Audio Science Review Review

Discussion in 'Audio Science' started by purr1n, Aug 30, 2020.

  1. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    Me neither. As I've said many times, one encounter was enough. I have not willingly repeated. I have not even glanced at ASR for years.
    I would hope so, but I don't know enough about the numbers --- the human ones.

    There will always be various camps of crazy in audio. What about the people who hear differences between hard discs, memory cards, etc?

    I'm happy to say that there were strong denials, but it took me only a minute or two on Computer Audiophile to find someone who wants to know about burning in network equipment. And even among the denials, there's always some yes, but what if responses to stuff like that.

    Hang on, I think one of my crystals has slightly shifted from its magnetic-pole alignment. I have to rush off and deal with that. It's making my cuckoo clock tick-tock sound all fuzzy...
     
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  2. Senorx12562

    Senorx12562 Case of the mondays

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    I have, over time, become pretty inured to all manner of stupidity, but it has also been a very long time since I possessed the certainty of youth. The dumbest things you will ever hear get little more than an eye roll from me anymore, but I no longer have the energy to waste arguing about shit that really doesn't matter, a category into which Amir and his minions fall squarely.
     
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    Last edited: Feb 26, 2021
  3. bboris77

    bboris77 Friend

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    I think that there’s an element of self-destructiveness in any kind of dogmatic approach to audio which will eventually run its course. In other words, ASR is actively engineering its own demise as we speak. The YouTube videos will definitely speed this up in my opinion because they have pulled down the curtain and exposed the general smugness and narcissism behind ASR. It works well for the disciples but will not convince any newcomers. It will probably turn off most people.

    There’s also the cyclical nature of the audiophile market which goes through these measurement fads every now and then with an inevitable outcome that it still comes down to how things actually sound. It is like a rite of passage for every new generation of audio enthusiasts. All I think we can do is help speed things along by pointing out bs publicly when it’s obvious without getting dragged into pissing contests with ASR.

    Ultimately, all I really want to ensure is that regular audio manufacturers do not give up on experimenting and having fun just to avoid being criticized by ASR.
     
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  4. gepardcv

    gepardcv Almost "Made"

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    Why do you think so? I don't pay much attention to the audio scene on Reddit these days — which seems to be a bellwether for market sentiment. Reddit has been pretty staunchly pro-ASR for >2yrs at this point. Is this changing? Have any videos prompted a negative reaction?
     
  5. bboris77

    bboris77 Friend

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    It's still early days since the videos have just emerged but the tone is so condescending and smug that it is very difficult to imagine that it will attract a lot of new support. For me, it appears as an effort to solidify the already existing support. Preaching to the converted.

    These negative debunking videos that appear to uncover some evil conspiracy are popular as long as the host is charismatic, relatable and trustworthy.

    As for the change, there is a minor but meaningful increase even within ASR of people questioning things. They are quickly shut down, but it is happening.
     
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  6. Mont789

    Mont789 Acquaintance

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    Before I got banned the headphone reviews, Would turn sour quick if anyone wasn't a Harman target fanboy would question why is 8db sub bass deemed neutral?. Or them giving some high THD headphones a free pass while most touting they can tell 0.1% distortion with no backing.
     
  7. samwell7

    samwell7 Rando

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    This thread has been great reading, I've got a lot out of it.

    Let me preface this by saying:
    • I'm fairly active on ASR although really only in the headphone section, and prior to that, the speaker section, so I missed the whole Sinbad fad; and
    • Apologies for the shitty formatting, I'm on mobile.
    I first found ASR when looking for some budget bookshelf speakers to put in my kitchen/dining and I must admit, the whole 'preference score' based off seemingly very important and prevalent research did draw me in as a simple way to see if something was objectively good, or not.
    Alongside the preference score stuff in the first review I read there was some relatively robust discussion around the limitations of said research and the glaring disparity between the subjective review and the measurements (the Sony SS-CS5 review thread, FYI).

