James Randi’s attack on high performance audio - Page 19 - AVS Forum
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post #541 of 1770 Old 10-13-2007, 01:09 AM
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Do not wish to join the debate so this is all kind of ancillary.

Think I may still have a set of the first ever "improved" speaker cables to hit the market. The name of the store they came from escapes me but the cable are Fulton Golds (Bob Fulton) & the copper in them may be worth more than what I paid back in the mid 70's.

To give an idea as to my age at the time the salesman had told me via phone that the cheaper Fulton Brown was in stock at the length I needed for my double Advent system. My Dad took me to the store & it was not!!
Seeing the disappointment on my young face they sold me the Gold version at the price they had quoted on the phone. Spent years trying to keep the mass of the cable from tearing terminals out of my Mac 240 & speakers.

Old memories, Enid Lumley where in the hell are you?

Mark Conner
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post #542 of 1770 Old 10-13-2007, 05:50 AM
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Damon

We must be around the same age.... I , also, remember vividly the Fulton Gold, We went toward the Brown thinking the Gold was waaaay too expensive... This made a clear difference in our system, (Phase Linear powering Infinity Quantum Referendum)... Upgraded later to the Gold... I also remember Enid Lumley from the original Absolute Sound and did upgrade my post to the Edison Price hse held so dear... Many of today's tweak, can be traced from Enid Lumley's experiments.. She was derided even by Audiophiles before several of her views became, Audiophile Orthodoxy...

I am not interested to join this debate, I will make a few observation and bow out:

I have heard differences between cables. They are very of a very subtle nature, not of the hyperbolic "night and day" variety.
I surmise that not everyone will hear them, some kind of training or education is required to in most cases.
Some people may be able to and some not. Simply they did not subject themselves to the learning process involved. For a non-beer drinker all beer are about the same. One can be educated in beer or other beverages and learn to recognize the subtleties that make them so different.. to this day all Vodka taste the same to me... A person I know would recognize the Absolut brand blindfolded, he is far from a snob...
That Michael Fremer was able to score 5 pout of 5 is quite interesting... Granted that is not a statistically valid result but and that is the big "but"... Who ever claimed that the ability to hear such differences was widespread? Some people can and some can not... This seems to fall within the parameters of Perceptual studies... Someone posted about this in this very Forum....

I'll bow out... Many are bent to "prove" that there is no difference and that is there prerogative... I and others disagree... Let's the debate go on... It will never end.. I am to go listen through Nordst Valhalla, Duke Ellington Money Jungle ( What An Album!!!!!), Miles (Sketches of Spain), Thelonious Monk's Underground... Revisiting the ageless classics... in short enjoying music, which is what this whole hobby should be about


P.S. I have come to dislike with a passion the outrageous claims and obscene prices of the High End Audio Cable industry..

Frantz
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post #543 of 1770 Old 10-13-2007, 06:05 AM
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Originally Posted by FrantzM View Post

That Michael Fremer was able to score 5 pout of 5 is quite interesting... Granted that is not a statistically valid result but and that is the big "but"... Who ever claimed that the ability to hear such differences was widespread? Some people can and some can not... This seems to fall within the parameters of Perceptual studies... Someone posted about this in this very Forum....

Actually, it's the audiophile press that usually claims the enormous differences between cables/interconnects and imply, if not directly say, that everyone would be able to hear those differences.

I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith, I am nothing." ~ D.Adams
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post #544 of 1770 Old 10-13-2007, 06:36 AM
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Originally Posted by AdrianMills View Post

Without proof either way it's a matter of what you'd prefer to believe - the fact that you'd prefer to see his acts in a negative light say more about you than him I think.
But as Michael and Q3 have said, no matter what his motives, his accomplishments are beneficial and your arguments to the contrary are just plain rediculous.

It is funny that you are reiterating things I have already said as if they are some great revelation. I said earlier that it is how I see things and that not everyone will agree on my point of view...
The fact that you blindly put your faith in his motivations as being pure and good says a lot about how naive you are concerning human nature.

You must not be an objectivist because thinking his actions are beneficial is opinion, not fact... That you don't see that is more ridiculous. I guess you really want to win the argument rather than be truthful, or you so badly want to validate your own beliefs that you are blind to it.

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post #545 of 1770 Old 10-13-2007, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by QueueCumber View Post

It is funny that you are reiterating things I have already said as if they are some great revelation. I said earlier that it is how I see things and that not everyone will agree on my point of view...
The fact that you blindly put your faith in his motivations as being pure and good says a lot about how naive you are concerning human nature.

