Objective Reviews & Commentary - An Engineer's Perspective

February 2, 2011


Tap... Tap... Is this thing on? I've resisted the “blog temptation” for a long time as I know I might spend entirely too much time publishing random thoughts if I have my own audio blog. So no promises, but at least it's a start...

NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS: One of my resolutions as of January 1st was doing more to help others. This blog is one way I’m trying to accomplish that goal.

ABOUT ME: I'm a serious music lover and audiophile, somewhat less obsessed with video gear but still count it as a passion, and an electrical engineer by education (BSEE) and career. I have tested lots of audio equipment over the years and even designed some from scratch. I've designed and built custom home theaters, worked in the industry, and attended way too many conferences like CES, AES conventions, etc. Some might think I take it all too seriously. They might be right.

WHY ANOTHER AUDIO BLOG? There's no shortage of web content regarding gear these days. But, sadly, 99% is only subjective (i.e. one person's opinion) rather than objective (based on factual data, measurements, etc.). And, perhaps worse, what little objective data can be found is often incomplete, subject to commercial bias, hard to compare with other results, and/or just plain wrong because it's not done correctly.

A lot of the blogs I’ve found have a commercial bias while others are entirely subjective. So there’s a real need for more non-commercial content focused more on the objective side of things—publish the facts without worrying about keeping advertisers, sponsors or employers happy.

I hope to both share my thoughts on products and provide some added perspective. There are many things in high-end audio that are arguably myth. While other common beliefs have some solid basis in fact but that doesn’t mean they’re audible. I want to offer genuine, verifiable, objective information to help others make more informed product decisions and hopefully keep a few manufactures a bit more honest—or even provide some incentive to improve their products.

FORUM LINKS: Having a blog also provides a central “repository” for the sorts of things I’ve been posting in various forums for years. Instead of repeating myself, I can spend publish a better written article here and just reference it from multiple places.

A BEGINNING: To start, I plan to focus more on equipment with more significant measurable differences in such categories as portable audio devices, desktop audio, and headphones. These are product areas where the point of diminishing returns in terms of audio performance are often not reached due to cost, size, battery life, convenience, etc. So they're generally more interesting from an objective perspective. This will also let me refine my methodology before getting to the more serious gear.

SUBJECTIVE vs OBJECTIVE: I also hope to help correlate objective measured performance, where possible, with subjective listening—i.e. what we really hear and why. Others have done a better job of this (like Sean Olive) than I likely can, but I’ll try to add my two cents worth as it applies to the things I measure.

TECH SECTIONS: Many of the articles have a “Tech Section” that follows the main article. These sections are optional reading for those who want more details (i.e. serious geeks).

FEEDBACK: I welcome feedback on my measurements, methods, ideas, and the blog in general. I'm not always right and welcome corrections in the interest of being as accurate as possible. Feel free to comment on the blog or use the contact page to send me a private message.


(revised 3/6/11)


  1. It sounds like you're aiming at the same target audience as The $en$ible $ound magazine, which is a good thing. I haven't seen an issue in twenty years, but they were more subjective than objective, if I recall correctly. Certainly not the level of measuring performance as you do. From what I've been fortunate enough to read so far, I think you've really got a handle on the whole situation!

  2. Arvid, Thanks for the encouragement. Peter Aczel's Sensible Sound magazine wasn't very popular with the majority of the audiophile community, but he had a significant following. I hope to try and further at least a few of his beliefs while perhaps being a bit more open minded to things we may not yet fully understand (or at least I don't yet fully understand).


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