Amazon reader reviews of Denon’s $500 scam cable are brilliant

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Denon’s $500 ethernet cable, ostensibly for use in Denon Link hookups, is easy to mock. But it’s Amazon’s readers who mock the hardest:

“If I could use a rusty boxcutter to carve a new orifice in my body that’s compatible with this link cable, I would already be doing it. I can just imagine the pure musical goodness that would flow through this cable into the wound and fill me completely — like white, holy light.”

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“A caution to people buying these: if you do not follow the ‘directional markings’ on the cables, your music will play backwards. Please check that before mentioning it in your reviews.”

“The first time I downloaded a picture to the printer over this cable, the bits moved so fast the printer collapsed into a naked singularity, right there in my office.”

“I accidentally dropped one end of my Denon cable into a glass of Tuscan whole milk I was drinking. Later when I finished my milk (yeah, I still drank it; should I not have done that?), my right arm (lost in an accident in 1987) spontaneously grew back.
Is that normal?”

This is perhaps the best Amazon reviews page of all time. Don’t miss it, or the tags customers associate with this product, which include “from the future,” “I can’t believe it’s not butter,” “as effective as dog hair,” “ecstacy godlike troll-killing superWMD ubercable,” and “lol.”

Denon AKDL1 Dedicated Link Cable reader reviews [Amazon via Newsvine via CrunchGear]

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45 Responses to Amazon reader reviews of Denon’s $500 scam cable are brilliant

  1. arkizzle says:

    Obligatory links to the BiC Cristal pen reviews on Amazon..

  2. Anonymous says:

    @Voiceofreason

    “Hoff’s pages” refers to the Amazon reviews for David Hasselhoff’s music mentioned by GP123 in post #14.

    Specifically
    http://www.amazon.com/Looking-Best-David-Hasselhoff/dp/B0000070S1/

    Admittedly nothing to do with Wayback machine – I was just pleased that someone had posted the link.

    Jo :)

  3. lastort says:

    It looks as if Amazon has pulled the item. Too bad, that was some funny stuff.

    It lives forever in Google’s cache though

    http://64.233.169.104/search?q=cache:tC1SK2C904MJ:www.amazon.com/Denon-AKDL1-Dedicated-Link-Cable/dp/B000I1X6PM

  4. Anonymous says:

    I think the Wayback Machine only kicks in six months after a website page is live so maybe try in a few months. It’s a shame that those pages are down but I’m glad to be reunited with the Hoff’s pages which first made me laugh a couple of years ago.

  5. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    @23 SPAZZM And here I was, thinking that the timing was derived from the frequency of the ADC’s internal clock. DAC, not ADC. Silly me.

    Nope. It can’t possibly be. Think about it. No two clocks run at exactly the same rate. The data stream’s rate and the DAC’s clock aren’t exactly the same. If the digital/analog conversion runs on a fixed clock, the incoming data will either overrun the input buffer (data too fast) or run out and cause dropouts (data too slow). To accommodate this mismatch, the clock signal to latch the digital word into the DAC HAS to be synced to the input data stream’s rate. That input data stream has unpredictable and potentially very high amounts of noise and variation. If you use a big enough buffer you can drive the jitter down pretty low, but it’s mathematically impossible to get perfect conversion all the way down to DC once you’ve thrown away the original ADC clock signal. Cheap systems use no buffer to speak of and the data stream jitter affects conversion timing way up into the audio band. This problem was ignored in the original Sony/Phillips CD Red Book standard and it remains the major weakness of existing analog/digital systems.

    “Digital is Perfect” remains the majority belief 25 years after consumer acceptance of digital audio, attesting to the superiority of advertising over engineering in influencing public opinion. It’s not perfect, and it’s not even theoretically perfectible. It can be made to sound acceptably good for all consumer uses, but not by pretending it has no weaknesses.

  6. rollerskater says:

    from the Denon website, roffle:

    “the AK-DL1 will bring out all the nuances in digital audio reproduction”

    finanly, the end of that nasty high-end digital roll-off!

    nuaces, roffle.

  7. OM says:

    “I accidentally dropped one end of my Denon cable into a glass of Tuscan whole milk I was drinking. Later when I finished my milk (yeah, I still drank it; should I not have done that?), my right arm (lost in an accident in 1987) spontaneously grew back. Is that normal?”

    …”Stumpy” and I would like to know if this will work on legs. :-) :-P

  8. Antinous says:

    It’s not the cable, it’s the Tuscan Whole Milk. It’s actually lactated by Chuck Norris.

  9. Talia says:

    I love the Tuscan Whole Milk tie-in. Comedy gold.

  10. mycophage says:

    The price of these cables, and the silly claim about their quality, reminds me of Dave Clark’s ridiculous review of Pear Anjou speaker cables. (Clark described the $7250 cables as “danceable…Music playing through them results in the proverbial foot tapping scene with the need or desire to get up and move. Great swing and pace—these cables smack that right on the nose big time.”)

    Clark got smacked right on the nose big time when James Randi offered him (or anyone else) $1 million if they could verify these hyperbolic claims of quality in double-blind tests. No one has yet taken Randi up on his offer.

