NuForce uDAC-2 Drama (detailed measurements)
Mar 13, 2011 at 1:17 AM Post #136 of 208
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Quote:
Let me suggest NuForce a slogan:
 
We evaluate the sound by the ears, nothing else.
 
Pretty viable concept.
 


It's really not a very viable concept. There's literally NO downside to conducting measurements. None. The company is certainly free to ignore them if they want but at least they know. Measurements also provide the only reasonable way to publish specifications that are close to being accurate (something NuForce apparently has trouble with). Measurements can reveal unknown problems, that when corrected, will almost always further improve the sound of a product--not somehow make it worse. Measurements can also help make a product more reliable and more compatible with a wider ranger of other gear.
 
Even if you ignore all the well rational reasons, research, studies, etc. (see my review for links) that prove  "design by ear" doesn't work the way most companies do it. That still leaves you with something like one particular wine reviewer deciding what kind of wine everyone else will like. That reviewer (or small group of reviers) may will have their own ideas about what sounds best. They will have their own favorite headphones, favorite music, volumes they like to listen at, and lots of specific qualities they prefer in the sound.
 
Let's say NuForce developed 4 different versions of a new uDAC-3 that all sounded slightly different. They might, as a company, decide version "A" sounds best so that's what they put into production. Kostalex on the other hand, with his music, headphones and tastes, might have liked "B" the best. The next person might prefer "C". And so on. If you only judge products by their subjective sound, you get something very much like a wine, food, or restaurant reviewer's choice as to what's best. Just like a reviewer, you might get a small but loyal group of customers with similar tastes. But there will be an even larger group that doesn't agree.
 
Objective measurements, at least, provide a much more consistent way to evaluate products. That's why even well respected audiophile magazines conduct them. They don't prevent a company from tuning some things by ear, but they do help them avoid obvious flaws in their product, help them publish honest specifications, and prevent being surprised by independent reviews--all things NuForce apparently could use some help with.
 
 
Mar 13, 2011 at 3:23 AM Post #137 of 208

kostalex

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I am an electronic retailer myself since 1992. I can see how some may successfully sell audio gear with no specs. I just checked http://www.apple.com/ipodclassic/specs.html - no specs or measurements there, except "20 - 20000" cliche. And yes, iPod EQ still distorts (clipping), if your music is no "replay-gained".
 
Measurements taken for the compatibility and safety are another story. But these have being rarely published. They belong to R&D stage, not marketing.
 
Mar 13, 2011 at 9:18 PM Post #138 of 208

faileas

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I do suspect i'm flagellating a deceased equine... and some of these i've probably pointed out before but...
 
Quote:
 
3 - They glossed over the fact 4+ dB of frequency response deviation is audible. And, in fact, my listening test has already demonstrated that. People have easily picked out the sample using the SuperFi headpones that cause the same 4+ dB of variation.

A problem that seems to be quite the bit more obvious with IEMs - which tend to be far more sensitive than full sized headphones. Maybe a fairer thing to say is "The Udac2 might not be suitable for people who use IEMs"
 
 
Quote:
 

5 - They ignored the whole gain issue and that the headphone and line outputs of their product clip at about 60% of the full volume setting. This is arguably a poor design for the vast majority of their customers.
 
 
6 - They ignored the horrible volume tracking issue that's long been, and continues to be a problem with the product. It's my single biggest complaint and many others have posted similar concerns.

Aside from me spending a weekend trying to get any noticable distortion.. once again, the low volume clipping will probably affect IEM users more than full size headphones. I suppose i'm part of the circumaural mafia, which is why i'm even argueing this point. I didn't quite notice the volume tracking issue when messing with it either for some reason- but maybe that's just me.
 

 
8 - I have not tried to distort the Stereophile article as NuForce has said. The FACTS are: Their product measured exceptionally poorly compared to typical products in a few areas. Their response indicated they had never even thought to make the measurements. Rather than claim, as they have here, the poor performance was justified, they attempted to fix the problems and submited another product for review. My main point was that A) This has happened before with NuForce, and B) They don't seem to believe in making typical measurements even for their $1500 products. I don't think that's distorting anything.

However, the flipside of that review, that the subjective listening tests didn't show obvious flaws (the reviewer liked it as much as a  much higher end system) wasn't quite so obvious from the link, or from the way it was quoted. That seems a notable omission. I'd note in that case their response wasn't a fairly passionate 11 page rebuttal either - they went and fixed it, had a reason for the bug , and sent a fixed review copy.
 
