Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. #1
    Administrator Dave's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Te Awamutu, New Zealand
    Posts
    3,959
    Blog Entries
    79

    James Randi's $1M Audio Challenge

    I always find paranormal investigator James Randi entertaining. He spends most of his time exposing frauds like Uri Geller but he's had a little side-fight going with some members of the audiophile community for a while. Basically he says that a lot of high-performance audio equipment is a scam.

    He's currently having a go at the Pear Cable company's 12-foot “Anjou” audio cables ($7,250). He doesn't believe they perform any better than equivalent Monster cables, and he's putting up one million dollars to anyone who can prove him wrong.

    http://www.randi.org/jr/2007-09/092807reply.html#i4 (Edit: Link no longer works)
    Dave Owen
    MediaCollege.com

  2. #2
    Interesting. If he had simply said "better", I would automatically say a Monster Cable was better than the Pear Cable simply because it didn't take several month's wages to pay for them. However, he did say "perform better" which at least theoretically has some sort of scientific criteria instead of subjective. Regardless, I'd still have to either purchase or borrow the Pear Cables to get started on any comparisons even if I believed I could prove they were better (which I seriously doubt). Considering I haven't paid $7,250 for any car I've ever purchased, I doubt I'll start throwing that kind of money at 12ft. audio cables; make it a pair of speakers and I might consider it.

    I found the quote he used to be amusing... "Simply put these are very danceable cables. Music playing through them results in the proverbial foot-tapping scene with the need or desire to get up and move." I haven't read the initial review from where he gathered this quote, but I would think that if the end user's goal was... for example... to create a mosh pit, this quote would be a reason NOT to buy them.

  3. #3
    Hey, come on. Mosh pits are fun, if you like getting soaked in beer and useing up 2 tubes of Bengay the next day. (a Pantera concert is actually my only experience.) But I have a friend who actually pays that kind of money for cables, and his system doesn't really sound any better than mine. (I get my cables from Radio Shack, Guitar Center, or make them myself.)

    From my point of view it is a stupid bet. Audio Quality is in the ear of the listener, not the lab results.
    'I think my intimate relationship with electronics started as a child when I was playing with a screwdriver and a wall plug, Doc, and...'

  4. #4
    Administrator Dave's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Te Awamutu, New Zealand
    Posts
    3,959
    Blog Entries
    79
    A bit more discussion, including mention of a pair of 25-foot cables costing $43,000 :

    http://www.randi.org/jr/2007-10/100507web.html#i9 (Edit: Link no longer works)
    Dave Owen
    MediaCollege.com

  5. #5
    OK, seriously, then. If you have the perfect listening room and the best of everything else money can buy, like a Farari, these cables may make sense. But the rest of the equipment has to be up to the same par: weekest link in the chain and all that. I would buy a Farari If I could afford one, so I don't doubt I would buy sound equipment at the same level. Technically, I checked Transparent's site and they do make some reasonable sounding claims. But nothing to back it up. I honestly would like to see independant lab tests. Thier biggest selling point is that they wrap the copper in carbon and epoxy to deaden mechanical vibration, which DOES have a VERY TINY effect on the impeadance characteristics of coax in the audio range. It becomes more of a factor in the upper regions of radio. But stilllll...I won't believe it unless I hear it. I think it's an exploited gimmick, like some bottled water.
    'I think my intimate relationship with electronics started as a child when I was playing with a screwdriver and a wall plug, Doc, and...'

  6. #6
    Designed for people like pro basketball players, who may make $300,000 a month.

  7. #7
    Administrator Dave's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Te Awamutu, New Zealand
    Posts
    3,959
    Blog Entries
    79
    Michael Fremer, senior contributing editor for Stereophile Magazine, has agreed to take the $1M challenge:

    http://www.randi.org/joom/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=97&Itemid=27#i1 (Edit: Link no longer works)

    It's getting bit heated over there! This style of argument isn't really my cup of tea but it's fascinating nonetheless. I really hope the challenge doesn't fall over in the preparation stages like it does with most of them. I want to see the outcome
    Dave Owen
    MediaCollege.com

  8. #8
    Administrator Dave's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Te Awamutu, New Zealand
    Posts
    3,959
    Blog Entries
    79
    Awww, Michael Fremer has apparently bailed out of the challenge.

    At first he tried to bail on the grounds that he didn't like the word "paranormal" in the challenge contract. James Randi agreed to remove the offending word. Then the Pear Cables company declined to provide a cable for the test. Michael Fremer could of course buy and use a cable himself - the cheapest cable is only $7200 so it would be a nice investment if he is so confident of success.

    But he has decided not to proceed, without giving any decent reason. Can the skeptics be blamed for assuming he has realised his mistake, i.e. he can't actually tell the difference between these cables in a true double-blind test?

    I think this is a timely reminder for all of us to be realistic about the difference between standard and ridiculously high-priced components. I'm all in favour of high quality, and there are other things to consider such as durability, but I really feel that a lot of people are being ripped off by exaggerated claims of audio performance.
    Dave Owen
    MediaCollege.com

  9. #9
    we went through a discussion about this topic on another forum i frequent.. pretty much what it comes down to is that the cables very slightly in those funny numbers that don't mean much, and the cable acts as a filter of some type, but the cutoff frequency is usually much higher than that of the human range of hearing, so it doesn't make a bit of difference whether you use the high dollar cable or the regular priced one, not to mention in the live sound world you'd never be given the chance to hear a difference, what with rooms all being different and live sound being such a finnicky thing anyway....

    so a few guys who sell high end cables got ticked off and called the rest of us names.. that's about how it'll go until the end of time....

    gee, someone took the challenge and backed off, I can't understand why.................

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Subscribe to us on YouTube