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John Atkinson discusses measurements

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Very interesting, or should I say revealing interview.


 

 

 

 


"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira de Pascoaes

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Measurements define performance, or how accurately equipment will reproduce the signal it's been fed.

A good speaker is an accurate speaker, a good amplifier is an accurate amplifier, and so forth.

 

There's nothing wrong with enjoying the sound of a speaker, amplifier or source that measures badly in some aspects of its performance.

What one can't say is that a speaker is good because one likes how it sounds to us (though in some cases and for some people the best sounding speakers are also the best speakers).


So if reviewers, whether on a listening assessment or a bench test report, find serious shortcomings yet dismiss them as character then something is terribly wrong.

You cannot relativise significant performance issues, not every product is valid.

 

Bad equipment should be exposed for what it is and I really want to commend @John_Atkinson for making his stance on this matter clear.

I'm glad that Sean Casey's Zus were brought up as an example of a low-fi product that somehow "slipped through the net".

 

Absolute performance is paramount, how accurately the signal is reproduced and, simultaneously, how well or badly a particular piece of equipment rates in comparison to equipment of identical topology as well as the overall benchmarks of performance.

Not providing this information renders the review worthless, disengineous even.


"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira de Pascoaes

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Steve Gutenberg shows his game too. And it isn't a particularly advanced one... Thread with caution.


"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira de Pascoaes

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6 hours ago, KeenObserver said:

Measurements and standards are critical.  Otherwise it becomes a matter of which ad writer or reviewer writes the best prose.

 

I agree.  But those measurements need to be explained, broken down, compared, etc.  It's not enough to accompany the measurements with a flowery write up which focuses far, far more on the section of music for the subjective testing (as if saying, "look I have good taste") than it does on explaining the relevance of the measurements, whether they affect what is audible, and how these results compare with the test results of competing equipment.

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A combination of measurements and subjective impressions can be very informative - take the Zu speakers mentioned: I looked up the Stereophile reviews, and the measurements gave the key information, high sensitivity and easy to drive. Which correlated with what people heard: big, full of life sound - much closer to what's on the recording, rather than the squashing done by normal systems. The fact that the Zu speakers had 'problems' was quite irrelevant in the flesh - their ability to convey the essence of the musical event captured largely overrode any technical misdemeanours.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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2 minutes ago, fas42 said:

A combination of measurements and subjective impressions can be very informative - take the Zu speakers mentioned: I looked up the Stereophile reviews, and the measurements gave the key information, high sensitivity and easy to drive. Which correlated with what people heard: big, full of life sound - much closer to what's on the recording, rather than the squashing done by normal systems. The fact that the Zu speakers had 'problems' was quite irrelevant in the flesh - their ability to convey the essence of the musical event captured largely overrode any technical misdemeanours.

 

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"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira de Pascoaes

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A great interview. Thanks !

 

And the only person I can think of to refuse to write about our DAC because he instantly heard how the speaker we used at some US audio show, distorted in the tweeter.

 

Imagine : ahead of the show we tweaked and tweaked and tweaked to make that speaker sounding right ( I should be able to find photos of what we all did to that for the given (to us) speaker for this show).

We were quite nervous at explaining to every one requiring it, that something was wrong with the speaker and it surely wasn't our DAC (such a weak excuse !). But John, out of all, worked the other way around: he was comfortably assuring me that no review etc. was possible with these speakers.

 

And I wondered how the heck he came to that conclusion seconds after he walked into our room.

 

If I only would allow myself to put up the photos at the end of the show, we all literally rolling on the floor of laughing because of having so much after-show fun. Out of respect I always kept them hidden on my hard drive.


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4 hours ago, lucretius said:

 

I agree.  But those measurements need to be explained, broken down, compared, etc.  It's not enough to accompany the measurements with a flowery write up which focuses far, far more on the section of music for the subjective testing (as if saying, "look I have good taste") than it does on explaining the relevance of the measurements, whether they affect what is audible, and how these results compare with the test results of competing equipment.

To be fair, with the number of reviews that Stereophile did every year it isn’t reasonable to expect a scholarly dissertation for each one. The measurements and results were always clearly explained with notations as to whether there were any unexplainable discrepancies. 
 

They do a great job of it, right down to reviews where it sounds great but measures poorly and then a long discussion as to how that could be. 
 

Stereophile reviews are (or were) under Atkinson known for being relevant, honest and credible. 

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1 hour ago, PeterSt said:

A great interview. Thanks !

 

And the only person I can think of to refuse to write about our DAC because he instantly heard how the speaker we used at some US audio show, distorted in the tweeter.

 

Imagine : ahead of the show we tweaked and tweaked and tweaked to make that speaker sounding right ( I should be able to find photos of what we all did to that for the given (to us) speaker for this show).

We were quite nervous at explaining to every one requiring it, that something was wrong with the speaker and it surely wasn't our DAC (such a weak excuse !). But John, out of all, worked the other way around: he was comfortably assuring me that no review etc. was possible with these speakers.

 

And I wondered how the heck he came to that conclusion seconds after he walked into our room.

 

If I only would allow myself to put up the photos at the end of the show, we all literally rolling on the floor of laughing because of having so much after-show fun. Out of respect I always kept them hidden on my hard drive.

 

Hi Peter,

 

Can we know what speakers you used in the show?

 

If you don't want to make this public please PM me.

 

Best,

 

Roch

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1 hour ago, Kal Rubinson said:

Really?  My experience with them is limited but I did hear them at an audio show.  While listening, I was trying to figure out how to tell the demonstrator that the sound of the recording was strikingly different from how I have heard it on my own and several other systems.  When the music stopped, however, another listener stepped up and what I had been thinking.  When challenged by the assertion that this is the way it should sound, he responded that he had worked at the sound board for those recording sessions.  Hmmm.9_9

 

Well, my experiences with evolving systems to produce "convincing sound" is that the presentation of recordings, when one achieves this, in general is very different from that of conventional 'high end' rigs - "squashed", or compressed in a subjective sense, is the thought that comes to mind when I listen to normal standards of playback; what's missing is the vitality, the sense of life, the immersion in the sound that occurs with the "real thing" - competent or a very high standard of SQ restores that quality to what you experience - it's always "on the recording", but one needs to go, currently, to substantially extra effort to achieve that element in what you hear.

 

Reading between the lines, speakers like Zu's can, I repeat, can be a shortcut to getting there - the downside is that remaining anomalies can be strongly spotlighted if not every care is taken with the setting up. Which may have been the case when you were listening.

 

What was the recording, if I may ask ... ?


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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I am not really sure where my experiences with evolving systems to produce "convincing sound" started, but we did go thru the lateral line system, jaw conduction and then 3 funny lil' bones.

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