The Data-Driven Audiophile: Part Deux

This is a small follow-up to my previous post. I’ve had some time to reflect.

The question we need to be asking is “gut feeling or measurements, what’s more important?” This of course only applies to electronics. I don’t think anyone would disagree that all well-engineered speakers should sound the same.

I honestly think there is solid merit in measurements. No one (I hope) wants to listen to an amplifier putting out a solid 10% distortion. Even if that distortion was entirely 2nd order, I can’t imagine it being pleasant enough to listen to that I’d want to buy it.

What do the measurements mean to me?

Measurements and psycho-acoustic research dictates that two components that measure similarly should sound the same. I know this is true, and I’m not going to deny it as I’ve experienced it myself. By that same token though, I’ve listened to two components that I could swear to be different.

So, perhaps the right thing to do in this circumstance is to chase measurements, but leave the final decision up to your ears. Yep, that’s right, I said it. Let the measurements tell you what goes on your short-list, but let your ears and senses make the final decision. In this case, I think you get the best of both worlds.

Let me recall the last time I did this. And it’s going to cause some controversy

1993 vs 2018

Tell me, which DAC would you expect to win, purely based on the dates? I know, I know. I had the same thought

I’m not going to spoil anything yet, but the 2018 DAC is the Topping D10. It’s no slouch. In fact, I use it in one of my systems on an almost daily basis. I think it’s splendid for the price. And if this were purely a performance/$$, then the D10 would win without a doubt.

But it’s not. It’s about perceived performance. The other dac in question is the Audial S4, and I can say without a doubt that it is the best DAC I’ve ever heard. Its measured performance is excellent as well.

I’ll be talking about it shortly, so stay tuned

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