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Buddha
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Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?

What's the deal?

I've seen it on other sites, did Stereophile get scooped on this?

Rumor?

Fact?

What system?

Where?

When?

I want the dish!

This could be great!

If Fremer wins, then we get to hear what we claim to hear. If Fremer loses, the test conditions were too crude to really demonstrate the subtle differences.

Fremer can't lose! It's like he's the girl about to fight the boy!

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?

Okay, what other sites? WHERE'S THE LINKS?

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?


Quote:
If Fremer wins, then we get to hear what we claim to hear. If Fremer loses, the test conditions were too crude to really demonstrate the subtle differences.

Fremer can't lose! It's like he's the girl about to fight the boy!

I do not agree with you for two reasons.

First of all the reviews of cables does not mention subtle differences, rather the opposite. This is what Randi has wanted proof of.

Secondly he cannot blame the equipment as he will have to agree to the setup before doing the test.

If he resorts to finding lame excuses if he fails to identify the differences between the cables, he will not look more serious than the people trying to talk to the dead in Randi's tests.

Therefore he has rather a lot to loose by taking the test. That is also why I think that he is hesitant.

More info can be found on Randi's webpage

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?

Bring in teh Tt for $100K and let's see if anyone hears it from a $2,000 one. Using the same cartridge/pre amp. If not the extra $98,000 becomes prize money, take bets? Try THE most absurd pice of wire, priced into the stratosphere, since this must be teh best, which is what teh ads claim, and again, take bets, winner gets the difference between it's price and a pice of SoundKing 12 ga which is now went up in price to something over $40 for 100 ft roll....

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?


Quote:
Okay, what other sites? WHERE'S THE LINKS?

Audio Asylum Link

Apogee Users Group Link

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?

It seems the most direct evidence is contained in JREF's Swift Weekly Bulletin - 10/12/2007 - see SOUNDS LIKE ACCEPTANCE.

It's an interesting read to say the very least. Oddly the source for the first set of quotes attributed to Fremer is not revealed as far as I can see. The following exchanges between Randi and Fremer are said to be email exchanges.

What I find interesting about the email exchanges is that it seems that were Fremer to accept the challenge he would be defacto agreeing to demonstrate a "paranormal" facility.

However in the initial offer by Randi Re: the Pear cables (see Swift Weekly Bulletin - September 28, 2007 - see MORE CABLE NONSENSE) no mention of "paranormal" appeared:


Quote:
Well, we at the JREF are willing to be shown that these
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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?

Continuing the review of the material located in the JREF's Swift Weekly Bulletin - 10/12/2007 - see SOUNDS LIKE ACCEPTANCE examination of JREF's comments on the letter from Pear Cable CEO Adam Blake to Gizmodo (see Pear Cable CEO Calls James Randi's $1 Million Offer a Hoax) proves to be amusing.

On Blake's comment:

Quote:
Nice to hear from you. Yes, by now we have heard about this challenge (although we were never contacted directly). Unfortunately, like most offers of $1 million this one is a hoax. While James Randi is claiming to offer a $1 million dollar prize to differentiate between these speaker cables, by reading the official rules of the challenge, it becomes immediately clear that the offer is not valid. One must be able to "demonstrate any psychic, supernatural or paranormal ability" in order to qualify. Since there is a wealth of scientific information explaining the differences between speaker cables, the offer is not a valid one (and James Randi knows it).

JREF comments:


Quote:
Umm, no, Adam. The JREF believes that if the claims made for these cables
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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?

Well Lo and Behold in the very same Swift issue Randi *does* address the charge by Atkinson of his having fabricated statements, see the CORRECTION section.

It turns out to be a highly entertaining explanation to say the very least, the actual retraction and apology even more so:


Quote:
I do apologize to THE John Atkinson, and thank him for verifying his still-standing reluctance to prove his support of nonsense such as the "Audiodharma Cable Cooker
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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?


Quote:

Quote:
James Randi: I do apologize to THE John Atkinson, and thank him for verifying his still-standing reluctance to prove his support of nonsense such as the "Audiodharma Cable Cooker
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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?

Heh. I remember there used to be this guy who had it in for JA in a bad way. I can't remember the guys name, but he must have written about 100K words calling into question JA's integrity and veracity. It had something to do with JA's original acceptance of becoming Editor of Stereophile, the expansion of recommended components, and the eventual sale of JA's interest in the magazine.

The shear volume of ink spilled on the matter was a site to behold. Naturally, it was very revealing of the guys apparent dillusions and his findings of a conspiracy under every rock.

I wish I could remember the guys name. It's the stuff of internet lore in the audio kindgom.

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?


Quote:
Regarding the Fremer challenge, Randi is adamant that Michael has to acknowledge that if he can distinguish the cables or whatever being tested, he must have done so by paranormal means.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Well he seems to have conceeded the "paranormal" designation according to the final bit in the Fremer exchange; actual or otherwise the distinction not always clear due to his peculiar style of writing in his bulletin. Anyway from the same bulletin:


Quote:
Sir, I assure you that I
Rundberg
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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?

It looks to me like the sensitivity to labels such as "paranormal" and "golden ears" is just an elaborate way to chicken out.

If Fremer CAN hear a difference, set up a protocol that can be agreed upon, do it, shut Randi up and have a nice vacation for the money.

The protocol is agreed upon beforehand. Stereophile could control and document the procedures, they are the media for crying out loud! It is a win-win: either you win or Randi is exposed as a fake!

