Why you can't trust audio measurements
Apr 20, 2022 at 11:08 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 129

GoldenSound

Previously known as GoldenOne
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I figured this may be something worth starting a dedicated thread for.
There are all sorts of reasons as to why measurements may be unreliable, misleading, confusing, or just inconsistent. And I've made a video discussing some of these topics.

 
Apr 20, 2022 at 12:04 PM Post #2 of 129
The alternative to objective measurements is subjective opinions, which ALSO may be unreliable, misleading, confusing, or just inconsistent.
 
Apr 20, 2022 at 12:25 PM Post #3 of 129
Objective measurements gives you a baseline that is, in theory, repeatable. Subjective observations, are dependent on the observer, and depending on what is being observed, not repeatable between different observers.
A measurement gives a baseline where you don't have to try to guess how good my hearing is. For example.
 
Apr 20, 2022 at 1:25 PM Post #4 of 129
ASR and Topping is the biggest love story within the measurement cult :D
 
Apr 20, 2022 at 2:36 PM Post #7 of 129
I figured this may be something worth starting a dedicated thread for.
There are all sorts of reasons as to why measurements may be unreliable, misleading, confusing, or just inconsistent. And I've made a video discussing some of these topics.



Agreed that we all need to be more careful with measurements, both interpreting them and our level of knowledge to ensure the interpretation is accurate.

That said, I believe the bigger problem is that many people don't understand the distinction between audible differences and inaudible differences in measurements (this is not directed at GoldenOne). For example, a difference in noise floor between -134db and -130db in two components is irrelevant and there are too many at ASR, including it's founder, who clearly don't grasp the context.

Too many on both the objective and subjective sides of the debate want to be able to wrap up comparisons in simplistic terms - often, this is not possible and the use case defines the significance.

One measurement in isolation won't convince me of much. Subjective impressions that conflict with known science without any support other than "but my ears" convinces me of nothing.
 
Apr 20, 2022 at 5:54 PM Post #8 of 129
I agree. Too many audiophiles can quote highly technical specs of equipment, but they haven't a clue as to how those specs relate to the thresholds of their own hearing. Audible is all that really matters for the purposes of a home stereo to listen to music on.
 
Apr 20, 2022 at 6:03 PM Post #9 of 129
I get that UToob and the internet circus reward provocative clickbait titles, and I follow the old "don't hate the player, hate the game" on this. It annoys me greatly but I don't blame you for doing what works.
While I'm confident you've played the game very well with that video and title(time will tell), I don't think you've done much in term of actually addressing the matter of measurement reliability(TBH a guy who would invest in a rig from AP, telling us we can't trust measurement is already strange). I scrolled through the video looking for side by side examples and those I stumbled upon show irrelevant amounts of something on one side and irrelevant amounts on the other. I find them to be pretty poor examples of the point you're trying to make. Once some measurement seems clean below -100dB, those who will really care by how much, are from a pretty specific consumer target, the extremists.
Would an honest subjectivist give a crap about SINAD or THD numbers?
Would a pragmatic objectivist even care about those variables unless they're so very uncommonly high?

Yes a measurement should have clear standards. Yes those standards should be annotated next to the graph in a non confusing way. Ideally we wouldn't see misleading measurements that lack proper context, and we wouldn't see misleading titles like yours that lack proper context like when not to trust measurements. :wink:
 
Apr 21, 2022 at 11:11 AM Post #10 of 129
There are all sorts of reasons as to why measurements may be unreliable, misleading, confusing, or just inconsistent.
Such as? ….
And I've made a video discussing some of these topics.
Unfortunately you haven’t. What your video discusses is how changing the conditions of a test can obviously affect the results and how some people might misinterpret measurements but apart from a brief mention of reaching the limits of the AP test device, there was no discussion about how measurements themselves maybe unreliable, misleading, etc.

Intentionally or not, you appear to be supporting the audiophile marketing nonsense/lies which heavily relies on discrediting measurements, objective evidence and audio/sound science in general.

