Snake oil with a warm grandpa smile

E

Erod

Junior Audioholic

I'm sure you all know this guy; he makes a hundred videos a month it seems. Seems like a decent guy and A/V lifer, so I have a hard time working up any real angst toward him.

However, he does seem very snake-oil like at times, and I suspect his business is circling the drain. He's married to the "tried and trues" of yesteryear, and he's determined to go down with the ship, as are the codgers he references constantly. That's more understandable as you get older, but still, this guys seems to be trying to "Andy Griffith" his way past the radar detectors. He smiles through the BS, and no doubt plenty of people fall for this stuff.

Makes me distrust virtually everything he says, and that's unfortunate because he seems like a sweet guy overall.

I don't know if Gene has ever directly taken this guy to task formally, or if they have an amicable relationship. I'm certain they have to be keenly aware of each other. I, for one, would like to see it.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Spartan
Oh man, that's Paul McGowan. I stopped watching his videos when he said that cables make a difference that he can't explain, and refuses to do any kind of blind testing to prove it. I do think he drinks his own koolaid tho.
 
E

Erod

Junior Audioholic
In this video, he promotes blind testing. Perhaps to cover his tracks?

If cables made such a difference, then why don't SVS, JBL, Anthem, Marantz, etc, etc, promote their "own" cables that maximize the performance of their products? Why don't they heavily suggest that high-end cables improve their performance? Would that not reduce their return rates on sales? Wouldn't that highlight the capabilities of their engineering?

It's misleading at best, and predatory at worst.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Spartan
In this video, he promotes blind testing. Perhaps to cover his tracks?

If cables made such a difference, then why don't SVS, JBL, Anthem, Marantz, etc, etc, promote their "own" cables that maximize the performance of their products? Why don't they heavily suggest that high-end cables improve their performance? Would that not reduce their return rates on sales? Wouldn't that highlight the capabilities of their engineering?

It's misleading at best, and predatory at worst.
SVS actually do sell their own cables! They're not ridiculously expensive like some of the others tho. I've been going to Monoprice for all my cabling needs and have been happy.
 
E

Erod

Junior Audioholic
SVS actually do sell their own cables! They're not ridiculously expensive like some of the others tho. I've been going to Monoprice for all my cabling needs and have been happy.
Yes, I know. I use their cables for my SVS subs.

But they were very reasonably priced. If there was a $500 cable that would make these subs sound better, why would they not recommend them? Why wouldn't they sell them? Because they have integrity.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Slumlord
They don't call it BS Audio for nothing. Paul's just head cheerleader.
 
slipperybidness

slipperybidness

Audioholic Spartan
In this video, he promotes blind testing. Perhaps to cover his tracks?

If cables made such a difference, then why don't SVS, JBL, Anthem, Marantz, etc, etc, promote their "own" cables that maximize the performance of their products? Why don't they heavily suggest that high-end cables improve their performance? Would that not reduce their return rates on sales? Wouldn't that highlight the capabilities of their engineering?

It's misleading at best, and predatory at worst.
If cables made a difference, then these same cables would be used for medical equipment and for the electronics lab instrumentation taking the measurements. You know, in the most demanding of all applications

Yet, that is not the case.
 
KEW

KEW

Audioholic Warlord
If cables made a difference, then these same cables would be used for medical equipment and for the electronics lab instrumentation taking the measurements. You know, in the most demanding of all applications

Yet, that is not the case.
What?
The doctors don't use the good cables for you?
They do for me!
...Uh...never mind, I've said too much already.
 
NINaudio

NINaudio

Senior Audioholic
If cables made a difference, then these same cables would be used for medical equipment and for the electronics lab instrumentation taking the measurements. You know, in the most demanding of all applications

Yet, that is not the case.
We use "basic cables" in high energy physics research. That should tell you something right there too...
 
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Ninja
Oh man, that's Paul McGowan. I stopped watching his videos when he said that cables make a difference that he can't explain, and refuses to do any kind of blind testing to prove it. I do think he drinks his own koolaid tho.
I happen to like koolaid...black cherry is my favorite.
 
B

baronvonellis

Audioholic
Hey, he's a sweet guy, do you ever see the CEO of Sony, LG or other big companies making daily youtube videos on AV technology and answering questions. You may not agree with everything they say either. I've learned alot from his videos, and I'm glad he makes them everyday. I'm sure he's plenty well off, and doesn't need to make videos. He could just be chilling with his family on the weekends when he make these videos.