If, on the other hand, Fremer is NOT able to actually hear a difference between cables, even though Stereophile recomends their readers to invest silly amounts in them, then there is a case to start being sensitive to labels such as "paranormal" and "golden ears".

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?


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It looks to me like the sensitivity to labels such as "paranormal" and "golden ears" is just an elaborate way to chicken out.

No. It is trying to avoid taking part in a rigged shell game. and if you doubt that the test will be rigged, note that in the "apology" Randi has made to me for lying about my activities, he states 3 more lies, as "bjh" writes above. If Randi cannot be trusted not to lie or cheat in something as trivial as this, why would he not do so when $1 million of his money is at stake?


Quote:
If Fremer CAN hear a difference, set up a protocol that can be agreed upon, do it, shut Randi up and have a nice vacation for the money.

Except: Michael Fremer has to agree in advance that there are no engineering reasons for the differences between cables; he has to agree in advance that if he hears a difference, this is through "paranormal" means.

As Michael believes there are engineering reaons for differences between cables and does not believe in paranormal powers, what would you have him do?

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?


Quote:

Except: Michael Fremer has to agree in advance that there are no engineering reasons for the differences between cables; he has to agree in advance that if he hears a difference, this is through "paranormal" means.

As Michael believes there are engineering reaons for differences between cables and does not believe in paranormal powers, what would you have him do?

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

I would have him take the test.

If he "wins," then it would prove the paranormal abilities of audiophiles!

As long as the test can be physically set up in an agreeable way, I wouldn't care if they wanted to call it a paranormal ability or pheromonal ability...it's the result that counts.

To spare MF the argument about refusing to take the test because of his engineering beliefs, I'd have him cross his fingers when he made the "agreement."

Again, if he wins, as soon as the check clears, he can come to the conclusion that it was engineering after all!

With all this jibber jabber, instead of a girl about to fight a boy, it's starting to look like two guys who don't really wanna fight.

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?


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No. It is trying to avoid taking part in a rigged shell game. and if you doubt that the test will be rigged, note that in the "apology" Randi has made to me for lying about my activities, he states 3 more lies, as "bjh" writes above. If Randi cannot be trusted not to lie or cheat in something as trivial as this, why would he not do so when $1 million of his money is at stake?

I think that Randi has stepped *way* out of his area of expertise here, and is backpedalling. There's a major difference between debunking claims that say, a "psychic surgeon" can heal a sick person and attempting to debunk a claim that one piece of wire sounds different from another. The difference, in this case, is that he's willing to use a CAT scan on a psychic surgeon patient to see if the tumor's still there, but won't let you or Mikey use a multimeter to see if there's any scientifically explicable reason why the fancy cable sounds different than lamp cord.


Quote:
Except: Michael Fremer has to agree in advance that there are no engineering reasons for the differences between cables; he has to agree in advance that if he hears a difference, this is through "paranormal" means.

As Michael believes there are engineering reaons for differences between cables and does not believe in paranormal powers, what would you have him do?

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

I think that for starters, the terms have not even remotely been defined. Randi's initial claim that nobody can tell the difference between the inexpensive Monster speaker cable that you can buy at Best Buy and a megabucks Pear cable is easily proven or disproven. From nearly 20 years of playing electric guitar, I can guarantee that if the two cables have different levels of capacitance, they're going to sound different (I would imagine that the resistance and inductance of the wire, and the formulation of the cover/dielectric have some sound qualities as well, but I've never learned to listen for them, and they might be so minor as to be insignificant to me, on my largely 70's vintage system). Whether it's a difference a person could pick up under lab conditions, I dunno, but it might be an interesting experiment, because I *know* that if I'm recording, the cheap guitar lead with the high capacitance is less bright-sounding than the more expensive one with the low capacitance, and I'd figure that'd carry over to speaker cables.

If Randi is saying that a test subject can't hear the difference between two cables, with identical measurements, but different braiding or cryonic treatment or whatever tweak is hot this week, that's an entirely different question-- and if it's a tweak that doesn't make a measurable difference to the cable, I'd be almost willing to agree with Randi that it's paranormal-- in the sense that it can't be measured with known tools.

It happens, JA, that I'm very well acquainted with one of the former heads of the Delaware Valley (Philadelphia-area) Skeptical Society, a guy who has had a good bit of friendly interaction with Randi over the last 20-some years, and who is a big music buff, if not, to my knowledge, an audiophile. I'd be happy to put you in touch with *him*, or act as a go-between with him, to try to see if he can talk to Randi as a non-hostile party and establish whether the parameters of the experiment can be set up to everybody's satisfaction.

I've got to admit, I'm skeptical of some of the claims of the high-end cable manufacturers, if only because certain manufacturers keep making statements that fall apart on closer examination (the vacuum that isn't a vacuum, the Made in USA cables that were shipped from China), and because inherently, it feels wrong that a meter-length copper wire could cost more than its 24-carat gold or pure platinum counterpart. It doesn't mean that their cables might not sound much better than the $20 interconnects I use, it just means that I'd rather put my hard-earned bucks towards a new turntable or amplifier. Still, I know that the $20 Audioquest jumpers between my preamp and power amp sound better than the aluminum Us they replaced, and for that, I'm grateful.

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?

I agree with Buddha that Fremer should not walk away at this point. Randi has already gone public with concessionary language Re: the paranormal issue. Hence it seem a small step from there to the parties agreeing to independent statements that would accompany the test, i.e. Fremer's could disavow paranormal and/or super hearing abilities, Randi's could be whatever he chooses short of obliging the test subject to admit to paranormal/ESP/superhuman/etc. abilities upon success in the tests.

