John Atkinson no longer editor of Stereophile.

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Thouston, Mar 2, 2019.

  1. Dream On

    Dream On Forum Resident

    I don't look at specs to make myself happy, I look at them to help ensure good system synergy. I understand that you could ensure the same by just listening, but if demoing the system isn't possible before buying then that goes out the window.

    While I get why you have your approach, it's just not how I'd go about things. And look, raising the issue of impedance taught me that AN can address the issue of a mismatch. And clearly they feel it's it's impactful enough, otherwise they wouldn't provide the option. So now I can ensure the DAC I buy is correct for my needs - before I buy it! There is no downside here, other than having to put in a tiny bit of effort and time into some research.
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  2. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    I have a basic understanding of electronics. I think impedance is important.

    I have beautiful system synergy and don't have any idea what my amplifier's input impedance's are or my source's output impedance.

    I see not reason to bother with something that is of no concern to me.
  3. 99% of the audiophile quality gear I've looked at has published basic specs in the manual and/or a technical data sheet that are usually available online. Basic specs like output impedance for outputs, input impedance for inputs, wiring for XLR balanced inputs/outputs and other basic important specs and design that will let you see if their gear has obvious mismatches with other gear. If the necessary info isn't online you can ask the manufacturer. They will know. They aren't going to keep that sort of info secret from potential customers. You don't need third-party reviewers to measure the gear to get that basic spec info about the gear. The manufacturers will supply it.

    Oddly, the Border Patrol DAC is one where I don't see an online manual at their web site or an online tech sheet that has those basic specs. That is the rare exception to my 99% rule. Although, I would expect the manufacturer does know and will tell you if you ask them. For all of the gear I own that basic level of tech info is available in the manual or a tech sheet. Except for a DIY headphone amp that I own that was designed and made by someone else. I have no idea about its specs.

    If you're looking for NOS style tube DACs then consider Audio Note Kit. There are ANK DACs that have a much lower output impedance than the Audio Note DACs and will be suitable for your amp. ANK kits do have other issues with kits not including everything necessary, instructions being sparse or inconsistent. The ANK web site will tell you the output impedance and since it's a kit you can modify the build to get an output impedance that you want.
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  4. Kyhl

    Kyhl On my break

    A standard can be required to compare measurements. It often tells us very little when comparing a reading from a measurement taken one way, to a reading from a measurement taken another way. Therefore measuring the same way over and over is much more useful.

    Likewise, no two rooms are the same. Measuring the same equipment in two rooms with different dimensions will result in different measurements. Therefore a measurement taken in AN's room means nothing to how their speakers will sound in my treated room.
    However two measurements taken in a anechoic chamber will tell me much more about the differences between the speakers.
    I completely ignore measurements listed as 'in room response'. They are useless to me because I do not know the effects added by the room. Removing the room gives us a better measurement for comparison.

    That doesn't mean all standard measurements are helpful. Stereophile's step response plots taken close to a speaker cabinet can sometimes be off when a cabinet has drivers located at the extremes, like 4 feet apart. In this case, it doesn't make sense to measure from 1 meter because the mic might be closer to one driver than it is to another, which will change the response timing. Moving the mic back might be better for that cabinet design. Creating two different measuring standards.
    ALAN SICHERMAN and ZenArcher like this.
  5. Dream On

    Dream On Forum Resident

    Yet maybe 1% of speakers have manufacturer published impedance and phase angle graphs. Some manufacturers will be responsive if you ask for this info but definitely not all of them. I would bet not even half.

    ANK is probably what I would buy if I went for an AN DAC.
  6. Whoopycat

    Whoopycat Forum Resident

    Des Moines
    The new issue of Stereophile hit my mailbox a few days ago and there were a couple of really interesting pieces with regards to measurements.

    First, I thought it was funny in the opening editorial that John said one of the worst audio purchases he ever made was buying an amp based on the results of DBX testing.

    Second, Herb's review of the KEF LSX active speakers is fascinating. Here we have a speaker that measures ruler flat, decent bass extension, damn near perfect time domain measurements, nice waterfall plot, quite affordable at $1099, basically an objectivist's wet dream. And compared to his passive KEF LS50's and component stack, Herb was like "nope."

    He gave it a nice review in the context of someone wanting to upgrade their bluetooth or desktop system, but in spite of superior measurements he was quite dismissive of the sound compared to his reference gear.
    Cyclone Ranger likes this.
  7. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    I hope that you are not serious in recommending that a fellow forum member purchase an ANK anything. :yikes:
  8. If you know what you're getting in to with an ANK build and the challenges other people have had with the instructions and getting all of the parts then yes, I'll recommend an ANK DAC. If you're looking for a DAC of that style it is one of the few options.
    Dream On and SandAndGlass like this.
  9. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    I get that there are few options, but ANK is not an option to those of use who have been reading the various build threads about the ANK nightmares.
    Dream On likes this.
  10. acdc7369

    acdc7369 Forum Resident

    Try telling that to the subjectivist crowd who insist that specs are meaningless
  11. Dream On

    Dream On Forum Resident

    Guess I will have to reconsider ANK! Maybe it's best to go AN directly.

    I am not even close to purchasing a DAC though. It's still far enough away that I haven't even begun my research.
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  12. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    I have an ANK power amplifier, but I have it because I bought it used and original owner, a forum member had it professionally assembled a few years back.

