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Nov 15, 2009

A surgeon must cut in order to heal

Posted by The Advanced Audiophile

I was looking for a picture of Peter Belt recently, to put up on my website; "The Advanced Audiophile". I realized I don't know what he looks like at all these days. The last picture I had seen of him was published over twenty years ago. Google Images brought up a British chat forum that had been discussing his then state of the art headphones. Which they thought were great, but when it came to the products he developed later, that was an entirely different matter. These "lads" had in fact written him off as a byproduct of the folly of their youth, despite the fact that some of them did try out his unusual products or ideas back in the 80's... with success! They were just never intellectually curious to pursue such unusual discoveries. It seems they allowed themselves to be influenced by their peers, in order to be accepted by them, and for this reason never gave the Belt products or ideas a second glance.

That is, until I came on and gave them no choice but to! They were attacking my mentor, Peter Belt, so this was clearly a job for... "Belt-man!". Tireless defender of illogical and indefensible audio tweaks. (Well, "technically speaking", they had stopped attacking him a week prior. But Beltman isn't known for his keen perspective on time). After playing cat and mouse with them for a bit, I posted a Beltist experiment on their forum, which I described as one dealing with "Informational Fields". I told them I had created it specifically for them, but that wasn't quite true. I had actually created it for members on another forum, populated by musicians. But I did specifically refine it a bit for the Brits. Well, the usual hysteria followed from that, and the responses were all exactly the same ones I had seen a thousand times before. And by that, I mean exactly. Down to the same wording and all.

Except for one. One respondent was not typical. Although he started off typical, being highly skeptical of something he didn't believe in. But he was one of a small few who actually tried my experiment, perhaps to be able to say he wasn't being close-minded about it. He had also tried a free Belt tweak some twenty years ago (the plug notch technique). Which he insisted worked on known conventional principles. When I asked him to do an experiment with that, that would prove his theory wrong, he ignored my request. Like the rest of his chums, he didn't want to be "proven wrong". But when he, of a small handful, agreed to try my experiment in "informational fields", he was nevertheless proven wrong. He had heard the effect. Of course, those chums of his refused to believe him, saying he was being influenced by me. "I have a svengaliiiiii effect, see....". They also thought that Peter Belt's techniques and products only worked when Peter Belt was in the room. I asked if they thought he was a hypnotist as well.

The thing that made it difficult (but not impossible!), for his friends to insist it was autosuggestion, centered on the following factors: a) The man was against me and everything I stood for. b) He was already convinced that the Belt phenomenon was nothing more than the effect of cleaning a plug blade. c) He was one of the moderators of the forum. Not some anonymous member. d) When he declared he heard the effect of my experiment, he really meant it. There was no doubt in his mind about that, and he even described the sound that I obtained from that experiment. (Thought in the first round of tests, he said he didn't like the change in sound). e) Oh yes, there was more than one round of tests! Determined to prove his pals wrong, or prove me wrong(?!), he organized another set of tests the next day. This time blind, to where he did not know which CD's contained which message. He identified my message each time. f) He extended the test to a friend, not telling him what any of this was about. The friend passed the blind test as well, and heard the effects from my message.

Following this, the original experimenter declared he would destroy the messages, and never talk about this again, or experiment in this realm any longer. That was certainly a "WTF?! moment" for me, since I would have expected the man to be more curious about Beltism from this, not less curious. Clearly, some people have "issues" that even a good dose of Beltism can not cure. But it did help me confirm that my experiment was good enough, that it could be repeated by others. If not "all others". And so, without further ado, this is what it looked like:


For the I.F. (Informational Fields) tweak, you will need:

  • One fine point black magic marker / felt tip pen (the darker the ink the better)
  • One sheet of white paper (blank)
  • Scissors
  • One commercial CD (with jewel case and booklet

(n.b. Before starting anything, you should have a careful listen to your sound as is current, so you will have a better idea of what may have changed). Now, with the fine point black marker, write the following phrase in ALL CAPS, on a single line, trying to keep the letters small but legible (write along the long side of the paper, so you can get it all in one line - if you find you can't fit it on one line, that's ok, you can curve the line around the paper):


EVERYTHING IS SAFE INSIDE EVERYTHING IS SAFE INSIDE EVERYTHING IS SAFE INSIDE EVERYTHING IS SAFE INSIDE EVERYTHING IS SAFE INSIDE > O.K.


n.b. (If possible, emphasize the "O.K." part in bolder print).

Cut the line you wrote out of the paper, keeping close to the letters, without cutting into them. If you had to write the line of text curved around the paper, cut around the curve. Now, fold or roll up the strip of paper into a ball, then flatten it between thumb and forefinger. You will be placing it on the tray of the CD jewel case, underneath the CD. Specifically, near the "teeth" in the center, that hold the CD in place. The strip should just touch the teeth of the jewel case, and be seen under the transparent centre ring of the CD. Now with the CD in place over top of the rolled up and flattened strip of paper, close the jewel case tray. Then, for better results, place this CD inside a drawer or box in the listening room. If neither are available, stick it under the couch, or wherever that it can not be seen. You are now ready for testing.


TESTING


You will not be testing the CD you tweaked, so you will need to put on another CD for testing. I recommend the normal standard testing method for audiophiles; A/B (sighted) method, at least initially. (If you wish to do fancy blind tests, do them later, if the results under sighted are positive).


TEST A (Device IN): Listen to another CD, while the CD you tweaked is inside the drawer. Keeping the volume at a suitable level for testing and using music with little complexity is recommended.


TEST B (Device OUT): Because of the nature of the fields, steps must be taken to try to remove the influence of the message strip. Simply take the CD case out of the drawer, take the strip out of the CD case, and remove both the case and strip out of the listening room (preferably out of the house if you really want to be sure no influence remains). Listen again with the CD case / strip out of the room.


If you did not hear a difference:


A) Repeat the test. The differences may just be subtle for some, and it could take a few back and forths before they are heard.


B) If no differences can be discerned as above, increase the effect. Instead of just the 1 CD, apply the same message strip to 7 or 9 CD's (keeping them all in the same drawer, removing them all at the same time during the B test).


C) Some have reported hearing differences only after the music has been playing for a while. So you might try leaving it playing for half an hour, and return to see if you can discern differences then.

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