Next the reference system. I would suggest that Fremer's own system be the reference with components/interconnects/power treatments/tweaks of his choosing.

Next the two test speaker cables. One could be a current production Monster speaker cable (in deference to Randi's repeated citing of same), the other of Fremer's choosing (e.g. the ultra expensive Tara Zero cables perhaps). These cables could then be measured for LCR at a host of frequencies and attenuation/low calculations done to determine if they could be deemed indistinguishable from the POV of normal hearing sensitivity studies; e.g. if say we are dealing with a difference of 0.10db at 1000Hz that such is below the threshold of hearing by current scientific understanding. I would suggest that should one cable be a better performer that rather than seek to compensate via input level rather a shorter length of the lossy-ier (sic?) cable be used to bring the two into line; this has the enormous advantage of making the actual test procedurally simple, i.e. in a trial only cable swapping involved, no level adjustment.

Next the test design. I suggest Stereophile with it's expertise in this area create an initial draft with the idea that mutual agreement be reached between parties, Stereophile /Fremer on the one side, Randi/experts of his choosing on the other. I would suggest that the design be such that adversarial parties *not* be present for actual test, rather the tests should be conducted by disinterested parties with sufficient monitoring procedural scrutiny; e.g. this could involve a technician to do the physical procedure and disinterested members of an accounting firm hired to perform data collection and procedural monitoring

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?

Guitar cabling is because of either low or high impedance of the guitar pickups, dealing with very low voltages, speaker wires deal with much higher voltages. higher currents, well made power amps are not influned like that of a guitar amp seeing the guitar pickups as it's source. different applications, not comparable. Let's see MF do it, is is afraid? Easy to say all the years of magic this or that that he heard, but he doesn't have anything to loose when he writes up some story about something. It's just a writeup..but this is actually putting his claims into a working situation, with consequences, just like is somebody buys a magic cable gets it home, and doesn't hear anything better or even different, just wasted lotsa money if ya fell for teh expensive stuff ads. Or maybe there should be no wire sold without money back make it THE LAW!!! No matter how you purchaed it.... MF should also video record it and sell it as a sequel to his TT setup, this could be MF II, the final frontier, wire you not hearing this thing, I know I said I could when no one was looking at me, or did the test scientifically....

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?


Quote:
I suggest Stereophile with it's expertise in this area create an initial draft with the idea that mutual agreement be reached between parties, Stereophile /Fremer on the one side, Randi/experts of his choosing on the other.

I appreciate your suggestions, bjh, but I have no intention of taking part in any project where the other side has already lied publicly about me and my magazine, apparently without remorse. If Michael wishes to take part in this farce, that is up to him. But Stereophile is sitting the whole thing out.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?


Quote:
But Stereophile is sitting the whole thing out.


Good call.

I do suspect, however, that all of us engaged in the hobby are a bit "paranormal".

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?


Quote:

I appreciate your suggestions, bjh, but I have no intention of taking part in any project where the other side has already lied publicly about me and my magazine, apparently without remorse. If Michael wishes to take part in this farce, that is up to him. But Stereophile is sitting the whole thing out.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Can't say I blame you. As for Fremer, what to say, hmmm...? Man who walk in dog shit, walk alone.

Poor sod, just what was he thinking? ... in any case he should just walk on by.

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?


Quote:

Quote:
It looks to me like the sensitivity to labels such as "paranormal" and "golden ears" is just an elaborate way to chicken out.

No. It is trying to avoid taking part in a rigged shell game. and if you doubt that the test will be rigged, note that in the "apology" Randi has made to me for lying about my activities, he states 3 more lies, as "bjh" writes above. If Randi cannot be trusted not to lie or cheat in something as trivial as this, why would he not do so when $1 million of his money is at stake?

Again with the hurt feelings! If you, the media, are not able to document if the setup is rigged, then who would? Have some faith in yourselves! IF the test IS a fake, I think that a six page report where you document how Randi cheats would sell a LOT of copies of Stereophile.


Quote:

Quote:
If Fremer CAN hear a difference, set up a protocol that can be agreed upon, do it, shut Randi up and have a nice vacation for the money.

Except: Michael Fremer has to agree in advance that there are no engineering reasons for the differences between cables; he has to agree in advance that if he hears a difference, this is through "paranormal" means.

As Michael believes there are engineering reaons for differences between cables and does not believe in paranormal powers, what would you have him do?

If you actually read what Randi writes, that is not the case. Cables where the difference in inductance, capacitance and resistance are within margins that are non detectable by the human ear according to science should not be possible to distinguish between. Still they get rave reviews! What MF is supposed to do is detect a difference between cables where THE CURRENT SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE says there is none.

That is the definition of paranormal, the UFO connection is just in your head.

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?

I'm voting to do teh test. MF has made some crazy claims to what he says he hears, and how else to prove his abiltys and legitimacy than to TEST under controlled conditions, with many over seers. and what about publishing his hearing tests? this would be used as a basline to reports of things he says he hears. ie..if he claims to hear some hf "glare" and some hearing test shows his hearing doesn't go past anywhere near this MEASURED hf spike is or something, Bring SCIENCE back to audio, instead of lotsa un verified claims of personal preferences, that get written up as some audible fact.

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?


Quote:

Quote:

Quote:
It looks to me like the sensitivity to labels such as "paranormal" and "golden ears" is just an elaborate way to chicken out.

