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CHORD M-Scaler Review (Upsampler)

Rate this product:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 318 90.3%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 8 2.3%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther

    Votes: 7 2.0%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 19 5.4%

  • Total voters
    352

PassionforSound

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Answering the last part, I didn't know that a talking point would develop that 2X was no good and that only 16X had value. This came about post my testing. How is that a 2X upsample is no good when it invokes the same super long filter? How is that the magic only exists at 16X and all disappears at 2X?

As I understand it, the 16x oversampling allows for the proper use of noise shapers which deals with the noise issues you identified in the 2x and 4x testing where dithering was used instead of noise shaping. Reducing the noise floor can only be beneficial and I'm surprised this wasn't measured and discussed in the original review given that you were provided with a Hugo 2 for the testing.

As to the rest, didn't the two of you in the video ridicule me for not testing 16X against bypass saying it is seamless? Now you say that test is impossible blind because it is not? It seems that both you and Rob didn't know about this delay. I tested bypass to 2X because it is completely seamless.

There was no ridicule there. I stated in the video that I assumed you were not aware that you could test by going from 16x to bypass instead of bypass to 2x. I have a TT2 and M-Scaler on the desk in front of me right now and there is an identical delay when switching all modes - from bypass to 2x, 2x to 4x, etc. Perhaps this is different with the D70s you were using, but I don't believe the gap from 16x to bypass is significant enough to cause auditory memory issues.

Still, I don't know why it should stop you from running this blind test. Have you leave the room between switching and come back when it is changed (or not). Do this a dozen times and see if you can identify the difference.

So, on one hand you are saying how important it is to conduct listening tests with no delay and then you are saying I should leave the room while it's changed and then come back? Which one is it? That would suggest then that you could have actually tested with 16x upsampling because the switching delay doesn't matter. I don't understand why you chose 2x if this extended delay is acceptable for my tests.
 
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amirm

amirm

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So, on one hand you are saying how important it is to conduct listening tests with no delay and then you are saying I should leave the room while it's changed and then come back? Which one is it? That would suggest then that you could have actually tested with 16x upsampling because the switching delay doesn't matter. I don't understand why you chose 2x if this extended delay is acceptable for my tests.
Oh, for me it is critical that the switching be done without delay. This is backed by psychoacoustics and accepted norm in audio research. But your audio belief is different. You listen to one USB cable, unplug it, and plug another and declare it sounds different. So I am offering same protocol here except done blind. In other words, you get to stay consistent with your method but only judging by your ears and only ears.

If you now insist on instantaneous switching, then I suggest retracting all tests you have done without such.
 

PassionforSound

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Oh, for me it is critical that the switching be done without delay. This is backed by psychoacoustics and accepted norm in audio research. But your audio belief is different. You listen to one USB cable, unplug it, and plug another and declare it sounds different. So I am offering same protocol here except done blind. In other words, you get to stay consistent with your method but only judging by your ears and only ears.

If you now insist on instantaneous switching, then I suggest retracting all tests you have done without such

Given the gear and/or budget to buy more gear, I would do it differently, but it's not always possible.
 

tmtomh

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I do provide reliable information on the YouTube channel and there is no evidence presented here that I can see which clearly demonstrates that the M-Scaler is not doing what it claims.


You highlighted here the digital filtering in the marketing of the Blu MkII / M-Scaler, but my point is that the explanation of the purpose of the 'advanced digital filter' (their words, not mine) goes beyond it being 'advanced' and discusses that it is intended to improve the accuracy of the reconstruction of the analog wave form in the time domain. I haven't seen any evidence provided that shows this is not occurring so I don't understand how the claims that the M-Scaler does nothing can be considered reliable. It seems to me to be like testing a car that's been designed for maximum handling and cornering ability by driving as fast as you can in a straight line.

I’m sorry, but you can’t reasonably ask others to prove a negative when you have no plausible hypothesis for the positive. The evidence that the M-Scaler is not doing what it claims is that it’s not possible to do what it claims. And it’s impossible not because we doubt Rob Watts’ intelligence or credentials, or because we think no one can design gear “good enough” to do it. Rather, it’s impossible because what it does simply cannot produce the result he claims it does.

If your response is, “But I know it does do what he claims, because I can hear it,” then we are at an impasse. And in that case it’s the usual impasse: you start with the assumption that everything you hear is objectively true in the same way a measured result is objectively true. Once the epistemological error of treating subjective impressions the same as objective measurement has been committed, everything else follows from that, including but not limited to evaluating competing explanations not based on their scientific and mathematical validity (or lack thereof), but rather based on whether or not they align with or contradict your subjective impression.

As for your car analogy, it’s more like testing a car that’s claimed to be a flying car, and finding nothing under the hood or in the drivetrain that resembles an apparatus capable of flight. Faulting the tester for not measuring the car’s flight performance would in that case be nonsensical - the problem would not be the lack of a proper measurement. The problem would be that no measurement could test the car’s flight because the car is not actually capable of flight.
 
