"Do Cables Really Matter?" Event in Florida Saturday

Saturday, February 4, 11:00am–1:00 pm, Encore Home Entertainment Systems (2115 Siesta Drive, Sarasota, FL 34239) is hosting Joe Perfito, president of Tributaries and Clarus Cable, for a discussion on the importance of cables.
Fri, 02/03/2017

NEAT Acoustics Iota Alpha loudspeaker Measurements

Thu, 02/02/2017

COMMENTS
mrkaic's picture

As far as I know, this is the first review of Neat speakers that includes measurements. I wonder why.

To my knowledge Neat designs their speakers mostly by ear. This approach does not seem very scientific to me and the poor measurements here are likely the outcome of this process.

I had a pair of Neats, but sold them when I could not find any reviews that included measurements (there was a lot of subjective reviews, but I don't care about those). I simply cannot trust equipment that is not thoroughly measured and it seems that I made the right decision.

Scliff's picture

It's a shame to be so hung up on something so irrelevant as measurements.
If I like the way a component sounds, that's all I need or care about.

mrkaic's picture

It is a shame to be so hung up on something so irrelevant as subjective impressions. If I like the way a component measures, that's all I need or care about.

johnnythunder's picture

Bad food may measure well but may taste like shit. A $5 dollar bottle of wine may measure better than a $50 bottle but tastes like shit. You can have your Consumer Reports level of audio quality but most of us will be very happy listening first and worrying about measurements later. Stereophile is a perfect blend of sometimes corroborating the sound quality of a component based on measurements or telling you to ignore it. We are human beings listening to art. The essence of that is subjective. To deny it or to knock it in others is folly.

mrkaic's picture

Pompous and Rigid?! Is that supposed to refer to me? It is sad that you cannot refrain from insulting me because we don't agree.

Anton's picture

That is the strangest post I have ever seen.

"I had a pair of Neats, but sold them when I could not find any reviews that included measurements (there was a lot of subjective reviews, but I don't care about those). I simply cannot trust equipment that is not thoroughly measured and it seems that I made the right decision."

If, by chance, you happened by them while your system was on, how did you think they sounded?

mrkaic's picture

That is the strangest post I have ever seen.

What a compliment, many thanks. :)

But seriously, I did listen to them and did not like the sound. That is why I started looking for measurements. After not finding any, I ditched the Neats and never looked back.

Anton's picture

You didn't like what you heard, so why would measurements matter?

What if you had liked them, but didn't like the measurement?

Your ears don't rule?

mrkaic's picture

What if you had liked them, but didn't like the measurement?

I would get rid of them, of course. I would feel victimized by poor engineering and/or manufacturing. A component that does not measure well has no place in my home.

Your ears don't rule?

No, please see the answer above.

Pedro's picture

Most magazines don't take measurements of gear they review like Stereophile does, so it's hardly a surprise that this is the first review of these speakers with scientific measurements. But the same can be said about loads of gear, I'm sure...

mrkaic's picture

I agree, measurements are hard to find. I suppose some of the reasons might be cost, lack of expertise by reviewers, or resistance by subjectivist reviewers who seem to be the ruling class of the audio world.

Pedro's picture

Most magazines are just snake oil sellers. Without measurements and any kind of scientific approach they can sell everything they want, including stupid stuff like very expensive cables (even directional ones - ahaha) and so forth.

avanti1960's picture

the complete story of how a speaker will sound but they are hardly irrelevant, especially measured frequency response.
That +5db peak at 100Hz is something that turns me off because I know what it sounds like.
Since this speaker was especially sensitive to room position it would have been interesting to see response plots at some different positions, perhaps getting rid of that peak (if possible).

hhi92010's picture

This looks Old School, I like it!

romath's picture

You wrote: 1) "But once the Iotas were fully broken in, they ended up 14" from the front wall and 95" from the listening chair in my larger room..." and
2) "Moving the Iota Alphas into my nearfield rig, I placed the speakers 12" from the front wall and 85" from my listening chair..."

85", i.e., 7'1" is near field?? You've got to be kidding. The Quad (active) speakers on my desktop, an arm's length away, are near field. And really, other than the room and associated electronics, what makes 7'1" and 7'9" fundamentally different? Very strange.

corrective_unconscious's picture

I'd like to have some definitive reason for it to do so, as a matter confidence in the design staff.

My hearing can vary hour to hour, just as my resting pulse, my attention span, my visual acuity, my lucidity, my testosterone levels, my mood, my digestion, and so on, can. Having basic measurements, especially ones that look at least within the realm of standard, can provide a nice baseline for any subjective impressions. An example is "bad" pair matching over a limited frequency range - measurements will find that flaw faster than my ears will in most instances, I'm sure.

Pages

NEAT Acoustics Iota Alpha loudspeaker Associated Equipment

Thu, 02/02/2017

COMMENTS
mrkaic's picture

As far as I know, this is the first review of Neat speakers that includes measurements. I wonder why.

To my knowledge Neat designs their speakers mostly by ear. This approach does not seem very scientific to me and the poor measurements here are likely the outcome of this process.

I had a pair of Neats, but sold them when I could not find any reviews that included measurements (there was a lot of subjective reviews, but I don't care about those). I simply cannot trust equipment that is not thoroughly measured and it seems that I made the right decision.

Scliff's picture

It's a shame to be so hung up on something so irrelevant as measurements.
If I like the way a component sounds, that's all I need or care about.

mrkaic's picture

It is a shame to be so hung up on something so irrelevant as subjective impressions. If I like the way a component measures, that's all I need or care about.

johnnythunder's picture

Bad food may measure well but may taste like shit. A $5 dollar bottle of wine may measure better than a $50 bottle but tastes like shit. You can have your Consumer Reports level of audio quality but most of us will be very happy listening first and worrying about measurements later. Stereophile is a perfect blend of sometimes corroborating the sound quality of a component based on measurements or telling you to ignore it. We are human beings listening to art. The essence of that is subjective. To deny it or to knock it in others is folly.

mrkaic's picture

Pompous and Rigid?! Is that supposed to refer to me? It is sad that you cannot refrain from insulting me because we don't agree.

