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Bait and switch issue? [POLL]

Is there a bait and switch issue? (you can select up to 2 choices)

  • Yes

  • No

  • Maybe Yes

  • Maybe No

  • Others

  • I would like Amir to do an ASR gathering to further investigate


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Pdxwayne

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Let's assume this statement is 100% correct: Transparent DAC and HPA (as measured by Amir) should all sound the same.

Since joining ASR more than 1.5 years ago, I have purchased 5 DAC and 4 HPA (for features and different usages), all measured as transparent and recommended by Amir. My experiences so far give me serious doubts about the statement above. If the statement above is 100% correct, then I can only assume many of the items I purchased contained inferior components as compared to the "golden samples" sent to Amir for measurements.

My experience so far (more links at the bottom of post if you have lots of time to read):

DAC:
Ordered 5, returned 2, and one I kept has observed differences.
*Returned SMSL M500 because the screen is defective. This is either very bad quality control or using lesser quality parts.....
*Returned Topping D30Pro because of various reasons. First of all, I noticed that it sounded not as clean as Gustard X16. SINAD and freq responses as measured by me looked fine. But, It did the worse in loopback captured tests in comparison to E30 and X16. Had strange noise issue when playing back diff of captured file vs original. I could even get 8/8 ABX tests when comparing captured file vs original. This is still an unsolved mystery. Could this caused by using lower quality and/or out of tolerance parts in certain runs?
*My Gustard X16 has channel imbalance of ~0.2db. Did the manufacturer use slightly out of spec components for certain runs?
*My Gustard X16 gives different clues when running online blind timing tests, when using 44.1 vs 48Khz format in Windows laptop. It is not feasible to do a proper blind test at home to satisfied the objectivists. But, I welcome an official blind test challenge at Amir's place anytime. Anyway, I wonder if this could be caused by poorer parts quality...

HPA:
Ordered 4, returned 1, and two I kept have observed differences.
*Returned SMSL HO200 because the low bass sounded not as good as L30 (only when using K371 headphone and not my other headphone). Only did voltage matched sighted tests and not feasible to perform blind tests at home. Could part quality cause such difference?
*I got a replacement L30 due to a recall (caused by static electric shock issue). The replacement L30 is hotter than the original by several Celsius (as measured on the top of the case). It was verified via infrared thermometer. Could inferior parts cause higher temperature?
*When using in a chain, my Gustard H16 provides different clues as L30, when running online blind timing tests. Again, I could only perform sighted voltage matched checks. Not feasible to perform blink tests at home. But, I welcome official ASR blind test challenge at Amir's place anytime. Could part quality cause such differences?

Of the 9 items I bought, 6 of them have observed issues/differences. 6/9!!!

So what do yo think? Other than some of you will still think that most of my observations could be just "imagination" and "bias", what are the other logical explanations?

Could the Chinese manufacturer(s) (I wonder if Gustard, SMSL, Topping, etc. are using the same general contractor) knowingly substitute lower quality and/or out of spec components for certain runs?

Or, maybe they all still measured fine (using Amir's methods), but due to certain not yet known reasons, when used in specific chain for specific test, they are just not sounding the same?

Is it time to do an official gathering at Amir's place to further investigate? : )



-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
If you have plenty of free time on hand, here are some links that provide more details.
Topping D30pro sounded different:

Gustard X16 sounded different mainly due to 0.2db off:

Gustard X16 sounded different when using 44.1K vs 48K format to perform online timing tests:

SMSL HO200 bass notes different:

Gustard H16 sounded different than L30 when performing online timing tests:
 

TimF

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I might ask anyone on the ASR website to list the tech products such as cell phones, autos, audio equipment, cameras, computers that they are pleased with as they are. What is your general level of acceptance and satisfaction with tech products? Are there any tech products that tickle your fancy as they are with pros and cons as all things have in the real world?
 

restorer-john

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Personally, I don't think it is a good idea to:

a) base your buying decisions on an ASR review with a sample group of one. We know components change throughout a product's cycle and rarely for the purposes of improving the product- usually it is to save costs. After the initial flurry around a favourable review has died off, internal components get changed and have done for many decades- not just with Chinese gear, although they are the current kings of dodgy component subsitution and fakery.

b) buy low cost commodity "HiFi" and expect Rolls Royce performance and longevity.

c) have unrealistic expectations.
 
