Why SINAD doesn't matter

Discussion in 'Blind Testing and Psychoacoustics' started by purr1n, Aug 28, 2021.

  1. Vtory

    Vtory Audiophile™

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    I'm wondering if you've ever read carefully about his opinion on US-based SINAD chasers -- such as Benchmark media (which located in NY/USA), THX AAA (located in CA/USA), or even some Schiit Heresy products. Tone might be a little different for each (his China-bias is well described by himself in many posts), but it's quite straightforward to find good consistency.

    On the other hand, if something derived from sound approach and credible experts, Marv never disrespect without reasons. No matter if it came from China or not. Holo audio can be one good example even though the dac he reviewed wasn't quite his cup of tea.
     
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  2. Gracchus Janus

    Gracchus Janus Rando

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    As I said, I love IR and actually want to pursue a career in it in gov., I get your criticisms and am aware of the logical fallacy of equating chinese calling out with ignorance, but although it leaves room for error it actually can lead, contextually and with more evidence, to a solid prejudice showing. I'm not saying this is the case here and thus I asked you about it, however problematic, upfront and confrontational it can come out as. I ask in genuine curiosity and out of love for discussion, and I know the risks it may impose (more once I was almost ostracized from a academic conference because I confronted the speaker with a question that didn't imply automatic alignment with the whole package of his views).

    About China, their rise is really complicated and nuanced (not their political regime or ideology, those are totalitarian no doubt about it; with even more pervasive aspects as the CCP projects itself unto the world the way that it does, making soviet regime and Maos FR strategy seem like child play). It started as economical dumping by mass production and now it is turning as legitimate competition and innovation; it was a similar trend with japan from the post-era till the 70s, the difference being that the japanese case didn't have a behemoth providing subsidies for it. This creates a bad reception and image to chinese products, both from the initial dumping stage, correctly correlating chinese products with low quality reverse engineering, and now later by fearing the uneven and commercially unfair the new competition the new chinese industry poses (this is the central paradigm the WTO has to deal with), and that bad image can easily skew to prejudice (ideological and political context aside), hence my asking.

    That notwithstanding, chinese products are often really well built today, and thus pose a real challenge to the stablished industry. In BRICS countries the insertion of their industries in smartphone and communications is almost predatorial. Samsung, LG, Motorola, and Apple have been almost ousted of the market (Samsung fairs better though), and owning their flagships instead of a Huawei, Poco, or Xiaomi is a fashion/ideological statement rather than economical. Same goes for 5G implementation from Huawei vs. the American counterpart.

    Finally, I get your point of warning but in the brazilian case it's somewhat of a slippery slope. Chinese insertion is strategic and more impervious than that of the african countries, for example. They buy the structural links of the production chain rather than financially siring the country, and so create a commensalistic economical relation. That, however, isn't necessarily ideological. In fact, a point may be made that ideological influence is an outdated cold-war model played by the Soviet Union and the US down here. And in that matter, the US was much more invasive and determinant than its communists counterparts.


    Again, that is not to say that I'm blind to the CCP machinations and reality, I have taiwanese friends here and I can 100% see the context you're talking about by your mom. As with shenzenaudio, I can see the logic but I'm too new to all this to assert anything; I got started in this hobby in 2012 and back then there was nothing remotely akin to the actual scene, then passable quality stuff equated to very expensive NA and EU products that costed us a ton of money. The Shenzen pole was a blessing for us in this sense.
     
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  3. purr1n

    purr1n Super Friend

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    Hey, at least I wear my biases on my sleeve. I'd like to think I'm a lot more honest this way. I don't hide anything.

    Yes, Chinese products can be really well built. China is also the only place in the world were one can get certain components unless they wanted to get pay up the wazoo. Want a special inductor or a big choke in small quantities? I'd rather get one from China than Lundahl. The folks in China are not only smart, but also hungry, which isn't always the case with people in the West.