G
 
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Apr 30, 2022 at 3:15 AM Post #11 of 129
Well, you eventually end-up with equipment. Now that equipment could measure well or it could not. It could run the whole gambit of trebly-clean-fast -or- dark syrupy and colored.

Should you sell your equipment off if you by chance measure it and it fails? No, not most equipment. Why?

Because we sorta live in a golden-age where much is worked out. Of course you could hook headphones into that equipment and with one or two bad pairs of bad headphones run into way more trouble.

What I mean is most amplifiers measure really really well. If by chance they put a small amount of color into them, well that’s so they can charge you more. They will color amps so that they grasp a certain retail market. Still slight coloration is always going to be found. It’s no big deal if it’s in the realm of fidelity.

A way bigger problem is found with IEMs/headphones. So the amp part is really a wash. Buy the one that you like the sound. Simple!

The issues with transducers is huge. Truly who cares about amp measurements with headphones. We have already seen ASR get absolutely horrendous measurements with some of our best products.

The problem is in transducer quality. Many green audiophiles have not a clue what real instruments sound like. Because of this they can be sold IEMs that put out steely timbre, and the audiophile still thinks it is good. They can be sold something which is totally boomy as a headphone. Marty and Sal were joking around in the design lab and placed two off brand BA drivers and combined that with a double DD and incased it in a low resonance steel shell. It was emotional and big sounding when you played EDM, but a symphonic rendition sounded off (instrument tone/timbre) and it was 100 rows back.

So they try to get realism in playback with IEMs and headphones. Using timbre, pace, decay.....etc etc and FR balance. There is such a thing as complete, even and correct FR. Combine that with the list of technicalities and we are at the beginning of virtual reality at music playback. Amps have already been finished a long time ago!
 
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Apr 30, 2022 at 3:23 AM Post #12 of 129
Good post, Redcarmoose.
 
Apr 30, 2022 at 3:24 AM Post #13 of 129
Apr 30, 2022 at 4:41 AM Post #14 of 129
Yep, not bad! Although:
Now that equipment could measure well or it could not. It could run the whole gambit of trebly-clean-fast -or- dark syrupy and colored.
There is no measurement for “trebly-clean-fast” or for “dark syrupy”, although there is for “coloured” of course.
Should you sell your equipment off if you by chance measure it and it fails?
Not quite sure what you mean by “fails”? If you mean the measurements aren’t as good as other units, then you’re right, provided the measurements aren’t terrible enough to actually reach audibility, which they’re not in the vast majority of cases with DACs and amps.
If by chance they put a small amount of color into them, well that’s so they can charge you more.
Strange isn’t it? They charge you more for lower fidelity. Although again, in the vast majority of cases the deviation from a flat/linear response is inaudible.
Truly who cares about amp measurements with headphones.
I wouldn’t go that far! :) Sure, in the vast majority of cases we don’t need to really care about some of the measurements because nearly all amps have more than adequate slew rates, FR, etc., but some measurements we still might need to care about, depending on our HPs/IEMs. Impedance and voltage/power for example.
Amps have already been finished a long time ago!
Yep, your conclusion hits the mark but you can add DACs and any other digital parts of the chain to that list as well.

G
 
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Apr 30, 2022 at 5:03 AM Post #15 of 129
Yep, not bad! Although:

There is no measurement for “trebly-clean-fast” or for “dark syrupy”, although there is for “coloured” of course.

Not quite sure what you mean by “fails”? If you mean the measurements aren’t as good as other units, then you’re right, provided the measurements aren’t terrible enough to actually reach audibility, which they’re not in the vast majority of cases with DACs and amps.

Strange isn’t it? They charge you more for lower fidelity. Although again, in the vast majority of cases the deviation from a flat/linear response is inaudible.

I wouldn’t go that far! :) Sure, in the vast majority of cases we don’t need to really care about some of the measurements because nearly all amps have more than adequate slew rates, FR, etc., but some measurements we still might need to care about, depending on our HPs/IEMs. Impedance and voltage/power for example.

Yep, your conclusion hits the mark but you can add DACs and any other digital parts of the chain to that list as well.

G
For once we agree, mark the date and time.

:trophy:
 

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