It is 1981 again! At least that's what it feels like at my house. Back then, we were just coming out of a recession, I had just had a big life change coming out of residency training when it was near to impossible to get a home loan (although the mortgage interest rates were somewhat higher then at 19%) and had just gotten into high end audio and had become bitten with the tweaking bug, thanks to my first and still best audio guru, Clark Johnsen of Listening Studio fame.
Back then, the audiophile community was just getting into tweaks, such as Tiptoes, aluminum cone shaped feet, and specialty wiring, the CD was brand new with its birthing problems, and solid state was still having a tough time matching the quality of tubes for high end sound. Today we are seeing another revolution in audiophillia, with high bit rate downloads driving the CD to oblivion, digital amplification trying to replace analog solid state, but with tubes still hanging on for the most natural and beautiful sound reproduction, and analog vinyl and even analog tape gaining a foothold.
Now my next big life change is arriving, with retirement from my 40 year occupation in medicine, and possibly having to move from the house I've lived in for 32 years and my glorious sound room, hopefully not a step back.
Then I received for review two tweaks which come from the 1990 to 2000 era, the AntiVibrationMagic suspension, or AVM, reviewed last month, /magazine/viewpoint/0612/aa_chapter_151.htm which is closely related to a product which I bought in 5 gallon pails and slathered over all sorts of equipment and speaker insides in the 90's to dampen vibrations, and the product for discussion today.
P.W.B. Cream Electret
The cream looks and smells like white boot polish, and can be applied with a cloth to any piece of equipment. As very little goes a long way, with one only having to smear a small amount on the edges of equipment, I only needed to use about 1/8th of the supplied material to treat all I could think of, of my huge 8 channel system. The company feels that the cream's effects can be heard not only by applying it to your electronics, but also speaker cabinets, furniture around the room, light bulbs and fluorescents, remotes and telephones. They even state that using a cloth to apply the cream which has one of their Rainbow foils attached will add to the experience.
So was there any effect, how great or significant was it, was it worth the effort and expense, is it based on science, religion or magic, and was the effect actual or some psychologically induced phantom of my imagination? Yes, there was an effect on the sound when applied to electronics, a tightening of transients but a softening of the total soundscape making it more natural. The change was not huge, but definitely there. Unhappily I know of no way of completely removing the cream so there is no way of reversing the process or being able to do a double blind evaluation. At 1/2 hour and about $30 plus shipping, I'd say it is worth the effort and cost, as that wouldn't even cover the cost of one high end RCA plug.
I know of no scientific principle presently known that can account for the changes. It's not due to changing the electrical properties as it supposedly works on inert objects which shouldn't be carrying charges. Nor is it due to changing the molecular characteristics of the piece as one is only using a small amount on a small portion of the surface area. I did try coating larger areas of chassis but it didn't seem to improve on doing a small percentage of the surface area. I doubt it was psychological or my knowing what I had done, as my wife, who has superb hearing, came into the room and asked what I had done to remove some harshness from the sound of the system. So that leaves black (or white) magic, meaning some scientific principle not presently known which is causing a change either in how the surroundings or our bodies are being affected by the material.
I had thought that with the marked improvements that have occurred in my system over the past year that I had gotten away from the mystical side of our hobby, but this cream has once more peaked my interest in the "strange" side of our hobby. I'll probably be contacting Mrs. Belt to get some samples of their other products. Who knows, maybe I'll try those magic dots from a few years ago over again.