Having recently, it feels, sent into the world the last P.W.B. Newsletter, it is something of a surprise to be compelled to edit a further one so early in the new year. There are many reasons for this, although most compelling is the urge to communicate a remarkable advance that has largely defeated my desire to communicate my findings!
This point does confirm what we have always known - that when one embraces the 'fact' that here is something 'going on', the equipment at our disposal (brain and language) is the first to falter. How does one describe something that is located in the realm of experience? At what level do we register the changes or perceived improvements. This process was heightened for me, when a very gifted colleague started to develop Alzheimer's Disease in middle age. She was an astonishingly lucid writer, who could put into short, pithy phrases the quintessence of an experience. There are of course many aspects to such a talent, including her fearless openness, which allowed her to grasp the heart of the matter, and in a sense the words flowed from that. Being very well read, and highly intelligent provided some support too, but the emphasis on understanding what was being experienced was the absolute prerequisite. As the degenerative brain disorder started to influence her abilities, it was clear to me that the person, the mind, was struggling within a failing piece of equipment. At this stage, the thoughts are still there, such that she could still write a truly moving and groundbreaking piece on the experience of Alzheimer's - so far called 'My Unfaithful Brain' - yet the means for communicating failing. It would be glib to say everything but communication was okay, but I have been struck by how the mechanics of our bodies seems to be quite distant from the expression of mind and experience. It has been a very painful and harrowing experience for all, especially the sufferer, but it is still possible to communicate.
I emphasise this because in the specific pieces written for the Newsletter, or those briefer postings on the discussion board, reveal how we reel, trying to explain to ourselves what our senses are telling us. And it does get silly. You will read of the adventures of those applying the basic P.W.B. products, of foils and creams, and of trying reef knots in various places. The experience of a real improvement defies all sense, and yet cannot be ignored. As one progresses, the relentless improvements can almost get tiring, and I for one did not look on the introduction of a further product with just enthusiasm. Of course, for myself there is the very real problem - shared with Peter - of trying to describe some of the background thinking, which becomes nevermore complex. But on this occasion, I felt that words did defeat me when trying to describe the benefits of the products. I am not sure why - the benefit as very real and very clear. I sometimes think my early enthusiasms, written time and again in the Newsletters for the products have left me with a 'superlative-fatigue'. Yet this felt different - was I overwhelmed by the experience, such that my absorption in the music defeated language? Was I too caught-up?
I should add that the new products are hot-off the press, and there has not been much time to digest the experience fully. As the products gain in efficacy, there is perhaps a great need for the brain or mind to take stock of what has happened. Again, this is familiar, from the very first time I heard the effects of the 'polariser' in 1987, but now the effects are greater.
This mention of time is (ouch!) timely. Partly because it reminds us that the world of Hi-Fi and music is very different from that in 1987, yet depressingly similar. The economic fortunes of the various agencies involved remain a highly influential force, such that the Japanese companies compete for that new format that will ensure their future through royalties, regardless of the benefit to the consumer. The need to survive economically does not appear to be tying the manufacturer to the consumer, but, as with politics, leads them to persuade or bully them into obedience. This does not always go down well, and I cannot say I am very sad to see the CEO of Tag McLaren humbled by the financial changes there. Money seems to be strangling all adventure and innovation, and few are privileged enough to see through the less conformist ideas.
This marking of time though is not just to be a reporting of dismal world affairs. It is now 10 years since the very first P.W.B. Newsletter appeared, which I hoped would be a way of supporting Peter's explorations, and of binding the experiences of users into an encouraging forum. You can read on-line of our stumbling first moments, of the perhaps, at times, defensive enthusiasms, but always the wish to make things better. We have come a long way, and the discussion forum has in many ways gone further than we could have hoped, as it provides immediate ways of communicating, enquiring and, excitingly, organising activities. The success of this is such that it will always now be a part of this Newsletter, and as much as encouraging people to write for this publication, it is at least as helpful to post something on the board. The only problem I can see is that there are the constant stream of people stumbling across this field, and we remain less good at supporting those first steps. The need for a 'beginners guide' is all the more highlighted by the 10 years of Newsletters to get through before you could feel up to date.
Still, using P.W.B. devices in any way was never easy, and writing and reading about them just as challenging. So I would like to thank everyone who has written, drawn or for that matter read anything in a Newsletter. We are all still at the stage of planting seeds that have to grow further, and do not underestimate your involvement.
Of course, there would be no Newsletter, no problems with communicating without the tireless work of P.W.B. - including the hard works of Graham and May - and struggling as I am to describe, I remain both humbled and grateful for the advances.
So with more work to be done, and pleasures in store, here's to the next decade of communications and great music.
Have a good Easter
Address for correspondence
18. Pasture Crescent
Or for you sophisticates
E-mail to Newsletter@belt.demon.co.uk
Yet again we are confronted with a yet further progression, although for the weary, there is a more straightforward solution to the task of fitting the new devices. After the complex process of fitting the Inverted and Copper/Aluminium Foils (staggering though the results may have been) you can fit and forget this one. Well not exactly forget
New Generation P.W.B. Devices
or the strange case of light.
I have, for as long as I have used P.W.B. products, lived in a flat with a large window in the lounge - the main listening area. The view is not great, but it lends a certain 'airiness' that can be pleasing. On a sunny day though it can be annoying, and without exaggerating too much, it can be difficult to listen to music if the sun is too bright. I had always taken the view that it was the effect of the glass upon the light passing through it that lent it such a noxious quality. All manner of sprays and creams (I do draw the line at foils and Magnadiscs on glass) have been tried to some benefit, but the problem remains. What is it with light then?
For those accompanying P.W.B. on his strange journey of discovery, you will remember that we spend much time at the bottom of the earliest oceans, reflecting upon the origins of life. No easy thing, as there are many that speculate on such matters from the Darwinian perspective, that tell us how it must have been, with little regard for what consequences there have been for us in a variety of ways. When one is designing products to enhance reproduction form audio visual equipment, the focus inevitably falls onto our senses, and of how they interact with each other, and with the environment. So Peter's developments in this area focus upon deductions that can be drawn from experiments that model evolutionary processes, which then suggest further ways forward.
There is no simple way of describing where things have got to, and I may leave many readers here, as the enjoyment of music will be their focus. For others, I can simply trace two or three ideas that may inform:
i) Nature's development is not linear, and imbalances occur along the way.
ii) The development of rudimentary sound detection prior to the advanced evolution of sight remains a problem, and when our eyes are 'dazzled' by problematic patterns of light, hearing is attenuated. This problematic pattern relates to the dominant pattern imposed by preceding plant life, and their dependence upon photosynthesis. (The dark side of the leaf!)
iii) The progress of man in to a bipedal creature.
