Audio Science Review = "The better the measurement, the better the sound" philosophy

"Audiophiles are Snobs"  Youtube features an idiot!  He states, with no equivocation,  that $5,000 and $10,000 speakers sound equally good and a $500 and $5,000 integrated amp sound equally good.  He is either deaf or a liar or both! 

There is a site filled with posters like him called Audio Science Review.  If a reasonable person posts, they immediately tear him down, using selected words and/or sentences from the reasonable poster as100% proof that the audiophile is dumb and stupid with his money. They also occasionally state that the high end audio equipment/cable/tweak sellers are criminals who commit fraud on the public.  They often state that if something scientifically measures better, then it sounds better.   They give no credence to unmeasurable sound factors like PRAT and Ambiance.   Some of the posters music choices range from rap to hip hop and anything pop oriented created in the past from 1995.  

Have any of audiogon (or any other reasonable audio forum site) posters encountered this horrible group of miscreants?  


Master Thread: Are measurements Everything or Nothing? | Audio Science Review (ASR) Forum The first poster states his reasonable position and there are 187 pages denying any validity because he is a subjectivist rather than an objectivist.  Anything expensive or unusual is considered snake oil.   Here's the typical forum there: Extreme Snake Oil | Audio Science Review (ASR) Forum with 68 pages and 1,534 posts in one year.

If you are referring to Darko Audio's YT video with the title of "Audiophiles are Snobs" then you completely misinterpreted what John Darko was opinionating about, as he was giving examples of how certain individuals express their arrogance regarding audio equipment.   And ASR is just another source of relevant or irrelevant information given your individual inclinations as to what is "valid" or not in the evaluation of audio equipment. 

Don't take all this esoteric "stuff" too seriously.  

We have talked about this before. The fact that he pans some equipment without listening to it is enough for me to discount his opinion.

If their claims matched reality, I’d say "cool, they know how to measure important things". Apparently they don’t know how. A bad review from ASR is a badge of honor.


All I can say from personal experience: I have as my preamp a hand-made copy of The Truth by Ed Shilling. It is built like something out of a high school science project, but it sounds absolutely amazing and I just love it: you cannot hear it, as it adds or subtracts absolutely nothing, because the signal path is completely decoupled from the gain stage (by means of a LED/light-sensor circuit);  but what it does is creating amazing dynamics. Needless to say, ASR trashed it so badly that I feel really sorry for Ed. But Ed is just shrugging it off, good man.

Everything in my system with the exception of my RME adi2 DAC would fail ASR's strict measurement criteria , yet together as a system they sound great .  Explain that please .   

The RME was the darling of ASR for a while and it's not a bad DAC at all.    Compare it to the LAB 12 DAC 1 Reference that replaced it and there's no contest .   The LAB 12 sounds much more lifelike despite it's specs on paper.   Which are 

  • Frequency response: 20Hz to 20 KHz + 0dB/-1dB.
  • THD: lower than 0.15%

Those are the only published specs.   And they aren't that great but it sounds really good so who cares?

The RME impresses with it's "perfect" sound but when you compare it to the LAB 12 you soon realize something is missing , weight , tone , dimension, instrument's position or location in space.

Some may prefer that pristine almost clinical sound of something like the RME or the bigger , meatier sound of something like the LAB 12.  That's the great thing about all this stuff.   It's like ice cream , there is a flavor for everyone 

This quote is attributed to John Curl " Measurements are best used to

confirm what is heard by the ear".


Dr. I concur. 

You just cannot win an argument with ASR. They always have the final word. They always claim to be objective. They always take a position of authority citing scientific papers written decades ago. ASR read Floyd Toole papers like the Bible. ASR worships Amir like Jesus. The striking ressemblance to religious fanatics is uncanny. 

Perhaps the issue with ASR isn't the obsession over measurements, but rather the internet mob mentality. With internet mob mentality there's only ONE way to get things done and a thousand "inferior" ways to accomplish the same thing. You're treated like a fool if you stray away from the "optimal" path. Creativity, innovation and curiosity are thrown in the trash to make room for strict guidelines which can never be challenged under any circumstances. 

