• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

We measure audio equipment for free!!!

amirm

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#1
Yes, you read the title right. If you have audio gear that you like to see objectively measured with professional equipment, we (I) may be interested in doing that for you and our readers.

There is so little objective data on equipment today. Even if you are not an "objectivists" it pays to contribute to gathering some data to weed out poorly engineering products of which, there are many. Electronic design and building of audio equipment has become much easier today, allowing so many unqualified people to get in the business and building potentially unsafe and non-performant equipment. It is important for data to show such poor practices.

At the same time, there are also superbly designed equipment and they deserve standing out from the crowd and dust of all the other gear.

Also of interest is the proliferation of so many audio tweaks including many for digital and computer based audio. Previous assumption has been that what they do is not "measureable." Our record so far shows that we can easily measure their contributions if any exists. Indeed we have found a number of cases where these products actually injected noise and distortion into audio path where non existed before!

I set out originally to purchase and measure equipment myself. Alas, the budget required is massive. I will continue to contribute out of my own pocket to purchase gear but no sense in spending my limited dollars on what some of you may already own.

For convenience sake, the program likely works best for small and lighter gear where shipping and transport is easy. That rules out speakers, large amplifiers, etc, leaving devices that can be shipped reasonably for $20 to $30. In many cases I am willing to pay out of my own pocket to return the gear. So the only cost to you would be shipping to me.

This program has been informally working in the last few months and very well. I have measured and published a number of reviews and measurements with loaned equipment.

If you are interested in participating, all you have to do is "start a conversation with me" by clicking on my name/avatar and we can work out the logistics. Please note that in most cases I need to make the time to measure things so you will be without the gear for a week or two. Possibly more. But we can coordinate that in the prior arrangement. If it is equipment of high interest, I can literally turn around the view in a day or two.

Also, there is some risk of gear getting lost, damaged, etc. The type of products we are talking about is quite robust in this regard, but it can still happen. I pay for some insurance when I ship things back to at least recover some of the cost should the post office screw it up. So far we have not had any issues.

So let's join hands and work together to create a large and useful library of objective, reliable and repeatable data for users to make good decisions in purchasing audio equipment, and to guide manufacturers to build better products.

Speaking of manufacturers, I am more than happy to see them participate too and indeed a number have. I make no assurance whatsoever of happy outcome should you loan me the equipment. What I can promise is supporting you in troubleshooting problems that are revealed in my testing and review.

Thanks in advance for those of you who participate.
 

amirm

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#6
Just computer/digital stuff?

Or are amps, phono stages, and speakers fair game?
Can't do speakers. Amps and phono stage are game. On the former I am just worried about the shipping cost due to weight. But for locals folks like you or smaller amps, certainly doable. Heck you could come over and we would do the testing together. :)
 

watchnerd

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#7
Can't do speakers. Amps and phono stage are game. On the former I am just worried about the shipping cost due to weight. But for locals folks like you or smaller amps, certainly doable. Heck you could come over and we would do the testing together. :)
That could be in a matter of weeks. This weekend I'll be finally building the new audio table/ LP storage system (using Ikea knockoffs from Target!).

I'll have some Wyred 4 Sound IcePower Class-D power amps and ESS-based pre/DACs that I won't have any immediate use for (other than eventually selling them) that I could loan out. Both are models still in production and being sold.

Oh and some tube based phono stages for a total contrast....
 

amirm

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#8
That could be in a matter of weeks. This weekend I'll be finally building the new audio table/ LP storage system (using Ikea knockoffs from Target!).

I'll have some Wyred 4 Sound IcePower Class-D power amps and ESS-based pre/DACs that I won't have any immediate use for (other than eventually selling them) that I could loan out. Both are models still in production and being sold.

Oh and some tube based phono stages for a total contrast....
Those would work well. We are going to take a trip to Oregon for the next few days. Let's sync up after that.
 

A.wayne

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#10
This is great news , so finally we get to see independent testing of all the super Class-D amplifiers ..

Someone please ship a Hypex NC400 with the big supply .

:)
 

oivavoi

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#11
This is great news , so finally we get to see independent testing of all these great super Class-D stuff ..

Someone please ship an Hypex NC400 with the big supply .

:)
I second that! I'm also theoretically undecided about the merits of the best class D vs. the best class AB.
 

amirm

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#14
Class D is actually hard to do. The Audio Precision Analyzer doesn't like the high frequency switching. They sell a filter for it but it retails for thousands of dollars!

But if you are asking for the switching waveforms, that is easy to do with my scope as that puppy runs at 500 Mhz! :)
 

A.wayne

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#15
So its the analyzer oscillating and not the amp when looking at those wonky measurements ? The last class-D amp i had here listening to started oscillating like crazy after disconnecting one of the legs to the ribbon tweeter...
 

oivavoi

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#17
If I may bring up another product category, that would endear you to the DIY community Amir: Digital crossovers and DSP boxes that may or may not include goodies like a dac. These have become increasingly common, either for running active speakers or for room correction. Various minidsp units, Behringer DCX2496, DBX Driverack PA2, DBX Venu360, Xilica, Hypex DSP/Crossover, etc. There are lots of anecdotal stuff going on at the forums concerning the merits of these (does the Minidsp 2x4 HD actually "blur" the sound, for example?), but so far I'm not aware of any serious measurements of these.
 

amirm

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#18
Are people using the DSP boxes with analog output from them and digital/analog in? If so, sure, I am happy to test them. Which do you want me to go after first?
 

oivavoi

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#19
That's what I'm doing, at least! I'm using the DBX Venu360, so that's most interesting to me personally. But the minidsp 2x4 HD is much more widely used.
 

amirm

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#20
Boy that Dbx box is pricey! So I ordered the mindsp. Should be here on Friday.

Keep the suggestions coming everyone. Specifically I like to know what are the popular devices out there that lack objective analysis. Those of you who are active on other forums please post what you see is most talked about.
 
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