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What to trust ear or measurement?

Audio equipment is great if:

  • It has acceptable measurement, i,e. staying true to their source.

  • I don't care what it measures, it has to sound good to my ears.

  • I trust reviewers more than measurement.


Results are only viewable after voting.

Kaiju

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Measurements can be useful for engineers, no doubt. But is there any correlation between ever improving measurements and better sound? I think not! Audio products are made first for listening, not measuring, right! They're not scientific test instruments, they're entertainment, or at least I hope so!

These are the words from Steve Guttenberg "Audiophiliac".


What he ideates is good measuring audio device either it be: Speaker, DAC, Amp or Turntable might not have good sound quality exemplifying reputed engineer Dan D' Agostino also designs not caring too much about measurements in this interview.
 
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When it comes to electronics it is possible to measure to levels beyong human hearing infrequency and dynamic range, and with low level electronics it is fairly straightforward to achieve performance levels better than our ears can detect so measurements tell us enough to choose.
Anybody hearing a difference will be imagining it or subject to the placebo effect unless they are hearing way from competent kit.
With record players, microphones and speakers we can't engineer devices with even frequency response or always inaudible levels of distortion. Here it is a matter of whether you can hear it and what you prefer.
It is said people tend to prefer the same thing but in record players that is not my experience and it is possible but not easy to tune to taste.
Speakers in rooms are a different thing and strong opinions abound.
Dan D'Agostino is sufficiently marketing savvy to know Guttenberg's mantra is grist to the audiophile mill so what he says will be for marketing, so will the styling. The engineering, otoh will be sound - ie plenty of measurements, otherwise, apart from anything else, how could he quote a specification?
When I was introduced to him we chatted about engineering for a long time, I am sure he knows what he is doing technically.

Good measured performance means you are listening to what the recording engineer and artist released as a recording.
Poorly performing kit may be enjoyed but it is an effects generator not high fidelity to the recording.
A large number of expensive and popular pickup cartridges are considerably rolled off in the treble, for example. This may sound nice and mellow but isn't extracting the music accurately.

The other difficulty in believing that idea is that aural memory is short so getting a meaningful and reliable comparison by ear requires a very precise level matched and "blind" comparison, a bit inconvenient and not something non-technically minded folk tend to understand or even bother with.

Other "high-end" makers do all their engineering by measurement, but don't go on about it in their marketing, though some clearly don't.
 
In the interview my impression D'Agnostino measured his amps to assure himself they were working within acceptable parameters then tweaked them to his listening preferences. He said he wasn't looking to build the best measuring amp and that's fine but as long as the amp is within reasonable specs it doesn't really matter.
 
Measurements can be useful for engineers, no doubt. But is there any correlation between ever improving measurements and better sound? I think not! Audio products are made first for listening, not measuring, right! They're not scientific test instruments, they're entertainment, or at least I hope so!

These are the words from Steve Guttenberg "Audiophiliac".


What he ideates is good measuring audio device either it be: Speaker, DAC, Amp or Turntable might not have good sound quality exemplifying reputed engineer Dan D' Agostino also designs not caring too much about measurements in this interview.
Good measurements and good sound are not mutually exclusive as some seem to think. Equally mediocre measurements don't necessarily mean something sounds bad, it just means our hearing isnt as sensitive as we would like to think.

Trust our ears? Absolutely. However don't trust what our brains do to what we perceive with all its biases - that's the problem.
 
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In the interview my impression D'Agnostino measured his amps to assure himself they were working within acceptable parameters then tweaked them to his listening preferences. He said he wasn't looking to build the best measuring amp and that's fine but as long as the amp is within reasonable specs it doesn't really matter.

I have a pair his Krell monoblocks.

I can't see any "voicing" in the measurements I've taken of them.
 
Measurements can be useful for engineers, no doubt. But is there any correlation between ever improving measurements and better sound? I think not! Audio products are made first for listening, not measuring, right! They're not scientific test instruments, they're entertainment, or at least I hope so!