Anton's picture

That is the strangest post I have ever seen.

"I had a pair of Neats, but sold them when I could not find any reviews that included measurements (there was a lot of subjective reviews, but I don't care about those). I simply cannot trust equipment that is not thoroughly measured and it seems that I made the right decision."

If, by chance, you happened by them while your system was on, how did you think they sounded?

mrkaic's picture

That is the strangest post I have ever seen.

What a compliment, many thanks. :)

But seriously, I did listen to them and did not like the sound. That is why I started looking for measurements. After not finding any, I ditched the Neats and never looked back.

Anton's picture

You didn't like what you heard, so why would measurements matter?

What if you had liked them, but didn't like the measurement?

Your ears don't rule?

mrkaic's picture

What if you had liked them, but didn't like the measurement?

I would get rid of them, of course. I would feel victimized by poor engineering and/or manufacturing. A component that does not measure well has no place in my home.

Your ears don't rule?

No, please see the answer above.

Pedro's picture

Most magazines don't take measurements of gear they review like Stereophile does, so it's hardly a surprise that this is the first review of these speakers with scientific measurements. But the same can be said about loads of gear, I'm sure...

mrkaic's picture

I agree, measurements are hard to find. I suppose some of the reasons might be cost, lack of expertise by reviewers, or resistance by subjectivist reviewers who seem to be the ruling class of the audio world.

Pedro's picture

Most magazines are just snake oil sellers. Without measurements and any kind of scientific approach they can sell everything they want, including stupid stuff like very expensive cables (even directional ones - ahaha) and so forth.

avanti1960's picture

the complete story of how a speaker will sound but they are hardly irrelevant, especially measured frequency response.
That +5db peak at 100Hz is something that turns me off because I know what it sounds like.
Since this speaker was especially sensitive to room position it would have been interesting to see response plots at some different positions, perhaps getting rid of that peak (if possible).

hhi92010's picture

This looks Old School, I like it!

romath's picture

You wrote: 1) "But once the Iotas were fully broken in, they ended up 14" from the front wall and 95" from the listening chair in my larger room..." and
2) "Moving the Iota Alphas into my nearfield rig, I placed the speakers 12" from the front wall and 85" from my listening chair..."

85", i.e., 7'1" is near field?? You've got to be kidding. The Quad (active) speakers on my desktop, an arm's length away, are near field. And really, other than the room and associated electronics, what makes 7'1" and 7'9" fundamentally different? Very strange.

corrective_unconscious's picture

I'd like to have some definitive reason for it to do so, as a matter confidence in the design staff.

My hearing can vary hour to hour, just as my resting pulse, my attention span, my visual acuity, my lucidity, my testosterone levels, my mood, my digestion, and so on, can. Having basic measurements, especially ones that look at least within the realm of standard, can provide a nice baseline for any subjective impressions. An example is "bad" pair matching over a limited frequency range - measurements will find that flaw faster than my ears will in most instances, I'm sure.

Pages

NEAT Acoustics Iota Alpha loudspeaker Specifications

Thu, 02/02/2017

COMMENTS
mrkaic's picture

As far as I know, this is the first review of Neat speakers that includes measurements. I wonder why.

To my knowledge Neat designs their speakers mostly by ear. This approach does not seem very scientific to me and the poor measurements here are likely the outcome of this process.

I had a pair of Neats, but sold them when I could not find any reviews that included measurements (there was a lot of subjective reviews, but I don't care about those). I simply cannot trust equipment that is not thoroughly measured and it seems that I made the right decision.

Scliff's picture

It's a shame to be so hung up on something so irrelevant as measurements.
If I like the way a component sounds, that's all I need or care about.

mrkaic's picture

It is a shame to be so hung up on something so irrelevant as subjective impressions. If I like the way a component measures, that's all I need or care about.

johnnythunder's picture

Bad food may measure well but may taste like shit. A $5 dollar bottle of wine may measure better than a $50 bottle but tastes like shit. You can have your Consumer Reports level of audio quality but most of us will be very happy listening first and worrying about measurements later. Stereophile is a perfect blend of sometimes corroborating the sound quality of a component based on measurements or telling you to ignore it. We are human beings listening to art. The essence of that is subjective. To deny it or to knock it in others is folly.

mrkaic's picture

Pompous and Rigid?! Is that supposed to refer to me? It is sad that you cannot refrain from insulting me because we don't agree.

Anton's picture

That is the strangest post I have ever seen.

"I had a pair of Neats, but sold them when I could not find any reviews that included measurements (there was a lot of subjective reviews, but I don't care about those). I simply cannot trust equipment that is not thoroughly measured and it seems that I made the right decision."

If, by chance, you happened by them while your system was on, how did you think they sounded?

mrkaic's picture

That is the strangest post I have ever seen.

What a compliment, many thanks. :)

But seriously, I did listen to them and did not like the sound. That is why I started looking for measurements. After not finding any, I ditched the Neats and never looked back.

Anton's picture

You didn't like what you heard, so why would measurements matter?

What if you had liked them, but didn't like the measurement?

Your ears don't rule?

mrkaic's picture

What if you had liked them, but didn't like the measurement?

I would get rid of them, of course. I would feel victimized by poor engineering and/or manufacturing. A component that does not measure well has no place in my home.

Your ears don't rule?

No, please see the answer above.

Pedro's picture

Most magazines don't take measurements of gear they review like Stereophile does, so it's hardly a surprise that this is the first review of these speakers with scientific measurements. But the same can be said about loads of gear, I'm sure...

mrkaic's picture

I agree, measurements are hard to find. I suppose some of the reasons might be cost, lack of expertise by reviewers, or resistance by subjectivist reviewers who seem to be the ruling class of the audio world.