    I also had some good experiences with other reviewers who were posting their articles on the site, a user napilopez did a great write-up on the Google Nest Audio (these still impress me often) and Erin from Erin's Audio Corner goes into exquisite detail (both also speak about how the equipment sounds).

    I've had genuinely good discussions with users about equipment, and read some great discussions, I recall learning a lot in a great thread around speaker design and why tweeters etc. are typically a certain size.

    Generally I do see people in the community calling out issues, for example Amir's measuring style of taking a single 'perfect' headphone measurement rather than taking several at different points and averaging them, like Tyll used to.

    More recently though there have been a few things which I'm seeing that are annoying me:
    • Some sort of theme that 'we'll need to wait to see Amir's measurements to see how good something really is' when it has been measured before, on professional grade equipment.
    • Everyone parroting on about headphones needing (fairly drastic, signature changing) EQ, well fuck me if I actually want to hear what a manufacturer developed a headphone to sound like, I'd much rather purchase something that sounds right to me (within reason) no matter what it's plugged in to. Even worse is EQing headphones to all sound the same. Granted I tried EQing my old K702 to 'the curve' and was wowed at first it quickly wore off. This whole thing has bled strongly into Reddit.
    With the above-mentioned in mind I do generally see the measurements and some of the subsequent discussion as a good resource I brush past a lot of the subjective stuff (recommendations etc.)

    Somebody did touch on it earlier in this thread but complete objectivity became an easy thing to settle in to - in one of my earliest ASR posts I remember writing about being confused about audiophoolery because of small ideas making their way in and ratcheting the door open a little for more ideas to come through.
    The example I used was with something as (seemingly) simple as a capacitor, early on you learn it blocks DC, but then next year you learn it blocks DC and shifts phase, then third year you learn it blocks DC but it also induces a current inrush relative to the rate of change of it's voltage etc. the point of my shitty story is the Dunning-Kruger effect and that I was beginning to question whether I really had any idea which measurements mattered and if we could even measure certain things that are impacting sound, at that point I was relieved to find they didn't and 'if it couldn't be measured it didn't matter'.

    After lurking SBAF for a while now I think you guys are onto it, measurements are important but they really aren't everything, knowing that we don't know everything about everything is very important and there is still magic to be discovered in the world of audio.
     
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  8. mrflibble

    mrflibble Friend

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    I see Amir has measured the SPL Phonitor X and it has done badly.

    I am however sceptical of the accuracy of the review: The unit was "refurbished" and additionally he did not know about the gain setting dip switch when testing a low impedance load.

    The amp measurements seem worse than these measurements for the Phonitor XE: https://www.l7audiolab.com/f/measurements-of-spl-phonitor-xe-headphoneamp/

    Although it is difficult to make the comparison - different tests and different model. Interestingly, the I7audiolab person usually posts measurements on the ASR forum.
     
  9. YMO

    YMO it's not drinking alone if you're on Zoom

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    This is post 889. This is crazy we are still giving the smucks in PNW time and energy on this crap. Blast some heavy metal.
     
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  10. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Most improved member; A+

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    The objectivists online quote mine audio authorities. Many of the posters on ASR and Reddit go beyond Amir and erroneously reject valid concepts and authorities they don’t understand. Concepts that the audio authority considers just as important as those concepts that are easily grasped, which for the objectivist, is something seen close to 0 dbfs on a graph. It’s hard to explain the important of slew rate, output filters, thermals phase, noise shaping, dither, and harmonic distortions that are often below what can easily be seen on a graph of a 1khz sine tone. Then they debate their audibility when they can be measured despite the authorities proving issues’ mathematical existence and then their audibility in the 50s-90s before they could be measured. If the authority posts online, well the likes of Ethan Winer, Redditors, and Amir have shown themselves to be the equivalent of confrontational creationists for over 20 years.

