Part 1: The Case Against Blind Testing
I have conducted numerous blind tests on Beltist devices, when possible and if I have good reason to. I even wrote a review once of P.W.B.’s “One Drop” liquid for their newsletter one year, which included a blind test of the product, that I successfully passed. (I tested not the product itself, which is wonderful on its own. But whether the bottle of the product was in the room or not!). But truly, I’m not a fan of blind testing. Not because of confirmation bias, as skeptic-cynics are wont to believe. Nor because I abhor anything that smacks of “science”. Simply because I eventually concluded, they don’t really work. (reg. tm.). To put it another way, any results from blind testing of audio components can be filed under: “pseudoscientific claptrap”.
Don’t get me wrong, blind testing is important in medical sciences, and elsewhere. Crucial, in fact. But that doesn’t mean you can apply it to audio with equal effectiveness, as audio-wonks debating on discussion forums fool themselves into believing. Number one, it violates the scientific range rule:
“Scientific range rule: “A system under test must be tested within the parameters within which it was designed to operate. Because an audio system is designed for the specific purpose of giving pleasure through transmission of musical emotion, it must be tested in that way.”
“Transmission of musical emotion” falls by the wayside, when you are busy worrying about whether you are hearing a change, or not hearing a change, during your listening session. Number two, it can’t really be held to any “objective” standard, as a medical DBT might, since it requires subjectivity as the mechanism for the test. For this very reason, when I was still consuming audio magazines, I recall thinking how absolutely insane it was, that people were told to buy equipment based on the passing of “blind tests” by other people! I mean, how do they know those other people, often unnamed, could hear the difference between a bass guitar and a bazooka? I don’t know, would you let some stranger pick your marriage partner, because you thought they had an objective sense of judgement? And they think “Beltists” are crazy, huh?!? 😯
But yet, so many otherwise intelligent people in this industry, think (or thought) that blind testing was a desirable means of evaluating audio equipment. I have for example, detailed the story elsewhere, of how John Atkinson of Stereophile, chose a piece of equipment because of being convinced by blind tests, that there were no differences to be had. And it was only after a length of time, he could not escape the fact that the gear he chose by way of blind test, simply did not give the same pleasure as the gear he gave up for it!
Not to single one person out, because that’s a very common experience in audio. Many before and after, came to similar conclusions about blind testing of audio devices. Only, most are just not able to say why blind testing does not appear to work, with audio. All they know is that it does not result in choosing the component with the best sound, or even demonstrate that it can permit the consistent identification of one device from another, under test. Devices who’s differences you can clearly enumerate under sighted conditions, seem to dissolve under blind.
What blind testing does more often than not, is make it nigh impossible to distinguish one device from another, and thus, it is falsely and foolishly concluded, that there must not be a difference between such devices. (See what I mean by “audio wonk”?). Only under circumstances when there are gross differences to be heard, ie. loudspeakers, do such tests appear to work. This is why proponents of DBT’s, will often argue that everything sounds the same in audio, except loudspeakers. (Brilliant, boys! Have a cigar on me! Yeah, just brilliant! ).
But… uh, it doesn’t explain one nagging doubt…. I have personal friends, for the sake of argument, let’s just call them uh… “women”…. who, for some reason or other… were unable to tell when I had changed loudspeakers on them! Huh. How about that? 😕 So does that mean absolutely everything sounds the same in audio?? And no upgrade can ever change the sound, and you’re fooling yourself if you think it did?? If so, what a revelation! Boy doesn’t that make shopping so much easier! Not to mention cheaper! Man if I’d have known that before, I could have saved at least $20,000, by just buying a JVC boom box for all my hifi needs. Like you might have seen in a “Run DMC” video! All this time, I coulda been “kickin’ it old skoool! I could have been equipped to defend my turf by any wack homeboys coming on to it. Could’a been able to challenge them to a breakdance at a moment’s notice, with the aid and assistance of my excellent-audio-phooey-home-hi-fi-system-slash-boombox! Now my hood is overrun by unchallenged intruders!