Pedro's picture

Most magazines are just snake oil sellers. Without measurements and any kind of scientific approach they can sell everything they want, including stupid stuff like very expensive cables (even directional ones - ahaha) and so forth.

avanti1960's picture

the complete story of how a speaker will sound but they are hardly irrelevant, especially measured frequency response.
That +5db peak at 100Hz is something that turns me off because I know what it sounds like.
Since this speaker was especially sensitive to room position it would have been interesting to see response plots at some different positions, perhaps getting rid of that peak (if possible).

hhi92010's picture

This looks Old School, I like it!

romath's picture

You wrote: 1) "But once the Iotas were fully broken in, they ended up 14" from the front wall and 95" from the listening chair in my larger room..." and
2) "Moving the Iota Alphas into my nearfield rig, I placed the speakers 12" from the front wall and 85" from my listening chair..."

85", i.e., 7'1" is near field?? You've got to be kidding. The Quad (active) speakers on my desktop, an arm's length away, are near field. And really, other than the room and associated electronics, what makes 7'1" and 7'9" fundamentally different? Very strange.

corrective_unconscious's picture

I'd like to have some definitive reason for it to do so, as a matter confidence in the design staff.

My hearing can vary hour to hour, just as my resting pulse, my attention span, my visual acuity, my lucidity, my testosterone levels, my mood, my digestion, and so on, can. Having basic measurements, especially ones that look at least within the realm of standard, can provide a nice baseline for any subjective impressions. An example is "bad" pair matching over a limited frequency range - measurements will find that flaw faster than my ears will in most instances, I'm sure.

Pages

NEAT Acoustics Iota Alpha loudspeaker Page 2

Thu, 02/02/2017

COMMENTS
mrkaic's picture

As far as I know, this is the first review of Neat speakers that includes measurements. I wonder why.

To my knowledge Neat designs their speakers mostly by ear. This approach does not seem very scientific to me and the poor measurements here are likely the outcome of this process.

I had a pair of Neats, but sold them when I could not find any reviews that included measurements (there was a lot of subjective reviews, but I don't care about those). I simply cannot trust equipment that is not thoroughly measured and it seems that I made the right decision.

Scliff's picture

It's a shame to be so hung up on something so irrelevant as measurements.
If I like the way a component sounds, that's all I need or care about.

mrkaic's picture

It is a shame to be so hung up on something so irrelevant as subjective impressions. If I like the way a component measures, that's all I need or care about.

johnnythunder's picture

Bad food may measure well but may taste like shit. A $5 dollar bottle of wine may measure better than a $50 bottle but tastes like shit. You can have your Consumer Reports level of audio quality but most of us will be very happy listening first and worrying about measurements later. Stereophile is a perfect blend of sometimes corroborating the sound quality of a component based on measurements or telling you to ignore it. We are human beings listening to art. The essence of that is subjective. To deny it or to knock it in others is folly.

mrkaic's picture

Pompous and Rigid?! Is that supposed to refer to me? It is sad that you cannot refrain from insulting me because we don't agree.

Anton's picture

That is the strangest post I have ever seen.

"I had a pair of Neats, but sold them when I could not find any reviews that included measurements (there was a lot of subjective reviews, but I don't care about those). I simply cannot trust equipment that is not thoroughly measured and it seems that I made the right decision."

If, by chance, you happened by them while your system was on, how did you think they sounded?

mrkaic's picture

That is the strangest post I have ever seen.

What a compliment, many thanks. :)

But seriously, I did listen to them and did not like the sound. That is why I started looking for measurements. After not finding any, I ditched the Neats and never looked back.

Anton's picture

You didn't like what you heard, so why would measurements matter?

What if you had liked them, but didn't like the measurement?

Your ears don't rule?

mrkaic's picture

What if you had liked them, but didn't like the measurement?

I would get rid of them, of course. I would feel victimized by poor engineering and/or manufacturing. A component that does not measure well has no place in my home.

Your ears don't rule?

No, please see the answer above.

Pedro's picture

Most magazines don't take measurements of gear they review like Stereophile does, so it's hardly a surprise that this is the first review of these speakers with scientific measurements. But the same can be said about loads of gear, I'm sure...

mrkaic's picture

I agree, measurements are hard to find. I suppose some of the reasons might be cost, lack of expertise by reviewers, or resistance by subjectivist reviewers who seem to be the ruling class of the audio world.

Pedro's picture

Most magazines are just snake oil sellers. Without measurements and any kind of scientific approach they can sell everything they want, including stupid stuff like very expensive cables (even directional ones - ahaha) and so forth.

avanti1960's picture

the complete story of how a speaker will sound but they are hardly irrelevant, especially measured frequency response.
That +5db peak at 100Hz is something that turns me off because I know what it sounds like.
Since this speaker was especially sensitive to room position it would have been interesting to see response plots at some different positions, perhaps getting rid of that peak (if possible).

hhi92010's picture

This looks Old School, I like it!

romath's picture

You wrote: 1) "But once the Iotas were fully broken in, they ended up 14" from the front wall and 95" from the listening chair in my larger room..." and
2) "Moving the Iota Alphas into my nearfield rig, I placed the speakers 12" from the front wall and 85" from my listening chair..."

85", i.e., 7'1" is near field?? You've got to be kidding. The Quad (active) speakers on my desktop, an arm's length away, are near field. And really, other than the room and associated electronics, what makes 7'1" and 7'9" fundamentally different? Very strange.

corrective_unconscious's picture

I'd like to have some definitive reason for it to do so, as a matter confidence in the design staff.

My hearing can vary hour to hour, just as my resting pulse, my attention span, my visual acuity, my lucidity, my testosterone levels, my mood, my digestion, and so on, can. Having basic measurements, especially ones that look at least within the realm of standard, can provide a nice baseline for any subjective impressions. An example is "bad" pair matching over a limited frequency range - measurements will find that flaw faster than my ears will in most instances, I'm sure.

