Acid Test Measurements - what do you look for?

The negative review of the PS Audio DAC got me to create a new thread specific to how you use measurements. Ignore tech such as tubes or dipoles… just measurements. Let’s keep it to:

Acid Test Measurements (keep it light and the most important to you):

A: Do you use them?
2: Speakers/Integrated&Amps/DACs?
C: What do you look for?
D: What is your age? Young (under 30) Mid (31 to 50) Cranky (over 50)

I will repost what I wrote in that review thread here…

My cranky-man criterion for electronics evaluation:

1- Reputable, established company making for audiophiles (I see this as a spec…no newbies… sorry)
2a - If amp: read the specs only watts into 8, 4, then 2 ohm (if published) (is it beefy?)
2s - If speakers…read specs or tests… only load across frequency (is it difficult?)
3 - How it sounds.

I am cranky, and want a beefy (just no wimp) amp and easy to drive speakers.

I don’t care about measurements any more. I used too. Back in the 70s when I was a teenager, I succumbed to the THD and watts wars. I got burnt… over it.

Bruce in Philly

My 2 cents (I have and SGCD but no DS Sr. Or Jr…yet !)

A. No ! Like you numbers were impressive but don’t mean anything to me any more. Numbers do maters to the equipment designers (and it should damn it). My problem with audio reviewers doing their own measurements is they are trying always to correlate what they measure against what THEY hear. You or I could hear the same characteristic and not be able to correlate to what was measured.

Those aberrations are part of the “voicing” process. My hearing only goes to 13kHz now but vocal sibilances and cymbal crashes are as effective now to my hearing as they were 30+ years ago.

B. Bose Series 1 901’s with my personally rebuilt Series 2 Equalizer (w/ SoniCaps/Vishay Rsisitors/Toroidal Transformer/FW Rectifier), PS Audio M700 x2, PS Audio Stellar Gain Cell DAC/Preamp, a Sony UBPX1000ES with True DSD DAC (up to 11.2MHz), and a Sony STR-DN1080 that I hacked 6 True Balanced outputs with XLR terminations.

C. Fatigue #1. Bass/Mids presentation, how high are the highs (shrillness). Crappy source material still sound like crap but excellent recordings be they 5.1 or 2.0 shine on my setup.

I miss living in Easton, PA…Good times…Good memories.

D. 49 years and 10 months…The original King Crimson played their last show on the day of my birth…you are welcome !

A. Yes, as a background information, I read multiple tests which have to confirm what the manufacturers states, not necessarily numbers though, it’s more an integrity test.

Selection criteria, from most important down:

  • Size: its got to fit in the room, rack
  • Sound quality differentiated by: applied technology
  • WAF: my wife approves the budget
  • Cost: strongly relates to WAF
  1. Apply it to all equipment, like said more of an integrity check, but loudspeakers the most.

C. Best frequency response and soundstage reproduction. Lows are important, we like Classic an Organ, as I listen to Country and Rock as well it’s got to cover a brought spectrum. Certainly dynamics. Linearity, no emphasis on any frequency, play it as it’s recorded, so measurements do play a role here, but not the most important.
Why: your room plays a huge factor, and placing speakers in the room change all the numbers and experiences anyway. My Canton Vento’s sounded great with deep bass in the large shop and the large living room we had in Texas, in our tile floor smaller living room in The Netherlands, forced to be positioned rather close to the wall not so much.

D. More too fat than cranky, but yes I was a baby, sitting on my mom’s lap when they watched the eagle landing and Niel Armstrong and the crew setting first steps on the moon. Any recollection of those events however come from the superb Appollo 11 ducumentry that I watched in the airplane flying to Houston this year.

But manufacturers claiming to be high end have got to receive decent reviews from reputable magazines/web sites. There are less reputable or let’s say more biased magazines/web sites that I would take for information only but still consult. Most of the reputable ones back their audible review up by test results not the other way around.

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