Mar 13, 2011 at 10:05 PM Post #139 of 208

jasonl

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I hope none of you think that we don't do measurement or don't think that measurement doesn't matter.  As I have pointed out in several of the postings, they DO!  To repeat again, THD+N, FR, harmonics, jitters, switching freq (for power amp mainly), and perhaps some others that we don't know yet, all matters.  There are some industry common practices (such as THD+N at 1kHz at ??? power) but these numbers are easily manipulated.  Depending on type of devices, these numbers have different effect on the listening experience. Also, consumers don't have the same knowledge in interpreting them. Even professionals don't. Any one particular number can be subjected to argument. So some companies like Apple don't even bought to publish many specs for iPod.
 
As manufacturer of consumer products (not specialize equipment for recording or measurement instrument), we have to take a middle ground approach.  We adopted both approaches. Most consumers don't have the technical ability to take some cheap product and spend time to modify them. SNTHoliday bought the Beringer as NWAVGuy suggested, but it can't drive his headphones. Even if NWAVGuy published some mod that will allow Beringer to drive bigger headphones. Will it sound good? Can this mod then sound good on in-ear earphones? How many consumers are able to pick up a soldering iron to do modification and even after the mod, there is no guarantee that they will like what they hear.  Well, this is the difference between DIY product and general consumer products. 
 
When Secrets of Home Theater showed us their measurement tests on OPPO BDP-93NE for fact check, we have a chance to change FR curve (it looked bad compared to the standard BDP-93), and I, as the person also in charge of marketing, really wanted it to look good. So a lot of argument with engineering. I was presented with another version that measured good.  It sounded better (to our ears) than the standard BDP-93, but not as good as the BDP-93NE (version 1).  Internally, we have this soul searching debate. Hey, we have not released BDP-93NE yet (Secrets is closed to publish the report and production is nearly done, but there is still time make one last change). We can release a version of BDP-93NE that measured good and sounded better than BDP-93 !!!
BDP-93NE has better harmonics (only even) and lower noise than BDP-93.  All we have to do is make the FR just as good as BDP-93 and we have a clear winner.  Here's the published article:
http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/universal-players/1048-oppo-bdp-93-and-bdp-95-universal-3d-blu-ray-players-part-1-audio-performance.html
 
So, in summary, we have two versoins:
BDP-93NE (version 2) -  measured "perfect" and sounded better than BDP-93, release this and we win on marketing on Secrets article.
BDP-93NE (version 1) - measured good (better harmonics, lower noise, but FR not so good).  We think this sounded superior. Release this version we could get beat up on the marketing of spec (just like we got beat up by NWAVGuy on the THD+N). Oh, this version 1 has lower phase shift, another spec not published by anyone.
 
I have to make the final decision. So, I said, lets just let the chips fall where it belongs. We can not sell something that we don't believe in. Release version 1.
Sure enough, when the Secrets article came out, some reader commented on the forum that ours look horrible! It is not that bad. The small FR difference won't affect the listening experience, even though it looked bad on the plot.
 
As you can see from one more example, there are specs that are generally published, there are others that aren't. And some measurements matter more than others depending on the type of products.  There is no industry standard for publication, no objective ways to interpret them.
 
Therefore, back to our position: we do take measurements, but put a lot of emphasis on listening tests. We took measurement on BDP-93NE analog board to check that we got rid of odd harmonics, noise floor is lower. FR plot looks pretty good. Minimize phase shift.
Then we pick the versions that sounded the best to our ears and our consultant's ears. It is this approach that allow our products to sound good to majority of the consumers. And the users reviews demonstrated that.
 
Mar 14, 2011 at 1:59 AM Post #140 of 208

replytoken

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Quote:
It's really not a very viable concept. There's literally NO downside to conducting measurements. None. The company is certainly free to ignore them if they want but at least they know. Measurements also provide the only reasonable way to publish specifications that are close to being accurate (something NuForce apparently has trouble with). Measurements can reveal unknown problems, that when corrected, will almost always further improve the sound of a product--not somehow make it worse. Measurements can also help make a product more reliable and more compatible with a wider ranger of other gear.
 
