1. This day in history: January 12, 2002. 9:49 AM, California time. The Steve Hoffman Music Forums officially launched with this thread. Thank you for 20 years of music, discussion, and great memories! Join our "Thank You!" thread, and we'll see you in the forum!
    Dismiss Notice

Darko has become my favorite audio review site

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by DaleClark, Jun 15, 2019.

  1. Synthfreek

    Synthfreek I’m a ray of sunshine & bastion of positivity

    Again, that's not all he uses so at least namedrop worthy examples instead of Skrillex which has a DR of like 2 and garbage Walmart techno like Deadmau5.
  2. Echo's Answer

    Echo's Answer Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL

    sad but true
  3. William Bryant

    William Bryant Forum Resident

    Meridian, ID
    Again, would my argument that electronica is a bad way to judge audio fidelity be unsound if I were to "namedrop" what you regard as "worthy" examples?
  4. Synthfreek

    Synthfreek I’m a ray of sunshine & bastion of positivity

    Frankly I don't care what you do or say after calling people knuckle-draggers. Don't you have some of your own farts to sniff and enjoy?
    Tebbiebear, bever70 and Echo's Answer like this.
  5. Whoopycat

    Whoopycat Forum Resident

    Des Moines
    So what is the fidelity reference for "Scary Monsters"? None of us have any idea how that sounded being played in the studio. Accuracy doesn't really exist in a studio recording, electric or acoustic, because there is no reference. Which is Darko's point. So why not use contemporary music, which is what the vast majority of people are listening to?

    Is there fidelity in spaghetti sauce? If you compare two different plates of spaghetti, is there a true reference spaghetti sauce from which to judge?

    I think you're equating fidelity with tonality. Your experience with concert hall acoustic music is one way to judge a component, but neither you, I, or Darko have any idea of what the true fidelity of a studio recording is.
    recstar24, wgb113, bever70 and 5 others like this.
  6. jeffmackwood

    jeffmackwood Forum Resident

    And coincidentally, my first inclination was to use Walter, now Wendy, Carlos' Switched-On Bach in my post. :)

    Personally my all-time favourite classical album.

    And it has been, over my entire "hi-fi" listening career, one of my go-to recordings for assessing the fidelity of a system.

    But, and in keeping with this sub-thread's theme, she plays an "instrument" that I have never heard live. Derivations of the Moog Synthesizer that she used: for sure. But never the original.

    Personally I listen to and enjoy almost every genre of music. I've certainly tried to like them all. I've heard most of them live. And if I can be so bold as to distill your thoughts down to its essence: I agree that if you have never heard something "au naturel" it would be very difficult to judge a system's fidelity in reproducing it. Toss in "venue" and many other factors and it's a wonder that, by that definition, there exists any system that can claim "fidelity."

    Rather than fret over it, I allow enjoyment to take precedence. Does a musical recording, of whatever, strike a chord with me, or not. Pun intended.

  7. Synthfreek

    Synthfreek I’m a ray of sunshine & bastion of positivity

    This thread is no different that an appreciation thread started for a musician. Go start a Darko hate thread or something.
  8. William Bryant

    William Bryant Forum Resident

    Meridian, ID
    I'll leave it for others to decide whether there is a better name for people who substitute junior high insults for arguments.
  9. rischa

    rischa Where'd Dizzy go?

    Mt. Horeb, WI
    You seem like an interesting guy with a lot of relevant experience to bring to these kinds of discussions, but man, you sure have been a toxic presence on this and other threads lately. It's a stressful time for everyone, so maybe you just need to pour a drink (like me, a nice oaky bourbon seems your speed), put your favorite album on, and relax.
  10. Victor Martell

    Victor Martell Forum Resident

    Well - thread is going different ways now, but well - here it goes

    1.- He disallows comments both in his site and his Youtube channel - I get it. He would be inundated with comments from people on the objective site, since he is a pretty militant subjective guy. He recently posted a fictional conversation between a subjectivist and an objectivist as a means of making his point. The funny thing is that the fictional objectivist knew as little about science and engineering as Darko! :D hehe

