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Is it audiophoolia to care about SINAD differences which have no correlation in blind listening tests? H2/H3 distortion 'enriches the sound'?

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I think of ASR as an engineering forum not a hobby or music forum. I know it’s not really very technically rigorous (usually) once we plebeian members chime in and dilute the good scientific work Amir has done. SINAD is a number only an engineer should really love. But I do appreciate good engineering. And it is a measure of at least that.
Here's my issue - it's possible to create engineering metrics that correlate to sound quality. Unfortunately, they are scarce, are derived from perceptual science, and ASR and the larger audio community is not equipped to measure them, create them or discuss them.

SINAD is a measuring of excessive, unnecessary engineering excellence. It's like saying a Ferrari is the best car because they machine their washers the flattest. The uselessness of the metric is illustrated by the fact that the products with the highest SINAD also have worst feature set, while AVR products, which include everything from radios to phono preamps and extensive, sophisticated equalization, are ranked poorly.
 

Gringoaudio1

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Here's my issue - it's possible to create engineering metrics that correlate to sound quality. Unfortunately, they are scarce, are derived from perceptual science, and ASR and the larger audio community is not equipped to measure them, create them or discuss them.

SINAD is a measuring of excessive, unnecessary engineering excellence. It's like saying a Ferrari is the best car because they machine their washers the flattest. The uselessness of the metric is illustrated by the fact that the products with the highest SINAD also have worst feature set, while AVR products, which include everything from radios to phono preamps and extensive, sophisticated equalization, are ranked poorly.
Indeed many of these high SINAD products from wherever are indeed not great by dint of poor feature sets and useability. These defects don’t negate the achievement of high SINAD. Completely illogical. The washer analogy is ridiculous. I love it’s creativity though. SINAD as high as we’ve seen it is indeed a misuse of engineering resources when these companies should do some basic market research and user interface research with those resources.
Also what are these mysterious metrics you speak of in paragraph 1?
This is unfortunately not a beauty contest. Good features in the absence of good SINAD (a signifier of good engineering) is a fail here at ASR. Good Product Design and Industrial Design is mentioned by Amir but bad is clearly not a deal breaker here.
I have average/sufficient equipment BTW. I had some so-called high gear when I was better off and I bought it for its visual and status appeal while thinking it was the best performing as well. I see where you are coming from.
 
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BobbyTimmons

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And FWIW, I don't pay SINAD much mind beyond the 'OK' level , even though the argument now seems to be "BUT THEY MIGHT ADD UP!".
Thanks you can contribute to the topic not only add to the pile of pedantic complaints about the "citation format" of the quote in the opening post you and couple others have been cluttering up the thread with. Remember I can't edit a single punctuation mark in the first post without facing accusations of "post defacto editing" from the same crowd.

I'd love to edit the first post to remove the quote. It would stop more debates about "citation formats". Just the same OCD types that complained about it also don't allow "post defacto" editing. If I edited the first post I would be risking even more ire from the same crowd saying "how dare you use post defacto editing to remove the thing I complained about". For that reason the "citation format" has to stand. I'm crossing my fingers there won't be another one to complain about it.

'OK' THD+noise is vanishingly low compared to audible defects routinely introduced by e.g. room acoustics, speakers. Utter electronic SINAD purity beyond that is way down the list of things to be chased after.
Yes.

Maybe it would be better to write the specifications as THD+N instead of SINAD? People read one DAC has a SINAD of 120 and the other has a SINAD of 80. They might think it was an important difference. They might think the DAC with a SINAD of 120 would be audibly different. A lot of YouTubers say DACs sound better, telling people to upgrade to ones with a higher SINAD based on reviews here. The difference is only between SINAD 80 and 120 are the vanishingly low numbers, 0.01% THD+N and 0.0001% THD+N.
 
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BobbyTimmons

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Here's my issue - it's possible to create engineering metrics that correlate to sound quality. Unfortunately, they are scarce, are derived from perceptual science, and ASR and the larger audio community is not equipped to measure them, create them or discuss them.

SINAD is a measuring of excessive, unnecessary engineering excellence. It's like saying a Ferrari is the best car because they machine their washers the flattest. The uselessness of the metric is illustrated by the fact that the products with the highest SINAD also have worst feature set, while AVR products, which include everything from radios to phono preamps and extensive, sophisticated equalization, are ranked poorly.
Measuring SINAD is like measuring the roundness of water pipes with a coordinate measuring machine to find out if they meet the spec. Up to a point the roundness of water pipes importantly correlates with their performance. Beyond that point it's uncorrelated. The world's most perfectly round water pipe might not perform better for the end customer than a standardly round water pipe. Once the water pipes meet the spec for roundness their performance and their further roundness become uncorrelated.

