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NwAvGuy: The Audio Genius Who Vanished


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      Will Yum 2 months agoI pretty much have quit the audiophile world after determining it is a faith based cult. Trusting 65 year old writers to tell you how something sounds is insane.
       
       
      Here is a nice quote from the comments section of the cited article ~ Nombe
       
       
       


In any dispute the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the issues at stake ~ Sayre's Law

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Of course I can understand people want to get off the audiophile bus. There are more important things in life. I Agree!

 

What I don't get is how someone would think this hobby is about "Trusting 65 year old writers to tell you how something sounds..." Huh?

2013 MacBook Pro Retina -> {Pure Music | Audirvana} -> {Dragonfly Red v.1} -> AKG K-702 or Sennheiser HD650 headphones.

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Of course I can understand people want to get off the audiophile bus. There are more important things in life. I Agree!

 

Music is extremely important to many people's lives, and being an audiophile gets you closer to the music, providing your gear is used to enhance the experience rather than being a "hobby".

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  • 10 months later...

I have been reading his blog for months in the past, but he stopped communicating around 2012, but the post in his blog are very informative! I learnt most of things about the opamps and circuit design out from his blog. Hope he'll come back.

--

Krzysztof Maj

http://mkrzych.wordpress.com/

"Music is the highest form of art. It is also the most noble. It is human emotion, captured, crystallised, encased… and then passed on to others." - By Ken Ishiwata

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As noted in the original article linked to; the domain is still being updated.

 

Eloise

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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As I've mentioned a couple of times in comments, there's marketing and there's marketing: It's a tenet of "objective" audio thinking that concern about jitter is much ado about nothing, so NwAVGuy's ODAC is marketed as having neither async USB nor ASRC (anti-jitter measures) when in fact the ESS SABRE DAC chip it uses has ASRC *built right in*.

 

So the marketing for the DAC disclaims anti-jitter measures the DAC in fact possesses because the core group of people who are potential customers have been taught to believe that "we don't need no stinkin' anti-jitter." Thus ironically are the people taught to be on their guard against audiophile marketing deception deceived.

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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As I've mentioned a couple of times in comments, there's marketing and there's marketing: It's a tenet of "objective" audio thinking that concern about jitter is much ado about nothing, so NwAVGuy's ODAC is marketed as having neither async USB nor ASRC (anti-jitter measures) when in fact the ESS SABRE DAC chip it uses has ASRC *built right in*.

 

So the marketing for the DAC disclaims anti-jitter measures the DAC in fact possesses because the core group of people who are potential customers have been taught to believe that "we don't need no stinkin' anti-jitter." Thus ironically are the people taught to be on their guard against audiophile marketing deception deceived.

 

I don't think the guy justifies being called a 'genius' for designing a budget DAC, pretending to ignore jitter problems, and bashing fellow designers. As far as I'm concerned he is hardly up there with real audio engineering genius's such as Nelson Pass or Arnie Nudell.

System (i): Stack Audio Link > 2Qute+MCRU psu; Gyrodec/SME V/Ortofon 2M Black/EAT E-Glo Petit/Magnum Dynalab FT101A) > Glow Amp One > Klipsch RP-600M/REL T5x subs

System (ii): Allo USB Signature > Bel Canto uLink+AQVOX psu > Chord Hugo > Tandy LX5/REL Tzero v3 subs

System (iii) KEF LS50W/KEF R400b subs

 

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As I've mentioned a couple of times in comments, there's marketing and there's marketing: It's a tenet of "objective" audio thinking that concern about jitter is much ado about nothing, so NwAVGuy's ODAC is marketed as having neither async USB nor ASRC (anti-jitter measures) when in fact the ESS SABRE DAC chip it uses has ASRC *built right in*.

 

So the marketing for the DAC disclaims anti-jitter measures the DAC in fact possesses because the core group of people who are potential customers have been taught to believe that "we don't need no stinkin' anti-jitter." Thus ironically are the people taught to be on their guard against audiophile marketing deception deceived.

 

Well Jud, all I can add is that I have an ODAC, a Benchmark and for the purposes of entertaining another member here, a time with a LYNX. I AB'd them against one another and found it very difficult to prefer one over another. Yes, there were some very small discernable differences in detail when being extremely critical of well known tracks. Given the scale of costs, the ODAC is IMO an outstanding value.

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Well Jud, all I can add is that I have an ODAC, a Benchmark and for the purposes of entertaining another member here, a time with a LYNX. I AB'd them against one another and found it very difficult to prefer one over another. Yes, there were some very small discernable differences in detail when being extremely critical of well known tracks. Given the scale of costs, the ODAC is IMO an outstanding value.

 

A little difference to one person may be a deal breaker to another. Personally, I think the guy played being the anti-hero for all it is worth, and does not qualify up there in the genius categorey. Easily fooled as in Jud's comment.

 

Just my opinion though.

 

Paul

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Well Jud, all I can add is that I have an ODAC, a Benchmark and for the purposes of entertaining another member here, a time with a LYNX. I AB'd them against one another and found it very difficult to prefer one over another. Yes, there were some very small discernable differences in detail when being extremely critical of well known tracks. Given the scale of costs, the ODAC is IMO an outstanding value.

 

I have no doubt it's a good sounding piece, and as you point out it's economical as well.

