Yggdrasil A2 Measurements - Deconstructing ASR / Amir's Hack Job

Discussion in 'Source Measurements' started by purr1n, Jun 7, 2018.

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  1. Josh83

    Josh83 Friend

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    Most ASRians (ASRites? ASRholes?) simply don’t believe there are any audible differences between DACs unless one of the DACs is technically faulty (according to Amir’s criteria). This view has been expressed several times in the current ASR thread responding to Jude’s critique of Amir’s measurements. So it’s no surprise Amir only listens to the DACs he’s measured for a few minutes to check for dropouts, etc. Beyond that, there’s nothing to listen for!

    The above honestly makes me feel sad for any budding audiophiles who fall into that orbit. As with the ODAC cult, it’s comforting to believe that the best possible equipment can be had very cheaply. But the really sad part is that it’s not even as if the Toppings he’s recommending are the best available *for the price*. New people the hobby could pick up a used Modi MB or one of the iFi DAC/amp units for around same price as a D30 and get something that I reckon sounds better to anyone without severe hearing loss.
     
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  2. earnmyturns

    earnmyturns Smartest friend

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    My business is all about measurements and experiments for products with many users (not in audio). However refined one's measurements, they only allow us to rule out egregiously bad hypotheses. Human perception and behavior are way more varied and subtle than any statistical aggregate can represent. A key difference between a professional and an amateur in my field -- and I believe in audio as well -- is that the professional starts with measurements to rule out bad regions of design space; while the amateur treats measurements like the holy grail. I see that all the time in academic papers for systems that measure very well according to standard metrics, but that perform very poorly in the field.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2018
  3. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Using measurements to determine what gear to buy is certainly an acceptable method to make a decision. People should be free to choose their own path.

    The problem with Amir and ASR is bias against Schiit, and allowing that bias to affect the results. There is nothing wrong with having bias, everyone is biased, but one should be aware of them and attempt to be more objective. There is already a good amount of objective data that shows Amir getting strangely poor results (particularity with his linearity and distortion tests) when it comes to Schiit gear which others cannot replicate. @atomicbob or I, or maybe even JA or Jude can tell you how easy it is to bork measurements. Also, we see patterns of selective ignoring of other products shortcomings when they "happened" to be compared to Schiit gear. Amir's style of presenting measurements is opportunistic. He only shows us what he wants to show us. His measurement commentary toward Schiit products is usually less accommodating than toward other products. These are the things that should should bother us.

    Amir's repeated statements that amount what I just said in my first paragraph are merely attempts to distract from people's very serious concerns indicated in the second paragraph. He's just pulling off a Zuckerberg - stalling. Let's not get distracted by his smoke and mirrors. As I mentioned before, he's in a corner, and he's digging hard to find excuses. Don't let his sudden more professional demeanor fool you.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2018
  4. dmckean44

    dmckean44 In a Sherwood S6040CP relationship

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    That's not a path that anyone should be encouraged to follow. It's never going to lead to anywhere good.
     
  5. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    In the morass of high ticket items and colored sounding gear, I feel people should at least have that option. I recommend both: subjective and objective data, provided the objective data isn't borked, and the objective data is relevant.

    Which brings up another problem with ASR - the measurements often are not relevant. For example, 0.1db deviation from linearity to determine ENOB is nonsense. Heck, I usually don't cite others to bolster my case, but ask John Atkinson about his method to determine bits. "Amir bits" is just something Amir made up (not withstanding that he's borked so many linearity measurements, not just of Schiit gear, but also of the Topping D30). Skirts around a 1kHz sine wave -100db down are interesting, but ultimately not relevant. Distortion -90db down for 1kHz signal is interesting, but not relevant.