Ok, let’s ignore the “high priests of DBT” for a moment, and come back to reality. Most audio aficionados at least know enough about audio to realize there are a vast array of differences among all different audio devices. Yet the reason they don’t necessarily show up under blind testing conditions remains a mystery to them. Not so much, to me. The usual argument by DBT fanatics is that “not seeing the device shouldn’t have any impact on your ability to hear it!“. As if that’s all that was happening! To be considered as just one of the endless number of fallacies you find in this hobby. If anything, not seeing my audio system makes me hear it more acutely. It’s one reason why I prefer to listen with the lights low. It helps focus on the sound, not the surroundings. But I found there’s a lot more going on than that, when you’re doing listening tests.
What’s ignored here by the community, is the fact that just doing any “music listening test“, is a different activity in the brain, than simply listening to music. What DBT-freaks are basically saying is, there is no difference between “writing your name on a piece of paper”, and “writing an SAT test“. On a piece of paper. They’re both “writing”? Write? Riiiiighhht?? Wrong! They’re very different endeavours. When you’re listening to music, you’re not really listening for anything. You’re just listening. Letting yourself be carried away by the music.
When you’re doing a (sighted) A/B type listening test, then you’re listening with specificity in mind. You’re trying to take a “snapshot” effectively, of that sound. In order to compare it to the second “snapshot”, of the “B” trial that follows. Listening to music requires only the ability to hear. But doing a sighted listening test, requires a specific set of skills, derived from a certain amount of experience of doing listening tests. Many people who are not up to this task, are simply not able to confidently perceive differences to be had by Belt devices, and many conventional audio devices as well. (Which I should point out, does not mean they are not hearing changes, or can benefit from them, if they are present).
Doing blind listening tests however, requires yet another more advanced set of listening skills. One that is particularly adapted to doing blind listening tests. It’s like being able to paint. Being able to draw a beautiful painting requires one to have a certain set of artistic skills, which some people do develop over a number of years in practice. But it doesn’t mean that if you put a blindfold on the artist, that he can just as easily paint the Mona Lisa for you!
DBT-maniacs don’t talk about being good at blind testing. Instead, they talk like as though anyone with a working pair of ears is perfectly suited to do this! Uh no, ‘fraid not! Not even audio journalists, so-called “experts” in their field (ha! 😆 ) are ‘perfectly suited’ to do blind listening tests of audio devices. One reason for that, is because like any special skill, it requires a lot of experience getting good at. Not sighted listening experience, since it’s not the same experience. To even attempt to make this effort worthwhile, they require a considerable amount of blind listening experience with the specific blind test they plan to use (SBT/DBT/ABC/etc.). Much as you would require, to duplicate a sleight-of-hand magic trick.
Understand that you’re no longer just listening to music during a blind listening test (aka “SBT, or any of its variants, such as “double blind”, “AB-X”, etc.). Instead, you’re listening to (and looking for) audible differences, that you can hope to pinpoint between one listening test, and the next. It requires an intense ability to concentrate, to maintain focus on a myriad of details, and underneath it all, deal with the stresses that may be involved in trying to “win this competition”. Which is basically what it is, as you’re trying to prove to yourself or others, that you can successfully identify one DUT from another. When the test is sighted, you have an “anchor”. The “anchor” is the first device identified to you. Your goal is to register the sound of that device in your mind, listen to the second, and see where the differences might occur.
In the blind A/B test, you are “anchorless”. You’re floating freely, without any basis on which to determine differences, since you don’t know which is the first device you’re comparing the second device to. So inevitably, you have to compare both devices to each other. That mixes things up tremendously, as each change may come with its own set of differences, and you have no “anchor” to compare them to. It’s no wonder to me, that those with insufficient listening skills to even attempt blind listening tests, mess it up all the time, and can’t produce results that pass strict statistical standards for such tests.
