Is ASR right

newlash09

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Measurements help me select the equipment with listening to. That way I waste less time and less money.

they also help me understand what could be causing audible issues and track down potential causes.

I find measurements as useful as listening, the two are complementary tools for one same goal.
You are still too confused sir 

You sound like one, who coud be given the frequency response of a speaker and the ASR  measurements of a dac. And you could nail the song singing :D

 

Andrew_C

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Measurements have their place. 

I always enjoyed how Stereophile did them, separate from the review,  and if there was a big discrepancy between the review and the measurements it was brought up and the reviewer could defend themselves. I also enjoyed the fact the manufacturers got the chance to reply, some in great detail if they didn't agree with what was tested/reviewed. 

This is a balanced view of doing things and I think it's the best way of doing it. ASR has gone too far one way, dismissing any listening tests is poor and fails to back up what results the measurements may have shown.

I own two pieces of kit that have been very well reviewed, both Topping. The D50S dac which I use with the P50 and thoroughly enjoy and the L30 amp which I don't enjoy and is really not a pleasant listen. The L30 is of course the amp which blew many peoples headphones due to a problem in the design. Shame no measurements managed to find that fault, the SINAD, however, was state of the art though.
Why did you object to the  Chord Mojo conclusion?

There is really nothing broken in Chord Mojo. It performs well in a variety of tests. The issue with it is so much technical hype about its superiority that one is left empty after seeing performance that is well below state-of-the-art. We have DACs at less than half the price easily outperforming it on many tests. I cannot see any technical benefit to its design approach. On the contrary, that approach brings with it much higher cost, and power consumption. Combine that with the poor user interface and the Chord Mojo is simply not my cup of tea.

 
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tuga

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You are still too confused sir 

You sound like one, who coud be given the frequency response of a speaker and the ASR  measurements of a dac. And you could nail the song singing :D
I could use measurements to select a system with reasonable confidence that it would sound good to me. I have spent the last decade trying my best to correlate my listening experience with measurements and with speakers I am quite confident about using measurements.

But I rely on my own interpretation of the data and have been trying to educate myself in order to understand how measured performance relates to topology and implementation.

 

griffo104

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Why did you object to the  Chord Mojo conclusion?

There is really nothing broken in Chord Mojo. It performs well in a variety of tests. The issue with it is so much technical hype about its superiority that one is left empty after seeing performance that is well below state-of-the-art. We have DACs at less than half the price easily outperforming it on many tests. I cannot see any technical benefit to its design approach. On the contrary, that approach brings with it much higher cost, and power consumption. Combine that with the poor user interface and the Chord Mojo is simply not my cup of tea.
Because he's more having a go at the designer who happily fields questions and explains his thinking behind what he's done on other forums and as he can't find anything really wrong with it simply states it's not broken. 

In my opinion regarding his comments I'm not sure he really understands the unit nor why the FPGA approach has been taken.

I own a Chord Mojo and the Topping D50S/P50 (along with a DX3 PRO and Cyrus Soundkey) which when you add in the cost of cables cost pretty much the same. They sound very different from each other, both sound very good in their own way. So there isn't much higher cost from the Topping  and the Mojo has the added flexibility of being able to be used as a mobile device (just about).

It's reason for it's technical approach is that it sounds different from the pack, much different, from the ESS and AKM dacs at around the same and lower price. 

The same approach has let Chord go all the way up through to the Dave and whether or not you enjoy the sound of their dacs you certainly can't say they don't have their unique sound. So trickling that technology and approach down to the price of a Mojo should be commended a little bit more in my opinion. You don't get many high end manufacturers wanting to gamble at that price level, but the man doesn't like praising high end manufacturers, it goes against what he's trying to do.

 
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newlash09

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I could use measurements to select a system with reasonable confidence that it would sound good to me. I have spent the last decade trying my best to correlate my listening experience with measurements and with speakers I am quite confident about using measurements.

But I rely on my own interpretation of the data and have been trying to educate myself in order to understand how measured performance relates to topology and implementation.
It's time for me to sleep sir :)

Maybe best I do so....as I don't want to continue this debate .

 
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Fatmarley

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This is the DAC I've happily used in my main headphone rig for the last couple of years, having tried and sold at least 10 in the past. Nuff said...

