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Master Thread: Are measurements Everything or Nothing?

BDWoody

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Hi,

I notice nearly all the DAC reviews by Amirm are objective including characteristic curves and parameters, but there are very few hearing experiences. Where can I find such reviews on SMSL and Topping DACs?

We consider them about as useful as taste tests for fork reviews.

A proper fork doesn't change the taste of your food, it just gets it from the plate to your mouth.

A DAC that isn't broken can be expected to do the same with music. No listening test needed if the test results show there is nothing happening that could audibly degrade the sound.
 

Wunderphones

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DACs shouldn't have a "sound signature." What you really (should) want to know about a DAC is how much it alters the sound (less is better), and how much that level of proficiency costs (again, less is better). These are questions much better answered with numbers than words.

Personally, I think ALL audio gear should be judged this way. But I can understand people who want character from an amplifier, even if I don't agree with them. But I can't even understand why you would want to know the character of a DAC. If it's got character, it's not doing its job.
 

Jarrett

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I've been impressed by the various listening tests done at ASR, and each of them concludes, that with volume matching, all DACs tested were identical.
 
Last edited:

Noske

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Not all DACs are tested. I know that some people have DACs made by some bloke by the name of Lukasz Fikus. They were impressed by listening tests and he was likewise impressed by the generosity of some people with credit card limits in the six figures.

 

Russell

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Well, how do you explain this:
I bought a brand new audioquest nrg x2, same cable different plug (fig 8) cable, for my tv and hifi. The cable I was using was the stock Samsung cable, which I upgraded, by putting an MK copper tough plug, which I 'defused'. Then I 'defused' my new Audioquest cable, and then swapped cables. I thought, oh no, it sounds too lean and cold. So then I just used it with my tv, and not going through my hifi, until at least 200 hours had elapsed. So when I was satisfied that there could be no 'needs burning in' issues, I put the tv on, going through my hifi, and as usual it sounded awesome, pissing all over all my friends av surround sound systems, which to me just blur and confuse the sound/music. So I had the Audioquest cable ready to plug in. I jumped up and as quickly as I could, unplugged the Samsung cable and plugged in the Audioquest cable, and jumped back onto my listening position, and I kid you not, there was a completely different presentation of the sound. I get goosebumps when something changes for the better. This cable, compared to my upgraded Samsung stock cable, was immediately satisfyingly and jaw droppingly better. Now you measured this cable, with a standard cable, and the results were very similar, I read the article. However, this was enough for you to completely reach the conclusion that you 'cannot recommend this cable'. Had you listened to it, after your results, I'm sure you would have realised that just because something looks very similar, when measured, doesn't always mean it will sound the same. Sure, as you know, audio cables are directional, and the decerning can tell the difference, but when it comes to powering a toaster, light bulb, etc etc, there's no notable difference, and I'm sure you'll agree on that, but when it comes to audio, the slightest thing can make a noticeable difference in the sound quality/presentation. I was disappointed that you didn't even 'listen' to the cable, after your measurements. So do you think that I have totally imagined the difference between the Audioquest cable and my upgraded Samsung cable? I suggest, in the nicest possible way, that you actually listen to both cables, when you are at your most relaxed state, and then you have done the most comprehensive test, possible. If you can't tell the difference, then I suggest that you could be in a situation that doesn't allow you to be fully discerning to judge this cable, or other cables properly, and indeed if you just measure things, with machinery and don't listen, to backup the test, then the question 'is it a complete and proper test' arises. Please listen to both cables.
Many thanks.
Russ.
 

JSmith

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Please listen to both cables.
https%3A%2F%2Fbucketeer-e05bbc84-baa3-437e-9518-adb32be77984.s3.amazonaws.com%2Fpublic%2Fimages%2F1d998ef7-af73-4288-a653-aa30acce1ede_640x456.gif