Even I, expert listener that I am, find this a difficult endeavour to engage in. Because when I am sitting down to ascertain what sort of difference a change I’ve made has effected on my sound, I can’t know this unless I know what the sound “looked like”, before the change. This is why I insist, in my article “How To Listen“, that listeners trying any of my tweaks here, need to listen well and good to what their system sounds like, before doing so. Suffice to say, in an “ABX” test, you’re going to be even more confused. Because now you have a third element, that you need to identify from the previous two, that your brain is still trying to disentangle. By the time you’re done with an “ABX” test, you’ll be hard-pressed to identify the difference between a flatulent mouse, and an African stampede. If car dealers could use AB/X tests to sell their wares, we’d all be driving Ladas.
Finally, keep in mind, behind the scenes, nature is doing its best to fuck with you. 😈 I can point to one example. A very little known phenomenon in Beltist circles, called the “odd-even rule”. This is where each audio test you do (whether you are testing a Belt device or not), ‘switches’ after each iteration of the test. For example, if you read my article on the “1-Cent Tweak“, you will see me talking about this occurring during those experiments. The “1-Cent Tweak” is not a Belt tweak, to be clear. It’s just a simple tweak involving placing pennies here and there. But every time I did and analyzed the result, I had to contend with the fact that the sound kept “reversing”. Creating two distinct and unique sound signatures that alternate with each test.
Ever since I observed this many years ago (and only years after I had learned that the Belt’s discovered it before me), I am always having to contend with this fact (among others), in listening tests during my audio research experiments. And so I always factor it into my final analysis, before determining whether the change is a preferable one. But who knows how those unaware of this “anomaly of nature” might factor these changes into their judgements, if they experience it during their analysis of a blind test?
In the end, all that matters is… do you hear an improvement in a given audio device, under the (sighted) conditions you will normally hear this device? If so, then it simply does not matter why you are hearing that difference. Nor what the “principle” is that may be causing those changes. Or even if you are “fooling yourself” into hearing changes, in the (misguided) and misinformed opinions of audio skeptics across the internet. Because simply put, sound perceive is sound heard.
Once the audiophile gets to a level where he or she is able to determine what something sounds like with their own ears under normal conditions, and to know whether they like that sound without requiring intellectual explanations for how it has been achieved, or require some figure of authority to “ok” their decision, then they no longer need such a crutch to move forward. This is the same thing I tell people who would rather spend three weeks straight arguing with me that none of the “Free Tweaks” I’ve offered here can possibly work (according to their limited understanding of nature and science), than take 15 minutes to see if their prejudicial dismissals of the concepts are really right!
Part 2: The Case For Blind Testing
….Ah, but now we look at the other side of the looking glass! Now I will make a case for blind testing of Beltism, to those who can’t or won’t listen for themselves. Who instead insist on following the pseudoscientific religion of the holy “audio blind test”, that they put all their faith into! The first thing the opponents of Beltism decry about it, is that it has never passed any such objective scrutiny, and is only something to be found in the annals of loony fringe dwellers. Well wait a second… who said it hadn’t?
This is but one of a million ignorant assumptions that detractors will make about Beltism. That no attempt to run serious objective tests on it has ever made. Because of course, nothing exists in this world, unless they have already heard of it. I can almost forgive their ignorance on this one however, because even most Beltists may not be aware of such trials. The fact is, it is not easy to conduct serious blind listening trials on these effects, and because Beltism is such a small and esoteric part of the audio community, there is little interest in doing so. And whenever some blindly ignorant but “well-meaning” cynical skeptic comes to me and tells me “So how come Mr. Belt doesn’t get his devices tested in a peer-reviewed scientificky journal, huh, how come?? He’ll surely win the Nobel peace prize!“, my answer is the same… If Peter Belt is an esoteric anomaly in the audio community, he doesn’t even appear on the radar in the scientific community. They don’t know who he is, to begin with. Only that he’s not part of their community, and they have zero interest in his affairs. I know. I went to them to see if there was an interest, and they just told me to do the testing!
So “talking” about doing blind tests is, of course, another matter. Any professional audio skeptic can make demands to see blind testing performed on these concepts, before they will even attempt a free tweak! To my recollection, only one such skeptic that I encountered in my travels, was even willing to try to do blind tests himself on a Belt tweak of mine (morphic messaging), and brave enough to report the results publicly. He reported hearing changes that he said could not be due to chance. He said it was the same deal with the friend he roped into blind testing the tweaks as well. Then with that, he promptly declared that he will never talk about anything to do with Beltism again. 🙄 (I think his church may have intervened, I’m not entirely sure….).
