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AverLAB: Understanding THD+N

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#1

This tutorial by @atomicbob complements the video. I feel it emphasizes that a midground between measurements and objective listening is important to consider. E.G. when I first got into high end audio in the 1970's Harry Pearson and The Absolute Sound were very influential in the high end audio world. HP mainly dismissed measurements as long as they were not grossly bad and used his ears to judge equipment. His endorsement could actually make or break a company. Over the years I found myself listening to several high end two channel systems using Recommended Components from TAS and was never disappointed. Vinyl at that time of course.
 
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pozz

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#3
atomicbob's conclusions and reasoning are incorrect because he does not take psychoacoustic characteristics into account.

This thread has general information on audibility: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...-thresholds-of-amp-and-dac-measurements.5734/

More important is the psychoacoustic masking phenomenon, which describes the inability to hear harmonic and other kinds of distortions. This has been measured, by the way.
 
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pozz

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#4
E.G. when I first got into high end audio in the 1970's Harry Pearson and The Absolute Sound were very influential in the high end audio world. HP mainly dismissed measurements as long as they were not grossly bad and used his ears to judge equipment. His endorsement could actually make or break a company. Over the years I found myself listening to several high end two channel systems using Recommended Components from TAS and was never disappointed. Vinyl at that time of course.
What does your system look like now? Do you still follow TAS?
 

amirm

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#5
HP mainly dismissed measurements as long as they were not grossly bad and used his ears to judge equipment.
Ears are better than measurements. Alas, no reviewer I know uses just their ears. They use their brain, prejudices, incorrect testing protocol, etc. to arrive at conclusions that have little to do with the sound that came into their ear.

They get lucky that their hear, and that of audiophiles is very poor and not sensitive to non-linear distortions. So even when they recommend equipment that readily distorts the sound, the person following their advice likely doesn't hear it. Instead they are biased by their recommendation to think it sounds better. And it does until placebo wears off and the audiophile chases the next piece of gear.

As to the video, it is excellent but we follow the same advice given. My distortion ratings are always next to FFT showing the spectrum of the distortion. And I routinely comment on that spectrum in my reviews. We are not hooking up a dumb THD+N meter like people used to do years ago.

Finally, there is a point in distortion and noise where we can declare a piece of equipment as audibly transparent. Once those distortion spikes and noise get below threshold of hearing, you can have confidence that no human being can hear those artifacts. In sharp contrast, the unreliable subjective review may not apply to a trained listener who is much better than the reviewer in hearing such artifacts. This point is often lost in criticism of THD+N.
 
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#6
What does your system look like now? Do you still follow TAS?
No unfortunately after HP left TAS in 2012 the quality of the reviews declined. I don't follow TAS or Stereophile any longer. Innerfidelity was useful when Tyll was at the helm, not so much now.

At the moment since I am living in a flat and want to be considerate of my neighbours I enjoy music through headphones only. I have always preferred DACs designed by Mike Moffat since I owned a Theta DS Pro Prime back in the day so my main chain is Yggy A2 > Saga > Kenzie amp > HD800S. For CIEMS I use Perfect Seal Decas driven by the Yggy > Vali 2. Can't drive IEMs from a transformer coupled tube amp with an output impedance of 32 Ohms.

I plan to purchase RAAL-requisite SR1a phones driven by a Schiit Vidar or two in the next month or so. I find this forum interesting because it is where the audio objectivists hang out. Since I have never believed better measuring gear absolutely has to sound better you can consider me a subjectivist.
 
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pozz

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#7
No unfortunately after HP left TAS in 2012 the quality of the reviews declined. I don't follow TAS or Stereophile any longer. Innerfidelity was useful when Tyll was at the helm, not so much now.

At the moment since I am living in a flat and want to be considerate of my neighbours I enjoy music through headphones only. I have always preferred DACs designed by Mike Moffat since I owned a Theta DS Pro Prime back in the day so my main chain is Audirvana+ > Yggy A2 > Saga > Kenzie amp > HD800S. For CIEMS I use Perfect Seal Decas driven by the Yggy > Vali 2.

I plan to purchase RAAL-requisite SR1a phones driven by a Schiit Vidar or two in the next month or so. I find this forum interesting because it is where the audio objectivists hang out. Since I do not believe better measuring gear has to sound better you can consider me a subjectivist.
The HD800S are nice headphones. Best ones I've ever heard.

Welcome to ASR. If you stick around and join the debates I'm sure you'll like the community and find something useful.
 
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