Pages

NEAT Acoustics Iota Alpha loudspeaker

Reviewers of high-fidelity gear are a trend-sniffing, topology-bandying bunch. When four of our kin gathered last November over lunch, during the 2016 New York Audio Show, the high-end chatter flew fast and furious. "Did you hear those mother-rocking big horns on the seventh floor?" "Nah, man, the Bruno Putzeys speakers on nine were best in show." "What about those li'l Lowthers on eight? Great sweet spot, but small as peanuts."
Thu, 02/02/2017

EAR Acute Classic CD player Manufacturers' Comment

Thu, 02/02/2017

COMMENTS
georgehifi's picture

Art Dudley: "Finally, I listened to the CD layer of the SACD/CD It wasn't long before that familiar treble edge became apparent in the sounds of massed strings and brass instruments—and, sorry to say, Hahn's brilliantly played violin."

I've yet to hear the cd (pcm) layer sound good, on a dual layer SACD disc, also when being converted by a delta sigma converter even hybrids.

Cheers George

cgh's picture

Good of you guys to post the manufacturers comment.

Solarophile's picture

But why is it that there seems to be an over-representation in equipment failures with these uber expensive audio devices?

Costing around $7k, you would think each unit would be of impeccable quality control and testing before leaving the door. Sure, the jitter FFT doesn't look great. But that higher noise floor thanks to the tubes isn't exactly pretty either.

PAR's picture

" Costing around $7k, you would think each unit would be of impeccable quality control and testing before leaving the door."

I would guarantee that this unit left the factory after some impeccable QC. However in real life units sent for test are not always fresh from their maker, particularly where expensive gear is involved. Much of the latter is only made subject to a confirmed order as it is not viable for the (usually small) manufacturer to have lots of costly inventory hanging around hoping for a buyer.

The result is that often the item under test is the only sample available in the given country. It will probably have been tramped around the country for demonstrations and may even have been lent out to customers known to the importer/dealer and considered a serious potential purchaser. So it most likely has suffred from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

I listen regularly to an earlier version of the Acute owned by a friend and IMO it sounds excellent , far better than many competitive players. I have even played it back to back with my dCS stack and , again, it mostly held its own insofar as subjective enjoyment is concerned.

I am confident that a retest of another sample will remove doubts. Of course it does have a valve output stage so that has to be taken account of for the measurements. That is just the nature of the beast and all of its betubed relations

John Atkinson's picture
PAR wrote:
The result is that often the item under test is the only sample available in the given country. It will probably have been tramped around the country for demonstrations and may even have been lent out to customers known to the importer/dealer and considered a serious potential purchaser. So it most likely has suffered from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

This is increasingly the case. One amplifier we recently received for review had overlaid UPS labels identifying 2 other writers who had had the amp before us. As Stereophile is the only publication that measures the products it reviews, for an importer to send us a used and possibly broken sample is rolling the dice. As in this case, it wasn't worth them taking that risk.

As I say in this 2007 essay on our review policies, www.stereophile.com/asweseeit/307awsi/index.html, "All products sent to Stereophile and its reviewers . . . are deemed to be for review. It is also assumed that they are representative of current production quality."

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

georgehifi's picture

This does not sit well for me, as a good Stereophile review is the No 1 review a manufacturer can get to open the retail flood gates.

Hell I would have been devastated (and broke) if Sam Tellig didn't give my product a great review, I hung on every word of the review more so than the birth of my son.
And before anyone says I gave him a freebee, NO! he had to buy one from me before he even did the review.

To send to Stereophile some thing that has been around the world without double /tripple checking it first and making sure it's even better than a retail one, means the manufacturer doesn't give a s**t about how the review turns out, to which I highly doubt.

Like I said it doesn't sit well for me, as I've seen so many times with a bad reviews, the manufacturers comments saying it was faulty we'll send another one. REALLY!!!!

Cheers George

Allen Fant's picture

Not surprised at all- AD.
I have been wanting to demo one of these spinners. Last year I sent an email request to Dan for a list of dealers/retailers. To date, I still have not received a reply?

mjazz's picture

I heard the player first at a local hifi show and it sounded pretty "digital". I then borrowed the player for a week and I had more or less the same experience like Art. It was not just right in the highs. It sounded like old digital.

A pity, because I thought I finally found a good follow up player for my Meridian 808i.2, but the meridian sounds in my ears so much more natural than the EAR (through an EAR 912 pre).

It would be a -bad- coincidence if the player I had at home was broken as well....

fortescue's picture

I had been looking forward to this review, especially given the kind words others have written about this CDP and about its predecessor. It's certainly been on my own audition list despite the fact I already own a fairly high-end Audio Note transport and DAC - I could really use the space apart from anything else!

The harsh review was a bit of a surprise, but the biggest surprise of all was the measurements section: looking at it, it's as plain as day that the unit you tested was broken. Surely it would have made sense to have had a conversation with the manufacturer BEFORE publishing?

You might think it makes you look all grand and objective, but actually you let your readers down when you pull a stunt like this. If the player is genuinely a poor performer then giving the manufacturer a chance to supply another sample, then confirming your findings, is surely a more credible way forward than reviewing a clearly broken bit of kit?

I would think you have been in the journalism game long enough to know that a petty exercise like this just makes you look a bit dumb, possibly even dumber than a manufacturer who wasn't organised enough to send you a fresh sample.

ChicagoJEO's picture

I have to disagree. When Stereophile receives a product, it's the manufacturer's responsibility to insure that the reviewer gets a properly functioning unit. As a consumer, I don't have the test equipment (and well-trained ears) to tell when something is malfunctioning, if it happens at the relatively low level that was the case here. If Stereophile starts getting the manufacturer to buff up the unit to a higher level, I think that's a kind of collusion that would give the product a review indicating a quality level the average consumer is not likely to experience.
If the unit is exhibiting bad behavior that any consumer would be likely to recognize (bad artifacts, or simply not even functioning at all), then it's appropriate for them to return it to the manufacturer, as that's something the average consumer would also be likely to do.

