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Back in my day......


Addicted to Fun and Learning
Apr 22, 2021
Back in my day this was the norm. In meetings of public forums, the subjectivists would say they will do xyz and later after the meeting, they usually claimed they didn't say what they said or just ignored the whole topic. All of it during the public meetings was a feeble attempt at face saving. Remember there is no lower vermin in the audio world than a real subjectivists. The are liars. I know myself, JJ, Amir and some others around here just try to ignore them nowadays as they are all so full of it. This was THE time period when Blind Tests were done with all of the big nationally known audiophiles from magazines etc. After they racked up about 15 total failures to notice ANY difference in ANY equipment, they talked among themselves and decided to never do blind tests again as it would kill their claim to fame. That has lasted and been passed down from subjectivist to subjectivist over the last two and a half decades.

Many people wonder about all the fights and bad behavior that transpired between the two camps back then. Well, you had to be there. Objectivists would go to the great time and expense (out of their own pocket) to get all set up for a subjectivist or group of them to show up to blind test. Then when they failed to show, they claimed they couldn't make it because they had to get their nails trimmed, or wash their hair. They claimed this AFTER the no show. That happened quite a few times. This then caused meet ups between the two people at trade shows etc. and without interference from cool heads would have ended up being settled by brawling in the parking lots! Back then it was NOT easy to set up for all of this. Usually you were talking about two DAYS worth of work, just for a no show. So, the objectivists started calling them out at every opportunity. They literally ran and hid at shows etc. So, when I say they lie, you guys can take that to the bank. Nothing slimier than a subjectivist. Also, the same as today. They talked voodoo science and mentally unhinged theories about sound and their hearing. Gosh, I hope JJ doesn't read this and have it bring up bad memories of when he was younger and tolerated these people. I think Amir was lucky and came on the scene after all this. That is why Amir is so patient and nice all the time.

I hope you guys enjoy the quick read.

Lies, Damn Lies, and Cables
Fun, Feathers, & Games in The High End

An Overdue Response, By Francis Vale
om Nousaine, a rigorous audiophile 'objectivist', gave a talk at a BAS/AES joint meeting in Boston, MA, in January 1995. Nousaine presented a paper that reported the experimental results of double blind tests with regards differences in audio cable sound. His paper essentially stated that all audio cables were sonically alike, and that not one of the experiment's participants could hear any differences when put in carefully controlled test settings. Furthermore, Nousaine went on to publicly state that all vendors'/dealers'/reviewers' claims of superior cable sound were bogus.

Now, as it so happened, the president of Transparent Audio, Jack Summer, was also in attendance. Summer was giving a talk immediately following Nousaine. Transparent is one of the better known audiophile cable makers. Summer was, not too surprisingly, miffed at Nousaine's contention that all cable makers' claims for audio performance are so much marketing nonsense.

In front of all present that night, including myself, Summer jumped up, and immediately challenged Nousaine to come to Chez Transparent in Hollis, Maine. Tom would then have an opportunity to do one of his cable comparison tests, using Transparent cables. Summer publicly stated that Nousaine would definitely hear a big difference in cable 'sound' . Nousaine grew testy, and rather red in the face, as he sparred back and forth with Summer. Things proceeded to get rather tense.

Like everyone else there that night, I watched all this with grim fascination. Quite frankly, given the players involved, it should not have been a totally unexpected development. Finally, everyone calmed down, and the evening's agenda proceeded.

Immediately following the meeting in Boston, Summer wrote the following letter to the Boston AES. Please note that Summer once again restates he is prepared to participate in a comparison test.
"To the Editor: January 18, 1995 Last night's Section meeting with Tom Nousaine was an interesting experience for me. I needed the experience to prepare for a talk that I am going to give to the New York AES section later this spring.
My undergraduate degree is in physics and my doctoral work was done in statistical analysis and research design. It is important to examine the validity of double blind testing at revealing subtle differences which audiophiles consider important. I intend to conduct an experiment in an area outside of audio to see what level of difference must exist for a double blind to statistically validate it. Perhaps someday I can share the results of this experiment with the Boston Section.
We invited Tom Nousaine to come to Maine to hear the difference in cables in our reference systems. I would like to extend the invitation to your membership, not for the purpose of comparing cables, although we would certainly do that if anyone wanted. The reason for anyone coming would be to hear a very good audiophile sound system in (a) very good room. The room was designed by Ed Bannon of TAJ Soundworks. It is about 29' x 19' with no parallel walls and solid construction. We have a variety of equipment to cover the upper range of audiophile tastes, and best of all, cable by Transparent.
Anyone can contact me at 207-929-4553 to set up a listening session. I look forward to attending more of your sessions this season and I intend to become a member.
Jack Summer
Transparent Audio
Hollis, Maine"

Fast forward several months, to the week of September 25, 1995. Tom Nousaine flies all the way from Chicago to Boston. His avowed mission: Take up Summer on his cable comparison offer. After all, President Summer had publicly made Tom a promise -- in writing no less. While in Boston, Nousaine also attended another Boston Audio Society meeting, on September 27th.

The day following the meeting, Nousaine, in the company of several other BAS members, including BAS founder Alvin Foster, drove all the way up to Maine, to Transparent Audio. Upon arrival at their destination, the President of Transparent said, quite incredibly, "What cable comparison? No way." Tom and Jack then got into another spirited discussion, which more or less followed along the puerile lines of "But you promised!" "Did Not!" Did Too!" Did Not." etc.

Nousaine and his BAS companions then said they were willing do a double blind; no one will know which cable is which. But the now Transparent Summer remained adamant in his position: No comparisons of any kind. No Pepsi cable taste test.

After more such highly transparent repartee, ruffled feathers were finally soothed all the way around. They all then sat down and listened to some nice Wilson X-1 music in Summer's very impressive home. Transparent cables were used throughout, of course. Tom, et al, finally drove back to Boston.

If I wasn't there in the BAS/AES audience back in January, 1995, I would have had difficulty in believing any of this wired-up fiasco. But I saw and heard Summer make his cable comparison offer to Nousaine at the January meeting. Summer even repeated his offer in writing.

The Inevitable Conclusion: The Transparent Audio President is the one who seems to be bogus in his proclaimed promises (but we still don't know about his cables).

And so it goes in the high end, in the never ending search for truth, beauty, good music, and profit

Copyright 1996, Francis Vale, All Rights Reserved
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