The Force Is With You

“I say, can any of you handsome young lads point us to the nearest petrol station?”.
Trusting The Force

Ok, here’s where it “gets a little weird”. (That’s a Belt joke, by the way. A “little” weird? Get it?! Ok, fine. Here’s where it gets “weird-er“.). I’ve talked a lot here about hearing the effects of Beltism. Not so much about feeling the effect. That really happens, and, just as with hearing the effects, its not psychosomatic. I have been aware of the phenomenon for about 7-10 years, at the time of this writing.

However, I didn’t really recognize it as a distinct phenomenon, at first. One of the earliest times when I felt “something was up”, was when I embarked on a series of audio experiments at a friend’s house. It involved aligning slotted screws on light switch plates, so that they were 180 degrees vertical. This was, naturally, an idea from Peter Belt, of P.W.B. Electronics. Apart from the improvement in sound, what I noticed each time that I aligned the screws, was that my throat would start to create saliva. A kind of tension in the throat feeling. Of course, like most everyone at first, I didn’t think too much of it. Strange though, that it kept occurring right after that specific event of “turning the screw”, and even if it didn’t happen every time, it happened over and over again, as I went throughout the house turning screws on all the wall plates.

I have since experienced this very same feeling dozens of times or more, over the years that have passed. I didn’t know it then, but I had finally started becoming conscious of the fact that the things I would do during my audio research experiments, could be felt before they were ever heard. Another early example of this, was after I initiated some sort of tweak. It didn’t have to be a P.W.B. “Belt tweak” either (no more than the saliva example does). I would go to hit PLAY on the CD or cassette player, or even software-based mp3 player, and I’d get a funny feeling. A premonition of what the resulting sound would be, just before hitting the PLAY button. Whether that “precog” feeling suggested a good or a bad change, it was almost always spot on. Again, as with the screws, I didn’t quite link an association with the audio-related change I was effecting. By way of my logical mind, I just thought it a strange coincidence, to be held under reservation until I could be sure there was a connection to be made.

Playing By A Different Set of Rules

Well now, so many years and hundreds of trials later, there isn’t an ounce of doubt in my body that there is a connection to be made. In fact, I use that connection all the time now, when attempting improvements in my sound. I even still get that “throat saliva” condition (which I came to understand was a symptom of anxiety and tension). But only on occasion, under specific parameters. I have yet to determine what the trigger is for the saliva condition; ie. if there is a pattern behind it. It recently happened in another context, when the polarity of my speaker wires was wrong. Apart from the salivation thing, I was unaware of it. I knew something was wrong, guessed it was that, fixed the polarity… and voila, that stopped the whole throat salivation feeling.

In this case I listened to confirm I had corrected the phase problem, but I don’t always need to. I can attach wires two different ways, and gauge from feel, which is correct polarity. As, in a sense, a human voltmeter!Sometimes I’ll be setting my equipment up and feel some anxiety, and I don’t know why. Then I take an educated guess, switch the speakers or the speaker stands around, and that’s what it was. (Yes, paired items do reflect a difference, when switched from left to right and vice versa). Or, like today, the feeling of unrest was due to 3 pieces of “Fun-Tac” putty adhesive under one speaker, placed in a triangular fashion, that did not match the 3 pieces under the other speaker, placed in an upside down triangle!

To be sure, this whole “force” thing has been a “game-changer” for me. Not just for my hobby, but for my life. Of course, I can’t help but make comparisons to the mysterious “force” effect, from the Star Wars trilogy! Because now, that’s me. I am “Obi-Wan Kenobi” in audio terms, and I can feel the “force”, that is all around us, imbued in all things. But don’t worry, I will only use it for good (sound), not evil!For example, I can pick up a rock, or a glass of water, sellotape, a book, a pencil, a USB key, touch a wall… whatever… and using “the force”, in a couple of seconds, I can determine that object’s “energy character”.

