I am also not sure if he is implying audibly better sound. The ca 87dB SINAD are a bit borderline especially if one might hook up a power amp to amplify the not so clean signal by another let’s say 26dB or so.
Yes, that is the review I read. Your statement that I quoted is helpful in understanding Amir's reviews. I am finally at the stage (after kids and space demands) that I can rebuild my audio system and as part of deciding what to buy, I am researching and balancing cost, technical performance, hearing limitations, and my room layout. Seems more confusing now then it was way back when.
On the one hand there are threads like this that indicate human hearing is limited, which I agree with, and that I would not be able to hear the difference between DACs. On the other hand, Amir's tests reveal differences between DACs, and those like the Node get poor reviews because those DACs are a bit borderline as you say, so maybe there is some audible drawback. It is confusing when deciding what to buy after after being told (in no uncertain terms : ) ), that I can't hear the difference and also reading the test results for the Node (and other DACs) that show the differences and being told this a 'bit border line'. When you say a bit border line does that mean that it could be audible in certain systems? I think that is where my confusion lies. If I can't hear it, I won't worry about it, but if it is borderline and maybe I can be heard, I will avoid it when purchasing.
Perhaps the safe option is for me to buy a device with good test results, just in case, without going crazy on price/performance. I downloaded and listened to the sound files with and without jitter and it was not detectable by me at lower levels so I am not worried about a bit of jitter in the digital stream. See link at Jitter Examples