In an ideal world reviewers would test for things like durability. Just it's not realistic to ask reviewers to do that. RTINGS are testing OLEDs for durability and it looks like a huge expense.
 
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Justdafactsmaam

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“Is it audiophoolia to care about SINAD differences which have no correlation in blind listening tests? H2/H3 distortion 'enriches the sound'?”

I think it’s pedantic and even toxic to care about what other people care about. As long as the meaning and utility of SINAD is correctly represented what anyone cares about is their own business.
 

Gringoaudio1

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“Is it audiophoolia to care about SINAD differences which have no correlation in blind listening tests? H2/H3 distortion 'enriches the sound'?”

I think it’s pedantic and even toxic to care about what other people care about. As long as the meaning and utility of SINAD is correctly represented what anyone cares about is their own business.
Stop making sense.
 

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Indeed many of these high SINAD products from wherever are indeed not great by dint of poor feature sets and useability. These defects don’t negate the achievement of high SINAD. Completely illogical. The washer analogy is ridiculous. I love it’s creativity though. SINAD as high as we’ve seen it is indeed a misuse of engineering resources when these companies should do some basic market research and user interface research with those resources.
Also what are these mysterious metrics you speak of in paragraph 1?
This is unfortunately not a beauty contest. Good features in the absence of good SINAD (a signifier of good engineering) is a fail here at ASR. Good Product Design and Industrial Design is mentioned by Amir but bad is clearly not a deal breaker here.
I have average/sufficient equipment BTW. I had some so-called high gear when I was better off and I bought it for its visual and status appeal while thinking it was the best performing as well. I see where you are coming from.

David Griesinger talks about a quality he studies called 'presence' if memory serves, which relates to clarity and intelligibility. He studies concert halls. Geddes and his wife Lydia Lee have a metric called Gx if I am remembering right, which is a distortion metric which correlates to perception if not preference. Both metrics came from study of human beings, in contrast to every other audio metric, which is simply an artifact of our measurement apparatus.

My washer analogy isn't that ridiculous. -120db sinad represents the elimination of artifacts that are the equivalent of 1000 km away, compared to artifacts that are 1m away. If, for example, we need a 1mm thick washer, -120db is like saying we are holding a tolerance of 100 nanometers, which I believe is 100 times smaller than a red blood cell. Maybe my measurements are off by a few orders of magnitude but you get the idea. I'd rather have a phono input.
 

DLS79

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Maybe my measurements are off by a few orders of magnitude but you get the idea. I'd rather have a phono input.

You are an outlier compared to the majority of consumers (I am as well in some cases), companies engineer products to a specific audience, and people wanting a phono input is a very small audience!
 

Anton D

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You are an outlier compared to the majority of consumers (I am as well in some cases), companies engineer products to a specific audience, and people wanting a phono input is a very small audience!
Are you kidding me? Did you miss the Vinyl Renaissance? :p
 
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DLS79

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Are you kidding me? Did you miss the Vinyl Renaissance? :p
:D 8+ billion people on the planet.

I'd love to know how many of them have ever owned Vinyl, let alone how many are actively purchasing and listening to it.
 

Justdafactsmaam

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:D 8+ billion people on the planet.

I'd love to know how many of them have ever owned Vinyl, let alone how many are actively purchasing and listening to it.
A lot more people than the number of audiophiles who own Genelec or Revell speakers, the darlings of ASR. Personally I see no point to an appeal to popularity. Especially on an audiophile forum. We are all in a niche market within a niche market. The dude is more interested in having a phono stage than having 120 SINAD. I’m not seeing a problem there. Fortunately there is no shortage of sensible cost effective phono stages on the market. You will both get through this unscathed
 

Gringoaudio1

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David Griesinger talks about a quality he studies called 'presence' if memory serves, which relates to clarity and intelligibility. He studies concert halls. Geddes and his wife Lydia Lee have a metric called Gx if I am remembering right, which is a distortion metric which correlates to perception if not preference. Both metrics came from study of human beings, in contrast to every other audio metric, which is simply an artifact of our measurement apparatus.

My washer analogy isn't that ridiculous. -120db sinad represents the elimination of artifacts that are the equivalent of 1000 km away, compared to artifacts that are 1m away. If, for example, we need a 1mm thick washer, -120db is like saying we are holding a tolerance of 100 nanometers, which I believe is 100 times smaller than a red blood cell. Maybe my measurements are off by a few orders of magnitude but you get the idea. I'd rather have a phono input.
Thank you.
 

JustJones

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I slept through the vinyl renaissance but I did awaken in time to read about CD's making a run, don't think they've reached renaissance level.
 

DLS79

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A lot more people than the number of audiophiles who own Genelec or Revell speakers, the darlings of ASR.
I personally would never by either of them as I don't like the way they look.