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Pdxwayne

Pdxwayne

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I might ask anyone on the ASR website to list the tech products such as cell phones, autos, audio equipment, cameras, computers that they are pleased with as they are. What is your general level of acceptance and satisfaction with tech products? Are there any tech products that tickle your fancy as they are with pros and cons as all things have in the real world?
Regarding DAC and HPA, the expectations are simple for me. My items should have same measurements as the advertised measurements.
 
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Pdxwayne

Pdxwayne

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Personally, I don't think it is a good idea to:

a) base your buying decisions on an ASR review with a sample group of one. We know components change throughout a product's cycle and rarely for the purposes of improving the product- usually it is to save costs. After the initial flurry around a favourable review has died off, internal components get changed and have done for many decades- not just with Chinese gear, although they are the current kings of dodgy component subsitution and fakery.

b) buy low cost commodity "HiFi" and expect Rolls Royce performance and longevity.

c) have unrealistic expectations.
I fully expect manufacturers to use cheaper components when possible. But, the performance should not change from the advertised numbers.
 
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Pdxwayne

Pdxwayne

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Do you know any were outside spec? (Leave aside the broken screen of the M500 of course)
I don't have good enough measuring equipments to know for sure. Thus would love Amir to do a gathering to further investigate.
 

Jimbob54

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I don't have good enough measuring equipments to know for sure. Thus would love Amir to do a gathering to further investigate.
There are several issues in play here:

1. On the measurements Amir usually runs, have any of your samples differed significantly from his- this we will likely never know for reasons you state

2. Have any of your samples differed significantly in performance from Amir's samples on measurements Amir hasnt done ? Same answer as above plus Amir likely doesnt have the DUT anymore to do more tests. I am thinking here of examples like the OG M500 which it transpired threw out large HD if you dared play stereo recordings- not detected in original testing as signals are mono , or single channel or both.

3. If either of the above is true, could that be the reason you perceive the differences you state or could other factors be in play? Impossible to say.

My problem with the whole "changed components" line of thinking is that means the manuf. not only changed components but did so in a way that created audibly different results - in devices that are (allegedly) way beyond transparency. Swapping components (even for cheaper ) shouldnt be automatically be construed as changing audible performance for the worse. It would be pretty narrow sighted for a manuf of mass market products like these to change a component to save cents on the unit but make performance significantly worse. Getting found out for that would be suicide. Implies they either didnt test or didnt care.

This being said, we know certain manufacturers do somewhat game the system to hit the metrics analysed here and elsewhere. It would be very bad for the industry as a whole to find out that not only were products designed to hit certain metrics knowingly at the expense of others not commonly analysed but perhaps more important overall to the user experience.

I also agree with John, we shouldnt expect miracles and have to accept compromises somewhere , but these need to be above board.

For those reasons and likely many more I answered "Other"
 

Katji

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So what do yo think? Other than some of you will still think that most of my observations could be just "imagination" and "bias",

Yes and yes.


Or, maybe they all still measured fine (using Amir's methods), but due to certain not yet known reasons, when used in specific chain for specific test, they are just not sounding the same?
The only evidence I have of that is what you say. .........And what you keep saying.

Different capacitors whatever would not cause them to "sound" different.
 
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Pdxwayne

Pdxwayne

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Yes and yes.



The only evidence I have of that is what you say. .........And what you keep saying.

Different capacitors whatever would not cause them to "sound" different.
It seems you simply have no time to read some of my threads as listed at the end of my first post.

The d30pro thread involved measurements and abx.

The gustard x16 0.2db thread involved measurements, blind tests and abx.

Anyway, no matter what I do, even after abx, blind tests, people will still doubt.....

That is why I would like Amir to do an ASR gathering to further investigate. In the gathering, I would like Amir to work with me to do some blind tests. Hopefully that way people will be less doubtful......
 

Shadrach

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Stick with the ones you like the sound of best.
Many many studies have been done that explain why we hear what we hear.
My stereo sounds different every day. I know when I've got a decent one when the percentage of good sounding days is larger then the days it sounds a bit ropey.
It's quite interesting I think because it's a self reinforcing cycle, I listen. It sounds good. I feel better. The better I feel the better the stereo sounds. I'm good with that. I do not want to be spending my time stressed about a stereo system.