The problem of how to relate this to Hi-Fi is then with us, but as point ii) indicates we need to accommodate for those things or patterns which suppress our auditory perceptions. This is not a new idea, as Peter has emphasised this at each stage of his thinking. The relationship to plants, and our vertical posture has also been thought about before. But the effect, and how to respond is perhaps only just being grasped with these new products. And to embrace that, there are descriptions of tests involving a small piece of paper with 5 small holes, a picture of a dog, and an aspirin tablet that are quite compelling. When you read the full explanation of what the new products aim to do, it lends some meaning to why putting the 5-holed piece of paper on a picture of a dog improves the sound of your system!
So what are the devices. Well there is an extremely effective new Electret Disc, which sits in the case of your CD/DVD case, as the disc spins. This may sound nothing new, but the new Electret Disc is a very powerful device. Put simply, this new Electret Disc is a Room Device that deals with many problems in any room. For example, it deals with the problem pattern of long thin objects, including wires and the spines of books and discs. Again this may seem rather silly, but when you try the 5-holed piece of paper on a wire, you learn that the problem of cables relates to much more than electrical properties. So the Electret Disc should, and given its effect does, deal with many of the problems within our listening rooms, enhancing all other P.W.B. devices you may also have fitted, and this is particularly helpful if you have any treated photos in the room. You can also use the Electret Disc to treat your discs further, using the Clip, by clipping the case of the disc whilst the Electret Disc is inside the case, with the CD. I found some things responded to a re-Clipping, but oddly, not everything. It is certainly worth a go.
The Electret Disc also comes with two other devices (Labels, attached to strips of Velcro, so they can be moved) that are to be fitted to your loudspeakers, which are invariably wood, and therein part of the problematic plant world. This gives a further very pleasing lift to the sound, and at this point I will try to describe how I heard the effect.
For me, this new product cleaned up the sound in the most astonishing way. Often a clean sound can seem stripped of feeling and appear rather sterile. This was different. It wasn't like one was hit between the eyes with detail, although this was much better. It was just like a thick veil was lifted, and what had seemed satisfactory before, now seemed monochromatic, dull and stifled, and rich tonal colours, sweet melody and pungent rhythm replaced it. It wasn't just a matter of clarity, it is a matter of total perception, if such a concept exists, and it as rather overwhelming. Indeed, I feel lost for words.
I cannot deny that the Electret Disc and associated device is cheap, but it is fabulously easy to fit. But beyond cost, there is a further problem. It works within one room only, and as we know, distant objects really make a difference. And so for those wishing to explore this New Generation line of products, or wish to add a taste of it to other parts of the home, there is new foil - the "Present" Foil. Again, one of the more expensive Foils, but I found it excellent, and particularly after the object it is attached to is clipped after fitting.
I cannot tell anyone to try these new products, but they are a significant addition to the range, and can be indescribably good.
Having started a new job, and always keen to keep the flow of improvements going at home, I was desperate to apply some things that would give a good lift to the sound, without effort. So here is my list of simple, easy to fit, P.W.B. devices for people who are either too busy or too lazy
1. Four-legged Device
From the earliest days of his work, Peter was aware that the feet of equipment were a source of concern. After moving on from the early Electret Discs, with their 'charge' theories, it was very apparent that the four feet on most equipment caused problems. If you are stretched for cash, you can actually put a small piece of plain white paper under one foot of the piece of equipment to get some benefit, but the latest version of the P.W.B. Foot-Device is so very much better. And it is so easy to fit.
Recently fitting some of them to devices in our computer room/study defied all sense. The sound coming from those rather rubbishy PC speakers was just great. And of course it helped sound elsewhere in the flat. And to fit, just slide one under a foot. Crazy!
2. The Digiplus
Some years ago, Peter discovered that there was benefit connecting, say the analogue output of your CD player to the Aux sockets on the amplifier. Many people, registering the benefit came up with all sorts of explanations, but it was only through the acceptance of Sheldrake's ideas of Morphic Resonance that that we could start to understand what is going on. It also partly explains why Naim products sound so good, and why early models of a product tend to sound better than later ones! Phono sockets are now pretty universal, and appear on not just Hi-Fi, but TVs, satellite boxes, video equipment, and all of these products become linked, and not in a good way. It is beyond the scope of this piece to discuss how these links through Morphic Fields worsen our experience, but they do, and the phono socket is an aspect. The Digiplus aims to break some of those links, and gives you a taste of what it would be like if your device were the only one in existence. It takes a few seconds to fit (with a trace of Sol-Electret to help), and is very beneficial.
You can read in the products page on the website the full details of this range of coloured discs. I recently tried some green ones, on the undersides of the shelves in my equipment rack, to very good effect. Some yellow ones at the top of the doorway frame/architrave, with two facing each other, were very pleasing. And blue ones on the fridge, washing machine etc. They go inside equipment too, but that is beyond the scope of this piece - too labour intensive!
And of course there is the Violet Magnadisc for the special things. Stuck on to a piece of equipment, and then clipped, it is a jolly good thing. Again for a few seconds work, and very nice result.
4. The Electrical Conduction Corrector Clip
This is a favourite of mine, and only introduced in the past few months. Why do I like it? Well, compared with the relatively arduous task of applying the full pattern of ring ties to a length of cable (still very desirable, of course), this just clips on to the wire, and that's it! There is a bit of a fiddle though to get the most out of it, which was highlighted when I tried it on some Interconnect cables. There you have the two cable for Right and Left Channels, and ideally one wants to treat both. I found with care, the clip would reach over and bite into both, and the effect was more beneficial. So I got thinking
You can actually squeeze quite a few wires into the mouth of the clip, with the fattest cable towards the outside. And that is very nice. It also re-enforces that view that fat cables are largely unnecessary - indeed!
Cut a few centimetres off, twist onto a wire; wonderful. You can do more by spraying and adding cream, but who's got the time?!?
Very fast, and always surprising in it's benefit. Mains plug pins are the obvious site for application, plus those dratted phono plugs.
7. Charge Barriers
I nearly excluded these as a pair of scissors is necessary, but as we've allowed ourselves some truly slovenly time for R+R, a bit of brisk exercise cutting out those black bits may improve our health. Many ask 'How can a bit of printed purple cardboard help?', and this is a good question that reaches in to the heart of the P.W.B. phenomenon. In our new reduced-time state of mind, one can only say 'They just do.' And they do. Rather like all else, applying these very quickly to you plugs gives a stupid level of improvement, for very little outlay or cost for that matter.
