stories filed under: "skeptics"
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Oct 16th 2007 12:59pm
Last week we wrote about James Randi's challenge, offering $1 million to someone who could show that it was possible to hear the difference between $7250 speaker cables and $80 speaker cables. That set off a long discussion in our comments (and elsewhere) -- and eventually got the attention of at least one audiophile who has signed up to take the challenge. While it sounds like the details are still being worked out (in between the insults flying back and forth), assuming this actually moves forward, it should be fun to watch. In the meantime, about the only thing I'll note is that prior to this story, I don't think I ever would have considered $80 speaker cables "cheap," and yet, now I feel like my mental scale for such things has been reset. That's not necessarily a good thing.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Oct 10th 2007 12:13am
from the $302-per-foot-of-cable dept
There's just something about extreme audiophiles that is either amusing or depressing, depending on your point of view. Now, as a music fan, I've got nothing against trying to make things sound better -- but there are serious diminishing marginal returns after a certain point (and, of course, there are some really fantastic musical compositions that were recorded on such crappy equipment that it's never going to matter). However, there is a group of audiophiles who really seem to stick up their nose at anyone who dares to suggest they've taken things too far. Professional skeptic James Randi apparently wants to put them in their place -- and is offering up $1 million to make his case. As pointed out by Slashdot, Randi is now offering $1 million to anyone who can prove that there's any real difference in performance between a pair of $80 Monster HDMI cables (which many will claim is already overpriced) and the astoundingly priced $7,250 12-foot "Anjou" audio cables from Pear Cable. As Randi notes, the key is in the actual performance -- not in "qualities that can only be perceived by attentive dogs or by hi-tech instrumentation."