Listening to the very long, wide-ranging and fascinating Lex Fridman interview the other day with Michael Saylor, one bit caught my attention. The difference between an interest, and a conflict of interest. “I think that you can promote a property or an idea, to the extent that you don’t control it.”
They’re talking about bitcoin. But to me it is kind of like the 1978 James Burke mini-series Connections. Every episode he shows how two seemingly unrelated events or ideas are connected. A girl notices something about reeds, her dad picks up on it, the venturi develops into the carburetor, and it develops into a car. The little girl’s name is Mercedes.
In this case, the connections all point to a monumental conflict of interest with the unethical promotion of NanoFlo by Chris Arnold. Chris claims to be the inventor. But the patent info he parades around is for making “nanometer-sized diamond-like carbon particles” from “dense plasma focus radiation” of “carbonaceous material”. Nothing about contact enhancement. Nothing in his patent even mentions conductivity. It does however state:
“From this testing, it was demonstrated that 1) wear was reduced by an estimated 90%… 2) surface abrasion and scoring … 3) surfaces were evenly worn…. 4) thermal breakdown did not occur in samples treated with the nano diamond nanoparticles…. "
Yes. That’s right. Chris Arnold made a fancy engine oil additive. Quantum Coat™. Chris likes to put ™ on words. Well, except for words he steals from others, like Perfect Path. But I digress.
Back to what Michael Saylor said about conflict of interest. Chris Arnold totally controls the product, both the supply as well as what goes into it. He controls the price, and the distribution. In the beginning he was using people such as myself and Krissy, because being Chris Arnold he wouldn’t know good sound if it hit him on the head. Also hawking engine oil additives ain’t exactly audiophile experience. Audiophiles already skeptical and eager to call “snake oil” at the first thing they don’t understand aren’t exactly gonna be won over by a guy whose only experience is hawking oil. Literally.
But, what about the testimonials? His site is full of em. https://nano-flo.com/testimonials Funny thing though, nobody ever said those things. They are all anonymous “Audiogon members”.
How can we be sure nobody ever said them? Do a search. Cut and paste the “testimonials” into your search bar. If they are anywhere, Audiogon or otherwise, they will come up. Check it out. Maybe the Audiogoons will demand he provide the proof.
Frankly, even Audiogoons know more about audio than Chris Arnold. One of the “testimonials” says, “Macro detail is just mind-boggling.” Macro detail. Macro. Not micro. Unbelievable.
He has updated his site. Same freebie rubber power cord, now wrapped in braid with heat shrink. But it is the same exact freebie rubber power cord, even the iron choke is there under the braid. Unbelievable.
Ordinarily this is just the kind of thing we prefer to let pass. In spite of the “inventor” being bananas, the stuff really did work. As best we know some 17 or so lucky audiophiles got at least a sample. One of them is in Belgium and has yet to receive it. Of those who have, all but 3 reported excellent results. Lower noise floor, improved detail, better dynamics. Quite a few were bowled over and gushing. Only 3 that we know of were not. Of those 3, one screwed up, didn’t follow directions and slathered it on about 50 times. So call it 90% positive. The stuff works.
Or should I say, worked. That’s the problem when dealing with a guy so conflicted and unethical. He doubled the price for no reason, canceled the product for no reason, disguised the same cheap power cord, and now fabricates testimonials. Can anyone doubt he will dilute or pollute the product even further just to make a profit?
The comment at the end of my last Follow-Up was a recommendation to buy AND RETURN. That was a joke. Not worth the risk. It is my considered opinion that Chris Arnold cannot be trusted to honor the return or guarantee. He seems to be capable of saying anything to make a buck.
And so, again, just to be clear: the original NanoFlo used by myself and others really did work. But now thanks to the unpredictable behavior of the supplier that evaluation is no longer valid, and the product no longer recommended. It was. But not any more.
(Watch the Michael Saylor interview, if you can find the time. Highly recommended.)
Wouldn't you like to know?
Short answer: he’s a turntable. Teres Hall of Fame #40, to be exact. http://www.teresaudio.com/fame/40.html
The Miller Carbon turntable was built in early 2003. The Basis 2001 was a fine table, but a decade living with it had turned up a number of areas with room for improvement. One by one the power cord, belt, and motor were changed. Ultimately the Teres Audio motor, bearing and platter were combined with a Black Diamond Racing Source Shelf and a few other goodies into a complete DIY turntable, the Miller Carbon.
As it turns out, the development of the Miller Carbon turntable has a lot in common with the development of Millercarbon the writer on all things audio. Also a lot to do with the development of his system.
