You're highlighting a key aspect of the analog vs. digital jihad that is still going on. Some people
like and expect really colored (distorted, scientific term) sound. Those people tend to hate all
things digital and vehemently tout "purer" and "organic" analog technologies, especially grooved
disks. Yet, any sort of testing for output=input can show many different ways that a modern
high-quality digital chain will always be more accurate. The vehement digital advocates will dismiss
the analog advocates as tin-eared folks who love harmonic distortion and time-smearing with their
Then there's the whole philosophical argument, going back to Gordon Holt and Harry Pearson, about
what's "absolute sound"? It seems to be something different to anyone who listens carefully, but
Harry actually did put in words some descriptions never articulated that way before. One thing is
for sure -- "absolute sound" is by nature very subjective and therefore most scientific measurements
only get around the edges of quantifying it. That being the case, I'm not sure of the use of reams
of paper used to publicly debate subjective topics from different perspectives. Can any perseptual
aspect of human life be described in absolute terms?
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Carl Pultz" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Friday, October 11, 2013 10:34 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] a prime case of why subjective reviews of audio gear are USELESS
> Stereophile has long had this schizophrenic aspect where the auditions are
> contradicted (or complimented) by the measurements. It is entertaining.
> Years ago, they ran a cover with the headline: "If one of these amplifiers
> is right, the other must be wrong." One amp was a huge, powerful Krell. The
> other was (IIRC) an 811-based Cary single-ended job that developed maybe 10
> watts. The Cary couldn't pass a symmetrical waveform; the Krell was
> virtually perfect on the bench. Both were declared to make their own brand
> of magic.
> The subjectivity of art doesn't rest well with the hard science of
> engineering. Professionals aren't immune to that dichotomy. If I did what
> Jamie does, I would certainly aim for his level of objective rigor.
> Microphones in an acoustic space, like phono cartridges and loudspeakers,
> are a whole different story, a blend of subjective/objective. At least we
> now have other elements of the signal chain that can be reliably objective,
> if that is the goal.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Dave Cawley
> Sent: Friday, October 11, 2013 7:05 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] a prime case of why subjective reviews of audio gear
> are USELESS
> From: Dave Cawley
> Dartmouth United Kingdom
> Hi Tom
> Rely to fixed (again), although it is really a server issue............
> I agree with all you say, especially the midnight part ! However some
> magazines do no testing at all. Image a car magazine not testing 0-60 and
> top speed ?