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John Atkinson's of Stereophile Talks About Measurements

amirm

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#1
Steve Guttenberg is doing a multi-part interview of John Atkinson. The first part is about his youth and while good to listen to, is not that relevant. What is relevant is this second part where he talks about measurements and their usefulness:


And interesting contrast comes is how little Steve knows compared to John.
 
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#2
I loved the comment of liking something that’s wrong. I fear that I fall in that camp with my love of my primaluna tube amp and vinyl setup. I’ve been following these forums for a long time but I’m hesitant to take the plunge into the accuracy world. I love what I have and although it may be wrong, I still love it.. what if I get it right, but I still prefer what’s wrong?
 

Newk Yuler

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#3
I loved the comment of liking something that’s wrong. I fear that I fall in that camp with my love of my primaluna tube amp and vinyl setup. I’ve been following these forums for a long time but I’m hesitant to take the plunge into the accuracy world. I love what I have and although it may be wrong, I still love it.. what if I get it right, but I still prefer what’s wrong?
Once again the always great perpetually unsolvable dilemma at ASR. :)
 

MZKM

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#4
I loved the comment of liking something that’s wrong. I fear that I fall in that camp with my love of my primaluna tube amp and vinyl setup. I’ve been following these forums for a long time but I’m hesitant to take the plunge into the accuracy world. I love what I have and although it may be wrong, I still love it.. what if I get it right, but I still prefer what’s wrong?
https://www.stereophile.com/content/primaluna-dialogue-premium-power-amplifier-measurements
https://www.stereophile.com/content/primaluna-dialogue-premium-hp-integrated-amplifier-measurements

Using his simulated loudspeaker, it caused more bass, more ~1.5kHz, and less ~4kHz; this will likely make it sound warm and ”polite”. High distortion, but H2 is still below -40dB, so not super audible.
 

Wombat

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#5
Once again the always great perpetually unsolvable dilemma at ASR. :)
Accuracy is readily resolved. Preference based on isolated opinion, maybe not. Let's not equate one with the other.
 
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#6
https://www.stereophile.com/content/primaluna-dialogue-premium-power-amplifier-measurements
https://www.stereophile.com/content/primaluna-dialogue-premium-hp-integrated-amplifier-measurements

Using his simulated loudspeaker, it caused more bass, more ~1.5kHz, and less ~4kHz; this will likely make it sound warm and ”polite”. High distortion, but H2 is still below -40dB, so not super audible.
And I still love it... will I love a Benchmark AHB2 or maybe I just prefer primaluna junk food? or maybe my primaluna sounds good because my room acoustics aren’t well sorted. Could a bump here and dip there be just what this particular room needs? :) so hard to know

Steve can be uninformed at times but I think his point is he would rather be happy and wrong than accurate and right... one day I hope to be happy and accurate. I’m just not ready yet I guess lol
 

amirm

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#7
Steve can be uninformed at times but I think his point is he would rather be happy and wrong than accurate and right
Problem is that most of the time he is judging by his eyes, price and looks of gear than the sound.

I bet if someone put a benchmark amp in your Prima Luna but left the tubes glowing, you would like it even more! :) Last time I played with a Prima it had no power to speak of and I could easily get it distorted.
 
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#8
Problem is that most of the time he is judging by his eyes, price and looks of gear than the sound.

I bet if someone put a benchmark amp in your Prima Luna but left the tubes glowing, you would like it even more! :) Last time I played with a Prima it had no power to speak of and I could easily get it distorted.
Problem is that most of the time he is judging by his eyes, price and looks of gear than the sound.

I bet if someone put a benchmark amp in your Prima Luna but left the tubes glowing, you would like it even more! :) Last time I played with a Prima it had no power to speak of and I could easily get it distorted.
I’m one of those weirdos who leaves the cage on and never sees the tubes. I won’t lie. At first I was taken by the look but that died out pretty quickly. I’ve never heard the Benchmark and considering it’s manufactured like 3 miles away from me, I kinda feel like I should own one. I don’t listen at loud levels and I never felt like I needed more power, but there is this little bird on my shoulder called ASR who says “you don’t know what your missing!”
9D7F0BBA-2295-4C99-903C-CCA8FC1CA73A.jpeg
 
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majingotan

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#9
I think if you’re going to get the AHB2, you gotta get the DAC3 HGC along with it! It’s a highly recommended DAC both in subjective and ASR world!
 

cjfrbw

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#10
Atkinson made some interesting comments about instruments sounding pleasant, but not like the instruments that made them due to distortions from the chain and speakers.

I wonder if musicians have ever been used to make these 'live vs. memorex' type comparisons with instruments in some kind of organized, tabulated manner compared with the feeds on various speakers etc. My impression has always been that musicians are routinely dissatisfied by the sound of their instruments on ANY speakers/stereo systems.
 

dshreter

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#11
I wonder if musicians have ever been used to make these 'live vs. memorex' type comparisons with instruments in some kind of organized, tabulated manner compared with the feeds on various speakers etc. My impression has always been that musicians are routinely dissatisfied by the sound of their instruments on ANY speakers/stereo systems.
I’d suggest this has at least as much to do with deficiencies in recording as playback. When recording from a distance, things to me always sound overly distant and diffuse compared to the live experience, though the instruments do sound correct. When close-mic’d, it changes the timbre in a way that is not realistic but provides greater clarity.
 