MEDICAL CENTRE TEST
But maybe I should have called this article “Beltism for the Deaf”? As his wife May Belt has described on their website and elsewhere, one of Peter Belt’s children falls under that description, with a hearing impairment that requires a hearing aid. Which she did not like using, because the sound of it was harsh and aggressive. So Peter had the brilliant idea of improving the sound of the hearing aid, by treating its battery. Word of this “hearing aid tweak” reached one of the doctors at the hospital where his child was seeing treatment for the condition. Despite much skepticism, they decided to go ahead and conduct a set of blind listening trials, with other hearing-impaired patients as subjects, chosen at random, using their own hearing aids and batteries (to be treated). Enough of whom reported hearing improvements with the treated hearing aids under “blind” conditions, to place it above the stats of chance (over 75%).
“Ah, so where can I read that report, send the link?! If I find it superbly convincing, then ok, maybe I’ll try one your crazy-sounding free tweaks! But only if 2 of my buddies agree to try it before me, and give it their blessing, along with a promise they won’t reject me from the tribe if I try it!”.
Eh, not so fast, Bucko! Now we get into the realities of what people term “science”, quote unquote. Or, as I like to refer to it, the “Politics of Science“. You see, around this time (late 80’s), one “J. Gordon Holt”, then editor of “Stereopile“, published an article called “L’Affaire Belt” in his magazine. And here, he all but condemned Peter Belt as the most criminal master-mind the audio world has ever seen. Without feeling any particular need to test any of his products, mind you, before coming to that conclusion. I sincerely think he wrote that hit piece, just to deflect criticism away from his magazine. A few too many readers were complaining that Stereopile gave too much quarter to “wacky sounding tweaks”, that occasionally sprang up in the pages therein. So why not go after an easy target to raise your credibility stakes, what’s to lose? It’s not like you will lose any serious advertising revenue by going after Peter Belt.
Whatever the reason, the result fallout from that, was the medical staffer in question reads this article, starts fearing he will look like a quack if he comes out with the reports of this test of Peter Belt’s devices and…. the rest is NOT history! It’s wiped out of history, actually. By the very same sick, ugly and dreadful disease that plagues my fellow audiophiles in the community. The fear of being seen as a “crazy”, and “rejected by the tribe at large”. Or in the case of the good doctor who initiated the blind test, afraid he’ll lose his tenure and be kicked out of a job, by associating himself with a man who was accused of being a “charlatan” in the world’s largest hifi publication. “L’Affaire Belt” was, just as many publishers at British hifi magazines surmised, too much of a hot potato to handle in the end. Meanwhile in Hungary…..
THE HUNGARIAN HI-FI STUDIES
In the mid-to-late 80’s, it wasn’t just Britain’s audio community that had its cage rattled, by the controversy surrounding Peter Belt, when he transitioned from manufacturing conventional electronics to…. let’s just say “unorthodox audio solutions”! To some degree, it was also felt in Hungary, of all places. “László Darvas”, the editor of many years standing in one of Hungary’s notable audio magazines, “Hi-Fi Mozaik”, was a fan of British audio journalist, “Jimmy Hughes”. Many in fact were a fan of Jimmy Hughes… That is until Jimmy Hughes boarded the Belt bandwagon (and he wasn’t an easy convert in the beginning either). That in itself divided Hughes readers, some of whom stopped reading his magazine, and stopped being fans of Jimmy Hughes. Eventually, even Jimmy Hughes stopped being a fan of Jimmy Hughes, and stopped promoting Beltism! But I digress…
László Darvas was intrigued by Hughes sincere enthusiasm for Beltism, and that led him to trying out some of Hughes’ unusual Belt-based advice on improving sound. Which must have been a revelation for him, as it eventually caused Darvas to go further down the Belt rabbit hole, into areas I had never explored myself. The experiments on Beltism that Darvas conducted, is quite astounding for something that never saw much of any notice outside of his native Hungary. I practically had to learn Hungarian, just to get a handle on what he did! I still don’t know the half of even just the “Beltism” segment of the man’s lengthy career in audio journalism, but I was able to glean the more important bits. They include…. blind testing over 1,000 participants, on Belt devices! That beats anything I did in this area, I can tell you that. No, it beats anything ever done of this nature, in the history of Beltism. Odd that the British weren’t keener on doing it, isn’t it?