    At some point, the measurements are good enough, beyond what humans are capable of detecting. Past this point, it's missing the forest for the trees. Keep in mind that most material is still 16-bits, that is the floor is -96.33db down. In reality, it's often worse, maybe 14-bits, 84db, because we can hear the tape hiss on most recordings (at least the ones where the mastering engineer didn't nuke the noise - and fine detail - along with it).
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2018
  6. ultrabike

    ultrabike Measurbator - Admin

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    Non-borked measurements are not bad at all. Non-borked honest impressions are not bad at all. Multiple consistent quality data points are IMO extremely valuable whatever their source and approach.

    However, one should avoid cherry picking or manipulating data points (subjective or objective) to support an agenda.
     
  7. winders

    winders Know-it-all boomer, prob racist

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    Using measurements to determine what gear to buy is certainly an "accepted" method to make a decision. And yes, people should be free to choose their own path.

    But, and I know I am preaching to the choir, measurements alone do not tell the whole story. You have to listen to the component (in combination with your other gear) to really get a feel for how good, or not so good, it really is. Better measurements do not guarantee better sound.

    I would argue that measurements really mean very little in the end. They can be used to eliminate obviously terrible components. But they can't be used as an indicator of a great sounding component.

    So, while using measurements to determine what gear to buy is certainly an "accepted" method to make a decision, it is not a very sound method in and of its self.
     
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  8. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Subjective data points are difficult. I will be the first to admit this. They are less reliable and less consistent than objective data points. But if headphones measurements are any measure, and now DAC measurements, objective data points can be difficult too.

    Why do we have a loaner program, why do we want a small but growing group of trusted ears, why do we like people to describe their preferences, and why have we placed so much emphasis on certain vocabulary used to describe sound (without a formal glossary)? The reason is make the subjective data points better, more reliable, more consistent. It will never be perfect or as good as we would like; but I'd wager that our SBAF community, our members know how to reliably communicate to each other what audio gear sounds like more than any other group on the Internet. Many of you may have noticed that unlike in the past, I now usually decline to hear a piece of gear. This is because I would rather trust you guys to screen stuff out for me. This is a good thing. I don't have enough time.

    But getting back to the point I wanted to make in light of this ASR nonsense: additional objective points, from different people, using different instrumentation, appear to be needed. However much it may be difficult to ASR to accept this, Amir's measurements with his AP2522 are not the word of God. Amir is fallible.

    Measurements don't mean shit when it comes to DAC or amplifiers except under unusual circumstances. They are interesting though. These en-vogue discrete resistor ladder DACs might even demonstrate to us that those deep -90db, -110db, -150db numbers don't mean as much as we thought. Just because we have awesome technology to delve into such a microscopic level doesn't mean such data is going to be meaningful. Blood tests look at molecules, but do they look at leptons and quarks?

    However, measurements for transducers tell us a lot and provide a decent picture before we even listen to something. Linear and non-linear distortion is magnitudes higher on transducers compared to amps and DACs. I always get a laugh when a headphone measures with a ton of bass, a nasty treble peak, or a ton of distortion, and people on the loaner program go "no thanks" and drop out.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2018
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  9. dmckean44

    dmckean44 In a Sherwood S6040CP relationship

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    It might mean something, but it certainly has nothing to do with retrieval of details like Amir claims. All the Soekris DACs measure better that far down compared to Gungnir Multibit and Yggdrasil, but no Soekris DAC comes even close to being as resolving.
     
  10. allegro

    allegro Friend

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    Wondering what the fuss was about I spent some time browsing audiosciencereview.com forums. Felt like amir was worshipped like a cult leader. When he states:

    I knew it was time to leave. Yggdrasil will be my next DAC later this year. Have to recover from taxes first then will have a fire sale for gear Yggdrasil replaces. It will be nice just to have Yggdrasil, Loki and Kenzie on my desk at home.
     
  11. Vtory

    Vtory Illogical Spock

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    At the end of the day, my takeaway is everything is difficult. But differently so.

    Subjective data points are difficult to collect. Highly complicated by reviews' preference and experience. But once you find the right set of trusted ears (whose perceptions are robustly correlated with your perceptions), things become drastically easier. My decisions are heavily depending on such data points, if I don't have a good/sufficient audition chance.

