Zaph Audio - Snake Oil and Lies - Page 5 - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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post #41 of 52 Old 05-30-11, 10:21 AM
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I'll would go with all of it except for the part where cd sounds better than vinyl.
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post #42 of 52 Old 05-30-11, 11:54 AM
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Re: Zaph Audio - Snake Oil and Lies

There are other things I disagree with him about, like the disdain he has for active crossovers/speakers. I would have agreed with him 10 years ago but to my ears at least dsp based crossovers now sound better than passive one's. Then there is his dislike for home theater. But his is still my favorite site and I have spent much time studying his driver evaluations and his commentary.
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post #43 of 52 Old 06-01-11, 10:45 PM
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Re: Zaph Audio - Snake Oil and Lies

CD does sound better than vinyl
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post #44 of 52 Old 06-02-11, 07:08 AM
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Re: Zaph Audio - Snake Oil and Lies

Some cd's sound better than some vinyl, and vice versa. Then there's hd, as from HDTracks which I think makes both sound poor in comparison.
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post #45 of 52 Old 06-02-11, 11:14 AM
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Re: Zaph Audio - Snake Oil and Lies

One of the big things that give CDs a bad rep is the loudness war.
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post #46 of 52 Old 07-13-11, 07:51 AM
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Re: Zaph Audio - Snake Oil and Lies

Very nice...........

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post #47 of 52 Old 09-27-11, 11:50 PM
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I was looking forward to reading this as it brought to mind one particular hi-fi component reviewer who suddenly became all 'mystical' in his use of cables, removing one screw from a driver, 'decoupling' one of the feet of each component, and using elaborate knots for all the system's cables. And then came the sound-enhancing 'stick on pad' that cost an arm and a leg - all of which he claimed offered an audible improvement.

This was back in the late 80s in the UK and, with hindsight, seems to have been a weird hi-fi forerunner of feng shui.

Unfortunately, the original posting above detailed his opinion on various things, rather than highlighting dubious practices and/or products.

I think the 'vinyl vs CD' debate will go on for as long as there remains a platter upon which to spin a disc, as will the 'tube vs transistor' sound-off.

As a long-time listener of music I have bought terrible sounding CD versions of things I have on disc. Of course, this is a technical problem - and one usually associated with the early era of digital convertors, but the argument is given that digital removes the 'soul' of music and this is where taking sides becomes only a subjective matter. I doubt an oscilloscope would help change minds!

As a musician (guitarist) the recording world is lit up with discussions surrounding the merits of analogue tape versus digital computer recording; analogue hardware (compressors and preamps and effects) versus their computer 'plug-in' replicas; tube outboard equipment (microphones, for example) versus their solid state equivalents. And don't get me started on 'boutique' guitar amplifiers!

Again, these arguments invariably become ones of subjective 'preferences' as some things do, indeed, sound 'different' - but who's to say one is 'better sounding' than another?

I liked the subtle wording regarding comparing the sound of cables: I would hardly expect much difference in sound between two expensive cables, but I would expect to hear a difference between a cheap cable and an expensive one. (Of course, then comes the subjective part of deciding which sound I prefer).

Finally, into all of this needs to be placed our ears. What we hear -and then interpret - is, of course, subjective. But there is such a phenomenon as 'golden ears': musicians, producers, mastering engineers - and even some hi-fi reviewers - people whose ears are able to notice the slightest nuance (the aural version of a wine taster who, after one sip, can tell you the grape variety, vineyard, and year of that particular bottle), and whose opinions are worth noticing. I wish I could hear what they hear, as they hear it - but then again, perhaps I would hate the experience.

Snake oil salesmen and charlatans - yes, of course they exist - even in the worlds of audio and video. But please do try and differentiate opinion for fact, otherwise you just become the purveyor of a different kind of snake oil.
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post #48 of 52 Old 11-02-11, 03:57 AM
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Re: Zaph Audio - Snake Oil and Lies

I agree with most of all said by John im just going to give some info of what I have learnt experimenting with crossovers, speakers, designs, enclosures, car audio, home hi fi, home theatre, cables installations.

I first worked in hi fi in 1997 I worked selling hi fi/home theatre entry/midrange - most expensive speakers we had were about 12k hi fi pair amps and speakers were mainstream. Hi fi and home theatre up to about 7k per amp max.

