Improve your soundstage, DVD convergence and car horsepower with Shakti stones

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125 Responses to “Improve your soundstage, DVD convergence and car horsepower with Shakti stones”

  1. Halloween_Jack says:

    Will they make my teeth whiter and my hair more lustrous and full? Will they give me the sort of diamond-cutter hard-on that I had when I was a teenager and had no one to share it with?

    Good freaking grief. It’s as if they’re fully aware of the general reputation that “audiophiles” have and decided, through the same inscrutable spaghetti logic that leads them to believe that cargo-cult-quality tchotchkes can produce techno-magic, to double down on the gibberish.  Or they think they’ve found a new crop of marks to skim off of.

  2. Sam Ley says:

    Arg, another horrible audiophile product. It is funny to laugh at them, but audio and music really is an interesting hobby with cool science behind it, and a strong DIY culture. Maybe alternate the “dumb audiophile products” stuff with things that actually do work, that people might use to get more enjoyment out of their music, like Zaphaudio.com’s well researched DIY speaker designs, or current generations of low-cost DACs and headphone amplifiers that make substantial improvements over most people’s crappy built-in soundcards. Audio is a subjective experience, but is based on objective properties and principles.

    • Spocko says:

      Agreed. I  just purchased a UBS Microphone to record some stuff in my “electronically noisy” computer. I did this after being on a local radio show and talking into the studio microphone and then listening to my voice afterwards. The sound difference was amazing. I didn’t hate the sound of my voice! 
      Now I’m trying to record calls to people and I’m much more aware of all the bandwidth that phones leaves out. 

  3. Dlo Burns says:

    I’m waiting for the authentic tiger and elephant bone version. 

    • willi0000000 says:

       don’t bother.  preliminary testing has revealed that they can’t even raise the dead.  now, what you really want is the genuine unicorn horn…

  4. Hal Greene says:

    What Halloween_Jack said. I kept reading through the article, waiting for the “April Fools!” or similar. But alas, none was forthcoming. This review is depressingly without guile or skepticism. Or what these things truly deserve: outright derision and scorn. Really BB, we expect better of you.

  5. Snig says:

    They truly have some stones.

  6. Dave Jenkins says:

    To a certain extent, I don’t doubt these people hear an actual difference.  Hearing is a sensory experience, and the placebo effect surely takes part.  I’m almost wondering if ‘audiophilia’ is a condition, where the placebo effect couples with extra-sensitive hearing to drive people to spend thousands of dollars on woo-woo.

    • doniphon says:

       Placebo, eh?  That’s the reason the MP3 sounds better than the MP2 – 50% more placebo.

      • Dlo Burns says:

        No no, you want less numbers in your MPs, more numbers means that more bandwidths are being suppressed. The ideal is the MP0 format, which requires a pure copper wire for conversion. 

        • Sam Ley says:

          No, no. MP0.5 uses pure copper, but MP0 only works on a superconductor. I bring my headphones in whenever I get an MRI and ask to use the superconductor coils to play a few jams before I get my brain scanned.

          • doniphon says:

             This Just In – New Codec: MPi, which combines the superconductor transmission of MP0 with the root of the negative square wave function.

      • willi0000000 says:

         ignore the regular placebos.  only use the extra-strength placebos.

    • OgilvyTheAstronomer says:

      Allegedly, the same effect applies to wine.

  7. gwailo_joe says:

    It’s not for everyone, but taken as a suppository…the effects of Earths’ gravity is mitigated and self powered flight becomes possible for short distances.

    • bzishi says:

      I’ve also heard that it improves wifi audio system performance as well by enhancing the polarity of the radio signals, compensating for impedance losses, and resynchronizing the surround sound audio so that it arrives at your ears at exactly the same time without the pesky electromagnetic delay. But to do this you need to tape a battery to the side. Most people should use a C or D cell. Only audio professionals can handle the absolute audio performance that taping a car battery to the side will deliver (available in standard, power sound plus, or extreme power sound plus versions).