Um, no.

I either tend to remain neutral or I give people the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise.

I do not "blindly" do anything. Ever.

You, on the other hand, taking the most cynical view and assuming the worse possible motivations implies a world view which is not very healthy in my opinion.

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You must not be an objectivist because thinking his actions are beneficial is opinion, not fact...

Well, as far as I'm concerned, it is a fact that uncovering con artists and charlatans is beneficial. I'm not sure how it could be considered anything else unless you see it from the con artist perspective, in which case it wouldn't be of course.

I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith, I am nothing." ~ D.Adams
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post #546 of 1770 Old 10-13-2007, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by AdrianMills View Post

Um, no.

I either tend to remain neutral or I give people the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise.

I do not "blindly" do anything. Ever.

You, on the other hand, taking the most cynical view and assuming the worse possible motivations implies a world view which is not very healthy in my opinion.


Well, as far as I’m concerned, it is a fact that uncovering con artists and charlatans is beneficial. I’m not sure how it could be considered anything else unless you see it from the con artist perspective, in which case it wouldn’t be of course.

In this case you are blindly giving him the benefit of the doubt, unless you have some statistical evidence...

I'm on my iPhone, and since this is going nowhere except in curcles I'll let you all have the last word.

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post #547 of 1770 Old 10-13-2007, 07:45 AM
 
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Originally Posted by dlarsen View Post

I would hope that most audiophiles could verifiably and repeatably differentiate a ~4db delta at 10Khz because that is a VERY easily measurable and quantifiable difference.

Agreed, in fact all PearCable has to do is reproduce that measurement (I wish the test conditions were defined i.e. sine wave sweep or specifically what type of spectral noise, & model of scope (O-scope or spectrum analyzer)?

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http://www.randi.org/joom/index.php?...d=97&Itemid=27
Michael Fremer:
..having participated in an AES [Audio Engineering Society] sponsored double blind test. I took the test and got 5 out of 5 identifications correct.

James Randi:
I must say, in passing, that a test of differences in audio amplifiers could surely be winnable, since there obviously are audible differences between different designs and different combinations of audio components. I think that even I – inexperienced as I am – might be successful in such a test.

Maybe the amazing Randi could enlighten Bob Lee (QSC) on exactly how i.e. different (power amp) architecture / design could influence said “audible differences. FWIW there are indeed audible differences and not only between tube and solid state power amps. Professor Jim Strickland’s Trans•nova circuitry (patent #4,467,288)
http://www.hafler.com/news/news_deta...wsID=20&Y=1998
is one example, and this very patent (sonic superiority) has been acclaimed by AES. Maybe AES should further analyze Michael's "golden ear" or re-read their own library, because they have contradicted themselves regarding this debate.

Finally I have a Tektronix 2246 scope, pink & white noise or sine wave sweep signal sources. As soon as I get the time I will post my findings here, along with the different time base settings. Like Dave I'm skeptical that the average speaker cable will be down ~4dB @ 10Khz. 4dB is quite perceptible.
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post #548 of 1770 Old 10-13-2007, 08:33 AM
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So, we have a 19 page thread and not one person who claims to be able to tell the difference in these cables has accepted the challenge for 1 million bucks?

Jay Foster
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post #549 of 1770 Old 10-13-2007, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by QueueCumber View Post

In this case you are blindly giving him the benefit of the doubt, unless you have some statistical evidence...

I would consider it "blind" if I ignored evidence contrary to my position. Which, as far as I can tell, I don't, not in this case at least.

I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith, I am nothing." ~ D.Adams
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post #550 of 1770 Old 10-13-2007, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by AdrianMills View Post

I would consider it "blind" if I ignored evidence contrary to my position. Which, as far as I can tell, I don't, not in this case at least.

"Evidence"? You mean a bunch of people who claim to hear something that they can never hear in a properly controlled test isn't evidence? Shame on you .
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post #551 of 1770 Old 10-13-2007, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by QQQ View Post

"Evidence"? You mean a bunch of people who claim to hear something that they can never hear in a properly controlled test isn't evidence? Shame on you .

QQQ, you seem to be under the assumption that I believe cables sound different. I don't believe they sound different... I don't know why you keep trying to imply that I do believe that to be the case. I've gotten in heated arguments with people on these fora before because of those beliefs.

