Tuesday, October 2, 2007

James Randi, audioskeptic

I'm an audio and videophile. We have a fantastic high definition TV set up with (slightly aged) stereo sound equipment. It's fantastic. I've got wires under the floor to reach all the speakers, so it doesn't look like a college dorm room. But I'm not ridiculous. Most of the cables for this system are pretty thick gauge, generic Radio Shack cables. Copper is an excellent conductor, and there is no detectable difference for a home audiophile in the conduction over short distances.

Ok, so take these cables, being marketed to audiophiles with more money than God (a.k.a. William Henry Gates III). For the low, low price of $7250, you can get a 12 foot cable that:

In extended listening sessions, I found the cables' greatest strength to be its PRAT. 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. Great swing and pace—these cables smack that right on the nose big time.
Beg pardon, what??? Danceable cables? You, my friend, are certifiable. And as it happens, James Randi thinks so, too:
We see that the Pear Cable company is advertising a pair of 12-foot "Anjou" audio cables for $7,250; that's $302 a foot! And, as expected, "experts" were approached for their opinions on the performance of these wonders ... Well, we at the JREF are willing to be shown that these "no-compromise" cables perform better than, say, the equivalent Monster cables. While Pear rattles on about "capacitance," "inductance," "skin effect," "mechanical integrity" and "radio frequency interface," - all real qualities and concerns, and adored by the hi-fi nut-cases - we naively believe that a product should be judged by its actual performance, not by qualities that can only be perceived by attentive dogs or by hi-tech instrumentation. That said, we offer the JREF million-dollar prize to - for example - Dave Clark, Editor of the audio review publication Positive Feedback Online.
And I thought Monster Cables were crazy expensive... Step up, get yourself a million dollars (you'll need it if you want to buy those cables).

Hat tip, Gizmodo.


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