Friday, August 17, 2018

Kaivey - The Strange Mysteries of Peter Belt

About thirty years ago the British hi-fi press became enthralled by Peter Belt and his mysterious products. Just an elastic band and a cable tie treated by Peter Belt could transform the sound of a hi-fi system, and he could even treat a glass off water to have the same effect.

A few months later the was a big hi-fi exhibition at Heathrow Airport, and I went along with my girlfriend. We went and listened to the various hi-fi company demonstrations and got bored as hell, but at the end of the day we finally got into the room of the Haymarket Publishing group - which published What Hi-Fi, Popular Hi-Fi, and Hi-Fi Answers - where they were demonstrating Peter Belt's products.

So, in the room was a top Linn Hi-Fi system with a Linn Sondeck L.P 12 record player. I sat there with my girlfriend along with about 30 other people, and we listened to some music. Then they put cable tie with with an elastic band attached to it that Peter Belt had treated to the Linn Sondeck record player, and it transformed the sound of the music, where all of a sudden the music became coherent, dynamic and rhythmically tight with perfect timing. Everyone gasped, including my girlfriend, who had no interest in hi-fi, as it was simply a dramatic and stunning difference. Jaw droping in fact! 

Peter Belt was there and said that the hi-fi had not changed its sound, but our perception of sound had. He then demonstrated a similar effect with a charged glass of water. Again we were all stunned.

Why do I write about this, well, we do enjoy some of the mystical stuff here at times, like quantum physics and spirituality, so I thought this would an interesting article. It's the only real encounter I've have ever had with something mystical and strange. 

Peter Belt, 1930-2017

On March 13, May Belt of PWB Electronics announced via e-mail that Peter W. Belt, the company's founder and her husband of many years, passed away on February 17. He was 87.

Englishman Peter Belt came to attention in the mid-1980s, thanks mostly to a series of articles in HiFi Answers and other British audio magazines. He specialized in the design and manufacture of decidedly non-traditional audio accessories, the workings of which were regarded by many as anomalous. But May Belt steadfastly maintained that the products of the company she ran alongside her husband have less to do with mysticism than with shifting the emphasis from altering the performance of playback gear to altering the perception of the listener: "It has always been perception," she told me in 2012.

As I wrote in Stereophile's April 2012 issue, "The products of PWB Electronics, Ltd. all derive from a discovery that Belt, an electronics engineer and former radio repairman, made in 1979. A wooden table in his listening room had suffered a spill of some sort, so Belt used a cleaning product—he refers to this as Chemical A—to try and remove the stain. Right after doing so, he and his wife, May, noticed that the sound of their music system was markedly worse than before. They removed the table from the room, upon which the sound improved. Then, out of curiosity as much as anything else, they brought the table back into the room, and the sound worsened again—and so it went, back-and-forth, until the curious relationship between poor sound and the newly "treated" table was beyond all doubt."

There followed a long line of PWB accessories based on this and other of Peter Belt's discoveries, many of seemingly fanciful design: ointments (Electret Cream), stickers (Rainbow Electret Foil), and specially treated paper clips (Morphic Links) have been sold direct and through a handful of retailers, few bearing prices greater than £10 or £20 apiece. One of PWB Electronics' most recent accessories is a Morphic Link Magnetic Bookmark priced at £10, intended to be placed in the user's dictionary. Adjacent to the word link.

Over the years, reactions to the discoveries and developments of Peter Belt have ranged from hopeful acceptance to calm dismissal to hostile ridicule, the latter always borne with quiet graciousness by the Belts, whose consistent response was to urge skeptics to simply give their ideas a try—and who always sent free samples of their products to any interested parties, just for the asking. The scientific grounding of Peter Belt's work has been called into question by many, but the man's sincerity, honesty, and integrity remain beyond doubt.

Funeral services for Peter Belt took place last month; May Belt writes that she will continue to run PWB Electronics alongside the couple's son Graham.

Stereophile Magazine

Peter Belt, 1930-2017

If you're interested, here's Peter Belt's homepage -


Konrad said...

Interesting. I must investigate further.

Kaivey said...

I put a link out to Peter Belt's homepage, Konrad. Loads of interesting stuff here.