Even if you ignore all the well rational reasons, research, studies, etc. (see my review for links) that prove  "design by ear" doesn't work the way most companies do it. That still leaves you with something like one particular wine reviewer deciding what kind of wine everyone else will like. That reviewer (or small group of reviers) may will have their own ideas about what sounds best. They will have their own favorite headphones, favorite music, volumes they like to listen at, and lots of specific qualities they prefer in the sound.
 
Let's say NuForce developed 4 different versions of a new uDAC-3 that all sounded slightly different. They might, as a company, decide version "A" sounds best so that's what they put into production. Kostalex on the other hand, with his music, headphones and tastes, might have liked "B" the best. The next person might prefer "C". And so on. If you only judge products by their subjective sound, you get something very much like a wine, food, or restaurant reviewer's choice as to what's best. Just like a reviewer, you might get a small but loyal group of customers with similar tastes. But there will be an even larger group that doesn't agree.
 
Objective measurements, at least, provide a much more consistent way to evaluate products. That's why even well respected audiophile magazines conduct them. They don't prevent a company from tuning some things by ear, but they do help them avoid obvious flaws in their product, help them publish honest specifications, and prevent being surprised by independent reviews--all things NuForce apparently could use some help with.
 


As an early uDAC-2 owner, I have read these threads as they have evolved.  And while I sometimes found posts useful, and others a bit disappointing as to how people were communicating with each other, I thought it best to to be a reader.  But, after reading after the first paragraph of the above post, my feeling is that you are close to "jumping the shark".  I have been an audiophile for over 30 years, beginning with a pair of Fried A/2 loudspeakers which I still own.  While measurements certainly are an important consideration when buying equipment, there is another element that has not really been well addressed here, and that is the concept of trust.  Now trust occurs at many levels, such as the trust in a dealer if you are buying locally, trust in the manufacturer's reputation, design skills, manufacturing quality, warranty, servicing and marketing.  And there is also trust in others opinions, as well as trust in ones self.
 
I would like to start by addressing trust in others opinions, including reviewers, because I have a difference perspective about them from you, starting from your second paragraph on.  From my perspective, I seek reviewers who are honest in their opinions, as I would never expect them to be "objective".  And, consequently, I would expect a reviewer to tell me what they do and do not like in a product, as well as why they feel that way.  Subsequently, I see it as the reader's job to know their reviewer and their biases.  And that gets back to the issue of trust.  Can you trust the reviewer/salesman/manufacturer?
 
While I do not subscribe to the belief that we should only trust our ears, I certainly do not subscribe to the belief that decisions should be made based only on objective data, like measurements.  Its not that hard to design a product that can test well, but not perform.  Its been going on for years, and it will continue to do so long after my lifetime.  That's why we seek thoughts and opinions from others, including reviewers who have their own ideas of what they think is best.  And that's also why I take some opinions with a grain of salt.
 
A very wise economist once told me that econometrics is "the study of handfuls of rat droppings in railroad cars full of grain".  My personal feeling is that relying too heavily on objective data, like measurements, for making decisions in the world of audio skates very close to this definition.  It is easy to know the measurement of everything, and the sound of nothing.
 
You do not strike me as this kind of person, as you seem to have a reasonably good grasp of both the measurements and the sound.  As such, I would like to believe that you incorporate more than just objective data when evaluating products.  And, I would also imagine that today's audio designers also incorporate more than commonly measured data, otherwise we would probably just have computers completely design our products according to specifications.  As such, I believe that "design by ear" probably plays a bigger role that you give it credit.  Years ago, we used to call it a "house sound".  And weather this "house sound" is pushed by a manufacturer or a reviewer, I believe it plays a big role when evaluating or purchasing gear, and it is something that many of us look to factor into our "trust" equation.
 
Conrad-Johnson, for example, has a "house sound", and it is very much a part of their image and reputation.  And while I would imagine that one might be able to find a comparable piece of equipment from Bose that measures better than something from C-J, I know how I would choose to balance all of these factors when making a decision between these two companies.  Measurements play a part in my decision-making process when buying equipment, but they are only a part of the process.  And I would imagine that others may feel the same way.  I believe that subjective data is more than "trusting your ears", and I believe that it should not be discounted in the name of "objectivity".
 
Respectfully,
 
--Ken
 
 
Mar 14, 2011 at 7:06 AM Post #141 of 208

c61746961

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I wanted to chime in because reading some of these posts made me feel upset about a few things.