    However, after opening up some of the Chi-Fi gear, I'd say that it varies. ASR has sort of perpetuated this narrative of Topping as high-quality, state-of-the-art design, exemplary engineered, which simply isn't true. The L30 I took apart wasn't bad. But it was hardly of the finest workmanship. The chassis was run of the mill stuff with the slide in deals and machined faceplates. Generic stuff, no attention to details or custom design. One channel was semi-borked when measuring with a 32-ohm impedance load. (see here: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...iew-and-measurements.11164/page-2#post-352240) and the potentiometer matching was problematic, far worse than the cherry-picked one that Amir seemed to have received. (see here: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...iew-and-measurements.11164/page-4#post-352845)

    Also, the fix for the static exploding headphones (a metal nub from a ground point on the PCB to the chassis) looked like a joke. Topping should have done it properly with a redesign using ESD current steering diodes - basically mini version of those spiral things that we see electrical lines stood on up on electrical poles. "ESD" is literally mentioned 21 times in the OPA1612 datasheet with over a page dedicated to this topic. Yet the designer never gave this risk any consideration until customers headphones started exploding. Where was the engineering here? Where was Amir in rescuing us from badly designed products?

    You can question my biases all you want - but you can't make this shit up (the above). THIS IS EVIDENCE. I couldn't have made this shit up if I tried. TBH, I don't want to talk motivations. I want to talk tech, I want to talk about the measurements, I want to talk about the hard evidence. None of which you seem to have given me any credit for.

    What I find funny is WHY I DO GET QUESTIONED ON MY MOTIVATIONS, BUT AMIR GETS A FREE PASS? Do me favor and ask Amir the inverse of what you asked me and see what happens. I already know the answer. It's because people who question on ASR are sent into black hole. Look what happened to @GoldenOne when he dared question Amir on his stance with MQA. At best, you will be ignored with a Jedi hand wave.

    And keep this in mind with respect to SINAD AmirNADS: I immensely dislike Schiit's highest SINAD AmirNADS amp, the Magnius. It's among the worst I've ever heard. Also, I happen to to think that THX's stuff is pretty decent. Not my cup of tea, but it's the best sounding of the high SINAD designs IMO. I think what's becoming very evident to me is that you haven't lurked around this site enough. We have a saying: lurk moar, post less.

    EDIT: struck-out SINAD for AmirNADS (Amir's Noise and Distortion Standard). There is no such thing as "SINAD" by itself. The methodology of measurement must be defined precisely for SINAD to even have any sense. AmirNADS = 1khz sine wave, 300-ohm load, 2Vrms or 4Vrms, 20kHz bandwidth.
     
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    Last edited: Sep 12, 2021
  4. Gracchus Janus

    Gracchus Janus Rando

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    There's no point in asking him that because he adheres to his objectivist philosophy like a mantra and thus is easily predictable. Much more fun to endanger myself here asking here for more nuanced and honest opinions than ask there and get brickwalled.
     
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  5. Tekker

    Tekker Acquaintance

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    I got banned when I asked Amir why he tested out the Focal Clear at 114dB.
     
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  6. purr1n

    purr1n Super Friend

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    LOL OK fair enough. Hey, enjoy your freedom here. Just know that I drink sometimes and will type whatever the hell comes to mind with no filter.

    Are you serious? Are you really Fing serious? That's actually an excellent technical question.
     
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  7. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Most improved member; A+

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    @purr1n some pro audio guys are looking at topping now due to asr. That’s how bad it is. Most of the best converters can pass the Amir SNR test but he’s done insane damage to the speaker industry. Randos pimping super low headroom Neumann and Genelec speakers and “off” Harman speakers over stuff like Yamahas, ATCs, and Barefoots to pros due to ASR and Amir’s prior shilling is a problem. This has been going on for years. He literally has affected the market and people’s work to further Madrona Digital and his narrative of cheap part dsp progress.

