Archive for the ‘Top 5’ Category

It’s a Trap! (Top 5 Audio Gimmicks / Scams)

July 14th, 2012 No comments

5. AudioPrism CD Stop Light Pen:


When I was a kid, I was once told that you could fix a scratched CD by coloring in the side of it with a Sharpie.  For me it never worked, but apparently the same technique can improve sound quality of the CD.  I never noticed any change in sound quality when I used a Sharpie to color in my CD’s, but that could be do to the fact that I was only doing it to the my CD’s that were scratched to hell or the fact that at that time I was listening to everything through a pair of Koss headphones.  I have not tried this in recent years on better equipment, but I am still not sold on this one.

Here’s what AudioPrism has to say about their pens.

“We discovered that during playback, that a significant quantity of stray laser light bounces around inside a CD. This stray light eventually finds its way back to the pick-up assembly, creating jitter. CD Stoplight was developed to passively reduce the the effects of stray light that ultimately causes jittar. By absorbing the stray light at the transport passively, rather than attempting to reduce it’s effects downstream electronically, jitter is reduced at the source-keeping it out of the playback chain.

Packaged with a special applicator, CD Stoplight is easy to apply. It is non-toxic, environmentally friendly and will not flake or peel. Compact Discs treated with CD Stoplightsound more neutral, less edgy and significantly more open.”



4. Genre Specific Headphones:

Fuse InTune

We live in a world where people are listening to Lady Gaga one minute and John Coltrane the next, so to make a genre specific anything, your already digging a hole for yourself.  I definitely have my moments of music ADD, and I am not the kind of guy that wakes up in the morning and decides what kind of music I am going be listening to through out my day.  So for me these are a pass, I’ll stick with my headphones and figure out the EQ’s for myself.

Here is what Fuse has to say about their InTune earbuds:

“MP3 players have built-in equalizers, but most folks never use them and listen to compressed music with a fraction of he original nuance, InTune earphones are smarter than your MP3 player, designed to play music the way it was meant to be heard – fully optimized!”



3. Frequency Alignment Cables:

Monster Cables

There is quite the debate on online forums about whether or not Frequency Alignment cables actually do something or not.  There are many people that swear they actually make a difference, but my first question for those people are; What kind of cables did you use before?  High quality cables will sound better then lower quality cables.  So I fall on the more skeptical side of things, but would love hear an electrical engineers take on this.  At the end of the day though let your ears make the choice.

This is what Monster has to say about their Time Correction technology:

“Monster’s way of compensating for something called “Velocity Propagation” or better known as the skin effect. An analog audio signal passing through a copper cable succumbs to this law of physics in which bass frequencies tend to gravitate towards the center of the cable; higher frequencies are forced to the outer portion of the cable. The higher mass bass frequencies create a magnetic field in the center of the cable while traveling through the conductor, which impedes those lower frequencies. This impedance forces those lower frequencies to arrive at their destiny (the speaker or amp) delayed, which causes a mild distortion in the waveform. Monster utilizes multiple gauge windings to help compensate for this distortion. Large, solid-core copper strands in the center for bass frequencies (containing higher mass) and smaller gauges wrapped around the solid core conductor to delay the mid’s and high’s ensuring that the entire bandwidth of frequencies arrive in uniform.”

Performer 500 Speaker Cable

2. Cheap Shure SM58’s on Ebay:


Ebay is a great place to find and purchase gear for a good price, but buyer beware some people want to scam you.  I have been working in music shops for a good portion of my life, and have seen lots of fake Shure SM58’s that people have bought off of Ebay.  The story is always the same, the customers comes into the shop with a 58 they bought off of Ebay for $20 – $30.  They usual have inclination that something is weird with the mic.  I can almost tell instantly if the mic real or not.  Some common signs that the microphone is fake are; the weight of the mic usually is the first give away.  Fake SM58’s tend to be noticeably lighter than the real thing.  The color of the mic is the next thing I check out when determining the authenticity of the mic.  Fake SM58’s will tend to have an inconsistent color or the color of the mic is a little bit lighter than a real SM58.  Finally, I check out the font and size of the text on the microphone.  A fake Shure SM58 will usually have similar but not exact text on the mics label.  The best way to avoid ending up with a fake SM58 is to by making sure you buy from a reputable dealer on ebay, or better yet most music shops usually have a handful of used Shure SM58’s that tend to sell around the $50 range.