No. It is trying to avoid taking part in a rigged shell game. and if you doubt that the test will be rigged, note that in the "apology" Randi has made to me for lying about my activities, he states 3 more lies, as "bjh" writes above. If Randi cannot be trusted not to lie or cheat in something as trivial as this, why would he not do so when $1 million of his money is at stake?


Again with the hurt feelings!

It is nothing to do with "hurt feelings." In all my previous dealings with Randi, he has proved himself to be dishonest and untrustworthy. Nevertheless, you are asking me in this instance to forget that and trust Randi's integrity. If you really believe that I would do that, I have a bridge I would like to sell you.


Quote:
If you, the media, are not able to document if the setup is rigged, then who would? Have some faith in yourselves! IF the test IS a fake, I think that a six page report where you document how Randi cheats would sell a LOT of copies of Stereophile.

I don't.


Quote:

Quote:
As Michael believes there are engineering reaons for differences between cables and does not believe in paranormal powers, what would you have him do?

If you actually read what Randi writes, that is not the case. Cables where the difference in inductance, capacitance and resistance are within margins that are non detectable by the human ear according to science should not be possible to distinguish between. Still they get rave reviews! What MF is supposed to do is detect a difference between cables where THE CURRENT SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE says there is none.

So I am to rely on the definition of "current scientific knowledge" from a man (Randi) who by his own admission has no scientific or technical training? Who _says_ there are no scientific reasons for there being audible cable differences other than L,C, R? For example, I offered a number of non-paranormal reasons at www.stereophile.com/asweseeit/84. Professor Malcolm Hawsford offers a back-to-basics examination of the science behind cable performance at www.stereophile.com/reference/1095cable.


Quote:
That is the definition of paranormal, the UFO connection is just in your head.

Who said anything about UFOs? Not me. Your ability to accurately quote what others say seems to be as limited as Randi's :-)

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?

If according to those two articles are true, then all previous speaker MEASUREMENTS and listening conclusions are invalid? Since the cables changed everything about how the speakers measured and sounded? Then there is the interconnect issues, if they truly have an effect on what is happening. Do over?

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?


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If according to those two articles are true, then all previous speaker MEASUREMENTS and listening conclusions are invalid? Since the cables changed everything about how the speakers measured and sounded?

I know your tongue is firmly in your cheek, Carl, but this is the reason we list the cables used by Stereophile's reviewers in every review. Choice of cable does change the sound of a system, albeit in a minor way, so listing the cables used allows readers to test what we say for themselves, if they care to do so.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?


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If according to those two articles are true, then all previous speaker MEASUREMENTS and listening conclusions are invalid? Since the cables changed everything about how the speakers measured and sounded? Then there is the interconnect issues, if they truly have an effect on what is happening. Do over?

I'm still waiting for all the components to be re-reviewed from before that time that JA had wax taken out of his ears.

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?


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If you really believe that I would do that, I have a bridge I would like to sell you.


They should come up with a better phrase, like, for example:
"If you believe that, I have some cables I would like to sell to you."


Quote:

Quote:
IF the test IS a fake, I think that a six page report where you document how Randi cheats would sell a LOT of copies of Stereophile.

I don't.


I pledge I will buy 100 copies of Stereophile magazine if you take the test and win, or if you take the test and show that Randi cheated the test.
It's definitely a win-win situation, unless you actually can't tell the difference between the cables.


Quote:

Quote:
As Michael believes there are engineering reaons for differences between cables and does not believe in paranormal powers, what would you have him do?

If you actually read what Randi writes, that is not the case. Cables where the difference in inductance, capacitance and resistance are within margins that are non detectable by the human ear according to science should not be possible to distinguish between. Still they get rave reviews! What MF is supposed to do is detect a difference between cables where THE CURRENT SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE says there is none.


Quote:
So I am to rely on the definition of "current scientific knowledge" from a man (Randi) who by his own admission has no scientific or technical training? Who _says_ there are no scientific reasons for there being audible cable differences other than L,C, R? For example, I offered a number of non-paranormal reasons at www.stereophile.com/asweseeit/84. Professor Malcolm Hawsford offers a back-to-basics examination of the science behind cable performance at www.stereophile.com/reference/1095cable.


As has been said over and over; it's not about whether or not there's actually a difference in the cables, it's about whether the difference can be detected by human ears!

By the way I think this demonstrates that Stereophile magazine is working with the produces of this high-tech equipment. If they say there's a difference but they can't actually validate that there is they must just be trying to scam uninformed readers into buying expensive products.

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?

How I yearn for the good ole' days when the comments from the Peanut Gallery were entertaining!

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?


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How I yearn for the good ole' days when the comments from the Peanut Gallery were entertaining!


Indeed.

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?


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I pledge I will buy 100 copies of Stereophile magazine if you take the test and win, or if you take the test and show that Randi cheated the test.
It's definitely a win-win situation, unless you actually can't tell the difference between the cables.

Hmm. Between 70,000 and 80,000 copies are sold of each issue of Stereophile and we publish 12 issues each year. That's total annual sales of 900,000. You are offering to buy 100 extra copies if we take the Challenge and prove Randi wrong, an increase in sales of 0.11% That's a tempting offer, of course, but is it tempting enough?


Quote:
As has been said over and over; it's not about whether or not there's actually a difference in the cables, it's about whether the difference can be detected by human ears!

Of course. And having taken part in tests where I could detect differences in cables, the matter is settled as far as I am concerned.