    now he’s pimping shitty resonant, etched Focals as super accurate. No. In the two words of my guitar tech friend the focal solos are “Beyond muddy”
     
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    Last edited: Sep 12, 2021
  8. crenca

    crenca Friend

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    ASR as more influential in the market than Head-Fi, Stereophile, TAS, and the like? My first reaction (as it has been for the last 2 years or so) has been an incredulous "really?". It makes sense however if you think about it, because spend more than a passing moment in mushy world of vague subjectivism and folks start to yearn for the truth - something solid to stand on to help them make rational judgements and distinctions. In that ASR (or something like it) is an inevitable, even needed, correction. Two sides of the same coin and all that.

    Here at SBAF we attempt, and largely accomplish IMO, an experienced objective subjectivism (or something) which gets you to the truth beyond the yin yang of simple subjectivism/objectivism, but it takes effort and time, which is something a fickle consumer market such as audio does not normally do.

    I don't see much upsetting the status quo - a false (simplistic) objectivism on the low end and a false (simplistic) subjectivism in the luxury ORFAS "high end". Hope I'm wrong...
     
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  9. Gracchus Janus

    Gracchus Janus Rando

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    In that I think you're wrong. If you look at the big influencers in the current hobby, YT Reviewers (and I know SABAFs stance on them, but they are the mainstream media nonetheless), they all somewhat quote the measurement game in some sense, although a lot of them don't like Amir personally. ASR has become the authoritative figure in this and it has shifted the headphone source industry somewhat, evidence to that is the ongoing shift in companies like Schiit and Geshelli to engineer their stuff so there can be a talking point of objectivism.

    Their influence on headphone tailoring though is far less significant. Not only that the headphone reviews are more recent, the harman curve they aim is what the bulk of industry aim for, if not more V than that. There are some companies like DCA which did skew themselves exactly to ASR target, and nonetheless charged 4 thousand for being "state of the art" harman, in direct contrast to the philosophy of Topping of marketing very cheap stuff as end-game.

    It is though a difficult matter of perception, as we tend to amplify the audiophile hobby to more than it is: there is gap between entry and high-end that is blown way out of proportion. Pro-level stuff is expensive and will be expensive, brands like benchmark couldn't care less about ASR IMO; and millionaire-fi will continue being millionaire-fi despite what ASR does, Amir stated that himself and I agree with him on that. Topping themselves state that the best selling lines are the L and E, rather than the A and D, which are what most hype trains talk about online (A90 and D90/SE).
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2021
  10. Tekker

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    Yes I’m serious. He responded sarcastically that he plays at 130 dB, while I got banned for “trolling”
     
  11. crenca

    crenca Friend

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    Hum, not sure how as most of what you said supports a basic bifurcation of the market - low end trends towards "objectivist" error and high end trends towards "subjectivist" error. A generalization of course, but one that is useful. The Harmon curve is itself an "objective" attempt at FR for transducers. Yes, every manufacture pushes up market as BOM costs are basically linear but MSRP increases 3X, 6X, or more. This does not negate the generalization, its just another aspect of the market, which is complex but again does not invalidate generalization/trends.
     
  12. Gracchus Janus

    Gracchus Janus Rando

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    I mean bifurcation as in industry is starting to release good measuring stuff to appease the new "tastes" because, thanks to ASR, measurements started to become A talking point of reviewers, but I don't mean to imply by this that mass market is a horde of ultraobjectivist zombies though, it's just to argument that ASR does have an impact on the audio going foward. If that will imply the change in the other more expensive line of established products remains to be seen, and is an interesting point indeed.

    But yeah if you define the status quo as stereophile influence and the high end market I see your point, ASR will not trample that and I agree. But low-mid gap IMO is seeing that shift thanks to them.
     