    But I would prefer that he would welcome comments and criticism - I remember Michael Lavorgna when he was at the Stereophile backed site he was on. Boy he did get into it. And the site was way more fun for it. Way better than the echo chamber Darko has now. Yes, later on when Michael had his own site, he also disallowed comments - guess they get tired

    2.- Re: Electronic music and more current music as test music - well it's a complex subject - it has to do a lot with taste. I am first and mostly a classical music fan. So yes, any equipment I hear will be exercised with that. The funny thing is that his argument re: using more current music for evaluation is pitted NOT against classical music as demo music. His beef is with the usage of Diana Krall, Norah Jones as demo music. For him as for most people in the world , Classical music is unfortunately a thing that has no impact in his life. And also funny is that I agree on the Diana Krall and similar thing - from my kind of outside (and probably wrong - I mean, is just my opinion) - too much obsession with "female vocals" on the audiophile world - so I kind of welcome the attitude even if I consider his alternatives, well... also not to my taste either.

    All in all, as you may have inferred, I do know Darko's site and check it once in a while, just to read/hear about equipment that interests me.

    Bevok likes this.
  11. Synthfreek

    Synthfreek I’m a ray of sunshine & bastion of positivity

    I just looked at his last ten videos and only one had commenting turned off. That was the episode where the topic is putting trust in the experts.
    Bevok likes this.
  12. Victor Martell

    Victor Martell Forum Resident

    Yikes, indeed - I happened to hit on that video and given that his site does not allow comments, assumed they were all like that

  13. murphythecat

    murphythecat https://www.last.fm/user/murphythecat

    I use jazz/classical/electronica to test my hifi
    as long as you know very well a track and how it sounds on many reference system, it will be a good judge for testing hifi.

    so ive been doing this wrong everytime i use a electronica track to test hifi?
    from where i stand, your the only aggressor in this thread.
    all24bits likes this.
  14. patient_ot

    patient_ot Senior Member

    Never heard the term "garbage Walmart techno" but that about sums up stuff of that ilk. I've said this before but the only thing I really appreciate about Darko is some of his musical taste...which goes beyond electronic music obviously.
    Synthfreek likes this.
  15. MattHooper

    MattHooper Forum Resident

    There are some assumptions to untangle there. (And...geeze...knuckle draggers?...do we really need that invective?)

    As some have pointed out, Darko doesn't only use electronic music and even the part you quoted doesn't even suggest it. It seems you were starting with a strawman.

    That said...

    When you ask how can electronic music help tell us whether a product produces "fidelity," the first question is: "fidelity to what?"

    If it's fidelity to the electrical signal laid down in to the source well...guess what? You can actually find that out better with purely artificial electric signals pulsing through your system, rather than acoustic music sounds. The signals are called things like "test tones" in which you can map many of the significant parameters of fidelity coming out of your speakers. (Along with measuring distortions and deviations at the amplifier and source level). So technical "fidelity" makes your mentioning of "acoustic sounds in real space" a moot point in terms of reference.
    Your ears are very unlikely to "measure" your system's technical fidelity by listening to recorded acoustic music, than you can with measuring gear. (Not the least of which because you have variables like not knowing if the coloration you hear listening to the music is on the source - e.g a peak introduced by microphone colorations - or introduced by your hi-fi).

    But I infer you want to use "acoustic sounds in real space" as your criteria for "fidelity." Well, that's a big rabbit hole in itself. Unless you were at the recording hearing the live instrument, or have deep knowledge of the recording process, you don't actually have the *original live sound* to compare. And any colorations or deviations may be due to the recording techniques/acoustics etc, or may be due to other parts of the chain, or to deviations in your own gear. You can say things like "well, that saxophone I'm hearing from my system sounds to me like saxophones do in real life." But that will actually be a big generalization, not a direct comparison of the actual sax in the actual acoustics in front of the microphone, with the sound reproduced through your home system. So the whole "fidelity" thing there is already mushy, and it's a bit of a "he who is guilty of lacking fidelity cast the first stone" problem.

