Silliest audiophile equipment of all time?

Hey guys,

I'm looking for the most ridiculous audiophile products with the most outrageous claims. Not necessarily the most expensive, I'm interested in the most superfluous audiophile accessories you can think of.

Think Brilliant Pebbles and Cable Elevators:

I'm also interested in in hearing about basic stereo equipment such as stereo cables and amplifiers that are grossly overpriced or make insane claims with questionable science.

Is this for your amusement or is there a purpose you are looking for the info? Just curious.
How did you miss the Teleportation tweak at the Machinadynamica site?
He's probably new to Audiogon, these forums, or just trolling.

Jonny, use the "search archives" for rooting up endless crontroversial threads along this nature.
I have to agree with Timrhu, the teleportation tweak is just so flippin' silly I can't imagine anyone has actually paid for it!

Most of the gear Machina Dynamics makes seems silly to me, but I see their stuff in place from time to time, so someone is buying it! I also like their clever little clock that supposedly adds dynamics and improves clarity, they even claim the effects are additive so you can buy hundreds of them for your room and further improve sound!

I guess PT Barnum was right, there IS a sucker born every minute!

On the flip side, I can see the concept of elevating cables, especially off carpet, but I must admit I have never played with them. FWIW at the least really good cables look super cool suspended in mid air by these little porcelain devices and aesthetically I like them, from an electronic sense, maybe I can see an argument for an improvement.... One day I'm sure I'll try them for myself, I just haven't gotten everything else absolutely perfect and I'd almost need to be trying to buy something to go this route, that and I have tiled floors so it should make far less difference to me!
How about setting some ground rules before this thread goes nuts:

1. No rebuttals allowed
2. No rebuttals allowed
3. No rebuttals allowed

That should do it....

Oh, as far as my selection:

EVERYTHING by MachinaDynamica
Do a search this has been discussed to death,I would think you could find a better topic to start your first thread here at Audiogon than this. Unless you have another agenda??

But I will agree that Machina Dynamica has to be the leader in this category :)
I think that anyone who buys Machina Dynamica products should lose the right to vote.
The MD products have been beaten to death so lets move on and away from the carcass as it stinks.
Reference Audio used to distribute replacement wooden knobs for your favorite audiophile components. They were imported from a company in Switzerland, I think called "Silver Rock". One volume control knob was $500. I guess they didn't find enough gullible folks willing to buy one since their no longer being imported or made. I noticed that the same company is making some wooden isoloation feet, which are basically three small turned pieces of hardwood called woodlens (look under "DIY". They charge 320 CHF for the set of three (about $300) so I guess the price of turned wood has gone down a bit. The $500 knob was hard to beat, even by Geoff Kait's standards. The Teleportation Tweak does take the cake though, I must say. I'm surprised Kait has taken up my suggestion of the Machina Dynamica Magic Brick Tweak: for the price of airfare, room and board + $3900, Kait himself would come to your listening room and cut a brick right there in the middle of the room. The improvements? Well, they make the Teleportation Tweak seem as primitive as a wooden knob! He's probably worried about being sued by VPI for infringement on their own "Magic Brick" tweak. Perhaps he could go with "Magic Cable". Wouldn't you drop a few grand to have some genuine, bonified ex-NASA engineer come and lay some cable in your sound room?
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ALL Machina Dynamica products!

I agree with Gmuffley - anyone who buys Geoff's products should not be allowed to vote, or be allowed to drive.
Cable lifts from very well known power products company "Sh.....a". Whole page was wasted in Stereophile mag. to explaine what it does, silly. I have no idea what is the cost of these things and I could not care less.
Mpingo Discs, Brilliant Pebbles, all Peter Belt products and on and on ..... As long as their are gullible audiophiles, who don't demand proof of a tweak's effectiveness and why it works, there will always be a market for the next one.
Plasmatronics plasma speakers,motorised belt driven subwoofer (I forgot the name),ion tweeters,helium filled speakers,any speaker cable over $20. a foot, any turntable over $10K,overpriced wooden blocks,etc.
The Gingko isolation device makes a great item, can hardly see how that is silly. (Although it does "look" sllly when you open the top, but I love mine.
A product that should be labeled "Recommended to audiophiles with brain damage", the "honor" goes to the "intelligent (?!) chip" by eh... Cerebrum Moribundus?!
The cable elevators might actually do some good, the pebbles have a (very!!!) loose explanation about vibrations but the chip is a plain insult to the whole industry.
Is Peter Belt the guy who sold a little piece of aluminum foil that supposed had "magic" properties? I think you were supposed to put it on top of your CDP, TT, CDs themselves and anything else that crossed your mind. But at least you got an actual object for your $. The teleportation tweak is absolutely the best.
Preamplifiers that deal with design flaws through the use of "doppler control" to manipulate the audio signal.

I just ordered the "Machina dynamica Brilliant Pebbles large size" (one only) and i would like some suggestions on what speakers I should get in order to best hear the pebble. Budget is about 10K. Any help from those who have heard the pebble? Thanks.
The obvious answer to this question has been given by a multitude of people.