JSmith
 

DonR

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Well, how do you explain this:
I bought a brand new audioquest nrg x2, same cable different plug (fig 8) cable, for my tv and hifi. The cable I was using was the stock Samsung cable, which I upgraded, by putting an MK copper tough plug, which I 'defused'. Then I 'defused' my new Audioquest cable, and then swapped cables. I thought, oh no, it sounds too lean and cold. So then I just used it with my tv, and not going through my hifi, until at least 200 hours had elapsed. So when I was satisfied that there could be no 'needs burning in' issues, I put the tv on, going through my hifi, and as usual it sounded awesome, pissing all over all my friends av surround sound systems, which to me just blur and confuse the sound/music. So I had the Audioquest cable ready to plug in. I jumped up and as quickly as I could, unplugged the Samsung cable and plugged in the Audioquest cable, and jumped back onto my listening position, and I kid you not, there was a completely different presentation of the sound. I get goosebumps when something changes for the better. This cable, compared to my upgraded Samsung stock cable, was immediately satisfyingly and jaw droppingly better. Now you measured this cable, with a standard cable, and the results were very similar, I read the article. However, this was enough for you to completely reach the conclusion that you 'cannot recommend this cable'. Had you listened to it, after your results, I'm sure you would have realised that just because something looks very similar, when measured, doesn't always mean it will sound the same. Sure, as you know, audio cables are directional, and the decerning can tell the difference, but when it comes to powering a toaster, light bulb, etc etc, there's no notable difference, and I'm sure you'll agree on that, but when it comes to audio, the slightest thing can make a noticeable difference in the sound quality/presentation. I was disappointed that you didn't even 'listen' to the cable, after your measurements. So do you think that I have totally imagined the difference between the Audioquest cable and my upgraded Samsung cable? I suggest, in the nicest possible way, that you actually listen to both cables, when you are at your most relaxed state, and then you have done the most comprehensive test, possible. If you can't tell the difference, then I suggest that you could be in a situation that doesn't allow you to be fully discerning to judge this cable, or other cables properly, and indeed if you just measure things, with machinery and don't listen, to backup the test, then the question 'is it a complete and proper test' arises. Please listen to both cables.
Many thanks.
Russ.
You should use paragraphs. This is a difficult read.

Your impressions are entirely subjective and could be influenced by bias. Nothing in physics indicates that a sufficiently specified cable should have any effect on sound quality.
 

G-Can

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I believe in this case, it is likely just expectation biased at work, if you hear a difference in direct mode. With dsp, then they likely will sound different, and you happen to prefer the Arcam.

For 2 ch contents in direct mode they will sound the same, or if a difference is heard, it should be subtle. That's because specs and measurements tell us both should be transparent.

Some people will always argue that there are things not measured, but logic tells us if there are something that can make one sounds audibly better, reviewers such as Amir would have been measuring those things. And there is no reasons for Marantz to do things that will sacrifice sq.

you are absolutely wrong if you think all amps sound same. They simply dont. ANyone who has ever listened more then one on a same set of decent revealing speakers will confirm this. Does it sound better or worse, its a preference, but there are obvious changes to sound.
But there is more to sound then just amps, signal they receive, dac, source, position in room, etc etc.
 

peng

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you are absolutely wrong if you think all amps sound same. They simply dont. ANyone who has ever listened more then one on a same set of decent revealing speakers will confirm this. Does it sound better or worse, its a preference, but there are obvious changes to sound.
But there is more to sound then just amps, signal they receive, dac, source, position in room, etc etc.
No, I have never said all amps sound the same. So save your post for someone else, someone who has actually said such a thing.
 

DonR

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you are absolutely wrong if you think all amps sound same. They simply dont. ANyone who has ever listened more then one on a same set of decent revealing speakers will confirm this. Does it sound better or worse, its a preference, but there are obvious changes to sound.
But there is more to sound then just amps, signal they receive, dac, source, position in room, etc etc.
For the most part, any 2 amps that measure similar and are near or beyond the thresholds of hearing under normal listening conditions feeding well behaved speakers will be indistinguishable in a double-blind test.
 

peng

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For the most part, any 2 amps that measure similar and are near or beyond the thresholds of hearing under normal listening conditions feeding well behaved speakers will be indistinguishable in a double-blind test.

The funny thing is, quite often on forums, if someone said something like what you are I did, no matter how careful we are to avoid making generalizations such as to actually say "all amps sound the same", some people twist our comments into "all amps sound to same" that never actually said or even imply.

In this case, I responded to the OP's question and clearly stated, "I believe in this case........", and even specified some conditions. Yet it still got twisted to imply I said all amps sound the same. In fact, if someone says in some cased, it likely imply the results could/would be different in some other cases, but yet their minds seem fixed on "all" that was never said but seemingly embedded in their minds.

I am not directing this to G-Can at all, as he's not the only one who has interpreted posts of this nature in such a way. It almost seems that in many cases, people who firmly believe in their "ears" and that specs and even comprehensive measurements don't tell the story, tend to get overly sensitive to comments made by people who might simply make the point like you did, to the point they they would automatically think oh no, someone is claiming "all amps sound the same" again. Would be nice if people would try to understand other's posts, before responding...
 

Spkrdctr

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The funny thing is, quite often on forums, if someone said something like what you are I did, no matter how careful we are to avoid making generalizations such as to actually say "all amps sound the same", some people twist our comments into "all amps sound to same" that never actually said or even imply.

In this case, I responded to the OP's question and clearly stated, "I believe in this case........", and even specified some conditions. Yet it still got twisted to imply I said all amps sound the same. In fact, if someone says in some cased, it likely imply the results could/would be different in some other cases, but yet their minds seem fixed on "all" that was never said but seemingly embedded in their minds.