    I personally DO want my system to be able to reproduce acoustic sound sources convincingly, which is one reason I have recordings I've made of instruments I play, my family plays, and recordings of my family's voices which I have directly compared to the real sounds, when playing through speakers I have owned.


    I absolutely love electronic music as well and it too has been very informative for my decades of gear auditioning and tuning of my system. First...there IS some level of "reference to the real thing" that you have if you've actually played electronic instruments (I've played bass guitar, keyboards too). There IS a sort of generalized "that has more of the heft and impact of what I hear from a real bass guitar through a cabinet" sensation that can separate one speaker I'm comparing from another. Even with keyboards, if you've played them you are used to hearing a keyboard played cleanly, through headphones, on your monitors, or whatever. And there IS a generalizable "purity" and complexity to the sound that is often lost in recorded/reproduced music, and when you hear a speaker dig out some of that "direct-level sonic quality" it can be really wonderful. Again, just like using one's generalized memory of "many different saxophones in different real spaces" can be somewhat of an aid to evaluating the sound, so can familiarity with the gestalt of certain electric instruments.

    Further, once you are familiar with a track of electronic music, it can tell you all sorts of things about the way different speakers handle or reproduce that music. Are the transient peaks of that higher end sequencer cutting through the mix as sparkly and vivid on speaker B as speaker A? Is that bass synth as subterranean and growly? Is the bass synth focused like a tight column of bass energy between the speakers? Or is it a bit spread out and flubby...hitting some bass nodes, cabinet colorations or whatever? Electronic music also produces a tremendously wide pallette of signals by which to judge "how speaker A sounds vs speaker B."

    For me, any speaker audition is not remotely complete until, along with acoustic music, I also play my favorite electronic music. A speaker may have a felicitous tone with flutes or human voice, but utterly fail to reproduce electronic music with gusto and excitement and "colour." And just as I can use electronic music to understand the different presentation and emphasis of one speaker over another, I can gain insight from a reviewer who is good at reporting those differences in his reviews.
  16. bever70

    bever70 It's all about The Soundstage

    Now where is that 'double like button' when you need it :edthumbs: !
  17. William Bryant

    William Bryant Forum Resident

    Meridian, ID
    I have been called out about using the term knuckle-dragger and I will stand down with apologies those whom I have offended.
  18. rodentdog

    rodentdog Forum Resident

    You can like a reviewer without necessarily agreeing with them about most things. I find Darko entertaining and sometimes informative.
    Johnny Wong and bever70 like this.
  19. russk

    russk Forum Resident

    Syracuse NY
    How many people here wanted to respond with OK Boomer? Just wondering. This is right up there with taking offense at product prices and names.
  20. Victor Martell

    Victor Martell Forum Resident

    Nobody around here - millenials cannot afford high end audio equipment.

    (that was a joke, btw - pls no ensuing flamewar :D )
    Bevok, Xarkkon, russk and 1 other person like this.
  21. contium

    contium Forum Resident

    He still can't get over that Darko gave a so so review on his beloved Harbeth P3ESR's.
    Synthfreek likes this.
  22. Slack

    Slack Forum Resident

    Not hard at all.Except USB connection is one of the major problems.That is why all those devices exist which claim to clean up the USB transfer.Whicjh might help to some extent.To get decent sound you really should have i2s connection like in a CD player.Then there is all the digital noise you get from a general purpose device like a computer.Which is why dedicated music servers have been developed .
  23. jeffmackwood

    jeffmackwood Forum Resident

    Well said.

    In a previous post I mentioned Wendy Carlos' Switched-On Bach and how it has been a go-to (electronic) music demo disc for decades - for the same reasons that you mention.

