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debunking help needed, "C37 lacquer"?
ivanova
post Jan 9 2005, 11:37
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This is probably not the right forum to post this, but I don't know where else to do it. Please remove if it is inappropriate.

A friend of mine is planning on buying some 'C37 lacquer' reviewed here:
http://www.tnt-audio.com/accessories/c37_e.html

While I know enough not to be taken in by this obvious scam, I don't seem to have the proper credentials or reputation to convince him of that. If anyone can point me to some more information or a better forum to discuss this, please do.

Thanks


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Woodinville
post Jan 10 2005, 00:15
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QUOTE (ivanova @ Jan 9 2005, 02:37 AM)
This is probably not the right forum to post this, but I don't know where else to do it. Please remove if it is inappropriate.

A friend of mine is planning on buying some 'C37 lacquer' reviewed here:
http://www.tnt-audio.com/accessories/c37_e.html

While I know enough not to be taken in by this obvious scam, I don't seem to have the proper credentials or reputation to convince him of that.  If anyone can point me to some more information or a better forum to discuss this, please do.

Thanks
*


There is presently a bit of discussion on the C37 laqueur going on at www.randi.org, but it's not particularly scientific. The folks there, including at least one or two heavyweight experts, are hard put to find anything in it to even consider seriously.


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cabbagerat
post Jan 10 2005, 09:27
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Plus, it takes several weeks before the results become "stable".
...
The C37's owner manual, available in English, Deutch and French, suggests to wait at least 4 four weeks before judging the final result.
...
one day the system will sound very good, another day will sound terrible (i.e. worse than before the treatment...) so, please, don't get frustrated if the first results don't match your expectations, be patient and wait.

That's mighty convenient, isn't it? It's this kind of claim that makes debunking stuff like this so difficult. Waiting a few weeks for the stuff to work means there is no way to know if the stuff has done anything. You could consider using two identical amplifiers but there are major pitfalls there - I can successfully ABX two identical headphone amps I built myself - one with Samsung IRF610 output devices has about 1dB more gain than the one with IR IRF610 devices. Which means a successful ABX between two amps doesn't say anything about fancy laquer.
QUOTE
I've applied the C37 lacquer on: loudspeaker drivers, turntable platters and cartridges

Turntable platters? This one is beyond debunking.
QUOTE
As a result, you need to treat both the woofer and the tweeter in order to avoid "speed response mismatch" between the two drivers.

Speed response mismatch? The moving mass of a paper cone mid is several orders of magnitude higher than that of a silk or magnesium dome tweeter. A little paint isn't going to change that.

It is very plausible that painting a stiff laquer on a speaker cone will change it's sound. It will increase the moving mass, increase the stiffness and change the surface characteristics. I would imaging that the manufacturers of the drivers would not reccomment it, however. Their response would probably be much like motor oil manufacturer's response to 'magic' oil additives.

On the other hand it is not even vaguely plausible that painting the stuff on circuit boards could have any effect, in my mind. There is a possibility it would make transistors and resistors run hotter introducing more thermal noise and possibly changing the gain of an amplifier.


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Pio2001
post Jan 22 2005, 17:12
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The interview of the author is more revealing : http://www.tnt-audio.com/intervis/c37e.html

Debunking it would be very difficult, because everything that is said is obviously wrong from a scentific point of view, and debunking the obvious is very difficult.
For example, how would you explain to someone that ghosts don't exist ? It's the same for many arguments supporting the C37 laquer. They are just meaningless.

The problem is that they are advanced enough for most people not to understand them, for example

My own experience is that our subconscious relates the chopping of frequencies to the C37 frequencies in a way that C37-related frequencies produce a natural and warm sound to us while frequencies between C37 frequencies sound harsh.

First, "chopping of frequencies" is a mistake. It doesn't exists. He means the "chopping of the sound". Second, the chopping of the sound is an old myth that comes from a misinterpretation of the sampling theory, and that is plain wrong. The waveform that comes outside a CD player is not chopped in any way, you can see it on an oscilloscope. Third the C37 frequencies only exists in his head. He explains that after several years of isolation from any scientific information and people, he became conviced that carbon was the element that determined the sound quality he was looking for. This is beyond debunking. Why not Hydrogen ? Why not saying also that energy is responsible for the sound of MP3 ? Or electrons ?
Then Since sound is also coloured by body temperature (sic) he says that C37 frequencies are the right ones, because 37 is the human body temperature in Celcius degrees. What can I add ? That the boat captain's age explains the preference of my cat for beef food over chicken ? And the whole explanations run this way.