Quote:
By the way I think this demonstrates that Stereophile magazine is working with the produces of this high-tech equipment. If they say there's a difference but they can't actually validate that there is they must just be trying to scam uninformed readers into buying expensive products.

Ah, and now the appearance of the previously hidden agenda. If you really think that is the case with Stereophile, the solution is easy.

If you believe high-end cables are a scam, don't buy them. If you audition expensive cables and don't hear a difference compared with cheaper cables, don't buy them. And if you distrust what Stereophile publishes because we won't participate in a rigged shell game organized by someone who is a conman and a proven liar, don't read it.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?


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Hmm. Between 70,000 and 80,000 copies are sold of each issue of Stereophile and we publish 12 issues each year. That's total annual sales of 900,000. You are offering to buy 100 extra copies if we take the Challenge and prove Randi wrong, an increase in sales of 0.11% That's a tempting offer, of course, but is it tempting enough?


The $1 million prize money should sweeten the deal a little, right? (That would buy enough cable to wire up a whole media-center! Imagine how danceable that would be!)
And if Randi turns out to be lying you can sue him for fraud.


Quote:
Of course. And having taken part in tests where I could detect differences in cables, the matter is settled as far as I am concerned.


So you're superhuman, but you refuse to use your superhuman abilities to collect $1 million?

Since you think we should take your unsubstantiated word as proof of your amazing abilities I should tell you that I have such an acute sense of smell that I can smell your bullshit from here.


Quote:
If you believe high-end cables are a scam, don't buy them. If you audition expensive cables and don't hear a difference compared with cheaper cables, don't buy them. And if you distrust what Stereophile publishes because we won't participate in a rigged shell game organized by someone who is a conman and a proven liar, don't read it.


I'd advise you; "If you can't tell the difference between two cables, but you claim you can, don't appear in a double-blind test comparing the two cables", but it seems you already follow that common sense logic.

By the way did you know whenever any celebrity psychic or anyone who is well known to be full of crap is asked by Randi to take the challenge they all say "no, because he's a liar/the money doesn't exist/my psychic abilities don't work in controlled tests"?
You think your subscribers can't see through the "I won't accept $1 million from someone who isn't educated" charade?

I already follow the common sense logic "Don't buy thousand dollar cables that cannot be better than hundred dollar cables"
And I already follow the common sense logic "Don't buy magazines written by snobs that claim to have the hearing abilities of bats, but refuse to prove it"

Thanks anyway though.

It's pretty sad though; like a connoisseur of fine wine who can't tell that his thousand dollar vintage bottle has been replaced by cheap bottom shelf box wine.
It'd be even worse to be someone who subscribes to Stereophile, they now know they've been subscribed to nonsense written by frauds all these years, it must be pretty sickening.

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?


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It's pretty sad though; like a connoisseur of fine wine who can't tell that his thousand dollar vintage bottle has been replaced by cheap bottom shelf box wine.

Back when I was young and naive enough, to belive in strict correlations between price and quality, I kept buying expensive wines in hopes they'd taste better - which they generally do.

They keep the more expensive wines on the upper shelves, neatly placed on your eye level. On the lower shelf there are cheaper wines, much harder to pick up due to their uncomfortably low position - you'll have to bend over, even kneel to get to them. An ironic position to be choosing wines in.

Anyways, after picking up an misplaced bottle from the upper shelf and marveling at the wonderful taste back at home I was dumbstruck at the price - mere 3 dollars. This couldn't be right I thought, it's considered high treason to capitalism to sell such wonders for this kind of money. Informed choice, I learned - comes at a high price, that of repeated failure.

I've come to enjoy these obscure delights that dust away on the lower shelves, waiting to be discovered. Sure, gross amount of product down there is pure grapeshit but that's a price I'm glad to pay.

So it's not a sad day at all for your connoisseur of fine wines to stumble upon a new treasure, good fortune it be.


Quote:

It'd be even worse to be someone who subscribes to Stereophile, they now know they've been subscribed to nonsense written by frauds all these years, it must be pretty sickening.

Actually, I read streophile because it's good reading material. That's something quite rare these days, when printed text is mostly a commercial waste spill.

Do read http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext04/nbhmn10h.htm - a text by the great Woodrow Wilson, himself a president.

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?


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Hmm. Between 70,000 and 80,000 copies are sold of each issue of Stereophile and we publish 12 issues each year. That's total annual sales of 900,000. You are offering to buy 100 extra copies if we take the Challenge and prove Randi wrong, an increase in sales of 0.11% That's a tempting offer, of course, but is it tempting enough?

The $1 million prize money should sweeten the deal a little, right?

As Randi has already declared that he will never have to pay up the $1 million, I am not counting on his integrity in doing so.


Quote:

Quote:
And having taken part in tests where I could detect differences in cables, the matter is settled as far as I am concerned.

So you're superhuman, but you refuse to use your superhuman abilities to collect $1 million?

Again, your ability to put words in others' mouths rivals that of Randi. I have never claimed "superhuman abilities." In the blind tests I have participated in of cables, there were solid engineering reasons why the sound would have been different. Again I point you to the articles on the Stereophile website discussing such reasons.


Quote:
Since you think we should take your unsubstantiated word as proof of your amazing abilities I should tell you that I have such an acute sense of smell that I can smell your bullshit from here.

Why are you so ready to resort to abusive language and insults? Insecurity? Lack of self-esteem? You need to read Art Dudley's August 2006 essay on the attitudes of skeptics such as yourself: www.stereophile.com/artdudleylistening/806listen


Quote:

Quote:
And if you distrust what Stereophile publishes because we won't participate in a rigged shell game organized by someone who is a conman and a proven liar, don't read it.

