You are here

Log in or register to post comments
imispgh
imispgh's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 days 22 hours ago
Joined: May 23 2006 - 10:37am
Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in years

First let me say that Michael Fremer has personally been a big help to me in setting up my turntable.

Having said that

Michael - and to some degree Mr. Atkinson - have given a positive review to a Zanden DAC/Transport system that costs over $40k and has some of the worst measurements John has seen in years. (The freq response was horrific)

At one point John tried to explain Michael's positive review by stating that maybe Michael stuck with source material that worked well over the midrange region where the measure flaws were not so bad.

This issue opens up a pandora's box

Do the measurements matter? If so why didn't Michael hear the effects of such poor measurements? Should he have? If he chose heavy midrange material doesn't a full and complete review call for exercising the whole player? Is Michael Fremer capable of providing an accurate review (hearing problems? - biased to heavily on certain apects over others?) If this player wasn't so expensive would it have gotten a negative rating? Given Stereophile's bent for not performing A/B tests is it possible the cost and workmanship worked on Michael's subconscious? (Did he think ahead of time it had to be good?)

As a side note I was in the mbl room on 2 occassions when Michael was in the room listening to his material. (Which will be the topic of another thread - was he working for mbl?) Which I believe were digital transfers he made from LP. Listening to these recordings my first impression was that the speakers or set up had a problem in the high frequncies - they were too high in level - especially at the very top end.. This lead me to believe that the room needed treatment as the previous year I believe there was sound deadening material behind the same speakers and I thought they sounded great. Later when other material was played - some of mine included - they sounded excellent with no high end brightness. Given this did Michael realize this and simply compensate based on the room/set up? The interesting part here is that the DAC/transport mentioned aboved dropped off significantly in the high end. If michael had a bias for raised highs or a hearing issue which causes him to like a bright sound - wouldn't he have hated the DAC/transport? This whole thing is confusing to me. (Personally I think this might be a just a case of preconception and Michael not doing a throrough job as opposed to any of the other possibilities I suggested. Still - that is a problem that needs to be dealt with.)

Michael Fremer
Michael Fremer's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 week 2 days ago
Joined: Jun 26 2006 - 9:49am
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in

As for this post, I understand your reaction completely. However, as I say in my follow up after listening to a correctly wire unit, if I paid attention to measurements I'd have chucked my LPs in favor of CDs which measure just about "perfect." What's measured is not necessarily what's important when it comes to listening, which in part explains many listeners' preference for tubes. Keep that in mind as you read those measurements. Also consider that I was inadvertently listening in the "out of absolute polarity" position because it was reversed from what the knob said due to the wiring error and as it turns out (as you'll read next month) in that position it measured much better. When you read the measurements and text in next month's follow up, you'll have a better perspective on this debacle. However, even then the measurements aren't as good as some other far less expensive gear. However, the Zanden has gotten consistently rave reviews around the world despite the less than stellar measurements. Why? Because as with vinyl, what we measure with digital may not be what's important.

imispgh
imispgh's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 days 22 hours ago
Joined: May 23 2006 - 10:37am
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in

Hmmmm

Well I agree that vinyl measures poorer than digital and it still sounds better.

Having said that - doesn't even the most basic of analog set ups excel way beyond the measuremnts the Zanden had - especially frequency response?

Maybe Stereophile needs to revisit it's measurement policy and at least break them down to those that may or do affect sound and those that are informational only? Or maybe given that review and that (I believe) most of the writers like analog more than digital independent of the data - maybe it's time to chuck measurments - at least for some equipment - entirely?

Aren't there sub-$1000 players that trump those measurements? Do you think you could A/B the Zanden against one of those players and pick the Zanden out - as being better - 90% of the time? Given the $42K difference in cost you should be able to.

Buddha
Buddha's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 1 week ago
Joined: Sep 8 2005 - 10:24am
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in

Vinyl measures less well than analog?

Let's throw up some graphs of sine wave reproduction and take a look!.

I'm thinking vinyl would win.

My turntable - phono preamp interface also has less jitter than any digital front end.

__________________________
__________________________

Hey, when can we start teasing Michael about not being able to hear absolute phase?