The only meaningful writings are the ones in the review you links, but since the author didn't perform any scientific, that is blind, tests we can't conclude anything about them.
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MugFunky
post Jan 29 2005, 17:53
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On other hand, there is the immensely rich store of experience accumulated by instrument makers, who, in earlier centuries before science had any impact, had their greatest successes.


...right.

and i suppose equal temperament was all bollocks.

in fact, wasn't the pythagorean scale invented by... pythagoras? you know, a scientist?

man. i should stop reading now - i'll just get all angry.

the wooden speaker looks cool though. probably sounds like shit, but looks nice.
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Woodinville
post Jan 30 2005, 00:19
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QUOTE (MugFunky @ Jan 29 2005, 08:53 AM)
QUOTE
On other hand, there is the immensely rich store of experience accumulated by instrument makers, who, in earlier centuries before science had any impact, had their greatest successes.


...right.

and i suppose equal temperament was all bollocks.

in fact, wasn't the pythagorean scale invented by... pythagoras? you know, a scientist?

man. i should stop reading now - i'll just get all angry.

the wooden speaker looks cool though. probably sounds like shit, but looks nice.
*



While I'm quite sympathetic, and I agree that science is quite relevant, might I point out that science emerged in the modern world sometime after Popper's thinking on falsification? Pythagoras was a mathematician, something quite different than a scientist. In mathematics, perfect proof can exist. In Science, all we can have is 'the best present understanding'.

Now, instrument makers did do a lot before any kind of scientific or acoustic understanding was based in science. That doesn't, however, justify using a violin varnish for a stereo knob at all, at least in any acoustic sense. A violin varnish directly affects how the instrument works. The varnish on a knob, unless something utterly outrageous is involved (to wit, bad shaft isolation, lots of ambient RF noise, or the like), will have no affect on anything but how the knob feels.

And the knob on a stereo, one hopes, does not make any sound. I would consider it a defect if it did.


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MugFunky
post Jan 30 2005, 02:27
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Pythagoras was a mathematician, something quite different than a scientist. In mathematics, perfect proof can exist. In Science, all we can have is 'the best present understanding'.

yes and no.

the physical sciences at least consist of developing a model that explains what is observed in a given system. acoustics falls very much into this category.

now, when i say "model", i mean "mathematical model" of course. though Pythagoras was known as a mathematician, he was a natural philosopher, which basically means a scientist (people curious about explaining the world around them).

"the best present understanding" counts in quite a few areas in science, but that's an issue with the complexity of the models rather than their validity or not. there will always be mathematical proofs for physical theories... the trick is getting observations to agree with them.

now obviously violins weren't designed with the full force of modern science behind them, but you have to realise that instrument makers will have constantly innovated their designs to find the sound they want, using a process of experimentation. sort of a mixture of art and science there.

now this C37 crap is just complete pseudoscience (i don't think i'd even grant it that lofty title). carbon at 37 celcius? what atmospheric pressure are we talking here? i'm sure that might have an effect. relative humidity? altitude? will it sound wrong if you're running a temperature?

besides which, by far the most important factors in determining resonances is the size and shape of the object, and the speed of wave propagation in that medium. think of the different sounds a violin and a double-bass make, even though they're the same shape and made from the same material.

any specific resonances for Carbon itself must be at an atomic level, and i doubt anybody's going to hear that (think Caesium clocks...).

anyone considering buying this varnish should just spend the money on some nice music - i guarantee they'll get more out of it.

This post has been edited by MugFunky: Jan 30 2005, 02:28
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cabbagerat
post Jan 31 2005, 09:36
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QUOTE (MugFunky @ Jan 29 2005, 05:27 PM)
anyone considering buying this varnish should just spend the money on some nice music - i guarantee they'll get more out of it.
*

I disagree. The vast majority of the people who buy this product will get a lot out of it. In the same way as placebos have been shown to have a positive effect on many diseases (HIV virus loads and mild depression, for example), feeding your HiFi a placebo can have a positive effect. Will spreading fancy laquer on your volume knob change the sound your HiFi makes? No, not at all. Will it change the sound you hear? Quite possibly - depends how much you believe.