  8. bzishi says:

    Ha ha! I love it when people talk about magic cables and things that help to improve digital audio and video systems. The idea that a magic magnet would help a CPU is fairly insane. My only hope is that the people that buy these things get mocked so mercilessly that they actually consider taking an introductory electronics course.

    • Sam Ley says:

      That is really the sad thing – people with actual knowledge about electronics make great audio gear, and really do enjoy better quality audio as a result. News flash – science can help make stuff better!

  9. Paul Renault says:

      the same horsepower improvements as the Stabilizer.

    That is, none whatsoever.

  10. BonzoDog1 says:

    Reminds me of the Seventies when we taped cow magnets to the fuel lines of our cars to straighten those dern gas molecules out to get better mileage.

  11. Manel says:

    “Magnets?  How do they work?”  – ICP

  12. E T says:

    But does it oil snakes?

  13. Well, if no-one else will review them on Amazon… (feel free to wade in, folks) https://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/AVGMM0VHWMRTE?ie=UTF8&ref_=cm_cr_rdp_pdp

  14. fss says:

    I’ve attached a few to my belt and I have to say that my bowel movements have never been smoother or more well-formed.

  15. Mitch_M says:

    Will they help with TP for my Bunghole Chakra?

  16. Eli Fleming says:

    Hey, there’s a Power Mac G4 on their page… I wonder if the full potential of the velocity engine can finally be unlocked despite the limited frequency range of the forward bus and SDRAM timing differentials?!? Maybe if Steve Jobs had harnessed the amazing power of these devices, the G5 Powerbook could have been a reality?!?

  17. Finnagain says:

    Behold: The Madness of the Audiophile!

    From tfa:

    I have a very tweaked system. The room is fairly dead using Tube Traps, Corner Tunes, and absorptive wall panels. I also have Shakti Sonic Hallographs. All equipment is on isolation feet on top of Bright Star type sand boxes. Each piece of equipment is mass dampened with lead sheets. I have two power conditioners, and I have Shakti Onlines at all interconnect, speaker, and power cable inputs. I have two dedicated power circuits. Shakti Stones are under major components. Most of my components have been modified by Mod Wright or Andy Bartha. I have three AV123 super tweeters. I also use Thorough Bass Magellan VIII subwoofers as I find them musical. Each main speaker is mass damped with 100 lbs of lead; the subs are dampened with 50 lbs. lead. Additional damping material has been added to each speaker. The speakers are also on spikes. I use Cardas and Jena Labs cabling. I also have audiophile power cords on everything. I use Mpingo blocks around the room. The floor is cement with heavy carpet over it.”

    When I worked for an acoustics company, this was our typical customer. Jeebus.

    • Spocko says:

      I used this system to listen to… What? Speed Metal? Classical music? Hip Hop? Musicals? 
      I’m not a real music person, I have very narrow tastes and so spending money on a great audio system make no sense to me.
      I saw Judy Collins live at a wonderful theater in college. Just her, accompanied by a piano and some strings I think. She hit and held a note so pure and perfect that I got chills. I still think of it as the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard a human voice make. If I cared about trying to recreate that again with a system I might spend money on it.

    • Dlo Burns says:

      Seriously, what kind of music did these people listen to? I have $50 on prog rock.

      • Sam Ley says:

        Unfortunately, a lot of prog rock is really well recorded, so does benefit from good quality systems. This is one of life’s greatest cruelties.

        • Gerald Mander says:

           “Benefiting from good quality systems” isn’t the same as “I mass-dampened with polylaminate monopoles for maximum quantum entanglement in the positron flow for fluctuation-free output of Keith Emerson’s GX3.” That’s just telling the world that being smart and having a lot of money are clearly not the same thing. (It also qualifies you to write dialogue for any Star Trek spinoff series.)

      • tomchaps says:

         Well, the Amazon search correlation is with: Peter Gabriel and Billy Joel.

        Wait, what? Billy Joel?

    • UnderachievingSheep says:

      And then he named it “The forever alone room”.

