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Tourist Guy 9/11 Hoax, Sep 2001
Brief History of Triple-Decker Buses
The worms inside your face
Dead Body of Loch Ness Monster Found, 1972
Tube of liquor hidden in prohibition-era boot, 1920s
Did Paul McCartney die on Nov. 9, 1966?
Bonsai Kittens, 2000
The Nazi Air Marker Hoax, 1942
Pierre Brassau, Monkey Artist, 1964
Lord Gordon-Gordon, robber of the robber barons, 1871
Altmann Tube-O-Lator Lacquer
Status: Bogus (almost definitely)
image Altmann tube-o-lator lacquer is a coating-compound that you can rub on semiconductor chips found in devices such as CD-players, DVD-players, Preamplifiers, or Power-Amplifiers. And somehow this coating will change the way those chips process sound. Whereas before the sound was cold and harsh, after rubbing a bit of tube-o-lator lacquer on, the sound is warm and rich. The tube-o-lator website states:

The ALTMANN “TUBE-O-LATOR" lacquer is applied only on the top surface of plastic semiconductor packages of AD-converter-chips, DA-converter-chips, OP-amps and discrete transistors. After application, the overtone spectrum of these active devices changes immediately and permanently. The new sonic signature will be natural, full and tube-like. The ALTMANN “TUBE-O-LATOR" lacquer electromechanically balances the resonance-spectrum of the plastic chip package and semiconductor itself in such a way, that a natural sounding overtone- spectrum of the treated active device will be generated.

Why would rubbing a bit of lacquer on top of a semiconductor chip have any effect on the sound quality? The tube-o-lator people are disarmingly honest. They have no idea:

We are not able to provide an accurate description why the "Tube-o-lator" stuff actually works. Maybe some of you guys out there will solve this mystery and tell us.

Not being an audio engineer, I don't feel qualified to state definitively that this stuff couldn't work. But I can't imagine why it would work. Anyway, it's no longer for sale (demand must have been too high), so it's not possible to get any of this to test it out.
Categories: Technology
Posted by The Curator on Tue Nov 08, 2005
Comments (15)
Rich audiophiles seem to be particularly vulnerable to bizarre and expensive products. Check this out:

http://www.ilikejam.dsl.pipex.com/audiophile.htm
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Wed Nov 09, 2005  at  04:33 AM
Yup, that link seems to cover a lot of weird shit, but they forgot the green felt pens that you were meant to cover your CDs with. I remember watching someone do that years ago, people really did believe.

As an electrical engineer, I can tell you painting laquer on chips will actually make them sound worse. As chips get hot, they usually have more and more random noise/errors. If you coated them all in in heat disperser, it might make a difference, but laquer will keep them all toasty warm.
Posted by Bruce  on  Wed Nov 09, 2005  at  08:53 AM
This appears to me to be a spoof of audio engineers' (and audiophiles') ongoing crusade touting the "warmth" of gear made with vacuum tubes versus the "cold harshness" of solid state designs. Guitar players are also passionate about using tube amps and will trash anything transistorized or digital. This was created by somebody tweaking the tubeheads' unrelenting devotion to their beloved ancient technology.

Any device that includes the phrase "-u-later" or "-o-later" has to be immediately suspected.
Posted by Kerry Townson  in  Slidell, LA  on  Wed Nov 09, 2005  at  09:41 AM
Bruce is right. We should be selling these guys some of that white silicone heat-sink compound to put on their audio components.

Of course, the improvement in sound quality would still be immeasurable, but we wouldn't be guilty of TOTAL fraud, and besides, most so-called audiophiles don't really care if the improvement is measurable, they "know" that they can hear the difference.