I noticed this mob mentality with the Magic the Gathering community (a trading card game where you build your own deck of cards and challenge other players, the possibilities are infinite). Professional players would publish decklists and strategies on their website (usually Channel Fireball or TCG Player). Competitive players would blindly copy these decklists without any thought, card-for-card. This is how the "metagame" was formed. The metagame is basically a ranking of decks, you would typically have 3 powerful decks and dozens of "inferior" off-meta decks. So every weekly tournament felt like a complex game of "rock-paper-scissors". 

This metagame mentality applies to everything in life: mattresses, cars, speakers, tooth brushes, toilets, music, books, chairs etc...

It's up to you to carve your own path, or follow strict rankings and guidelines. Don't let other people's strong opinions get to you. 

I have dealt with the Trolls when stating my viewpoints on dacs like DCS my brother owns ,or  when I bought the Denafrips Terminator2 much better  then what most of what they had the majority are newbies, or under 30 years old club 

beginners in my book . Myself having owned a audio store and having many 

toys to play with was a treat ,and over 40 years in Audio I can say I have experienced what many cannot especially sad having so many Great vacuum tubes to try in the 70s- 80s for reasonable monies now many are so rare they are 10x the price .i wished I stocked up ,there was so many tubes left over after ww2

and experiencing CDs from the start since the80s it has evolved where when setup it can = or surpass the turntable ,which I used as my main music sourse,

and cassette decks like theNakamichi Dragon was sate of the are 3 head decks 

they sounded verygood , as was reel to reel ,the golden age of Audio .

in audio on Average when you make a purchase unless spending $$ a lot of moneys you donot ever get the best quality parts,  25%for example a $10kLoudspeaker only $2500 goes into the complete build including packaging 

the rest R&D overhead and markup,sad but true .i have been modding or upgrading Everything I rebuild my own Loudspeaker Xovers , and have assistance with Electronics which greatly improve the sound ,in mfg terms for every $100 they charge x4 .  Unless you are small and have low overhead costs.

@fleschler  depends on what you are looking for. ASR, Audioholics, and others want you to spend money where it matters. For instance, the review on ASR for the Uptone Etherregen takes all their claims (reduce jitter, reduce noise) and tests it, and shows it doesn’t do anything at all what it claims. 

What I would like to see from sites like this is to do an actual full spectrum analysis from the listening position. If you A/B and you can see a difference with this, then there is a true difference. 

Well you do find differences between statements an opinions on Audigon, ASR or Steve Gutenberg. All of them have their + an - an specific look on Audio. On all these sites you have people with sometimes outspoken opinions so what. I take out on these site what i find interesting. If i focus on opinions that does not fit my personal opinion ha ha i would end up in a mental institution.  I want to suggest get a life it is way to short to be wasted.

What is worse than Amir himself is the asr forum host who censors opinions different from his and a group of abusers, nothing different from the communist countries.  I look at his measurements but cross check with other more dependable sources.  


They also occasionally state that the high end audio equipment/cable/tweak sellers are criminals who commit fraud on the public. 

That happens here, too, and it always activates my inner BS alarm. If you're going to accuse someone of fraud, you should have real proof. And if you have real proof, you should take some kind of legal action, however small.

ASR is just a place for measurementalists to gather. They can talk hi-fi without ever having to actually listen. It's very convenient.

Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of enjoying good quality tube amp and/ or preamp in a good quality system knows that measurements, by themselves definitely do not tell the whole story.

Generally, most tube electronics, including the the high end ones, do not measure as well as even mediocre quality solid state ones but can sound way better & much more like real music. 

From what I usually read from John Atkinson of Stereophile, he seems to not agree e we other this & generally disses on tube stuff. Imo, he’s missing out on some of the nuance & overall presentation that few but the really good solid state amps can produce. 


@lanx0003 I was banned from ASR because I was contrarian and annoying to them. Amir is definitely a dictator on his own forum. His opinion is the law. 