Darvas didn’t just conduct blind tests on Peter Belt’s inventions, he conducted one of the only rare interviews with Peter Belt himself! The record of that can be found here, in The Library.
I came across this chap “Graphoman” on one of the audio forums, I believe to be László Darvas himself. Here, he recounts the blind testing he did on Beltism, in past years:
“Graphoman” strikes me as a bit of an idiosyncratic character; e.g. undermining his own tremendous efforts he undertook in those years, by arguing against them today. As though he had a sideline job as the advocate for the mainstream audio equipment industry. Methinks he went “Jimmy Hughes” on us. Meaning, he wants to put distance between himself and Mr. Belt, because of the stigma today of being associated with anything “Belt”. So for example, he explains that the only reason he underwent the enormous effort required to conduct those tests, was not because of this “Peter Belt” character, who may possibly have discovered an audio-related scientific phenomenon so revelatory as to cause a paradigm shift in the industry…. but because the more respectable “Jimmy Hughes” character approved of it!
“I’m sorry, I only researched a cure for cancer because I was working for the Obama administration at the time, and the president personally called me up and asked if I could work on a cure….”
He then goes on to say he was never able to “prove” the effect. His statisticians wouldn’t sign off on it… I’m sorry, but if you conduct what you yourself describe as “extremely controlled A-B blind listening tests” involving over 1,000 participants, comprised of engineers, musicians, physicians, audiophiles, non-audiophiles, professors… dictionary writers…. scientific undergraduates…. (everyone except “philosophers and clowns” apparently), and 75% of the subjects report hearing differences, whilst another 10% appear to have visible signs of lying about not hearing those differences… then that’s pretty compelling evidence to me that there is a valid component to this phenomenon! For one thing, that is a larger blind test study than I have ever heard of being undertaken for any audio device in the entire history of audio! Oh and you also did blood tests on the subjects??
“Yes, we did that… but that portion of the tests was administered by a nurse who wasn’t fully qualified, and had 2 months yet to go to attain her medical accreditation….”
In another attempt at undermining his own efforts, Graphoman adds that the subjects could not decide whether the change was “benevolent” or not. That kind of misses the point, dude! The test is supposed to determine whether you can hear an effect from Belt devices or not. Not whether you think the effect you hear is going to be able to make you dance to “Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch”, with the same gusto as you did beforehand. Grapho even ends his experience by sadly concluding that the Belt effect he benefitted from for years was “harmful to sound quality”. I could swear this man posed as the “sad clown” in all of those black velvet clown paintings I see at flea markets.
As I recall, I actually once discussed this last aspect of his experience in the domain of Beltism with László/Grapho. There was something he found unnatural about the sound of his Belt devices. Like it muted the highs too much, or something. He also complained of “ill feelings” with the devices in place. I think his findings are sincere… but, misguided. I’ll explain…
I too have had “ill feelings” from Belt installations. I discuss this in articles such as “The Force Is With You“. László is actually the only person I know of, aside from myself, who is experienced enough in this endeavour to be conscious of such things. But he doesn’t understand the forces behind the feelings. Though it certainly can be, it’s not necessarily triggered by Belt treatments. For example, I’ll get those “ill feelings” (feelings of anxiety I call it; a gnawing tension), simply because my speakers are wired the wrong way round. During one time, I didn’t quite know exactly what was producing that feeling, since I hadn’t done a Belt treatment. I checked the phase on my speaker wires and sure enough, they were wired wrong. Putting the phase right made the feeling disappear. Again, it’s only Beltists with an enormous breadth of experience that may become conscious of these tensions (that we all nonetheless experience on a daily basis, unconsciously). How rare does it happen? As I say, there are only 2 people in the world that I know of, that are conscious of it. And I’m one of them.