      On a more serious note, I wonder how this stuff is compatible with a regular social life you know, involving regular, non audiophile folks coming over for drinks or for dinner, or even a date with someone…. If the room described above looks the way I imagine it, I am not sure I’d be comfortable setting foot in it without other people being present (absorptive wall panels, for non audiophiles, might as well mean “nobody can hear you scream”).

  18. LionelAG says:

    Old, old news.  These Shakti stone things have been on the market for a dozen or more years.  Having never even seen one in person, I can’t state what exactly they are, but I suspect that they’re basically in the family of ferrite beads and may reduce RF noise just enough to make people think they’re doing something dramatic (which wouldn’t be necessary if they used properly shielded, non-$4000 cables in the first place).  Small differences tend to get magnified easily in this community.   It amounts to a stupidity tax.  At least these idle rich are spending the money on something other than contributions to Republican SuperPACs.

    What the non-audiophile community doesn’t seem to realize is that most audiophiles find this stuff silly and embarrassing in the same way that say, serious space exploration enthusiasts feel about UFO buffs.  The Absolute Sound is not exactly a mainstream source anymore– Stereophile, which at least includes actual measurements of gear, has something like 3x the circulation of TAS, which has gotten much weirder and more self-referential since I started reading this stuff ten or more years ago.  (And part of the fun of Stereophile, besides the extremely wide-ranging music reviews and recommendations, is the schadenfreude of seeing the occasional unfortunate reviewer wax rhapsodic about some piece of equipment which then measures so poorly–and audibly so– that you wonder if they’re deaf or just really like second and third harmonic distortion.  Or seeing a $350 DAC outmeasure a $25,000 one.)

    • Daemonworks says:

      Most non-audiophiles use the word audiophile specifically to reference the sort of guy who’ll hapilly spend a hundred bucks on a rock that magically enhances any and all electronics through etheric vibrations, rather than folks who actually know what they’re on about.

      • LionelAG says:

        That contributes to the problem, unfortunately, because the nuts are the ones who appropriated the term.  And it’s magnified by the fact that nobody wants to spend any money on electronics anymore, which makes a $2000 amplifier look more ridiculous than it actually is (most of these companies manufacture things in such small quantities that there isn’t any way to make the price lower without compromising performance or manufacturing quality).

        I’d recommend to anyone who genuinely loves music, whether you think you have “good hearing” or not (I’m 40, and can just barely hear out to 16,000hz, plus have done God knows what damage to my ears with 25 years of electric guitar playing), to scout out a store in your area which sells good audio equipment and give a listen to a recording you already know well.  I’m not talking about a $50,000 super system, but a realistic system, with say, $1000 speakers (I’d suggest Dynaudio or Magneplanar or PSB or Rega or Polk), a $500 amp and a $300 CD player.  I think most people who do this would be very surprised at just how good such a system sounds.  I’d go further– I think that anyone who puts a bit of effort into even personal listening– a $100-150 or so set of headphones by Sennheiser or AKG or Grado, plus a decent USB DAC/headphone amp to plug into a computer, costing maybe $200– would be more than pleasantly surprised at the improvement over a $20 set of headphones into the headphone jack on the back of your audio card.  Everything that costs money has a sweet spot beyond which returns start to diminish.  YMMV.   But ignore the people with magic rocks and unreasonably expensive speaker cables (mine are Mogami cables such as you’d find in any ordinary recording studio and cost me about $80)  and try before you ridicule. 

        • Dlo Burns says:

          “And it’s magnified by the fact that nobody wants to spend any money on electronics anymore, ”

          But then there’s the fuckers dropping mad cash on Beats by Dre in every color.

        • Aleknevicus says:

          I have a system much like the one you recommend (Paradigm speakers, Denon amp, Denon CD) and am quite pleased with it. The old laptop computer I use to listen to MP3s is connected via its headphone jack. I’m interested in connecting it via a DAC instead — do you have any recommendations? My criteria: <$200, USB connection (I'm not able to add a sound card to the laptop). Thanks!

          • Sam Ley says:

            There are a lot of good DACs under $200, but the Fiio E10 is about $55 on Amazon, and is popular for being a very good value. There are better DACs out there, but you’ll pay a lot more for them. It is a 24bit/48kHz USB DAC, is detected driverlessly on OS X and Windows 7 (probably XP, too), has a very nice headphone amp stage, and a good line-out connection. Much cleaner than most built-in soundcards.