These are the words from Steve Guttenberg "Audiophiliac".

What he ideates is good measuring audio device either it be: Speaker, DAC, Amp or Turntable might not have good sound quality exemplifying reputed engineer Dan D' Agostino also designs not caring too much about measurements in this interview.
I dipped into the youtube at random and got

Time has shown that the people who proudly proclaim that they rarely or never listen tend not to make great-sounding designs. It just kinda works out that way.

That's problematic in a number of ways. 1. Wasel words. 2. Evidence? 3. Time did this? 4. What is "great-sounding"? Guttenberg is practicing an art described in detail by Harry Hrankfurt.

So far I have found the arguments between the measurement crowd seeking transparency and the euphonious fans seeking thrills uninformative. I'm firmly on the side of measurements where we understand what they can tell us about subjective psycho-acoustics. But I find the measurements crowd is often evasive when it comes to the question of what the overall system, including production of recordings, is supposed to accomplish. I contend that, more often than not, fidelity is not reaslistic or desirable and that the measurements crowd could profit from tackling the question of what a given experience in a given context should sound like, in other words, what do they want to listen to, which is a fundamentally aesthetic problem.
 
One forum member who is considered to be a technical expert has opined that a 72db SINAD for the entire electronics chain is all most people can hear with 78db for a few select people, mainly young. However, people are chasing numbers around this place like crazy.
 
One forum member who is considered to be a technical expert has opined that a 72db SINAD for the entire electronics chain is all most people can hear with 78db for a few select people, mainly young. However, people are chasing numbers around this place like crazy.
That sounds plausible. Now given that 100 dB is easily achieved in parts of the chain, it is a good idea to maintain that level there so as to offer as much headroom as possible for the more challenging stages.
 
One forum member who is considered to be a technical expert has opined that a 72db SINAD for the entire electronics chain is all most people can hear with 78db for a few select people, mainly young. However, people are chasing numbers around this place like crazy.

Can you not hear differences between equipment through your speakers in spite of their notorious limitations in several aspects of measured performance?

We desperately need more research on the subject of audibility thresholds.
 
We desperately need to do more properly controlled blind tests when it concerns electronics and alledged 'sonic signatures'.
The moment electric signals are converted to soundwaves things get complicated.
 
We all took the bait , including me :facepalm:...

I am out quick
Good Day!
 
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First we need the existing research to be taken seriously.

No, we just need to make sure we are not confusing taste with accuracy. Some people have trouble accepting that they don't like accuracy (it sounds good but measures bad and vice-versa), does discredit the effectiveness or purpose of measurements.
 
We desperatly need more research on the subject of audibility thresholds.
Absolute threshold is very well known. Achieve that and you don't need to be desperate for anything. If that performance was expensive, then sure, we would need to research lower levels. But since it is not, there is no need to sweat it.
 
Measurements can be useful for engineers, no doubt. But is there any correlation between ever improving measurements and better sound? I think not! Audio products are made first for listening, not measuring, right! They're not scientific test instruments, they're entertainment, or at least I hope so!

These are the words from Steve Guttenberg "Audiophiliac".
Audio products don't care or know if you are measuring them, or listening to them. They output what you put in them. The product is also not entertainment. The content is entertainment.

Audiophiles absolutely care about performance of audio gear. They hang around forums and watch his youtube videos even though neither has anything to do with listening or music entertainment. Everyone wants to optimize their hardware for best sound. Measurements reliably tell us that. Steve's opinion of manufacturer loaned free gear and no proven ability to tell good gear from bad with his ears, not so much.

I would gladly throw out all of my measurement gear if Steve would demonstrate that what he says about the sound, is what I would hear. I am not interested in his business interest getting in the way, or his belief in myths and preconceptions. I wouldn't get medical advice from him no matter how much he says drinking carrot juice cures cancer. He has no expertise in that, or fidelity of audio.
 
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