New Scientist - strange but true (I'm going to reproduce this bit completely since I think the host page is temporary):

AT THE UK's annual hi-fi show, held recently in two hotels at London's Heathrow airport, several exhibitors were selling exotic cables to connect amplifiers to loudspeakers. The price of these cables was staggering. A 6-metre length of oxygen-free copper could cost as much as £30,000 - and no, those four zeros are not a misprint.

We cannot comment on whether these cables really do make music sound better, because none of the exhibitors offered a controlled blind test - switching the same music between cheap and expensive cables without the listener knowing which was which.

But now that the show is over, we can reveal a secret.

One of the most popular demonstrations at the show was staged by British company Quad, to mark 50 years of making its world-famous hi-fi equipment. Recording engineer Tony Faulkner demonstrated Quad's latest loudspeakers. He explained how he used them to monitor the sound while making a recording of Saint-Saëns's complete works for piano and orchestra, which recently won the coveted Record of the Year award from Gramophone magazine.

As hi-fi buffs enthused over the sound, we spotted that the speakers were connected by some orange wires that looked strangely familiar.

'Yes, they would look familiar if you have a garden', Faulkner told us. 'Before the show opened we went over the road to the DIY superstore and bought one of those £20 extension leads that Black & Decker sells for electric hedge-cutters. They are made from good, thick copper wire, look nice and sound good to me. The show's been running for three days and no one in the audience has noticed'.


Add Your Comments

Please use Name/URL or an OpenID option rather than posting anonymously.

Post a Comment