I stated this earlier in the thread, so if your intention is to try and discredit me by implying such, you are sorely mistaken. I am noticing that you and some other people here get extremely upset when you are called out for acting the same way with your beliefs as subjectivists do with some of their beliefs. I guess behind all the scientific jargon are normal human beings just as fearfully attached to their beliefs as anyone else when push comes to shove...

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post #552 of 1770 Old 10-13-2007, 12:32 PM
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As our frequent cable debates show, most people here are quite set in their opinions on either side. To the best of my knowledge nobody here has changed their mind about cables as a result of this forum. Maybe at best there has been a softening of rhetoric (most of the time ) and agreement that the caricatured extremes on either end don't represent reality. Likewise, there are people who are convinced paranormal activity is real, and those who think it is total bunk, and neither of those groups are likely ever to be convinced no matter how many tests validate either side.

So in that sense I think I can understand why QueueClimber and others might claim that James Randi isn't "accomplishing anything". But I think that represents far too narrow a focus. It ignores a rather large body of people who haven't made up their minds, who don't yet have a firm opinion. To those of us who have it might seem rather silly: I mean, come on, if you ask someone if psychic phenomena exists, surely they'd say yes or no, not "I don't know", right? Well, even if they did say yes or no, their lives hardly depend on their having an answer, much less it actually being correct. To them the underlying answer is who really cares?

Well, in my view, those are exactly the people that need to be targeted by efforts like James Randi. The way to convince society at large that paranormal phenomena is bunk is not to try and convince the psychic sympathizers they are wrong---it's to convince everyone who isn't yet a firm sympathizer not to become one in the first place. Prevention, not conversion. And that's why it's imperative that people like James Randi and others get out there, make themselves known---yes, engage in self promotion---so that they can be in the public eye right alongside the Uri Gellers and Sylvia Brownes, telling the public in no uncertain terms that they are deluded or intentionally fraudulent.

The same goes, frankly, for high-end audio tweaks. As I said, most of us are firm in our opinions and we are not going to change. It's no big deal, relatively speaking, that there is a contingent of audio enthusiasts who put Shakti stones around their room or Golden Chips on their CD players or "demagnetize" their LPs. There will always be people that say CDs always sound better than LPs, that all amplifiers and DACS sound the same, etc. Such people are always going to exist and no amount of double-blind testing or respected experience is going to change that.

But there are a lot of people out there who are new enough to the hobby and have no life-or-death reason to know better. So the real problem is when an "undecided" walks into a high-end audio store, looking to spend his money on things that really have an impact on the sound, and they are told to spend 20 percent of their budget on speaker cables---and there's nobody in the store telling that customer that maybe they ought to do some blind testing to verify for themselves, because the scientific justifications are suspect and user experience is far from unanimous.

The real problem are high-end audio magazine reviewers waxing poetic about a set of analog interconnects that purposefully introduces highly distorting electrical->optical and optical->electrical conversions into the signal chain. And yet when that same magazine, admirably, points out those distortions, the reviewer indignantly clings to what he claims to have heard, and even says he's going to still use them for pleasure listening (would I trust a reviewer who advocated always turning the "treble" dial on my preamp up to 10?). But again, at least they did post the numbers and give them proper interpretation, that's something.

So I for one am damn glad there are skeptics out there willing and able to become public figures---and maybe even enjoy being public figures---and pointing out the B.S. as they see it. I do wish there were more of them in high-end audio. Indeed, our arguments here may not be as futile as they appear.

Michael
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post #553 of 1770 Old 10-13-2007, 12:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QQQ View Post

"Evidence"? You mean a bunch of people who claim to hear something that they can never hear in a properly controlled test isn't evidence? Shame on you .

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Originally Posted by QueueCumber View Post

QQQ, you seem to be under the assumption that I believe cables sound different.

1. Was your name anywhere in the post above that prompted your long diatribe? I must have missed it.

2. The only assumption I was under is that you are a big green fruit that has added the letter Q to your name, probably in the hope of being one of the few lucky cucumbers that gets purchased by a lady that likes cucumbers in a familiar way rather than eating them. Personally I don't think fruits or vegetables should be allowed to post here.
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post #554 of 1770 Old 10-13-2007, 01:07 PM
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OK, an object lesson in how our brains can deceive us. I have been reading QueueCumber's handle as "QueueCLIMBER" until this very moment. I just did a search and it seems HoustonHoyaFan made the same mistake once, but then I just about took the rest.

