Biggest audio hoaxes

Often when people discuss audio, they talk about "snake oil" or "hoaxes."

It's pretty typical to use the term hoax as a tactic against another who disagrees with one, or holds an unusual opinion or vouches for something which has not been verified. That's not what I mean by a "hoax." 

By "hoax" I mean an audio product or claim which has been pretty definitively disproved. Maybe not to everyone's satisfaction, but to common consensus.

So -- with that definition of hoax in mind, what are some of the biggest audiophile hoaxes you've heard of?
hilde45, everything I think of, it may have worked for someone else, just not for me. 

The marker, on the outside of CD.

A GOOD car stereo. I've got pretty good sound, just NEVER a good  STEREO sound.

"Perfect sound", I think is a HOAX, especially claiming "ONE" has it..

I don't think it exist..

Pointing to a thingy, or dingleberries hanging from all the outside room to filter bad stuff.. OR painting the outside of main boxes or south facing walls, painted pink... Not so much.. HOAX? NO, I think NUTS is more like it.. LOL

I been one for a while.. I'll try most ANY thing.. if I haven't already.. :-)

We did have a peddle if you want to watch thing for 6-7 years. Fun when you got 10 kids under your feet.. Kinda like making homemade Ice cream. Keep them busy..

No, wait- BEHOLD!

Sadly, the Morphic Message Labels are discontinued. Fortunately, your humble servant millercarbon researches these things saving you untold pain and discomfort.

Morphic fields are imaginary fields of information. What is information? You’re looking at it! Words! What’s on your CD jewel box? Words! You get the idea. Morphic Message Labels cover up the words, blocking the fields, preventing them interfering with your music.   

Yeah I know what you think but no I am not making this up. Read the Teleportation Tweak above. Sometimes called Morphic Fields, other times called Information Fields, probably called WC Fields on one of the now defunct pages. Whatever. He actually sold blank stickers to cover up words to make your CD sound better.

The best one though was also the most expensive. For $1200 he would call you on the phone, and using his magic quantum powers your music would sound better, and fast, fast as your credit card payment takes to clear.

You asked for the biggest hoax, bet you had no idea we had one this big, didya? LMAO!

I don't think you're going to get the temperate responses you were hoping for.  Still, one can always hope...
The Lexicon BD30 CD player that had Oppo BDP-83 guts, including the chassis! 

Love Star Trek. Watched it when I was a teenager. Kind of lost track of their newest stuff though.
I haven’t actually run into any real hoaxes. I do a lot of research. Also, the CD Stop light pens work. Not night and day, but a noticeable improvement. There are still professional reviews of the pens.
Where do we start, I wonder how long this thread will be? I will be checking in periodically.

“ hilde45, everything I think of, it may have worked for someone else, just not for me.

The marker, on the outside of CD.”

There are many reasons why audiophiles sometimes don’t get the results they were expecting. The marker on the outer edge of the CD is an excellent example. There is a very long history of tweaks that didn’t work for some people.

The reasons for negative results include but are not limited to one or more errors in the test system, not following instructions correctly, the test system is simply not resolving enough, the test conductor’s hearing is not all it’s cracked up to be.

I say all this being the only one in the world to have solved the very difficult problem of eliminating the scattered laser light inside the CD player, a problem that coloring the edge of the CD partially solved.



You wanted to hear from him here you go.. Every now and then he PMs me.. ON this subject it seemed to peak his interest.

My take on geoffkait is pretty simple. I always walked away with more questions than answers. Seen him at a show a time or two. I see ALL oh yea, he’s been around quite a while. I can see him snickering. He is quite a character!

  • "Just check out the website of Synergistic Research for some good comedy."
Thanks for the comment, Gene. 


Different people listen to and appreciate different aspects of the music they listen to. Some are sensitive to bass.. drum beats, tonal balance, midrange, imaging. My partner and I comment while watching a movie... we all notice the explosions... but we constantly notice completely different details... i’l notice the brand of fountain pen or a watch while my partner will notice the wallpaper color. Music is like that also.
Same for video. 

Depth of image and subtlety of image, 3d life like effects..all mean nothing to some people, they don't like DLP projected images. whereas that (what good DLP does) is the core of what some demand.