Now if only they would make a laquer that makes the mastering of the new Perfect Circle album suck less. smile.gif


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MugFunky
post Jan 31 2005, 16:03
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I disagree. The vast majority of the people who buy this product will get a lot out of it.


yes, but when these people find out they've been had, they're going to wish they'd bought music instead.

perfect circle sounds bad? hmm. i thought Maynard (sp?) was pretty particular about the mastering on his albums?

well, all that tool/circle stuff sounds the same to me, so it doesn't bother me much smile.gif [/troll]
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cabbagerat
post Jan 31 2005, 16:32
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QUOTE (MugFunky @ Jan 31 2005, 07:03 AM)
yes, but when these people find out they've been had, they're going to wish they'd bought music instead.

perfect circle sounds bad?  hmm.  i thought Maynard (sp?) was pretty particular about the mastering on his albums?

well, all that tool/circle stuff sounds the same to me, so it doesn't bother me much smile.gif [/troll]
*

But will they find out they've been had? Or live in bliss forever? smile.gif Of course it's important that people who know and care about good sound debunk these things - they make our entire hobby/profession look like a pool of snake oil.

That's why I was so dissapointed with the new album - the mastering is bad compared to their other two, but sadly very good compared to the majority of metal releases these days.


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Woodinville
post Feb 1 2005, 23:02
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QUOTE (MugFunky @ Jan 29 2005, 05:27 PM)
the physical sciences at least consist of developing a model that explains what is observed in a given system.  acoustics falls very much into this category.

I'm not sure this is on-topic, but science, as defined by Popper, does not strictly require a model, only a prediction and a way to test it. I'll grant you models are extremely useful. smile.gif
QUOTE
now, when i say "model", i mean "mathematical model" of course.  though Pythagoras was known as a mathematician, he was a natural philosopher, which basically means a scientist (people curious about explaining the world around them).

What eventually became a scientist, I'll go with that.
QUOTE
"the best present understanding" counts in quite a few areas in science, but that's an issue with the complexity of the models rather than their validity or not.  there will always be mathematical proofs for physical theories... the trick is getting observations to agree with them.

And the mathematical proofs are that, proofs of mathematics. The only scientific "proof" is the actual getting of the observations to agree, and that "fact" is always provisional and subject to refinement.

Science is always subject to revision or refinement. A mathematical proof, unless it's erronious, a mathematical proof.
QUOTE
now obviously violins weren't designed with the full force of modern science behind them, but you have to realise that instrument makers will have constantly innovated their designs to find the sound they want, using a process of experimentation.  sort of a mixture of art and science there.

I quite agree with everything except the use of "science". Empiricism, perhaps, on the road to science, I'm entirely content with, but I hesitate to use the word science in the modern world until after Popper, Hume, et al.
QUOTE
now this C37 crap is just complete pseudoscience (i don't think i'd even grant it that lofty title).  carbon at 37 celcius?  what atmospheric pressure are we talking here?  i'm sure that might have an effect.  relative humidity?  altitude?  will it sound wrong if you're running a temperature?

I trust you weren't expecting an argument from me on that issue?

For any number of reasons, I won't comment on a product.

I can't see a single sensible thing in the alleged science that surrounds it, however.
QUOTE
besides which, by far the most important factors in determining resonances is the size and shape of the object, and the speed of wave propagation in that medium.  think of the different sounds a violin and a double-bass make, even though they're the same shape and made from the same material.

You're leaving out the material properties, in particular the anisotropic behavior of wood, which at least in violins and violas, is (Matthews and others have written on this) key to why violins even work decently. Varnish certainly does affect those properties, which is why there are kinds of finishes that will ruin a violin, or a guitar, at least acoustically. Everything matters, more or less.
QUOTE
any specific resonances for Carbon itself must be at an atomic level, and i doubt anybody's going to hear that (think Caesium clocks...).

Well, I'm just not going to comment on this C37 stuff. It doesn't even have a handle, so to speak, to grab to start considering it.
QUOTE
anyone considering buying this varnish should just spend the money on some nice music - i guarantee they'll get more out of it.
*

I think it always makes sense to buy some good music. smile.gif

P.S. Sorry, I don't know the tags here well enough to fix the formatting but you can tell which is which.


Edit : fixed quotes, the first one was opened two times.

This post has been edited by Pio2001: Feb 1 2005, 23:09


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hapticz
post May 3 2008, 20:35
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if the manufacturer didnt use it on orignal equipment, it aint in the design. added stuff throws orginal perfection off. if you want a different sound, buy different equipment. snake oil comes in many flavors, just as perception is tainted by emotion and ignorance. remember, if the manufacturer thought it was needed , THEY would have included it!!
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