Originally Posted by Jason Stoddard
But yeah, we hew closer to the science side. Though that does not mean we always make stuff that objectively measures in the 0.0002% THD range, because we believe that isn't all there is to it. Which drives some people insane.
THD is far from the full story and whether an amp sounds good or not. A good example of this is Genesis Amps in the UK that make some of the best handcrafted car audio amplifiers. They stuff the boards by hand and have some amazing quality control and attention to detail. Their THD is listed as <.1% where as most of the generic car amp manufacturers that make all their stuff in China have <0.05% but that stuff sounds like crap and actually sounds more distorted and less transparent and less clear even though it has a lower THD level and "higher technical specs." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oXvXO4aYCM
People have to realise that companies have different measuring standards, use different equipment and some may have a horrible amp design just to get better "scientific figures" out of it. I would way rather have the highest end components and manufacturing quality and great design (both internal and external) than have "better figures."
Also most amps list THD < 0.05% but they all sound completely different and some have a lot more distortion than others even with the same specs. A good example of this is Tube amps, which have a higher THD but the THD doesn't come out in the sound as it does with a solid state. In a tube amp it will almost cut off the distortion as a flutter compared to a SS where it will be way more audible as what most people think of distortion...
Originally Posted by davidsh
I kinda find there's a tendency to agree that headphones that measure well are technically good, while headphones that measure bad or not as good get more mixed responses.
The hd800 measures really well and is very well engineered. One of the main reasons I am considering it, along with the fact that it seems to be a headphone that can be easily compensated with EQ.
There's a lot more than that. Especially with headphones there are people who prefer different things. For example a Beyerdynamic T1 might measure well but it's too bright for me ears and hard to listen to. I prefer more bass and my ears are sensitive to anything above 10KHZ (or even 10KHZ maybe). Everyone is different and has different preferences, so measurements are not the be all end all. Also remember that some people like V-Shaped headphones because they are more fun, others prefer more neutral ones, etc... but no headphones measure perfectly so there will always be a + and -, more bass might make it less neutral, more treble might make it more transparent to some but too bright for others, etc...
As a "for example," there's a new product we've been developing for a while now, which shall remain nameless. We pretty much decided to kill it, as of today. Why? I started the experiment, I took the initiative and had them built, I played with them for a while--and then I decided that Mike was right, and it's a really dumb category for us to be in. Which he said from the start.
On the other hand, there's another new product that I did on a whim, which, after Mike argued that it didn't really fit into the product line, more discussion resulted in a couple of changes, and it will end up serving as the foundation for a new product category for us.
And on the third hand, there's Mike's secret project he's been working on for a while, which you'll also be seeing soon.
Sorry to be so cloak and dagger, but we really can't talk about what's coming.
I really hope that those three are: 1. A portable DAC/AMP that competes with the iQube for about half the price and that will work on any phone to bypass the internal dac (as well as can be used as a standalone with a computer through USB). 2. A DAP that will compete with the AK120 for half the price and 3. An affordable Electrostatic amp that can be used with STAX :-)
I totally understand your reservations about making portables, you limit yourself a lot and it has to be batter operated, etc... BUT, I want to support you guys and I am sure many on this forum do as well, so if you can beat the competition in these other categories as you have with your full size amps, then more power to you and more treats for us! ;)
Edited by baronkatz - 4/19/14 at 1:25pm