John Atkinson's picture
fortescue wrote:
the biggest surprise of all was the measurements section: looking at it, it's as plain as day that the unit you tested was broken.

Plain to you, perhaps. The high distortion I measured was within the manufacturer's specification, as was the high headphone output impedance. The poor performance of the digital section was no worse than that of some other products we have reviewed.

And while the maximum output level was higher than specified, we didn't think that in itself was reason to think the sample was broken, as it was identical in both channels. Yes, this may have been due to a manufacturing fault, but as I wrote in the essay linked to in an earlier posting, "It is assumed that [products sent to Stereophile and its reviewers] are representative of current production quality." If it turns out that a product is not representative, then we feel that the fact that neither the manufacturer nor the distributor has effective QA is a relevant fact.

fortescue wrote:
Surely it would have made sense to have had a conversation with the manufacturer BEFORE publishing?

The manufacturer and distributor were sent a proof of the review; the result was the "Manufacturer's Comment" you can read on this website and the promise to send another sample for a follow-up review. That followup appears in our March issue and will be appended to this web reprint next week.

fortescue wrote:
You might think it makes you look all grand and objective, but actually you let your readers down when you pull a stunt like this. If the player is genuinely a poor performer then giving the manufacturer a chance to supply another sample, then confirming your findings, is surely a more credible way forward than reviewing a clearly broken bit of kit?

You seem to think that our responsibility as reviewers is to present a manufacturer in the best possible light. You are wrong. We are critics, not consultants.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

fortescue's picture

Well I guess we'll see ... I had been keen to audition this player having heard only the original Acute CD and thinking highly of it. I guess we'll soon find out whether I should bother or not.

Pages

EAR Acute Classic CD player Measurements

Thu, 02/02/2017

COMMENTS
georgehifi's picture

Art Dudley: "Finally, I listened to the CD layer of the SACD/CD It wasn't long before that familiar treble edge became apparent in the sounds of massed strings and brass instruments—and, sorry to say, Hahn's brilliantly played violin."

I've yet to hear the cd (pcm) layer sound good, on a dual layer SACD disc, also when being converted by a delta sigma converter even hybrids.

Cheers George

cgh's picture

Good of you guys to post the manufacturers comment.

Solarophile's picture

But why is it that there seems to be an over-representation in equipment failures with these uber expensive audio devices?

Costing around $7k, you would think each unit would be of impeccable quality control and testing before leaving the door. Sure, the jitter FFT doesn't look great. But that higher noise floor thanks to the tubes isn't exactly pretty either.

PAR's picture

" Costing around $7k, you would think each unit would be of impeccable quality control and testing before leaving the door."

I would guarantee that this unit left the factory after some impeccable QC. However in real life units sent for test are not always fresh from their maker, particularly where expensive gear is involved. Much of the latter is only made subject to a confirmed order as it is not viable for the (usually small) manufacturer to have lots of costly inventory hanging around hoping for a buyer.

The result is that often the item under test is the only sample available in the given country. It will probably have been tramped around the country for demonstrations and may even have been lent out to customers known to the importer/dealer and considered a serious potential purchaser. So it most likely has suffred from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

I listen regularly to an earlier version of the Acute owned by a friend and IMO it sounds excellent , far better than many competitive players. I have even played it back to back with my dCS stack and , again, it mostly held its own insofar as subjective enjoyment is concerned.

I am confident that a retest of another sample will remove doubts. Of course it does have a valve output stage so that has to be taken account of for the measurements. That is just the nature of the beast and all of its betubed relations

John Atkinson's picture
PAR wrote:
The result is that often the item under test is the only sample available in the given country. It will probably have been tramped around the country for demonstrations and may even have been lent out to customers known to the importer/dealer and considered a serious potential purchaser. So it most likely has suffered from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

This is increasingly the case. One amplifier we recently received for review had overlaid UPS labels identifying 2 other writers who had had the amp before us. As Stereophile is the only publication that measures the products it reviews, for an importer to send us a used and possibly broken sample is rolling the dice. As in this case, it wasn't worth them taking that risk.

As I say in this 2007 essay on our review policies, www.stereophile.com/asweseeit/307awsi/index.html, "All products sent to Stereophile and its reviewers . . . are deemed to be for review. It is also assumed that they are representative of current production quality."

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

georgehifi's picture

This does not sit well for me, as a good Stereophile review is the No 1 review a manufacturer can get to open the retail flood gates.

Hell I would have been devastated (and broke) if Sam Tellig didn't give my product a great review, I hung on every word of the review more so than the birth of my son.
And before anyone says I gave him a freebee, NO! he had to buy one from me before he even did the review.

To send to Stereophile some thing that has been around the world without double /tripple checking it first and making sure it's even better than a retail one, means the manufacturer doesn't give a s**t about how the review turns out, to which I highly doubt.

Like I said it doesn't sit well for me, as I've seen so many times with a bad reviews, the manufacturers comments saying it was faulty we'll send another one. REALLY!!!!

Cheers George

Allen Fant's picture

Not surprised at all- AD.
I have been wanting to demo one of these spinners. Last year I sent an email request to Dan for a list of dealers/retailers. To date, I still have not received a reply?

mjazz's picture

I heard the player first at a local hifi show and it sounded pretty "digital". I then borrowed the player for a week and I had more or less the same experience like Art. It was not just right in the highs. It sounded like old digital.

A pity, because I thought I finally found a good follow up player for my Meridian 808i.2, but the meridian sounds in my ears so much more natural than the EAR (through an EAR 912 pre).