And so, with all the above in place, a take-out placed before you, it's time to sit back and examine the progress. And for myself, the natural quality - totally lacking glare - of instruments and voices, detailed depiction of ambience, and believable sound staging make all the effort(?) worthwhile. And with this comes the magic element of music coming alive, of something real being communicated; the reason we do all of this.
It will be reported within these pages that one of the most useful P.W.B. treatments remains the treatment of photographs. Many, will apply Foils and Creams (yes, pretty much each one will have an effect upon the photograph, and thence yourself), to good effect, and then place the photo in a Foiled and Creamed bag, which subsequently goes in to the freezer. There are details on the P.W.B. website for anyone who has not gone down this road yet, and I would urge you to do so, because wherever you are and go, you retain the benefits of the P.W.B. treatments. As I have undoubtedly reported elsewhere, if you are listening to a friends system, it will then not only sound better to you, but to them as well, as you will have become a positive device!
But to enhance this process further, I recommend not only treatment of the photograph, and it's container, but of the object which takes the photograph. It may seem bizarre, but certain beneficial patterns will 'enter' the photograph as it is created, if you have applied some treatments to the camera and film. There are other things to consider. I find that for many situations, it has been worth investing in Polaroid camera (taking a lead from P.W.B.) as the photographs emerge immediately, and are a pretty good size for treatments. To the camera I would apply each Foil you have available, especially the message Foils, and ideally the more recent Real, Freeze-Effect, Inverted and Aluminium and Copper Foils. All the appropriate coloured Creams, plus the Electret Cream can be applied, after of course, a spray of Morphic liquid and Superwipe. A Green Magnadisc, or more luxuriously a Violet one, take things further, and then one can sign it with the Red 'x' Pen - if there is space for some of that wonderful Gold Foil for your hand-written messages, so much the better. Then the whole thing can be Clipped, and frozen-thawed twice. The Polaroid film is a bit trickier, but a spray, cream, and a bit of signing may be possible.
The same principles apply to pretty much all cameras, but there may be less space, and although foils can be usefully applied to 35 mm film, it is rather harder.
Of course many of these cameras will also have batteries or compartments where Foils, Creams and a touch of Sol-Electret on the battery contacts can impress. And for those with digital cameras - well, I have put strips of Foil on our Sony camera's Memory Sticks.
All of these steps will provide a better base for any further photograph treatments, but there is a further benefit. Your photos will now, in general be much, much better - sharper, and more rich colours, and more finely shaded contrasts. Indeed, some of these benefits, as with other equipment, leave you feeling, you have a much better camera than you actually have.
Of course the same principles apply to Camcorders, and the video footage can be excellent. The only problem, is that the Japanese keep making things smaller and smaller, and it's a devil to find space for Foils.
Am I the first to look forward to the P.W.B. Nano-Foils?
Ron is a person I know who lives 20 miles west of here. Last fall it
occurred to me to obtain a couple of photos of him and place them in my freezer
to see if the "photos-in-the-freezer" effect would be observed 'remotely' -- at
a distance of many miles. In other words, does it matter where the freezer is
located for the effect to occur? Placing the photos in my freezer would be
quite a different approach from usual, where one's photos are placed in one's
own freezer (and the effects are 'local'). For anyone unfamiliar with this
peculiar 'photos-in-the-freezer' phenomenon,
details are provided in the article: WHAT A MESS !!!! -- An Alternative
View of Reality at: www.belt.demon.co.uk/whatamess.html
I should mention I hadn't told Ron what I was planning to do with his photos; I'm sure he knew something was up, he just didn't know what.
I didn't tell him I had put his photos in my freezer until a month later when he inquired about them. When I asked him if he happened to notice any changes to his TV's picture or sound he said he wasn't sure, so I suggested a simple experiment. The World Series, then underway, would be the perfect subject for evaluating TV picture quality -- first with photos out of the freezer, then with photos in.
The broadcast quality for the 2003 World Series was phenomenal; the games were simulcast in HDTV (High-Definition TV) using new broadcast equipment. While an HDTV monitor would have been required to appreciate the super hi-resolution HDTV signal, the non-HDTV signal itself was considerably better than other stations' signals, probably as a result of the new equipment. And certain cameras, like the one behind and above home plate, transmitted really spectacular close-ups.
We limited the experiment to video quality for simplicity, although audio quality would have been an equally good test subject. Ron has a six year old, off the shelf Sony Trinitron with quite an excellent picture.
I E-mailed Ron when I was ready to take the photos out of the freezer and we agreed on a specific time later that afternoon when I would put them back in. This gave him plenty of time to appraise the Sony's picture quality with the photos out -- especially the super picture transmitted by the camera behind home plate. I suggested a few things to look for, for purposes of comparison -- the color and detail of the grass, flesh tones of the players' faces and contrast of color and texture of their uniforms.
So, at the agreed time, give or take a few seconds, I tossed the photos back in the freezer section of my trusty General Electric refrigerator (GE - We Bring Good Things to Life!).
Half an hour later Ron E-mailed me that about the time I put the photos back in the freezer he noticed a wave pass over the Sony Trinitron's picture, followed immediately by a better picture -- richer in color, with more texture and definition. In particular, the picture transmitted by the camera behind home plate revealed the shininess of the players' helmets, the sharply-defined pin striping on the Yankees' uniforms and Yankee Stadium's bright, emerald grass.
So, just how quickly did the improvement to the TV picture occur?
Unfortunately, the distance involved in this experiment - 20 miles - isn't nearly far enough to determine how quickly the photo-in-the-freezer effect shows up. Light, travelling at 186,000 miles per second, covers 20 miles in only one ten thousandth of a second, much less than human reaction time. A very great distance between freezer and observer is needed to determine if the effect is instantaneous or if the 'causal wave' travels at the speed of light (or some other speed).
Perhaps NASA should consider performing the photos-in-the-freezer experiment on their next mission to Mars. Mars is far enough away that the speed of the "causal wave" could be easily measured. Mars is currently (January 27, 2004) 124 million miles from Earth (its closest approach to us in 60,000 years was last August). The gulf between Mars and Earth will continue to widen as the two planets swing around their solar orbits (Earth completes one complete orbit around the sun in about half the time it takes Mars) until a maximum of 250 million miles is attained. The Mars experiment could e performed any time, since the distance between Mars and Earth will always be sufficiently great.
At a distance of 124 million miles, light would reach Earth from Mars in 667 seconds - about 11 minutes - a sufficient period of time to determine if the photos-in-the-freezer effect occurs instantaneously, or at the speed of light, or some lower speed.