Suffice to say, this is a great help in audio research experiments. I could, for example, approach an entire box of phono cables, that would take a traditional audio researcher countless hours to sift through, listening to one after another (and God forbid he’s a “DBTer”), to determine the best sounding cable. Picking up and tossing each cable on to the floor, I could go through the box in a minute or two, and narrow down the best choices for trial, before listening to anything at all. Because, gentlemen… that’s how you do it!  😎

Now, I don’t mean to make it sound like it’s as easy as 1-2-3. The process is at times more complicated than just grabbing something for a second. For example, it threw me off, after I learned that the energy patterns change depending on which hand (or finger) is used to touch the object. Because, guess what, each finger has a different energy “frequency”. If you want to know, it goes in steps, from pinky (high) to thumb (low). Likewise, a change can be registered when the item is changed from one hand to another. In this case, the pattern merely switches. It’s not a random change, either. Like most of these sensations I’m dealing with, it’s a predictable one. More or less, I’ve learned to subtract one “energy profile” from another, discard such “extraneous information”, and get a more meaningful reading of the energy patterns inherent in a “thing”. But wait, don’t back out of the room just yet!  I still do traditional listening tests! I still need to know just how my “feeling tests” correlate with the listening part.

Energy, Light & Matter

Although I can usually determine certain gross-level details of the sonic picture, based on the feelings (ie. large soundstage, warm sound, musical sound, etc.). So there is always a connection between the two.If there’s anything I would like people to take away from my story (besides “He’s cray-cray…. Just back up slowly and get out of the room!”), it’s to listen to those “coincidences” you may be feeling. For you may find, after time, there may be a connection with the feeling, and the event.  As an example of that, I was on the couch watching a movie one time, and all of a sudden, I feel a drop in inner tension. I may have heard a slight noise, but I didn’t know what happened. The fact that I didn’t know what happened, is more likely to suggest an increase in tension, than the decrease that occurred.  I looked over to my left, and indeed, an AC adapter had fallen out of the wall outlet, taking two or three wires out. That wasn’t an incidental occurrence, either. Every time I pull a plug out of an outlet or extension, that very same “drop in tension” feeling occurs.

This is because anything plugged into an outlet, is creating (further) tension within us. And no, it’s not an electrical phenomenon, ie. EMF/RFI. This will occur even if the device is not being powered, or the wire is not connected to anything. It could just be plugged into a power bar that itself is not plugged into any outlet. Simply because any one thing joining another, creates a certain tension. (It is why I recommend not to push speakers and stands right up against the wall, but to leave a tiny gap so that the two objects don’t touch).I’m sure it strains credulity for many people, to say you can feel “energy” in objects by touching them. Well, let me go a little further than that. This “force”, these “energy fields” that I am sensing (that we are all sensing at all times, consciously or not), are not just within objects or hovering over them. They are around them. Meaning, they project out. How far out? I don’t know. I didn’t test them from outer space. I only know that I can sense their projection from one end of a room to another. For all I know, it is, like everything else in the universe…. infinite, or nearly so.

Here’s an example of that…. One time, I was watching a friend give a Tai Chi demonstration to a group of us, and I was sitting about 3 metres away. He was showing us the two different styles of Tai Chi he had mastered. All of a sudden, I could sense changes within me, when he switched over to the second style. (He didn’t announce the switch and I only confirmed it with him after the demonstration). Of course, I had no idea that was going to happen, since nothing like that ever did. But it felt just like with the audio experiments. Where I would effect a change with a physical action, and feel that change within me. Except this time, I wasn’t touching any object, to feel the changes. I was simply using my sense of sight, and that by itself, could create feelings of an energy feedback, much as with the audio experiments.

A Better Way Of Doing Things

Since then, I’ve corroborated this effect countless times.For example, I can look at words or pictures on a computer screen, and feel specific kinds of energy from looking at specific pictures or words. (And btw, after copying and pasting the words or pictures in the digital realm, its energy will change. Even though the content itself does not). Leading to the idea that the constantly varying levels of tension within us, change not just by the presence of objects in the environment, but by looking at them! Ok, it may not quite be “Schrodinger’s Cat” but… did Schrodinger have a mouse, perhaps? There are a lot of example I can give around this, such as where I can feel the different ‘frequencies’ of different colors or symbols, without having to see them…

Or I can also give an example where I can “see” words that aren’t actually there. One time, I had sought to determine if and how directionality applied to a sheet of blank paper, upon which I was morphic messaging (writing messages as an audio treatment), using a Red X Coordinate Pen. The short answer is, alas, it does. The message should be written from the top of the paper, towards the bottom (the direction it is applied in is also important to getting it right). Of course, I had to determine what the “top of the page” was by feel, since there was actually no visible print.