    There's another more recent track that I have also mentioned in other threads, that I have used for evaluating headphone and subwoofer performance: Tove Lo's Talking Body. Amazing stereo ultra low synth tones. Whether something sounds "faithful" to the original, or not, is largely irrelevant. It's how it sounds on a given system, relative to all the others I've used to listen to it, that tells me oodles about the system currently under review. Oh sure I can enjoy it any time just for the sake of listening to it. But it's even more fun as a test track - of sorts.


    ps. If anyone's interested they can do a forum search for "Tove Lo" of my posts for more detail about Talking Body and how I've used it as a demo.
    Bevok and bever70 like this.
  24. Dream On

    Dream On Forum Resident

    I don't know. Personally, I feel that you don't need to know the *original live sound* as you put it, by being there or having a deep understanding of the recording process. If you know how a piano sounds in a live setting, you can gauge how convincingly a system reproduces that sound. There will be variability in the sound of a live piano from room to room, and from one piano to the next. So the live sound is always a moving target. But someone familiar with the sound of the instrument in general in a live setting can determine how real a system sounds playing back a well recorded piano track. It's about the illusion, not about whether you hear exactly what was recorded.

    Of course, some people do know the *original live sound*, because maybe in the course of their life they have heard the exact piano they have a recording of many times in a live setting. For most of us we don't get to do that, but we do attend concerts and perhaps hear instruments in other settings, such as if we have friends that play the instrument, or if we ourselves own an instrument. I have an acoustic guitar that I hope to someday play adequately - it's not much but it's something I guess. That said, I find it doesn't take much to become familiar with the sound of instruments. You just need some repeated exposure and you will get "an overall good sense" of what it sounds like, and that will help you evaluate whether a system can sound convincing. It's not about being able to determine the exact instrument playing (brand and model) but rather, does it feel like someone is actually in the room playing this instrument?

    I may agree that you can do the same with electric instruments. Like maybe an electric guitar running into a Marshall amp, I guess you might know the sound of that, but why introduce the added complexity, where now you are listening to more than just one thing? I tend to think, if I can get the convincing sound of voice, piano, a drum kit, and a guitar, that the system will likely do well with just about everything. But like I mentioned earlier, one should also use whatever they personally favor as there are definitely insights that can be gleaned when listening to electronic music. Especially if that is what you usually listen to. At the end of the day, a system is only good if it makes the music that you listen to sound good. This is why my demo CD is filled about half with acoustic instrument tracks and half with electronic music (hard rock, new wave, etc.).

    For a pro reviewer though, I would expect that they should use certain types of recordings, and that they would test a component fully (and that means on aspects like tone and timbre, which acoustic recordings are ideal for). Even with Diana Krall. I listened to a few of her albums and man, they are tough to get through. But they are very well recorded and can tell you a lot about a system. That should make them valuable to a reviewer. Reviewing is not listening for your own enjoyment. Again, you want a good mix of recordings, and if you can get Krall-like recordings that you actually enjoy, so much the better.

    That's for a pro reviewer. For people on this forum, who only evaluate gear in the context of their own systems for their own enjoyment, listen to whatever you want. I choose to have a mix of different kinds of music. I kind of think a pro reviewer should as well. And it's what I'd recommend, if what one wants is to get a good balanced view of what a system is capable of.
    John Buchanan and wavertonwood like this.
  25. Echo's Answer

    Echo's Answer Forum Resident

    Chicago, IL
    I never really look at his content until this thread. He uses music from a lot of bands I listen to test out gear. The ONLY time I’ve seem any pro review use something I love is when Fremer used the Cocteau Twins to test speakers in Stereophile.

    I rather see reviews that use music I will listen to. I don’t care what a mfsl Nightfly or other sacred cows sound like a system. That stuff will never hit my platter. Test music you love. Good for Darko.

    Thanks for this forum, many others who have different taste and care about quality audio. I know I’m not alone anymore.
    all24bits, bever70, wellers73 and 2 others like this.

Share This Page