CECE
CECE's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 17 2005 - 8:16am
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in

It also has a lot more surface noise, and nowhere near the dynamic range of CD/SACD. WOW and Flutter too. It's like comparing an incandescant lamp to an LED or compact Flurescent. Think how much more energy it takes to make teh vinyl version, rather than teh SACD/CD version. all that extra material..save the world, use optical digital. When will they have glass lps? imune from warping, more transparent music. won't wear as fast. If they make glass CD's why not glass lps?

imispgh
imispgh's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 days 22 hours ago
Joined: May 23 2006 - 10:37am
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in

OK - guys - not the point or the subject of the thread. Save the LP vs CD for other posts

Yiangos
Yiangos's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 1 month ago
Joined: Sep 7 2005 - 8:41am
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in

Buddha is right and i am actually from the camp who believes measurments are useless(soundwise).If components who measure well,sound good and vice versa,why do we need reviewers? A guy with some measurment equipment would do better.

mrlowry
mrlowry's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 2 months ago
Joined: May 30 2006 - 1:37pm
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in

Personally, I'll be withholding any criticism of Stereophile until the next issue arrives and we shall see the follow up. The fact that JA was quite open about the measurements relative to much more affordable players gives me faith in his integrity as well as his pointing out that they didn't have enough dealers to meet the minimum number normally expected by Stereophile. If the matter is taken seriously then Stereophile will lose none of it's prestige in my eyes.

If I were Zanden I'd be embarrassed indeed. You think that they would double or even triple check a unit going out for review. Especially something at this price. For that matter they should be doing that for EVERY unit at this price. Mistakes happen but if I were a consumer that had just spent this much money and was given this explanation I think that I'd hit the roof. This just begs the question of how many of these units in consumers hands or on display at dealers are miswired. If I were one of their dealers and had these units on display I'd request Return Authorizations and have the unit fully inspected.

CECE
CECE's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 17 2005 - 8:16am
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in

If measurements don't matter, than neither do teh numbers that make these insanely OVERPRICED units, that ain't even QC'd properly. AVA stuff is priced for mortals and QC'd BEFORE they ship it. What a concept. I thought Meitner was teh absolute DAC that sets teh standard. It was chosen by Philips when they devloped SACD. Do Meitners now drop a level to this month's breakthrough? The logo on the front cover of $tereophile needs teh S turned into a dollar sign. Come on with these insanely grossly overpriced under performing units. CHORD amps anyone, never heard anything more about the amps that don't meet those meaningless numbers. But teh big number is teh price, overpriced underperforming. This month's ULTIMATE pre amp, come on, the superlatives are thrown about so loosley, they are meaningless.

Buddha
Buddha's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 1 week ago
Joined: Sep 8 2005 - 10:24am
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in

I think you guys missed an important point on looking at those measurements.

Dig the wild analog-like 1 kHz sine wave!

No "stepped pyramid" shape for Zanden!

Nuh uh, not Zanden.*

__________________________________
__________________________________

25% distortion?!?

I have more answers:

That 25% distortion will be proven to be 99.9999(six nines) pure "euphonic distortion."

That's the best kind.

That channel imbalance in the outputs?

Purely a way of balancing our brains' interpretation of the signals.

9 dB higher noise floor?

Also, obviously, "euphonic noise."

4 times the jitter?

You'll need less coffee!

______________________________
______________________________

Something I gotta ask about the review, are we witnessing an episode of "different is better?"

*88 Lines About 44 Women joke.

Monty
Monty's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 16 2005 - 6:55pm
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in


Quote:
Buddha is right and i am actually from the camp who believes measurments are useless(soundwise).If components who measure well,sound good and vice versa,why do we need reviewers? A guy with some measurment equipment would do better.

I believe his name was Julian somethingorother;)

Yiangos
Yiangos's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 1 month ago
Joined: Sep 7 2005 - 8:41am
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in

Julian Hirsch or something.

Editor
Editor's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 11 months ago
Joined: Sep 1 2005 - 8:56am
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in


Quote:
Something I gotta ask about the review, are we witnessing an episode of "different is better?"

I believe this happens more often than audiophiles are willing to admit. When a component sounds unambiguously different, it is natural to assume it sounds "better." You see it in speakers, when a flavor-of-the-month model turns out to have serious flaws.