    They also always have demanded peer reviewed papers as if audio was biology when almost all audio research was private r&d. They pretty much all want circuit diagrams and calibrations so that they can rip them off in the name of “progress,” depriving the truly creative originators of their livelihoods. What do you think these no name programmers “reinventing the wheel”, Behringer, Chi-fi, and Chinese companies stealing intellectual property are doing?

    Then we have the objectivist constantly apologizing for equipment with grave issues that are easy to hear and hard for them to measure. They will apologize for imd, awful microphones, and minimum phase output filters all day.

    Audio Objectivism breaks down in general when you consider most non-linear processes without additional distortion mostly make things more distorted and worse sounding. The additional distortions from performing the process with imperfect analog electronics, weird old dsp, or deliberate distortion algorithms are what makes them tolerable, cool sounding, and often “realer than real.” These are all “voiced” and have been since the 60s.
     
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    Last edited: Mar 10, 2021
  11. bboris77

    bboris77 Friend

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    Just when the drama was dying down, Amir goes and measures the “Yotunheim 2”. I am not sure if he is doing too many of these things, but attention to detail is definitely not his strong side.

    To be fair, he did not pan it and even ended up recommending it. However, the followers are having a field day throwing poisonous darts at it. Funny how none of them dare to question why their leader recommended an amp that does not meet ASR standards. It seems like Amir is softening his approach. I can’t wait to see how his base reacts.
     
  12. ultrabike

    ultrabike Measurbator - Admin

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    I agree that many "objectivists" seem to fail to understand signal processing and concepts about signal integrity. I do not equate "objectivist" to engineering.

    However, in general, I equate non-linear distortion to "shit" in laymen's terms. In laymen's terms, my understanding is that adding more shit to shit, doesn't make shit less shit.

    EDIT: Also, these days I'm very busy. Have little time for Amir. Don't really care what he thinks about Schiit products. But my best guess is that in Amir's mind nothing is better than whatever products come out of Topping and Harman's butt holes.
     
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    Last edited: Mar 11, 2021
  13. Baten

    Baten Friend

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    I don't know he seems to always do that, as long as it can drive stuff to his ear obliterating volumes. Which the Jot2 surely can. Anyway the only thing I agree with is that hopefully we get new on-board cards from Schiit. That'd be cool.
     
  14. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Most improved member; A+

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    That’s how it seems until you realize that some microorganism laden slop isn’t all diarrhea and will turn gruel into beer.

    Without distortion that’s voiced to make incredible amounts of gain (in a mic pre) and inherently distorted non-linear processes like compression and limiting sound better than before when volume matched, you’d never get a recording sounding consistent and coherent. It would sound disparate, and you’d have to constantly and quickly adjust the volume like a you’re manning the remote watching a movie with a bad mix on video. Fader rides and automation ultimately can’t take the place of effective compression.

    Bad compression sounds exactly like what you’re talking about. Good compression makes things better.
     
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  15. Brad358

    Brad358 Rando

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    I consider myself to be in the objectivist end of the audio hobby, and value measurement. However, measurement is like anything else in life in that no matter how valuable and commendable it can be abused and become quite damaging.

    At a strictly technical level, once you start measuring seriously then you need to understand measurement standards and protocols, principles like uncertainty and repeatability, error and correct use of equipment. Buying a nice measurement tool which is sold as "professional" grade is not enough to do accurate and meaningful measurement and it is quite common for enthusiastic amateurs to end up digging themselves into holes because they understand know what is being measured, do not measure in a consistent way, don't really understand how to use the equipment and start comparing apples with oranges to arrive at some silly conclusions.

    More importantly, measurements only really mean something if you understand what is being measured, otherwise it becomes just another opportunity to mislead by pointing at figures which are pretty much meaningless. For example, once performance passes thresholds of audibility then any further "improvement" is meaningless as it does not affect actual performance. It amuses me that measurement obsessives deride the florid phrases beloved of subjectivist types at the same time as waxing lyrical about DAC measurements that are so far beyond anything which will be audible and criticise "poor" measuring DACs which will sound perfectly good when used for their intended purpose of listening to music.

