I've just had digestion of my Christmas lunch interrupted by discovery of the Nordost VIDAR, a "cable conditioning" device.
You plug audio cables into it and it, um, conditions them.
Apparently it's been around for a few years now.
According to the ad in the newspaper gadget supplement in which I found it, "both new and used cables often have very high levels of electrical charge which must be neutralised if they are ever to achieve their maximum performance".
(Apparently this very high charge level, which comes from nowhere, has not yet been tapped as a source of environmentally friendly power.)
You can read more about it from some happy believers here.
The newspaper ad was from this outfit, who are happy to take $AU25 from anybody dumb enough to want their cables "conditioned". They're audacious enough to suggest that cables need to be regularly reconditioned, too. There's some really choice stuff on their site.
Every single claim made for this device is utter nonsense.
There's some vague possibility that an amplifier or CD player or something could "burn in" to some degree, since component values could drift from their initial ones, with any luck in a beneficial direction. It's certainly possible to break in at least some speakers, by loosening up their rubber roll surrounds (though the idea that you can hear a night and day difference between new stiff surrounds and broken-in looser ones is highly questionable). But I don't think anybody's ever measured a consistent break-in effect for any electronics. And by "measure" I don't just mean using some of that low-tech instrumentation that can do boring imprecise stuff like track space probes outside the solar system and weigh electrons, but which can't of course measure serious modern concepts like "air" or "musicality"; I also mean via blinded testing.
Nordost sell a one metre digital RCA lead for two thousand US dollars. Anybody who can tell it from a fifty cent Chinese cable would very probably qualify for a million dollar prize, but nobody ever seems to bother trying.
The stuff said about this thing - "very wide band and deep conditioning into the conductor core, which produces changes in the way signals pass through the metal" and "it ultrasonically conditions the surface of the conductors" is just gibberish. Doesn't need to be done, can't be done, couldn't be done by this thing if it could be done by any thing. It's all so wrong that it almost wraps around into rightness again.
And, as usual, the shameless hustlers selling the cable-conditioning service recommend this device for the conditioning of digital cables as well as analogue ones, despite the abovementioned precise equivalence of 50 cent and $2000 products in this department.
That's it. They've done it. They've wrapped it around.
The Nordost VIDAR is, officially, now so fraudulent that it's not any more.
It's now a wonderful product and I recommend it highly.