Personally I see no point to an appeal to popularity. Especially on an audiophile forum. We are all in a niche market within a niche market.

The Point is how niche is the niche you are in. For example A lot of people don't care about a DAC with anything more than USB in and RCA out!
 

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“Is it audiophoolia to care about SINAD differences which have no correlation in blind listening tests? H2/H3 distortion 'enriches the sound'?”

I think it’s pedantic and even toxic to care about what other people care about. As long as the meaning and utility of SINAD is correctly represented what anyone cares about is their own business.
You can't build a community without caring what other people care about, let alone a civilisation that will ever get complex enough to build equipment that can record and play back audio.
 

Galliardist

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Measuring SINAD is like measuring the roundness of water pipes with a coordinate measuring machine to find out if they meet the spec. Up to a point the roundness of water pipes importantly correlates with their performance. Beyond that point it's uncorrelated. The world's most perfectly round water pipe might not perform better for the end customer than a standardly round water pipe. Once the water pipes meet the spec for roundness their performance and their further roundness become uncorrelated.

In an ideal world reviewers would test for things like durability. Just it's not realistic to ask reviewers to do that. RTINGS are testing OLEDs for durability and it looks like a huge expense.
Though, of course, SINAD is also a broad brush. Let's take for example two hypothetical amps with SINAD of 80, except that amp A's SINAD may be low entirely because of second and third harmonic distortion, while amp B's issues may be noise and seventh harmonic. Two such amps could sound quite different. This is a point that Amir and others here have to keep making. You have to look at and understand the rest of the measurement set.

The SINAD chart may well have told us something useful when it was first put up here, but now it seems to be a self defeating tradition. I guess the problem is that removing it would seem like a retreat from the basic position that measurements count for something, though.
 

Keith_W

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David Griesinger talks about a quality he studies called 'presence' if memory serves, which relates to clarity and intelligibility. He studies concert halls. Geddes and his wife Lydia Lee have a metric called Gx if I am remembering right, which is a distortion metric which correlates to perception if not preference. Both metrics came from study of human beings, in contrast to every other audio metric, which is simply an artifact of our measurement apparatus.

Slight corrections :) Griesinger talks about "proximity", and Geddes/Lee have the Gm metric.

There is nothing wrong with psychoacoustic metrics. ERB's and ISO226 equal loudness curves are other examples. The only difference is whether they have been well studied or not. This is where I have to admit my ignorance, I have meant to look further into Griesinger's work, and I have not.
 

Galliardist

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David Griesinger talks about a quality he studies called 'presence' if memory serves, which relates to clarity and intelligibility. He studies concert halls. Geddes and his wife Lydia Lee have a metric called Gx if I am remembering right, which is a distortion metric which correlates to perception if not preference. Both metrics came from study of human beings, in contrast to every other audio metric, which is simply an artifact of our measurement apparatus.

My washer analogy isn't that ridiculous. -120db sinad represents the elimination of artifacts that are the equivalent of 1000 km away, compared to artifacts that are 1m away. If, for example, we need a 1mm thick washer, -120db is like saying we are holding a tolerance of 100 nanometers, which I believe is 100 times smaller than a red blood cell. Maybe my measurements are off by a few orders of magnitude but you get the idea. I'd rather have a phono input.
This looks like you are completely ignoring the Harman research that many at this site hold up as the gold standard, and is also based on controlled preference studies in humans.

Or indeed the research that led to perceptual lossy codecs, also based on what people actually hear.

Or lots of other manufacturers' research that we know little about, audiology based research (hearing aid companies clearly have metrics), research into how the brain comprehends and understands music, and lots, lots more.

And, indeed, good conventional measurements for audio measurements for products still lead to good sales, especially in the real world outside of the audiophile niche. Our measurement apparatus didn't evolve in a vacuum, but in the context of audio engineering where those measurements were the ones found to be needed to improve and sell more products: despite audiophile attempts to build some kind of alternative physical universe, those conventional measurements are still the basis of good sound today.
 

Justdafactsmaam

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The Point is how niche is the niche you are in. For example A lot of people don't care about a DAC with anything more than USB in and RCA out!
Seems like a rather obscure point in a thread about the value of valuing SINAD. Which is kind of obscure in and of itself. But I’m not going to “gate keep” you on it.

I don’t think phono preamps are such a niche market that it will be a problem for anyone. Not seeing any shortage of DACs either.

That might be a fun thread actually. How niche are each of us in our personal audiophilia world?

I’m mostly glad that niche markets are catered to. We’re pretty lucky all in all as hobbyists
 

Justdafactsmaam

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You can't build a community without caring what other people care about, let alone a civilisation that will ever get complex enough to build equipment that can record and play back audio.
There is caring that is supportive and caring that is combative. I’m all for the first type
 
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