  11. Dan says:

    I don’t know. It’s hard to top that Tuscan Whole Milk thread. That was a thing of internet beauty.

  12. Guysmiley says:

    “Digital is Perfect” remains the majority belief 25 years after consumer acceptance of digital audio, attesting to the superiority of advertising over engineering in influencing public opinion.

    It’s not perfect, but it’s more controllable and easier to deliver a fixed level of quality. There is no woo-woo about which side of the vacuum tube faces the Sun or which exotic metal your LP stylus is made out of.

    The “perfect” part about digital is that exact, identical copies can be made with no degradation to the original. Which is something that has been driving the record and movie companies insane lately.

  13. Brett Burton says:

    There’s a seller with a refurbished one for $999! Aparently he/she improved on the original design. “I bought one, and then upgraded it by wraping the whole cable in platnum foil. In fact I used the excess foil to make this nifty listening hat that also improves sound quality. Hat is optional. “

  14. Understudy says:

    If you like that one. Here is a speaker cable for $8k. < hrf="http://www.wldwstlctrncs.nt/g-vl-10-10.html">http://www.wldwstlctrncs.nt/g-vl-10-10.html

  15. Antinous says:

    Did some people not get that this post is not actually about the cable, but about the reviews?

  16. jere7my says:

    As soon as I incorporated the Denon AKDL1 Dedicated Link Cable into my system, my entire assembly powered itself on; a voice (identifying itself only as “Denon AKDL1 Dedicated Link Cable”) told me not to go in to work the following day. I took its advice, only to find out that my office burned to the ground on the day in question, taking all of my coworkers with it. Thanks, Denon!

    I’m still laughing at that one.

  17. Shukketsushi says:

    lol boing boing was one of the tags.

  18. Nager says:

    Amazon page is back up. :)

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000I1X6PM/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

    There’s only one reseller offering a cable though, for $999, but it’s pimped!

  19. WeightedCompanionCube says:

    “It’s the badger milk!”

    Seriously though, Ordinary CAT-5 Ethernet cable (just the bare cable, no RJ-45 ends) makes good speaker wire. At least as good as the $10000 stuff that levitates a foot off the floor “for isolation”.

    Twist all the solid wires together for positive and all the striped ones together for negative. In the cable jacket, the solid and striped are still tightly twisted pairs of power and ground. Keeps out noise.

    It can handle up to about 100W RMS per cable, but you can always run more in parallel.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I love the “Customers also viewed” offering attached:
    http://www.amazon.com/Premium-Grade-Digital-Cable-Connector/dp/B000HDJXZS/ref=cm_cr_pr_sims_t
    Oooh! Gold connectors. On a fiber optic cable.

  21. CastanhasDoPara says:

    Well if you think this is dumb just check this out…

    http://www.audioreview.com/cat/cables/speaker-cables/shunyata-research/black-mamba-power-cord/PRD_124280_1584crx.aspx

    My question is how in the hell does a power cable “improve” the sound quality of your components when the wiring in your house is probably standard 12-2 romex? Furthermore, if you are rich/stupid enough to wire your house in gold-plated OFC with quad-shielding what do you do about the utility company’s shitty cable coming from the pole?

    Some people just don’t deserve to have money.

  22. gp123 says:

    I’m the guy who wrote the review about cutting myself a new orifice for this Denon cable. :) I read Boing Boing everyday. There are a lot of Amazon review pages that are as good as this one. The best is David Hasselhoff’s Greatest Hits:

    http://www.amazon.com/Looking-Best-David-Hasselhoff/dp/B0000070S1/

    I sometimes write bogus reviews for Amazon products I find stupid, but they are usually removed by the moderators. Nevertheless, it’s good for cheap laughs.

  23. voiceofreason says:

    Hoff’s pages?

  24. Jake0748 says:

    I just spent a few minutes reading the reviews on Amazon. My faith in humanity is somewhat restored.

    Also, I notice that Amazon is discounting the price, list price: $500.99, Amazon price: 499.99.

    YOU SAVE: $1.00!

  25. Gainclone says:

    I read about these cables on AudioKarma, and was directed to the Amazon page. There TOTALLY is such a thing as a high-end ANALOG cable that makes a difference. But digital is digital. And digital cable is digital cable. It doesn’t freaking matter.

    @13, totally. Next to the famed White Lightning Moonshine speaker cable, CAT-5 makes for fantastic speaker cable. And it can be used for decent interconnects, too. Not as good as IBM type-6 token ring cable, but good nonetheless.

    I love the tags on that Amazon page.

  26. Rob Beschizza says:

    Thanks for dropping by, GP123! And for the splendid Hasslehofflinkenhorror.

  27. ezbez says:

    Instead of cable, package contained bobcat.

    Would not buy again.

  28. Rob Beschizza says:

    “And digital cable is digital cable. It doesn’t freaking matter.”

    As a dedicated debunker, it is my duty to correct you.