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/review-and-measurements-of-audio-gd-r2r11-dac-amp.5779/
When he said it was a terrible measuring DAC but had "thunderous bass" it reminded me of when I tried some ultra low noise opamps years ago and found them thin and clinical. The noisier ones had more bass. It's also interesting that a lot of people complain about the ESS Sabre DACs sounding clinical and thin.  I wouldn't be at all surprised if the Audio GD was a subjectively very nice sounding DAC.

It's not just DACs either - https://sites.google.com/site/undefinition/bookshelf-speakers/classix-ii

Quote "The Classix II is designed around the Dayton DC160 6.5" woofer. It's pretty easy to tell that I have a penchant for this driver--you may also notice that audiophiles and engineer-types eschew the DC160. I think it's all a matter of looking at the driver objectively vs. subjectively. Objectively, it has a "simple motor design" and its harmonic distortion graphs aren't all that impressive. Subjectively, however, this driver is "euphonic"--meaning that most ears find it very enjoyable and pleasing to listen to, despite poor measurements. I believe that if a driver sounds really good, then it's a good candidate for a speaker design, regardless of how it measures."

 
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MartinC

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But iam still hankering for a proper fight today as regards ASR  sir  :D
Fair enough  :D .

I'll make three points should you feel any different today  :) .

  1. The ASR measurements were I believe exclusively for the SHD used as a DAC, and so don't apply if DSP is used as well.
  2. The SNR figures posted only apply for the SHD at maximum volume. If the volume is attenuated digitally by a large amount and then fed into a combination of a high gain amp and sensitive speakers then this may make the noise floor audible but doesn't make the the measurements wrong. Using an attenuator at the input to the amp can reduce/solve this problem by allowing higher digital signal levels to be used.
  3. I don't like the effects of applying Dirac Live filters over the full-frequency range, and your soundstage comment in particular read to me like what I find to be one of the negative aspects of doing so. I really hope that you tried only applying Dirac Live below something like 200 Hz, since this is what I think would have most likely given the results that you were looking for.

Where I personally stand on the SHD is that, for me, the improvements brought by DSP to control bass room-modes and subwoofer integration utterly dwarf any potential negative effects. I say this as I think it's very much a pros vs cons type of discussion where DSP is concerned, where different people will of course have different priorities.

 
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tuga

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Quote "The Classix II is designed around the Dayton DC160 6.5" woofer. It's pretty easy to tell that I have a penchant for this driver--you may also notice that audiophiles and engineer-types eschew the DC160. I think it's all a matter of looking at the driver objectively vs. subjectively. Objectively, it has a "simple motor design" and its harmonic distortion graphs aren't all that impressive. Subjectively, however, this driver is "euphonic"--meaning that most ears find it very enjoyable and pleasing to listen to, despite poor measurements. I believe that if a driver sounds really good, then it's a good candidate for a speaker design, regardless of how it measures."
I guess it depends on who's listening, and on the genres of music being played.

And surprisingly even Amir/ASR is starting to accept the concept of "euphony", and moving away from the dogma born from Olive's research that all people prefer accurate when listening blind.

Even he seems to prefer too much bass and even a little BBC dip. And his listening room should be bloody awful judging from the level of boundary reflectiveness one sees in the photos...

 
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tuga

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Fair enough  :D .

I'll make three points should you feel any different today  :) .

  1. The ASR measurements were I believe exclusively for the SHD used as a DAC, and so don't apply if DSP is used as well.
  2. The SNR figures posted only apply for the SHD at maximum volume. If the volume is attenuated digitally by a large amount and then fed into a combination of a high gain amp and sensitive speakers then this may make the noise floor audible but doesn't make the the measurements wrong. Using an attenuator at the input to the amp can reduce/solve this problem by allowing higher digital signal levels to be used.
  3. I don't like the effects of applying Dirac Live filters over the full-frequency range, and your soundstage comment in particular read to me like what I find to be one of the negative aspects of doing so. I really hope that you tried only applying Dirac Live below something like 200 Hz, since this is what I think would have most likely given the results that you were looking for.

Where I personally stand on the SHD is that, for me, the improvements brought by DSP to control bass room-modes and subwoofer integration utterly dwarf any potential negative effects. I say this as I think it's very much a pros vs cons type of discussion where DSP is concerned, where different people will of course have different priorities.
Even if the DAC section performs less well than that of the most accurate DACs that can easily be offset by the DRC capabilities of the SHD. But it may not. I had the KRK Ergo (Lyngdorf RoomPerfect) many years ago and in that particularly unproblematic room the DAC's performance was far outclassed by that of my CD player. In my present room perhaps the Ergo would have the edge.