NwAvGuy: I really appreciate that you're investing all that time and expertise in reviewing all that hardware, you're doing us all a favor in trying to relate their good sonics with technical proficiencies, keep doing it!. It didn't seem to me at all that you had a hidden agenda, and I also think it's valid to question certain design decisions if they make absolutely no sense to you, however, I think that picking a less severe wording in your critiques would have spared you from some of the confrontation.

Jason: It's good to see a company reach down to their customers in such a personal way as to discuss your products in a web forum, kudos to that. However, when you go as far as to make personal attacks on someone you feel is misjudging the value of your product, has, for me, damaged your reputation as a company far beyond than what a few unsatisfactory results in some tests could, and I have since stopped considering your products for purchase in the future.
The eleven page "technical" rebuttal is severely lacking in technical explanations and more importantly citations to your abundant claims (oh yes, at this point every argument should be backed up with more than claimed expertise and subjective impressions, specially opinions regarding the competence of your "detractor"), and it didn't even address NwAvGuy's primary concerns in a concise, specific and clear manner; namely, the uneven frequency response with lower-impedance headphones (which could be commonplace, at least around here), and the channel imbalances produced by your "better sounding" pot. Regarding this, you also basically admitted that you're mainly catering to users who share certain sound preferences with you and your design staff when you explained your choice of the expensive, unbalanced pot over the cheaper, better measuring one. All in all, I hope that for the well being of your company you become able to deal with criticism, fair or unfair, in a professional manner.

If it wasn't drama, now it s.
 
Mar 14, 2011 at 12:00 PM Post #142 of 208
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Quote:
I wanted to chime in because reading some of these posts made me feel upset about a few things.

NwAvGuy: I really appreciate that you're investing all that time and expertise in reviewing all that hardware, you're doing us all a favor in trying to relate their good sonics with technical proficiencies, keep doing it!. It didn't seem to me at all that you had a hidden agenda, and I also think it's valid to question certain design decisions if they make absolutely no sense to you, however, I think that picking a less severe wording in your critiques would have spared you from some of the confrontation.

Jason: It's good to see a company reach down to their customers in such a personal way as to discuss your products in a web forum, kudos to that. However, when you go as far as to make personal attacks on someone you feel is misjudging the value of your product, has, for me, damaged your reputation as a company far beyond than what a few unsatisfactory results in some tests could, and I have since stopped considering your products for purchase in the future.
The eleven page "technical" rebuttal is severely lacking in technical explanations and more importantly citations to your abundant claims (oh yes, at this point every argument should be backed up with more than claimed expertise and subjective impressions, specially opinions regarding the competence of your "detractor"), and it didn't even address NwAvGuy's primary concerns in a concise, specific and clear manner; namely, the uneven frequency response with lower-impedance headphones (which could be commonplace, at least around here), and the channel imbalances produced by your "better sounding" pot. Regarding this, you also basically admitted that you're mainly catering to users who share certain sound preferences with you and your design staff when you explained your choice of the expensive, unbalanced pot over the cheaper, better measuring one. All in all, I hope that for the well being of your company you become able to deal with criticism, fair or unfair, in a professional manner.

If it wasn't drama, now it s.


Thanks for your support. I've tried to mostly stay to the facts here, and NuForce's response to the facts, rather than their attacks on me personally, trying to accuse me of other agendas, calling me arrogant, and otherwise trying to direct everyone away from the factual flaws with the uDAC-2, the misleading information on their website, and the similar problems they had with another product reviewed by Stereophile.
 
Also, to everyone who has made comments about the headphones I used for listening. Yes, it's true that balanced armature IEM's are most likely to cause the widest frequency response variations with the uDAC-2. But I did use full size cans as well in my evaulation. I listened with both my Denon 2000's and my Sennheiser HD590's. It's not the sensitivitiy (efficiency) of the headphones that matters here as much as their impedance curve.
 
@ReplyToken Yes, I also listen subjectively as well as make objective measurements. I try to include that in my reviews--especially in areas where it can make a significant difference. For example you can look at a signal-to-noise measurement of say "90 dB" but it's useful to know how objectionable that is , or is not, with different sorts of headphones. So I try and comment on the subjective nature of the noise. I also try to correlate my measurements with my listening as I did in the uDAC-2 review. And I always try to listen first to be less biased by whatever I measure.
 
