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Master Thread: Are measurements Everything or Nothing?

Robbo99999

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I stumbled across this thread, been unwell, so just getting back into blogging again
I follow anti-flat earth debates, and note a remarkable similarity in these debates, ie flat earth and audio subjectists

i would consider this is a similar thought process( or lack their of) which appears a clash between perception bias and objective laws

in flat earth it’s

you cannot see the earth is round ( ie I can hear the differences)
all photos of it being round are either fabricated or distorted ( measurements don’t show everything)
your an idiot if you hang onto globe beliefs ( like you obviously cannot hear)
gravity doesn’t exist, it’s density ( your electrical engineering principles are not what’s important)
the earth cannot be spinning it’s too fast ( confusing linear speed with angular…..grounding boxes work)
the Sun isn’t 90 million miles away ( measurements mean nothing)
the ball earth model cannot explain eclipses( ur measurements don’t explain what I hear )
corpuscular rays prove the sun is close ( i Can hear the difference)

the one I have the most trouble understanding

we cannot measure a difference, but someone has been able to engineer a product that’s better, without an objective measure ?
power cord make a difference because I perceive it, and your measurements are incorrect, and your knowledge of electrical systems, they just don’t work here ( or should it be hear?)

in flat earth it’s

yeah we cannot make a model of flat earth that explains the seasons let alone eclipses but the globe model is wrong even though it predicts all these things with incredible accuracy because I cannot see it’s spherical
Really! :D

(It's good that you're feeling better now after being unwell, but following flat earth debates & including analogies to it.......have a look in some of the other threads, I'm sure there's some interesting stuff to read & comment on)
 

Waxx

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I don’t know if it’s said before (I did not read the whole tread to be honest) but I want to put a little remark about audio subjectivists. You got mainly 2 categories

The first one are those who say measurements are useless and tell nothing, and believe in audio magic and snake oil stuff (You know what I mean).

The second (where I’m one off) are those who believe in measurements but think subjective personal taste is not reflected in it, at least not in the measurements down here. But that does not mean that the measurements are useless, they are very useful also for judging gear. It’s just that we search different things than gain on a wire. And I personally also believe that even what I search is measurable. I don’t have the knowledge to do it myself, but I’m a guy with a scientific approach to things in general, and think everything in live can be analyzed and measured.

I like tubes and class A transistor amps because of the harmonic distortion, but I don’t like other forms of distortion. I know they are technically not as good as very low distortion amps (mostly class D or class AB), but they make me enjoy music more. The same can be said about speakers (I have a personal subjective preference house curve that is very close to flat but not flat). Those preferences are neither objective nor universal. They are personal choices. And even tube amps or class A amps can be judged on measurements, and you will see good ones and bad ones in those measurements (I see it at least).

But this site is not about that, it’s about objective and standardized measurements and tests of gear to see if they deliver what the makes say they should. They are a kind of reference on which I and other people, even with a subjective taste that is different than that of Amir & co, can judge what we want. Subjective reviews like we had in the past (and still have) or bloated measurements are useless for that. Just like snake oil stuff. So even many with a subjective taste rate this very high and think this site is a great evolution in hifi, because it forces the brands to level up the quality, even on devices that are more aimed at people who have a subjective taste.
 

Awsmone

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Really! :D

(It's good that you're feeling better now after being unwell, but following flat earth debates & including analogies to it.......have a look in some of the other threads, I'm sure there's some interesting stuff to read & comment on)
many thanks

I read Amin’s reviews, and love his debunks :) I even convinced a guy with a $100k of pcs they were rubbish :)
 

Awsmone

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I don’t know if it’s said before (I did not read the whole tread to be honest) but I want to put a little remark about audio subjectivists. You got mainly 2 categories

The first one are those who say measurements are useless and tell nothing, and believe in audio magic and snake oil stuff (You know what I mean).

The second (where I’m one off) are those who believe in measurements but think subjective personal taste is not reflected in it, at least not in the measurements down here. But that does not mean that the measurements are useless, they are very useful also for judging gear. It’s just that we search different things than gain on a wire. And I personally also believe that even what I search is measurable. I don’t have the knowledge to do it myself, but I’m a guy with a scientific approach to things in general, and think everything in live can be analyzed and measured.