@cleeds  I can't get over how ASR members judge equipment just by looking at it:

- Tube amplifiers = trash

- Fullrange drivers = trash

- Horns = trash

- REL = trash

- Klipsch = trash

- SMSL/Topping = great

- GENELEC/REVEL = no-brainer. Buy that, you'd be a moron otherwise. 

ASR are the biggest snobs out there, change my mind. 

russ69 Absolutely agree-I enjoy music in a car if the music communicates with me. I don’t judge a system by its’ cost but by its value in reproducing the recording (as music, not just sound).

kokakolia That is exactly what happened to me. You nailed it. They are similar to a religion of believers who dismiss any one else having an alternative thought, or even an alternative device they don’t approve of. Fascist mob mentality. I brought up in an intelligent and well reasoned manner my equipment, tweaks that I rejected, cabling I use and how often I compared differences in them. Your list of what they hate, that’s what they automatically rejected.

Cleeds When I mentioned my 40 year history as an amateur recording engineer at Royce, Disney, Ford, etc. with 300 recordings, 1000 performances at those and other venues, they came up with when they had their first beer and that I am bragging. I only wanted to indicate my devotion to music and acoustics. It is apparent that they don’t listen to music and the music they listen to is so bereft of acoustic information that they couldn’t judge on their cheap equipment what it could sound like.

Jonwolfpell Atkinson gives me an idea if there are gross sonic errors (very high THD, speakers with wild frequency response and difficult loads versus phase angles, etc).

My primary listening system is comprised of exotic tube gear using subminature tubes (6 in pre-amp and 8 in phono) with 100,000 hour lifespan, fantastic audio qualities (short distances internally, no vibration) in a design that decouples the stepped resistor volume control from the signal. The Altec 1569 monoblocks (and my second system Dynaco 70) are voltage regulated, not ultralinear, pentode or triode. It is based on a very sophisticated version of Audio Research’s rudimentary voltage regulation found in their modern amps. Same with it’s bias circuit, Only the transformers remain on the Altecs. A pair of 3” X 7” storage caps reside on the Altecs with a combo of 6gu7 tubes, a 6SN7 and 6 6bg6 output tubes for 125 watts. This is an example of the care I took in obtaining part of my audio systems without spending an arm and a leg. However, I do have some high end equipment such as the Zesto Allesso SUT while preferring the inexpensive Dynavector 20X2 L on a highly modified SME IV/VPI TNT VI. I find that the Dynavector happens to work great on nearly my entire LP collection of 28,500 albums versus my former Benz Ruby 3, which I loved, but was great on many but not most of my collection.  I have tweaks in my system-analog sits on a Townshend Seismic Sink for example.

Audiogon forum has many posts concerning my custom built listening room which took precedence over the equipment in cost because once built, will never require adjustment and is permanent.

The comment concerning the actual cost of equipment is telling What could be in a $500 integrated amp? Most higher end gear have higher costs involved and sell for maybe 2X to 3X with a 40-60% mark-up at the retailer.

I certainly agree with Amir when it comes to power cords.  When he does a "subtraction" test, which basically shows that the signals are virtually identical (fancy power cord vs cheap power cord), to me the argument is over.  If you take the signal from one cord and subtract it from the signal using the other cord, and nothing is left (absolute value), then the signals are the same, and if you hear any difference you are imagining it.  I don't know how anybody can argue with that.  

"Fancy" versus "cheap."  Not defined.  I only use "Fancy" power cords after testing a few dozen, while only a few "cheap" ones.  The cheap ones sound lousy in my high end system, even when it was a mid-fi system.   My fancy power cords are made by   They sell for about $750 and take 2 hours of labor to construct under a US Patent.  My friend's $500,000 hi end system used Pangea power cables and his system was way out of whack with weird frequency response and restricted dynamics.  He just put one of my cables in his power amp and noticed the huge difference.  He ended up replacing all 6 of his power cables.  He was an electrical engineer and though he had high end cabling for ICs and speaker wire, he thought power cables couldn't make a difference.   Was he wrong!   His speakers are YG Sonja 2.3s-high end. 