Now as for László deciding that his Belt devices were “harmful” to sound quality and slamming the door on anything Belt now and forevermore… well firstly, I could tell when I was interacting with him on the forums, that he valued keeping his “standing in the community” (whereas I didn’t have nearly enough respect for the audio community he so valued, to care whether I had any standing in it or not). That alone explains the “slamming of the door on Belt” remark to me. For it’s the same thing Jimmy Hughes did, and just about every audio journalist that followed who reviewed his products. Who go on to give you a silent death stare scowl if you dare mention the name of “Peter Belt” to them in public, today. And no wonder. I see it’s the same puzzling reaction that audiophiles who’ve admitted to having positive results with one of Belt’s devices have exhibited!
As for László concurring that Belt’s devices were “harmful” to sound quality, he’s not entirely wrong about that either. But to some extent, that comes down not just to a difference of opinion, but to a difference in experience. In regards to the tweaks I’ve installed on this site, I have had concerns that go beyond just whether the tweak is effective enough for neophytes to hear. But also whether they’ll like what they hear. To control for that, I often add details as to how a device should be installed. Without these details, what could happen is what probably happened in “Graphoman”‘s case. You install or use the device incorrectly, it doesn’t create the right energy pattern, and while it does end up changing your sound to your knowledge, you may find you don’t like the sound it’s created. I’ve even had devices created by P.W.B. who’s sound I didn’t like on first try… until I figured out how best to use them.
IMHO, what László failed to learn before “slamming the door” on Beltism, is that the Belt effect isn’t a “single sound”. As I have been able to achieve within my own experiences of experimentation, there are many types of sound that can be created by the implementation of Belt devices. So for example, if he feels the highs are too rounded off well…. it’s just a question of finding the right pattern that creates a sound that doesn’t do that. But in this specific regard, it may also be a question of what you get used to. We are, most of us, used to what I would term “technotronic highs“. Upper frequency sounds grossly influenced by transistors, capacitors, coils and other electronic components. None of which are conducive to a natural sound (and you may only understand what I mean by “natural sound”, when you have upgraded your sound through the use of Belt devices or concepts). Usually, those types of sound signatures contribute to a sense of listener fatigue after x many hours. (Or minutes in my case, if the highs are really not right). For the way most Belt devices are installed, Beltists rarely experience these exaggerated highs – and often prefer the somewhat muted natural sounding upper frequencies they usually get. But again, you could get zippy highs if you want to, using such techniques. I would tell this to Graphoman except…. he can’t hear me behind a closed door! 😛
THE COMPACT DISC COLORING TESTS
Back to our friend “Graphoman”, aka László Darvas, editor of “Hi-Fi Magazine” in Hungary. May Belt (of PWB fame!) recounts another rather interesting study that he undertook, involving blind tests of compact discs that he had specially made, in different colors, for blind testing purposes. This was to further test hypotheses proposed by Peter Belt, these in regard to the influence of color and labels, on the perception of sound. He sent 10 of the specially designed CD’s to the editor of the British “Hi-Fi News & Record Review” magazine, so that his fellow audio magazine editor could test Peter Belt’s color theory himself. But instead of enlarging his world, the editor just passed the note to his sub-editor, who passed it along to Peter Belt. Yes, like a piece of chewing gum in elementary class. And thank Goodness, “Hi-Fi News & Record Review” we’re on their guard. An opportunity to learn something new and revelatory about audio, might have slipped through without anyone noticing.
I’ve reprinted some of it here:
“László Darvas, the Editor of the Hungarian Hi Fi Magazine, knowing of Peter’s discoveries that the printing on the label side of CDs affected the sound decided, during the early 1990s, to do some of his own investigations. He commissioned, from a Hungarian manufacturer of Compact Discs, ten identical (music-wise) Compact Discs, but with nine of them each printed in a different colour on the label side. Eight of the colours were Black, White, Red, Green, Blue, Lilac, Yellow and Brown. The ninth disc had the normal production printing on it’s label and the tenth disc was left completely clear (no paint at all).