I progressed through to a bit of speaker building, selling speaker parts, speakers, car audio, spl, sq, basically getting into the middle ground of all audio but not all the way to the end...I did not have the spare funds to spend on equipment, or the free time requird to invest to really go all the way audio was always a hobby - this is where zaph audio has helped me bridge the gap of what I know and dont - the data on the site has been invaluable to me piecing together information to helping me understand and find the audio truth.

This is for me (everyone has different ideals) search for the most accurate reproduction of the original source being played as possible ie: most accurate true speaker. If i know the drivers im playing with are not an accurate reproduction of events (which can be easily heard when u know what you are really hearing) I start changing things to correct it. When I get to a stage where I cannot improve the sound any furthur...I know I am mainly at the limit of the drivers.

In saying that...well matched drivers do not require megabucks to sound like a 20k set of speakers...

There are a handfull of (what I call cheap drivers) under $125 (strong bass drivers will be more) that I use and matched in a nice 3 way or used in their optimum bands could sound as good as a 20k pair of commercial speakers and almost as good as the top scan drivers but just...not quite there.

So I can understand where Zaph audio is coming much does the consumer have to be ripped off their money for something that is...well...sonically less true to reproduction of the original recording especially when it is not that difficult or expensive to design and build the...opposite?

ie:it is worse at the job it has been designed to do in the first place.

Not that all commercial speakers are overpriced because thats not the case...I have heard some VERY good value comercial speakers but how is a consumer to know the truth if...their eyes are covered up or havent heard the truth?.

I am fortunate however due to selling speakers some years ago to have a collection of tweeters and woofers (scan revelator slit cones, scan illuminator ring radiator, sb acoustics woofers/sb29's, peerless exclusives and hds/hds tweeters, scan 9500s, vifa xt25's/dx25's, vifa pl17's, some focals, seas, scan illuminator tweeters, a handfull of different vifa & sb neo tweeters the list goes on. I have "played" around extensively with all of these which has helped my understanding of what is accurate and where speakers tonal characteristics come from.

I too thought that active crossovers should be much better some years ago for many reasons however when actually playing with them without any shaping passive circuits found they werent all they were cracked up to be...then if the drivers to be used require passive shaping circuits as well (which is most of the top end drivers) whats really the point? Plus how to hit a precise custom rolloff actively much is all that going to cost?

I have done back to back tests of my own and shop gear in the past including cables where I switched between $400 interconnects and $30 interconnects I made, and I heard no difference. Speaker cables $4 to $50....all sounded the same.

Amplifiers, CD players and speakers have always had an audiable difference...

sometimes slight but noticable.

I understand people (as in everybody) has there own perceptions and preferences as to what they like the sound of however I dont believe people should be kept 'ignorant to reality' by the perceptions of media, manufacturers, reviewers or whoever it is saying whatever their saying...which may well be true or may be not and applaud zaph audio for all his work and efforts helping the audio community with truth and facts not found elsewhere and with the things hes done.
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post #49 of 52 Old 03-04-12, 08:03 AM
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Re: Zaph Audio - Snake Oil and Lies

I have learned a lot from Siegfried Linkwitz's website (linkwitzlab) about objectivity versus subjectivity.
He is an engineer with a keen ear and in depth understanding of audio. Most interesting to me are his discussions of psychoacoustics and how the research influences his designs and advances the knowledge of acoustic measurements.
He is a skeptic that is open to new ideas. He just tries to measure it and apply physics and psychoacoustic principles.
He does note something that is often overlooked: even if it can be measured, it doesn't matter if the difference would not be audible. For example, a properly designed amp or preamp can handle some measurable fluctuation in AC power and reject some RF interference. Just because a power conditioner can smooth power fluctuations and reject RF in a measurable way, does not mean that there will be any audible difference in the audio system.
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post #50 of 52 Old 03-04-12, 11:49 AM
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Re: Zaph Audio - Snake Oil and Lies

One's beliefs can greatly affect you one perceives what they experience. Tube amps do sound different than solid-state amps. Whether the sound is 'better' or not depends upon the listeners past experiences.

Anyone selling magic beans should have the data that shows the exact changes that the beans make to sound waves being heard.
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