For the Mars experiment (if performed today) -- if the observer were to see an improvement to the TV picture immediately after the photos are placed in the freezer (on Mars), or very soon afterward, one could probably conclude that the "causal wave" either reaches Earth instantaneously or travels much faster than the speed of light. And if the observer were to observe an improvement around 11 minutes later, the causal wave probably travels at the speed of light.
If the observer must wait a much longer time (hours, days or weeks) to observe the effect, one could probably conclude that the causal wave is either travelling much slower than the speed of light or that the wave never reached Earth (due to attenuation) and the effect had some other (unknown) cause.
Maybe NASA should set aside funds for a compact, space-qualified freezer for the next Mission to Mars.
I had an experience with a piece of Spiratube and a small mini system. I was travelling and had a good set of headphones with me. I ended up living in a DJ's house who was away for a few weeks. I had one piece of Spiratube with me attached to my headphones. I began to listen to his personal made compilation CDs through my headphones on his mini system. the Spiratube on the headphones made no noticeable difference in sound, but when I took it off and attached it to the power cord it was quite amazing how full bodied the sound became. There were a lot of songs I knew but did never interest me. but with the Spiratube on the power cord the rhythms and the weaving sounds and melodies really enchanted me. With the Spiratube off it was back to the same I can't stand listening anymore and have to turn the music off reaction.
It is quite remarkable how an audio system that seems to be producing some of the best sound ever witnessed can then go on to effortlessly produce sound of a magnitude greater. And not just once, but on at least three separate occasions over the few months since the last Newsletter.
It all started when I got to try some of the new Foils and Creams. In particular, the new Inverted Foil, which I think, is outstanding-even by comparison with the glorious Green Cream. After treating individual items of my audio system including the TV and its recording equipment, I then foiled telephones, mobile phones, and cameras etc. In fact, exactly as instructed in the enclosed explanation paper. The result of this activity was enough to keep me up into the early hours listening to disc after disc, captivated by the bell-like clarity of the music before me. But that's not all! (Please excuse me sounding like a bid-up TV presenter here) if you then move on and treat the outside of DVD and CD covers, vinyl sleeves etc. you can look forward to further impressive results. Unfortunately, funds will only so far allow me to treat about 20% of my CD collection and even less of the vinyl. I have, however, treated all the DVD covers as I have only a small number. The resultant sound lift is, as I said, quite astonishing and is further proof -as if more were needed -of just how important it is to make every effort to use some form of Belt treatment on as many objects within the home territory as possible. My aim is to now add Inverting Foil to every new disc purchased to try and maintain the sound I am now enjoying.
As sound revelations go, they don't come any better than my next encounter. And the very best bit is that it comes free except for a little bit of expenditure of time. It also links back to my first awareness of P.W.B.
It is the late eighties and thousands of music fans, myself included, would spend hours endlessly experimenting with various bits of hardware such as steel spikes under speakers, MDF supports and hardened socket cap pins to tighten up pickup cartridges that little bit extra. It was all done in the high expectation of wringing the last ounce of sound quality from our "budget" systems. It was all so clear-cut in those far off days. If you were financially limited, "Tweaking" was the way to try and gain some sound improvement. For those with cash to spend then the "Hi-Fi Ladder" was the way to go, building the ultimate system in the logical way of upgrading the source first. This was usually the turntable followed by the arm and cartridge. The next step would be the amplification etc. As I recall, this seemed to be a reasonably happy state of affairs where everyone had a fair idea of goals to be achieved.
But things were not going to remain so nice and tidy. And for some of us, things would never be quite the same again! The name Peter Belt started to get mentioned in the Hi-Fi press and strange suggestions made such as placing a piece of plain paper under one foot of furniture and audio equipment. Or, tying knots in lengths of cable and attaching them to water pipes to improve sound perception. This was tweaking gone mad! My reaction at the time veered from thinking it was some monstrous practical joke to the "getting even" of some irate audio designer after a bad review of his latest masterpiece.
With the passage of time, I cannot recall what made me try the Reef Knot experiment, although I was a pretty hard-bitten tweaks person then. Anyway, try it I did and heard a difference. I realise now that I came very close to hearing no difference at all. It's because when I tried the Knot experiment for the first time, I carried it out with such indifference and low expectancy of a positive result, I did not even make a check on the correct way of tying a Reef Knot. Consequently, I may have got half the Knots wrong. But, more by luck than judgement, there were enough correctly tied to make the difference and spark my early P.W.B. curiosity into a flame. It begs the question though: How many others tried the experiment with the same level of expectation and competence as me- failed to notice a difference, and so were lost to the P.W.B.. Experience?
But, back to the present, and the Reef Knot makes a glorious return. After reading a piece by May Belt on the Yahoo Site where she makes a reference to the Reef Knot experiment, I set to tying some in the many pull chords that operate blinds and switches about the house. This time round however, I took great care to check how the Knot is tied before I started. I should say as well that we have moved house since the first Knot experiment and the only reason I did not try this technique here was that I believed all the P.W.B. Treatments to our new territory would swamp any gains perceived from the effort. How wrong could I be! Fifteen years down the line and I'm still making presumptions about P.W.B. based on conventional logic. I should know by now that the quantum world of P.W.B. doesn't operate that way. What I heard quite bowled me over. It was every bit as effective as some of the latest Foils.
What's more, it appears Reef Knots can be tied in any piece of cable or chord without a worry that it might downgrade sound- every knot I've tied seems to only have a beneficial impact. The only cable I could not hear a benefit from being knotted was my speaker wire. This was supplied by P.W.B. Electronics ready for use. Each channel consists of two very small diameter PVC covered cables, twisted together with a large number of different types of Ring Ties attached. It certainly proves you don't have to have heavy-duty cable to hear musical weight and dynamics. As I said, knotting this cable did not seem to change anything that I could detect. I did, however, have a "feeling" that it was best left unknotted.
To finish I would like to add a few little observations of sorts.
When I carried out the first Reef Knotting experiment, I also pinned the corner of a number of blinds and curtains at the same time. To try and separate the effect of the pinning from the knotting, I have since un-pinned every one of the blinds and curtains and listened for the effect and I could not hear a discernible change to the sound. But, when I re-pinned all the same curtains and blinds, the sound appeared better! Can anyone figure that one out!
I have noticed at times the room's reverb is more apparent. It's similar to when a room has been emptied of furniture- a sort of "dead sound" that furnishings has the effect of imposing on the room- has lifted somewhat. There is a less oppressive atmosphere about the house since the last few applications of Belt Products and it ties in with the playing of music. In particular when the stylus is placed on the lead in grooves of a vinyl record. You just know that when the music starts it will be with a roar rather than an out of focus whimper.