I like tubes and class A transistor amps because of the harmonic distortion, but I don’t like other forms of distortion. I know they are technically not as good as very low distortion amps (mostly class D or class AB), but they make me enjoy music more. The same can be said about speakers (I have a personal subjective preference house curve that is very close to flat but not flat). Those preferences are neither objective nor universal. They are personal choices. And even tube amps or class A amps can be judged on measurements, and you will see good ones and bad ones in those measurements (I see it at least).

But this site is not about that, it’s about objective and standardized measurements and tests of gear to see if they deliver what the makes say they should. They are a kind of reference on which I and other people, even with a subjective taste that is different than that of Amir & co, can judge what we want. Subjective reviews like we had in the past (and still have) or bloated measurements are useless for that. Just like snake oil stuff. So even many with a subjective taste rate this very high and think this site is a great evolution in hifi, because it forces the brands to level up the quality, even on devices that are more aimed at people who have a subjective taste.
Studies show second harmonic and other low level harmonics are well tolerated by listeners , higher level harmonic are not, in addition there is masking with multi tones being played , doesn’t mean it’s good just tolerated , where it becomes more obvious is when these distortion producers get loud , and the whole musical palette “congeals“
 

Shadrach1

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In reply to amir’s topic start:
Should we consider budget?
Imho money well spend does get you better sq
I somehow feel this forum is a place where people on a budget get together for comfort.
I do agree it is good to be critical but wonder what real world experience amir and his hardcore followers have, anyone of you downgraded bigtime because they could without loss in fidelity?
Yes, I have.
I'm making a reasonably detailed post about it. You may find it an interesting read when it's done.
The downgrade was in financial terms and brought about by a change in my living circumstances.
I went from a system where the original amplifier and a few cables was a similar price to the entire new system. I didn't keep a single item of the original setup except the headphones.
I put the new system together without auditioning any of it's componants and based on the measurements done by Amir and his listening impressions.
If you still read this forum and I remember I'll tag you when I've finished the post.
 

Awsmone

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Yes, I have.
I'm making a reasonably detailed post about it. You may find it an interesting read when it's done.
The downgrade was in financial terms and brought about by a change in my living circumstances.
I went from a system where the original amplifier and a few cables was a similar price to the entire new system. I didn't keep a single item of the original setup except the headphones.
I put the new system together without auditioning any of it's componants and based on the measurements done by Amir and his listening impressions.
If you still read this forum and I remember I'll tag you when I've finished the post.
I feel like you are a student of Yoda ….
and you‘re trying to feel the force

it’s so exciting

I will tell u a secret

80% of the sound has nothing to do with the measurements in an ordinary room !
 
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Shadrach1

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I feel like your a student of Yoda ….
and your trying to feel the force

it’s so exciting

I will tell u a secret

80% of the sound has nothing to do with the measurements in an ordinary room !
Perhaps it would be better to wait and read the post before commenting.
 

Killingbeans

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we cannot measure a difference, but someone has been able to engineer a product that’s better, without an objective measure ?

That's where the ego stroking comes in. They believe that sighted listening can be used as a near infinitely sensitive measuring instrument leaving all scientific discoveries in the dust. The only thing that beats it in precision is the positive customer feedback :facepalm:
 

Awsmone

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Perhaps it would be better to wait and read the post before commenting.
Where is the post? I was commenting on your idea to base your purchases on reviews/measurements it’s will be interesting to read:)
 

Awsmone

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That's where the ego stroking comes in. They believe that sighted listening can be used as a near infinitely sensitive measuring instrument leaving all scientific discoveries in the dust. The only thing that beats it in precision is the positive customer feedback :facepalm:
Yes, the is the same as the philosophy of flat earth, is that all observations have to be validated by the “sighted” observations of the flat earther and reports by others, including experiments are just dogma, and part of a cabal to keep the masses ignorant of the true nature of the world
 

Shadrach

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Where is the post? I was commenting on your idea to base your purchases on reviews/measurements it’s will be interesting to read:)
 

captainbeefheart

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I'm going to be straight up honest that I probably will not read all 127 pages of this discussion so please forgive me if what I say has already been said.