By the way did you know whenever any celebrity psychic or anyone who is well known to be full of crap is asked by Randi to take the challenge they all say "no, because he's a liar...

Regardless of what others say about Randi, almost everything Randi has written about me on his website is a lie, pure a simple. He has even admitted so, though he claims his errors and mischaracterizations were honest mistakes because he finds it difficult to differentiate me from other people called "Atkinson," Stereophile from other magazines, etc. The man is a conman, fleecing well-meaning but naive marks like yourself for the cash he needs to maintain his lifestyle. You doubt me, ask yourself which of us, Randi or me, is charging several hundred dollars for signed photographs of himself?

Yet you ask me to forget Randi's dishonesty because in this one instance he _will_ behave with honor and integrity! Pshaw!


Quote:
You think your subscribers can't see through the "I won't accept $1 million from someone who isn't educated" charade?

Again you put words in my mouth. Do you really not comprehend the English language? I have not written that Randi is "uneducated." My only reference to Randi's educational background was specifically to point out that, in contrast to me, he has no scientific or engineering training. Yet you apparently wish me to substitute Randi's opinions on audio engineering for my own.


Quote:
It'd be even worse to be someone who subscribes to Stereophile, they now know they've been subscribed to nonsense written by frauds all these years, it must be pretty sickening.

Why don't you ask the magazine's readers on this forum if that is what they feel. And if you are not a subscriber yourself, why are you even trolling on this forum?

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?


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. . . which of us, Randi or me, is charging several hundred dollars for signed photographs of himself?


John, you need to start offering autographed photos. You will make that million quickly!

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?


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Why don't you ask the magazine's readers on this forum if that is what they feel. And if you are not a subscriber yourself, why are you even trolling on this forum?

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

My wife knows that for one evening each month, I celebrate the arrival of my new Stereophile and I don't talk much at dinner.

I've been reading Stereophile since...well...I can't remember when..."always."

In all that time, my bullshit filter has remained uniformly unactivated.

That doesn't mean that the reviewers are never wrong, I just believe I'm reading the work of a fellow audiophile who is trying to describe his experiences in audio land.

Sure, there is a reviewer or two I find prone to hyperbole or self-delusion, but...over time, a reader learns to properly frame each reviewer's propensities and then read that person's work in the proper context. I think Stereophile actually rewards someone who is a long term reader by maintaining a surprisingly steady stable of reviewers.

I don't expect Stereophile to exactly mirror all my own biases, so when a writer strays from my way of thinking, I figure that "there's more than one way to enjoy the hobby," and read it anyway, in case I find a pearl that makes my hobby better.

So, question the hearing acuity of any Stereophile staff person you like, that's part of the fun, but definitely give them more credit than you do on their commitment to keeping our hobby alive and vibrant.

I admit to much cable skepticism - not that they make no difference, but that they make less difference than some reviewers claim. So, I read cable reviews with my hyperbole filter set to "minimum reactivity," but I find the subject fascinating none the less and hope Stereophile continues to print what they think...and I often learn stuff!

Bottom line: Even though I don't "know" JA, I know him well enough from having read his work for a couple decades that I can say comfortably that I cannot recall an instance of him ever hitting the ethical "Easy" button. That's my highest endorsement.

(No sucking up intended, I figure that sometimes us readers have to take Sterophile's back.)

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?


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What MF is supposed to do is detect a difference between cables where THE CURRENT SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE says there is none.


This is the crux of it and I agree fully. Nobody disputes that capacitance, inductance, and resistance can change the signal passing through a wire. Of course, how much affect all three of these parameters have is also a function of the devices at both ends of the wire. But "current science" says wire that measures less than, say, 0.1 dB change in frequency response and distortion and added noise from one end to the other is audibly transparent. So this is what I'd like to see golden eared reviewers prove - that they can reliably identify wire that measures within 0.1 dB of another wire in a legitimate test that hides which wire is which while they listen. And by "reliable" I mean at least ten times out of ten, if not 100 out of 100.

--Ethan

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?

"At least ten times out of ten?"

Maybe you insist on 110% accuracy?

Man, you're tougher than Steinbrener!

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?

Can't teh money be put in an escrow account at the bank? Not Randi Bank of Jamacia or JA Bank of ...but in a real bank so teh money is there controlled by all legit stuff. This test is so somple, it can be organized on the legit, if that is indeed the intention. There are some reviewer that is being challenged, that has certainly made some incredible claims as to what he hears and has heard, and how differetn some thing is....a million is sure a nice payday, if in fact he can do what he says. Man, if I was so sure of my abiltys, I'd go for it, money in escrow, test set up by maybe even an outside concern, it's so simple, let's see just how golden all them ears are, claims over the years have been pretty remarkable, Can't forget teh claim he hears the efects of demagnetized PLASTIC..... with $1 million, he could get the next $300,000 TT coming....it seems like a win win. MF shows he can do it, it shuts up Randi, and readers get some great writeups, and golden ears are vindicated.....Do it do it do it Do it. And think of teh ads that whatever magaic wires are used get to claim in their ads!! Sterophile can charge more for teh ads, cus' NOW the claims are backed up by real tests, not research done in the ad dept over lunch. Wires, the final frontier, no, wood blocks are.

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?


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. . . I figure that "there's more than one way to enjoy the hobby," and read it anyway, in case I find a pearl that makes my hobby better.


Exactly. Well stated.