It would be a -bad- coincidence if the player I had at home was broken as well....

fortescue's picture

I had been looking forward to this review, especially given the kind words others have written about this CDP and about its predecessor. It's certainly been on my own audition list despite the fact I already own a fairly high-end Audio Note transport and DAC - I could really use the space apart from anything else!

The harsh review was a bit of a surprise, but the biggest surprise of all was the measurements section: looking at it, it's as plain as day that the unit you tested was broken. Surely it would have made sense to have had a conversation with the manufacturer BEFORE publishing?

You might think it makes you look all grand and objective, but actually you let your readers down when you pull a stunt like this. If the player is genuinely a poor performer then giving the manufacturer a chance to supply another sample, then confirming your findings, is surely a more credible way forward than reviewing a clearly broken bit of kit?

I would think you have been in the journalism game long enough to know that a petty exercise like this just makes you look a bit dumb, possibly even dumber than a manufacturer who wasn't organised enough to send you a fresh sample.

ChicagoJEO's picture

I have to disagree. When Stereophile receives a product, it's the manufacturer's responsibility to insure that the reviewer gets a properly functioning unit. As a consumer, I don't have the test equipment (and well-trained ears) to tell when something is malfunctioning, if it happens at the relatively low level that was the case here. If Stereophile starts getting the manufacturer to buff up the unit to a higher level, I think that's a kind of collusion that would give the product a review indicating a quality level the average consumer is not likely to experience.
If the unit is exhibiting bad behavior that any consumer would be likely to recognize (bad artifacts, or simply not even functioning at all), then it's appropriate for them to return it to the manufacturer, as that's something the average consumer would also be likely to do.

John Atkinson's picture
fortescue wrote:
the biggest surprise of all was the measurements section: looking at it, it's as plain as day that the unit you tested was broken.

Plain to you, perhaps. The high distortion I measured was within the manufacturer's specification, as was the high headphone output impedance. The poor performance of the digital section was no worse than that of some other products we have reviewed.

And while the maximum output level was higher than specified, we didn't think that in itself was reason to think the sample was broken, as it was identical in both channels. Yes, this may have been due to a manufacturing fault, but as I wrote in the essay linked to in an earlier posting, "It is assumed that [products sent to Stereophile and its reviewers] are representative of current production quality." If it turns out that a product is not representative, then we feel that the fact that neither the manufacturer nor the distributor has effective QA is a relevant fact.

fortescue wrote:
Surely it would have made sense to have had a conversation with the manufacturer BEFORE publishing?

The manufacturer and distributor were sent a proof of the review; the result was the "Manufacturer's Comment" you can read on this website and the promise to send another sample for a follow-up review. That followup appears in our March issue and will be appended to this web reprint next week.

fortescue wrote:
You might think it makes you look all grand and objective, but actually you let your readers down when you pull a stunt like this. If the player is genuinely a poor performer then giving the manufacturer a chance to supply another sample, then confirming your findings, is surely a more credible way forward than reviewing a clearly broken bit of kit?

You seem to think that our responsibility as reviewers is to present a manufacturer in the best possible light. You are wrong. We are critics, not consultants.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

fortescue's picture

Well I guess we'll see ... I had been keen to audition this player having heard only the original Acute CD and thinking highly of it. I guess we'll soon find out whether I should bother or not.

Pages

EAR Acute Classic CD player Associated Equipment

Thu, 02/02/2017

COMMENTS
georgehifi's picture

Art Dudley: "Finally, I listened to the CD layer of the SACD/CD It wasn't long before that familiar treble edge became apparent in the sounds of massed strings and brass instruments—and, sorry to say, Hahn's brilliantly played violin."

I've yet to hear the cd (pcm) layer sound good, on a dual layer SACD disc, also when being converted by a delta sigma converter even hybrids.

Cheers George

cgh's picture

Good of you guys to post the manufacturers comment.

Solarophile's picture

But why is it that there seems to be an over-representation in equipment failures with these uber expensive audio devices?

Costing around $7k, you would think each unit would be of impeccable quality control and testing before leaving the door. Sure, the jitter FFT doesn't look great. But that higher noise floor thanks to the tubes isn't exactly pretty either.

PAR's picture

" Costing around $7k, you would think each unit would be of impeccable quality control and testing before leaving the door."

I would guarantee that this unit left the factory after some impeccable QC. However in real life units sent for test are not always fresh from their maker, particularly where expensive gear is involved. Much of the latter is only made subject to a confirmed order as it is not viable for the (usually small) manufacturer to have lots of costly inventory hanging around hoping for a buyer.

The result is that often the item under test is the only sample available in the given country. It will probably have been tramped around the country for demonstrations and may even have been lent out to customers known to the importer/dealer and considered a serious potential purchaser. So it most likely has suffred from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

I listen regularly to an earlier version of the Acute owned by a friend and IMO it sounds excellent , far better than many competitive players. I have even played it back to back with my dCS stack and , again, it mostly held its own insofar as subjective enjoyment is concerned.

I am confident that a retest of another sample will remove doubts. Of course it does have a valve output stage so that has to be taken account of for the measurements. That is just the nature of the beast and all of its betubed relations

John Atkinson's picture
PAR wrote:
The result is that often the item under test is the only sample available in the given country. It will probably have been tramped around the country for demonstrations and may even have been lent out to customers known to the importer/dealer and considered a serious potential purchaser. So it most likely has suffered from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

This is increasingly the case. One amplifier we recently received for review had overlaid UPS labels identifying 2 other writers who had had the amp before us. As Stereophile is the only publication that measures the products it reviews, for an importer to send us a used and possibly broken sample is rolling the dice. As in this case, it wasn't worth them taking that risk.

As I say in this 2007 essay on our review policies, www.stereophile.com/asweseeit/307awsi/index.html, "All products sent to Stereophile and its reviewers . . . are deemed to be for review. It is also assumed that they are representative of current production quality."