It's quite some time now since I decided to give no holds barred explanations (to the best of my abilities that is) regarding P.W.B. Techniques to anyone who brings up the subject of music reproduction. I'm delighted to say that I am still invited down the pub regularly and there has been no threat to haul me before an inquisition. I take this as a good sign! A group of us have now watched the complete May Belt video lecture and I have had two independent positive responses to P.W.B. Devices (Rainbow Foil and the Red "X" Pen). But, I have not had the time to get the details into shape to follow up the last Newsletter Article. Now, if only there was a P.W.B. Device to slow the passage of time .
I received the copy of the Christmas 2003 Newsletter, thank you. More importantly, I tried using the (included) P.W.B. Christmas card. I looked at the past December's and January's posts to see if anyone wrote about the effect of the card and was surprised no one mentioned it. What kind of dollar figure can one put on the improvement this card has rendered, at least on my system? A hundred dollars? Five hundred? More? What would you pay for, say, a preamp that delivers the kind of resolution and musicality this Christmas card has revealed?
Experimenting with the card has gotten me re-interested in my music playback system. After changing from my dipole ribbon speakers to conventional box-type speakers (10 year old Mordant-Short MS 30i and an inexpensive Mirage powered sub), the system sounded constricted and unnatural I really just stopped listening. But now I am starting to freeze just about anything that will fit in my freezer (biggest improvement: the cell phone), treating the steel items in my home (including the backs of my mirrors), applying various foils, pinning the corners of my drapes, etc. The net result is an open, transparent sound before me, and that P.W.B. characteristic- a relaxed and inviting sound I missed from my Belt-treated Apogees.
Thank you so much,
I've had a great deal of fun experimenting with the P.W.B. products. I recently began treating my room with, of all things, the standard Silver Rainbow Foil, with pretty surprising results.
I had been going through my recent ziploc bagging/freezing frenzy (with now predictable improvements) when I suddenly noticed a setback in sound. I checked and checked, and couldn't find anything amiss. I then noticed the turntable I had received from a church member- the turntable needing a new drive belt. I moved the turntable to the next room and listened. That spacious, three dimensional soundstage has reappeared. But I also noticed a coloration; a lower midrange boominess to male voices. I placed a strip of silver foil (I had loaned my Cream Electret to a friend) and I noticed the afflicted range of frequencies become narrower. I then moved the 'table from the floor to a box a couple of feet off the floor, and the coloration was reduced. Getting there.
This lower midrange coloration shows up from time to time, with my common excuse being the shoe-box (narrow and long) shape of my listening room. I'd been reading the back material sent by P.W.B, and decided to start treating the room itself. I placed two strips of foil on the upper corners of my front door (behind my right speaker), effectively (I hoped) bevelling the right angle corners of the door. Lo and behold, the lower midrange boominess disappeared. Encouraged, I proceeded to treat the side walls with foil: the soundstage appeared wider and less clustered around the speakers. Additional strips of foil on the front wall (behind the speakers) and around door openings gave me a substantially more spacious, coherent image. And the room is even more relaxing place to be.
(I've also just started to figure out how to use the different foils from the beginner's pack- I had previously written that they are very powerful- and how!)
Maybe it's a good idea to publish some pictures of Reef knots in the P.W.B. Newsletter.
Here are three I loaned from the Internet.
1. a Reef knot in a single cord
2. a Reef knot that binds two cords together.
3. a Reef knot (good) and a Granny knot (not good).
They so look alike that you easily make mistakes. I know I certainly did.
Peter learnt the verbal description of tying a Reef knot in the Boy Scouts (as did Tom Marsden). They learnt the description "Left over Right and under, then Right over Left and under". I described it previously as I had seen it illustrated on the Internet - which was "Right over Left and under and then Left over Right and under.
The Granny Knot looks very similar but is verbally described differently.
i.e. Left over Right and under then (again, the same ) Left over Right and under - so you see, there is a subtle difference between the Reef knot and the Granny knot and the Reef knot is the effective one. The Reef Knot is the correct formation.
I would like to take up something from Kevin Kehoe's article which is the point where he realises that, quite a few years back, he had carried out an early experiment (tying Reef knots in cables) with such indifference that now, with hindsight, he is surprised that it had actually worked ! The late Peter Turner was one of the very few audio journalists who had the courage to admit, in print in 1990, that
"I had dismissed belting as baseless, and those who thought they heard improvements as deluded. I began to change my mind when I discovered that some of the things I had been doing had been done contrary to the way in which they had been designed."
As Peter Turner recommended, on quite a few occasions, "keep trying as you may surprise yourself."
As you will all know by now, I am writing the Peter Belt story as a parallel to the Joseph Lister story and in the Joseph Lister story there is Sir Henry Butlin's description of an occasion when one of Lister's 'antiseptic dressings' was applied during an operation.
To quote Sir Henry Butlin
"Our technique was so indifferently applied that the dressing was constantly slipping down and the bed was bathed in pus until the usual shiver occurred and the patient went the way of all flesh." - Not a very encouraging view of the medical profession !!
Something similar to this has happened consistently in the audio world. Either people will not believe that what is being suggested can have any effect on the sound and therefore never do the experiments in the first place or they carry them out with such indifference and ineptitude that any results are meaningless.
Kevin can be excused from having early scepticism that many of the things suggested could possibly 'improve' the sound - he was/is just a member of the public. But the same excuses cannot really be allowed for members of the audio industry - so called 'professionals in audio' - they are expected to be constantly awake as to what could have an effect on the sound that they are in the business of dealing with !
The story of our experiences with Paul Miller starts quite some time before we ever met him.
In the mid 1980s, we had sent our newly developed Black Electret Foils to quite a number of British audio equipment retailers. The Black Electret Foils were a set of small black printed squares on Foil backing and the instructions on how to use them were that one cut each small square, remove it's protective backing and attach the small Black Foil square onto anything and everything.
One particular retailer responded very quickly, ordered further Black Foil squares and was so impressed by their effectiveness that he promptly began to demonstrate the effect of these Foil squares to the various manufacturers and distributor's agents who visited his retail shop.