    It is a wonderful amplifier, but as a company you don't get much worse quality control wise and customer service wise than ANK.

    It is unfortunate, but that is just the way it is. The ball is in ANK's court and they won't even pick it up off of the floor.
  13. The AN and ANK DACs aren't the same. There are some similarities.

    I don't know what the output impedances are for various Audio Note DACs. If the impedances are too high for what you consider suitable for your gear then the ANK DACs are an option because there are some ANK DACs with low(ish) impedance that will be more likely to work well with whatever gear you have. That's why I mentioned the ANK options.

    You can read posts here and elsewhere about experiences building ANK gear. If you know what you're getting in to, and know how to build kits like that, and are willing to deal with the issues then ANK is an option. Or you can find someone with experience to build it for you. Or hunt for a used one.
  14. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    Obviously, kit building experience would be "helpful" if you plan to build a kit.

    Kind of hard building a kit when the kit company doesn't send you all of the parts.
  15. Dream On

    Dream On Forum Resident

    I would either get it pre-built or have someone build it for me. But even then, this info will probably knock ANK down on my list. It shouldn't be hard to have a list of parts for something as simple as a DAC or amp and then to provide all of those parts to people who buy it. Makes me wonder, even if they build the kit for me, if they are doing it correctly.

    As per Richard, AN can adjust the impedance of their DACs to a user's needs, so that removes likely the biggest concern with an AN DAC.
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  16. murphythecat

    murphythecat Forum Resident

    why would you buy a AN DAC though?

    I have not read many comparison between AN dac and other DAC that seemed to show the AN dac as anything special or totl. Their speakers is another thing
    I actually have constantly read, by people who do compared various AN dacs to other competitor, and constantly being disappointed by the AN dac price/ratio

    Look at Crane Solaris, Dangerous convert 2, Schiit yggy 2, the new gustard x26, Matrix x sabre pro, Metrum Octave.

    Edit: cant wait to see richard response to my post!
  17. Dream On

    Dream On Forum Resident

    It's more to try out a filterless, NOS DAC. And I suspect I know the sound I'd be getting, which is something I want to hear sometimes. I'd play both CDs and SACDs through my Denon player (using its DAC), but also have the player connected to the NOS DAC via a digital out. Then I could just choose the integrated DAC or separate NOS DAC via different inputs to my amp. I'd use whichever I felt like using at the time (or depending on the CD I was playing).

    I will check out the other DACs you mention - the more options the better. I'm considering a few (not just AN), but I'm surprised to hear that people dislike the sound of AN DACs. I thought they were pretty much universally praised as far as sound quality goes. Not that this would really sway me...good or bad reviews, I kind of like to try things for myself in my own system.
  18. Eno_Fan

    Eno_Fan Forum Resident

    Izieu, France
    Yep, and Lavorgna deserved every bit of that canning for the way he offended his readers and commenters to his articles. As of Today, his own personal 'audiophile' website (the hilariously-named 'twitteringmachines'), where he described the different audio qualities of different ethernet cables and different SD cards (!), has also folded.

    Good riddance indeed...
  19. Standingstones

    Standingstones Forum Resident

    South Central PA
    Lavorgna is not only closing his website, he is “retiring from hifi.”
    Cyclone Ranger likes this.
  20. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    When you get to the point that you are "he described the different audio qualities of different ethernet cables", maybe it is time to hang up your spurs.
    geodiak, beowulf, The Dragon and 7 others like this.
  21. LH5

    LH5 Well-Known Member

    So who will the next HiFi writing hack to call it a day....? Articles on TwitteringMachines were getting pretty thin at about 8 to 12 lines in size.
  22. Bummer. I enjoyed Michael Lavorgna's music reviews and Bandcamp finds. He managed to have a way of finding interesting music on Bandcamp. I'll miss that.
    gov, Don Parkhurst and Joe Spivey like this.
  23. Manimal

    Manimal Forum Resident

    Southern US
    The only measurement I look at in an amp is horsepower:)
    Gibsonian likes this.
  24. gov

    gov Forum Resident

    I’m sad to see Lavorgna’s website closed.

    I wish I knew when and where the 1/0 approach to people started. Surely it’s the combination of 24/7 cable news + social media right? The idea that I either have to believe everything someone says or there is automatically zero value to everything else they say is mindless, self-limiting nonsense to me. Maybe that’s why everyone is so concerned about AI and ML taking over the human race. Because we’ve devolved into a 1 or 0 mentality with seemingly everything that used to be arbitrary?

    I have zero interest in SD cards or Ethernet cables so I never even realized he wrote about them and I guess I just scrolled right past them when he posted them.

    Many of the hardware items he praised I also liked the sound of so his reviews were one source (of many) when I thought about new gear.

    But his music tastes and the new music Fridays were no doubt about it must read for me. I started my weekend off every Friday with a tidal playlist of his and Steven’s recommendations. I miss it tremendously and I’ve still not found a replacement.

    Anyone know of a similarly good source for weekly new music recommendations that spans genres like they did?
    avanti1960 likes this.
  25. jhw59

    jhw59 Forum Resident

    I got an offer for $10 a year. As we just bought our retirement house and I will be buying some new audio gear, I thought it might be worth a ten spot. Thoughts?

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