          • I use a NuForce uDAC-2 with my Macbook and a good pair of Sennheisers. I  was shocked at the difference when I first started using it. Under $150, driverless. Totally worth it. Don’t know if Nuforce’s higher end DACs have better sound.

          • LionelAG says:

             The Nuforce dacs have gotten good reviews, as has the Audioengine D1.  I haven’t heard either yet.   If you’re sticking with 16/44.1 audio, the Headroom Bithead sounds pretty damned good, and will power most non-esoteric headphones pretty well.  People have been raving about the Dragonfly USB stick/DAC/headphone amplifier, but the measurements are fairly mediocre, because it powers itself entirely from the 5v USB socket and has a fairly crappy power supply as a result.  For the price (which is stupid cheap– I think they start at $50), the Fiio stuff isn’t much of a gamble, and they’re using pretty good chips.

            For computer audio, I’m currently using the headphone monitor section of a Focusrite USB recording interface.  Some of the lower end USB recording interfaces (Tascam has a good rep) are pretty sweet for the money, and serve a double purpose if you want to play around with recording audio, rather than playing it.

          • B. Peasant says:

            I used a USB sound card and optical connection to my amp (past tence because that computer died and I haven’t replaced it yet).

            Anyway, I agree about getting a decent system. I’ve got an Onkyo receiver and KEF front speakers, and the sound really is amazing. It’s compromised mostly by my tiny, cluttered living room and my taste in music.

        • Vnend says:

          Did you forget Klipsch, or was that intentional?

          (Thanks for including psb. The set I bought still blows me away sometimes…)

          • LionelAG says:

             Didn’t forget them, just haven’t heard their <$1000 stuff in too long to have formed an opinion.  And there are very few people who are neutral about horn drivers.  You either love them or hate them.

            PSB is amazing for the money.  I really want to hear what he can do with an actual budget, because his $300 speakers are so damned good that his $2000 ones must be spectacular.

        • Gyrofrog says:

          Did any of y’all read Vladimir’s column in Cadence magazine?  (He no longer writes it, now that the magazine has changed hands – though the old company also distributed audio equipment.)

          It was good stuff, here’s a taste.

        • C W says:

          “That contributes to the problem, unfortunately, because the nuts are the ones who appropriated the term.”

          So call yourself an “enthusiast”, then?

          • LionelAG says:

            There’s room for a lot.  Subcultures have big tents.  “Science Fiction Fans” encompasses everyone from hard sf people who get pissed if the physics is incorrect, to people who like stuff that almost qualifies as fantasy because it’s so removed from possible reality (PKD and Ellison come to mind), to Scientologists who don’t care about any novel not written by L. Ron Hubbard, to people who are actually trying to live out Heinlein or the Gor books, to Steampunkers and Star Trek Fans, Anime enthusiasts and Furries, etc etc etc.  They all have differing perspectives on the same subculture.  Some may seem more ridiculous than others.  It doesn’t mean that the Stanislaw Lem fans don’t get pissed when they get lumped in with the Bronies.  It’s the reflexive hatred that bugs me.  Some audiophilia is completely ridiculous (and sometimes you don’t know what to think because people get behind stuff that seems ludicrous and produce genius.  Google Mapleshade Records for a good example– the recordings are astonishing– download some of the sample MP3s.  Then look at the sometimes bizarre products he sells.).  Some audiophiles are oddballs who sit in their rooms with $50,000 stereos and listen to recordings of train whistles.  Most are music fans of a depth and breadth that’s atypical.

          • Shadowfire says:

            We’ve been promoted to “Science Fiction Fans”? Boss.

      • Gerald Mander says:

         You might as well be quoting from the Monster Cable company manifesto. You’ve certainly nailed their market share.

        • Sam Ley says:

          Monster has a different target market – not these people, but the people who shop at Best Buy who idolize these people, but can’t quite afford their lifestyle. People who can be convinced that magic wire will improve their experience, but who still shop at Best Buy.

