• 07-20-2004, 07:45 PM
    Chu Gai
    James Randi to Take on StereoPhile
    At the end of this week's commentary at randi.org, James Randi, the noted debunker of false claims, made mention that in next week's column he'll be looking at Stereophile and examining the pseudoscience that masquerades as knowledgeable and informative writings and guides for audiophiles. Maybe Harley will come back for a rebuttal...

    Heads up over there Mtry :)
  • 07-20-2004, 08:50 PM
    mtrycraft
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Chu Gai
    At the end of this week's commentary at randi.org, James Randi, the noted debunker of false claims, made mention that in next week's column he'll be looking at Stereophile and examining the pseudoscience that masquerades as knowledgeable and informative writings and guides for audiophiles. Maybe Harley will come back for a rebuttal...

    Heads up over there Mtry :)


    Love it :D
    You made my day as I don't follow his web that closely.
    I see the headlines now, form the golden ears :) What does he know about audio? Is he even listen to music on a revealing system? Same old stories.
    But I bet he will have audio experts helping him out.
    When you see the first writing, please post the link :)
  • 07-20-2004, 10:11 PM
    woodman
    Will wonders never cease?????
    I never thought I'd live to see the day when I would actually be in James Randi's "corner" cheering him on ... but here I am doing exactly that! Crikeys, Batman!

    I've always considered Stereophile to be one of the leading purveyors of audiophoolery and BS, and a leading candidate for the title of: Most misleading and useless publication on the planet ... go get 'em Randi m'boy!
  • 07-21-2004, 07:59 AM
    Worf101
    S**T There's a name from my past!!!
    "The Amazing Randi" as he used to be called, used to make the round of kiddie TV in the NY Metropolitan area when I was a kid. Back then he'd show up and do what I call.... "bad magic". Like once he said he'd make a tray of flowers disappear before our very eyes...and he did. He did this by flipping the tray over his head and letting the flowers fall behind him. Of course I thought he was a charlatan and a fake.

    We've both evolved since then, or at least I have. It'll be very interesting to see what he does with Stereophile and alike. I'm not educated enough in this realm to know judge either so I'll leave that to guy like Mtry and Woodie. I will be watching with interest however.

    Da Worfster :cool:
  • 07-21-2004, 12:16 PM
    Chu Gai
    I'd thought that in the past years, Stereophile was very gradually moving towards better articles and information. I say gradually, because I have the impression that they don't want to alienate their readership as well as their advertisers. I certainly find them less odious than say 6moons, enjoythemusic, positive-whatever, and the like where subjectivism runs rampant.
  • 07-21-2004, 09:12 PM
    mtrycraft
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Chu Gai
    I'd thought that in the past years, Stereophile was very gradually moving towards better articles and information. I say gradually, because I have the impression that they don't want to alienate their readership as well as their advertisers. I certainly find them less odious than say 6moons, enjoythemusic, positive-whatever, and the like where subjectivism runs rampant.


    I looked at his web site but didn't see this announcement.
    Do you have the exact link?
  • 07-22-2004, 03:14 AM
    Chu Gai
    It's a brief blurb at the end of http://www.randi.org/jr/071604an.html where it reads...

    Next week, a direct challenge to pseudoscience as practiced by Stereophile Magazine, an update on the Theodore Karavassilis "Energia" project, and "vibrations" from ancient ancestors….!

    I'll try to get an advanced copy by tuning into the vibrations from my ancestors.
  • 07-22-2004, 05:14 AM
    skeptic
    The BBC took up Randi's challenge to award $1million to anyone who could prove the efficacy of homeopathic medicine. In a carefully conducted double blind experiment which involved some of the best scientists in Britain, Randi debunked the myth of homeopathy. You can undoubtedly find it on the BBC's web site. Randi's exploits debunking all kinds of crap around the world such as ESP is famous however, even after the nonsense is disproven, it's amazing how many new suckers come along and even more amazing how many old suckers dismiss his invariably irrefutable proof and just go on believing. Sometimes I think there is something inherent in people or at least some people which desparately wants to believe in the supernatural.

    Based on my own experience with the AES demo at the New York Times WQXR auditorium 21 years ago, I came to the conclusion that most if not all "audiophiles" can hear a lot less than they think they can. I'll put my money on Randi debunking Stereophile magazine. This guy does his homework before he sticks his neck out. He must be running out of targets for debunking if he's gotten all the way down to this area. Unfortunately, I'm afraid it will probaby be a long time for the FTC to get to the same state of affairs and start going after the audiophile cable manufacturers. They still have a lease on life. License to steal that is.
  • 07-22-2004, 07:47 AM
    kingdaddykeith
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by skeptic
    even after the nonsense is disproven, it's amazing how many new suckers come along and even more amazing how many old suckers dismiss his invariably irrefutable proof and just go on believing. Sometimes I think there is something inherent in people or at least some people which desparately wants to believe in the supernatural.

