What is wrong with all those reviewers? (well, maybe with some reviewers...)

oldric_naubhoff

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first of all; to WHF staff, my post is certainly not a rant on your efforts. in fact your reviews are quite free (as much as I can remember) from such, let's call it, "fairy-tale reviewing" you can come across with other mags or, more justly, with specific journalists.

here's the story. today I bought a hi-fi mag on a whim. I don't do it too often but today I felt like flipping through some pages. anyway, in this particular issue there was a multi test comparing some 10 DACs. what annoyed me so much in this article was the reviewers impressions in the lines of; "this DAC has slightly highlighted higher midrange", or "that DAC lacks some filing in lower midrange", or "this DAC has slightly rolled off high frequency"... I'm wondering, how on earth could anybody in their right mind and knowing anything about hi-fi be writing such rubbish? and more so, could consider themselves hi-fi experts/ gurus? I mean, if this guy was shown freq response graphs of any of those DAC he would definitely see that they are ruler flat. I've seen too many tech reports on digital sources performance to think otherwise. it's always ruler flat within audio band (with maybe a fraction of dB of attenuation around 19k Hz due to anti aliasing filtering kicking in, in case of 16 bit material).

well, I'm not trying to say that by all this that "all digital sound the same" (there are of course other factors in place than just freq response) but I think such "experts" should not be allowed publishing in any self-respected mag. it's simply wrong and misleading.
 
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Anonymous

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Hey whathifi, please review musical fidelitys m1 dac :grin:
 
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Anonymous

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FrankHarveyHiFi said:
A manufacturer can make their DAC sound any way they want to, so the FR graph for any of the DACs may not necessarily be 'ruler flat'.
I've heard several DACs in my system and they all sounded exactly the same to me..
 
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Anonymous

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I am happy with sound, i am only curious as a few rate the m1 over regas £500 dac, the m1 is £400 with asynchronous usb and has balenced connections, the sound is excellent too, imo that is bang for your buck.
 

chebby

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They have to say something more than "it has a nice tone" or "that one sounded a bit squeaky" otherwise they wouldn't have progressed beyond the kind of comments my parents probably made when buying a radiogram in 1964.

Frankly, I am amazed that anyone (even journalists) can find anything new to say - or new ways to say it - about domestic audio after 60 years or more of hi-fi reviewing in magazines.

I have always hated demo-ing new gear (to the extent that I didn't even bother when I bought my latest system last year and just chose it on looks, price, facilities, connectivity etc.) and admire anyone who can make a living doing so and then have to write about it afterwards! Never mind whether any of it makes sense. Top people.
 

FennerMachine

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How are frequencies tested? I don't know.

Just a constant tone at a set frequency?

Then another tone?

Or an even increase in tones from 20Hz to 20Khz?

Or a spread of tones randomly generated?

Surely different speakers, amps, and even DACS will respond differently to rapid changes?

Making a 1KHz tone is one thing,

Changing from 500Hz to 1Khz to 2Khz and so on rapidly and randomly within a second or two will show up the strength and weaknesses of a DAC.

Oh, wait, that's called MUSIC!

Scientific testing has its place, but I don't think that scientific measurements are up to the standard of our ears and PERCEPTION of sound just yet!
 

Frank Harvey

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ooh.. said:
FrankHarveyHiFi said:
A manufacturer can make their DAC sound any way they want to, so the FR graph for any of the DACs may not necessarily be 'ruler flat'.
I've heard several DACs in my system and they all sounded exactly the same to me..

That'll be the placebo effect. You expected them all to sound the same, so they did. Maybe you should've ABX'd them. Damn, somebody has already mentioned that.
 
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Anonymous

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FrankHarveyHiFi said:
ooh.. said:
FrankHarveyHiFi said:
A manufacturer can make their DAC sound any way they want to, so the FR graph for any of the DACs may not necessarily be 'ruler flat'.
I've heard several DACs in my system and they all sounded exactly the same to me..

That'll be the placebo effect. You expected them all to sound the same, so they did. Maybe you should've ABX'd them. Damn, somebody has already mentioned that.
Actually i expected them to sound different as they varied in price, but they didn't. Since then i've read up about DACs and am now of the opinion (perhaps wrongly) that they should all sound the same unless they weren't put together as per the manufacturers (of the DAC chip) instructions.

I didn't ABX them though so could have imagined that they all sounded the same..
 

BenLaw

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FrankHarveyHiFi said:
A manufacturer can make their DAC sound any way they want to, so the FR graph for any of the DACs may not necessarily be 'ruler flat'.

+ 1 (amazingly ;) ). They can and do, and if you look at the FR graphs for different DACs they do not look the same. Matthewpiano is right as to the reasons why.
 

manicm

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FennerMachine said:
How are frequencies tested? I don't know.

Just a constant tone at a set frequency?

Then another tone?

Or an even increase in tones from 20Hz to 20Khz?

Or a spread of tones randomly generated?

Surely different speakers, amps, and even DACS will respond differently to rapid changes?

Making a 1KHz tone is one thing,

Changing from 500Hz to 1Khz to 2Khz and so on rapidly and randomly within a second or two will show up the strength and weaknesses of a DAC.

Oh, wait, that's called MUSIC!

Scientific testing has its place, but I don't think that scientific measurements are up to the standard of our ears and PERCEPTION of sound just yet!

Now, now, next thing you'll be accused of howling at the moon.:rofl:
 

fr0g

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FennerMachine said:
Scientific testing has its place, but I don't think that scientific measurements are up to the standard of our ears and PERCEPTION of sound just yet!

Thank you so much. I just about recovered now. Again, thanks. *wipes the sweat from head*. They do say laughter is the best medicine.
 
T

the record spot

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Re: Fenner - no, true, but we know what the physical capabilities of our ears' limits are, otherwise, when dogs ears stand up, so would ours. At the moment, I get the impression that that's just manicm... :O

Anything beyond that is possibly perception, golden ears, genius, the trained ear, or it could just be all in the mind and generated by other suggestion. See my reference to Bayesian inferences as well and/or a transcript (if one exists) of Professor Ray Dolan's talk as part of this past week's 2012 Alan Turing Lectures.
 

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