Additionally, it's fun to know what else is out there and what others find enjoyable.


Quote:
Bottom line: Even though I don't "know" JA, I know him well enough from having read his work for a couple decades that I can say comfortably that I cannot recall an instance of him ever hitting the ethical "Easy" button. That's my highest endorsement.


My conclusion as well.

The magazine has also actively taken controversial issues head-on(cables, component break-in, etc.) - letting both sides have their say. It also publishes even the nastiest letters to the editor, as it should.

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?

I agree. If there is a will to participate, it's not that difficult to find a way that would assure neutrality and payment.

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?


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"At least ten times out of ten?"

Maybe you insist on 110% accuracy?

Man, you're tougher than Steinbrener!

Coming to any particular conclusion based upon a test with just 10 trials is rather risky for reasons pointed out in a letter by Les Leventhal in this atricle (beginning on page 2)

As for insisting on a score of 100 in a test with 100 trials such would clearly be unreasonable since a score of 59 or more (i.e. minimum 59 correct) meets the 95% confidence level (aka .05 level of significance) for detection of sonic differences; doubt it?... use the calculator here and values n=100, k=59, p=.5 giving P-value 0.044313 (less than .05 level of significance). Using the calculator we find that a minimum of 63 correct (out of 100 trials) meets the 99% confidence level.

By the way the same calculator can be used to compute the values in the "Type 1 Error" column of the Leventhal's table (page 3 of the article), that's what P-value is.

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?


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Can't teh money be put in an escrow account at the bank? Not Randi Bank of Jamacia or JA Bank of ...but in a real bank so teh money is there controlled by all legit stuff. This test is so somple, it can be organized on the legit, if that is indeed the intention. There are some reviewer that is being challenged, that has certainly made some incredible claims as to what he hears and has heard, and how differetn some thing is....a million is sure a nice payday, if in fact he can do what he says. Man, if I was so sure of my abiltys, I'd go for it, money in escrow, test set up by maybe even an outside concern, it's so simple, let's see just how golden all them ears are, claims over the years have been pretty remarkable, Can't forget teh claim he hears the efects of demagnetized PLASTIC..... with $1 million, he could get the next $300,000 TT coming....it seems like a win win. MF shows he can do it, it shuts up Randi, and readers get some great writeups, and golden ears are vindicated.....Do it do it do it Do it. And think of teh ads that whatever magaic wires are used get to claim in their ads!! Sterophile can charge more for teh ads, cus' NOW the claims are backed up by real tests, not research done in the ad dept over lunch. Wires, the final frontier, no, wood blocks are.

Why don't you go arrange everything? If Randi is just tossing dung, e.g. if you can't get him to secure the funds in escrow, who better than you with your infallible BS meter to out him?

Why I'd bet Fremer would likely give you a few bucks, or maybe some free component purchasing advice, for your effort; provided you successfully arranged everything of course.

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?


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Quote:
"At least ten times out of ten?"

Maybe you insist on 110% accuracy?

Man, you're tougher than Steinbrener!

Coming to any particular conclusion based upon a test with just 10 trials is rather risky for reasons pointed out in a letter by Les Leventhal in this atricle (beginning on page 2)

As for insisting on a score of 100 in a test with 100 trials such would clearly be unreasonable since a score of 59 or more (i.e. minimum 59 correct) meets the 95% confidence level (aka .05 level of significance) for detection of sonic differences; doubt it?... use the calculator here and values n=100, k=59, p=.5 giving P-value 0.044313 (less than .05 level of significance). Using the calculator we find that a minimum of 63 correct (out of 100 trials) meets the 99% confidence level.

By the way the same calculator can be used to compute the values in the "Type 1 Error" column of the Leventhal's table (page 3 of the article), that's what P-value is.

Hi, Bjh, your points are perfect. I was just making a bit of a joke about "at least ten times out of ten," as though Ethan wanted 11 or 12 times out of ten.

It was kind of meant as a Spinal Tap sort of joke.

Your point about requiring larger "n's" was spot on.

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?


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I've been reading Stereophile since...well...I can't remember when..."always."

In all that time, my bullshit filter has remained uniformly unactivated.

That doesn't mean that the reviewers are never wrong, I just believe I'm reading the work of a fellow audiophile who is trying to describe his experiences in audio land.

Amen to that sentiment.


Quote:
Bottom line: Even though I don't "know" JA, I know him well enough from having read his work for a couple decades that I can say comfortably that I cannot recall an instance of him ever hitting the ethical "Easy" button. That's my highest endorsement.

And one that is very much appreciated, Buddha.

My 2 cents: The Amazing Randi is a "publicity vampire." There is a little point in him attacking unknown targets, because there is no corresponding promotional benefit for his own activities. Hence his restricting the million-dollar challenge to those who already have a "media presence" and why he attributes the more extreme behavior in the audiophile community to Stereophile. Stereophile is the largest target around, thus gives the vampire the greatest return to feed his flock of sheeple. But it just also happens to be a fundamentally dishonest strategy IMO.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?


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My 2 cents: The Amazing Randi is a "publicity vampire." There is a little point in him attacking unknown targets, because there is no corresponding promotional benefit for his own activities. Hence his restricting the million-dollar challenge to those who already have a "media presence" and why he attributes the more extreme behavior in the audiophile community to Stereophile. Stereophile is the largest target around, thus gives the vampire the greatest return to feed his flock of sheeple. But it just also happens to be a fundamentally dishonest strategy IMO.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Let's assume that's true. Let's assume that the amazing randi is indeed a publicity hound, preying on the unsuspecting and the fundamentally honest. Let's say that he himself is dishonest. The way I see it, this is a chance to shut him up and make a mil in the process. All that needs to happen is that a payout and the testing are to be conducted by an independent group. The money is to be put in escrow and a waiver is to be signed by both parties stating that the decision of the independent group is final and is not subject to appeal. So, all that MF has to do is hear the differences whenever cables are switched, which he should be able to do anyway.

