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Great article by Mr. Austin on why measurements are important.

24.20.10.236

Posted on November 19, 2020 at 08:48:15
viridian
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But what happens if measurements do not characterize the real world performance of the DUT?

Stereophile currently does steady state amplifier power measurements. Long ago, they used the Miller Research Amplifier Profiler to characterize the short term peak performance of an amp. Presumably, these measurements more closely correlate with the transient nature of music. Hi-Fi News still uses the Miller profiler.

It seems that a test regimen should be an evolving process that seeks to correlate subjective sonic impressions with test results.

 

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RE: Great article by Mr. Austin on why measurements are important., posted on November 20, 2020 at 05:50:20
geoffkait
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Ah, the age old question, which is more important - measurements or listening tests? And if measurements have evolved so haven't listening skills?

 

Renewed the subscription.., posted on November 20, 2020 at 23:50:33
Bill the K
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to Stereophile for two more years. I think JA Two is getting close to One

Bill

 

RE: Renewed the subscription.., posted on November 21, 2020 at 09:12:23
PAR
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" I think JA Two is getting close to One "

Talking of One, you may enjoy this link ( especially if you can grab a beer):



"We need less, but better" - Dieter Rams

 

Yes- Measurements and listening go hand in hand, posted on November 21, 2020 at 17:33:26
Ross
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Joined: January 24, 2000
Listening can tell us what we hear, and measurements can tell us why we hear what we hear.

Wave forms and bandwidth can tell us why an amplifier sounds muddy in deep bass, or exhibits grain in high treble, or sounds warm/rolled off. Measurements can tell us an amplifier's dynamic range and power output into varying loads, which can be useful when matching to speakers.

Tonearm resonance and cartridge compliance can tell us much about how a cartridge will sound. So will a FR that changes with cartridge loading.

With speakers, linearity of FR, along with impedance swings can tell us much about how a speaker will sound in room and how it will couple to an amplifier.

Ying and Yang; Right Brain and Left Brain.

SP gets the balance right, and other mags that eschew measurements in favor of full subjectivity often have to struggle to explain why a reviewer hears or does not hear something.

 

RE: Renewed the subscription.., posted on November 21, 2020 at 18:59:05
Bill the K
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Thanks PAR. But I am too far away from Brooklyn and Long Island to grab a good beer!

Cheers

Bill

 

Ross, you bring up an interesting point..., posted on November 21, 2020 at 22:37:14
viridian
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...in that folks are focused on the primary tonearm/cartridge resonance, which is below the audible range. However the secondary, bell like, tonearm resonances, fall within the audible range and actually define the sound quality of the moving system. But the former are easier to measure, whereas the later are much more difficult to measure. So all of the hand wringing done by audiophiles centers around primary resonance.

 

A dissenting comment, posted on November 22, 2020 at 06:46:31
geoffkait
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Location: northern Virginia
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The primary resonance of the cartridge and tonearm affects the sound, even though it's below the audio range. The problem is that the resonance at 8-12 Hz distorts the signal in the wire, and the signal of course is not the audio waveform, it's the current and voltage. It's not the audio waveform until the speakers generate it into the room. Case solved!

 

And..., posted on November 22, 2020 at 09:50:44
E-Stat
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Listening can tell us what we hear, and measurements can tell us why we hear what we hear.

why some like THD or SINAD have little to no correlation with what we hear.

 

RE: And..., posted on November 26, 2020 at 18:16:11
Archimago
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E-Stat said:
"why some like THD or SINAD have little to no correlation with what we hear."

True, while the human perceptual system has a wide tolerance to THD and SINAD, let's not get too extreme and suggest "little to no correlation". As per the blind test results using purposely distorted audio linked below, the overall results based on 55 respondents who felt they could hear a difference, there was a preference for distortion less than 0.3% (-50dB) being "better" sounding. While DACs and most good amplifiers can achieve better than this, many speakers would not be able to claim this level of low distortion (across the whole audible spectrum).

While it's not necessarily the end-all-and-be-all of technical measurements, it's good to keep in mind that low THD/high SINAD does correlate with low nonlinear distortion and in general I think it's nice to aim for <0.1% (-60dB) as a reflection of a "transparent" source device which will likely be well received as being good sounding. Obviously formal blind testing recommended to better understand/verify this.

Obviously this is a generalization. As with most human characteristics distributed over a "normal" curve, some audiophiles might actually prefer more distortion, while others demand even lower distortion.
-------
Archimago's Musings: A 'more objective' audiophile blog.

 

You're most welcome, posted on November 26, 2020 at 19:45:46
E-Stat
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To believe that artificially added distortion bears any resemblance to the far more complex reality of reproducing music.

Enjoy your parlor games. :)

 

Can you expand..., posted on November 27, 2020 at 07:07:09
Steve O
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...on why you believe the described experiment and results are a "parlor game" (deception)?

 

Sure, posted on November 27, 2020 at 07:38:54
E-Stat
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Such a test proves what it proves but bears little resemblance to actual qualitative factors in music reproduction. Harkens back to the irrelevancy of the THD wars in the 70s. What may look great on paper reduced to a single metric tells you very little - unless your favorite tunes are uncorrelated sine waves!

I have an Ncore amplifier that is highly rated in terms of SINAD but fails horribly at high frequency reproduction and imaging. It has a curious lack of center fill.

 

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