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amirm

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There was no ridicule there.
So what is this?

1658724771301.png


My comment about it was "crazy" according to Rob Watts who said that after chuckling.
 

PassionforSound

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I’m sorry, but you can’t reasonably ask others to prove a negative when you have no plausible hypothesis for the positive. The evidence that the M-Scaler is not doing what it claims is that it’s not possible to do what it claims. And it’s impossible not because we doubt Rob Watts’ intelligence or credentials, or because we think no one can design gear “good enough” to do it. Rather, it’s impossible because what it does simply cannot produce the result he claims it does.

If your response is, “But I know it does do what he claims, because I can hear it,” then we are at an impasse. And in that case it’s the usual impasse: you start with the assumption that everything you hear is objectively true in the same way a measured result is objectively true. Once the epistemological error of treating subjective impressions the same as objective measurement has been committed, everything else follows from that, including but not limited to evaluating competing explanations not based on their scientific and mathematical validity (or lack thereof), but rather based on whether or not they align with or contradict your subjective impression.

As for your car analogy, it’s more like testing a car that’s claimed to be a flying car, and finding nothing under the hood or in the drivetrain that resembles an apparatus capable of flight. Faulting the tester for not measuring the car’s flight performance would in that case be nonsensical - the problem would not be the lack of a proper measurement. The problem would be that no measurement could test the car’s flight because the car is not actually capable of flight.

This is a conversation that will go nowhere because I cannot provide the measurements or data to support Chord's / Rob Watts' claims.

I am also not saying I know that it does what he says. I am merely saying that something is happening that results in a sound that I prefer and I am accepting his explanation in lieu of any other reasonable one. If someone could demonstrate negative traits like added harmonics, I'd accept that happily - it's not about it having to prove or disprove Rob's claims.

There's been no clarity provided about how the theory/hypothesis that the WTA filters are built on (i.e. the benefits of extending the sinc function as close as possible to its infinite products) is wrong. Instead we have this circular argument about how it can't be possible because it isn't possible.

Let's take this to a slightly different, but related topic for a moment. Is the takeaway from all of this that upsampling in general does nothing? Does software like HQ Player offer no benefit to the sound quality?
 

PassionforSound

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So what is this?

View attachment 220319

My comment about it was "crazy" according to Rob Watts who said that after chuckling.

Rob said that, not me. I am not responsible for what others say and I was quick to comment that you might not have been aware because I have no way of knowing and didn't want to assume that I knew your motives or circumstances.
 
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amirm

amirm

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I am merely saying that something is happening that results in a sound that I prefer and I am accepting his explanation in lieu of any other reasonable one.
And we are saying there was no difference in sound that you heard. You can prove us wrong using a test where only your ears are involved.
 

PassionforSound

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And we are saying there was no difference in sound that you heard. You can prove us wrong using a test where only your ears are involved.

I understand. We are both making claims with no actual objective evidence to support them, only subjective experiences (from me) and a lack of evidence from Chord (from you). Let's leave it there.
 

bennetng

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I figured out many people either don't read old posts, or intentionally ignore them. Here is what Amir got when using M Scaler with Hugo2, at July 11:
index.php



...and how it looks like when using a Topping on the first post (July 6)
index.php


So the 2x upscaling adding 20dB noise in one of the devices makes no sense. I mentioned this in page 17 already (July 7). I even attached audio samples to demonstrate the effect of Gaussian dither vs others.

Rob Watts' reply doesn't make sense. Notice the date (July 6), the comment was made BEFORE Amir used the Hugo2 to test M Scaler.
[edit]Added a screenshot to keep record in case the post in head-fi disappeared.
rob.png
 
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amirm

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I understand. We are both making claims with no actual objective evidence to support them, only subjective experiences (from me) and a lack of evidence from Chord (from you). Let's leave it there.
No way. We have ton of objective evidence on my side. And body of research and science that says such an upsampler can't provide the effects you are describing. There is zero "claim" in my review.

For your part, you have the usual unreliable, sighted listening test. I am trying to get this converted to something valid by making the test all about your ears but you don't want to go there.
 

dc655321

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There's been no clarity provided about how the theory/hypothesis that the WTA filters are built on (i.e. the benefits of extending the sinc function as close as possible to its infinite products) is wrong. Instead we have this circular argument about how it can't be possible because it isn't possible.

There were two pieces of info/links given to you already. The first on tap count and filter efficacy, and the second on the time resolution of sampled signals.

Please read them both and ask questions if anything is unclear. But also please don’t throw up the “we don’t know” argument when the fact of the matter is you don’t know.
 

solderdude

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As I understand it, the 16x oversampling allows for the proper use of noise shapers which deals with the noise issues you identified in the 2x and 4x testing where dithering was used instead of noise shaping.

