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Impeccable measurements. Are they the key to success in today's world of high end audio?

Mivera

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#1
Should one developing high end audio gear in today's high end audio landscape, focus on impeccable measurements, or should they focus on trying to achieve what the masses refer to as "musicality"?

I can't help but to notice that a lot of gear that measures impeccably, is highly frowned upon by the crowd who spends the biggest money on audio gear.

Why is this?

Is it a lucrative proposition to assume logic will dictate the choices made by the masses?
 

Opus111

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#2
Depends who your market is. Some like to purchase without auditioning trusting that the impeccable measurements will deliver them sonic bliss. For some the measurements will be sufficient a placebo that they'll get what they were looking for.
 

Mivera

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#3
Depends who your market is. Some like to purchase without auditioning trusting that the impeccable measurements will deliver them sonic bliss. For some the measurements will be sufficient a placebo that they'll get what they were looking for.
What if the measurements weren't published, and you were just aiming for positive subjective impressions? After all most of the guys who spend the big bucks don't even look at the specs. And when in a dealer showroom, who asks for the spec sheet before auditioning a product?
 

Opus111

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#4
If you're aiming for the best subjective impression I reckon you still need to know your market fairly well. Not everyone's looking for transparency. The guys who spend the biggest bucks probably just outsource the procurement to their agents/servants/butler.

If I'm in a dealer showroom I'll probably have done online research first, checking out reviews to narrow down the possibilities. So yep I'd not ask for the spec sheet.
 

Mivera

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#5
But I'm not talking about you. Is the average audiophile consumer exactly like you? If we use amps for an example, Class A are generally known as the best SS amplifier type, yet on paper they don't look all that great. And of course most tube amps measure poorly, yet they are very popular.
 

Opus111

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#6
No, I don't believe there is an 'average audiophile consumer' and even if there was, I'm an outlier in many ways. I'm just a single datapoint - it would be a mistake to extrapolate from me to audiophiles as I'm not really an audiophile, I'm more of a music lover who's also an equipment geek.

In any marketing what's needed are convincing (i.e. plausible) stories. If you came up with a classA amp which satisfied the measurement guys on THD it might sell, depending on the power output and whether your customers wanted to be 'green' or not. Too many variables to be sure.
 

Mivera

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#7
No, I don't believe there is an 'average audiophile consumer' and even if there was, I'm an outlier in many ways. I'm just a single datapoint - it would be a mistake to extrapolate from me to audiophiles as I'm not really an audiophile, I'm more of a music lover who's also an equipment geek.

In any marketing what's needed are convincing (i.e. plausible) stories. If you came up with a classA amp which satisfied the measurement guys on THD it might sell, depending on the power output and whether your customers wanted to be 'green' or not. Too many variables to be sure.
I guess a good example would be Mark Levinson amps. The legendary No 33 was admired and praised as the gold reference standard of musicality for many years. Now their flagship is the No 53. It measures far far better, yet the same folks who praised the No 33, think the No 53 is like listening to nails on the chalkboard.
 
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NorthSky

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#8
Just a very quick intermission: Opus111, I am noticing that in the last 45 minutes or so you are the only member with that post just above.
The site was down for me, due to a server error.
I looked @ the file (very large document) related to that servor error, copied & pasted it but to no avail.

That's all, I just wanted to mention it; and perhaps some parts of the world have access to it while in North America we don't? ...I just don't know...I go with what I observe as they come and go.

Now back on track...
 

Mivera

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#9
Just a very quick intermission: Opus111, I am noticing that in the last 45 minutes or so you are the only member with that post just above.
The site was down for me, due to a server error.
I looked @ the file (very large document) related to that servor error, copied & pasted it but to no avail.

That's all, I just wanted to mention it; and perhaps some parts of the world have access to it while in North America we don't? ...I just don't know...I go with what I observe as they come and go.

Now back on track...
Yeah went down for me too.
 

NorthSky

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#10
Yeah went down for me too.
Yes Mike, I was suspecting that; and perhaps Opus111's post just above was when the site started back to be accessible.
In my estimate we were down for 30-45 minutes...roughly.
This is the longest time so far, and this is roughly the 5th or 6th time that I noticed those type of interruptions, but most of them were very short lived.
 

Mivera

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#11
Yes Mike, I was suspecting that; and perhaps Opus111's post just above was when the site started back to be accessible.
In my estimate we were down for 30-45 minutes...roughly.
This is the longest time so far, and this is roughly the 5th or 6th time that I noticed those type of interruptions, but most of them were very short lived.
Must be the subjectivists attacking :)
 

amirm

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#12
Yes we did have a rush of activity from suspect IP addresses that our ISP just blocked.

Back to your question, I am afraid if you are after the larger market of high-end audiophiles, they don't care about measurements. They go by word of mouth, look of the product, reviews, etc.
 