    This is only true if the protocol is error-corrected, such as with IP. In that case, bandwidth rather than quality drops when something messes with the signal. If it is not error corrected, digital data is vulnerable to interference, attenuation and all the other signal-degradation problems associated with analog.

    However, over 5 feet of quality Cat6, this is irrelevant. Any decent ethernet cable carries up to 1Gbps up to 330ft with generic networking hardware, with experimental throughput at orders of magnitude greater. The idea there could be any perceptible difference over a few feet is extravagant silliness.

  29. nex says:

    The data stream’s rate and the DAC’s clock aren’t exactly the same. If the digital/analog conversion runs on a fixed clock, the incoming data will either overrun the input buffer (data too fast) or run out and cause dropouts (data too slow). To accommodate this mismatch, the clock signal to latch the digital word into the DAC HAS to be synced to the input data stream’s rate. That input data stream has unpredictable and potentially very high amounts of noise and variation. If you use a big enough buffer you can drive the jitter down pretty low, but it’s mathematically impossible to get perfect conversion all the way down to DC once you’ve thrown away the original ADC clock signal.

    While it’s true that no two clocks will run at exactly the same rate, you can totally have a very steady clock that is much more regular than the jittery data stream and at the same time capable of smoothly correcting for the miniscule drift that stems from the discrepancy in clock rates. So even when you can’t tell the data source to deliver data a bit more quickly or slowly, you can still do a lot better than using a simple counter of incoming data as your clock.

  30. El Mariachi says:

    @ Gainclone:

    Yes, this cable is ridiculous, but… “Digital is digital?” Hook up your computer to a faulty cable that drops or mangles half the packets sent through it. Doesn’t matter, right? Except it’s killed half the available bandwidth. Now take out the error correction (“Denon Link” is not TCP/IP or even Ethernet.) Still doesn’t matter?

  31. voiceofreason says:

    So, so, so, so sad. All us boingers ping those reviews must have brought it to Amazon’s attention.

    One of the most creative things I have seen on the intraweb in ages got pulled down :(. I had only gotten through 5 or 6 of the fifty pages…

    I even just tried the wayback machine and it does not look like they bother to archive Amazon. Sniff, sniff.

  32. Arthur_Jim says:

    A caution to people buying these Denon’s $500 scam cable, if you don not follow the directional markings on the cables, your music will play backwards. Please check that before mentioning it in your reviews.London speed dating

  33. ROSSINDETROIT says:

    One more point about digital cables. Yes, bits are bits, but you don’t listen to bits. Timing is a critical part of the digital signal that gets ignored. Conversion from bits into analog, the part you actually hear, is accomplished with a timing signal derived from the rate of the incoming data words. This is a design flaw of the process. Noisy or attenuating cables distort the leading edges of the bit transitions, causing the timing signal derived to be unsteady. This can lead to subtle sonic artifacts in the analog signal that results. This can be measured and heard, and is thought to account for the audible differences that people report hearing between different digital systems playing identical digital files. It’s provable and reproducible with test signals. Just saying ‘it’s digital and digital’s perfect’ ignores important conversion processes.

    Oh, and this Denon’s BS. Use regular CAT5 like I do. For analog, buy yourself a bag of hefty Neutrik RCA plugs and a spool of mil surplus silver/Teflon aviation coax and build yourself some indestructable interconnects in exactly the lengths you need.

    And Gainclone, if you want to hear some nutty digital gear, come to the 7/19/08 AK/SMAC meeting where I’ll be demoing my modded Sony PS1 as a CD player. I’ll be using a LM4875 chip amp with it.

  34. umbilicaleyeball says:

    “javascript:void(0)” Man, that cracks me up every time.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Obviously there must exist a futures market for cat5 cables! Is the solution to flood the marketplace with more cables? does this imply a surging demand for these cables?

    Outrageous price on this cable, but only slightly more outrageous than $60 HDMI cables IMHO.

  36. artbot says:

    They will probably sell any number of these cables through “high-end” home entertainment companies who would install them in some rich person’s house (i.e. an owner who will never see an itemized receipt). Though they would be smarter to install the $5 cable and mark up the other $495 as an “installation fee”.

  37. David Bruce Murray says:

    #1 wrote: “Also, I notice that Amazon is discounting the price, list price: $500.99, Amazon price: 499.99.

    YOU SAVE: $1.00!”

    Yeah, but you get free shipping…

  38. Gainclone says:

    Mariachi. Of course when I made my comment, I was referring to digital cable that wasn’t mangled or otherwise broken. Let’s just assume that unless I say “broken [thing]” that I’m referring simply to “[thing]”

  39. eustace says:

    Yeah, the cables are OK but only Tuscan Whole Milk bestows the ability to divide by zero, read minds, and leap tall buildings in a single bound.

  40. spazzm says:

    Conversion from bits into analog, the part you actually hear, is accomplished with a timing signal derived from the rate of the incoming data words

    And here I was, thinking that the timing was derived from the frequency of the ADC’s internal clock.

    Silly me!

  41. spazzm says:

    DAC, not ADC. Silly me.

  42. David Cake says:

    the reviews page for Penetrating Wagners Ring is another contender for best Amazon review page of all time.

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