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#12
I find it quite interesting that he refused to answer the question regarding loudspeakers that measure well but don’t sound good. I’m quite aware that there are simple answers for this though that he avoided. JA is an interesting guy and I believe he knows better than he lets on to the public eye... of course, he is still associated with Stereophile though as Technical Editor.
 

Blumlein 88

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#13
Atkinson made some interesting comments about instruments sounding pleasant, but not like the instruments that made them due to distortions from the chain and speakers.

I wonder if musicians have ever been used to make these 'live vs. memorex' type comparisons with instruments in some kind of organized, tabulated manner compared with the feeds on various speakers etc. My impression has always been that musicians are routinely dissatisfied by the sound of their instruments on ANY speakers/stereo systems.
You have to realize musicians don't know how they sound to you. They are up close and in touch with the instrument. They've no idea, and no reference for what it sounds like to a listener 15 feet away. They only hear it that way when they listen to other musicians. One of the most obvious is violin players. Do you think they are the authority on what a violin should sound like? They hear it under their chin and one ear very close to string and bow.
 

Blumlein 88

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#14
I’d suggest this has at least as much to do with deficiencies in recording as playback. When recording from a distance, things to me always sound overly distant and diffuse compared to the live experience, though the instruments do sound correct. When close-mic’d, it changes the timbre in a way that is not realistic but provides greater clarity.
One of the reasons for this, is in person your ear will ignore some early reflections. The microphone records them if distant, and you hear those upon playback making it sound more distant than it is. You have to record closer to make it sound more balanced, but it is a tricky thing to get right.
 

Newk Yuler

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#15
Accuracy is readily resolved. Preference based on isolated opinion, maybe not. Let's not equate one with the other.
Your ASR purist's perspective is clearly understood and appreciated, but to the point there are many test-reviews posted here that state something sounds good in spite of poor measurements. If a user is purely subjectively delighted to listen to his filthy hardware and states it, it becomes a dilemma because that great sound flies in the face of empirical logic. Then it can easily become something for argument. It's an obvious issue that will exist as long as there are poor measurements recorded in ASR. We have good folks here who develop conflicts with the great sound they hear versus data showing it's inferior. What if something measures great and subjectively sounds inferior to something that measures terribly? What about those guys who (apparently wrongfully) prefer sound filled with hideous harmonic distortion? Whose opinion matters?

Do you believe your nice audio hardware sounds great to you? That's rhetorical because I expect you do. That will be your isolated opinion whether it measures and actually sounds good or not. Who other than you should care when you're the one listening to it and your opinion is all that really matters? Other than, you know, you'll be extra convinced you did yourself right by investing in Equipment That Makes The Grade At ASR™.

I admit I have a great appreciation for ASR and mean absolutely no disrespect. I just enjoy the divisiveness that can crop up. It will probably be the first and last place I'll visit when researching components. The ASR purists' perspectives will probably always work very significantly into my decisions. I usually point my friendly acquaintances here for proper enlightenment, too. It just makes good sense to seek equipment that measures well and can actually deliver sound at the resolutions we want to play whether we can hear them or not.
 

dshreter

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#16
One of the reasons for this, is in person your ear will ignore some early reflections. The microphone records them if distant, and you hear those upon playback making it sound more distant than it is. You have to record closer to make it sound more balanced, but it is a tricky thing to get right.
I’m jumping away from the topic of this thread, but can’t resist. It is amazing what is possible with deconvolution. I remember studying how MRI works, and it still defies my belief that a 3D voxel structure can be created that way.

If the ear and brain can distinguish source from reflections in real-time effortlessly, it suggests that separating signal from noise in a recording could also be achieved with computation, perhaps even surpassing the ear’s intuitive capabilities.
 

audiophile

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#17
Problem is that most of the time he is judging by his eyes, price and looks of gear than the sound.
Steve G? In his videos he recommended tons of super-budget gear starting from $30 amps and $75 speakers.

will I love a Benchmark AHB2 or maybe I just prefer primaluna junk food? or maybe my primaluna sounds good because my room acoustics aren’t well sorted.
Hey, I'm too a PrimaLuna owner. Don't worry about it. If you like the sound - that's all that matters. Ever did an audiometry test of your hearing? Our ears' natural frequency response is far from being flat, there are bumps and dips here and there. Maybe your system's frequency response summed up with your room and hearing provides that perfect FR curve, while the other guy with DSP and ideal room-correction hears it all wrong as the sound got distorted by his non-ideal ears.
 

amirm

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#18
Steve G? In his videos he recommended tons of super-budget gear starting from $30 amps and $75 speakers.
Some of which are clearly junk. He has no audio compass.
 
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