    I hear ya, I read a interesting article a while ago that took on the haunted mansion stories, and once they dug a little deeper they found that the same people were seeing these haunting incidents at all these so called haunted locations. So in reality the haunting was following the people where ever they went, and in fact had nothing to do with the location. People who see UFO’s or Ghosts see these things everywhere they go, and people who don’t, don’t, no matter where they go. Some people see and hear thing's that just aren’t there, my old girlfriend used to swear to me when my cat meowed it was saying "Mama", se was convinced that the cat was specifically calling her, sounded like a meow to me.
  • 07-22-2004, 04:50 PM
    mtrycraft
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Chu Gai
    It's a brief blurb at the end of http://www.randi.org/jr/071604an.html where it reads...

    Next week, a direct challenge to pseudoscience as practiced by Stereophile Magazine, an update on the Theodore Karavassilis "Energia" project, and "vibrations" from ancient ancestors….!

    I'll try to get an advanced copy by tuning into the vibrations from my ancestors.


    Thanks :) No wonder I missed it. I fell asleep reading that page, so long :D
  • 07-22-2004, 04:52 PM
    mtrycraft
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by kingdaddykeith
    Some people see and hear thing's that just aren’t there, my old girlfriend used to swear to me when my cat meowed it was saying "Mama", se was convinced that the cat was specifically calling her, sounded like a meow to me.


    Same as when you ask someone to repeat what they said just to be told that they didn't say a thing :)
  • 07-23-2004, 03:20 PM
    Chu Gai
    Well I'd hoped for a bit more, but one finds at http://www.randi.org/jr/072304willful.html#11 the following...
    Quote:

    HI-END FLUMMERY

    Reader "Andrew" writes, re what he calls, "Bad science in Stereophile Magazine":


    While this is not, strictly speaking, a claim of paranormal powers, you will recognize many familiar elements. Stereophile Magazine, and similar publications, promotes various audio equipment, fancy power cords, gold speaker wire, that sort of thing. They run tests which "prove" that these are better.
    The article I provide a link to (www.stereophile.com/features/141/) is, in summary, the editors of Stereophile stating that they do not use double-blind testing because it gives them different — "wrong" — answers. ABX is the terminology used for a particular kind of double-blind audio testing, a very easy kind to do. In effect, Stereophile Magazine is "dowsing" for whatever equipment they are promoting each month. Using techniques beloved of dowsers everywhere, they always find the right (usually more expensive) equipment!

    Well, yes, this is a paranormal claim, Andrew, if there actually is an advantage to having speaker leads that conduct a signal because they're treated magically — the only description one can make of the "special processes" they go through…. I've had run-ins with Stereophile before. Refer to www.randi.org/jr/03-23-2001.html. We discussed doing proper tests of their ridiculous claims for such devices as the "Tice Clock," a simple and definitive procedure that would certainly show the truth behind the nonsense — but they opted out half-way into the discussion. I also pursued George Tice himself, and found that he kept running away from proper tests, even though I had top audio people and the very best equipment available to do the work. It was ever thus. Bold claims, then retreat…. And they're never embarrassed, because they know that the suckers will continue to buy the products.
  • 07-23-2004, 04:27 PM
    mtrycraft
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Chu Gai
    Well I'd hoped for a bit more, but one finds at http://www.randi.org/jr/072304willful.html#11 the following...


    If that is what he was referring to, yes, it is very disappointing. But we do now know he had past run ins with the usual response, backpeddling.
  • 08-01-2004, 06:02 AM
    Chu Gai
    A followup from this weeks posting over at http://www.randi.org/jr/073004an.html we have the following.

    Quote:

    THE JREF MILLION IS SURELY WON
    Reader Phil Ray, a medical research analyst in Lexington, Kentucky, tells us about some more "high-end" audio flummery he's discovered:


    Your mention of the "Tice clock" and other audiophile snake-oil devices got me digging around on the internet for more. I ran across a couple of good sites, but the one that takes the cake is www.belt.demon.co.uk/index.html.
    Apparently, according to this site, you can improve all kinds of audio devices or recording media performance just by writing "O.K." on them — or a piece of tape stuck on them — with a "specially treated" marker pen. Writing "NO" makes things sound much worse. There is much more available from "P.W.B. Electronics" as well, that could be eligible for the JREF Prize.