Whereas they love LCD projectors with the candy colors the shades of color are more important to them, they don't care or even notice if the image is fuzzy, flat, no contrast, with greyed out black levels. lifeless mud. but the color is important. somehow.

JVC DILA projection is probably the best compromise that moves in a good direction in all areas.
Low sensitive box speakers can sound dynamic with super powerful amplification.
It is not true because thermal distortions.
I'm in a funny business, I make mouthpieces and saxophones for some pretty heavy hitters and although I don't engage in it, lots of people in the business do all kinds of gimmicky type things and back it with heavy advertising and musicians that need press so they endorse it then lots of inexperienced kids and players believe the hype and buy into it then post on forums about how great it is then the business takes off  but usually eventually it dies off but in the meantime they make a lot of money.

I  bought into it when I recently bought a pair of Tekton Double Impacts.  I backed them with a premium amp and wow, what a disappointment.  There's a saying "the hardest thing to see  is the  thing right before  your eyes" 
The hoax that new speakers have somehow solved a problem of sound quality over a good vintage speaker is the biggest lie in all of audio and until you try one you will never know what your music can truly sound like.
The old magazine advertisements of new audio equipment featuring attractive women.... the promise of getting girls over.
"....the Ultimate in sound reproduction."

Oh, okay.
So....after the THD went to 3 places to the right of the decimal point, and the other specs seem to be 'generally acceptable', we're left with nuance and Speakers.

And the latter.....make us crazy.  Not because it's's just not Real Enough.....

So....this Next Great Thing will get you.....

.00000000000000000000000000000000000000001% Closer....

....will do just that.

Cool.  I'll get around to that when I stop enjoying where I find myself. :)

Good weekend, J
@philbarone I will give you 500.00 plus shipping for those Double Impacts. After all your recent posts in these forums, that’s the going price.

@millercarbon Yeah, geoffkait is an interesting dude for sure but I will give him this. He turned me on to springs at a time when the whole world laughed. Then I tried them, and posted about them. And then you tried them. And we spread the good news. Rock on, Mr. Kait.
So many great responses! Loving this!

I hear folks here about "one persons hoax is another person's tweak," with the CD pen being a good example.

But this one seems, so to speak, a genuine hoax:
"The Lexicon BD30 CD player that had Oppo BDP-83 guts, including the chassis!"
And @philbarone5 does a great job of pointing out the exact marketing/advertising machine that modern life has perfected

"lots of people in the business do all kinds of gimmicky type things and back it with heavy advertising and musicians that need press so they endorse it then lots of inexperienced kids and players believe the hype and buy into it then post on forums about how great it is then the business takes off but usually eventually it dies off but in the meantime they make a lot of money."

Take a gimmick, hype it to rubes, take the money, and run. For old timers, this is the PT Barnum "sucker born every minute" thing; for younger timers, it's the monorail episode.
Oh, one other thought.

Folks here have brought out an important distinction I overlooked.  A hoax can either be a completely useless device or technique that actually does nothing, or it can be hyperbole about something.

This distinction is important insofar as it helps show that some hoaxes are illusions proffered as reality, and others are exaggerations of the degree of something real. 
Graphene solutions.
I agree that new super materials are used for gimmicks, but there are practical applications for graphene in audio. I'm just about to order a pair of these drivers from Seas... I'm interested in seeing whether the 20-2000Hz claim for an 8" driver delivers in reality, could make for the basis of a great 2 way. In my experience Seas specs are quite down to earth so I'm hopeful.
Graphene in drives makes sense. High strength in the necessary direction compared to weight. It is a good conductor along the grain. It is poor through the grain. That limits it's electrical usage.
I've had speakers with Seas graphene drivers it wasn't used for electrical properties but a corrosion resistant strengthening coating on magnesium cones. 
One that immediately comes to mind is the "$485 Volume Knob" from Silver Rock. The "audio woo woo" factor is off the charts!

"The point here is the micro vibrations created by the volume pots and knobs find their way into the delicate signal path and cause degradation (Bad vibrations equal bad sound). With the signature knobs micro vibrations from the C37 concept of wood, bronze and the lacquer itself compensate for the volume pots and provide (Good Vibrations) our ear/brain combination like to hear…way better sound!!"

