Indentical measurments = Identical performance?

I’ve been doing A LOT of thinking lately. In particular, about the importance of audio measurments for source components like DACs and CD players.


Let us first assume that we have 2 identical DACs or 2 identical CD players. You wouldn’t dare suggest that the same models sound inherently different, now would you? Well we can prove that the output of each device in this scenario is identical by doing a null test. We capature the output of the DACs and CD players and learn that their waveforms (let’s say a 30 second clip) are identical. The only time we might see a difference is in an engineering/manufacturing hiccup...and that is RARE considering we have globalization in the modern world today followed by quality control standards that are not necessarily difficult to get right.


And so, if put to practice, any 2 digital audio components that have similar enough measurements should sound identical. For example, a DAC with a SINAD or SNR or 120 dB vs one with a SINAD or SNR of 123. Tiny differences in linarity and frequency response above 20 KHz are not audible to us humans anyway.

Because most of our listening dare not go up to 110 dB, which is the threshold of discomfort. You could only listen for up to about 30 minutes at this level without risking hearing loss! For this reason, the ideal listening level is below that!


Should we forget about what companies try to sell us as high-end and focus purely on measurements with respect to accurately reproducing digital audio?


Here’s what’s really funny. The Chord DAVE performed worse with respect to measurments than the Chord Hugo TT2! Just see audio science review.


Lastly, I consider ASR the best objective website on the internet, bar none. Because if Amir really had a business relationship with any of these audio companies, their flagship or most expensive products would always perform at the very top; we see that is not the case and measured performance is all over the place!


Looking forward to hearing from you guys. Let’s not turn this discussion into a flame war. If you disagree with what I’ve written, just tell me why. I will investigate.





What I’ve written has to do with common sense. What you’ve written has to do with exactly the same drivel that every person who believes in blind testing says. That, and some of my words in there for good measure to make yourself sound cohesive.

You know I’m right. Just like test driving a car, trying on a new suit, or visiting an open house.

Once you see/hear/experience for yourself, any preconceived beliefs you had about whatever it is will be crushed. You will only be left with how to piece together the reality or real world experience you just had.

So here is an example:

Dealer tells you about a system. You do research for a few days. You are super now have some preconceptions about this system sounding great with say, rock music and complex instrumentals because you were told so.

But then you go and listen. To your disappointment, the dealers description does not align with what you just heard.

You don’t need a blind test to confirm that your experience is true.

Same thing with any product or service you can imagine.

Sound itself is intangible but it can either impress us or leave us disinterested.

There is no middle ground or basis to your arguments.




When I test drive a car, specs take a back seat... (get what I did there?). Headroom is a spec that matters, I’m a big guy and don’t fit in lots of cars. 10ths of a second in 0 to 60 time, not a decision maker. It’s not a real world spec that would determine the affect of my daily driving or my enjoyment at the track. Cars are a perfect example of what I’m trying to portray because when I test drive a car the range, MPG amount of people it seats has been determined so I’m looking for cars within a specific class. Sure some specs matter but there is no spec for feel. How does car A feel as opposed to car B? That feel spec is what matters but it doesn’t exist. Feel is engineered in by a team working with measurements to create that unique flavor there is no outside group reporting those measurements.

They’re testing the wrong stuff, Class of vehicle or component sure 3 watt amp. 84db speakers are are important measurements but the voicing of equipment isn’t being portrayed with the mostly inaudible specification ASR is making their recommendations on.



If only we knew everything to measure, and the subjective-weighted impact of each, and we measured each and every one.

if oyu think that’s extreme, the subjective-weighted part was the Bell Labs approach int he 1930s and resulted in A and C message weighting.

Those who purport ot know all are either charlatans or just a little naive.


I sure wish i could make easy measurements and know all i need to! would sooooooo simplify my life.

As a researcher in real electronics i face very similar problems every day and need to fight the "We know it all and know better" of the rank and file. And more importantly "what i know is my security - don;t threaten it". Dont move my cheese. I’m paid very well to shake the tree.


While measurements are very helpful, they are not 100% sufficient. And they certainly do not take into account individual tastes. Make no mistake, many highly respected components have significant distortion - but almost always euphonic distortion of one flavor or another.  Before you revolt at that, example A is a Steinway piano, who's rich sound comes largely from the harmonic distortions of its sounding board.