Likewise, I did not determine the ideal direction by writing the message out the 4 different possible ways. The way I determined this, was to use “the force”. In this case, that meant taking the Red X pen, with the cap still on it, and “pretending” to write a line of text, just above the paper. One way, and then the other (I already knew which side of the page was the side to write on). It became obvious to me, which was the correct direction to write in. One direction creates a kind of conflicting tension feeling, the other seems more endorphin-like. Though I hardly needed confirmation, the direction that felt more right also played very right, when I tested the final written product on music. I can use this same method of writing just above the paper, to “test” actual ‘morphic messages’ as well. Messages that are effective (or ineffective), will give almost the same feedback in feeling, as they would if I were to spread the ink across the paper. Good way to save ink and time, both!

Another example was when I was organizing three components on a shelf of my audio stand. One of them was a DVD player, that happened to be the most heavily Belt-treated audio component I have ever done. It has over 150 Belt-inspired treatments done to it! So I put it on the bottom, then stacked the other two components on top of that. But without bothering to listen, I could tell by feel, that this was not an ideal arrangement. So how should they be stacked, I wondered to myself? I only know that I am not about to run listening tests on each of the possible ways to order these components! I didn’t even want to take the time and trouble to physically change them around, and feel the changes by touching the units. So instead, I just looked at the components, “with purpose” reg. tm..

After doing so, some mysterious sort of sixth sense feeling (aka “the force”!), suggested to me that the treated player should go in the middle. So I tried it that way, and also did listening trials employing the two other possible arrangements. Placing the treated player in the centre of the stack did indeed prove to provide the best sound. On the feeling side, it gave a more restrained sense of tension. But prior to performing the listening tests, my logical mind did not at all suggest that locating the treated player in the centre was the best option. Experience, if nothing else, told me it should be on the bottom. I would have reasoned that on the bottom, the object with the “good energy” acts as a foundation, and has a better chance to influence the objects on top it. Not the case, since the middle position gave the better feeling and the better sound.

Going Over To The Dark Side

If there’s a “dark side” to being the “Obi-Wan Kenobi” of the audiophile world, it would be that, as my friend Morrissey would say, “It’s lonely on a limb”. When I started out here in the online part of the audio community, some thirty years ago perhaps, I was already right out there on the bleeding edge of “audiophile loonies”, as they might have called us. I had my green “CD Stoplight Pen”, my red LED big-digits Tice power clock,  and no dogmatic technophile was going to tell me what time it was, in audiophile land!

But, at least I could say I had a few audiophile friends online, who heard the effects of things like green CD markers and other avant-garde audio gadgets, and whether they understood them or not, they were on my side of the ideological fence. They knew there were things people were hearing on a regular basis, that science couldn’t explain (at least not with their dumb old “sugar pill” theory). And so long as it improved their sound, they accepted it. Whether they felt they understood the science behind the tweak or not. But this? Well, friends, this is different. This is where even what were once my brothers in arms on the audio forums, did not want to admit they knew me, or were associated in any way. There were the objectivists, there were the subjectivists… and then there was me! They didn’t even know what category to stuff me into. So they just labelled me “the audio witch doctor”.

For this was not me saying “I bought a weird audio product that has some sketchy reasoning behind it, or simply no previously established modus operandi, and I swear it made a difference!”. Because I know that some other people also bought that weird audio product, and maybe it was even reviewed in a magazine or two. Instead, this was me saying “I can feel specific modes of energy and degrees of tension by touching or you know, just looking at things, and from there, determine what the sound was going to… What??…. Why are you looking… you mean you never did that before?!…..”.

That’s the exact point where everyone leaves the room, and I’m standing on the podium speaking to my own echo.  Then, out and among the other members of the global audio community, the question becomes; “How do I convince someone who has no clue about any of this stuff?  Who has already built up decades of prejudices, most likely based on conventional (Western) belief systems – which says and knows nothing about “energy patterns” that affect human senses? Who not only is not at the level of where he can feel changes that affect his perception of sound, but probably cannot come anywhere near my level of listening skill, slowly built over a forty year interest in audio, when it comes to just registering fine differences, regardless of by which process they were brought about?”.

It’s like convincing a man blind from birth, that yes, every object has a different “colour”. Given a skill that requires…. probably more than just a certain amount of research experience in the field, the unenlightened audiophiles have no way of validating any of my observations for themselves. And as they have almost always shown me, no interest in trying to assuming they were capable of distinguishing fine differences. For that would risk them being proven wrong, perhaps. So they fall back to the usual kneejerk responses, like; “Are you taking the piss out of me??”.