However, what I would like to know is what Geoff Kait's idea of the silliest tweak would be.

That would be illuminating!

Well Geoff?
I just ordered the "Machina dynamica Brilliant Pebbles large size" (one only) and i would like some suggestions on what speakers I should get in order to best hear the pebble. Budget is about 10K. Any help from those who have heard the pebble? Thanks.

It depends which color you ordered.
Jax2, You may be referring to Audio Consulting, whose Silver Rock transformers make an extraordinarily good, if expensive, TVC or modded CDP analog stage. RAM & Audio Consulting are nature boys insofar as they embrace wood chassis, exotic lacquers, and wiring insulated in natural fibers. The wood knobs seem excessive, but who knows for sure as I have found that much of what Kyle & Serge offer is effective.
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Dgarretson- Actually Marco is referring to an actual product that was for sale at about $500 each at one time. Exotic wood knobs for the rotary controls on your pre-amp!! IMO, these have to rank up there with the rocks, the phone call, and the alum foil.
@Timrhu, this is actually for an article I'm working on. I'm currently pitching the idea to a few mags.

Actually I've lurked this forum for years now, just haven't posted. I was joking around with a buddy of mind about some of the more ridiculous audiophile components and he suggested that I try to spin it into a fun feature article.

I do not work for any of these companies, this is not guerilla marketing. I am also interested in more traditional components than tweaks. I'd rather shed some light on dubious claims than just pure snake oil which is obviously absurd (brilliant pebbles).

Thanks guys. (Also, thanks for helping me pick out my Sennheiser 600s and Rega Amp a few years back!)
Kurt, none of Geoff's tweaks are silly. They are after all, all good earners. Nothing silly about making money.

The folks that purchase his tweaks are the ones that aren't the sharpest tools in the shed.

Swampwalker, I agree with you regarding the silliness of $500 wood knobs, but with the qualification that in a passive TVC, a knob of exotic hardwood in combination with a hardwood chassis might be desireable for resonance control or RFI rejection. Both Audio Consulting & Promitheus use the approach in their TVCs. My recollection is that RAM/AC offered the knobs as a full-boat option for the the $5K DIY TVC kit. Doubtless the notion of a $5K TVC in kit form is putting a smile on your face about now...

Of course the price of four Swiss knobs buys an entire Promitheus Reference TVC-- which tells us as much about Asian manufacturing costs and trends toward global deforestation as it does about Swiss silliness.
My vote goes with "donaudio." Until you've heard the Tice clock in your system, you haven't heard anything.

I have two, just to be on the safe side: one for inputs and one for outputs. The trick is synchronizing them; for that I have an atomic clock (cheap at $15K).
Dont play into this posters hand, this kid just joined so he can go mock everyone in another forum where they think spending $1000 on all items qualifies as a Home Theater.
This is his first post and likely has last, so dont put bullets in his gun.
"$25K CD transports."

No one seems to agree with this statement. I sure don't, cause I have two ;-)
Even I won't buy in to Machina Dynamica stuff.

I did fall for $1.25 tweak though and to this day I have $.75 on each speaker.

Fun thread.
Dgarettson- I have no experience with passives and the technical issues associated with them are beyond my comprehension, but I'd bet that the wood chassis is way more impt than the knobs. AFAIK, those $500 knobs were not directed specifically at any product- just pay $500 each for a special turned hardwood knob to give you better sound. Fer cryin out loud, even the myrtle wood and the Australian almost petrified wood were not that expensive. Now that I think about it, how much is that the Sun Mook TT clamp?
I'm currently pitching the idea to a few mags.
I am also interested in more traditional components than tweaks. I'd rather shed some light on dubious claims than just pure snake oil which is obviously absurd.
Just being curious, may we know for what kind of audience? I've seen teleportation and any speaker cable costing more than $20 a foot thrown in one bucket.
Everyone on this forum knows how to interpret that, but how about people who regale themselves with compressed, 3db dynamic range smear - er, sorry, music - coming from cute plastic boxes fed into "now even cheaper with even more unnecessary features than last month's" receivers connected with dental floss to devices as big as the palm of your hand that somehow manage to throw noise at you. (Hey, we must be allowed to mock also).
Whereas I personally don't mind being called a lunatic by self-proclaimed specialists and scientists among those, I pitty people working hard to offer us supreme musical delight. And yes, even if it is only "in our heads" which is where our ears are btw. And no, I'm not a dedicated follower of any claim that hits the audio universe.
It looks like I've stepped on some toes, so apologies to those who took offense to the initial post. I'm not trying to belittle any enthusiasts, just hoping to educate those as to what they should reasonably expect from their gear.

@ Karelfd: The article is for people who wish to spend a few grand on a stereosystem, but probably under 20K. I'm working with a few sound engineers to help me with the 'science' part of it. I was inspired by a Boing Boing post detailing a blind test done by a bunch of audio geeks who weren't able to tell the diff. between monster cables and a coat hanger. Now, I know monster is a joke considered trash around these parts, but it's still an interesting exercise in purchse behavior.

