It’s the time of year for saving money!
In 1991 I first experienced a tweak that had no earthly reason
to work, yet it apparently did. A company called Shun Mook had a demo at CES where they placed and then removed their Mpingo Discs on top of a CD player and I heard a difference. I wasn’t the only one to hear
changes. All the audio journalists who experienced this unique demo heard the
same sonic improvements when the discs were placed on the Magnavox CD player.
I should mention that I have a set of Mpingo dics, and during
the twenty years that have passed since that demo, I have been totally unable
to hear any differences when they were installed anywhere in my own home stereo
So what gives? Are the home systems I’ve set up over the last
two decades lacking in sufficient resolving power to reveal the discs’ effects?
I don’t think so. But every time I’ve tried the discs they’ve proved completely
I suspect that all the folks who participated in the original
CES demo were “Shun Mooked.” This is a psycho-acoustic phenomenon that occurs
when you are in a room full of people who believe something WILL make a
difference – and it DOES! It’s akin to being the only non-committed voter in a
room full of party faithful – by the end of the night you will be “a believer.”
The psychic force of all those committed brains makes you hear exactly what
they are hearing. Or not hearing.
What did the Shun Mook experience teach me? I learned that
while I may hear differences caused by mods and tweaks at a trade show or demo,
I will never accept the results until I can duplicate them at home on my own
system. Some devices, such as the AudioPrism Ground Plane, have proven over time to make a repeatable difference with different set-ups
and components in various systems. Others, like the Shun Mook Mpingo discs,
have turned out to be nothing more than pricy placebos.
I try to keep my mind as open as possible without letting my
brains fall out. And while I’m still more than willing to listen to any demo
that doesn’t involve SPLs above 95 dB, before I cry from the rooftops, “This
works!” I now insist on listening to the device at home through multiple
In the words of Pete Townshend, “Won’t be fooled again…”
The sheer volume of the audiophile cable business only reflects commercial influence upon which the entire industry, the audiophile magazines included, is interdependent. Where there is money to be made, there will be hucksters ready to pick your pocket. Spending a few bucks on something that is only snake oil isn’t entertainment…it’s diversion of resources that could have been spent on the most important items in your audio world: the software…which is to say the recordings…the music.