A POINT OF VIEW: Fear of tweaks (Harry Weisfeld’s VPI Brick)

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Paul McGowan writes .....

Change can be tough for me, especially when the means to an end make no sense. Like green pens on CD edges, demagnetizers, magic stones, voodoo dots, resonators aligning the earth to my stereo system.

Ideas presented to me that I cannot make sense of get put on hold. Sometimes indefinitely. Sometimes forever.

I remember the first time this became apparent to me. Harry Weisfeld’s, VPI Brick.

The VPI “magic Brick” is made from steel laminations stacked together like a transformer and encased in wood. Completely passive, it was the rage for years. Place it atop a preamp, amp, or source, and sound improved. Magic happened. Reviewers swooned. Engineers shook their heads. Me included.

How could I bring myself to bother trying something I did not understand? It was easy enough to avoid, I didn’t have access to one.

And then it happened.

A cruel friend dropped by with two in hand. I had run out of excuses. I wanted nothing more than to expose this hoax for what it is was. Bulls**t.

The needle dropped onto the vinyl—I think it must have been Help Me from Court and Spark. I regained my reference. My arms were folded. At the end of the track I begrudgingly waived my hand for the Brick to be placed on top of the preamp.

You probably guessed the end of the story. Oh my goodness. It worked, and not just a little. The Brick opened up the soundfield, separated the instruments and singer from each other and, best of all, it was repeatable. On; magic happened. Off; we went back to what was.

You’d think after some of these eye openers I’d have changed my ways; become more accepting of change I don’t understand.

But no, I am still resistant to that which makes no sense.

Even when it works.

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