I don't want to beat a dead horse but I'm bugged.


I just can't clear my head of this. I don't want to start a measurements vs listening war and I'd appreciate it if you guys don't, but I bought a Rogue Sphinx V3 as some of you may remember and have been enjoying it quite a bit. So, I head over to AVS and read Amir's review and he just rips it apart. But that's OK, measurements are measurements, that is not what bugs me. I learned in the early 70s that distortion numbers, etc, may not be that important to me. Then I read that he didn't even bother listening to the darn thing. That is what really bugs me. If something measures so poorly, wouldn't you want to correlate the measurements with what you hear? Do people still buy gear on measurements alone? I learned that can be a big mistake. I just don't get it, never have. Can anybody provide some insight to why some people are stuck on audio measurements? Help me package that so I can at least understand what they are thinking without dismissing them completely as a bunch of mislead sheep. 

128x128russ69

You keep mentioning divergent camps, and also the OP stated:

I don’t want to start a measurements vs listening war and I’d appreciate it if you guys don’t

But Ralph did point out where the measurements and the listening are at odds… and why they are at odds.

 

Can anybody provide some insight to why some people are stuck on audio measurements? Help me package that so I can at least understand what they are thinking without dismissing them completely as a bunch of mislead sheep

  • In SS or Class-D amps one wants pretty stunning measurements.
    • Otherwise even 90-100 dB+ SINAD can sound distressing depending on the TYPE of distortion.
  • In a tube amp, one could have a SINAD of say 60 and it would sound pretty likeable and musical if the lower order distortions are masking the higher order harmonics.

Basically we want no higher order harmonics, or if we “have to have them”, then we want to have them masked by lower order harmonics.
(And some IMD stuff related to feedback bandwidth gain product.)

If I got that wrong maybe @atmasphere can tidy up my understanding of it.

I found this mindset short sighted and shallow  when advocated by the late Julian Hirsch decades ago and certainly even more so more so today.

 

Things change. I think that was the 70s? We didn't have cell phones, or even personal computers.

I hear noise raised as an issue but to me it's a false issue for me and likely most. My system is dead quiet during silent portions of tracks. Other system issues? What are they if inaudible?

The camps are not as you describe them in your case and this topic. This is not about measurements defining a sound which I don't see anyone saying in this topic. It is about measurements being able to test the lumits of what is audible. As most audiophiles never test their claims of what they can hear, I see little reason to believe them.  If you want to define camps, I see the camps, primarily, as those that accept humans are fallible, variable, and whose perceptions are hence also fallible and variable, and those that do not.  

  • In SS or Class-D amps one wants pretty stunning measurements.
    • Otherwise even 90-100 dB+ SINAD can sound distressing depending on the TYPE of distortion.
  • In a tube amp, one could have a SINAD of say 60 and it would sound pretty likeable and musical if the lower order distortions are masking the higher order harmonics.

 

I think the comparison was feedback and no feedback not tubes and no tubes specifically. I think the critical element was low distortion at all frequencies and at low to high power.  I did not find the use of the 90-100db term well defined. Perhaps @atmasphere can expand on that.

Well for myself Im in the if its technically better it cant hurt crowd speaking broadly.

But fact is measurements that we currently have dont tell us anything about what something will sound like in our room.

Its entirely possible gear will sound the same in  a anechoic chamber I dont know but nobody listens to music in such a place.

Still what always bothers me is the techies saying x amount of distortion means its not audible.

So to what audible end when they find you cant hear say .01% distortion do they try to lower that tenfold -why?

 

 

Well, deludedaudiophiles stated the divide quite clearly and repeatedly, the measurement crowd doesn't believe we can trust in our individual sensory perceptions to make best decisions.

 

Ok, certainly our sensory perceptions can fool us, but do present measurement regimes and total reliance on them lead us to a better individual decisions?

 

And then, we as humans have  great ability to learn, evolve, we have the ability to train ourselves to be better listeners. Listening to a wide variety of systems, components, even parts for the diy modder over a long period of time, exposes us to many variables, which if we're ever mindful of, can improve listening skills and aural memory. I'm not claiming this infallible method, but are measurements done in lab situ on individual components really a superior method for determining best sound quality for our systems in our rooms and for our unique ear/brain sensory perceptions! A really preposterous posit to my mind.

 

This is also not to say measurements don't have their place, certainly important to the engineer/designer, assembler of audio components. Also important for assembling a more synergistic audio system. But as a replacement for experienced listeners choosing for themselves this is symptom of machine belief. Perhaps some day, but AI hasn't yet surpassed human ability in choosing individual audio systems.

 

I also continue to sense the measurement/subjective divide is symptom of psychological reactive forces. One side doesn't trust humans in general sense, this obviously valid conclusion. And on our side, we have the self proclaimed 'Golden Ears', objectivists posing as subjectivists, irritating and extremely deluded with all their hubris. On the measurement side we have belief in machines, understandable response to human failability. measurements not subject to nearly endless vagaries of human variability. Perhaps some day AI will be preferred method for assembling an audio system, but not yet. I'll go back to robot model I brought up much earlier in thread. This portable measuring robot will be placed in each listening room, do full analysis of individual components, and full system analysis, will also know each individual listener preferences and/or sensory perception system. At this point I MAY trust measurment/machine over my own analysis/senses.