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

georgehifi's picture

This does not sit well for me, as a good Stereophile review is the No 1 review a manufacturer can get to open the retail flood gates.

Hell I would have been devastated (and broke) if Sam Tellig didn't give my product a great review, I hung on every word of the review more so than the birth of my son.
And before anyone says I gave him a freebee, NO! he had to buy one from me before he even did the review.

To send to Stereophile some thing that has been around the world without double /tripple checking it first and making sure it's even better than a retail one, means the manufacturer doesn't give a s**t about how the review turns out, to which I highly doubt.

Like I said it doesn't sit well for me, as I've seen so many times with a bad reviews, the manufacturers comments saying it was faulty we'll send another one. REALLY!!!!

Cheers George

Allen Fant's picture

Not surprised at all- AD.
I have been wanting to demo one of these spinners. Last year I sent an email request to Dan for a list of dealers/retailers. To date, I still have not received a reply?

mjazz's picture

I heard the player first at a local hifi show and it sounded pretty "digital". I then borrowed the player for a week and I had more or less the same experience like Art. It was not just right in the highs. It sounded like old digital.

A pity, because I thought I finally found a good follow up player for my Meridian 808i.2, but the meridian sounds in my ears so much more natural than the EAR (through an EAR 912 pre).

It would be a -bad- coincidence if the player I had at home was broken as well....

fortescue's picture

I had been looking forward to this review, especially given the kind words others have written about this CDP and about its predecessor. It's certainly been on my own audition list despite the fact I already own a fairly high-end Audio Note transport and DAC - I could really use the space apart from anything else!

The harsh review was a bit of a surprise, but the biggest surprise of all was the measurements section: looking at it, it's as plain as day that the unit you tested was broken. Surely it would have made sense to have had a conversation with the manufacturer BEFORE publishing?

You might think it makes you look all grand and objective, but actually you let your readers down when you pull a stunt like this. If the player is genuinely a poor performer then giving the manufacturer a chance to supply another sample, then confirming your findings, is surely a more credible way forward than reviewing a clearly broken bit of kit?

I would think you have been in the journalism game long enough to know that a petty exercise like this just makes you look a bit dumb, possibly even dumber than a manufacturer who wasn't organised enough to send you a fresh sample.

ChicagoJEO's picture

I have to disagree. When Stereophile receives a product, it's the manufacturer's responsibility to insure that the reviewer gets a properly functioning unit. As a consumer, I don't have the test equipment (and well-trained ears) to tell when something is malfunctioning, if it happens at the relatively low level that was the case here. If Stereophile starts getting the manufacturer to buff up the unit to a higher level, I think that's a kind of collusion that would give the product a review indicating a quality level the average consumer is not likely to experience.
If the unit is exhibiting bad behavior that any consumer would be likely to recognize (bad artifacts, or simply not even functioning at all), then it's appropriate for them to return it to the manufacturer, as that's something the average consumer would also be likely to do.

John Atkinson's picture
fortescue wrote:
the biggest surprise of all was the measurements section: looking at it, it's as plain as day that the unit you tested was broken.

Plain to you, perhaps. The high distortion I measured was within the manufacturer's specification, as was the high headphone output impedance. The poor performance of the digital section was no worse than that of some other products we have reviewed.

And while the maximum output level was higher than specified, we didn't think that in itself was reason to think the sample was broken, as it was identical in both channels. Yes, this may have been due to a manufacturing fault, but as I wrote in the essay linked to in an earlier posting, "It is assumed that [products sent to Stereophile and its reviewers] are representative of current production quality." If it turns out that a product is not representative, then we feel that the fact that neither the manufacturer nor the distributor has effective QA is a relevant fact.

fortescue wrote:
Surely it would have made sense to have had a conversation with the manufacturer BEFORE publishing?

The manufacturer and distributor were sent a proof of the review; the result was the "Manufacturer's Comment" you can read on this website and the promise to send another sample for a follow-up review. That followup appears in our March issue and will be appended to this web reprint next week.

fortescue wrote:
You might think it makes you look all grand and objective, but actually you let your readers down when you pull a stunt like this. If the player is genuinely a poor performer then giving the manufacturer a chance to supply another sample, then confirming your findings, is surely a more credible way forward than reviewing a clearly broken bit of kit?

You seem to think that our responsibility as reviewers is to present a manufacturer in the best possible light. You are wrong. We are critics, not consultants.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

fortescue's picture

Well I guess we'll see ... I had been keen to audition this player having heard only the original Acute CD and thinking highly of it. I guess we'll soon find out whether I should bother or not.

Pages

EAR Acute Classic CD player Specifications

Thu, 02/02/2017

COMMENTS
georgehifi's picture

Art Dudley: "Finally, I listened to the CD layer of the SACD/CD It wasn't long before that familiar treble edge became apparent in the sounds of massed strings and brass instruments—and, sorry to say, Hahn's brilliantly played violin."

I've yet to hear the cd (pcm) layer sound good, on a dual layer SACD disc, also when being converted by a delta sigma converter even hybrids.

Cheers George

cgh's picture

Good of you guys to post the manufacturers comment.

Solarophile's picture

But why is it that there seems to be an over-representation in equipment failures with these uber expensive audio devices?

Costing around $7k, you would think each unit would be of impeccable quality control and testing before leaving the door. Sure, the jitter FFT doesn't look great. But that higher noise floor thanks to the tubes isn't exactly pretty either.

PAR's picture

" Costing around $7k, you would think each unit would be of impeccable quality control and testing before leaving the door."

I would guarantee that this unit left the factory after some impeccable QC. However in real life units sent for test are not always fresh from their maker, particularly where expensive gear is involved. Much of the latter is only made subject to a confirmed order as it is not viable for the (usually small) manufacturer to have lots of costly inventory hanging around hoping for a buyer.