You seem to imply that Amir is getting sent golden samples. That's quite a serious allegation and a risky for the manufacturer given the possiblity of Amir getting sent an off the shelf unit by one of the contributors here is quite high.

Not sure I like how you've picked out Chinese manufacturers. I don't think ethnicity is relevant.

To make a case you would need to measure a few of each brand and compare the results.
There are always variations in manufacturing tolerances and once in a while a real horror slips through quality control.
 

_theLaughingman

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You may dislike the opinion that is being shared, but my assumption based on what you have typed out, it seems that you have a bit of subconscious bias due to having had one or two failures. Once your brain is colored in with doubt and bias, a lot of times the subconscious mind is looking for something wrong, even if you're not intending for it to be there.
On the flip side, there is the possibility that you have had faulty products. In this age of mass-produced products, quality control of individual parts tends to be pretty poor.
 
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Pdxwayne

Pdxwayne

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Stick with the ones you like the sound of best.
Many many studies have been done that explain why we hear what we hear.
My stereo sounds different every day. I know when I've got a decent one when the percentage of good sounding days is larger then the days it sounds a bit ropey.
It's quite interesting I think because it's a self reinforcing cycle, I listen. It sounds good. I feel better. The better I feel the better the stereo sounds. I'm good with that. I do not want to be spending my time stressed about a stereo system.

You seem to imply that Amir is getting sent golden samples. That's quite a serious allegation and a risky for the manufacturer given the possiblity of Amir getting sent an off the shelf unit by one of the contributors here is quite high.

Not sure I like how you've picked out Chinese manufacturers. I don't think ethnicity is relevant.

To make a case you would need to measure a few of each brand and compare the results.
There are always variations in manufacturing tolerances and once in a while a real horror slips through quality control.
Let me make it very clear:

I am not making this an ethnicity issue.

It just happened that all the DAC and HPA I bought are made in China......
 

Katji

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Many many studies have been done that explain why we hear what we hear.
My stereo sounds different every day. I know when I've got a decent one when the percentage of good sounding days is larger then the days it sounds a bit ropey.
etc. But [audiophiles] deny psychology and neuropsychology. Deny the relevance, keep it compartmentalised. Very compartmentalised, must avoid any awareness of obsessive-compulsion.
Not sure I like how you've picked out Chinese manufacturers. I don't think ethnicity is relevant.
That is relevant right here.
 

Timcognito

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This year I have replaced my tankless water heater, dishwasher, garbage disposer, clothes washer and dryer with top rated and reviewed brands after much research and expense. In each case I have found that they have more electronics and better user interface (not the GD) and cheaper construction and equal to poorer performance than the 10-15 yr old lower level predecessor. We are talking Bosch and LG here. The dish washer is very quiet though (love that). Water use should be better but I have not checked. I think supply chain issues due to the world pandemic may have played a role. On the other hand my pre-pandemic LG OLED TV has been a godsend with out a single issue.
 
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Pdxwayne

Pdxwayne

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This year I have replaced my tankless water heater, dishwasher, garbage disposer, clothes washer and dryer with top rated and reviewed brands after much research and expense. In each case I have found that they have more electronics and better user interface (not the GD) and cheaper construction and equal to poorer performance than the 10-15 yr old lower level predecessor. We are talking Bosch and LG here. The dish washer is very quiet though (love that). Water use should be better but I have not checked. I think supply chain issues do to the world pandemic may have played a role. On the other hand my pre-pandemic LG OLED TV has been a godsend with out a single issue.
I replaced my dishwasher earlier this year. Finding a Bosch in stock locally was impossible...

I ended up getting a Whirlpool on sales from Costco. So far I like it. Much quieter than my old one.

Also, due to pandemic labor shortage issue, the installer for Costco said they can't make it to my home for a few weeks after my dishwasher arrived. I ended up installed it myself.
 

_theLaughingman

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I replaced my dishwasher earlier this year. Finding a Bosch in stock locally was impossible...

I ended up getting a Whirlpool on sales from Costco. So far I like it. Much quieter than my old one.

Also, due to pandemic labor shortage issue, the installer for Costco said they can't make it to my home for a few weeks after my dishwasher arrived. I ended up installed it myself.
I bought the Whirlpool Dish washer rated for 48dB noise level solely because I have an open kitchen layout that is by my office and I wanted to minimize the noise from it while I listen to music. Priorities!! :cool::cool:
 
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