One manufacturer in particular, again was so impressed that he also purchased further Black Foils and then he, in turn, when he visited Paul Miller to demonstrate his equipment, demonstrated the effect of the Black Foils at Paul's house. A few months after this, Peter and I were at the Bristol Hi-Fi Show where Peter had agreed to 'treat' the demonstration rooms of certain manufacturers. After completing this task, Peter and I then went walkabout through the Hi-Fi Show. We happened to visit one demonstration room where we met an old friend who we had known when he worked for another manufacturer but who was now in charge of this particular demonstration. The room was empty of visitors at this particular time, so Peter demonstrated his devices to our friend by 'treating' some of the equipment and some of the other things in the room. It nearly goes without saying that the sound improved considerably. We all ended up laughing and joking, commenting on how ridiculous it all was that we could improve the sound by 'treating' the illustrative posters on the wall and 'treating' all the displays which were spread around the room. As the room began to fill again with visitors, we decided to leave our friend to continue with his demonstrations but one person who had overheard us talking, as we left the room asked our friend who we were. That person was Paul Miller and he hurried after us. He told us that he had been given a demonstration of just a few Foils and could we let him have some more of our devices to experiment with. Peter answered "Better than that, when I am in London next, why don't I come and demonstrate them to you personally ?" Which is how, one Friday morning in 1987, Peter and I came to be at Paul's house.
Paul explained that he was just coming to the end of reviewing, that week, of five different cartridges, that he did not wish to alter anything on his actual audio equipment as he had still to review the last cartridge that particular evening. Peter therefore concentrated on looking around the listening room and describing how and where to use his devices.
Peter noticed an air pump for a pick up arm 'chugging' away in a corner of the room. Peter asked Paul why it was connected and working and told Paul that the connected air pump would be having a detrimental effect on the sound. Paul explained that he was to review the air pump pick arm the following week and that the air pump was connected as it was going through it's 'warming up' period. Paul would have none of it - he was adamant that it could not possibly be having any adverse effect on the sound.
Next, Peter noticed that there were various cables strewn over the carpet. Peter asked Paul how long they had been there as they too would be having a detrimental effect on the sound in the room. Peter said "If you are going to keep them on the floor, at least 'treat' them by tying a reef knot in them" Paul replied that he had received the various cables in the post on the Tuesday morning from an importer but had only had time to open the parcel, look at the cables before dropping them on the floor. Paul, again, was not prepared to appreciate that these cables, strewn over the carpet, could possibly be having any adverse effect on the sound.
Next Peter noticed a roll of polystyrene and a roll of aluminium (used for home decorating purposes) leaning against the open plan staircase. Peter asked Paul how long they had been leaning there. Paul said that he had been to the DIY store on the Wednesday afternoon. Peter told Paul that they too would be having a detrimental effect on the sound and should at least be treated with some of our Foils or removed. Paul, by that time was refusing to listen to all this (in his opinion) nonsense. And, whilst we were there, that Friday morning, two Massive American amplifiers were delivered and were still there, just left on the floor in the listening room, when we left. There was no way that Paul would, in any way, contemplate the idea that all these other things which he was constantly introducing into the listening room could possibly have any adverse effect on the perception of the sound in his room.
When we subsequently read the review of the five cartridges we had to ask ourselves.
"Was the ABC cartridge really the worst sounding cartridge of the five or was it just the unlucky one which was listened to that Friday evening - after the air pump had been connected on the Monday, after the cables had been delivered on the Tuesday, after the rolls of polystyrene and aluminium had been collected from the DIY store on the Wednesday and left in the listening room, and after the massive American amplifiers had been delivered in the Friday morning ?" And "Was the XYZ cartridge really the best sounding cartridge of the five reviewed or was it just the lucky one which had been listened to on the Monday ?" The buying public will never know, will they ?
It was after this visit to Paul, coupled with a visit to another 'reviewer', that I was prompted to write my paper "Six weeks in the life of a reviewer" I do not usually name names as I feel it is unfair to single and name one person out of a group and thereby leave others, unnamed, but equally (or even more so) guilty. But, Paul Miller, during an interview published in a recent (June/July 2003) British audio trade magazine "British Audio Journal", when asked by the editor Malcolm Steward "I guess your chemistry degree helped though when some writers were inviting us to stick certain 'treated' items all over our hi-fi and listening room to improve our perception of the sound.", Paul was described as laughing when he replied mentioning Peter Belt's treatments. In Paul's reply he says " I think the first full technical article I had published in Hi-Fi News was about Peter Belt's treatments." Paul goes on to say "so I took several of the products back to Imperial College and used it's facilities to analyse them."
TECHNICAL article ??? To quote from Paul's March 1988 Hi-Fi News article.
"In the chemical laboratory, the black organic layer (paint) readily dissolved in standard solvents.................. and employing a gold-leaf electroscope to the remaining thin clear polyester, no residual electrostatic charge was detected."
Obviously what Paul was attempting to do was to prove or disprove an antistatic effect. I could have saved him all that trouble. I could have told him that our devices do not 'deal with' static !
And, just how does Paul believe he can analyse such as a Reef Knot ? Tied in a passive cable !! Or analyse the plastic Spiratube which we recommend attaching around cables and around water pipes, gas pipes and central heating pipes ?
Again, to quote from Paul's 1988 Hi-Fi News article.
"Such is the background; now the specifics and to a detailed analysis of some P.W.B. accessories, and their subjective effects under tightly controlled conditions"
TIGHTLY CONTROLLED CONDITIONS ???
How can Paul talk of "tightly controlled conditions" after what Peter and I had observed happening in his listening room - after Paul had dismissed, completely out of hand, Peter's concerns that so many of the things which Paul was doing could be having such an adverse effect on the sound??
Contrast Paul's blinkered approach with how Jimmy Hughes described one particular event. In an article, Jimmy described how a manufacturer of equipment support tables brought one of his tables to Jimmy's for review. Jimmy then demonstrated to this manufacturer how the support table, just merely being introduced into the listening room, had an adverse effect on the sound and how Jimmy corrected that adverse effect by 'creaming' a small area of the table with our Cream-Electret !!
We had also supplied Paul with a specially treated washer and told him to insert this special washer under the screw head of the fixing screw which attached the head shell to the pick up cartridge. Paul told us that he had heard it improve the sound when he had done this. But, Paul said that in his opinion the improvement was caused by the washer adding weight on the pick up cartridge - not by any special treatment of the washer ! We told Paul that we would send him an identical but untreated washer for him to evaluate against the treated washer - to show him that the effect was nothing to do with the weight as the weight of using either washer would be the same ! Paul replied that we did not need to send him an untreated washer - because he KNEW that the effect was because of the added weight. Obviously, Paul's professors at university had never rapped his knuckles whenever he said the sentence "Oh, I do not have to carry out experiments - I KNOW the results already."
Then read Alvin Gold's account of his experiences when attending a listening session at Jimmy's house. I had actually forgotten about Alvin's article in Stereophile until I found it again whilst going through a box of archive articles. It still makes interesting reading and because many of you will have not read it previously, I have copied Alvin's article for including with this Newsletter.
