Audio Science Review = Rebuttal and Further Thoughts

@crymeanaudioriver @amir_asr You are sitting there worrying if this or that other useless tweak like a cable makes a sonic difference.

I don’t worry about my equipment unless it fails. I never worry about tweaks or cables. The last time I had to choose a cable was after I purchased my first DAC and transport in 2019.  I auditioned six and chose one, the Synergistic Research Atmosphere X Euphoria. Why would someone with as fulfilling a life as me worry about cables or tweaks and it is in YOUR mind that they are USELESS.

@prof "would it be safe to say you are not an electrical designer or electrical engineer? If so, under what authority do you make the following comment" - concerning creating a high end DAC out of a mediocre DAC.

Well, I have such a DAC, built by a manufacturer of equipment and cables for his and my use. It beat out a $9,000 COS Engineering D1v and $5,000 D2v by a longshot. It is comparable to an $23,000 Meridian Ultradac. Because I tried all the latter three in comparison I say this with some authority, the authority of a recording engineer (me), a manufacturer (friend) and many audiophiles who have heard the same and came to the same conclusion.

Another DAC with excellent design engineer and inferior execution is the Emotiva XDA-2. No new audio board but 7! audiophile quality regulators instead of the computer grade junk inside, similar high end power and filter caps, resistors, etc. to make this into a high end DAC on the very cheap ($400 new plus about the same in added parts).

@russ69 We must be neighbors. I frequented Woodland Hills Audio Center back in the 70s and 80s. I heard several of Arnie’s speakers including a the large Infinity speakers in a home.


I seem to remember people here crowing about how ASR shut their thread down, while Agon wasn’t doing that.

How things change ;-)


Anyway, fleschler, I’m sorry but I’m going to be blunt: It’s clear that your previous comments about the quality of the standard Benchmark gear were totally and utterly ill-informed.  You haven't produced one single bit of evidence for your claims about the "junk parts" or any evidence you know what you are talking about.

I’m being blunt because frankly I find it quite galling when truly esteemed and accomplished engineers (and engineering) is sh*t upon by audiophiles who don’t have any real knowledge, going on their pseudo-scientific intuitions.

It reminds me of the moon-landing deniers. On one hand it’s harmless stuff, the fantasies of people who combine ignorance with hubris. But it’s not *just* harmless - by denying the moon landing they are sh*tting on one of humankind’s greatest achievements, and spreading the idea it was fake.

Similarly, seeing a similar combination of ignorance and hubris ("I know more because My Golden Ears are better than anyone’s engineering experience!") spreading ideas like Benchmark’s products underperforming due to "poor implementation of parts." It’s just ridiculous, and I can’t pretend for a second to respect it.



@prof : I am scratching my head… why don’t you participate in forums with like minded people with the same beliefs and ideology like ASR? Do you really have to team up here with human equivalent of malware like @crymeanaudioriver who literally got banned and resurfaced here with dozen+ of usernames? 



































I'm not "teaming up" with anyone.

I am scratching my head… why don’t you participate in forums with like minded people with the same beliefs and ideology like ASR?

I do.  I've been a member quite a while at ASR.

However, I find the direction of interest in gear too constrained for me at ASR, and I enjoy discussing the subjective aspects of they hobby - exchanging notes on what things sound like etc.  That doesn't go down so well over there. (I mentioned that in the other ASR thread).

For instance if you look at my long running (and quite popular) thread on Agon in which I report my impressions of lots of speakers, that would go down mostly with a thud at ASR, because it's all subjective.  No data.

So ASR satisfies one aspect of my approach, places like Agon satisfy another. 


Sorry @prof , have not been following this ASR thread(s) closely. Any thread Cin Dyment aka @crymeanaudioriver this time around is pointless. It’s a “drama” I have seen dozens of time before.I just see you arguing a lot the party line position of ASR. So I was just wondering. I do remember you praising Devore speakers who measure like crap according to the party line of ASR, so I know you do listen to determine your preferences in this hobby. It’s fine, it’s just a hobby. Not a life or death situation 

No problem thyname.

It’s pretty ironic because nobody here has voiced more criticism - or written more pushback - of some aspects of ASR than I have - on the ASR forum!

I’m continually pushing back against the idea that purely subjective impressions and writing are worthless. I'm also the guy there often defending the worth of vinyl and tube amps.

And as I say, I am interested in a much wider view of high end audio products than you tend to get at ASR. I don’t necessarily criticize the fact that ASR tends to converge on some narrowly defined ’X makes for a good product’ trends. That’s perfectly fine so far as it fits the remit of a forum like that. It’s just that my own interests aren’t focused in precisely that same direction.

Well, there are thousands of ways to “skin a cat”. To me, there is no point of pushing one’s method of evaluating audio down the throats of others. We are all adults, and can figure stuff for ourselves. This whole thing is starting to become like a missionary work from the 1400s. Again, just a hobby, not a life of death situation 

@prof Unless you have viewed the parts and design of both the Benchmark and Emotiva YOU have no basis to doubt me. Not only that, I think that the Benchmark DAC I use has superior engineering, possibly due to their particular asynchronous oversampling. I never said that Benchmark makes a bad product-they make good products that could be elevated to high end quality. And the Emotiva is a true bargain to upgrade.