The end result of all this, is that it has alienated me from my own community. The internet audio community I used to be thoroughly immersed in. When I read the audio discussion groups today, either they look like ghost towns, or like historical museums. Museums, because they haven’t changed ideologically, in the nearly 30 years that passed when I began participating in these audio debates. For even today, I still see scores of participants claiming cables don’t change the sound! Cables!! Geez…. cables!!

It’s like the audio equivalent of the movie “Groundhog Day”. You keep having to repeat the same sequence of events every day of your life, with only small differences. You can be sure that if these bozos are still arguing amongst each other about whether cables do or don’t make a difference, something which Hiraga already established in the 1970’s, and I come bouncing along merrily, just to say that hey, I regularly improve the sound of my recordings just by placing the mouse cursor somewhere near the bottom centre of my computer screen and holding the button down…. Guess what kind of a response I’ll get? Rather than reaching progress or even a state of stasis, the entire audio community appears to have been regressing, over the years! Not just intellectually, but even technically as well.

I say, when a defunct rapper, who hasn’t had a hit record in twenty years, can make billions of dollars by merely having his worthless name associated with a pair of worthless and overpriced headphones, headphones being an area of life of which said rapper has absolutely zero expertise in, nor should he be credited with any, what else would you call that? I don’t know, but the word “progress” does not come to mind. If I look carefully, I swear I could see people in the science fiction movie “Idiocracy”, wearing “Beats” headphones. I suppose like all else, this hobby is merely a reflecting pool of our society. Oh, but I digress! That’s not what I came here to talk about!…

The Echo Responded Back

I used to think I was the only one who could feel this “force” that results from consciously effecting changes to my audio, or just inadvertent daily occurrences. Because when it came to being able to “feel” changes before you hear them during (and outside of) audio tests, no one else I knew was making this claim. Now I wonder if I’m simply the only one brave enough to talk about it. There was an audio manufacturer I read of, name of “Frank Tchang”. He is notable for having designed small singing bowls, for audio use (similar to Synergistic Research’s “Acoustic A.R.T. resonators“). They act as a room treatment system. To me, he is memorable for one particular thing: he was said to have said (I’m paraphrasing because I’m too lazy to Google it), something along the lines of, “Listening is a crutch for those who can’t feel”.

In keeping with that statement, I had read that he tested locations for his resonator bowls by feel alone. I don’t blame him for even trying, because I’ve worked with these, and its very tedious to have to perform a listening test, every time you move a bowl by an inch or two! So for me, he is, at the time of this writing, the only other person in the audio world that I know of, that has at least a comparable ability with mine. So I am not completely out on a limb with this (whew! Thought I was going crazy for a minute there….!).

However, he would probably deny any of it in a public venue. As I recall, he was even shy about saying his resonators work inside of a fridge (because of how crazy it sounds). Whereas if you read my review on the Acoustic A.R.T.S., you’ll see that I am not. So I still feel like that one lone Jedi who got stuck on an abandoned planet. Also, I doubt Mr. Tchang and I have the same abilities, in this realm. I’ve not heard of him applying this phenom to sight, for example. If you read my “1-Cent Tweak” article, a tweak that works in similar ways to Tchang’s resonators, you’ll see me talking about determining ideal locations for the ‘penny resonators’ without having to install them, or listen to them. For at one point, when moving around becomes tedious, I begin to identify the best sounding locations in a room, by sight alone. It stands to reason that, as individual researchers, we’re going to go in different directions and gain different abilities. Like anyone learning anything.

Altered States

The other “dark side” to all of this, is a heightened sense of tension. Without which, I would not be able to do what I do. So it is a double-edged sword, for me. Thankfully, I am not constantly feeling gnawing tension, on a conscious level, during everyday activities. That would be unbearable. But when I am focused on the listening experience, during tests and experiments, then I do feel those states of tension. It can also occur randomly, but it’s manageable. (i.e. I’m not thinking about audio but packing away boxes for housekeeping, I tear off the label from the plastic container, and without warning, I can feel a slight “whoosh” of tension lowering. Regardless of whether the label contains a bar code or not).  My argument, is that everyone is feeling these same states of tension. (Else, the other theory being, I am not made of human!). It’s just that I did enough audio experiments, in a particular niche of audio, to develop consciousness of what we are all feeling. Every. damn. day. of. our. lives!