In the case of the uDAC-2, during my subjective listening before I made any measurements, the obvious negative things I heard were the channel balance problem and, with my Ultimate Ears, I didn't like the overall sound as much as when listening to other sources.
 
In terms of a "house sound", yes, some companies have a "sonic signature" that is intentional and usually consistent between their products. Usually such a "house sound" when it is a genuine (and not due only to psychological bias) can also be measured. It's very common in speakers and some brands of headphones. But it can extend to electronic gear as well. I've met Bill Johnson of Conrad Johnson and he's a good guy and they're a reputable company.
 
Bob Carver, for example, famously made one of this solid state "magnetic field" amplifiers sound like a much more expensive tube amp. He simply measured the transfer function of the high-end tube amp, and tweaked his $600 (?) amp to sound the same. And, even to the golden ears of some well known audiophile critics, it did. Bob managed to duplicate the "house sound" of the other amp via measurements. This was well documented and caused quite an upset. The "magical" qualities of the ultra-expensive tube amp were not magic at all. The sound was sufficiently captured by measurements alone and duplicated using those measurements so convincingly nobody could tell the difference.
 
A bit closer to home for this website, HiFiMan players have a "house sound" that can be explained with measurements. And I'm OK with that. But that's not what's going on here. The uDAC-2 frequency response, and hence a big aspect of its "sound", will change with whatever headphones are connected to it. So there's no consistent "house sound" at all. It's the luck of the draw depending on what headphones it's paired with. And it's really hard to argue the other flaws I measured, like poor channel balance, high distortion, high jitter, etc. can improve the sound in any way. At best you can argue they're inaudible under some circumstances.
 
Mar 14, 2011 at 12:09 PM Post #143 of 208

bulmanxxi

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Quote:
Bulmanxxi,
I hope my latest post about CDP-8, etc give you an balance view that not all companies are out there selling snake oil.  We and many others (such as SNTHOLIDAY) can tell the difference.
But there are people who can't.  I don't take offense when you said that in your post that you can't tell crap from uDAC-2, uDAC, Icon Mobile etc.  And it must have cost us a lot of money to keep sending you products (free shipping, no restocking). But that's ok.  Just don't say that we have evil intent etc :).  Nobody is hauling money to the bank.  This is a very touch and competitive business and we will be lucky if we make a decent profit to grow the company and bring out more interesting products. There are a few customers who also return products and sincerely gave us feedback that they can't tell the difference.  To me, solving this problem is more important. That's why we spent a lot of effort and money to put together the audio concept demo tracks http://www.nuforce.com/hp/media/Nuforce%20Demo1/index.php. Hey, if a non technical consumer can use these demo tracks to differentiate between good and bad sounding audio, even if he/she don't end up buying our products, so be it. 
I understand that no matter what we tried, some people can never tell the difference. But making a difference in audio is our passion and our mission. Sounded corny, but I am almost 50 and if I can make a real difference in my career, it brings a nice closure to it. I am still an engineer at heart.  Solving puzzle is our life.
 

@jasonl and @c617.....
 
JasonL, you have entirely misread my post and your reply could very well be considered offensive - I can tell "crap" (your choice of word above) darn well, that's why I've returned or sold on seven of your products.  The cost I was referring to, is the cost/expenses/loses/time/efforts that WE, THE CUSTOMERS, incur to deal with inferior or defective products and the companies that sell them (regardless of after the fact "service" - you'd much better spent your money upfront to eliminate problems than paying later to fix them).  I don't suppose you would be willing to publish your return rates for your products, not that there would be any way to verify such information anyway.  The channel imbalance issue is there and remains, as has been stated numerous times, and 11 pages of response do nothing to fix it.  There are many other issues that go beyond the technicalities here but there is no point to stretch this thread any longer.
 
@c617....  I'd have to agree with you on the professionalism point...
 
@kostalex, this is not a discussion about source.  Particularly, because we are talking about comparing ONE variable in the audio chain when everything else, including source, is held constant.
 
It would be very curious to see measurement data between PC/MAC output without AND with DAC.  It is doubtful EVERY DAC does the audio "better" than the source system...  I know I've tried some that have actually sounded worse...
 
 
Mar 14, 2011 at 1:01 PM Post #144 of 208

Mkubota1

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Quote:
It would be very curious to see measurement data between PC/MAC output without AND with DAC.  It is doubtful EVERY DAC does the audio "better" than the source system...  I know I've tried some that have actually sounded worse...