      • nathan foote says:

        Daemon, I would like to buy your rock.

  19. Mitchell Glaser says:

    I arranged seven of these into a pyramid and was sucked into another dimension of time and space. Klaatu barada nikto!

  20. kmoser says:

    I won’t buy a product like this unless its name contains the phrases “monster” and “gold-plated”.

  21. devophill says:

    Rob, I think there’s a problem. I keep reloading the page, but the technobabble isn’t changing.

    • Ian Wood says:

      Well…if you’re using a certain level of computer equipment–nothing wrong with that, I’m sure it works fine for you–it can cause that sort of problem.

    • I sell a $250 USB dongle that will co-opt and transitionalize the technobabble on your screen to levels that will amaze you – you simply have to see the results to believe. I know there are those people selling cheap $50 knockoffs of my product, but they simply don’t have my decades of experience with this technology – please do your eyes a favor and avoid their products! Stick with the tried and true product available only from me.

  22. Audiophilia is where dumb money goes to die.

  23. Boundegar says:

    Can I keep one of these as a pet?

  24. Mike Meyer says:

    I put Shakti stones next to my computer monitor, and now all the comments threads on blogs are civil and not snarky at all.

  25. jbond says:

    If you wear straights, they’ll give you flairs.

  26. That_Anonymous_Coward says:

    They have a patent.
    Patent number: 5814761

    Anyone still think the patent system isn’t broke?

  27. Did you know that Shakti backwards is It Kash. Just pointin it out.

  28. wazmo says:

    Wha!?! No meniton of its competitor the Shun Mook Mpimgo disks? How ….uh…..Oh, I’ll juts leave you with this excellent review:

    http://www.amazon.com/Denon-AKDL1-Dedicated-Link-Cable/product-reviews/B000I1X6PM/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1

  29. Florian Bösch says:

    I can also highly recomend the orgone flux compensator magnet ring water purifier wallet money emptier. It works great, cleans your wallet out in no time.

  30. vrplumber says:

    Are these the same stones from the Bruce Willis/Blue Lady movie?

  31. Vnend says:

    Ah, so this is the what the smart engineer who heard “This one goes to eleven.” and thought “For $50,000 I can make it go to twelve.” ended up doing…

  32. Hal Greene says:

    K, I read it again and I guess I DID miss the sarcasm and skepticism. Sorry, I really thought Rob was being serious about the efficacy of these ass-sticks. Hey it was late at night and my snark filter was turned off. But really, the people who try to foist this crap on us (along with the folks who make $3k POWER CORDS) should just be buried under a hod of them. With extreme prejudice.

  33. Cameron Huff says:

    I have some of these.  I had to battle through a cult of murderers in India and fight their high priest while hanging off of a rope bridge that broke, but it was worth it!!  The only bad thing is I dropped two of them in a crocodile infested river

  34. NelC says:

    These are like the stones in Temple of Doom, right? Just having them in your home will enhance everything — turn your colourless rags to brightly-dyed saris, bring joy to your face, fix your teeth, and make your crops grow overnight!

    Edit: Cameron, you win this round!

  35. Kevin Pierce says:

    “the Stones” are made of compressed hashish – you smoke them!

  36. Rick Adams says:

    I don,t know, I balk at $230 for a passive device…

  37. oasisob1 says:

    They’re $230 each. I saw you coming.

  38. Wingnut says:

    $100 for ferrite beads‽‽‽‽ 
    I got mine free from a recycle place.

    I hope you appreciate my use of the interrobang.

  39. I’ll get out my money as soon as I see quantum mentioned then I’ll know it’s definitely real science.

  40. bo1n6bo1n6 says:

    Fucking magnets how do they work?

  41. francoisroux says:

    Maybe their farts will sound better when they shove it op their asses…

  42. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    Yet another Gullible Audiophiles thread from Rob.  There must be a schedule for this.

  43. ARMed_Pirate says:

    The first time I read this, I thought it read, “Also, your cat’s horsepower.”

    I think my version is better.

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