I certainly agree with Amir when it comes to power cords.  When he does a "subtraction" test, which basically shows that the signals are virtually identical (fancy power cord vs cheap power cord), to me the argument is over.  If you take the signal from one cord and subtract it from the signal using the other cord, and nothing is left (absolute value), then the signals are the same, and if you hear any difference you are imagining it.

What signal?

This hobby seems to generate a lot of stone throwing and name calling.  A "horrible group of miscreants," really?  This subjective vs. objective argument has become like a battle between true believers vs. atheists, with no middle ground whatsoever.  We all have an opinion and sharing is fine, but the trouble starts when everyone has to be right.



Bingo…. You know of course that kind of talk will dump one into the troll house 😱

In which a (well-meaning, I'm sure) poster is so angered by ASR guys that he mistakes John Darko for one. Lol. If that's what you got out of that video, I don't know what to tell you buddy 😂

ASR completely panned a streamer for its distortion of 0.003%, no one can hear 0.003% never mind tell it from 0.001% which seemingly is OK. The product was not listened to, strange, its like reviewing a car without driving it don't you think?

I'm a member on ASR but I don't post often, mainly to defend the honor of vinyl.  It does not go over well and I wind up clashing with the regular trolls there who don't want anyone to enjoy vinyl.  So dogmatic in pronouncing digital superior, but it just doesn't sound that way to my ears.  They don't value the human factor there, wanting to boil everything down to measurements.  Music just isn't that simple, it'd be nice if it was, but it ain't.  They pray to the great God of SINAD, differences in which I find inaudible.  I just took a distortion listening test on YT and I wasn't bothered by it until it hit like 8% THD, a huge number.  The noise floor in my quiet listening room is like 35 dB, so there's really only 55-60 dB of dynamic range for me practically.

To be fair I did buy a class D Hypex power amp on their suggestions, review and teardown.  And cheap SMSL DAC too based on Amir's review, though that's about as far as I'm willing to go on the digital end.  But they do piss me off a lot with the mob mentality.  Someone got a 30 day ban recently for calling them angry joyless nerds, audio bullies getting revenge for traumatic childhoods.  Not nice, but pretty accurate in my eyes.


I certainly agree with Amir when it comes to power cords.

Testing power cords that way he does will never show a thing.

Their purpose is to stop AC emissions contaminating surrounding equipment. The better the shielding the better the improvement.

That alone is enough to indicate Amir is a nincompoop of the highest order.

@drewdawg999   100% agreement with you as well as @yoyoyaya   @henry53 That's what I'm complaining about ASR. 

@td_dayton No, the video did not anger me as it wasn't directed at me.   Having an opinion that there is no difference in sound quality between cheap and expensive gear makes no sense to me and is non-sense but Darko can believe whatever he wants to.

@mitch2 I never intimated that I was superior to the other posters on the forum, just that I have a great deal of experience recording at world reknown venues as well as performing there.  Everything I stated was taken out of context.  Every suggestion that there is more than one point of view was nullified.  Calling them miscreants is appropriate. 

Every person hears differently, prefers different music and each system/room requires synergy to extract the best sound. 

ASR has a religion and hates anyone who is not a believer.  Audiogon is sooooo superior despite some rancorous differing opinions.   What's Best in Audio,  Audiocircle and so many other sites permit differing opinions and one can learn from many posters.   Not much to learn from ASR posters.  

@fleschler he doesn't say that in the video. darko has been quite critical of the 'measurements over everything' crowd. in fact, the "audiophiles are snobs (with money to burn" title is in scare quotes because he spends most of that video directly criticizing their closed-mindedness - he calls the dogmatic measurement people inverse snobs. i don't think you actually watched it 😂

My guess is ASR is the website you love to hate. If it offers nothing useful to you why waste your time there? 

I find plenty of what I consider nonsense on Audiogon, Audiokarma, Steve Hoffmanh, ASR and on down the line. So I take with me what is useful and disregard the rest...

I'm a skeptic of cable risers, crystals and other items that supposedly improve audio, but I don't attack the folks that subscribe those devices. who cares, it's there money, time and impressions and if they want to write about it on some website, so be it.