What concerns me more about the Zanden is that we have no idea how many examples of the DAC shipped with the wiring error. It may have been just our review sample, which I believe was the sample demonstrated at CES last January, or it might have been several months' worth of production. Either way, it illustrates that Zanden either has poor quality control or doesn't do any testing at all of what leaves their factory.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

silvertone
silvertone's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 months 1 week ago
Joined: Aug 9 2006 - 6:44pm
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in

You're right on the money with your comment John. Let's also not forget the power of suggestion, when one sees a highly priced item then we automatically (sometimes subconciously) give it for a fact that the product must be great. I mean, if it costs so much, how can it not be great?? Unfortunately you see a lot of this with high end audio, especially with tube gear. It's a shame because there are lot of companies out there who put a great engineering effort behind what they do but charge accordingly like Wilson Audio, B&W, Mark Levison, Audio Research. As far as some of you guys who solely rely on listening and don't care about measurements at all, no offense, but you gotta wake up and smell the coffee. Even if you're financially sound, don't you wanna get a product that sounds good AND measures good as well?? I mean, if distortion is what you like be my guest, from my perspective it's not a matter of 'it sounds good' but 'what am I hearing that's sounding good?'. I'm in complete agreement that some products that DO measure good do not sound good, I've heard them, but in most of those cases the 'faults' of the sound are due to inherent issues of sonic signatures of certain solid state design components. In other words, the component is not sounding 'bad' because it measures good. If I had it my way, even measurements of cables should be included in Stereophile reviews, just to make sure certain exotic cables are not overcooking certain frequencies, LCR measurements should also accompany ALL cables reviews. Some of those cables cost more than some pricey components, these very comprenhensive cable measurements are long overdue in Stereophile. I also know that cables DO sound different, and some expensive ones w/o a question DO sound superb, but the times have changed and it's time to start separating the men from the boys from the cross-dressers when it comes to hi-fi audio manufacturing.

pma
pma's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Aug 10 2006 - 3:25am
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in

I also have a November issue in a paper form. I would never expect that any engineer designed the product with such horrible parameters, especially at that cost. It assures me that HighEnd is often about everything else but quality, knowledge, performance. Thanks to J.A. for performing the measurements. What was wrong in wiring of the test unit (sounds like lame excuse)? Simple absolute phase reversal would not bring these terrible results.

silvertone
silvertone's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 months 1 week ago
Joined: Aug 9 2006 - 6:44pm
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in


Quote:
I also have a November issue in a paper form. I would never expect that any engineer designed the product with such horrible parameters, especially at that cost. It assures me that HighEnd is often about everything else but quality, knowledge, performance. Thanks to J.A. for performing the measurements. What was wrong in wiring of the test unit (sounds like lame excuse)? Simple absolute phase reversal would not bring these terrible results.

Also, notice that when the manufacturer responded they didn't use the opportunity to inform their customers of a serial number range of the units affected. They also didn't say how a current owner might check for this defect and what to do if the same problem was found. They're so full of @#$%.

CECE
CECE's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 17 2005 - 8:16am
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in

MEASUREMENTS MATTER. TEST EQUIPMENT MATTERS. $40,000 worth of nonsense is what that crap is. Using an obsolete out moded chip ckts. If it was teh best sounding chip, why did Philips move on and invent better and better faster ckts why did they invent DSD/SACD with Sony. And why does it sound so much better than CD PCM. What does Philips know about sound anyway. they only invented the entire format and systems, from recording it to playing it back. One thing they don't know is how to sell $40,000 pile of obsolet junk to a gullible audience. Does Zander actually sell that crap to people? I'm sure the designer is some guru of sound, like Furutech is a guru of wires. and magnetized plastics. Pt rocks of teh 21st century. And yet no AVA reviews of mortal priced, super performing products!!!! Very frustrating......come on, let's bring SteroPhile back to reality. Zander gets in by mistake, not enough dealers, AVA in business 40 years, direct seller, no reviews...hmmmm. Let's see some Ultra Pre and DAC and amp reviews, do an entire AVA system come on, I know ya can do it. Ultra 550 amp,s in mono mode bi amp using Ultra DACs and Ultra EC pre, with Ultra DAC for CD...Let's make up for the shunning of AVA all these years...do an entire Ultra system review 2 550 amps, Ultra phase inverters to mono phi them Ultra DAC, Ultra EC pre..into some Legacys or super duper high end speakers to revela their potential.... JA please it'll be neat. Something different

ezkcdude
ezkcdude's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Apr 12 2006 - 1:06pm
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in

