm struggling now to think of one 'fact' that could be independently validated. Can you do better than me?

How did a hardware industry of the 50's transition into a fashion industry where there are no absolutes, no norms, no frames of reference .... all opinion. Is it any wonder the industry is stagnant? Expensive blue-sky R&D is unnecessary because a new marketing spin will keep the production lines flowing with yesterday's technology. It really is a strange business and for sure, the consumer is not benefiting."


Talking of useless tweaks for the consumer, how about any music file above 320kbps? 
So difficult to stick to the title of the thread isn’t it? The gravitational pull of FREE ADVERTISING still blights the audiogon forum. No thread is immune, not even this one.

Let me remind you, we’re discussing ridiculous, useless, and overpriced tweaks.

For all you would be salesmen, entrepreneurs, fanboys, shills etc try the following link.

Turntable mats? Yes, they can make a difference but are they ever an actual improvement?

If so, then surely something went seriously wrong in the design process if a detail so basic was overlooked.
@yeti42 , sorry to hear about your experiences. I guess far too many of us were taken for a ride at some point in this hobby. Our needs were great but our knowledge was narrow.

Talking of the Townshend Rock, surely the proprietary trough wasn’t a useless tweak? It always seemed to make logical sense to give the head shell end of the arm some support regarding tracking performance.
Most useless tweaks?

Or is this now an endless hijacking by the most useless tweak salesmen posing as posters?

Anyway, what about moving coil cartridges? When you consider how good moving magnets are nowadays, plus their technical superiority...

Great posts Dr Glupson, if I may say so. Unfortunately your patient may be beyond the words of reason. Still, I'm sure many of us here would wish you the very best of luck in your endeavours.

Anyway, back to the subject in hand, how about audiophile fuses?

Reports of some being sold at £130 a pop reveal the depths that some will sink to.

Welcome to the world of the audiophile. It can be great fun but do watch out for the sharks and vultures.

@mahgister, good for you that you have found some useful tweaks. I can't recall a single tweak that came up from the user community that has been universally accepted by the industry - although spiking and isolation got close. 

 However, in any case this is a thread for discussing useless costly or ridiculous ones. Some would say that going beyond 4 track recording tape was a useless tweak if you were looking to improve sound quality. 

The devil is in the details you know.