I was just about to repeat my 'dead horse' line about this thread until I read that ^.  I'd kill to see a test like this too.  I've always thought that the DACs in most recent 'Pods and Macs were pretty decent.  This would seem like a pretty easy test- assuming you have a Mac on hand.  To quote 'Uncle Erik', "If the iPod was handmade by one guy with a six month waiting list, cost $900, and none of your non-audiophile friends had ever heard of it, it would be regarded as a pinnacle of audiophilia."
 
Mar 14, 2011 at 6:22 PM Post #147 of 208

jasonl

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Quote:
jasonl,
Seriously, what you have done here is taken some guy with a couple of instruments, an opinion, and a blog, and turned him into your very own monster.


Yes, I learned from this lesson that we should not be so approachable. We scrambled to response on a Friday evening and email communications get taken out of context for dramatization.
But I think we should still present our case. Most readers get it that this is the same old issue of measurement versus listening experience and interpretation of measurement result.
My engineer wanted to continue the technical response but I think we will just put it to rest.
We want to build a company and be true to ourselves and our mission, instead of a purely commercial entity. Whether we can remain so as we grow is hard to say.
 
Mar 14, 2011 at 10:25 PM Post #148 of 208

The Monkey

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I think the lesson is that you should remain approachable, just take more care with what you put in writing and how you respond to reviews.  There is almost no upside to getting into it with a lone blogger on the internet, a lesson I think you've learned the hard way.  Much better to reply with a "Thank you for your interest in our products."  Especially given the excellent word of mouth you seem to have developed around here.
 
Mar 14, 2011 at 11:03 PM Post #149 of 208
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Quote:
I was just about to repeat my 'dead horse' line about this thread until I read that ^.  I'd kill to see a test like this too.  I've always thought that the DACs in most recent 'Pods and Macs were pretty decent.  This would seem like a pretty easy test- assuming you have a Mac on hand.  To quote 'Uncle Erik', "If the iPod was handmade by one guy with a six month waiting list, cost $900, and none of your non-audiophile friends had ever heard of it, it would be regarded as a pinnacle of audiophilia."

 
I will work on just such a comparison test. I have access to lots of different flavors of PC's including some Macs. And I agree with the Uncle Erik quote about the iPod.
 
 
 
Mar 14, 2011 at 11:36 PM Post #150 of 208
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Quote:
Most readers get it that this is the same old issue of measurement versus listening experience and interpretation of measurement result.

I want to stress, for me at least, this isn't the "same old issue" because:
 
  • My uDAC-2 has things wrong with the "listening experience" that are plainly audible without any measurements (channel balance problems, glaring midrange and rolled off highs with my IEMs, and too much gain making half of the volume control range useless).
  • I believe a $130 product should at least offer similar performance to a $30 product when it can only improve and not harm the sound quality.
  • I believe a manufacture's published specifications and marketing claims should be reasonably accurate.
 
The above have little or nothing to do with the "same old issue of measurement versus listening". I don't want to start an endless debate about subjective vs objective. They both have their place and are important and that debate isn't likely to lead anywhere interesting. That's not what my complaints with the uDAC-2 are mainly about.
 
I have said many times I'm fine with products that deviate from ideal measurements in ways that give them a different sound that some prefer. But shouldn't they do that in a consistent way such as always having a soft high-end, so everyone knows what they're getting?
 
For example: A well respected reviewer listens to the uDAC-2 with his favorite IEMs that happen to have a big impedance dip in the high frequencies (like mine). He likes the "soft" sounding high end and writes about it a lot in his subjective review. Someone reads the review who also likes soft high frequencies and buys a uDAC-2. But their headphones don't have a similar impedance dip, so they won't get that soft high end the reviewer heard. To them the uDAC-2 might sound bright and harsh.
 
If the uDAC-2 had a similar output impedance to the $20 FiiO E5 or $30 Sansa Clip+ it would sound much more consistent with different headphones. But, instead, its "sound" is at the mercy of whatever you choose to plug into it. That's all I'm trying to point out. Several problems I've identified with the uDAC-2 are inconsistent--i.e. they depend a lot on how it's used. And the remaining problems do nothing to make it sound better--i.e. the audible channel balance issue.
 

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