JA, what I would like to see is a competition between these super expensive (>$10,000) CD player/DAC's and some of the DIY kits out there. I'd be the first to volunteer to send in mine for some measurements. I don't know if it will sound better, but it will probably measure better than the Zanden, and cost about $42,850 less .

bjh
bjh's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 12 2005 - 2:33pm
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in


Quote:
MEASUREMENTS MATTER. TEST EQUIPMENT MATTERS. $40,000 worth of nonsense is what that crap is. Using an obsolete out moded chip ckts. If it was teh best sounding chip, why did Philips move on and invent better and better faster ckts why did they invent DSD/SACD with Sony. And why does it sound so much better than CD PCM. What does Philips know about sound anyway. they only invented the entire format and systems, from recording it to playing it back. One thing they don't know is how to sell $40,000 pile of obsolet junk to a gullible audience. Does Zander actually sell that crap to people? I'm sure the designer is some guru of sound, like Furutech is a guru of wires. and magnetized plastics. Pt rocks of teh 21st century. And yet no AVA reviews of mortal priced, super performing products!!!! Very frustrating......come on, let's bring SteroPhile back to reality. Zander gets in by mistake, not enough dealers, AVA in business 40 years, direct seller, no reviews...hmmmm. Let's see some Ultra Pre and DAC and amp reviews, do an entire AVA system come on, I know ya can do it. Ultra 550 amp,s in mono mode bi amp using Ultra DACs and Ultra EC pre, with Ultra DAC for CD...Let's make up for the shunning of AVA all these years...do an entire Ultra system review 2 550 amps, Ultra phase inverters to mono phi them Ultra DAC, Ultra EC pre..into some Legacys or super duper high end speakers to revela their potential.... JA please it'll be neat. Something different

My goodness, I rather expected that you'd have been grinning ear to ear over this "debacle", but I see it only exacerbated your suffering. Hmmmm .... ?, I guess that proves every cloud has a silver lining!

silvertone
silvertone's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 months 1 week ago
Joined: Aug 9 2006 - 6:44pm
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in

I really think DUP needs some therapy. Bad cable experiences in the past pushed him over the edge....

CECE
CECE's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 17 2005 - 8:16am
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in

Everyday is therepy.....soundKing it's called WIRE.....no animals, no reptiles,no magic, just WIRE. Same with all the other WIRE. It all came in plsstic bags, not $500 hand finished boxes that cost more than the stuff in the boxes. Doesn't have a picture of teh head marketeer in full page ads either...Wire made by unknown factory workers, in far off lands. Not a wire marketing guru, with a biography of his life's accomplishments. Have you seen Audio Advisor catalog, such an impressive lists of who's who in wire marketing 101. Gee, they are such magic makers. When i buy wire from Allied electronics or Newark catalog, none of eh wire comes with a picture or history lesson of Mr. Belden (is there a such guy) Or Carol Cable or Southwire(Southside Johnny?) So ya can wire a house with mere wire, but when ya hook up audio or video, ya gets a picture of the magic man, utter nonsense and marketing 101. Buy some Hubbell CAT 10, no Mr. Hubbell pictures, and there really is a Mr. Harvey Hubbell....yet he started teh company, way back in teh start of teh industry, items didn't come with his bio...And somehow his stuff are installed everywhere.

pma
pma's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Aug 10 2006 - 3:25am
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in

Editors -
have you considered a possibility to add Zanden's review to Stereophile web?

Editor
Editor's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 11 months ago
Joined: Sep 1 2005 - 8:56am
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in


Quote:
Editors -
have you considered a possibility to add Zanden's review to Stereophile web?

The Zanden review, complete with the Follow-Up from the December issue, all the measurements of both samples of the 5000S, and the Manufacturer's Comment, will be posted in the magazine's on-line archives on November 27.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

pma
pma's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Aug 10 2006 - 3:25am
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in


Quote:

The Zanden review, complete with the Follow-Up from the December issue, all the measurements of both samples of the 5000S, and the Manufacturer's Comment, will be posted in the magazine's on-line archives on November 27.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Thank you very much, people who do not own the paper issue are very interested in those results.

cyclebrain
cyclebrain's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 9 months ago
Joined: Jun 16 2006 - 11:40pm
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in


Quote:
What was wrong in wiring of the test unit (sounds like lame excuse)? Simple absolute phase reversal would not bring these terrible results.