Although the Machina Dynamics stuff will be good for laughs, I'm more interested in compiling a hypothetical rig in order to find that 'plateau' point, if you will, of diminishing returns.

Rocket man - if you're serious about writing this article you describe you should try to find some audiophiles, with various levels of investment and obsession, who are local to you and actually experience what it is that is so important to them in how a system can present music. As far as determining a threshold for diminishing returns, I strongly feel you will find that it varies from individual to individual, and is not necessarily dependent upon results that YOU might actually appreciate or even hear, or not hear. For that matter, if put to the test, I'd venture to guess that many of us might fail a coat-hanger-like, blind test as applied to the choices we've made with gear. Ultimately what makes each of us happy is in our own minds and how we individually interpret the things that are around us and that act upon us, interact with us, etc. Whether real or imagined, if you think a phone call from Geoff Kait pounding some of his pots and pans with a spoon (the way someone on another thread described his Teleportation experience) actually made your system sound any different, well, though most of us might feel sorry for you to be that gullible, all the power to you for finding something that makes you happy. If spending $500 on a Swiss turned hardwood knob floats your boat, go for it. Personally, like most, I find those things utterly ridiculous, needless to say. It's easy to make fun of this stuff, and I'm all for laughing at ourselves. I don't have any sense if you'd be laughing at me or with me, Jonny. I don't really know that I care one way or the other. As far as your advisers for your project; I don't believe physical science has as much to do with it as it does with psychology. It's somewhere in the realms of psychology and psycho-acoustics and behavioral science. Then again I don't believe that our strongest connection with music has much to do with science either. It is emotional and primal. As far as why this smaller subset of music lovers seek out some kind of closer connection with the music that moves them at what others may consider great expense...well, I don't think it's much different from those who obsess to bring themselves some happiness through various other obsessions in's a component of being a human being raised in Western culture (materialist culture), this seemingly insatiable desire for more, and better 'experiences' of life, and with it more 'stuff'. Some folks control it, or direct it better than others, while others seem to let it go entirely. We all end up as dust in the happy. If you really want to learn more about the subject you might be interested in reading this book.There are, of course many good books on psycho-acoustics and the psychology of music, as well as those on the psychology of obsession. You may also enjoy this film on a few of our ilk. If you are going to write an article on this stuff you may want to do some research in this direction. Also, since you are seeking the input of those in a public forum, you may want to continue to elaborate on where you're coming from if you want to gain the trust of others in your endeavors.

Shunyata research should be ashamed at themselves. selling a special foam elevators for $350 for 12. I am not doubting they work cause they probably do but $350 for some special different layers of hard foam. $99 might be about right.

Nordost valhalla. Way overpriced and often hear complaints about it being thin in the lower octaves. Nordost, take a look at the pricing of synergistics new tesla and look a repricing! Valhalla owners seem to be going the way of tesla.

Shakti holagraphs. $1000 and all you need is a couple of fake fig trees and you will probably get better results. Cost of fig trees....ah,not much!

Wilson alexandria speakers at $140,000 or any pair that price or higher. I think this is highway robbery. In many parts of the US you can buy a brand new home for the same price as some of these higher end speakers. I guess, you could take the woofer out of the wilson alexandria and live in side the speaker. Come on, two speakers costing the same as a brand new house!

This is a chance to vent at the joke this hobbies becoming. Its not a hobby a whole lot can do due to the super high prices.
Freemand, I doubt there are very many americans in $140,000 homes who are evaluating Wilson Alexandrias. However, at the peak of the housing bubble, you could probably have found a mortgage broker willing to finance purchase of Wilson speakers with a no-money-down ARM and a balloon payment after five years. Now that's livin' large!
Dgarretson, I am guessing that most people in $140,000 homes are haveing to go into best buy or get the bose super radios.

The day is coming with the economy the way it is that high end audio will be for those with million dollar homes and money to waste. While the 99.1 percent of the rest of americans can only wish they could buy the higher end audio.

News report audio manufacturers....greed has entered the building!
Maybe they can "only" afford a $140,000 home because they spent $150,000 on their equipment.
I'm sure the wife of a man who spent $150,000 on equipment with a $140,000 home is his wifes best friend.

I could see him going to her and saying "honey, wilson audio just came out with alexandria mk2 and you have to hear them! They are only $180,000. We could sell our home and buy a $2,000 camper to finance these babies! What do ya think of that honey???"
If the man can wait a few years longer, maybe an Alexandria MK3 will come out and he can buy a pair of "used" MK2's here on the GoN and afford a Mobile Home to fit them in !!

"Hey honey, are ya still there ??"
Rx8man, I think your onto something. Either that or on something! I guess I might have a hard time putting them in a camper. I was just so excited at the moment of having some alexandria mk2's and bragging that I stopped thinking right!