  13. yotacowboy

    yotacowboy McRibs Kind of Guy

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    You're not wrong, it's an easy simplification of our two "clans". What I feel SBAF brings to the table is the (collective) experience of having died on both of those hills to eventually come to find solace in a logical uncanny valley of "it depends". SBAF is quite the place for those who know what the fuck they want and know what the fuck they're doing. Some folks say "YMMV" to deflect criticism of their opinions. others offer YMMV as a sort of warning to those with the willingness to "do the work" of thoroughly investigating a specific audio reproduction proposition. YMMV can be a deep, deep cave if you're open to carrying multiple interpretations of the same recorded phenomena or experience of an artistic event given certain agreed upon scientific theories of several/many different scientific domains.
     
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  14. batriq

    batriq Probably has made you smarter

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    Screen Shot 2021-09-12 at 8.44.27 PM.png

    ^ "relies too much on references to primary sources" is Wikipedia's way of saying self-serving.
     
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  15. bboris77

    bboris77 Friend

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    I don't want to post a link because I hate to give ASR more traffic, but their recent review of the Vali 2+ has it all:

    1. An objectivist site measuring and reviewing a tube amp deliberately designed to sound like a tube amp and not to measure spectacularly well. To me, this is like a bully beating up on the shortest kid. (Except the short kid turns out to be super tough lol).

    2. Glossing over the fact that they got an underperforming stock tube (it can happen), and implying that the design of the amp is responsible for its underwhelming performance. Failing to even try another tube.

    3. Criticizing (at length) the sonic performance of the amp, thereby ignoring their own "let's stick to measurements" approach. He is even using words "grungy" and "dirty" to describe the highs.

    4. Petty digs about switches being on the back and the front of the product not having the "+" on it.

    5. Bad spelling:

    upload_2021-9-14_15-35-47.png

    6. Directly attacking anyone who has ever reviewed this amp and posted anything positive about it, implying that they need to get trained in hearing distortion.

    It is a fairly over-the-top dig at Schiit and their products, and as such, it is going to discredit the credibility of ASR further amongst its moderate members.
     
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  16. Shredicus

    Shredicus Rando

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    Just wanted to say thank you guys for fighting the good fight against objectivists in an intensely subjective hobby. Having heard many well measuring devices sound immensely more shitty than "poorer performing" hardware since I don't listen to music in a hermetically sealed acoustic chamber.
     
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  17. purr1n

    purr1n Super Friend

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    Amir is mad at Schiit for daring to release the Less-Is-More. He hates to see stuff like this and the Vali 2 being successful. Also, Amir is the one who needs to get this hearing checked. He couldn't hear the distortion of the JBL LSR305 plate amp:, which measures far far worse than the Vali: https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/why-sinad-doesnt-matter.11353/

    Amir hears distortion when it's too low to be heard and he hears no distortion when it's high enough to be heard.
     
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  18. Tekker

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    Apart from the fact that he solely made that thread to shit on Schiit, he and a lot of the members there think all interchangeable tubes sound the same anyway, so he wouldn’t bother changing that.

    And that harmonic distortion (which gives the tube sound) is a bad thing, because they don’t listen to a tube amp.
     
  19. purr1n

    purr1n Super Friend

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    I thought Amir made that thread so Schiit could sell more Heresys, IEMagnis, and Magnius'. I mean Amir did kind of create a new market that didn't exist before. He converted the kids that would run to Fiio, Soundblaster, Aune, etc. Now the kids seem to run to Schiit for their high SINAD (1kHz, 2Vrms, 300-ohms, 20kHz bandwidth) needs. Amir's actually been a not insignificant part, a contributing driver to the Schiit's success story. I mean the kids that crap on the Vali 2, they gonna buy the IEMagni instead.
     
  20. Woland

    Woland Friend

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    There's nothing objectivist or scientific about the 'philosophy'. These are useful words and it's just horrible seeing them co-opted.

    ASR is quite the opposite being fundamentalist belief based around misunderstanding - what Feyman called a 'cargo cult'. Waving paddles does not make one an air traffic controller, and publishing graphs does not make one a scientist.
     
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    Last edited: Sep 14, 2021

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