My crazy past

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Several of my readers know I’ve written a book called Confessions of an Audiophile. It’s a project I’ve been laboring over for a bit now and I am excited to finally have it in the editing stage.

The forthcoming book is a memoir of sorts—my crazy life starting in the mid-60s through today. Plenty of debaucheries, pot smoking, inside secrets, and funny stories. A few heartfelt ones too.

I figured it might be fun, from time to time, to share a few of the tales from within its pages. Today, part one of The Bedini Brothers.

To give an idea, of all the whacky claims and schemes of tweak manufacturers I encountered, none were as audacious as the Bedini brothers.

John and Gary Bedini ran a company that made respectable audio products like amplifiers. I had always admired the brother’s work and even copied a few of their great circuit ideas, like replacing the power amplifier’s emitter resistors with heavy power diodes. But the Bedini brothers were also pretty immersed in the same sorts of paranoid conspiracy notions as John Iverson had been. They, like Iverson, were bright and gifted designers with a few screws loose.

The Bedinis had said they could violate the laws of physics by obviating the need for wires to connect loudspeakers to power amplifiers. Wireless speakers had yet to be invented, but this was different. Where today’s wireless speakers get power from the wall socket and signal from radio waves, the Bedinis claimed to have defied the laws of physics by transferring great sums of power through the ether without wires. Few among us gave much thought to these ridiculous claims until another friend of mine, fellow designer Owen Bennett of Kinergetics, stopped by for a visit. He had gotten ahold of their product and debunked the entire scheme.

The Bedinis were selling wooden blocks with speaker binding post connectors on each end. A short pair of speaker cables connected one end of each block to the power amplifier, while the other end was tied to the speakers through a tiny, thin “guide wire” to direct the ethereal flow of electrons.

Owen cut one of the blocks in half, exposing a simple copper bar connecting the block’s inputs and outputs. Essentially a thick wire. Total bullshit. We enjoyed a good laugh together, and it wasn’t until a few months later I thought of it again when I was at CES in Vegas. The Bedinis were demonstrating their “miracle” technology not more than a few doors down from our display room, and the devil in me couldn’t resist a peek.

Their demo room was jam packed with people anxious for the demo. The speakers were Dick Sequerra’s wonderful Metronomes, and the system sounded excellent. Soon the demo was over, and John Bedini began milking the crowd, extolling the virtues of his wireless speaker cables. The BS was thick enough, and I wasn’t wearing my waders, so I figured it was time to leave and quietly tried exiting the room. Wasn’t going to happen. John spotted me and called out my name, whereby every eye in the room turned in my direction. I was trapped.

Part two, tomorrow.