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post #555 of 1770 Old 10-13-2007, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by QQQ View Post

One of the people he exposed was a guy named Peter Popoff who was a faith healer that prayed on the sick.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9w7jHYriFo

Sadly, it would seem that Senor Popoff continues to heal and be well healed. As foolish as his followers appear; I can't help but feel sorry for them, deluded though they are.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxqRN...elated&search=

At least no one is apparently depleting their entire savings to buy cables, etc.
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post #556 of 1770 Old 10-13-2007, 01:16 PM
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At least no one is apparently depleting their entire savings to buy cables, etc.

You haven't been reading ValhallaPC's work on this forum, have you

Michael
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post #557 of 1770 Old 10-13-2007, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by tbrunet View Post

Agreed, in fact all PearCable has to do is reproduce that measurement (I wish the test conditions were defined i.e. sine wave sweep or specifically what type of spectral noise, & model of scope (O-scope or spectrum analyzer)?

As they published a bode plot (amplitude vs log frequency) this would imply a spectrum analyzer. O-scopes generally measure amplitude vs time although many scopes nowadays have FFT capabilities and can do the time-frequency domain transform so they could produce such a bode plot.

Also, as the amplitude is shown on a linear scale and intended to be flat, this would imply white noise or a unity amplitude frequency sweep.

If I was to set out to design such a speaker cable that rolled off 4 db down @ 10kHz, (not that I would) I’m not sure I could reasonably accomplish that without adding relatively significant amounts of reactive (L/C) components given that both the source and the sink impedance is relatively low over audible frequencies. I believe I’d need to add a wart inline with the cable that contains these reactive components ala the Transparent brand of speaker cables. The parasitic reactive components of a typical speaker cable should be several orders of magnitude out of the ballpark for such an influence with pF/nH per foot not uF/mH per foot. Now if that bode plot showed 4db down @ 10-100Mhz rather than at 10Khz. Perhaps they misplaced a decimal point?

Another note that I find interesting regarding the bode plot published by Pear is they attribute the low end rolloff to the crossover influencing the measurement and discount it. Could it be there is also a reactive crossover kicking in in the 2-4Khz range and influencing their measurements there too? Finding a reactive passive crossover in the 2-4Khz range in a loudspeaker would hardy seem surprising.

Dave
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post #558 of 1770 Old 10-13-2007, 01:46 PM
 
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I guess behind all the scientific jargon are normal human beings just as fearfully attached to their beliefs as anyone else when push comes to shove...

Since when did scientific fact become a belief?
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post #559 of 1770 Old 10-13-2007, 02:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QQQ View Post

1. Was your name anywhere in the post above that prompted your long diatribe? I must have missed it.

That's ok, in case anyone else was also confused besides me as to your intentions now it is cleared up...

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2. The only assumption I was under is that you are a big green fruit that has added the letter Q to your name, probably in the hope of being one of the few lucky cucumbers that gets purchased by a lady that likes cucumbers in a familiar way rather than eating them. Personally I don't think fruits or vegetables should be allowed to post here.

I'll bite... So where would you go if fruits weren't allowed to post here any more?

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post #560 of 1770 Old 10-13-2007, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Michael Grant View Post

OK, an object lesson in how our brains can deceive us. I have been reading QueueCumber's handle as "QueueCLIMBER" until this very moment. I just did a search and it seems HoustonHoyaFan made the same mistake once, but then I just about took the rest.

LOL, I was wondering what that was all about... The first few times I was like, 'what is he trying to say?!?' Then I finally decided to call you Michelle (partly because the Ebay bid I lost was for a MFSL Beatles Box Set) to see if you would notice.

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post #561 of 1770 Old 10-13-2007, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by bluray_1080p View Post

Since when did scientific fact become a belief?

No one said it was...

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post #562 of 1770 Old 10-13-2007, 02:27 PM
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"i admit that cable comparing is not all that much fun and in a sense....work. i don't blame people for not wanting to do it. it can be very tedious and make my brain hurt. when i am comparing cables my wife knows not to interrupt and i don't answer the phone of allow any distraction. i need to focus......and be in the correct mood. i don't do it late at night when i'm tired."

Wow, I read the majority of this thread and I think this is the most relevant statement in the whole thing.

If this doesn't speak loudly to the inconsistency of human testing abilities and the psychoacoustic factor I don't know what does.

There has been absolutely nothing in this thread that contradicts the very basic science of the affect of cables on the audio signal.

