True or False?

The following is a common sentiment from some who claim to be audiophiles.

If you hear something but can’t measure it, you only think you heard a difference.


This notion is also common among people who claim to possess an accomplished understanding of audio, especially when achieving a high level of performance for a minimal investment.

So who’s right? On the one hand we have Objectivists who claim if you can’t measure it, you can’t possibly hear it or if you do, its expectation bias and self delusion. Are these people correct? Do they get as good as a sound, or better for far less money by ignoring cables, power cords, mechanical isolation, basically any accessory that many have found to dramatically improve performance despite a lack measurements? Do those who dismiss expensive digital to analog converters as being no better than rather common digital components with decent measurements get just as high a performance level as those of us with MSB and DCS? Do people who claim it’s all about finding perfect speaker placement, do these people outperform those of us with systems that cost multiples more than what they pay (Who also pay close attention to speaker placement as well as everything else)? Or do those of us who pay attention to cables— digital, analog, and power, what we set our components on top of, how we place our speakers, acoustics, and tweaks, expensive DACs and the like, do we get better sound? Who’s right? And how do we ultimately determine sound quality?





Measuring one’s own hearing is right out I suppose. Only after good ear cleaning of course. 😉

Now back to listening to my hifi sound meter in hand…..

Look at the success BorderPatrol has had with their DAC the SEi.

No it is not a giant killer but is is a darned good DAC and it measures for crap. But it sounds wonderful and it is simple….wish I never sold my SEi and since have bought 4 or 5 DACs that cost 10 times as much. Then I figured it out the others were soulless, measured well had all the lights and bells and whistles but no soul. Kind of like a Honda VFR a great motorcycle but no character or soul. 

Sometimes more is less and sometimes less will sound better, but again that is subjective. I think at times how much we spend on thing like Audio Gear, Motorcycles and Cars is all ego. Then we go to the forums and say look at me, look what I bought my Ducati is better than your Honda, My QLN speakers are better than your Tektons (FACT), my Raven is better than your Primaluna.

Pure ego stroke and it is human nature to look for validation from our peers.

It is all subjectively objective.

Just my thoughts on it.

Have a great day Hockey Time. 



In the end, there is an inherent subjectivity to this hobby.  Stuff might measure well and not sound so good.  People who think that only measurements count assume that we have discovered every variable capable of determining sound and can accurately measure them.  They never allow for the possibility that the parameters that are measurable may be the tip of the iceberg, that we haven’t discovered a whole lot of stuff that determines sound.

  So-the answer to your question is no, we can’t determine in an absolute sense what an objective truth is.  It’s in the ear of the listener.  
 I hope this concept doesn’t cause you to lose sleep.