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Nov 13, 2009

Redrawing the map

Posted by The Advanced Audiophile

I started messing with Belt tweaks (aka "treatments") about 20 years ago. People who don't personally know me are inevitably skeptical whenever I relate my experiences to them, insisting I am fooling myself. Even my best friend, who knows all about my adventures in Beltism and is absolutely a believer in it because I spent more than two years transforming the sound of everything in her place, is sometimes not a believer. Never mind the night and day differences her hifi went through. Never mind the blind trials we both passed through, testing Belt's products and techniques. Never mind that her friends keep asking me to treat their systems, after hearing what I did to her car stereo. Sometimes, she just switches off and becomes a skeptic. Which is quite alright by me, it keeps me on my toes.

Earlier this evening, was one of those times. I had treated the electric kettle. Not something you usually think of and say "Gee, I wonder how I can get the water kettle to improve my hifi system?". But it's a good thing I don't impose those limitations on myself, because the water kettle treatment sounded fabulous! Anyway, to demonstrate this, I had my friend listen to music on the laptop computer, with the water kettle sitting on the stove, not plugged in. I repeated the selection a few times, so she would know the sound well. Then I went and plugged the water kettle into the electrical outlet on the stove. And her mouth stood open. And I could tell from the stunned way she was looking at me, she must have heard the changes! I know I did, they were quite transformative; not as subtle as might be expected. But she didn't actually say at first, whether she heard a difference. Only a request to repeat the test with another song. It was obvious she couldn't believe what her ears were telling her the first time, and wanted a second opinion from her own ears. The second opinion came, and it said the same sort of thing; there was definitely something going on here that had improved the sound. She said as much, only she added that she felt she could not trust her own ears to tell her the truth! And I knew why. Because despite her many brushes with my "weird tweaks", she could not conceive of how plugging a kettle in could improve the sound. There's a kind of disconnect that occurs; sort of like being handed an object in the dark. You know you have the object in your hand because you can feel it, but you may not know what it is, or who put it there. Speaking of the dark, I had also treated an LED wall lamp. So I did another test, where I switched on the light. This time, my friend was not able to hear any obvious differences, but I could hear improvements when the little light was switched on, despite that we were not in the same room. The differences weren't as large as with the kettle, however.

Presuming the experience won't be dismissed outright, the conventional mind might react to that and say the working kettle was affecting the home's AC current. Two problems there: 1) the laptop was on battery power.  2) The outlet on the stove had long stopped working, so there was no current going to the kettle; no water boiling! Yet the effect was solidly evident, and immenently repeatable. In trying to understand what's going on, e.g. why or how tweaking a kettle could possibly have a noticeable effect, improvement even, on your sound quality, it might seem like you have to redraw the map of everything you thought you knew about audio or science. And that you shouldn't have to, if these seemingly odd practices were producing real effects, real changes in the sound! Well I know that placebos don't last for 20 years, otherwise they defy the very definition of the word. So I know from that alone, that the changes are real. But before redrawing the map, outside observers to this phenomenon tend to try to understand it by looking at the map from the wrong end! Thinking it is the sound of the equipment we're attempting to change, when in fact, it is the ability of the listener to hear sound in general, that is being affected by these esoteric products and processes. It's a physical change all the same, but instead of the hifi equipment undergoing physical changes, it is the listener himself. Which means that whatever improvements are gained, are not limited to hifi equipment. This has all sorts of advantages over conventional audio upgrades, obviously.

What's needed is a sense of perspective. Seeing how the process with the electric kettle is connected with the Red X Pen which is connected with the Paper Under A Chair Leg which is connected with Cream Electret and Rainbow Foil and so on. They all deal with the same problem of adverse energy in the environment in different ways. A true understanding of how all these are linked comes with the experience of experimenting with the different products and ideas. Some may work better than others for you, and some may only be consciously perceived later, after revisiting them. Regardless of what product is used, generally, greater benefits are had by greater numbers of treatments. It may take a while before a full transformation occurs, but when it does, is when the impossible, or the improbable, no longer holds the same meaning for you that it once did.

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