Ethan Winer's challenge

I hope Paul accepts Mr Winer’s invitation to debate their respective positions regarding measurable audio characteristics. This would be quite fascinating.

Well, at least it will help Ethan’s YouTube hit count ; )

Could even be good for both of them in that respect, but I have a problem with folks who think the Only Measuring Devices that will Ever Be Needed have already been built.

Plus there’s the whole, “They’re discussing different things” bit : )

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I am not intimately familiar with his Null Test device, but I assume he discounts sound energy in the inaudible range and its affect on the audible frequencies. If his test device or the connected speakers outputting the audible differences are incapable of reproducing these ultra high frequencies, it seems non-absolute unless of course the claim is… if you can’t hear it, it doesn’t matter.

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Another random thought… At the price point of this device, and Ethan’s obvious developed skepticism of “audiophile” components, could it be that the device itself becomes a “weak link” based on the design/build quality? Splitting hairs perhaps but I’m not sure how he can not consider his Null Test device an untestable variable (i.e. with what reference are we able to measure his Null Tester’s ability to “test”). And, if he created a “money is no object” version of this Null Tester, would it be able to output something more/better than this currently marketed and sold price sensitive unit?

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If you watch his original video introducing his version of the Null Tester, he has basically open-sourced the schematic/design. I’m not up to critiquing his design, but he seems to know what he’s doing.

I think Ethan makes some very valid points and would love to hear more of Paul’s explanation of why he feels there can be something sent electronically over a wire - that can’t be detected/measured.

Certainly. He is much smarter than me on this subject matter. I guess my point was, he is using off the shelf parts/components to assemble an electronic device - just like countless audio manufacturers do when designing and building DAC’s, pre-amps, amplifiers, etc. So, is he saying that his device is 100% transparent, not adding or detracting? If so, what device has he employed to test and certify his Null Tester as not altering anything and also able to measure absolutely everything? Is this electronic component able to to stand up to any and every amplifier and DAC in existence and measure absolutely 100% of each of their output?

I am not trying to merely naysay here as I do believe he makes many excellent points. But if subjecting his device to the same scientific scrutiny, he is using a device that is not standardized and therefore has no means of validation to conclusively certify his claims as absolutes.

I watched most, or nearly most of Mr Winer’s “challenge” video. I must admit I’m very excited to hear that it can all be measured and with commonly available test equipment. And I can’t wait for Mr Winer’s audio components to hit the market. Finally, we’ll have perfect reproduction of live sound.


Perfect Null Testing Forever ; )

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But then again, what do I know. I am no electrical engineer, nor physicist. Ethan may have perfectly sound answers to the questions/concerns I raised.

But, I can speak chemistry, computer science and coffee :wink: In my prior career, it was a requirement to only use tools that were validated by agencies such as NIST. If a tool cannot be validated, then it becomes a very difficult, if not impossible errand to claim infallibility.

Tools are great. But if you don’t know what you don’t know, how do you know if the tool is telling you anything other than what it was built to do?


Every instrument has an accuracy spec. Most of them drift over time. If they’re not reclibrated with a calibration device that is x% ( for the latest ISO requirement, it’s 7X) better than the target device, you’re off.
If the original measurement instrument was calibrated on a NIST traceable calibration rig, it must be periodically verified against a test device that is also NIST traceable in order to retain the original NIST traceability… and so it goes.

And this post “validates” my problem of often rambling on.

Two sentences. Well-stated Beef!

In the Air Force we had an entire group of technicians trained in instrument calibration: Precision Measurement Equipment Laboratory (PMEL). When I was an avionics tech out of high school, all equipment had to go through a calibration process by PMEL techs on a scheduled basis. SR-71/U-2 Electronic Warfare and Electronic Countermeasures technician out of Beale AFB in Northern California!

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These debates never go anywhere. Ethan’s a good dude though. Anyone remember Julian Hirsch from the Stereo Review days. Kinda similar – used to drive me crazy when I was a kid reading his “all amps are the same articles”. Ethan’s always been a flat earther when it comes to high end audio equipment and cables. I do like his room treatment products.

This is pretty neat and much more interesting than null testing :

Rock on Ethan…

His reference system at home is reported to be a vintage Crown 300A and a pair of JBLs of some vintage type. It’s no wonder he doesn’t hear any differences.


It’s that but more important he’s not measuring the chain. If he had a reference system capable of reproducing differences, which apparently he does not, he could use a microphone to record the output of the chain then digitally compare files for differences.
What’s doing now makes no sense, not if you want to actually get to the truth of why we hear differences.


I find it curious that people spend so much energy trying to argue one side or the other. My ears tell me what I like, measurements don’t. They are the only tools I need. And here I thought the problem was solved so many years ago with in home evaluations. Try it, like it, buy it or not.


I believe the null test is a great way to determine if there is or isn’t a difference (not giving much information about what the differences are).

But, Ethan snips a piece out of the context of the whole system and expects there to be something different at the single output. This doesn’t account for any number of possibilities that can affect the system itself.

The only ethical way to do this is through the entire system using a system that you can actually
hear the differences on. I don’t believe he possesses such a system and if he did he’s certainly not doing this test properly.

His findings are meaningless.

He’s not actually attempting to find out why we hear a difference, just working hard at proving his own theory there isn’t one is right.

And, I understand the logic. Which is why I am ignoring him.


Agreed - never understood the vehemence of those who seem to literally be offended that some people find value in things they don’t. If you think it is BS, easy - don’t buy it!


Hopefully this doesn’t end in a battle here in this forum…this debate is more meaningless than all general cable and measurement debates together.

There are enough people trying to prove what they don’t hear already.