As I understood it 16x uses triangular dither and 2x and 4x uses another type of dither. That is the only difference and would be where 'the magic' is.
RW's theory is that using triangular dither (at high speed) would be more 'accurate' so that even calculated values (in over 24 bit resolution the famous -300dB story) are rendered 'more accurate' which would be the 'magic' and improve the audio things that cannot be measured but easily heard.
A dubious claim with NO presented evidence, not in a technical sense nor with properly made blind tests. All sighted.

that you could test by going from 16x to bypass instead of bypass

Isn't there a level difference ? How on earth can one 'listen' past that ?

I know there is a reluctance to blind test level matched. Even RW does not do this. Weird... if one REALLY wants to know the only relevant test is level matched blind testing with statistical relevant attempts.



Another thing about the timing/impulse response (various filters as well as bypass with Hugo/Dave or another DAC that works well with it.
It would (IMHO) be very easy to look at the impulse response and see how the filters differ.
Frankly this is where the M-scaler is all about yet it is not tested.
Yet, easy to do.
 

PassionforSound

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As I understood it 16x uses triangular dither and 2x and 4x uses another type of dither. That is the only difference and would be where 'the magic' is.
RW's theory is that using triangular dither (at high speed) would be more 'accurate' so that even calculated values (in over 24 bit resolution the famous -300dB story) are rendered 'more accurate' which would be the 'magic' and improve the audio things that cannot be measured but easily heard.
A dubious claim with NO presented evidence, not in a technical sense nor with properly made blind tests. All sighted.



Isn't there a level difference ? How on earth can one 'listen' past that ?

I know there is a reluctance to blind test level matched. Even RW does not do this. Weird... if one REALLY wants to know the only relevant test is level matched blind testing with statistical relevant attempts.



Another thing about the timing/impulse response (various filters as well as bypass with Hugo/Dave or another DAC that works well with it.
It would (IMHO) be very easy to look at the impulse response and see how the filters differ.
Frankly this is where the M-scaler is all about yet it is not tested.
Yet, easy to do.
I'm not sure about the exact approach at 16x and lower rates, but I do believe it is different.

There's no level difference. The M-Scaler pads the output in all modes to allow for the same volume across the board. My only reluctance to blind test is the challenges of the setup when I am doing it on my own. As I said earlier, I hope to rectify this with some group blind tests in the nearish future - I just can't agree to doing it on my own due to lack of time (and, frankly, motivation, but the group testing is different and I am excited for that)

If an impulse measurement would be demonstrative and easy to produce, that's the type of data I am seeking. That is my one and only request - to see actual data that proves or disproves the claims that the M-Scaler does nothing.
 

Dogcoop

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I'm not sure about the exact approach at 16x and lower rates, but I do believe it is different.

There's no level difference. The M-Scaler pads the output in all modes to allow for the same volume across the board

If an impulse measurement would be demonstrative and easy to produce, that's the type of data I am seeking. That is my one and only request - to see actual data that proves or disproves the claims that the M-Scaler does nothing.
Why doesn’t watts perform the impulse measurement and just settle the argument?
Why didn’t you ask watts to do the testing? It is his statement you are trying to prove.
My uninformed opinion is that it would not back up his proclamations of best dac out there.
A slew of information as to why your assumption is impossible has been provided by many posters and you ignore all of it.
Just take the listening tests and make everyone happy.
 

PassionforSound

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Why doesn’t watts perform the impulse measurement and just settle the argument?
Why didn’t you ask watts to do the testing. It is his statement you are trying to prove.
My uninformed opinion is that it would not back up his proclamations of best dac out there.

That's for Rob / Chord to answer. I did ask Rob to share any measurements with me if he wanted to, but we also had a pretty quick turnaround between him arriving home from holidays on the Thursday and me interviewing him while he was still jet-lagged on the Friday.
 

Dogcoop

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That's for Rob / Chord to answer. I did ask Rob to share any measurements with me if he wanted to, but we also had a pretty quick turnaround between him arriving home from holidays on the Thursday and me interviewing him while he was still jet-lagged on the Friday.
More excuses. Do you ever run out of them?
 

the_brunx

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I'm not sure about the exact approach at 16x and lower rates, but I do believe it is different.

There's no level difference. The M-Scaler pads the output in all modes to allow for the same volume across the board. My only reluctance to blind test is the challenges of the setup when I am doing it on my own. As I said earlier, I hope to rectify this with some group blind tests in the nearish future - I just can't agree to doing it on my own due to lack of time (and, frankly, motivation, but the group testing is different and I am excited for that)

If an impulse measurement would be demonstrative and easy to produce, that's the type of data I am seeking. That is my one and only request - to see actual data that proves or disproves the claims that the M-Scaler does nothing.
Let me guess, your group blind test will involve your usual 2 set-ups magic trick
 
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