    Objective data points are difficult to interpret, let alone borked measurements. These results are not with human language. So, you need to develop the way how to translate numbers and graphs to your subjective feeling. This is difficult part. Everybody may have his own model. I have one and secretly use it to make decisions (e.g. I believe snr, sinad, and noise/harmonics distribution have something to do with blackness, clarity, and/or details - surely I can't hear -80~-90dbFS but gears I perceived better generally measured better) , I also admit using it is semi- or full- BS to make an argument or recommendation for others.

    Comparison among similarly structured gears (or headphones) generally make things slightly less-BS. I hate to compare raw results of schiit multibit dacs with those of topping DS dacs. Also hate hasty comparison bw open cans and iems, or bw SET amps and hybrid ones. But I do believe in a meaningful story in measured differences between, say, Modi Multibit and Gungnir Multibit (or Yggdrasil).
     
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  12. skem

    skem Friend

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    What I find most difficult about ASR is the how the word “science” is used as a legitimizing label for such an uninformed effort.
     
  13. earnmyturns

    earnmyturns Smartest friend

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    I'd be as shocked as you if I had not experienced directly quite a few instances of actual scientists using obfuscating rhetoric to defend their falsified theories or their sloppy, invalidated experiments. The practice of science can teach critical attention to one's own biases, but some people learn instead how to argue craftily for their prejudices.
     
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  14. atomicbob

    atomicbob dScope Yoda

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    This is of course, repugnant, disturbing and yet apparently occurring with greater frequency in our world. Is integrity close to being read last rites?
     
  15. johnjen

    johnjen Doesn’t want to be here but keeps posting anyways

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    I think I've got Armin figured out.

    He is afflicted with MS^2 coupled with P^2.
    Translated that means he has been imprinted with the MicroSoft-MindSet (MS^2), I know I'm the best of the best, I got hired at MS and he then rose to his level of incompetency (the Peter Principle P^2).
    And his self assessment of being an audio professional (one who cares about his reputation) is a reflection and consequence of his incompetency coupled with his self aggrandizement (MS^2).

    MS^2 is all to common if you have ever met and interacted with some of them.
    I see it as a consequence of the crap that rolled down hill from Billy Gates and his management style.
    It infected the entire company and has continued on ever since.

    There are additional 'side effects' which are also in full view, but this is enough of my time spent on the 'armin show'.

    JJ
     
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  16. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Haha. Depends on the department. MS is much different company now than it used to be. They had to adjust. The Azure guys I know are pretty cool. But they are fighting against the AWS juggernaut.
     
  17. earnmyturns

    earnmyturns Smartest friend

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    I don't know if frequency is increasing (# of incidents/# of people involved), but over several decades in science and engineering I've felt that increased competition for resources (grants, business funding, academic jobs) may have enabled less wholesome behaviors. And there's also the depressing possibility that it's all in the dynamics of the system, as a former colleague argues with a mathematical model http://www.pnas.org/content/111/49/17558 Here's their key finding: In particular, we show that cooperation will always collapse when there are diminishing returns for mutual cooperation. :eek:
     
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  18. Thenewerguy009

    Thenewerguy009 Friend

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    I'm thinking external factors play a part in the measurments.
    Wait, he went to someone's home to test the DAC?
    So an uncontrolled environment with a ton more variables to throw into the mix?
     
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  19. johnjen

    johnjen Doesn’t want to be here but keeps posting anyways

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    ^ that was my concern as well.

    He transported his equipment to an unknown environment and under time constraints tested a bunch of dacs.

    To me that says, added contaminated results, all over it.
    (Here let me plug my analyzer into this extension cord, oh, gotta cheater plug?…)

    Would any professional actually admit to doing something like that?

    JJ
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2018
  20. LetMeBeFrank

    LetMeBeFrank Won't tell anyone my name is actually Francis

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    Some interesting stuff going on over at head-fi in the Yggdrasil thread. Great post from yesterday morning:

    The video is very enlightening at 57 minutes or so.
     
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