    So we end up in a position where manufacturers realize they can exploit the gullible and those who are obsessed with chasing numbers, which means that "objectivism" becomes subjective. If people want to chase numbers then fair play, it's a free world, but it annoys me when these tend to be people that attack other approaches to the hobby when they themselves are just as subjective when replacing perfectly good gear because a new product is released with better measurements which make zero difference to sound.

    And of course measurement does not tell you whether you like a particular sound. In the case of headphones and speakers the frequency response graph can tell you a lot about performance, but it doesn't tell you whether that is the frequency response you like. If you like a screwy FR then that's what you like, it's inherently a personal preference. Which brings me to the Harman FR curve. To be clear I have nothing against Harman's research and clearly for a headphone manufacturer it makes perfect sense to try and establish which tuning will appeal to the most potential customers, the problem is how it has become an almost cult like obsession for some. I have seen people deriding the Etymotic ER4SR IEMs as badly designed because they don't follow the Harman curve, what nonsense! If people don't like the Etymotic tuning then that is of course a completely valid opinion (I love my ER4SR), and I certainly understand why many don't like the deep insertion design, but to dismiss them as being badly designed because they don't just use the Harman curve is stupidity (because of course Etymotic don't know anything about audio, hearing or tuning.......right.....).

    And sound quality is only one thing to consider when buying audio gear. How much does it cost? How good is the build quality? Features? Industrial design? Warranty support? Distribution/retail channels? And more.

    I actually think true objective audio evaluation is double blind listening tests. It doesn't matter how equipment measures if differences are not discernible (looking at the cult of SINAD here.....) but many measurement obsessives seem to avoid simple things like doing a level matched double blind test.

    All of which is a long winded way of saying that although I value objective audio evaluation I find that there is something cult like about ASR and their ideas will have a baleful effect on the hobby.
     
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  16. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    It seeks to exclude bias, whether that bias is triggered by numbers (not objective), magic manufacturers' names, the feel of the knob, the price ticket or whatever turns us on, or off. It has been said to be the most subjective test possible, because the absence of all these positive or negative things leaves only one thing: the music and the listener (depending on how one counts, of course). I find that argument wholly convincing, but, yeah, I never really did it. So I go on believing that anything that comes in an English Oak cabinet (speaker-wise, for instance) sounds just wonderful.

    :sail:

    But it is hated by both the numbers people and the self-styled pure-subjectives, who quote the most difficult, least comfortable, and least musical (short ABX bursts) as if that is the only blind test, because... well, because nobody likes to admit to their bias.

    For some reason. Heck, I love English Oak, old-fashioned British hifi companies, and knows that have that magic feel. Would I ever shop for hifi with my eyes closed? Nope.

    But I took the first step on the ten-step program: biases, I admit to having them.
     
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  17. iFi audio

    iFi audio MOT iFi Audio

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    Same here. As for ABX, I find such tests quite entertaining but also very tiring.
     
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  18. Melvillian

    Melvillian Friend

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    Even with double blind tests I’m not sure how reliable those can be. I don’t think humans perceive sound the same way we do with vision or scent. I’m not very good at telling things apart when A/B testing but if I live with a piece of gear and then something changes I can immediately tell. There are others who might be very good at telling things apart with A/B testing.
     
  19. Metro

    Metro Friend

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    The saddest member on ASR:

    I'm just about to update my gear and since I find your site I don't dare to buy anything you haven't yet measured. I can NO longer trust the makers, so now I'm stuck waiting for your approval. I know you are not able to do them all, I live in Sweden so it's not practical for me to send the stuff for you to test either. So for now, I don't know what to do, except waiting.
     
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  20. wormcycle

    wormcycle Friend

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    That's what visiting the ASR site reminds me of:
     
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    Last edited: Apr 12, 2021 at 4:30 PM

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