I like to include background stories from time to time. I personally find it so much more interesting when reading about other people's discoveries to know of the background to those discoveries. It is not merely learning about such as Lister's 'germs in the air' concept or Darwin's 'evolution' concept or Crick and Watson's discovery of the double helix structure of DNA which is so interesting, it is also the background (all their trials and tribulations) and the involvement of the participants in their stories (both supporters and detractors) which make it so interesting and rich. Usually, one has to wait decades or even (in some cases) a 100 years or so until someone accumulates enough information to write a biography about such people but, in this time of speedy communication, we have the history filled in and available so much faster.
Just as I was completing my article for this Newsletter, I had a telephone conversation with one of our long standing customers (Ron) whose 'posting' you will see at the end of the reprints from the discussion forum. He asked me if I had seen the description of the new JVC speaker where the designer had made the speaker cone of wood. The part which got Ron's interest was the description of where the designer had discovered that if he soaked the wood in sake (rice wine) he could make the wood supple enough to mould the wood into the shape of a cone. The speaker was described as 'sounding good'. Ron said to me "Surely audio people should have come to terms by now regarding how different chemicals can change sound ? I was 'treating' the cones of my speakers with your Cream 15 years ago."
I answered that I ask myself that question on a daily basis.
I fully acknowledge that there are some brilliant engineers who know about electronics, circuitry, digits and what to do with the digits. But, I know the world of audio. I have lived, slept, eaten, cried, and laughed audio for the past 50 years. I know how technicians and designers work - I have observed them closely on so many occasions.
Many people in the audio industry have reported observing phenomena which they do not have an explanation for. But, they still have not been able to 'throw that intellectual switch' and look at the subject differently. To me, it is like seeing the sun rise in the east, travel over the earth and set in the west. That is how people see it happening and if they continue to understand it in those terms, then it does not present any particular problem for them living their life to the full. But, for anyone wishing to acquire a greater understanding then they have to 'throw the intellectual switch' and begin to understand that, in reality, it is the other way round - it is the earth which travels around the sun. The visual effect does not change - only the understanding of what is going on changes
For 15 years, people who have known the story of how Peter made some of his discoveries know that such things as different chemicals can 'change' the sound and that, in so many situations, it is us (human beings) who are reacting to those different chemicals and it is our reactions which cause the 'changes' in the perception of the sound. So, with that understanding, then many of the things which people experience could be explained in that way, and it does not have to be such a mystery.
To give you some examples.
In October 1983, in Hi-Fi News, John Atkinson (who was the editor of Hi-Fi News then) described how he and his wife took part on a blind trial conducted by John Farlowe of Exposure Electronics. To try to make it brief. John Atkinson thought that he would be listening to improvements made in an Exposure amplifier using a new low-noise transistor.
John Atkinson and his wife readily identified which was A and which was B. Then John Atkinson was told by John Farlowe that what he had actually been comparing was the sound of a single interconnect - connected one way round and then the other way round.
In his editorial, John Atkinson comments:-
" To the best of my knowledge, as long as the copper used is of a high purity, then the blame cannot be laid at the door of the conductor. But what about the insulation?........ perhaps the extrusion process could produce insulation with a slight dielectric asymmetry............ Maybe Enid Lumley was right after all ! In the meantime, to paraphrase Bob Dylan, something is going on, and we don't know what it is, do we?"
Again, in his editorial, John Atkinson in the April 1985 issue of Hi-Fi News describes the following
"Christopher Breunig (who was the Musical Editor of Hi-Fi News - May) looks at the effect of reversing the mains connector of his CD player. Last month, though, he commented on the sound quality difference introduced by different brands of 10k resistor when used to load his Decca cartridge. A number of readers have been worried by his findings - wasn't it the designer of Gertrude' Stein's radio who said that a 'Resistor is a resistor is a resistor is a resistor ?
However, I have since heard from Ben Duncan who supplied Chris with the sample resistors. Ben's independent findings are in line with CB's ......... Is this a coincidence? Or is it evidence that the mind/brain combination is more demanding than test equipment ?"
In Hi-Fi News November 1994 issue Martin Colloms writes:-
"Some years ago I published the results of listening tests in individual passive components (HFN Oct. 85). Not surprisingly I received a rather large and rather mixed post bag, with many letters in support but other letters were from more sceptical individuals, questioning what we (a group of classically trained electrical engineers and not loony golden ears) reported.......... Once again we have an illustration of the fact that a single supposedly 'perfect' passive component can affect the sound quality. Certainly I am prepared to discuss how small a difference results, and in what context such results may or may not be relevant. But this isn't the same as saying that such differences simply cannot and do not exist, as so many self appointed technocrats insist. We are far from adequately relating audio technology and audio measurements to sound quality." (My italics - May)
20 years on !!! and John Atkinson (now editor of the American magazine 'Stereophile') published in the August 2003 issue a page by Sam Tellig where Sam describes one European amplifier designer (with an advanced degree in electrical engineering) telling him that a circuit could work well on paper and measure superbly on the test bench but not please the ear. Another circuit might measure less well but sound far better, and two amplifiers that use totally different topologies might sound equally right - or wrong.
In the February 2004 issue of Stereophile, in a description of the new Sonus Faber speaker, the following sentence appears "The lacquer used, based on Antonio Stradivari's original recipe, is said to be "friendly" to acoustics." !!!!!!
And, now, we have a wooden cone loudspeaker drive unit which has been soaked in sake (rice wine). Just when is someone, other than Peter Belt, going to put two and two together ?
One sees endless discussions, both in the traditional audio magazines and on the Internet, on whether different insulation materials for cables can, actually, sound different or whether people have been dreaming. If any claims are made for one insulation material to sound superior over another, it is usually explained as 'something' to do with the 'dielectric' effect.
Step back for a moment and look at it differently. See the insulation material as mixes of different chemicals.
Chemicals such as PVC (poly vinyl chloride)., Polythene, Polyethylene, Polyester, Polystyrene, Polyurethane, and PTFE (poly tetra fluoro ethylene ??). More often than not PTFE wins as the best sounding insulation material and it is presumed that it sounds better because it (somehow) is behaving as a better dielectric. But, let us look at it differently. The 'F' in PTFE is fluoride - which is electro negative - and there are not many things which are electro negative - human tears being one thing. The explanation as to why PTFE is regarded by many as sounding good is most likely because we (human beings) do not react so adversely to the Fluoride in PTFE whereas we react quite adversely to the chemical mixes of the other plastic materials. To hear the different 'sounds' of different plastics, all you have to do is to drape any of the plastic materials loosely over the loudspeaker cabinet or amplifier case and listen to some music. The effect will be to make the sound worse. Then, apply Cream-Electret to a small area of the plastic material and listen again - the adverse effect on the sound will not be there any more.