I too would like to hear a response to this question.

Editor
Editor's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 11 months ago
Joined: Sep 1 2005 - 8:56am
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in


Quote:

Quote:
What was wrong in wiring of the test unit (sounds like lame excuse)? Simple absolute phase reversal would not bring these terrible results.

I too would like to hear a response to this question.

The explanation offered by Zanden was that when the unit was set to preserve absolute polarity (LED illuminated red on the first sample), which was how I measured it, the miswiring caused "an excess of current to flow into the interstage transformer." This was the cause of both the drastic low-frequency rolloff and the very high levels of bass distortion that I found.

The second sample was wired correctly and had considerably lower levels of LF distortion, though there were still some minor performance differences between the two polarity conditions. However, and speaking personally, I think that implementing the DAC's polarity inversion in the analog circuitry is dumb design, considering that the same thing can be can be achieved with a simple inverter gate operating on the digital data (plus some glue logic to make sure the channels don't get swapped).

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

whart
whart's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Nov 12 2006 - 4:38am
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in

My first question is what model Countach? Was it an early Lp400- purest of line, most user unfriendly to drive, or the later, be-winged and flared icons of the Farrah Fawcett era?
Seriously, Mike, anytime you wanna run in one, weather permitting (I'm here in the NE), i'll be glad to accomodate (it's a 6.0 Diablo, not a Countach, but it's quite an experience ).
The answer for me on this one is simple- good measurements or bad- our reviewer said: "Don't get me wrong- the analog editions of recordings I compared still sounded more realistic and believable...".
By this, i assume you meant playback on a Turntable still sounded more like the real thing. So, if the object here was to spend some serious dough on a compromised format to achieve 'not quite as good' an aural performance as another, even more obsolete format, I'm not sure why its worth the bother. (I suppose, if the same technology worked its way down to cheap players, you'd have an argument, but suspect part of the 'magic' of this thing is not going to be reproduceable in a cost-effective, mass market product).

Buddha
Buddha's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 1 week ago
Joined: Sep 8 2005 - 10:24am
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in

I wonder if Bob Carver could take that Zanden and, using a 30.00 Radio Shack player, match the Zanden's "transfer factor" so they'd sound "the same."

Of course, he'd have to modify the Radio Shack player quite a bit...it wouldn't be easy to make it perform that badly.

I haven't received my December issue yet, but if Fremer's follow-up goes 75% or more like this: "the working Zanden still had all the positive attributes of the previous player, only MORE so," then Fremer has to buy the first two rounds.

I want a bonus round of drinks if he uses "in spades."

cyclebrain
cyclebrain's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 9 months ago
Joined: Jun 16 2006 - 11:40pm
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in


Quote:

The explanation offered by Zanden was that when the unit was set to preserve absolute polarity (LED illuminated red on the first sample), which was how I measured it, the miswiring caused "an excess of current to flow into the interstage transformer." This was the cause of both the drastic low-frequency rolloff and the very high levels of bass distortion that I found.

The second sample was wired correctly and had considerably lower levels of LF distortion, though there were still some minor performance differences between the two polarity conditions. However, and speaking personally, I think that implementing the DAC's polarity inversion in the analog circuitry is dumb design, considering that the same thing can be can be achieved with a simple inverter gate operating on the digital data (plus some glue logic to make sure the channels don't get swapped).

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Thanks for the response John. Invert the digital polarity?
Much to simple and boring.

Jim Tavegia
Jim Tavegia's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 1 2005 - 4:27pm
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in

I have had the same issue with my old M-Audio DIO 24/48 sound card using an outboard ADC for recording. It does not "remember" it worked fine the last time. Each time I come back on I must have the ADC on and then "analyze" the SPDIF signal and it tells me I am "OK to start recording".

If I do not do this it is a sea of noise reminding me to go back and "analyze". Bummer!