The real satisfaction for these guys comes from spending money on voodoo and beleiving that they really have the ability to distinguish lamp-chord from monster cables..er, I mean "cold and harsh" from "warm and rich".
Posted by JoeSixpack  on  Wed Nov 09, 2005  at  09:48 AM
Great link, Cranky. I love their slogan: "Attaching the electrodes of knowledge to the nipples of audiophiles since 1999."
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Wed Nov 09, 2005  at  09:50 AM
If this product worked, it would qualify for the JREF $1,000,000 prize easily. What with audiophile scams being one of Randi's pet peeves.
Posted by Terry Austin  in  Surf City USA  on  Wed Nov 09, 2005  at  11:24 AM
Bruce said:

"Yup, that link seems to cover a lot of weird shit, but they forgot the green felt pens that you were meant to cover your CDs with. I remember watching someone do that years ago, people really did believe."

Yeah, you were supposed to put the green stuff on the edge of a CD to prevent the laser light from "leaking" sideways or something. Someone actually marketed a felt pen with a notch in it for this use.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Wed Nov 09, 2005  at  04:26 PM
Terry Austin said:

"If this product worked, it would qualify for the JREF $1,000,000 prize easily. What with audiophile scams being one of Randi's pet peeves."

Yes, I suspect you're correct. I can't imagine that the guys who sell this voodoo would ever apply for the Challenge, though. Why should they risk the great racket they have going?
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Wed Nov 09, 2005  at  04:29 PM
To prevent the laser light from leaking sideways? Ooooh, that's almost as good as the DVD-rewinders.
Posted by Big Gary in Antarctica  in  Dallas, Texas  on  Wed Nov 09, 2005  at  06:48 PM
Big Gary said:

"To prevent the laser light from leaking sideways? Ooooh, that's almost as good as the DVD-rewinders."

Yup, that was the theory, that light was leaking out of the side of CD's and therefore, in some inexplicable way, screwing up the sound. You put the green ink on the edge of the CD and that "fixed" the "problem." Why it had to be green I don't know.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Wed Nov 09, 2005  at  07:44 PM
Alex said:

"Great link, Cranky. I love their slogan: 'Attaching the electrodes of knowledge to the nipples of audiophiles since 1999'."

I didn't even see that. Yeah, that's pretty funny.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Wed Nov 09, 2005  at  07:45 PM
Re "warmth" of analogue: The real reason for the apparent warmth of the analogue sound (mentioned by an earlier poster) is that there is acute high end roll-off in most analogue playback mechanisms. Vinyl, for example, just does not have the frequency response of digital media like CD, and the analogue domain is prone to distortion.

It's tru that for most audiophiles, all of this stuff is pure snake oil and a matter of faith. Is it any wonder that you never see measured tests for cable difference etc in any of the audiophile magazines....
Posted by Nigel Pond  on  Fri Nov 11, 2005  at  09:42 AM
I wouldn't be surprised this is REAL. My brother-in-law is an audiophile and he buys the weirdest, most inexplicably stupid audiophile accessories (like $900 cables), that DON'T MAKE A DAMN BIT OF DIFFERENCE. Have you ever notices there's no such thing as a 'computerphile' market (none that I've seen anyway), you know selling $1000 cables that will increase your data speed/accuracy, or $50 bottles of spray you can apply to your monitor connectors to increase video performance?
Posted by Seth Easton  in  Washington, D.C.  on  Wed Nov 16, 2005  at  04:02 PM
Seth Easton:

We totally have to get on this. Seriously. There has to be *millions* of dollars in this untapped "computerphile" market.
Posted by Greg Lindsey  in  Aurora, IL  on  Wed Jun 28, 2006  at  03:39 PM
Seth Easton said:

"Have you ever notices there's no such thing as a 'computerphile' market (none that I've seen anyway), you know selling $1000 cables that will increase your data speed/accuracy, or $50 bottles of spray you can apply to your monitor connectors to increase video performance?"

There is, but they don't sell cables and bottles, they sell "gold plated heat sinks" for RAM. And they still think you have to "break in" a processor.

And although the performance of a cable does not always comply with its price, there IS a measurable and noticeable difference between some USB cables.
Posted by moeburn  in  Toronto  on  Sat Nov 11, 2006  at  09:28 PM
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