    This is the fabulous "Red 'x' Pen" that you can have for a mere US$87! And yes, there sure was more eligible material. For example, I found a glowing review of some mystical P.W.B. sticky foil on that site. It claimed that tiny little scraps of it could improve a wide spectrum of our daily lives:


    These shiny little devil-strips are supposed to work their effects just by placing them on pretty much anything in the system — or the house, for that matter. Suggested application included batteries in remote controls, clocks, and calculators, mains plugs on amplifiers, CD players, tuners, televisions, computers, even fax machines, light switches, transformers, auxiliary power sources, central-heating radiators or air-conditioning units, even equipment casings, lids, and LED displays.
    Here's an example of how versatile the wondrous P.W.B. Electronics Electret Foil is, as explained by Mrs. May Belt, one of the promoters, retailers, and producers of P.W.B. products. They had been experimenting with improving the sound of their system by applying a scrap of this foil to a CD:


    During one set of listening experiments, we had a short coffee break. In the listening room was a small wooden table which had had something spilt on it, causing a nasty stain. Peter decided to treat this stain and applied a chemical to it. No success — the stain was just as bad. Peter shrugged his shoulders and said, "Oh well, we will just have to live with the stain, at least I have tried to remove it."
    After the short coffee break we returned to the listening tests. The sound was dreadful, it was absolutely appalling! Peter tried everything he knew but could not get the previous "good" sound back. He knew that the only thing he had done in the past half-hour was to apply a chemical to the stain on the small table. He took the table out of the room and listened again. The "good" sound was back! With the table returned to the room, the sound was dreadful again. Peter remarked, "There is no way we can carry on with our listening tests with that table in the room," so the table was banished to the garage.

    We had no explanation for what had happened but we remembered this incident because it was so surprising and startling. It was a few months later that I happened to be reading an article — an article on plants! In the middle of this article it stated "and when the (???) plant is under stress, it produces the chemical ????" — this was the chemical we had applied to the small table!!! I read this article out to Peter and we looked at each other. Here was the chemical we had used being described as a "stress chemical." Peter then began to reason out, "I wonder if it was us (human beings) who were sensing this "stress" chemical and going under tension — and this was the reason why the "sound" was perceived as "dreadful."

    I'd find it difficult to comment here, especially since my eyes are full of tears from laughing. Are these simply raving loonies, or is it a very unfunny joke? I wish it were a joke.

    I found a glowing review of this magic foil at Greg Weaver's April 1999 Rainbow Foil review and immediately wrote him at gregw@soundstage.com:


    Mr. Weaver: I've been forwarded some comments you made on the "P.W.B. Electronics Electret Foil" and wished to inform you that if you are able to repeat your experiments — double-blind — you would certainly win the JREF million-dollar prize as described at www.randi.org/research/index.html and www.randi.org/research/challenge.html.
    Are you interested?

    I'm not going to expect a response, of course, but I'll inform you if I get one. Phil has more:


    I looked up "Shakti Stones," too, at http://www.shakti-innovations.com/index.html. They have the added benefit of having an "East Indian" name. They not only make your stereo sound better, but another version improves engine performance and increases horsepower in your car!
    I'm so glad to live in the 21st Century — an era when wonders never cease!

    The Shakti Stones, fortunately, don't even have to be connected to your sound system, but can be simply placed nearby, to produce wonderful improvements! The instructions simply say:


    Use of the Stones could not be simpler, simply place them near power supplies, components or CD/DVD/SACD players, the nearer the transformer the better.
    Incredible! One reviewer, "expert" Dick Clark of Audio Journal, ended up with eleven of these stones ($2,530 worth!) placed all over his system, and he raves about the improvements! Phil, I'm an equal-opportunity kind of guy, so I sent this inquiry — via both e-mail and postal mail — to a Mr. Mintz, who had also very enthusiastically endorsed his Shakti stones:


    I understand that you have found wonderful results from the use of "Shakti Stones" in conjunction with your sound system! To amplify your delight, I inform you that if you can successfully perform a double-blind test of these stones, as you have described, you can win the million-dollar prize offered by this Foundation. See details at www.randi.org/research/index.html and www.randi.org/research/challenge.html.
    I await your response with great interest.

    Now, Weaver and Mintz may or may not respond. I'll keep you updated on the matter. Consider: if they do not respond, why did they choose that option? Several possibilities present themselves:


    Maybe they now find that they were self-deceived.
    Perhaps they are afraid to test their firmly-stated convictions on the matter.

    They might be independently wealthy and thus disinterested in the million-dollar prize.

    It's even possible that these people are fictional inventions of the vendors of these hi-tech advances in science.