In my Echo Indigo I/O card in my Dell laptop it did not default to the "locked sample rate", ( I should have noticed I needed to check the "box") and in the middle of a live recording prohject it jumped between 44.1 and 96K. I was so lucky that I also took my Sony DAT as a back up.

Nothing like learning on the fly. I seem to be doing more of that as I get older, or that my mind is going with each added year. I was never the sharpest knife in the drawer any way, but I need that big,red EASY BUTTON more these days.

Buddha
Buddha's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 1 week ago
Joined: Sep 8 2005 - 10:24am
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in


Quote:

I haven't received my December issue yet, but if Fremer's follow-up goes 75% or more like this: "the working Zanden still had all the positive attributes of the previous player, only MORE so," then Fremer has to buy the first two rounds.

I want a bonus round of drinks if he uses "in spades."

Well, I got my new issue. Am I close enough for cocktails?

CECE
CECE's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 17 2005 - 8:16am
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in

All that distortion, all that nonsense, all that outdated chip set. But, it was all done by some unknown magician. Who can turn distortion into a reason to buy. $40,000 CD player!!!! Using obsolete chips, how do they fix, it when it craps out. How long has Zander been in business anyway? And it didn't meet required number od dealers, YET, they got another writup in DEC issue!!! Come on StereoPhile, bending your own rules, but doing it knowingly? Do $40K CD players need vacuum wires and wood blocks?

pma
pma's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Aug 10 2006 - 3:25am
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in

John,
I have just received my December issue.
Well - some of the measurements are better, but -

1) amplitude frequency response is still poor, 10kHz/-1dB,
2) THD is nothing special, 2nd/-58dB, 3rd/-72dB,
3) HF intermodulation (19+20kHz) is horrible,
4) Jitter spectrum (Dunn test) is horrible.

So there is not much excuse for Zanden, epecially for the reason that customers still can use the "polarity" switch. Hope the customers will "evaluate" this product, but unfortunately in the "HighEnd" world no one knows.

Best regards,
Pavel

Buddha
Buddha's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 1 week ago
Joined: Sep 8 2005 - 10:24am
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in

You know, as I was looking at the review and test data, it made me think of one more thing.

If we have reviewers who can't tell a machine is broken, making a 25% distortion spec, and then we have the same reviewers who claim to have such sensitive hearing that they can hear the subtle, low level effects of a Tice Clock or LP demagnetizer, how do we reconcile such disparate claims?

Didn't the same thing happen this year with an interconnect review?

I can't really think of a way to mention this dichotomy without it sounding pejorative, but it isn't meant that way. Analog Corner and Mike Fremer's review are mainstays of my Hi Fi pleasure reading!

Jeff Wong
Jeff Wong's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 7 months ago
Joined: Sep 6 2005 - 3:28am
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in

It is a bit disconcerting and disappointing that MF's byline appeared on a few reviews that didn't measure well (KR amps, the light based interconnects, and the Zanden come to mind.) I've heard several of the KR amps at length, and they were a joy to listen to! The midrange was intoxicating. I'm sure it was overdone and inaccurate, but, boy, I completely understand how one could rave about them. At least Mikey stands behind what he hears and enjoys. His name is on the review and he takes the flinging of stones or arrows like a saint. Yeah, the stuff doesn't measure like a Halcro, but, there is the aspect of this hobby that has to do with enjoying music. So, MF might not be the reviewer to turn to for guidance if you crave accuracy. The reader/listener/potential buyer still needs to hear the stuff for himself/herself anyway.

John Ashman
John Ashman's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 30 2005 - 12:22pm
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in

It's unfortunate, but true, that most self-described audiophiles and reviewers believe they can hear the minutest details, but when I point out *glaring* errors in the sound of a speaker, they look at me like I'm on drugs and say they're not hearing it. Or they hear huge FR errors as big positives in the sound and the lack of them as negatives.

That's probably way the award winning speakers (again) are some of the most poorly measuring ones. Certainly the best measuring speakers didn't win this year and never really even had a chance of winning. Oh well. It's why I don't hang out here much, it would make me crazy trying to wonder constantly how they arrive at their conclusions.

