Last week James Randi heard about some high-end audio cables
being sold by the Pear Cable company for $7250 -- $302 a foot. This prompted him to extend his million-dollar challenge
(which for years he's been offering to anyone who can prove the existence of the paranormal) to anyone who could detect a difference in sound quality to the human ear between Pear's cables and similar cables sold for only $80 by Monster Cable.
The CEO of Pear Cable has now responded
(though not directly to Randi), calling the offer a hoax:
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).
I've posted about ridiculous over-priced products
sold to gullible audiophiles in the past. And ILikeJam has an amusing list of Really Stupid Audiophile Products
, such as the Audioprism CD Stop Light Pen. (It's a magic marker that you're supposed to use to color in the edges of your CDs, because this will somehow make them sound better.)
Of course, because expectation and suggestion play such a huge role in sensory perception, the Pear Cables probably really do
sound better to the people who buy them. But I'm also sure that no difference would be detectable to the human ear in double-blind testing.