The controversy surrounding whether cables can sound different when connected one way round than the other way round has been raging for at least the last 20 years. I do not challenge some people's observation that they can hear differences but I also know conventional theory and I can understand why so many engineers react to such claims. I do not doubt that there could be a polarisation take place in the metal conductor when it is drawn through various reducing dies to get to narrower and narrower gauge wire i.e. that there will be intense heat generated at a particular point (the reducing die) and there will be cooling taking place further along the metal wire at another point. Similarly when the plastic insulation material is extruded onto the metal conductor. What I have always wanted to do is to ask the people who produce 'directional' cables "If there is better sound with the cable connected one particular way round, then this means that one is actually hearing additional information. Can you explain to me what you think happens to this additional information when it is travelling along the identical cable after it is changed to the other way round ?"
As I am writing this piece, I have just read a reply to a recent review in the "positive feedback" Internet magazine. The reviewer had mentioned that the particular cable he was reviewing was 'directional' and was marked with directions as to how the cable should be connected. The person replying to this review was challenging how anything (working from conventional electronic theory) could possibly be directional !
I have printed below part of the manufacturers reply.
"Cable directionality is an Audiophile phenomena it has NOTHING to do with the way the cable is built in terms of grounding, shielding or any other such parameter that you and I as engineers might appreciate.
Cable directionality is based on a number of parameters, most of which are, in my opinion as a designer, voodoo. The way the wire is pulled through the die, the time of the year etc. :) I would not worry about this, it'll drive you crazy.
While we do mark the cables according to the wire pull direction, and many people claim they can hear the difference, we do not subscribe to this thinking. However, many folks do and we accommodate accordingly."
I know what Paul McGowan is trying to say. He is aware enough to know that there should not be directionality on a wire carrying alternating current. He is trying to come to terms with a contradiction - people hearing a difference and conventional electronic theory discounting such a thing happening. For a cable to be directional, and for a human being to be able to hear differences, it just does not make sense from a conventional electronic theory point of view.
Now, let us look at it differently. Supposing the cable has a polarisation. But, supposing it is not the signal travelling along it which is reacting to this polarisation but us (human beings). That it is us who are sensing a difference in polarity and that is why so many people claim to be able to 'hear' differences when a cable is connected this way round or that way round. But, that the signal travelling along it is the same whichever way round it is connected. That is why nothing measures any different. To emphasise my point I will describe an experiment you can do and I will describe an experiment we gave to certain journalists as long ago as 1985.
A leaf on a tree is a polarised object - polarised through it's thickness (thinness ?). Take a large leaf and place it on top of a loudspeaker cabinet the 'right way up' and listen to some music. Then, turn the leaf over so that it is the 'wrong way up' and listen again - this time the sound will be perceived as worse. You, the human being, are sensing and reacting to a polarised object.
In the early 1980s, during an interview published in an audio magazine, Bob Stuart of Meridian gave an offhand remark that whilst playing about with the CD player he was designing, he placed the CD player onto a carpet tile. Bob perceived an improvement in the sound and presumed that the effect must be something to do with vibrations. Now, Peter had been down that path previously and already knew that the effect would be to do with something else - not vibrations. So, Peter devised an experiment which he eventually sent out to various audio journalists. Peter took a large, stiff plastic bag (similar to the ones used for storing LPs), sliced it along two sides, and opened it out to make a large, stiff plastic mat. In other words, he wanted to show that he was not using a specially designed material for the experiment.
He then 'polarised' it in a certain direction (across it's width) and marked arrows on the mat in the direction of the polarisation. The instructions were to place this mat under a Compact Disc player with the arrows pointing towards the front of the CD player i.e. pointing towards the listener and to then listen to some music. Then, to turn the mat around (still under the CD player) so that the arrows were now pointing to the rear of the CD player i.e. away from the listener and listen again to the music. This time the sound would be perceived as worse and the better sound would not come back again until the mat was turned around again so that the arrows were pointing towards the listener. This experiment should have shown, to anyone who was prepared to carry it out, that any explanation could not possibly be to do with vibrations as it was the same mat which was under the CD player at all times !!
Only one journalist responded and that was Jonathan Kettle in his infamous 1985 article "Beyond the Fringe" where he described the mat but said that he could not understand how it could possibly work and therefore never actually tried the experiment !!
Now we come to the question of adhesives and lacquers and Sonus Faber's description of their lacquer being 'friendly to acoustics' and I ask the following questions :-
"Why is it 'friendly to acoustics' ?" and "How is it 'friendly to acoustics' ? "
Again, adhesives are a mix of chemicals, as are lacquers, and so it goes on.
Now we come to the area which recently got our customer Rod so intrigued - the speaker cone made of wood which had been soaked in sake (rice wine). The design of a speaker cone has gone through many processes over the life of audio. From doped fabric, through doped paper, polystyrene, bextrene, polypropylene, metal and so on. Briefly, the information I have on the cone made of wood is this. Satoshi Imamura had been trying for 20 years to make speaker cones from wood. But, after soaking the wood to make it pliable enough to mould into shape, after the wood dried out, it cracked. After a visit to a restaurant, Imamura discovered that the reason why the squid remained so chewy was because the squid had been soaked in sake - so, putting two and two together Imamura tried soaking his wood in sake and it worked, the wood did not crack after it had dried out.
Now, two things happen with loudspeaker drive units. The conventional (acoustical) one where the drive unit has to reproduce the sound. The other one, which is not taken into consideration by audio engineers (but is the one which so many P.W.B. aficionados know about) and that is the one which concerns how the human being reacts to the different chemicals and materials used (so many times in an adverse way). Many P.W.B. users have been 'treating' the cones of their loudspeakers for over 15 years to try to superimpose a beneficial energy pattern on whatever materials or chemical mixtures have been used in the manufacture of the drive units.
So, as Rod was so aware, there are two things going on with the wooden speaker cone. There is the material and how it reproduces the sound and the other is the chemical (sake) used to soak the wood. Could the sake be a less adverse chemical than the chemical mixtures used in the plastic cone materials in general use ? We will wait developments with interest.
There are a few, rare, courageous journalists who are prepared to say, in print, that there are things happening in audio which they cannot explain, which they do not understand. But, they still seem to want to dance, like moths, around a single flame, fearing to intellectually take that leap towards another light. I agree with Ron, when is the audio industry going to put two and two together ?
I have said before, on a number of occasions, to many of our customers. So many of you have reached a level of understanding way ahead of the rest of the audio industry. This means, although many of you are reluctant to believe it, that you are at least 15 years ahead of the rest of the audio industry with respect to what the human being is reacting to. If the audio industry takes any interest at all in what affects the human being, it is usually purely from a conventional acoustic viewpoint.
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