Read more:

That's quite an expensive knob. And boy, what a con job. I'd rather inject Lysol to cure my Covid or shine a UV light on my body.
My only response is.
I never refer to myself in the third person

I always write from personal experience.
@noromance and @slaw speak the truth. Though they aren’t the type to loudly take credit for discovering spring isolation, a search for their contributions on that subject will be rewarding. As will a search for postings related to the Townshend Audio Seismic Pod---from a number of people including myself---which were for years ignored by a certain Audiogon member while he continued to loudly proclaiming and insist that the BDR carbon fiber shelves were what advanced audiophiles such as himself used to achieve isolation.

Well, better late than never, right? Every class has it’s slow learner. ;-)
Or maybe its the teacher? The record shows everything changed the minute it was clearly explained. 

"Hi Geoff, Just a quick note to let you know how impressed I am with the Teleportation Tweak to the U.K. I have tried a number of accessories from the likes of Walker Audio, Enacom etc, and the Teleportation Tweak is in a different league. At $60 it’s a no brainer!"
"The best one though was also the most expensive. For $1200 he would call you on the phone, and using his magic quantum powers your music would sound better, and fast, fast as your credit card payment takes to clear."

Well miller, you were only off by $1140. Where do you get all your erroneous information? You seem quite hostile toward and preoccupied with a guy who can’t even defend himself here. You were instrumental in getting him banned, no? You consistently bash his company for its products-which you have never tried and have zero experience with- and his ’word salad’, yet you tout the likes of Synergistic Research, no? Indeed, go to their site and read their quantum this, and quantum that ’word salad’. I personally have never tried one of their products, so I cannot comment as to their efficacy. Interesting how some in life have such a hypocritical double standard and play so loose with actual facts.

@slaw Yes, of course. Slaw has been using springs for years. His wall-mounted shelving system is well worth checking out.
Thanks @bdp24.
In fairness, MC walks the walk and don't forget, we all stand on the shoulders of others.
  • "You were instrumental in getting him banned, no?"

Geoff was banned? What evidence is there for that? Not refuting the statement, just curious. 

The design of the Townshend Pod was clearly explained in detail here quite a while ago, several times. I was contacted privately in regard to my postings on them by several members, who also posted about them. All the while the new convert ignored the Townshend products, not to mention the springs offered by Geoff Kait (which are also worthwhile).

Speaking of GK, he and I discussed in public the benefits vs. penalties of employing damping with a spring; the Townshend design includes a form of damping (which I referred to as brilliant), Geoff’s springs don’t. Kait made his case against damping, I defended it. It’s all on the record. Also covered were Max Townshend’s earlier isolation platform, the Seismic Sink. I at one time owned and used eight of them, now having replaced all but three with Pods. The sink uses top and bottom damped metal plates separated by an inner tube (or two, or three, depending on the weight capacity), an idea dating back to the 1950’s (though I learned of it in the mid-80’s from Frank Van Alstine).

I cited the YouTube videos in which Max Townshend explains the design of the Pod, and demonstrates it’s effectiveness in providing isolation, and Geoff went so far as to provide links to the various videos. So the only reason one would not know about---and realize the possible benefits provided by---the Townshend isolation products, is because one chose to ignore them. In one posting I stated I was giving up mentioning them, as people continued to cling to their belief in whatever other means of achieving isolation they preferred, the carbon fiber shelves of BDR (Black Diamond Racing) being a common one. Though the BDR products are great (I own them too), they are not capable of doing what the Townshend Seismic products do. It’s great that more people have had their eyes opened to that fact.

Anyway, if you have yet to try one of the Townshend Seismic products, consider it. Buying the Pods is much cheaper than the platforms which include sets of Pods, so if you already have a nice shelf the Pods are the way to go. Try one set, and see if you hear the benefits. But as with all "systems" (interconnects and speaker cables, power cords and conditioners), the results are maximized if you fit your entire hi-fi with them. Every chain in the link is quite capable of "blocking" low-level information, which may "mask" any improvement wrought further backstream. Max and John recommend starting with the speakers, as their improved sound will make improvements further back in the system more audible.
@bdp24 Are the Townshend products very helpful even for those of us with concrete floors covered with a short rug? My floor feels very stable, and while I respect the idea of vibration control enough to try it, I wonder if my rig is very susceptible to the kinds of vibrations these products help to mitigate?