The reverse effect

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The reverse effect

We jump up and down enough about proof. This doesn't match up for me, so prove it!

In other words, since it doesn't match my version of reality then it is incumbent upon you to change that for me—something that simply isn't going to happen. To any of us.

What happens when the tables are turned?

Years ago, back in the prehistoric days of high-end audio, my old partner, Stan, and I ventured out to a dealer to try and sell our little phono stage. After a 4 hour journey we arrived at the dealer's showroom only to discover the dealer had forgotten we were coming. Sigh.

The person left to run that retail shop was a fellow by the name of Mike Moffat—who turned out to be the store's repair technician. Today, Mike is 1/2 owner of the cool company, Schiit Audio.

As Stan and I had nothing else to do after our long journey, we hung out at the store with Mike, chatting up all things audio. At one point, Mike, the consummate audio geek, asked us if we'd like to hear something cool. Of course!

He sat us down in front of a pair of Quad electrostats and played for us some Fleetwood Mac piece. Sounded quite good. Then, he said, "ok, I am going to change something and you tell me what you hear."

"What are you changing?" we asked.

"Doesn't matter," he replied. "Just listen."

OMG. Amazing. Night and day different. We went back and forth for perhaps 15 minutes, the difference between A and B was remarkable—no proof needed here.

Turns out he was simply switching speaker cables: lamp cord versus Litz wire.

That was the first time in my life I had even considered the idea that cables matter. 

What was really interesting was Mike's thoughts on the matter. When asked why he kept secret what he was changing until after the demo, he explained that as soon as he tried setting up the experiment by announcing what he was doing, arms got crossed and the person's defense mechanism went on high.

Once told the impossible was about to happen, there was no way they could hear any difference.

I have always found this fascinating.

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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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