From the makers of Blinker Fluid and the Cross-Drilled Brake Line


(Via BB.)

Audiophile nonsense is one of those hard-to-parody things, like religious fundamentalism: Poe's Law states that no straight-faced parody of fundamentalism can reliably be distinguished from the stuff real fundamentalists actually say.

But one Nathan P. Marciniak has, nonetheless, given this difficult task a go.

(For comparison, consider ILikeJam's page of real audiophile products.)

Audiophile nonsense, about which I have of course written on numerous previous occasions, is sort of the Fisher-Price, bonsai version of the real, serious scams, like medical quackery.

(Audiophile weirdness and medical quackery sometimes appear on the same page on My audience seems to rather like the letters columns that're all about scams.)

Nobody's dying young because of audiophile flim-flam (well, not unless they leave their amplifier plugged in while they replace the tubes...), nobody's spending money they can ill afford to lose (well, OK, maybe some of the crazier ones), nobody's being led into criminal activity. Audiophile nuttitude is just people getting together to fool each other and themselves. Sometimes a lot of money changes hands, but it's all entirely voluntary and essentially harmless.

I'm sure some vendors of crazy hi-fi products are well aware that they're running a scam, But most seem to be sincere - if pompous, wilfully ignorant and sometimes a bit rude.

(Note that Mr Marciniak is not actually the maker of Blinker Fluid and Cross-Drilled Brake Lines. That's KaleCoAuto.)

7 Responses to “From the makers of Blinker Fluid and the Cross-Drilled Brake Line”

  1. mlipphardt Says:

    You understand that someone, somewhere, is going to want to buy a Musicone!

  2. FuzzyPlushroom Says:

    I'd buy that for a dollar. Maybe two, but no more. And I think I'd use it for some other purpose.

  3. corinoco Says:

    You're doing it wrong.

    The problem is, this product actually DOES something you really can hear, as near as I can tell.

    If I put a common kitchen funnel over my speakers, hang on I'll just do it now... ... yep, the sound comes out all muffled.

    I think the key to audiophile products is that they do NOTHING whatsoever, so using good old negative proof - if you can't prove it isn't doing something then it must be doing something.

    I must admit I keep getting ideas about simply selling cables I bought at the local yum-cha electromart and selling them on Ebay as audiophile cables that "you won't be able to tell the difference between these and those Monsta $15,000 ones" and sell them for only a 400% markup or so. I know it would hurt my karma, but my Lego fund is empty...

  4. Daniel Rutter Says:

    I think the key to audiophile products is that they do NOTHING whatsoever

    Actually, I think some of them are like the typical boy-racer car "upgrades", which make the car quantifiably slower (chopped springs, high-drag Neo-Tokyo body kits that redirect air away from the brakes and radiator, one-size-fits-all ECU chips...). I remember I once read a great article by a long-time auto journalist that mentioned the amazing fact that in his experience many, if not most, owner-modified cars are slower than stock, but I'm damned if I can find it now.

    Hi-fi-system performance isn't even as objective as a lap time, of course. So if someone prefers the sound of a technically awful amplifier - or, in the case of a normal home stereo system, the "airy" sound of an invisiable Bose multi-speaker system - then so be it. You can't argue with success, and a happy customer is success. Perhaps lousy fidelity means you'll find it subconsciously fatiguing to listen to music, on account of your brain filling in what's missing, but I don't think there's any empirical support for this theory.

    But as with the Monster Cable discussion, I can't help but think that selling placebo as medicine, even if it makes the patient feel better, is unethical at best. (Unless it still works even if the patient knows, that is, which is unlikely to be the case for audiophile snake oil.)

    Fortunately, stereo equipment is almost always unlikely to actually kill anybody, so the BS isn't such a big deal. But I agree with Ethan Winer that it's just galling to see people spending money on random snake oil that doesn't work, when they could be spending it on stuff that does, or just more music to listen to.

  5. Major Malfunction Says:

    Monday's word of the day; "nuttitude".

  6. origina1 Says:

    Dear Mr. Dan,

    My company would like to become an exclusive distributor for the musicone’ equipment reviewed on your website. Your endorsement and the obvious high quality of the device should lead to an immediate commercial success. We are prepared to begin advertising and sales effort immediately upon reaching an agreement on production and delivery schedules with your supplier. To ensure rapid product movement in a dynamic market environment, we must begin marketing this product immediately and would therefore require a small up-front deposit of $20,000 (USD) from the supplier to offset initial advertisement expenses. This deposit will be returned immediately upon sales receipts generating returns at least 1% in excess of the deposit plus our initial expenses (full disclosure of expenses will be provided upon request).

    Please reply with supplier contact information and deposit payment details at your soonest convenience. This preliminary offer will remain valid from receipt until close of business on the first day of the second quarter, 2009.


    Richard B. Grosse
    VP Marketing and Product Research
    Hartford Auburn – High end Audio, Inc

    This document is copyright 2009 HA-HA, Inc.

  7. scrubjay Says:

    For $19,999.99, whoever could have at least trimmed the little handle from the 99¢ funnel. It would go a long ways toward fulfilling the illusion.

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