There is one test that is sure way to tell you if two different amps sound the same (even with completely different technologies) and that's a null test. Great part about the null test is you can even use music to do the test to satisfy people that argue we don't listen to sine waves, which of course they are wrong because any waveform you can think of or make is nothing more than the sum of multiple sine waves of different frequencies summed together. Thanks Mr. Fourier. I feel if two different amp pass the null test then they will sound identical. I don't think it's sufficient to say all devices that have a SINAD of say -100db or whatever will all sound the same.

Subjective is when you prefer a particular change in performance, for example amplifiers with rather high distortion, let's accept it's low order harmonic dominant. For purely objective buyers that will not entertain the idea of liking an amplifier knowing it might not test perfect where someone with more of an open mind may not care if it's "perfect" so long as they enjoy the outcome. I personally don't want 30% THD at 35Hz like some tube amps test because although the saturated core of the output transformer creates nonlinear second harmonic distortion and to many sounds "fuller". Combine this with a high output impedance where the resonance at bass frequencies of the speakers are emphasized and mistaken as "big bass" and to me that's just not what I want even if it sounds okay. For low order harmonics I'm totally okay with 1% THD at full power because I know I'm listening to less than 1 watt 99% of the time and if I do require higher power I feel speaker distortion at these higher sound pressure levels will almost certainly be much higher than 1%, try up to 10% or higher at low frequencies. So int he grand scheme of the signal chain the transducer is always going to be the largest offender of distortion. My attitude is what's the point of my amp being .0001% THD when my speakers are going to never come close to this.

As an engineer I need to be objective to meet design goals but then my design goals can be argued as subjective. I'll take a little distortion over instability any day hands down. How many tests do you see of reviewers adding in some capacitance to the dummy load and shooting 10kHz square waves into the amp? None. I'll take an unconditionally stable amp with .5%THD over one that's marginally stable with .001% THD.

I think us engineers need to be a little more open to an amp that may not test perfectly but still sounds great, yes there are such amps. Lots of old amps once had variable damping controls but it's for some reason not popular any more. My guess we just feel over damped is good enough and modern speakers are designed with the notion the source will have very low output impedance. The speaker cable will always quash ridiculous claimed high DF amplifiers, the manufacturers take this measurement from inside the amplifier which should tell you something right there. I like to sense current through the speaker load and add a current feedback loop that is adjustable between positive feedback and negative feedback. I have found many times that amps I sold to people with this function the customer really enjoys being able to control this and they seem to be able to find the sweet spot that just works the best with that particular speaker. They are doing this adjustment by ear so it can be considered subjective since the user doesn't know any data about the changes being made, they just use their ear to find the spot they prefer the best. Same for EQ etc.. we know the response is no longer flat but if the end result is you like the sound then who cares if fidelity to the original recording is lost?
 
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Blumlein 88

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I'm going to be straight up honest that I probably will not read all 127 pages of this discussion so please forgive me if what I say has already been said.

There is one test that is sure way to tell you if two different amps sound the same (even with completely different technologies) and that's a null test. Great part about the null test is you can even use music to do the test to satisfy people that argue we don't listen to sine waves, which of course they are wrong because any waveform you can think of or make is nothing more than the sum of multiple sine waves of different frequencies summed together. Thanks Mr. Fourier. I feel if two different amp pass the null test then they will sound identical. I don't think it's sufficient to say all devices that have a SINAD of say -100db or whatever will all sound the same.

Subjective is when you prefer a particular change in performance, for example amplifiers with rather high distortion, let's accept it's low order harmonic dominant. For purely objective buyers that will not entertain the idea of liking an amplifier knowing it might not test perfect where someone with more of an open mind may not care if it's "perfect" so long as they enjoy the outcome. I personally don't want 30% THD at 35Hz like some tube amps test because although the saturated core of the output transformer creates nonlinear second harmonic distortion and to many sounds "fuller". Combine this with a high output impedance where the resonance at bass frequencies of the speakers are emphasized and mistaken as "big bass" and to me that's just not what I want even if it sounds okay. For low order harmonics I'm totally okay with 1% THD at full power because I know I'm listening to less than 1 watt 99% of the time and if I do require higher power I feel speaker distortion at these higher sound pressure levels will almost certainly be much higher than 1%, try up to 10% or higher at low frequencies. So int he grand scheme of the signal chain the transducer is always going to be the largest offender of distortion. My attitude is what's the point of my amp being .0001% THD when my speakers are going to never come close to this.