 

The not-really-marketing-we're-objective thing extends even to the comparison with the Benchmark, which is the only other DAC (boxed, rather than sound card) I've ever seen the ODAC compared to; NwAVGuy himself compared the ODAC to the Benchmark. In my own skeptical, marketing-and-irony-alert way, I view this as NwAVGuy making a clearly subjective claim (not "here are the specs compared to the Benchmark," but "this is how it sounds compared to the Benchmark"), but making sure not to offend objectivists by having the comparison DAC be the Benchmark, which has tremendous objectivist cred.

 

In yet another ironic turn, the Benchmark gained that cred in part by not being part of the wave of low-jitter async USB DACs; but now that the new Benchmark has async USB together with ASRC, it still maintains the objectivist cred. Veterans of the forum will also recall John Siau of Benchmark making highly publicized negative comments about DSD, a high resolution format, at the same time as the new Benchmark gained DSD capability. Thus the company attracts people who do or want to listen to DSD while maintaining credibility with skeptics of high res and DSD.

 

Then there's Schiit Audio, the subjectivist villains of the NwAVGuy/Head-Fi piece, who are objectivist heroes with regard to their USB optimization thingy, the Wyrd, which they masterfully market by saying "It just does these objective things to the USB signal, and we *won't* - no, we really *won't*, don't make us - well, nudge nudge, wink wink, maybe it really does, but we *won't* - say it makes USB sound better."

 

To put it simply: These days the great societal metaphor appears to be the sports team. You're either on the "objectivist" team or the "subjectivist" team as a consumer. Manufacturers know this well, and specifically market to it. To complete the circle and close with another example from the ODAC: Manufacturers list jitter specs in nano-, pico-, or even femto-seconds. There is of course a tremendous amount of marketing "specmanship" around these figures. The ODAC caters to objectivists by listing its jitter specs in terms of dB down from the signal, i.e., (in)audibility. Thus the ODAC eliminates any basis for objective comparison with the specs of other DACs by its use of a non-standard measurement. By giving less objective information, the ODAC gains additional marketing cred with objectivists, because it's a signal: "We're on your team."

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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As I've mentioned a couple of times in comments, there's marketing and there's marketing: It's a tenet of "objective" audio thinking that concern about jitter is much ado about nothing, so NwAVGuy's ODAC is marketed as having neither async USB nor ASRC (anti-jitter measures) when in fact the ESS SABRE DAC chip it uses has ASRC *built right in*.

 

So the marketing for the DAC disclaims anti-jitter measures the DAC in fact possesses because the core group of people who are potential customers have been taught to believe that "we don't need no stinkin' anti-jitter." Thus ironically are the people taught to be on their guard against audiophile marketing deception deceived.

 

I respect the skepticism. That's just smart. Do you think it's untrue about him making no money from his designs? If not, then what do you think was the motivation?

 

And what happened? Why did he disappear? Think he got sued?

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The comments below the article are good too.

 

+1. This one made me smile:

 

"High End" audio is very similar to Holistic Medicine.In the case of Holistic Medicine, it starts off with some common sense concepts, such as taking a wider view of the entire person, and being not too narrowly focused on just the medical condition. But then it descends into madness and lunacy such as the "Memory of Water".

" High End" audio seems to follow the exact same path. And ends up in the same sort of madness and lunacy.

I hope that this clarifies the situation and helps to draw some victims back from the depths of insanity.

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+1. This one made me smile:

 

Each to his own, but it is just the usual cheap shot at audiophiles from someone without much of a clue. You can click on the guy's name and see what posts he has made. There is nothing to indicate he knows anything much about either audio or electronics.

 

My favourite quote was this one:

 

He was, at all times, pretty impressed with himself.

System (i): Stack Audio Link > 2Qute+MCRU psu; Gyrodec/SME V/Ortofon 2M Black/EAT E-Glo Petit/Magnum Dynalab FT101A) > Glow Amp One > Klipsch RP-600M/REL T5x subs

System (ii): Allo USB Signature > Bel Canto uLink+AQVOX psu > Chord Hugo > Tandy LX5/REL Tzero v3 subs

System (iii) KEF LS50W/KEF R400b subs

 

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I respect the skepticism. That's just smart. Do you think it's untrue about him making no money from his designs? If not, then what do you think was the motivation?

 

You and I don't make any money from our comments here, but do we nevertheless want to maintain public credibility? One way to do that is to maintain an apparently consistent position, such as a consistently "objectivist" audio philosophy.

 

And what happened? Why did he disappear? Think he got sued?

 

I very much tend to doubt that anyone would have bothered to sue him. Folks were aware of him, certainly, but I doubt he was putting a significant crimp in anyone's revenue, including Schiit. (Jason Stoddard, one of the Schiit principals, wrote a book-length history of the company so far, and the chapter that mentioned NwAVGuy included nothing about an effect on revenue that I remember. In the rest of the "book," Jason was pretty forthcoming with that type of stuff.) Even if he would have been, what do you think a lawsuit would have done, other than give him additional notoriety and credibility? Perhaps the burdens of having to maintain a constant flow of public and private correspondence impinged too much on time he wanted to devote to other things, like work and family. I don't think it could possibly have been easy to be the voice and designer for an entire segment of audio consumers.

 

Edit: The Schiit company history, which is very entertaining, and also quite good as a business advice book, is at Head-Fi: Schiit Happened: The Story of the World's Most Improbable Start-Up

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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Some times I think comments here on CA can be a bit over the top, but this one from that article hits it out of the park. Talk about knowing nothing and speculating!

 

 

"bprush 10 months agoThe community is not really into music and they have very little ability to write or understand it. Rather, it's dominated by creepy and isolated nerds who live in their headphones. Most of this group are EE majors and asians like NwavGuy. Attend any head-fi meet to confirm."

 

 

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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