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Monday, May 14, 2012

The $485 Volume Knob

I recently wrote a blog about the passion of audiophiles and how important that is in today's MP3/earbud world. Passion shouldn't be confused with foolishness, however, and sometimes an audiophile can be easily pushed over the edge of gullibility by fantastic claims from a manufacturer. I'm not sure if some manufacturers are blatantly trying to rip off some poor guy with too much money (audiophiles are almost always guys), or if they actually believe their own hype.

As far as rip-offs, this one takes the cake. It's a wooden volume knob for $485 from Silver Rock that supposedly dampens the "micro vibrations created by volume pots and knobs that find their way into the signal path and cause degradation." Take a look at the advertising copy.

$485 Volume Knob image from Bobby Owsinski's Big Picture production blog"Dynamics are better and overall naturalness is improved. Here is a test for all you Silver Rock owners. Try removing the bakelite knobs and listen. You will be shocked by this! The signature knobs will have an even greater effect…really amazing! The point here is the micro vibrations created by the volume pots and knobs find their way into the delicate signal path and cause degradation (Bad vibrations equal bad sound). With the signature knobs micro vibrations from the C37 concept of wood, bronze and the lacquer itself compensate for the volume pots and provide (Good Vibrations) our ear/brain combination like to hear…way better sound!!"
Now to be fair, I couldn't find the actual website for the above as the link now provides an error message, but there's a lot of references to it around the Web so it appears not to be a fake or an April Fool's joke. With all the bad press, Silver Rock probably decided it was best to keep this one as a personal request product only. If anyone really wants one though, I can get you a wooden knob that performs way better for only $250.

With all of the mumbo jumbo that some manufacturers pour out about the analog world, I can only image what they say about the digital one, where it seems a lot easier to do nothing except psychologically imply that some big improvement is happening. Anyone have any examples?

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5 comments:

Jef Knight said...

The demand for this junk is high enough that one would be remiss not to cash in on it.

Now, where's my stereo spread enhancing slab of wood... ;)

yojimbo said...

The web archive has the original web site's pages collected.

Here's the product page:
http://web.archive.org/web/20050721081251/http://www.referenceaudiomods.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=NOB_C37_C

This looks like the product they were designed for:
http://web.archive.org/web/20051126183909/http://www.referenceaudiomods.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=RAM&Category_Code=VOLUME

And here's a bit more fun, because "the type of material used for the buttons plays a crucial role in the sonic result":
http://web.archive.org/web/20060304015042/http://www.audio-consulting.ch/C37_wooden_knobs.htm

yojimbo said...

Another amazing invention from the past... "the Intelligent Chip from Golden Sound" that "automatically upgrades any CD/DVD/SACD disc," and is "virtually instantaneous - and permanent."

But, "once the Chip has upgraded the prescribed number of discs it
automatically ceases to function."

http://web.archive.org/web/20060709052138/http://www.machinadynamica.com/machina27.htm

yojimbo said...

gadzooks!

The intelligent chip is still around and has been upgraded to The Super Intelligent Chip!

P.S. Has anyone determined whether images of wood grained knobs in an iphone audio player app sound better than shiny metallic ones?

Anonymous said...

Anyone who wants one of those is probably already a wooden knob.

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