CECE
CECE's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 17 2005 - 8:16am
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in

Hmmmm, does a $100,000 TT sound any better than say a $3K one? Would super ears, be able to know if he was listening to a $100K versus a still very pricey $3K one. Would he know what WIRES where being used between teh TT and pre amp, doubt it, doubt it, doubt it. Most reviews in magazines are based on knowing what is being reviewed, what the mfgs claim it to do, right out of teh box, the reviewer is set in motion as to what to expect. Of course reviewers are so above human traits of being influenced by it all. They are audio reviewers, no human frailtys could possibly exist. MF can hear things, far beyond what mortals do. I think all audio reviewers should have included in their reviews, ear test results, printed out of current ear hearing tests. showing how their ears are working, just like a graph of how amps are working. Then you have a baseline to see what HIS test equipment is calibrated to. Wouldn't it be cool, if a Furutech demag was internally disconnected, and all it did was turn on an indicator light, nothing more, no coils, nothing, as a true test of can it sound different? hahahahah, no one would know which furutech had it's insides disconnected, compare two units, come on, this would be a legit test, and if teh unit makes a differetn sound without it's coils being energized, the reviewer then could not be close enough to hear or see it. Maybe the real influnce is the power indicator lamp, I knew it was demagged, so it HAD TO sound better, and damn, it did!!!!

Buddha
Buddha's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 1 week ago
Joined: Sep 8 2005 - 10:24am
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in

DUP, does a 14,000 dollar pair of Whispers sound better than a 3,000 dollar pair of lesser Legacy speakers?

Why not save youself eleven grand?

How would you ever know which amplifier was wired to it?

Do you claim to have some sort of golden pair of ears that people with 3,000 dollar speakers don't?

What, is that some sort of dog or bat hearing that you have that requires a frequency response above what you can actually hear?

WTF, DUP? I've seen all your AVA/Legacy rants...you claim you can hear what they do but someone else can't hear what you haven't listened to?

I call bullshit on you.

gkc
gkc's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Feb 24 2006 - 11:51am
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in

"Does a $100,000 TT sound any better than a say ( sic ) $3K one?" What do you mean by "better," DUP? "Most reviews in magazines are based on knowing what is being reviewed." Yet, it was okay that Paul Bolin "knew" that the Wurlizers were in the room (how could you not know?): since he gave a positive review, it's okay that a $15,000 speaker can sound "better" than a $1,500 model, as long as the judgment complies with what you shelled out. DUP, how do you hide 6' tall and 200 pounds of driftwood and gunnysack?

Again, what do you mean by "better"? Why didn't you buy a 20-20,000 Hz marvel, for 75 bucks, from Rat Shack? It would almost certainly measure better than your Legacy rip-offs, the response curve of which looked like the Baja side of the Sierras. And, God knows, you would never hear the difference.

DUP, you've been had. You spent all this money on a bunch of crap that doesn't sound any better than what I could get out of a white van for less than 200 bucks. You are the poster child for the sucker that fell for the print 'n pictures. Cornfields of Iowa. Snicker. Hahahaha. Now, tell us again about the Van Alstines. The moose runs of Minnesota? Hahahaha. STOP! You're killin' me. Hahahaha.

Jeff Wong
Jeff Wong's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 7 months ago
Joined: Sep 6 2005 - 3:28am
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in

LOL - It cracks me up how a whole new internal lexicon has developed in this forum (I'll never be able to look at a Wurlitzer the same.)

After rereading my earlier post, I feel the need to make a correction. It wasn't reviews that measured badly. I meant:

"It is a bit disconcerting and disappointing that MF's byline appeared on a few reviews of products that didn't measure well (KR amps, the light based interconnects, and the Zanden come to mind.)

I'm sure you knew what I meant via context...

gkc
gkc's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Feb 24 2006 - 11:51am
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in

Actually, your original post made perfect sense as is. It is the eternal battle, I guess. You know where I stand. I have made so many mistakes, over the years, buying the numbers, and so few taking the time to just listen, over time, all the while keeping memories of live events fresh in my experience. I was positively drawn to the Dynaudio Evidence Master speakers partly because they tested so flat -- I had never had speakers that measured within 3db or so across the spectrum. So when I found a pair used and (relatively) cheap I jumped all over them. To me, they just didn't communicate the music, although there were a few LP's and CD's that sounded beautiful through them. I believe I am going to (finally) replace them with the Triangle Magellan, since I have enjoyed the Triangle Volante so much -- I have a line out for a used pair of the models Triangle just upgraded, so it will be a little-or-no-risk trial, being less than half price. One of the problems in going all-out, cost-be-damned, is simple logistics. It is very difficult to hear the latest, most critically-acclaimed models often enough to make a truly informed decision. They just don't show up at every dealer's and stay around for months. And I am going to have to drive 400 miles and put them in a different house...and live with them for awhile, and this is the concert season!

