Some of you may be reading the polite back and forth that Michael Lavorgna of Audiostream.com and I have been having about topics we’re both interested in. He’s been writing long responses to a few of my posts and I’ve posted a few responses. He wrote again today. His comments are at the bottom of this post. I spent a fair amount of time typing out a reasoned response and thought I would share it here:
Michael, we’ll push this marble a little further down the road. Before I respond to all of the points you make in your comment. I would like to ask you a relevant and important question. Do you believe that there are any people or companies (regardless of their engineering prowess or academic degrees) that are promoting products or services that are knowingly selling “snake oil” audiophile tweaks? There has to be a line below which we don’t have to validate a claim and I’m wondering where that line is for you.
For example, there is a company (really an individual named Geoff Kait) called Machina Dynamica that offers a variety of audiophile tweaks including the “teleportation tweak”, which is described this way: “Long-Distance Audio and Video System Enhancement – The Only Audio Product that doesn’t Require Shipping”. It comes with a 30-day money back guarantee and has plenty of very positive reviews, “I noted a vast improvement in depth and staging. The tone is pure, correct-sounding and natural. In fact, I have never heard sound so real. The Teleportation Tweak is a thing of indescribable beauty.” – Customer, Sept 2007. There are other testimonials including some from other vendors of high-end audiophile tweaks (how convenient?). It’s almost as if they got together to support each other.
And Geoff certainly has the right credentials: “Geoff Kait — Aerospace Engineering (theoretical fluid dynamics and propulsion, statistical thermodynamics, nuclear physics, indeterminate structures). Undergrad thesis: Preliminary design of low-thrust engine for interplanetary travel utilizing momentum transfer mechanisms in highly magnetic metal crystal bombarded by high-energy ions. Work experience: satellite operations; radar data analysis; aerodynamics of high-performance aircraft; reentry vehicle dynamics; radio communications; satellite communications; spread spectrum communications. He incorporated Machina Dynamica in 1998; he designed Nimbus Sub-Hertz Isolation Platform, Promethean Base, Baby Promethean Mini Isolators, Brilliant Pebbles, Tru-Tone Duplex Covers, Codename Turquoise II CD Tray Masking Kit, Codename Top Banana II Blu Ray Tray Masking Kit, the Teleportation Tweak, Clever Little Clock, Codename White Poppy, Codename Blue Meanies, Frog Jump in Water Tweak, The Super Intelligent Chip, the Diamond Light Crystal High Frequency Clarifier, Spectrum Purifier CD Coloring System, Blu Spectrum Purifier Blu Ray Coloring System, Flying Saucers for Windows, Flying Saucers for Wall Outlets, Pretzel Logic Reef Knot Device, Dark Matter CD Optical Coating and the Ultra Signature Version of the Clever Little Clock. He is the Author of How the Intelligent Chip Works – The Definitive Explanation and The Real Story of How the Clever Little Clock Works.”
You can visit the website for yourself and read the theory upon which the teleportation tweak is based…“quantum teleportation and mind-matter interaction”. It seems real enough to me…or perhaps this guy is selling a service that is so ridiculous that we don’t need to test it.
It might be of interest that he describes himself on a Linked In audio group as a, “snake oil purveyor”. No kidding!
My point is that there are people and companies that are frauds. Geoff is at least honest enough to admit that he’s nothing but voodoo. Yes, he’s still in business and as far as I know he generates a substantial income from his products.
So back to your comments. The exact details of the Ars/Randi challenge are not important to me. I think a more rigorous test might be worthwhile but I don’t believe the results would be any different. My position on “bits are bits” is based on at least three thorough tests that I’ve done personally and information from people (“real” engineers) who have as much if not more expertise and practical experience than the engineers behind REGEN and JitterBug. I’ve compared the data output from a treated “vivified” CD and an untreated disc…the data and fidelity were exactly the same. If the bits delivered to the DAC are the same, then the sound is the same. I’ve compared an expensive USB cable to a standard issue USB cable…same results. The data nulls when the polarity is reversed and the fidelity didn’t change.
As for the reforming of the data traveling through a USB cable as the JitterBug and REGEN claim to do, again my expert engineer with over 30 years designing and building state-of-the-art analog and digital equipment tells me, “If these thing work, there is something wrong with your DAC!” And that’s good enough for me. If you and others want to spend the money and feel you hear an improvement in the fidelity of your systems, that’s great. The explanations (and yes, I did read through them) are nice but they don’t change the conclusion for me. The same data is present without the tweaks…and therefore “calling someone out” is warranted. I’ve done my homework and read the explanations, talked to respected experts, done rigorous evaluations myself, and listened in a state-of-the-art studio – nothing in the bits changed! If doing all of that qualifies me as “ignorant” then we have a different definition of the word. I honestly can’t imagine doing anything else to be able to speak with some authority about my personal experience.
So there has to be some audiophile tweak that you just know is BS, right? Would you spend $60 on the “Teleportation Tweak” (remember there is a money back guarantee)? I don’t have time for tweaks that defy the “bits are bits” logic. I guess you do.