As an engineer I need to be objective to meet design goals but then my design goals can be argued as subjective. I'll take a little distortion over instability any day hands down. How many tests do you see of reviewers adding in some capacitance to the dummy load and shooting 10kHz square waves into the amp? None. I'll take an unconditionally stable amp with .5%THD over one that's marginally stable with .001% THD.

I think us engineers need to be a little more open to an amp that may not test perfectly but still sounds great, yes there are such amps. Lots of old amps once had variable damping controls but it's for some reason not popular any more. My guess we just feel over damped is good enough and modern speakers are designed with the notion the source will have very low output impedance. The speaker cable will always quash ridiculous claimed high DF amplifiers, the manufacturers take this measurement from inside the amplifier which should tell you something right there. I like to sense current through the speaker load and add a current feedback loop that is adjustable between positive feedback and negative feedback. I have found many times that amps I sold to people with this function the customer really enjoys being able to control this and they seem to be able to find the sweet spot that just works the best with that particular speaker. They are doing this adjustment by ear so it can be considered subjective since the user doesn't know any data about the changes being made, they just use their ear to find the spot they prefer the best. Same for EQ etc.. we know the response is no longer flat but if the end result is you like the sound then who cares if fidelity to the original recording is lost?
Software that might be useful to you if you have not run across it is member Pkane's Deltawave. Free nulling software. He also has Multi-tone you see people using and a few others.

Here is a thread where he first started it.

And here you can download it and his other software.
 

captainbeefheart

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Software that might be useful to you if you have not run across it is member Pkane's Deltawave. Free nulling software. He also has Multi-tone you see people using and a few others.

Here is a thread where he first started it.

And here you can download it and his other software.

Thanks! I have never tried a software null tester, depending on performance it may have saved me a lot of time. I copied Ethan Winer's circuit shown in the Audioxpress article and it's good to -110db which is good enough for me. My audiophile friends were not happy when I made it but was so proud of myself bringing it to audio hangouts where they would drink beer and bring their new "toys" for everyone to audition. We do sources, amps etc.... but lots of the guys bring their cables and other snake oil crap which was the main reason behind building the null tester. I could quickly show them in terms they can clearly understand that once there is a null there is no difference electrically; i.e. zero difference in sound. Some thick headed types that believe "we don't know how to measure all audio qualities" don't understand the concept but for many deprogrammed them from the myths and lies and ended up saving a lot of money and being a lot happier. I find the ones that believe in voodoo get hung up on always trying to find the right "synergy" not just between components but also cables. I don't see how anyone would ever be happy going about their systems that way, there is just too much trial and error especially human perception error that cannot be trusted.
 

Blumlein 88

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Thanks! I have never tried a software null tester, depending on performance it may have saved me a lot of time. I copied Ethan Winer's circuit shown in the Audioxpress article and it's good to -110db which is good enough for me. My audiophile friends were not happy when I made it but was so proud of myself bringing it to audio hangouts where they would drink beer and bring their new "toys" for everyone to audition. We do sources, amps etc.... but lots of the guys bring their cables and other snake oil crap which was the main reason behind building the null tester. I could quickly show them in terms they can clearly understand that once there is a null there is no difference electrically; i.e. zero difference in sound. Some thick headed types that believe "we don't know how to measure all audio qualities" don't understand the concept but for many deprogrammed them from the myths and lies and ended up saving a lot of money and being a lot happier. I find the ones that believe in voodoo get hung up on always trying to find the right "synergy" not just between components but also cables. I don't see how anyone would ever be happy going about their systems that way, there is just too much trial and error especially human perception error that cannot be trusted.
Comparing with a device like Ethan's is probably the best way to null test. The software lets you record digitally the output of devices and then compare to two files at a later time. It includes the ability to synchronize the two files in time even if the clocks were running at different speeds etc.
 

Awsmone

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Any digital audio workstation (DAW)will allow you to do this ( Null test)

link below

 

voodooless

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Any digital audio workstation (DAW)will allow you to do this ( Null test)

link below

That all nice and good for test signals that you copy and invert, for two real recordings thought, it’s quite a bit more complex. You’ll need to align the two recordings perfectly for a good result, that means sub sample accuracy. With a DAW that is generally not easy to do, especially by hand.
 
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