As you might imagine, this condition also makes me particularly critical of audio systems. So don’t invite me to listen to yours. I might not like it. And I won’t be shy about telling you so! I’ve heard half-million dollar systems at audio shows that I thought sucked (for the money, especially). Why, because for however majestic and powerful it was otherwise, their sound was ultimately not natural, and creating tension. It didn’t move me like a properly musical system can. (Or for that matter, a good acoustic concert. Where the air generally isn’t filled with disconcerted energy fields from electrically amplified instruments).  I’ve even put together systems for $500 that have a more pleasing and natural sound, producing lower levels of tension. It’s not easy, but it’s doable. The difference is, before “the awakening”  of discovering “the force”, I could tolerate bad sounding sound systems. Didn’t sound good, so what, it wasn’t going to kill me. Now, sometimes, it feels more like it might!

I was listening to my TV recently featuring a conversation with David Letterman, on some Bose satellite speakers I installed…. Which I’m sure sounded perfectly fine to anyone else. Put on a critical ear, and maybe you might say “They have slightly peaky upper mids, so what? Adds clarity”). Anyone else would have listened to the show, and that’s the end of it. But after a few minutes, I could no longer stand to listen to this, because of the tension created by those little Bose speakers! (And I knew very well they were the source of my unease, after I later modified them to behave better. Which I detail in the article “Home Cinema For The Minimalist Audiophile”).

Much of that tension created by the speakers was eased somewhat, by simply placing the Bose cubes on their sides, rather than upright, as Bose designed them to be used. I could later see that the reason for this, was because Bose in their infinite wisdom, placed the drivers so that the usual voice coil terminations, pointed toward the right – instead of downward. Contrary to all other speakers in the universe. You’re dealing with magnets here also, and that’s especially nasty stuff! So in its original unmodified state and upright position, the Bose speakers were creating tension. I might not notice it much, say when cleaning house. But when playing something (like dialogue on the TV), that tension is literally amplified. Making me an unhappy camper, after a while. No one ever said being an “advanced audiophile” was going to be easy! Hey, it’s hard enough just being an audiophile, in these days of a declining audiophile culture and bloody mp3-quality audio systems!

The Force Is With You Too

When I say “The force is with you”, that applies to everyone. The tension-level feelings are natural occurrence of human reaction to objects and other stimuli that everyone experiences, all the time, every day, in their proper environment. (Even if it’s something mainstream science has yet to catch up with). It occurs when changes are brought about, and these changes are happening constantly. I have done enough tests alone, on people who don’t know what “Beltism” is, but could identify the exact components in the changes brought about in the sound, by my Belt-related treatments.

But these changes I speak of are not necessarily changes related to Belt products or Belt treatments. Triggers of varying levels of sensitivity may occur from moving magnets into the room, removing styrofoam from the room, putting playing cards away in a box, drinking water, pushing a chair, closing a drawer, turning on something, putting on socks, turning pages of a book, etc. etc. etc.

This type of (as yet unidentified) energy, is changing all the time from things we do in our regular lives. Which in turn changes our relationship with matter that contain this energy, specifically with respect to our senses. And this symbiosis, is constantly changing the level of this (subconscious) inner tension mechanism, affecting sensory perception. For the vast majority people, it’s too subtle to discern consciously. Especially if they can’t feel the changes as I can, and have to listen to something like recorded music to gauge the natural changes in their perception of sound, from these natural* changes in energy patterns (*natural, as opposed to consciously inducing changes using PWB-related treatments).

I can only explain this extremely subterranean process (gradually) growing into my consciousness, out of the sheer quantity of tests that I’ve done in the Belt domain. But I could be wrong, on that point. I’m one of those kinds of people who could have a heavy drug trip, the kind that makes you sleep for three days at a time, and at the same time, be totally aware that I’m experiencing a heavy drug trip. So for all I know, I might have unique qualities that have helped me become aware of “the force”. But maybe not? I’m always hoping to be proven wrong about that.  :mrgreen:

May the force be with you!

· the advanced audiophile

The Odd-Even Rule

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The P.W.B. Morphic Link Bookmark

This review of P.W.B.’s “Morphic Link Bookmark” can be considered “Part 2” of my review on the “Morphic Link Paper Clips”, from P.W.B. Electronics. Particularly as this new device followed that one in series, and both follow the same concept: “linking or breaking patterns of morphic resonance”, as the instruction(full article)

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