    There must be some reason. I am sending out 11 letters to audio reviewers who endorsed this thing, making the same offer.
  • 08-01-2004, 06:50 PM
    mtrycraft
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Chu Gai
    A followup from this weeks posting over at http://www.randi.org/jr/073004an.html we have the following.

    Interesting:)
  • 08-01-2004, 06:59 PM
    E-Stat
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mtrycraft
    Interesting:)

    Oh yeah, that was a burning indictment of Stereophile Magazine !

    All they talked about was Shakti stones and a CD pen.

    rw
  • 08-01-2004, 09:26 PM
    mtrycraft
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by E-Stat
    Oh yeah, that was a burning indictment of Stereophile Magazine !

    All they talked about was Shakti stones and a CD pen.

    rw

    Yes, old hat but that is part of stereopile, isn't it? Or, they disavow them now?
  • 08-02-2004, 08:13 AM
    kingdaddykeith
    The P.W.B. Electronics site is great reading, best comedic fiction I have ever read. The colored Magnadisc's are a riot. I posted this link on the General forum a few months ago, I’ve been waiting for someone to mention this, it seems like this site has finally found the bottom of subjective mind fooling.


    I still believe that some are more easily fooled then others, some can’t even participate in a DBT properly because their minds are so weak and easily manipulated, while others really don’t need a DBT to determine that there is no difference. Many of these weak minded people will always hear a difference even if nothing changes but there own mood, there is no fix for those who are so impressionable IMO.


    Wacky Tweeks
    http://www.belt.demon.co.uk/product/product.html
  • 08-02-2004, 08:17 AM
    kingdaddykeith
    Here is a Quote from this Wacko site, I love this guy.

    Green Magnadiscs.

    "If a Green Magnadisc is attached to any window, anywhere within a building, a significant beneficial improvement will take place. Attaching a Green Magnadisc to all glass mirrors, situated anywhere within the building, will produce a significant improvement. If a Green Magnadisc is attached to the ceiling of each of the room throughout a building, a significant improvement to the perceived sound and vision, in any of the rooms, will take place. Treating the ceiling in one room produces a noticeable effect but treating each of the other ceilings in a building, in turn, significantly improves the effect in all rooms. The Green Magnadisc can be attached to any part of the ceiling. One very important position which should have a Green Magnadisc attached is the ceiling above any and all staircases."
  • 08-02-2004, 08:27 AM
    kingdaddykeith
    I love this one too..

    "If you can change the "sound" by exchanging a frozen audio tape for an unfrozen tape, stored in a PASSIVE cassette player, whilst listening to a Compact Disc - then you have to begin to look for explanations outside the conventional theories of "sound can only be altered by affecting the signal travelling through the equipment or by altering the acoustic air pressure waves"

    http://www.belt.demon.co.uk/tfs.html
  • 08-07-2004, 03:28 AM
    Mash
    Why all the complaining? Seems to me that a frozen audio tape could produce some pretty cool sounds....... and did you Dweebs ever consider than maybe these people smoke their Shakti stones ? Gettin stoned, man.... And maybe the CD Pen is good for curing nose hair?
  • 08-07-2004, 03:46 PM
    mtrycraft
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Mash
    Why all the complaining? Seems to me that a frozen audio tape could produce some pretty cool sounds....... and did you Dweebs ever consider than maybe these people smoke their Shakti stones ? Gettin stoned, man.... And maybe the CD Pen is good for curing nose hair?


    Ah, you are a stand up comedian :) or sitting down LOL, great :D
  • 08-07-2004, 04:50 PM
    woodman
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Mash
    Why all the complaining? Seems to me that a frozen audio tape could produce some pretty cool sounds....... and did you Dweebs ever consider than maybe these people smoke their Shakti stones ? Gettin stoned, man.... And maybe the CD Pen is good for curing nose hair?

    No Mash - all of these claims are bogus! The frozen audio cassette only yields cold and indifferent music! As for smokin' the Shakti Stones ... they're very, very difficult to keep them lit - plus from all reports I've heard, you're likely to feel isolated after smokin' 'em. Those that have tried to clear out nose hair with the CD Pen report that it was terribly ineffective, and left them with a green nose!

    So much for all of those audio miracle "tweaks". I sure won't be spending any of MY hard-earned on any of them - especially that dreaded green pen. I've heard that anyone showing up at the polls in November with a green nose will be denied the right to vote!
  • 08-07-2004, 07:18 PM
    mtrycraft
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by woodman
    I've heard that anyone showing up at the polls in November with a green nose will be denied the right to vote!


    Isn't that a brown nose?
  • 08-08-2004, 06:04 AM
    DMK
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mtrycraft
    Isn't that a brown nose?

    That would be very bad for the polls. Brown nosers are NOT a niche market! The company I work for has hundreds of them. :D