Granted, if Randi loses, he'll cry shenanigans, claiming that MF possesses paranormal dog hearing, that JA has whispered answers to MF via ESP or that MF was just plain lucky. Who cares? If he's a real mensch, he'll admit he was wrong, shake MF's hand and write a nice column about how he had been proven wrong and it cost him a million.

If MF loses, my guess is that MF will cry shenanigans, claiming how the testing didn't account for room acoustics, amplifier damping or his hemorrhoid flareup. Alas, if he's a real mensch, he'll admit defeat, write up in his column that he has to reassess his reviews and that he meant well at the time he wrote them.

Right now, everyone is engaging in a monkey dance. A monkey dance is posturing before a fight where none of the participants really want to fight, but they're trying to posture to save face. Put up or shut up. Either take the challenge or just say that you're not sure you'll be able to hear the difference. That's all.

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?


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Right now, everyone is engaging in a monkey dance. A monkey dance is posturing before a fight where none of the participants really want to fight, but they're trying to posture to save face. Put up or shut up. Either take the challenge or just say that you're not sure you'll be able to hear the difference. That's all.

Nonsense. There is no fight. There is just Randi posturing, Michael Fremer saying nothing, John Atkinson posting some reality checks, some people wanting to fight, and lots of people making much ado. There is no reason for Michael or anyone else to respond, because the challenge is bogus and there is nothing to defend.

Most audiophiles are too busy enjoying their systems to get caught up in this stuff. Which is why this will be my only post on the subject.

jason victor serinus

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?

Firstly, it would be show me the money, in an escrow account, if no money then you can lambast the Randi dude for being a fake, BUT if the money is put up, then vice versa, will Mf meet teh challenge, and show him what he can do, first, MONEY in escrow, simple .....simple, escrow $1 Million, without that, there is not even a discussion.

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?

I completely agree. If Randi is willing to put up the money in escrow, his credibility will go way up.

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?

When I applied to take the Randi challenge I insisted the whole test be video taped because I suspected I might need the video to collect if I had to take him to court. He weaseled out saying I refused any photo taking, obviously that is a blatant lie. I have publicly offered Randi ten grand if can can show proof that I wanted no photos, and he is to give me ten grand if I can show he lied. So far the ugly hunchback troll hasn't had the guts to meet me and take my ten grand.If Fremer meets him he should insist on videoing the procedure. Most likely Randi will back out with some shallow excuse to present to his identity challenged brainwashed fanatical followers.Because of my challenge to Randi I have gotten all kinds of hate mail from his Taliban mentality devotees. Bill Perron

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?


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That doesn't mean that the reviewers are never wrong, I just believe I'm reading the work of a fellow audiophile who is trying to describe his experiences in audio land.

Sure, there is a reviewer or two I find prone to hyperbole or self-delusion, but...over time, a reader learns to properly frame each reviewer's propensities and then read that person's work in the proper context. I think Stereophile actually rewards someone who is a long term reader by maintaining a surprisingly steady stable of reviewers.

I don't expect Stereophile to exactly mirror all my own biases, so when a writer strays from my way of thinking, I figure that "there's more than one way to enjoy the hobby," and read it anyway, in case I find a pearl that makes my hobby better.

So, question the hearing acuity of any Stereophile staff person you like, that's part of the fun, but definitely give them more credit than you do on their commitment to keeping our hobby alive and vibrant.

I admit to much cable skepticism - not that they make no difference, but that they make less difference than some reviewers claim. So, I read cable reviews with my hyperbole filter set to "minimum reactivity," but I find the subject fascinating none the less and hope Stereophile continues to print what they think...and I often learn stuff!


Okay, a fairly well reasoned reply; you're right that everyone makes mistakes. But this would just be a minor gaffe if the editors just admitted what everyone already knows; that they can't tell the difference.

The placebo effect is a large factor and I am definitely prepared to believe that they honestly thought that they could hear a difference, but keeping up this nonsense even after everyone is calling on them to prove it is starting to get more and more dishonest.

Do any stereophile subscribers believe that they can tell the difference? And if not would you rather see them claim to be able to, and continue to make all audiophiles look like phonies, or just admit that they can't and move on?

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Re: Michael Fremer taking "The Great Randi's" challenge?


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Okay, a fairly well reasoned reply; you're right that everyone makes mistakes. But this would just be a minor gaffe if the editors just admitted what everyone already knows; that they can't tell the difference.

The placebo effect is a large factor and I am definitely prepared to believe that they honestly thought that they could hear a difference, but keeping up this nonsense even after everyone is calling on them to prove it is starting to get more and more dishonest.

Do any stereophile subscribers believe that they can tell the difference? And if not would you rather see them claim to be able to, and continue to make all audiophiles look like phonies, or just admit that they can't and move on?

OK, the entire hobby is a sham, we're really just into pretty pretty gear (well except for the stoic minded anongst us, they insist it be ugly), overkill engineering, and besides most of us are old birds that can't hear beyond 3.5kHz anyway!

Hence your job here is done... Adieu, Happy Travels.

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