So this is my conclusion, which coincidently was my belief prior to spending too much time reading this thread;

If an interconnect or speaker cable changes the sound it is because it is either a "filter" of sorts, or improperly built, and the truth is both can be built and sold for $5 or $5000.

And beauty is in the ear of the beholder.
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post #563 of 1770 Old 10-13-2007, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Michael Grant View Post

You haven't been reading ValhallaPC's work on this forum, have you

I hate taking this off topic but what's your vote on him? For real, or laughing his ass off and conning everyone? I'd vote fake except he sure does put a lot of time into it. Still, those youtube videos sure seem like a put on.
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post #564 of 1770 Old 10-13-2007, 05:32 PM
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Well, even if he is putting us all on, he's still nuts for putting such effort into it My money though says he's serious.

Michael
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post #565 of 1770 Old 10-13-2007, 10:32 PM
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Well, even if he is putting us all on, he's still nuts for putting such effort into it My money though says he's serious.

Yes, I think so too.

I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith, I am nothing." ~ D.Adams
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post #566 of 1770 Old 10-14-2007, 12:29 AM
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Those who are interested in learning a little more about what James Randi is really "all about" may find this exchange with Dr. Richard Dawkins interesting and enlightening. In it Randi answers the question what his reaction would be if he had to pay the million dollar prize. He responds that it would be wonderful because it would be such a significant event.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqNueGGP_uE
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post #567 of 1770 Old 10-14-2007, 04:36 AM
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Randi

Interesting read.

Is VallhallaPC James Randi, Jr. rebelling against his dad???

"Doug Winsor" used to troll at some AV Forums as "Steve Bruzonsky"! My home theater at:

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post #568 of 1770 Old 10-14-2007, 05:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Bruzonsky View Post

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Randi

Interesting read.

From that same link;

Quote:
Originally Posted by wiki View Post

"Randi was once accused of actually using 'psychic powers' to perform acts such as spoon bending. James Alcock relates this incident which occurred at a meeting where Randi was duplicating the performances of Uri Geller: A professor from the University at Buffalo shouted out that Randi was a fraud. Randi said "Yes indeed, I'm a trickster, I'm a cheat, I'm a charlatan, that's what I do for a living. Everything I've done here was by trickery." The professor shouted back: "That's not what I mean. You're a fraud because you're pretending to do these things through trickery, but you're actually using psychic powers and misleading us by not admitting it."

What can you do but chuckle and shake your head.

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Originally Posted by Steve Bruzonsky View Post

Is VallhallaPC James Randi, Jr. rebelling against his dad???

Maybe it's a cultural thing or just me, but I've never found the digs aimed at those with psychological problems, like Valhalla, to be in any way amusing.

I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith, I am nothing." ~ D.Adams
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post #569 of 1770 Old 10-14-2007, 06:41 AM
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I think Valhalla PC is an elaborate ruse. His user icon on the Stereophile website of an ostrich wearing headphones says it all to me...


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post #570 of 1770 Old 10-14-2007, 08:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AdrianMills View Post

Maybe it's a cultural thing or just me, but I've never found the digs aimed at those with psychological problems, like Valhalla, to be in any way amusing.

You're the one saying ValhallaPC has psychological problems, not me. Are you extending that to anyone who buys any cables more expensive than "Monster Cable", as James Randi has chosen that for his comparison cable, has psychological problems? Actually, those gullible "fools" who buy ValhallaPC's
absurd presentations are arguably the ones with psychological believe anything no matter how crazy. You believe ValhallaPC is on the up and up, and not going way nuts with a great gag, because you want to believe. No different than the smuck buying the $7K Pear Cable that must sound better because he's spend the bucks and must believe. (Again, I believe cables can change the sonics some - I 've heard it - but whether its an improvement, or worth the $$$, is the question).

Adrian, as you pointed out, James Randi himself has been accused of committing fraud when he did the bending the spoon demo. HA! Indeed, this guy with no more than a high school education, who made the guillotine on the Alice Cooper stage show back in the early 70s, has tved his way to fame.
Why didn't he use zip cord for the challenge, instead of Monster Cable. By doing this, wasn't he saying that Monster Cable is the best? Wasn't he giving free publicity to Monster Cable? Makes you wonder what sort of $$ he gets behind the table, or donation to his "educational" foundation, which I assume is simply a private for profit enterprise, not tax free (please, correct me if my assumption is wrong on this).

"Doug Winsor" used to troll at some AV Forums as "Steve Bruzonsky"! My home theater at:

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