Opus111

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#13
I guess a good example would be Mark Levinson amps. The legendary No 33 was admired and praised as the gold reference standard of musicality for many years. Now their flagship is the No 53. It measures far far better, yet the same folks who praised the No 33, think the No 53 is like listening to nails on the chalkboard.
Is it just an opinion or have they offered descriptions of the sound that you can verify for yourself? 'Listening to nails on the chalkboard' sounds like a description of harsh sound - the rest of the system details would have to be uncovered to get to the bottom of this.

@Bob : I noticed the forum giving me an error for some time too. When it came up again I was logged out, so I logged back in and that triggered the error once again. Now though it seems fine.
 

NorthSky

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#14
http://view-source.www.audioscience...hp?threads/what-have-you-watched-recently.44/

I looked @ the source, copied the link, pasted it, but it did not come out.
Next time I'll try to copy the full file (quite large) and I'll copy it later on when the site will be back in business, in order to assist Amir. ...Because my little finger is telling me that we will see that "server error" reoccurring; just a good hunch that I got.

@Opus, you were the first member to be back online. :)

@Amir, how much relevance should we attach to high-end audiofiles...from their word of mouth?
 
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Mivera

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#15
Yes we did have a rush of activity from suspect IP addresses that our ISP just blocked.

Back to your question, I am afraid if you are after the larger market of high-end audiophiles, they don't care about measurements. They go by word of mouth, look of the product, reviews, etc.
Have you ever compared the MK No 33's with the 53? I'm just wondering if these negative reports are for the same reasons the same type of people don't like the standard Hypex based offerings that measure impeccable. I finally got around to doing my own subjective testing on the Nord input buffer boards for the Hypex NC-500 amps, that were based on my idea, but the final circuit layout and resistors wasn't my design. They are designed so you can pop in dual dip 8 opamp's (discrete or IC) into a socket, and tune the amps to your own personal subjective tastes. I didn't measure them, but I did find the noise floor was higher than the standard OEM Hypex boards that are based on the LM 4562 IC opamp. The prototype boards I built that inspired this design had a noise floor of -140 DB, so it was either the layout, or resistors that were causing the noise. I found them to be quite dull sounding compared to the board I built, even with the same discrete opamp installed. However 100% of people who bought these amps with the upgraded boards, loaded with the discrete opamps, were blown away by the sound. Even guys who hated class D prior to their experience with these amps. This was a real eye opener for me. I would love to see the measurement data of the amps with both buffers installed and try to determine the measured attributes that are causing the percieved superior sound.
 
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Mivera

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#16
Is it just an opinion or have they offered descriptions of the sound that you can verify for yourself? 'Listening to nails on the chalkboard' sounds like a description of harsh sound - the rest of the system details would have to be uncovered to get to the bottom of this.

@Bob : I noticed the forum giving me an error for some time too. When it came up again I was logged out, so I logged back in and that triggered the error once again. Now though it seems fine.
A lot of people call them harsh sounding, fatiguing and not musical. Same folks who say the same about the Mola Mola Kaluga's. They call it "The class D sound" But I think what it really is, is the sound of the source that they don't like because none of the flaws are being masked. Because when a different input buffer is used, that "class D sound" seems to disappear.
 

Opus111

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#17
I've in the past several months been corresponding with a customer of the 'Modulus-86'. Perhaps you're already aware of that amp - it has impeccable measurements (THD+N with three leading zeros or was it four?) but he wasn't so happy with the sound quality. I have suggested several modifications to it which has increased his listening satisfaction. I very much doubt these mods changed the measurements. So no, impeccable measurements aren't the holy grail.
 

amirm

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#18
Have you ever compared the MK No 33's with the 53? I'm just wondering if these negative reports are for the same reasons the same type of people don't like the standard Hypex based offerings that measure impeccable.
I have not. But I also have the Mark Levinson 532 reference amplifier (Class AB) and the 53 outperforms it at every level.

It is just pure prejudice against the notion of "digital amplification." Nothing about the sound.
 

Opus111

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#19
A lot of people call them harsh sounding, fatiguing and not musical. Same folks who say the same about the Mola Mola Kaluga's. They call it "The class D sound" But I think what it really is, is the sound of the source that they don't like because none of the flaws are being masked. Because when a different input buffer is used, that "class D sound" seems to disappear.
I can only suggest that you check the input impedance of the classD offerings. The raw classD circuits from Hypex I recall have fairly low (3kohm is it?) input impedance and this does present an issue for the electronics driving them.

Sounds to me like jumping to a conclusion that 'none of the flaws are being masked'.
 

Mivera

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#20
I've in the past several months been corresponding with a customer of the 'Modulus-86'. Perhaps you're already aware of that amp - it has impeccable measurements (THD+N with three leading zeros or was it four?) but he wasn't so happy with the sound quality. I have suggested several modifications to it which has increased his listening satisfaction. I very much doubt these mods changed the measurements. So no, impeccable measurements aren't the holy grail.
Yes I understand that as well. For example I was able to achieve a noise floor of -140 Db and a THD+N rating of 0.0003% out of my input board using a similar discrete circuit, yet it sounded much better to me than the LM 4562 based buffer which also measured impeccably. So there must be something else going on that's beyond the scope of industry standard measurements causing this.
 
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