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Why do people associate High End audio with snake-oil?

sergeauckland

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#2
Because so much of the High End is!!!!!

When quality is associated with price, the result is inevitable.

A few companies (some of which I'm happy to say you represent) charge high prices, but provide high-end (technically) performance.

Others just charge high (sometime stupidly high) prices but don't provide the performance, like Kondo, AudioNote and a few others who use very expensive 'boutique' components, but still manage a mediocre or even downright poor performance, but manage to con enough of the gullible to keep themselves in business.

S.
 

RayDunzl

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#3
Why do people associate High End audio with snake-oil?
I don't associate "high end audio" with snake oil. I like to think I have high end audio happening here, to my standards, at least.

Specific products might fit the bill, taking claims, and prices, into account.

"While incorporating the highest levels of (company name) insulation and winding geometric technology, the (product line name) have one significant advancement over all other lines by utilizing conductors made with a proprietary alloy from precious metals. This super-pure transmission path provides a distortion free signal to your electronics that is unmatched and results in enormous levels of dynamic range combined with high resolution of fine detail."

What is it?

It's a power cord.

$17,000 - 1.5 Meter
$2,000 - Each Additional 0.5 Meter


https://www.masterbuiltaudio.com/ultra-line-audio-cables
 

RayDunzl

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#5
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#6
The first reply said it. But depends on what you mean by high end. There probably is a ceiling for the "good enough" audio quality and auditory illusion above which there's no point in going - and it's NOT expensive to hit it. What seems to be the trend all the time is that people focus on the wrong things. That being said, people also spend an obscene amount of money on abstract paintings that literally a dog can make...

I'm all for beautiful components, cases, cables, enclosures, drivers etc. I'd be willing to pay extra (in reasonable terms) for that kind of "high end".
Make your audio system a piece of furniture, kind of.
 

Fitzcaraldo215

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#7
The first reply said it. But depends on what you mean by high end. There probably is a ceiling for the "good enough" audio quality and auditory illusion above which there's no point in going - and it's NOT expensive to hit it. What seems to be the trend all the time is that people focus on the wrong things. That being said, people also spend an obscene amount of money on abstract paintings that literally a dog can make...

I'm all for beautiful components, cases, cables, enclosures, drivers etc. I'd be willing to pay extra (in reasonable terms) for that kind of "high end".
Make your audio system a piece of furniture, kind of.
No thanks as a piece of furniture. I am happy to say that the "shrine" of upfront audio components, one I formerly revered and worshiped, is now shrunken in my listening room to a tiny, innocuous DAC, a 70" HiDef monitor and a few amps, most totally hidden in my 7.1 system in cabinets or behind the TV.

Yes, the large speakers are stil there. And, there is the occasional glimpse of a speaker cable on the floor here or there. But, all the heavy work is done remotely by an ugly, noisy, standard tower PC in the adjoining utility room, along with my network components and NAS. Simple cables connect my front end to the listening room, and remote control via wi-fi controls the system.

I have proudly erected beautiful shrines in the past, studded with beautiful, thick metal faceplates, meters, etc. on gear I used to believe would, somehow, fulfill a sonic dream. I guess I fulfilled that and got my rocks off. I am much happier now, and my sound has never been even remotely better.
 
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#8
There are audiophiles who wish make a distinction between genuine performance v. hyperbole, puffery, and sales duplicity. There are also audiophiles, I guess a lot of them, who want expensive status items to display to reflect their income and status without regard to performance, but claiming performance as part of the package.

This is true of all commodities, but the tease with audiophilia is whether the expensive items are actually superior and worth the price. Obviously, some are and some are not, and there are some expensive items with inferior performance that claim to be superior based on glitter, packaging and assertion.

These mixtures of marketing, status and generated sales mythology exist with all purchasable commodities, and when there is money on the table, there will always be misdirection and snake oil. Audiophile personalities tend to the obsessive/compulsive as well, which fans the flame of empty ritualizations and rank superstitions for various perceived or imagined benefits.

The ones who are resentful are those who want performance that is proportional to price, and to cut off price when the performance ceiling has been met, without superfluities, non performing 'fake' claims, or deceptive practices. Good luck with that.

Some people are fine with paying for audio items that are also art objects, as with watches, that they like just because they are nice. I bought my expensive tonearm because I loved it's tarnished brass looks/cocobolo and wanted to see that every time I put a record on the turntable. It also happens to perform to a high standard.

Caveat Emptor, but in the end, people can spend their money the way they like. The audiophile country club guys like to think they have the corner on sound quality with their veblens, but if that makes them happy in their audio museums, then I can't argue with happiness.

If a dealer can make these guys happy with expensive product by fanning the fantasy, then I can't argue with that happiness, either. I also like to see and hear the extreme installations, and SOMEBODY has to pay for all that stuff.
 
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Sal1950

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#9
Why?
I find the most glaring point to be the fact that todays main line of media supports the craziest ideas of the lunatic fringe. In a little boys club the collusion to promote that which will advance the industry as a whole, they will write page after page of flowery prose to discribe the sound of things which should have no sound. (cables, etc) Or promote the idea of a flawed digital system and a superior obsolete analog LP as the SOTA in reproduction in this Our Lords Year of 2018. Etc, Etc, Etc.
People are believers in all sort of things, but it doesn't usually happen in a vacuum. In this case it is a media built in support of commerce.
 

Wombat

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#10
"Snake Oil' was a term used to describe balsams/lotions/pills that were falsly(usually with lots of bullshit) claimed by 'quacks' to cure or relieve medical maladies. Later, there were also mechanical/electrical devices similarly touted.

I guess 'audiophools' fall for the spiels just like others in times past.