The result is that often the item under test is the only sample available in the given country. It will probably have been tramped around the country for demonstrations and may even have been lent out to customers known to the importer/dealer and considered a serious potential purchaser. So it most likely has suffred from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

I listen regularly to an earlier version of the Acute owned by a friend and IMO it sounds excellent , far better than many competitive players. I have even played it back to back with my dCS stack and , again, it mostly held its own insofar as subjective enjoyment is concerned.

I am confident that a retest of another sample will remove doubts. Of course it does have a valve output stage so that has to be taken account of for the measurements. That is just the nature of the beast and all of its betubed relations

John Atkinson's picture
PAR wrote:
The result is that often the item under test is the only sample available in the given country. It will probably have been tramped around the country for demonstrations and may even have been lent out to customers known to the importer/dealer and considered a serious potential purchaser. So it most likely has suffered from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

This is increasingly the case. One amplifier we recently received for review had overlaid UPS labels identifying 2 other writers who had had the amp before us. As Stereophile is the only publication that measures the products it reviews, for an importer to send us a used and possibly broken sample is rolling the dice. As in this case, it wasn't worth them taking that risk.

As I say in this 2007 essay on our review policies, www.stereophile.com/asweseeit/307awsi/index.html, "All products sent to Stereophile and its reviewers . . . are deemed to be for review. It is also assumed that they are representative of current production quality."

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

georgehifi's picture

This does not sit well for me, as a good Stereophile review is the No 1 review a manufacturer can get to open the retail flood gates.

Hell I would have been devastated (and broke) if Sam Tellig didn't give my product a great review, I hung on every word of the review more so than the birth of my son.
And before anyone says I gave him a freebee, NO! he had to buy one from me before he even did the review.

To send to Stereophile some thing that has been around the world without double /tripple checking it first and making sure it's even better than a retail one, means the manufacturer doesn't give a s**t about how the review turns out, to which I highly doubt.

Like I said it doesn't sit well for me, as I've seen so many times with a bad reviews, the manufacturers comments saying it was faulty we'll send another one. REALLY!!!!

Cheers George

Allen Fant's picture

Not surprised at all- AD.
I have been wanting to demo one of these spinners. Last year I sent an email request to Dan for a list of dealers/retailers. To date, I still have not received a reply?

mjazz's picture

I heard the player first at a local hifi show and it sounded pretty "digital". I then borrowed the player for a week and I had more or less the same experience like Art. It was not just right in the highs. It sounded like old digital.

A pity, because I thought I finally found a good follow up player for my Meridian 808i.2, but the meridian sounds in my ears so much more natural than the EAR (through an EAR 912 pre).

It would be a -bad- coincidence if the player I had at home was broken as well....

fortescue's picture

I had been looking forward to this review, especially given the kind words others have written about this CDP and about its predecessor. It's certainly been on my own audition list despite the fact I already own a fairly high-end Audio Note transport and DAC - I could really use the space apart from anything else!

The harsh review was a bit of a surprise, but the biggest surprise of all was the measurements section: looking at it, it's as plain as day that the unit you tested was broken. Surely it would have made sense to have had a conversation with the manufacturer BEFORE publishing?

You might think it makes you look all grand and objective, but actually you let your readers down when you pull a stunt like this. If the player is genuinely a poor performer then giving the manufacturer a chance to supply another sample, then confirming your findings, is surely a more credible way forward than reviewing a clearly broken bit of kit?

I would think you have been in the journalism game long enough to know that a petty exercise like this just makes you look a bit dumb, possibly even dumber than a manufacturer who wasn't organised enough to send you a fresh sample.

ChicagoJEO's picture

I have to disagree. When Stereophile receives a product, it's the manufacturer's responsibility to insure that the reviewer gets a properly functioning unit. As a consumer, I don't have the test equipment (and well-trained ears) to tell when something is malfunctioning, if it happens at the relatively low level that was the case here. If Stereophile starts getting the manufacturer to buff up the unit to a higher level, I think that's a kind of collusion that would give the product a review indicating a quality level the average consumer is not likely to experience.
If the unit is exhibiting bad behavior that any consumer would be likely to recognize (bad artifacts, or simply not even functioning at all), then it's appropriate for them to return it to the manufacturer, as that's something the average consumer would also be likely to do.

John Atkinson's picture
fortescue wrote:
the biggest surprise of all was the measurements section: looking at it, it's as plain as day that the unit you tested was broken.

Plain to you, perhaps. The high distortion I measured was within the manufacturer's specification, as was the high headphone output impedance. The poor performance of the digital section was no worse than that of some other products we have reviewed.

And while the maximum output level was higher than specified, we didn't think that in itself was reason to think the sample was broken, as it was identical in both channels. Yes, this may have been due to a manufacturing fault, but as I wrote in the essay linked to in an earlier posting, "It is assumed that [products sent to Stereophile and its reviewers] are representative of current production quality." If it turns out that a product is not representative, then we feel that the fact that neither the manufacturer nor the distributor has effective QA is a relevant fact.

fortescue wrote:
Surely it would have made sense to have had a conversation with the manufacturer BEFORE publishing?

The manufacturer and distributor were sent a proof of the review; the result was the "Manufacturer's Comment" you can read on this website and the promise to send another sample for a follow-up review. That followup appears in our March issue and will be appended to this web reprint next week.

fortescue wrote:
You might think it makes you look all grand and objective, but actually you let your readers down when you pull a stunt like this. If the player is genuinely a poor performer then giving the manufacturer a chance to supply another sample, then confirming your findings, is surely a more credible way forward than reviewing a clearly broken bit of kit?

You seem to think that our responsibility as reviewers is to present a manufacturer in the best possible light. You are wrong. We are critics, not consultants.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

fortescue's picture

Well I guess we'll see ... I had been keen to audition this player having heard only the original Acute CD and thinking highly of it. I guess we'll soon find out whether I should bother or not.

Pages

Pages