It's obvious he thinks cables are make a difference and can tell a difference, if you don't agree you saved lots of money congrats, you don't have to buy expensive cables.

He's also said he used to smoke weed all day long lol. When your high you hear things that aren't there alot haha. He probably doesn't hear much above 10khz at this point. Let him have his fun.
 
D

dlavall

Enthusiast
First of all, great post! I think he's a nice guy and does provide some useful info. My take is that he glosses over some of the obvious snake oil stuff because he knows it's BS. I think it might be that he doesn't want to upset any business relationships with partner companies that depend on the snake oil marketing to sell their products. However, I also think that most listening tests (including his ear) are 99% placebo and are unreliable. There is a great article on this website about 'Audible Significance and Engineering Minutia' (sorry, I can't post the link because I don't have enough posts yet):
Listeners can detect a change in loudness when the signal is altered by about 1 dB (a 12% change in amplitude).
Steven W. Smith, Ph.D., The Scientist and Engineer's Guide to Digital Signal Processing
That is a purely objective criterion than actually be measured and provide a useful comparison.

I do think it's possible to have a real listening test, but it would have to :
  • On a nice high current system that is capable of demonstrating any flaws that could exist.
  • Be performed as a double-blind test
  • Obtain enough data so as to be statistically significant
So in the end, it is much easier to do the purely objective testing using the above criterion mentioned above, and as suggested in that article, using wide band pink noise for the audio signal.
 
Last edited:
slipperybidness

slipperybidness

Audioholic Spartan
Hey, he's a sweet guy, do you ever see the CEO of Sony, LG or other big companies making daily youtube videos on AV technology and answering questions. You may not agree with everything they say either. I've learned alot from his videos, and I'm glad he makes them everyday. I'm sure he's plenty well off, and doesn't need to make videos. He could just be chilling with his family on the weekends when he make these videos.

It's obvious he thinks cables are make a difference and can tell a difference, if you don't agree you saved lots of money congrats, you don't have to buy expensive cables.

He's also said he used to smoke weed all day long lol. When your high you hear things that aren't there alot haha. He probably doesn't hear much above 10khz at this point. Let him have his fun.
I have a hard time calling anyone "a sweet guy" while they are shoveling BS on me. Their demeanor has nothing to do with it!
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Spartan
What? Spreading misinformation for personal gain in a nice way is a bad thing now?!
 
Truthslayer

Truthslayer

Junior Audioholic
I didn't watch that specific video of Paul, nor am I going to, but I have seen some of his other videos. And yes he does like to ramble on. On some videos I noticed he never actually answers the question being asked. There was one video of him I recall, where he had stated he didn't believe cables made a difference for most of his audio career. Then he later stated that there was one an awakening with one set of cables that changed his mind, but most cables didn't make a difference. I believe (could be wrong) the cables he said that made a difference were using copper for the mids and lows and silver for the highs. Whether it's true or not, I don't believe the huge expense of those cables would give you that much cost to ratio gain of improvement.
I've always been in the camp, that a well made cable doesn't have to cost very much. As long as it is not cheaply made, you'll be just fine.
And I don't want to bash him to much, because I doubt there is anyone out there that we agree 100% with everything they say.
 
E

Erod

Junior Audioholic
Hey, he's a sweet guy, do you ever see the CEO of Sony, LG or other big companies making daily youtube videos on AV technology and answering questions. You may not agree with everything they say either. I've learned alot from his videos, and I'm glad he makes them everyday. I'm sure he's plenty well off, and doesn't need to make videos. He could just be chilling with his family on the weekends when he make these videos.

It's obvious he thinks cables are make a difference and can tell a difference, if you don't agree you saved lots of money congrats, you don't have to buy expensive cables.

He's also said he used to smoke weed all day long lol. When your high you hear things that aren't there alot haha. He probably doesn't hear much above 10khz at this point. Let him have his fun.
To be clear, I do think he's a pleasant guy and I watch and enjoy his videos. He's taught me some stuff.

However, he does bug me with some of these silly claims about cables and such. No harm, but still.
 
S

sterling shoote

Audioholic General
Paul has informed opinions; and, he also has motivated bias. I've watched videos of his which might totally conflict with his earlier videos. An example is his statement that today's low cost AVRs sound terrible from a video about 6 months ago in contrast to a recent video where he suggested a low cost modern AVR was a better device for stereo than any of today's stereo receivers, capable of delivering really great sound. Seems his praise or criticism is associated to products either directed or not directed to markets PS Audio serves.
 

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