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The Objectivist Audio Forum: Post #3 Equipment Specifications

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Some audio equipment has more specification disclosure than others.

How important is it for audio equipment to have posted specifications?

USG
post #2 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by upstateguy View Post
Some audio equipment has more specification disclosure than others.

How important is it for audio equipment to have posted specifications?

USG
In the spirit of the forum, why take manufacturer's specs as gospel at all?
post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Samgotit View Post
In the spirit of the forum, why take manufacturer's specs as gospel at all?
Hi S

Why not?

USG
post #4 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by upstateguy View Post
Hi S

Why not?

USG
Maybe some aren't correct: inflated, underflated (word?), lies, wishful, conservative, etc. Don't know.
post #5 of 26
Specs are good for the ones who know how to understand them, and of course there are parameters inside the specs that are consider standard, good or bad, but IMO the specs do not give you any idea of how a given device will sound, in other words I have heard amps that measure like champs, and sound like crap, and others with worst specs sounded far better...

Just an example how many times we have seen tube designs with a THD of 1% or even worst, and comparing them with others with a lot less, and we prefer the one with higher THD...

IMO it is not a matter of the specs alone, but a combination of them, and also sometimes the specs are not clear or very specific as what they are actually measuring, in the case of the THD, just to mention one example, we have harmonics, a sum of them is not an indication of the sound as we all know, some harmonics are more pleasant than others to the ear...

My take in that, is that measurements right now are a gross approximation of a performance, but IMO we need to go deeper into them to understand what they really mean, and how they were taken...
post #6 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Samgotit View Post
Maybe some aren't correct: inflated, underflated (word?), lies, wishful, conservative, etc. Don't know.
Some ARE NOT correct, and this is a pretty well known fact among enthusiasts. This is why Stereophile is a decent source of info because they will test the gear and if it does not match what the manufacturer states, they will dispute this. One great example is Coincident. Great sounding speakers, not nearly as efficient as claimed.
post #7 of 26
Specs don't interest me nearly as much as the human experience. Why use them at all? What we're really after is whether product A is functionally (not just mechanically) better than, worse than, or equal to product B.
Analogous to this is coffee. There are many chemicals in coffee, with different effects on the body. Some are positive effects, health-wise, and some are negative. A lot of research has focused on the mechanisms of individual chemicals in determining the total effects of coffee on our health, but recently a study came out showing simply that, once you get past all the 'noise', people who drink coffee live longer than those who don't, and that's that.
post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by acidbasement View Post
Specs don't interest me nearly as much as the human experience. Why use them at all? What we're really after is whether product A is functionally (not just mechanically) better than, worse than, or equal to product B.
Analogous to this is coffee. There are many chemicals in coffee, with different effects on the body. Some are positive effects, health-wise, and some are negative. A lot of research has focused on the mechanisms of individual chemicals in determining the total effects of coffee on our health, but recently a study came out showing simply that, once you get past all the 'noise', people who drink coffee live longer than those who don't, and that's that.

As a vehicle for comparison maybe?

But I do see your point.

USG
post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 
Do op amps and tubes figure into specifications?

USG
post #10 of 26
If you're going to be scientifical, the specs must be tested. I mean, then oscilloscopes and other gadgets will go all wrong because of the possible systematic error.
post #11 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by progo View Post
If you're going to be scientifical, the specs must be tested. I mean, then oscilloscopes and other gadgets will go all wrong because of the possible systematic error.
I'm not sure where you're going, but here's a question:

If you don't believe the manufacturers specs are accurate, how far do you think they are off?

USG
post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by progo View Post
If you're going to be scientifical, the specs must be tested. I mean, then oscilloscopes and other gadgets will go all wrong because of the possible systematic error.
It depends on the question we're trying to answer. If all we want to know is "Does Gear A sound better than Gear B?", then I'd say the specs could be a red herring.

If we want to know which combination of specs sounds better, then obviously we should verify the manufacturer's specs through measurement. However, there is a danger with mechanistic research such as this, in that there is temptation to apply the results to similar situations. For example, say we find no significant difference between the sound of Gear A and Gear B, and say that Gear A has almost the same specs as Gear C. One might assume then that Gear C also sounds no different than Gear B, without even comparing their sound. I don't believe this is a fully logical conclusion, but I do believe that some might use these results to make arguments about the pointlessness of upgrading from Gear B to Gear C.

Generally (not always!), in applied science, the simpler we can make the question, the more powerful and interesting our conclusion will be.
post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by acidbasement View Post
It depends on the question we're trying to answer. If all we want to know is "Does Gear A sound better than Gear B?", then I'd say the specs could be a red herring.
I didn't know you can rank devices (that are experienced subjectively) objectively -- argh, nevermind, you were referring to the measurable things, things like THD, jitter, voltages and ampers, etcetera. I understood what you meant but it sounded sharp to ear.

Actually I do believe that high-end manufacturers provide pretty reliable specifications, since this business needs loyal customers. And loyal customers need no-BS sellers. I can't express it any better. Let's just say high end is not sold in TV-shop.

Since we could presume the numbers are somewhat right, or something like that, the very own test gear could be calibrated, in theory of course, regarding to the manufacturer info.
post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by progo View Post
I didn't know you can rank devices (that are experienced subjectively) objectively -- argh, nevermind, you were referring to the measurable things, things like THD, jitter, voltages and ampers, etcetera. I understood what you meant but it sounded sharp to ear.

Actually I do believe that high-end manufacturers provide pretty reliable specifications, since this business needs loyal customers. And loyal customers need no-BS sellers. I can't express it any better. Let's just say high end is not sold in TV-shop.

Since we could presume the numbers are somewhat right, or something like that, the very own test gear could be calibrated, in theory of course, regarding to the manufacturer info.
All I meant was that, given that specs are not perfect at predicting people's subjective enjoyment of a piece of gear, the most important thing we can measure is the people's responses. Individual responses are subjective, yes, but we can do quantitative, objective analysis on a collection of individuals' subjective responses.
post #15 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by progo View Post
I didn't know you can rank devices (that are experienced subjectively) objectively -- argh, nevermind, you were referring to the measurable things, things like THD, jitter, voltages and ampers, etcetera. I understood what you meant but it sounded sharp to ear.

Actually I do believe that high-end manufacturers provide pretty reliable specifications, since this business needs loyal customers. And loyal customers need no-BS sellers. I can't express it any better. Let's just say high end is not sold in TV-shop.

Since we could presume the numbers are somewhat right, or something like that, the very own test gear could be calibrated, in theory of course, regarding to the manufacturer info.
I agree with you. I would like to believe that the majority of Manufacturer specs are pretty reliable.

USG
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