The Gryphon Exorcist: What Happens To The Magnets In My Headphones?

I don’t normally bother to investigate, let alone spend money on things without proven and guaranteed results. But this time, a friend of mine asked me to test a device designed to remove “all magnetic builds up in your system” and let him know what I think of it.

A device like the Gryphon Exorcist is bound to invite a lot of controversy. It sells for 250 Euros from the Gryphon website, and the device claims to erase any magnetic build up that is present in your audio system. Of course, it wouldn’t take long before people starts throwing questions like “so what happens to the magnet in my speakers?”, which of course is not going to be easy to explain. On the last local meet that I attended, friends were talking about the VibraPortal device from Coconut Audio, and everybody was making remarks full of suspicion if a $200 stone placed on top of your hi-fi gear would actually do anything to the sound.

Now, if you’re really into science, then you know that there is a lot of phenomenons observed in many different branches in science that scientists themselves have a hard time explaining, but acknowledge that they are indeed real. Likewise, there are many things in Audio that I can’t quite explain, such as why silver cables sound different from copper. So I kept my head open and refrain from jumping into conclusions.

The Exorcists is about the size of a remote control, and like all things associated with high end audio, it's superbly built and finished in anodized aluminum.

 

I got the evaluation system ready. It was fairly simple, the CEC TL51XZ CD Player, the Zana Deux amplifier, and out to the Sennheiser HD800. I listened to the Horowitz live in Moscow CD, stopped, applied the Gryphon Exorcist, and replayed the CD again.

Obviously this is a very subjective evaluation, and since I don’t have two Zana Deux amps and HD800 headphones with equal amounts of magnetic build ups, I had no way of A-Bing the result before and after the Exorcist application. I didn’t hear any change in the system’s character, or any frequency response change, as if you changed cables or interconnects. But I think I was hearing a clearer sound as if I had upgraded my source. Blacker background, less muddy, better articulation on the piano, overall a more life-like sound. It doesn’t enhance the detail the way an upsampling DAC does, but things just get clearer. And this may be just wishful thinking, but if there is one thing in the Zana’s sound that’s been bothering me is the amount of grain I can hear in the sound when listening with the HD800. After the Gryphon, I don’t know, but I think the grain levels have been severely reduced.

Are these findings objective? Obviously no. I can’t even be sure if the difference is really there, or if it’s just placebo playing with my brain. I tried asking Google about the Exorcist, and I came up with quite a number of reviews. One review, done in 2006, approached the Exorcist with a noticeable tone of skepticism, (he even included some interview excerpts from George Cardas), but at the end the author did mention that the Exorcist had “freshen-up” the sound of his system.

Do I swear that the Gryphon Exorcist ameliorates noise as advertised? Probably because I don’t understand how the term’s being applied, I had no sense of evicted “whiteness,” and I didn’t notice much of a difference with respect to soundfields. What I did pick up on was a sense of the system’s sound having been freshened up — of having had its face washed, so to speak.

Rod Elliot, whose ESP website has taught me a lot about audio electronics, blatantly attacked the Exorcist to the point of calling it rubbish and more…

What utter and complete rubbish. I have never in all my life heard anything so blatantly nonsensical (with the possible exception of any given political speech). That these $#&**% can charge real money (this piece of excrement (oops, I meant exorcist – really) costs AU$100) to sell an electronic magic potion to the unsuspecting public really gets up my nose.

We’ve seen arguments like these in all internet forums, where the science people would throw out their tech talks to silence the advocates of the product being questioned. Most of the time, the science guys would win the discussion, since the product advocates never has anything solid to counter the scientific arguments. I don’t know, I’m mostly a practical guy with little regard to the theories. But when I read the papers, I know that professional scientists sometimes admit errors to their theories.

I do think it’s wise for a reviewer to stay away from giving an opinion on “mythical” products as it never does anything good to your reputation. I can imagine what a statement like “that Headfonia guy believes that a demagnetizer gives him a better sound out of his Zana Deux” would do to this website. But at the end, I think we are all here for the gear talk, and so I thought I’d throw this out there and see what you guys think of it.

Let’s keep the discussion friendly guys. 🙂
– update –

Following the suggestions from the readers, I have done a simple capture of the signal sent by the Exorcist, with my Mac through its built in sound card and Audacity. Here is a screenshot of the file in Audacity, and the closest sound I can get to mimic it is by creating a 1010Hz flat tone in Audacity with a 0.5 amplitude. (though the Gryphon signal sounds more analog and smoother, while the flat tone sounds more digital). Click on the image to see the full-resolution version of the screen capture.

Here is a link to download the captured audio tone:

http://aws.headfonia.com/gryphonexorcist.wav

 

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40 Comments

  • Reply June 16, 2011

    Lewis Leong

    I wonder what creates more of a difference in sound; the Exorcist or cable lifters. 😛

    • Reply June 16, 2011

      Anonymous

      Lol I’ve seen one of those too… some people uses cd cases too, right?

  • Reply June 16, 2011

    Jlle

    It seems to be only a signal source. So why not record it’s output to WAV, Put on your DAP and see if it still demagnatices.

    • Reply June 16, 2011

      Anonymous

      That’s an interesting idea. It’s actually audible as a ~1Khz tone on the headphones, but I’ll try to find a way to record it.

      Though I don’t think I have any device that is designed for accurate recording….

      • Reply June 16, 2011

        Jlle

        Audio amplification needs to work between the 20hz en 20khz, so it’s output should be in this range not to risc to be filtered out. If yyou’re using a mac, why not connect it to the line-in and record with garageband? You get as a bonus a visual presentation of the signal. (and you’re computer is demagnetized at the same time 😉

        • Reply June 16, 2011

          Anonymous

          Yes, you’re right. Let me give it a try.

