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.
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: