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I saw the below on James Randi's website last weekend, and immediately found it interesting. It's since popped up in a couple other places as well.

He's basically calling out anyone that believes they can hear differences in super-expensive cables. He's taking the stance that the claims made are either paranormal or non-existent. If one of these guys (or perhaps YOU!) can actually determine which cable is which (in a statistically relevant fashion) in a properly designed and executed double-blind test, they will be awarded $1M.

You'd think this would be easy for someone that woud call a cable "simply way better than anything I have heard prior to their audition".

But I don't think anyone will actually step forward.

Why not?

Here's the article:

MORE CABLE NONSENSE

Several readers alerted us to yet another hilarious and preposterous situation in the “audiophile” business, which we have referred to frequently simply because if some of their claims were true, they would be paranormal. Here’s another such.
Monster Cable – a company that turns out a fine line of products, but not untinged with the woo-woo flavor, sells a set of $80 HDMI [High Definition Multimedia Interface] cables, designed to handle new signals brought about by the advent of High Definition TV. I thought that was a heavy price to be asking – no, I didn’t invest! – but now 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. Excerpts:
…way better than anything I have heard…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.
…simply way better than anything I have heard prior to their audition.

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, who provided the above rave review. If Mr. Clark should choose to apply for the prize, he would be unlike John Atkinson of Stereophile Magazine – see randi.org/jr/121004science.html#11 – who made great noises about being ready to snap up the million, then got distracted by things such as gullible readers who accepted his claimed abilities, and backed out. But we’ll see…
 

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Elite Shackster , HTS Moderator Emeritus
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Re: James Randi Offers $1M for Golden Ears to Successfully Differentiate High-End Cab

It's like the Ansari X-Prize, but for debunking snake oil. I love it.

While I agree that $300 a foot interconnects or HDMI is ridiculous. There is something to be said for better quality connectors, shielded cable (if in a noisy environment), and proper LCR (inductance, capacitance, and resistance) values for the cable type.

So what I'm saying is, I guess it depends on where you draw the line between real and snake oil. Because if they're offering $1M for knowing the difference between by Canare cables and the cheapies that come with the DVD players, sign me up. I, however, heard no difference between expensive AudioQuest cables and aforementioned Canare cables.

:)
 

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Re: James Randi Offers $1M for Golden Ears to Successfully Differentiate High-End Cab

$302 per foot :dizzy:

I would just like to be fortunate enough to be able to have that kind of money so I could put it to much better use.

It could be interesting anyway.
 

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Re: James Randi Offers $1M for Golden Ears to Successfully Differentiate High-End Cab

Hey, do the challenge and then imagine how much a foot you could spend ha ha.
 

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Re: James Randi Offers $1M for Golden Ears to Successfully Differentiate High-End Cab

I love it, and could certainly use a cool $mil, but I think I'd have a better chance of winning the x-prize by flapping my arms really fast.
 

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Re: James Randi Offers $1M for Golden Ears to Successfully Differentiate High-End Cab

Looks like Michael Fremer has taken up the challenge. I really have no idea what will happen. On the one hand I do know that there are cable differences from a EE point of view. On the other hand, I find it difficult to believe that there are such huge differences as to make them terribly audible.

Will you be more surprised if he can or cannot reliably tell the difference between cables in a properly designed and executed double-blind test?
 

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Re: James Randi Offers $1M for Golden Ears to Successfully Differentiate High-End Cab

Wow, this is great. I've met Michael, actually, I interviewed him in Episode 6. The guy's hilarious, and a little nuts.

I'll say this, if there is a difference, Michael will hear it. What I think is more likely though, is that Michael is going to take great issue with the methodology, and ultimately create a drama-filled test that, regardless of the outcome, he will get a lot of attention writing about.

I certainly don't mean to talk like Michael and I are best buddies, we met once for a 30 minute interview, but I'm going to try to contact him to get his side of this story.
 

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Re: James Randi Offers $1M for Golden Ears to Successfully Differentiate High-End Cab

Will you be more surprised if he can or cannot reliably tell the difference between cables in a properly designed and executed double-blind test?
If he could for a normal system which has low impedance drive (<= 600 ohm) and high impedance sink (> 5K ohm). This is for interconnects such as the analog outputs of a CD player to the Pre-Pro analog inputs. Comparsion between normal good quality interconnects that cost > $10 but less than $100 versus those $300/ft ones.

Given the above -- I'd be shocked if there was a difference unless the uber expensive cables acted as a low pass filter and degraded the sound fidelity.

Bob
 

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Re: James Randi Offers $1M for Golden Ears to Successfully Differentiate High-End Cab

See, that's what I think is more likely, that these ultra expensive speaker cables are actually degrading the sound in some way, creating an artificial coloring. Rolling off some high-end, or something like that.
 

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Re: James Randi Offers $1M for Golden Ears to Successfully Differentiate High-End Cab

The reviewers of the high end cables claims are laughable. Are we to believe that cables create the music? How can cables be "danceable"? Absolutely insane. I don't know about you but the music's beat makes my foot tap. Not the cables.
 

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Re: James Randi Offers $1M for Golden Ears to Successfully Differentiate High-End Cab

The reviewers of the high end cables claims are laughable. Are we to believe that cables create the music? How can cables be "danceable"? Absolutely insane. I don't know about you but the music's beat makes my foot tap. Not the cables.
Goodness gracious, Darren. You have forgotten the most important element. Your AC power supply. Why, here in Cali, when we hooked it up to Sierra Club approved hydroelectric generated power versus coal and nuclear powered sources, it's unbelievable what a difference it makes...but nothing like when we listened to ordinary source material powered with AC produced through lead free solar pv panels supported by virgin Yew boughs with the power routed through 100% long grain cryo treated copper wire to inverters that Tibetan monks hand wound and blessed with a sprinkling of 3000 year old snow melt from a snow cave in the Himalayas...we saw the truth...danceable? foot tapping? nothing!...we are talking removing the veil baby...pass the Yohimbe please.

Yeah, cables...:gah:
 

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Re: James Randi Offers $1M for Golden Ears to Successfully Differentiate High-End Cab

If I am reading this correctly isn't the JREF giving Monster a certain amount of credibility by only wanting to put the Pear cable up against Monster? The Pear cable is laughably expensive but so is Monster to the average Joe. I would like to see this test done against a cable from Monoprice or Blue Jeans.
 

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Re: James Randi Offers $1M for Golden Ears to Successfully Differentiate High-End Cab

Well, I think that on the spectrum of $10 monoprice to $7k Anjou, the $100-150 monster will fit right in the middle. I think it's a good choice, and after the monster proves indistinguishable, then you can move to compare to monoprice, and lamp cord, and anything else if you want to rub salt in the wound.
 

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Elite Shackster , HTS Moderator Emeritus
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Re: James Randi Offers $1M for Golden Ears to Successfully Differentiate High-End Cab

I think I'm going to make some of my Canare cables, put them in the freezer and sell them at a 1000% markup as "cryogenically enhanced" :D


. . . but then my conscience kicks in :(
 

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Re: James Randi Offers $1M for Golden Ears to Successfully Differentiate High-End Cab

The reviewers of the high end cables claims are laughable. Are we to believe that cables create the music? How can cables be "danceable"? Absolutely insane. I don't know about you but the music's beat makes my foot tap. Not the cables.
Crazy claims are made throughout all walks of HT. I know some that made claims of projection screens that 'create light'!

I see it as the Placebo Effect... when people spend that much they convince themselves there IS a difference more than their actually being a difference. I had a friend that was a Porsche mechanic and one of his customers showed up just to hang around and chew the fat. He showed Ziggy his shiny new gold plated tire gage. Ziggy leaned over to check the air in his wife's Mustang and the guy flipped out "What are you doing??? That's specially made and calibrated just for Porsche's!!!" Zig looked at him and asked how much he paid for it. The guy beamed and said "$80"

Here's your sign!
 

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Re: James Randi Offers $1M for Golden Ears to Successfully Differentiate High-End Cab

Anyone who thinks they can get better sound by buying speaker/interconnect cable that cost more than the Mic cable used in the recording studio is INSANE!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Re: James Randi Offers $1M for Golden Ears to Successfully Differentiate High-End Cab

Hmmmm, so the cable guy backed out; doesn't want his cables tested. Why?

Hopefully they will be able to agree on another brand of cable.
 
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