POLL: Do you care about measurements?

Do you care about measurements and specifications in your audio equipment?

  • Yes
  • No

0 voters

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Ultimately in my case, no. I use other means (reviews by pros, peers, reputation and experience with builders, etc.) to determine whether I will audition. I leave measurement importance to designers and developers.

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Not very much unless something is found to be really out of whack. In Stereophile I usually just read the summary.


Some fundamental measurements, yes. For example, matching an amp’s output capabilities to a speaker’s efficiency. But as a measure of sound quality, certainly not.
Come to think of it, it’s no different for me with anything I can think of; musical instruments, appliances, shoes…


I voted yes but it’s certainly not an absolute and depends on the component. I’ll pay at lot less attention to amp distortion measurements than I will speaker polar plots.


Impedance profile of speakers, impedance matching of cables, amplifier power output, circuit impedance of power supply, power consumption of amplifier, size of units (my rack is 460mm internal width and that’s the limit). Noise floor of digital components, gain of phono stages. -dB of window glass and wall cladding material. The list goes on.

I’m sure there are lots of measurements we consider, or should consider, that will tell us whether a component is appropriate and will work, even if it will not tell us anything about the sound. I recently looked at a Gryphon 300, besides being too wide, its power consumption was 900w, so it will likely get very hot or need a lot of ventilation. The manual actually showed it needed ventilation under the unit, and you should cut out a big hole in the supporting shelf, measurements were supplied. Thanks to those measurements, I did not consider it any further. The unit I bought consumes 350w and stays pleasantly warm.


That’s a good point. I guess I should have delineated my position more. I do pay attention to amp power and speaker efficiency because indeed my audio journey has led me away from higher power amplification into low power which for me has sounded better. But beyond that. . . not that much. I’m in a sort of solidified position in that I’m basically at the end of my system hunting and gathering and have built my main system around two trusted companies: Decware and PS Audio. I have learned how these companies design and implement and sound for the most part–measurement doesn’t play that big a part in decision making among these two, sound quality is the key and indeed why I have selected them to build a system around.


Yes, and if one were solely reliant on measurements, would they ever choose tubes over solid state?


Another good point. Great measurements don’t make me prefer solid state to tubes.


No much in Stereophile interests me, but I do like when they compare listening to measured performance; sometimes the results can be explained and sometimes not. Measurements people will discount a product for bad measurements, but experience can tell how bad (that’s where John Atkinson was so good). I prefer to be pleasantly surprised by something sounding good.

I am fortunate in having access to regular dealer demos and my experience is that if you like, or dislike, a certain brand’s typical sound signature, no amount of measurements are going to persuade you otherwise.

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The poll should be rephrased, or redone to ask “Do you prefer measurements over listening?”


Of course.

How could I possibly build a system without being concerned about specifications, and measurements, at their most basic function from a consumer’s standpoint, serve to validate specifications.

I suspect that many who voted “No” could instantly name the rated watts per channel of their amp, probably at 8 ohms and 4 ohms, probably could name the rated impedance of their speakers and perhaps the sensitivity rating, probably know how low their speakers are rated to extend, probably know whether their dac can do dsd128, dsd256, and dsd512, and thus, they probably care about specs and measurements (so probably answered untruthfully, because if they didn’t care about these things, then they wouldn’t commit them to memory).

Or maybe over half of the poll respondents really are clueless as to these aspects, who knows? I find it hard to believe anyone who actively participates in an audio forum doesn’t care about specifications, but maybe I’m wrong.


The poll is not “specs and measurements” but “measurements.” Specs is another matter altogether.


Specifications are at one end of the design and measurements are at the other end.

Yes it is important to know the general design specs (input power, output power, ohms of resistance, class of output, etc. They help guide the fitness for use choices.

The actual nitty gritty of individual measurements should be of passing interest only and shouldn’t cloud your judgment before listening to the piece in question. If it sounds good then it is good for your setup no matter how it measures. .

To use a simple analogy why does it matter how much rifling twist a gun has if it wont shoot straight?


Wrong, as to person who said poll about only measurements. I quoted here from the actual poll.
It’s true that the thread title is different, but the poll question is quoted above.

Edit: Granted, it does say measurements AND specifications, so perhaps some only care about specs and not measurements, haha. That’s cool I guess. But at a minimum I’d guess they’d want to know that measurements at least validated the specs.



as with any poll, the answer is influenced by many things, eg subjective vs objective sound quality (eg listener vs designer), price, size, weight, component, synergy, previous positive/negative experience, advertising bravado, common sense, herd effect, etc

EG, in my current system plan, weight is an important measurement. I want to be able to move the component alone. And, physical dimensions are looked at. I don’t want 2 massive, HOT monoblocks regardless of their SQ. Price is virtually irrelevant unless its terribly excessive for what is subjectively and objectively delivered.

Spending $100,000+ on a system deserves many considerations.

As to debate about this poll’s title and first sentence under title, I wanted to be succinct and not involve paragraphs of legalese like a software or purchase agreement.

(ps. many can tell in advance without listening that a 200-pound speaker will almost certainly sound better than a ear pod weighing a few grams; the specs of audiophile equipment will almost always surpass those mass marketed, regardless of their claims of best sound available. even a good audiophile brand occasionally sells a dud)

I was going to mention weight! My new integrated has set a limit of 35kg that may well fall in the future. For the time being, I can manage that quite happily. My speakers are 49kg each and I can just about lift them, but only for positioning.

A lot of low-volume hi-end audio is “mass marketed”, more adverts than units sold sometimes. If you meant mass-produced, I’m quite keen on it because it tends to be much more reliable and a lot cheaper. There is no reason for mass-produced items to be bad. I have a mix of production methods.

Incidentally, fuses are a good example. They are mass produced because it is the best way of getting consistent high quality and accurate and reliable testing. EU and UK laws effectively require mass testing of safety fuses.

Two things worth measuring

  • the number of returns and faults reported for a brand (besides a guide to reliability, I believe the best customer service is making products that don’t need customer service)
  • the number of adverts placed by a brand, as a measure of how much they are paying for favourable reviews
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here again, what one says in influenced, in my case by my mass-marketing experience. having approved $1 billion+ of mass marketing programs (eg, market research and advertising for huge brands), the ‘mass marketing’ of hi-end audio is puny.

The length, height, and width measurements aren’t that important to me. But the weight is.


My answer is no. If it sounds good to your ears why do you care how it measures? When I go to listen to music, I’m not thinking about measurements.