Studying turntables, it turns out they are really pretty simple. A lot of them like the Basis are just a flat piece of whatever called a plinth, with a bearing in it, a platter that turns on the bearing, and a motor that turns the platter. The Basis turned out to be a really good first table, because in putting it together all these individual parts were so clear.
Once put together however it is real hard to know what does what. In other words, how important is say the motor? If just the motor is changed, how will that affect the sound? Hard to say. Most will simply upgrade the whole turntable. In which case they never know. Because, when the platter, plinth, suspension, belt, and more, changes, how are you ever gonna know what part of the improvement you hear was just the motor? Can’t.
Not even. Millercarbon however wanted to know. So we first changed just the power cord. Same motor, same everything. Only the power cord changed. Sound got better. Fascinating!
This means the motor really does have an effect on the sound, and we heard it, and so the motor is worth upgrading. Fortunately the Basis motor is in a pod that sits beside the turntable. Teres Audio makes a motor that can be swapped out. All it takes is drill a hole in the plinth for a speed sensor, print and tape a strobe strip under the platter, and use a longer belt. We went for it.
Big improvement! This is what we call proof of concept. More work and takes longer than just go out and buy the next best thing, but then again you learn so much more it makes it oh so worth it. Especially when your audio ambitions are so much greater than your bank account, buying isn’t always on the cards.
So Millercarbon built the Miller Carbon, and kept on going. The bearing was stainless steel ball on brass thrust plate with teflon. Dead silent at first, the teflon wore through and the bearing ground into the brass. After talking with some machinists the brass was replaced with tungsten carbide, stainless with silicon carbide. These materials are so much harder that wear, even after thousands of hours, was reduced to nil. Eventually fO.q tape was discovered, and a piece under the thrust plate dropped the noise floor even lower. Every step of the way it was fascinating to hear the differences these seemingly insignificant changes made.
Reading this one might well ask, “Does he ever stop and just enjoy the music?” All the time! The table was built in 2003. Spread out over nearly 20 years, the vast majority was pure enjoying the music. Over that time though all these incremental improvements added up to where the guy who wound up buying the Miler Carbon last year said he was shocked how much better it is than all his other tables.
The same sort of incremental proof of concept approach has been used over and over again- building a rack, vibration control, cable elevators, crossover upgrades, on and on. Not that any of this was easy. Vast majority of the time the things that were tried seemed implausible, at best. Quite a few of them were summarily dismissed, at least at first. Curiosity however always won out, and new things were tried. Lather, rinse, repeat.
That in a nutshell is Millercarbon: insatiable curiousity, drawn to whatever it is that can make this crazy thing called music sound better. And better….. and better!
Just so you know folks, in the first week (?) we had over 3,600 visitors. This in spite of hardly any content, not to mention my best efforts at screwing it up with the whole Axel car thing. If you missed that self-inflicted wound... Let's just say the WordPress learning curve is steep, thus the Bleg*, and leave it at that.
Not even really sure if 3,600 was in a day, or a week, or what. That's how much I have to learn. All I know, it is way more than expected, and for that, thank you very much.
The Forum section is on carbonite for now. https://youtu.be/DFCjTjEUTns?t=148 We're working on it. (That, and hyperlinks, and a lot of things.) But to build a Forum calls for WordPress and Elementor, all new stuff to learn. Meantime, we have the little dealy down in the lower right hand corner. Clever little widget you can use to ask me anything, suggest topics, whatever.
*Do people even say bleg any more? I don't think so. Message if you do, and one month free to everyone correctly identifying the term.
This Website Builder will not support a Forum. WordPress and Elementor are about to stroke out this old brain of mine. Anybody out there willing to help, please reach out, and you will earn my eternal gratitude.
In case you haven't guessed this is my first web attempt, and it ain't exactly going smoothly. The Website Builder they sold me can't do a Forum. WordPress does, but has this neat feature, more booby trap really, and I'm just the boob for the job, I guess. So, sorry about the Axel car thing.
Anyway, we are back now and what the... 3,600 visitors in the first week?! We're gonna need a bigger boat! Seriously though, thanks. Couldn't do it without you. Well, okay, technically not you exactly. But you know what I mean.
Got a lot to catch up on. Couple new prototype cables, NAT mono-blocks, fun with styluses, and more. But first, a little housekeeping. Big ol' steaming pile of garbage came along, and much as I hate to do it, got to take out the trash. And boy does it stink!
On second thought it is more like a pile up. As much as you want to just drive on by, you just have to look, and try and figure out how anyone could be so, you know. And yet they are. Don't say you haven't been warned!