 
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Lawrence001

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Fair enough [emoji3].
I'll make three points should you feel any different today [emoji4].
  1. The ASR measurements were I believe exclusively for the SHD used as a DAC, and so don't apply if DSP is used as well.
  2. The SNR figures posted only apply for the SHD at maximum volume. If the volume is attenuated digitally by a large amount and then fed into a combination of a high gain amp and sensitive speakers then this may make the noise floor audible but doesn't make the the measurements wrong. Using an attenuator at the input to the amp can reduce/solve this problem by allowing higher digital signal levels to be used.
  3. I don't like the effects of applying Dirac Live filters over the full-frequency range, and your soundstage comment in particular read to me like what I find to be one of the negative aspects of doing so. I really hope that you tried only applying Dirac Live below something like 200 Hz, since this is what I think would have most likely given the results that you were looking for.
Where I personally stand on the SHD is that, for me, the improvements brought by DSP to control bass room-modes and subwoofer integration utterly dwarf any potential negative effects. I say this as I think it's very much a pros vs cons type of discussion where DSP is concerned, where different people will of course have different priorities.
I demoed an Arcam SR250 with Dirac and came to similar conclusions to you. When used full range the soundstage compressed to a more narrow one between the speakers and was tonally rather boring. It reminded me of my headphones but very loud and in front of my ears.

Now this could be the detrimental impact of digitising the input and passing it through a DSP rather than reducing room effects to minimal levels , but either way I think I like the (not too bad) room effect on the music.
 

MartinC

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I demoed an Arcam SR250 with Dirac and came to similar conclusions to you. When used full range the soundstage compressed to a more narrow one between the speakers and was tonally rather boring. It reminded me of my headphones but very loud and in front of my ears.

Now this could be the detrimental impact of digitising the input and passing it through a DSP rather than reducing room effects to minimal levels , but either way I think I like the (not too bad) room effect on the music.
I get the same effect with digital source material so I don't think it's an issue with an ADC step personally, but rather a fundamental issue with it being next to impossible for Dirac's measurement process to 'correct' for higher frequency room effects. Although some do like the effects of course, including others that post here. Results will depend on both the room and the range of measurement locations used.

EQ at higher frequencies makes more sense to me either to apply simple treble boosts/cuts like a conventional tone control, or for speaker output 'correction' based on quasi-anechoic measurements (which I've tried but with rather equivocal results).

 
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StingRay

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I get the same effect with digital source material so I don't think it's an issue with an ADC step personally, but rather a fundamental issue with it being next to impossible for Dirac's measurement process to 'correct' for higher frequency room effects. Although some do like the effects of course, including others that post here. Results will depend on both the room and the range of measurement locations used.

EQ at higher frequencies makes more sense to me either to apply simple treble boosts/cuts like a conventional tone control, or for speaker output 'correction' based on quasi-anechoic measurements (which I've tried but with rather equivocal results).
Why can't Dirac correct high frequencies?

 

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Bit late but just read this thread and to get back to the question…..surely listening is most important?  Some kit (Valve amps?) measure badly but have a big following. Some early 70’s Amplifier/receivers measured ‘best in class’ at the time but were generally considered poor sounding.  DAC’s sound different.  I joined the Chord  bandwagon on the strength of reviews.  Clinical.  I brought a Marantz SACD player and much preferred the DAC.  I have a Goldnote DAC in my amp. It isn’t very good        (easy A/B).  Most DACS measure well but DAC’s SOUND DIFFERENT.

 
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MartinC

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Why can't Dirac correct high frequencies?
Our ears/brain can distinguish between sounds arriving direct from the speakers and reflections from room boundaries in a way that a microphone does not. Dirac attempts to improve the measurement situation to a degree by using multiple measurement positions but by my estimation it still isn't very effective.

To be clear, the issue is one of knowing what 'corrections' are appropriate, rather than an inability to apply EQ at higher frequencies.

 

MartinC

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I don't think that it's matter inability (it probably does "correct" or at least manipulate the highs) but of a poor outcome due to the complexity of the task.
Yes - amplitude and phase adjustments are applied over the frequency range chosen by the user.

 
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