As a student of Mr. Pass, I for one would like to think I have come to have a basic  understanding of the harmonics of distortion and particularly which harmonics are pleasing or possibly in in fact those harmonics which might be intrinsic to the recording. These ASR guys have no clue. When they report distortion ( THD) how often do they report which order harmonics they are referring to and at which frequency.... Peace

ASR sucks..... in the past when I was much younger I took reviews seriously. Made a lot of mistakes along the way. Most important criteria is how does it sound in your system???

@61 falcon - I was kicked off for violating their dogma in less than 12 hours. The warning was that I said that I didn’t know I would be attacked within a minute of my first post concerning differences in cables. I tried it but found out there is no intelligent life among audiophile miscreants (not criminals as they feel that all high end manufactures of audio equipment are).

@td_dayton You are correct, I saw half the video and couldn’t tolerate the cheap/more expensive comparisons being the same. I admit I did not hear his final admonition concerning objective and subjective audiophile extremism.


Note there are piles of snake oil items embraced for reasons only known to the embracers of them, and that stuff just wastes people's time...I'm also an experienced pro musician and pro live sound mixer who knows for a fact that my opinion isn't any more important than anyone else's regarding sound (except those who overpay me for my services, and trust me, they do)...I don't care if the Measurement Freaks have a venue to share their opinions as I'm reasonably confident in my own tastes, and skeptical of plenty of others, especially regarding things I've used and know well...Nelson Pass is a genius and everybody should buy his amps, especially the XA-25. it now...measurements schmeasurements.

You only get banned from ASR if you constantly troll sonic cable difference without any proof. Every so often one of the cable, DAC, amp trolls show up and are WARNED to either quit polluting treads with subjective opinions  as if it proves anything since it is a science site or get banned. They are informed if they wish to contribute and learn something they are more than welcome.You made your choice.

I almost never post on ASR but I've read on a lot of different topics. I was amazed how many well know audio luminaries post there. From designers of well known amps, DACs, speakers to researchers in Psychoacoustics, professional audio mixers, studio technicians, firmware and software developers. Yeah it's a science site. 

There is a lot of misinformation about ASR in this thread and on this forum. For one thing the title of this thread is nonsense. Better measurements = better sound isn't a tenant of ASR. Better measurements = better engineering is and with better measurements you have less chance to alter the source. Better sound is subjective and there are plenty of members on ASR who use tube amps and vinyl because they prefer the sound but what they don't do is claim tubes and vinyl is BETTER. 

This subject can apply to any market of any product. I can buy a car for $1000 dollars or I can buy a car for $500,000. In its simplest argument they will both accomplish the same thing. Getting me from point a to b. Same with music I can spend $10 on a transistor portable radio and tune in to free over the air radio, or I can spend 100’s of thousands on a system that will play the same free over the air radio. My thought is to each their own and just enjoy the music. A post like this is exactly what I commented on last week. Audiogon started out as an open source for people to seek out unbiased help to questions on gear, set ups, and new technology for music lovers. It was adults have adult conversations to help each other out in an open forum. Now all too often we get trolls putting out post not with actual questions but gaslight questions just looking for a high number of responses to stroke their ego snd hope for self worth. I try to avoid wasting my time with a post like this but felt the need to reply!

Asr posters insulted a guy that had some good arguments for cables, he had worked for AT&T in research and development. I will say that Amir did get a little mad at posters for doing that. I think it's worse now than it was back then.

What the hey?  I just measured the resistance of my expensive new power cord with my $25 Ohm meter.  I got the same reading- down to 3 decimal places when I measured the resistance of a $5 power cord.  I just realized all power cords are the same.  Wait a minute!  I get the same reading if I short the two probes of my Ohm meter together.  That must mean all power cords have zero resistance.

My point to this irony is that without understanding the capabilities of the test equipment we are using, having traceability for that equipment back to a standard, and using a defined test method that can be repeated by others (correlation) then the results have no meaning and certainly should not be published.



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