    • Reply June 16, 2011

      Rudi0504

      You no need to record this !Khz Tone, we can buy from Shefieild Record 

      Burn In CD, but i have the experience the Effect is not so good like from The Gryphon

      Exorcist.

      That’s why since 1996 i keep this Excorcist and i have also the CD Burn In from Shefield.

      Cheers

      • Reply June 17, 2011

        Anonymous

        Thanks, Rudi!

  • Reply June 16, 2011

    santsant

    i wonder whats inside that thing.. maybe we can make the diy version of it.. 😛

    • Reply June 17, 2011

      Anonymous

      Same here, but my friend doesn’t let me open it.

  • Reply June 16, 2011

    randomperson

    I hate to break it to you but fancy cables do not have proven or guaranteed results. . . 

  • Reply June 16, 2011

    randomperson

    I hate to break it to you but fancy cables do not have proven or guaranteed results. . . 

    • Reply June 17, 2011

      Anonymous

      Yes the results are never guaranteed.

  • Reply June 16, 2011

    Rūdolfs Putniņš

    Oh, well… Whatever makes the buyer happy.

  • Reply June 16, 2011

    Benedict Brown

    Nobody actually takes Coconut audio seriously… right? If I’m not mistaken that site is run by none other than Patrick82, an incredible troll from Head-Fi who used to make hilarious posts about his extreme cable mods.

    • Reply June 16, 2011

      Rūdolfs Putniņš

      If he is actually pretending and all then hats off to him. His trolling skills are unmatched, at least in the high end audio. The videos though seem borderline insane.

      • Reply June 17, 2011

        Anonymous

        I think he’s putting on a very great show.

    • Reply June 17, 2011

      Anonymous

      I didn’t know that until you told me. Thanks!

    • Reply June 17, 2011

      Donunus

      Patrick is an Artiste hehehe

  • Reply June 17, 2011

    Anonymous

    Tone recorded through Audacity. (You can see the update on the article above with the screenshot of the wave pattern)

    Here is a link to download the WAV:
    http://static1.headfonia.com/gryphonexorcist.wav

  • Reply June 17, 2011

    Anonymous

    It would be interesting to see, say out of 10 people who’s downloaded the file and tried it, how many of them reported any perceived difference. 🙂

  • Reply June 17, 2011

    Gummy

    Just to make sure how you did this, you created a 24 second 1010hz test tone in audacity, added a fade out, and added a .5 second silence?
    If so, here are my ABX results: 
    score: 8/13
    probability you were guessin: 29.1%

    pretty inconclusive… I should do more but test tones are annoying to listen to. at times I swear I could hear a difference while other times I was completely stumped. an actual difference or not, there is NO WAY IN HELL this is worth $350 USD.

    • Reply June 17, 2011

      Anonymous

      The WAV file was created by recording the signal from the Exorcist, in
      to my Mac’s line in, to the internal soundcard, and to Audacity. What I
      meant was that if I create a 1010hz test tone, what I hear is very close
      to the recorded signal from the Exorcist.

      Well if your system was worth $1,000,000, $350 is probably okay.

      • Reply June 17, 2011

        Gummy

        Ok, I have no idea what you’re talking about 😛
        forget it then, I just AB’d a 1010hz test tone with the .wav you gave me

        • Reply June 17, 2011

          Anonymous

          Hey, I think you’re getting this all wrong. There is no need to A-B the .WAV file to a 1010hz test tone.

          The point is that since the Exorcist plays an audio tone through the audio circuit during the “demagnetizing” process, can we simulate that by playing the same tone which was obtained by recording the Exorcist tone.

          It’s a one time application deal, and after the .WAV is played, if the difference exists, you should be able to hear things get “freshen up” a little.
           
          The 1010hz tone I created was just a side fact I mentioned. I thought the Exorcist tone sounds very similar to a 1010hz test tone.

  • Reply June 17, 2011

    Earfonia

    Thanks for the captured sound Mike! 🙂

    • Reply June 17, 2011

      Anonymous

      You’re welcome! Tell us what you hear!
       

  • Reply June 17, 2011

    Donunus

    we should all chip in and get one of these and pass it around to demag our systems hehehe

  • Reply June 19, 2011

    wwenze

    In Audacity, go to analyze ->  plot spectrum, algorithm: spectrum, size: biggest, function: (anything but rectangular), axis: log frequency, you will see a graph with two peaks – (rough values) 1015Hz at -12dB, and 50Hz at -68dB. Sine waves.

    Now if that 50Hz is due to mains or intended as part of the sound… even onboard sound rejects hum better than 56dB…

    • Reply June 20, 2011

      Anonymous

      Thanks, wwenze, but the Plot Spectrum menu is off and I can’t activate it.

  • Reply July 30, 2011

    reckoncile

    I’m quite sure all magnets slowly lose their magnetism over time as their domains become unaligned.

    • Reply August 1, 2011

      Anonymous

      True. Wonder how long it’ll take though as I’ve never heard of a speaker or headphones being demagnetized.

  • Reply September 2, 2011

    Anonymous

    thanks for the link to coconut-audio. I had a good laugh. What a total load of crap.

    • Reply September 3, 2011

      Anonymous

      Nice right. 😉

  • Reply December 13, 2011

    2569025360

  • Reply December 29, 2011

    Ascentiorecta

    mike,  the link for downloading  grphon wav is unavailable… I hope you don’t mind sending  to my email , ascentiorecta@yahoo.com . Thank a  lot Mike 🙂

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