Ironically, the patent-medicines were usually inexpensive and used as a means of avoiding spending money on medical advice and formal treatments. It still goes on to this day, The internet has replaced the horse and wagon.

No matter who said it, it sure upsets the ''phools' :https://quoteinvestigator.com/2014/04/11/fool-born/:oops:
 
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Frank Dernie

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#11
That looks like a comparative bargain.
That looks like a Chinese rip-off!
Yter cable came from Sonus Faber originally I think and is an alloy of not-particularly-good-but-expensive conductors. I don't know if it is still made but a used 4m speaker cable set came up on my ebay page recently for £900.
 

RayDunzl

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#12
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Wombat

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#13
Scrap wire in a wire-scrap thread. Love you Ray. :)
 
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#14
yter - silver palladium alloy.
Paladium :

Speed of sound thin rod 3070 m/s (at 20 °C)
Thermal expansion 11.8 µm/(m·K) (at 25 °C)
Thermal conductivity 71.8 W/(m·K)
Electrical resistivity 105.4 nΩ·m (at 20 °C)
Magnetic ordering paramagnetic
Magnetic susceptibility +567.4·10−6 cm3/mol (288 K)[3]

Silver:
Speed of sound thin rod 2680 m/s (at r.t.)
Thermal expansion 18.9 µm/(m·K) (at 25 °C)
Thermal conductivity 429 W/(m·K)
Thermal diffusivity 174 mm2/s (at 300 K)
Electrical resistivity 15.87 nΩ·m (at 20 °C)
Magnetic ordering diamagnetic
Magnetic susceptibility −19.5·10−6 cm3/mol (296 K)[3]


Copper:

Speed of sound thin rod (annealed) 3810 m/s (at r.t.)
Thermal expansion 16.5 µm/(m·K) (at 25 °C)
Thermal conductivity 401 W/(m·K)
Electrical resistivity 16.78 nΩ·m (at 20 °C)
Magnetic ordering diamagnetic
Magnetic susceptibility −5.46·10−6 cm3/mol[3]

Source: trust me bro.
 
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Wombat

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#15
ytir - silver palladium alloy.
Paladium :

Speed of sound thin rod 3070 m/s (at 20 °C)
Thermal expansion 11.8 µm/(m·K) (at 25 °C)
Thermal conductivity 71.8 W/(m·K)
Electrical resistivity 105.4 nΩ·m (at 20 °C)
Magnetic ordering paramagnetic
Magnetic susceptibility +567.4·10−6 cm3/mol (288 K)[3]

Silver:
Speed of sound thin rod 2680 m/s (at r.t.)
Thermal expansion 18.9 µm/(m·K) (at 25 °C)
Thermal conductivity 429 W/(m·K)
Thermal diffusivity 174 mm2/s (at 300 K)
Electrical resistivity 15.87 nΩ·m (at 20 °C)
Magnetic ordering diamagnetic
Magnetic susceptibility −19.5·10−6 cm3/mol (296 K)[3]


Copper:

Speed of sound thin rod (annealed) 3810 m/s (at r.t.)
Thermal expansion 16.5 µm/(m·K) (at 25 °C)
Thermal conductivity 401 W/(m·K)
Electrical resistivity 16.78 nΩ·m (at 20 °C)
Magnetic ordering diamagnetic
Magnetic susceptibility −5.46·10−6 cm3/mol[3]

Source: trust me bro.

Data!

Practicality in audiocables??
 
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#16
Speed of sound / density (this one goes deeper into chemistry and understanding of what actually happens with excited electrons ergo direct effect on conductivity).
Electrical resistivity

just to name two i guess.

To break it down, silver is the best for transferring electrical current from one place to another with minimal loss, palladium less than copper. And yter is alloy of palladium and silver. Worse product for the application for a higher price... are we talking about that?
 
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Wombat

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#17
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#18
I edited the post with meaningful explanation for data mobilization, c'mon now, you gave me a few weeks off.

Edit: i went out with pure data cause i was certain that we are all clear on composition and usage of certain materials in cables, voodoo magic, and benefits of implementing worse materials for the job, resulting in higher product quality (cough, price).
 
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Wombat

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#19
I edited the post with meaningful explanation for data mobilization, c'mon now, you gave me a few weeks off.

Edit: i went out with pure data cause i was certain that we are all clear on composition and usage of certain materials in cables, voodoo magic, and benefits of implementing worse materials for the job, resulting in higher product quality (cough, price).
:)o_O
 
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#20
No thanks as a piece of furniture. I am happy to say that the "shrine" of upfront audio components, one I formerly revered and worshiped, is now shrunken in my listening room to a tiny, innocuous DAC, a 70" HiDef monitor and a few amps, most totally hidden in my 7.1 system in cabinets or behind the TV.

Yes, the large speakers are stil there. And, there is the occasional glimpse of a speaker cable on the floor here or there. But, all the heavy work is done remotely by an ugly, noisy, standard tower PC in the adjoining utility room, along with my network components and NAS. Simple cables connect my front end to the listening room, and remote control via wi-fi controls the system.

I have proudly erected beautiful shrines in the past, studded with beautiful, thick metal faceplates, meters, etc. on gear I used to believe would, somehow, fulfill a sonic dream. I guess I fulfilled that and got my rocks off. I am much happier now, and my sound has never been even remotely better.
I never meant the stacks of amps and power regulators, "cleaners" etc.

I meant, I can make an enclosure from plywood or raw mdf, or from ebony wood.
Guess which looks nicer and is more expensive.

Same thing with my diy amps. I can put them in a plastic box, or in brushed aluminum.
I can use lamp wire for speakers, or sleeve the lamp wire in a nice black sleeve :D

That sort of thing. :)
 

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