One reason I am drawn to stereophile as a way to limit the endless choices, is that all of their reviewers "speak" with their own ears, independently from one another, and spend months listening under all different circumstances.

Michael Fremer certainly fits these requirements, whether you like the measurements or not. The only thing I would wish for is that all of them talk more about their experiences with live musical events. This gets mentioned, but not enough, it seems to me. Cheers, Clifton.

CECE
CECE's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 17 2005 - 8:16am
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in

YES

CECE
CECE's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 17 2005 - 8:16am
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in

Now measurements matter, on Legacy and AVA, but on Zander and Halcros it don't? Halcro doesn't pass FTC test, Zander has such poor ckts, it's like an old Philico radio, Maybe the Zander needed some Mapingo dots, or a better sounding wire to "tame" the distortion. Perhaps a better wall outlet or line cord? But then the Zander has a thick aluminum chassis, no wonder it sounds so grand. What a hoax. I gotta give it to the marketeers of obsolete nonsense, I'm sure they can sell a few. Doesn't even attempt to be in the 21st century, can't play anything but CD, takes up 3 chassis to do it. Is the CD drive, belt driven, that used to be the magic ultimate some time ago, by some other audiophile based nonsense. Since the rubber belt added some extra magic. Yeah, like in an old tape player.

Reverend Chu
Reverend Chu's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 29 2006 - 3:30am
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in

At 43K, there's not going to be a lot of these sold I think. Considering that the review sample(s) varied so greatly and the glaring performance characteristics weren't readily identifiable, how will people know if the unit they bought was a miswired lemon or not? What steps will the manufacturer take to ensure the unit performs at least as well as JA's replacement?

gkc
gkc's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Feb 24 2006 - 11:51am
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in

You'd be wrong. Many will be sold, especially if folks with that kind of money (many, many, during these bubble days..) like what they hear. The manufacturer will take whatever steps are necessary to keep the customers satisfied -- that is built into the high price. Call it a risk premium. Never presume, Reverend, that big money thinks the way you do.

Reverend Chu
Reverend Chu's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 29 2006 - 3:30am
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in

We'll never know will we? Especially if they play footloose with their serial numbering.

gkc
gkc's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Feb 24 2006 - 11:51am
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in

I'll know. I have a friend in Salt Lake City who has the Zander phono stage (a superb sounding piece, albeit limited in flexibility) and who is serious about buying the CD playback combination. I don't give a good damn about the serial numbers, as long as the machine sounds better than what I have. I missed the last epidemic of audophile neurosis that went around, fortunately, so I can just listen and enjoy the music.

Buddha
Buddha's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 1 week ago
Joined: Sep 8 2005 - 10:24am
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in


Quote:
I'll know. I have a friend in Salt Lake City who has the Zander phono stage (a superb sounding piece, albeit limited in flexibility) and who is serious about buying the CD playback combination. I don't give a good damn about the serial numbers, as long as the machine sounds better than what I have. I missed the last epidemic of audophile neurosis that went around, fortunately, so I can just listen and enjoy the music.

Zander?

What's a Zander?

Maybe a nickname for Alexander?

Maybe you meant the type of fish?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zander

I guess at the good Reverend's seminary (heh heh, heh heh heh, I said seminary) they don't teach the use of commas but they do teach the spelling of Zanden.

Typo karma is a harsh mistress, my wine loving friend.

Hey, Clifton, we're making some special system treatment liquids for the CES, you gonna join us?

gkc
gkc's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Feb 24 2006 - 11:51am
Re: Positive rating for $43K that had the worst measurements in

Thanks. Serves the guy right for having a name with two syllables. I have tnoubles with the "n's" -- it must be my subcorscious. Ro, I pnobably wor't make it -- there are two corcerts that week, ore ir the big OC and ore at Disrey.

  • X
    Enter your Stereophile.com username.
    Enter the password that accompanies your username.
    Loading