I am not directing this to G-Can at all, as he's not the only one who has interpreted posts of this nature in such a way. It almost seems that in many cases, people who firmly believe in their "ears" and that specs and even comprehensive measurements don't tell the story, tend to get overly sensitive to comments made by people who might simply make the point like you did, to the point they they would automatically think oh no, someone is claiming "all amps sound the same" again. Would be nice if people would try to understand other's posts, before responding...
I will do it! All amps sound the same! There if people can post crazy voodoo science power cord stuff which has been proven false, then to be fair I can spout my voodoo saying they all sound the same even if it is not true. One lie begets another. I also noticed in that long paragraph statement on power cords a few posts back, it was carefully worded to include most all of the "hot buttons" that would normally send ASR people into fits. Kind of like a troll from another site. I also notice the post count was 2. So, based upon my decades of experience, I say TROLL!!!:facepalm:
 

peng

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I will do it! All amps sound the same! There if people can post crazy voodoo science power cord stuff which has been proven false, then to be fair I can spout my voodoo saying they all sound the same even if it is not true. One lie begets another. I also noticed in that long paragraph statement on power cords a few posts back, it was carefully worded to include most all of the "hot buttons" that would normally send ASR people into fits. Kind of like a troll from another site. I also notice the post count was 2. So, based upon my decades of experience, I say TROLL!!!:facepalm:
Good point, and it is of course possible that sometimes it could just be troll pushing their buttons of choice on forums.:D Trouble is, some of us would still feel compelled to bite, out of concerns that such troll, if good at doing that sort of things, could successfully, though perhaps unintentionally, mislead someone who may be vulnerable for whatever reasons, to spend time and money unnecessarily.
 

HarmonicTHD

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By now I can pretty much identify a Troll already with their first post some 80 to 90% of the time. After their 5th post I get usually 99% right. And I not mean the ones which I regard as such, but those who are banned from the forum within a week or two.

To waste time on elaborate responses to these perceived Trolls unfortunately takes time away from those who have a genuine question, need help or are at least willing to learn.

In this case I am pretty certain already.
 

Laci B

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Well, how do you explain this:
I bought a brand new audioquest nrg x2, same cable different plug (fig 8) cable, for my tv and hifi. The cable I was using was the stock Samsung cable, which I upgraded, by putting an MK copper tough plug, which I 'defused'. Then I 'defused' my new Audioquest cable, and then swapped cables. I thought, oh no, it sounds too lean and cold. So then I just used it with my tv, and not going through my hifi, until at least 200 hours had elapsed. So when I was satisfied that there could be no 'needs burning in' issues, I put the tv on, going through my hifi, and as usual it sounded awesome, pissing all over all my friends av surround sound systems, which to me just blur and confuse the sound/music. So I had the Audioquest cable ready to plug in. I jumped up and as quickly as I could, unplugged the Samsung cable and plugged in the Audioquest cable, and jumped back onto my listening position, and I kid you not, there was a completely different presentation of the sound. I get goosebumps when something changes for the better. This cable, compared to my upgraded Samsung stock cable, was immediately satisfyingly and jaw droppingly better. Now you measured this cable, with a standard cable, and the results were very similar, I read the article. However, this was enough for you to completely reach the conclusion that you 'cannot recommend this cable'. Had you listened to it, after your results, I'm sure you would have realised that just because something looks very similar, when measured, doesn't always mean it will sound the same. Sure, as you know, audio cables are directional, and the decerning can tell the difference, but when it comes to powering a toaster, light bulb, etc etc, there's no notable difference, and I'm sure you'll agree on that, but when it comes to audio, the slightest thing can make a noticeable difference in the sound quality/presentation. I was disappointed that you didn't even 'listen' to the cable, after your measurements. So do you think that I have totally imagined the difference between the Audioquest cable and my upgraded Samsung cable? I suggest, in the nicest possible way, that you actually listen to both cables, when you are at your most relaxed state, and then you have done the most comprehensive test, possible. If you can't tell the difference, then I suggest that you could be in a situation that doesn't allow you to be fully discerning to judge this cable, or other cables properly, and indeed if you just measure things, with machinery and don't listen, to backup the test, then the question 'is it a complete and proper test' arises. Please listen to both cables.
Many thanks.
Russ.
Dear Russ,
Can you tell me please, what kind of current is flowing in audio and power cable (AC or DC)? After your answer we can discuss about "direction".
 

fpitas

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I suggest, in the nicest possible way, that you actually listen to both cables, when you are at your most relaxed state, and then you have done the most comprehensive test, possible. If you can't tell the difference, then I suggest that you could be in a situation that doesn't allow you to be fully discerning to judge this cable, or other cables properly, and indeed if you just measure things, with machinery and don't listen, to backup the test, then the question 'is it a complete and proper test' arises. Please listen to both cables.
Lol
 
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