1. Machina Dynamics BrilliantPebbles:

Machina Dynamica

Pretty much anything that Machina Dynamica sells on their website belongs at number one on this list.  At first glance Machina Dynamica’s website seems like it is a joke audio website, but the more research I do into the company says otherwise.

Here is Machina Dynamica’s description of the pebbles:

“What the heck is it? Brilliant Pebbles is a unique and comprehensive system for tuning the room and audio sytem based on special physical properties of highly symmetrical crystal structures. Brilliant Pebbles has been evolving since its introduction 6 years ago at the London HI Fi Show, especially the number of applications, many of which were discovered by our customers. Brilliant Pebbles addresses specific resonance control and RFI/EMI absorption problems associated with audio electronics, speakers and cables, as well as acoustic wave problems associated with the listening room boundaries and the 3-dimensional space within the boundaries. Brilliant Pebbles comprises a number of precious and semi-precious stones (crystals) selected for their effectiveness. The original glass bottles for Brilliant Pebbles have been replaced by clear zip lock bags, which have a more linear response than glass. We employ a number of highly-specialized, proprietary techniques in the preparation/assembly of Brilliant Pebbles to enhance the crystals’ inherent characteristics. The fundamental operating principle of Brilliant Pebbles involves a number of atomic mechanisms in the crystals. Brilliant Pebbles will enhance the performance of your audio system so your favorite music and even your experience playing online fantasy game will become a mind blowing auditory experience.”

Below is a link to an email conversation between the owners of Machina Dynamica and a potential buyer.



This is a known fake audio website, a little extra something just for fun.

Don’t get trapped!


Categories: Signal Processing, Top 5 Tags:

What’s in a name (Top 5 strangest names for gear)

September 6th, 2011 No comments

Here at Illuminated Sounds we are big gear heads.  Sometimes the manufacturers of said gear leave us scratching our heads wondering what were they thinking.  So I compiled this list of my Top 5 strangest gear names.  Now I am probably missing some pieces of gears that should be on this list, so feel free to leave some comments of what your Top 5 are.  My honorary mention goes out to the Beat Kangz Beat Thang.

5 -Stanton DaScratch

This product came out while I was working at a major musical instrument retail store, and I’m pretty sure we did not sell a single DaScratch the entire time I work there.  Stanton tried to capitalize on the whole “touch” input craze that was taking over a couple of years ago, but the DaScratch was quickly out shined by iOS devices.  Stanton has since changed the name of the DaScratch to the SCS.3D, and hopefully that will get them to sell a couple more units.  More details and specs

4 -Euphonix Mc Mix

When this product was first announced I was actually excited for it.  I have used the Mackie Universal Control and the M-Audio ProjectMic IO, and honestly I was not really impressed by either.  Euphonix boards were some of the first large format mixers that I started working on, so to my surprise I was pretty disappointed with the Mc Mix.  The Mc Mix is made out of plastic, and it feels like I could break the piece in half with little effort.  The legs are also made of plastic, giving the entire unit a flimsy feel.  Must be a sign for me to move back to analog consoles.  Euphonix is now Avid.   More details and specs

3 – Metasonix KV-100 (The Assblaster)

With gear names like Assblaster, iCunt, and the Fucking Fucker; Metasonix as a company should have made it to this list.  Instead we take a look KV-100 and all it’s assblasting goodness.  The first thing to you should notice about this guy is tubes, and who doesn’t like tubes.  With 5 “real new-old-stock” vacuum tubes you will be able to freak and twist your sounds until they are unrecognizable.  As an added bonus, Dave Lovelace (the Packrat), provides some fun artwork that even the kids can enjoy.  More details and specs

2 -SSL X-Panda

I gotta say that I love SSL.  Their buss compressor will always hold a special place in my heart, but I am not quite sure what SSL was thinking when it came time to name this mixer.  This is a pretty standard expansion mixer.  It was designed to pair up nicely with SSL’s  X-Desk, but the DB25 connection cable will allow it to connect to other analog mixers.  The X-Panda and X-Desk are a nice way to get some SSL in your studio, but personally I will be saving up for my AWS 924More details and specs

1. Evol Fucifier

When I first came across this piece of gear, I thought it was pronounced like “Lucifer”.   To my surprise it is pronounced with an (think luck or duck).  Still this has to be one of the prettiest pieces of studio gear, and I know it would look great in my studio.  I personally would have liked to see a midi input on this guy, but I always want midi input on everything and midi might be overkill for a distortion unit.  If you need a distortion synthesizer to mangle your sounds, then look no further.  More Details and Specs