After listening to all ten discs the Editor’s conclusion were as follows :-
That every colour has it’s own sound.
The disc printed Yellow was described as ‘hurting the mind’.
The disc printed Brown was described as ‘gritty’, ’empty’, only one degree better than Yellow.
The disc printed Lilac was described as sounding ‘funny’, ‘murky’, ‘gritty’ like the White One.
The best sounding disc was the clear one, the one with no printing on at all.
The heading of László’s article – published in the Hungarian magazine “Hi Fi Magazine” – some 20 years ago !!! (roughly translated) was :- “It should be on the Painter’s Brush”
Even knowing of Peter’s findings, the Editor was still surprised at HIS results so he gave all the different coloured Compact Discs to a second person to also try. Because of the deadline for the printing of the article, the second person was only able to try four of the discs, but his results were exactly the same as the Editor, i.e that the clear (no printing at all) disc sounded the best. Their conclusion, from these experiments, was that the results could not be anything to do with laser reflections etc – that the results cannot be explained by classical electro acoustic theories !!
After László’s experiments, he sent a letter to Steve Harris (the then editor of the British audio magazine “Hi Fi News”) offering Hi Fi News a similar set of the 10 CDs so that Hi Fi News could carry out their own – listening – experiments. All Hi Fi News did however, after receiving László’s letter, was to forward László’s letter to Peter with a note from Christopher Breunig (Hi Fi News Musical Editor) attached saying “We think you will find this interesting, Peter.” !!!! I have copied László’s letter below.”
Further Attempts At Objective Testing From The Fourth Dimension
The adventures in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd dimension described above, with the indefatigable László Darvas, do not stop there by any means. Mr. Darvas, of Hungary’s “Hi-Fi Mozaik” magazine, had made many deep and expansive forays into the nooks and crannies of the World of Belt. Most of which I’m sure I don’t know about. But you get a feeling for this, in the article below. Here, he explores various objective attempts at not just audio tests based on Peter Belt’s theories (such as the influence of colours on perception of sound), but he even goes so far as to get help from a qualified medical practitioner, to perform before & after blood tests, on subjects who have listened to PWB’s devices! Come on, that has to be a first, in the audio scene!
This next article below has been translated from the Hungarian, so it’s not a particularly easy read. But it’s a fascinating read, if you can get past the sloppy translation. It consists of a series of letters to Peter Belt, along with various articles on the subject of his trials and travails, with Belt’s products. I’m sure that even in the original Hungarian language, it makes for an unusual read! As I say above, Mr. Darvas is quite the character. (n.b. The title “Fourth Dimension”, as far as I can tell, is simply the name of the series of articles he writes for the magazine. Perhaps a reference to more outré audio applications?).
Within this document, Darvas says he is absolutely convinced of the Belt effect, and goes on to detail numerous objective attempts to perform tests, using the vast number of Belt devices he appears to own. Some of his P.W.B. devices include “Cream Electret”, “Spiratube”, and something with tweezers? (Possibly the Quantum Clip device?). He writes an article about how tension is lowered when you unplug devices from the wall outlets, regardless if they are connected to the audio system, and appears to write about what I call “advanced polarity” (“the hifi devices have two positions, for example, and one of the two is always much better than the other.”).
Wonderful, I wrote an article about that 10 years ago! Good to see someone else noticing it. Some of the tests Darvas discusses, include ones where he has a medical expert take blood pressure measurements of himself and others, before and after tests of Beltism! Along with EEG tests, directionality of cables, and something called an “audit balance”? But what makes it a fascinating read I find, is that before even getting to those tests, and woven throughout the entire read, is Darvas’ increasing alarm at what he believes his PWB products are doing to his health, and that of his family.
Does he have a point? I don’t dismiss his experiences. They’re his own. (And thank goodness for that!). But I will say, that a) The “killer product” in question he was referring to, the “electret strap”; has not been made for many years. And b) I myself have been a member of P.W.B.’s discussion forum for some 10 years or so. In fact, if anyone has ever said anything about their experiences with PWB’s products anywhere on the internet, I probably know about it. And I have never heard anyone talk about having these kinds of experiences with the products. They appear to be unique to László Darvas.
Indeed, Darvas admits that he has the most PWB products of anyone in Hungary. Is it at all possible that those very shipments passed through Chernobyl on their way to Gloria, Hungary? Who knows! After implementing so many of his PWB treatments, he talks about his sound becoming so vast and overwhelming to him, that it falls and crushes him under excessive weight, and can be felt more than heard… Or maybe he’s talking about a movie he saw called “The Blob That Ate San Francisco”? I’m not sure. Again, it’s been translated from another language. He did accuse Mr. Belt of “letting the “spirit out of the bottle”. So maybe he was heavily influenced by “Ghostbusters”? It was a big blockbuster movie at the time…
Darvas also starts off one of his numerous “open letters to Peter Belt”, insisting that Peter not just respond to his many “concerns”, but in detail, no less! Just so precious!
“Oh dear, this sounds dreadful…. – May! Get me on the next flight to Hungary, quick! An audiophile is dying of Beltism, and I fear it may already be too late!”.
And in the mind-boggling space of a single letter, our friend Mr. Darvas goes from stating that Belt’s products are “incredibly effective”, while at the same time strongly asserting that they are “not beneficial” and “harmful, possibly dangerous to the human body!“. I mean really, how can you not love this guy?! Read at your peril!
n.b. The PWB-related articles of this issue of “Hi-Fi Magazin”, along with numerous other issues featuring articles largely related to P.W.B., have been brought down from the attic, dusted off, and are now available for public perusal at this address: “The Hungarian Hi-Fi Chronicles“. There you will find even more discussions of various attempts of blind tests of P.W.B. products and concepts, along with a cornucopia of experimentations in Beltism.
Hi-Fi Magazin, Hungary: #35
So, never let it be said there haven’t been at least some serious attempts made, at conducting more scientifically inclined blind tests on Belt concepts and devices. More serious attempts requires more serious interest. And if you remain a hardened skeptic and these attempts are not to your satisfaction? You’re certainly welcome to do better!
“To prove the existence of the PWB effect, I should find a pioneering experiment that would allow measuring instruments to be able to get measurements to reproduce this data at any time in any laboratory . To explain the phenomenon, we should explore its mechanism of action. For the time being, no experiment or mechanism of action. It is a great deal to do with the fact that the explanation given by Peter Belt is tedious, misty, to the practitioners of science, unacceptable. This does, of course, not obviate the fact that the PWB effect does happily exist. Like any other thing whose origin is misunderstood. ”
– László Darvas, Editor, Hi-Fi Magazin” (translated from Hungarian -taa)
· the advanced audiophile
I’m starting to change my way of thinking about the so-called “Belt phenomenon”. Starting to realize that, there is no “Belt phenomenon” as such. And its wrong for me to think about it in those terms. Yes, there’s a “Belt phenomenon”, in that Peter Belt discovered this hitherto unknown(?) scientific(full article)
“Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.” – Confucius GOD IS IN THE DETAILS Beltism teaches us that there is a Zen approach necessary, if you are interested in following the path to audio Nirvana. In that sense, Peter Belt is like a solitary Buddhist monk(full article)
A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, a group of elite Jedi fighters were training to use a mysterious “force”, to aid them in their quest for security and a better life…..
…On this planet, not so many years ago (roughly 10), I embarked on a series of audio experiments that involved aligning slotted screws on light switch plates (link), so that they were 180 degrees vertical. This was, naturally, an idea from Peter Belt, of P.W.B. Electronics. One which I sought to validate or invalidat
Ok, so I’m taking a break from the World of Beltism to explore the World of Chi Fi, to get into some serious earphoning. (Don’t get excited, it’s only temporary). Here, I undertake a major, comprehensive, multi-product review of an array of VLPE’s (Very Low Priced Earphones!). aka “in-ear monitors”, aka(full article)
Now here’s what may sound like an unusual theory… of which I have no doubt, no conventional thinker will believe. Even if they can claim tens of years of experience in audio. If you fit that bill and just react with amusement… then great. Call me the new “Cartoons on(full article)
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)