Junk parts-for high end audio, it’s using 50¢ regulators used in ordinary industrial use such as in computers rather than $30-$50 audio quality regulators. Maybe you think capacitors are all the same and sound the same if they measure the same. They don’t. Sometimes less expensive audio quality caps sound better than expensive caps in audio equipment but using industrial use caps in high end audio is a joke which the internet is replete with information on which cap sounds different from one another. They don’t use industrial caps in high end audio equipment for a very good reason-they don’t sound good.

The reason better and typically more expensive parts are NOT used is for economic reasons-the price the product increases, sometimes exponentially.  Benchmark and Emotiva provide reliable audio equipment at a price point.  




You’d written about the Benchmark LA4 preamp:

"There is a cure for the Benchmark. Replace the computer quality, cheap-ass regulators, power and filter caps, maybe parts of the audio board, the Op-amp, etc. with audio (much more costly) parts. Benchmark products are only okay stock but can be great when modified. "

A ’cure?’

The Benchmark LA4 is among the most transparent, lowest distortion consumer audio products you can buy! They set out for "benchmark" transparency and accuracy and achieved it. They would have used whatever components necessary, but they knew what type of components would make a difference and which wouldn’t. That’s because they are actual highly qualified engineers, not merely audiophiles claiming Golden Ears.

Amir measured the LA4 and it’s low distortion was off-the-charts:


John Atkinson measured the LA4 and was similarly blown away:


Some distortion products measured "close to the residual level of these harmonics in my Audio Precision SYS2722’s signal generator."  (The Audio Precision is far more sensitive than our ears - that's the point of such an instrument in the first place!)

JA stated at the end:

"Benchmark's LA4 is the widest-bandwidth, widest-dynamic-range, lowest-noise, lowest-distortion preamplifier I have encountered."

And yet you are telling me it could be better with some other parts. Show me any pre-amp that measures better, using whatever parts you claim will work better. It must be well hidden because JA, who probably measures more preamps/amps than anyone else, hasn’t seen it!

You see, there are people who actually produce objective evidence for a product, then people who make claims, mostly based on their belief in their Golden Ears, but without any objective evidence to back it up. I’m much more persuaded by evidence, than mere claims.





People “making claims” is typically people sharing experiences. If you are not interested is these people sharing experiences, you can disregard them. Simple. No? Golden ears or not… does it matter?

Then you go to the ASR party line:

without any objective evidence to back it up

So I am really confused.

But then agaiN;

I’m much more persuaded by evidence, than mere claims.

So this tells me all I need to know about what I need to know where one belongs in the Great Debate spectrum. Which is fine. But why do you have to mask it.

There is no such thing as EVIDENCE. One has to figure out him/her self. No other way around. How? Whether by trusting own senses (listening) or by reading Amir’s measurements, does not matter. Pick your method. Just don’t shove YOUR method to other peoples throats




People “making claims” is typically people sharing experiences.

Yes, we are making truth claims all the time. It’s how humans work.

But some are greater reaching than others. fleschler is putting forth all sorts of technical claims regarding electronics and engineering. Is there some reason you think that’s ok, but putting forth a contrasting viewpoint is not ok? We are exchanging viewpoints. Is more than one viewpoint ok, I hope?

So I am really confused.

Perhaps because you are trying to fit people in to single camps or boxes.

Again: I highly value the subjective aspects of this hobby - the exchanging of notes, trying to put sound in to words. I think this CAN be not only richly rewarding and fun, but also useful, insofar as a careful listener can put what he/she hears in to words. I’ve been led to plenty of happy audio encounters and gear purchases via the reports of other audiophiles and subjective reviews. I’ve also played a part in leading some people to gear they loved as well.

Over on ASR that doesn’t go down so well. There is a high degree of suspicion regarding sighted or reports on equipment that consist only of subjective impressions. So it’s just not welcoming so some of the aspects I personally highly value in the hobby. So places like Agon can fulfill that itch to talk about stuff from our impressions. Great stuff.

Also, ASR does not generally tell people "What You Should Buy" so much as they provide lots of objectively verified information about audio gear, explaining the relevance of the data. So you don’t "have" to buy anything in particular; you can just pick and choose whatever data may inform you in your own goals. That’s how I approach the site.

However, the emphasis on engineering/measurements naturally tends to have a goal "what measures BETTER and what measurements make for BETTER gear?"

So there is a fairly heavy selection force in terms of what amplifier measurements are "good" and what speaker measurements are "good" and therefore there is a sort of narrowing of the pool of gear seen as "good." So there is, to my mind, a narrowing of the scope of gear there, too much for my own tastes.

Hear on Agon I can see and engage in a wider range of gear I’m interested in reading about or trying.

On the other hand, I’m very aware of how easily a purely subjective approach to everything - a "Take Your Perception As The Ultimate Reliable Tool" for evaluating audio gear - leads naturally to tons of b.s., snake oil and pseudo-science-type claims being accepted and disseminated.

So, yes, I love the subjective aspect of the hobby, but I don’t consider it fool-proof, I’m aware of the liabilities, and I prefer not to believe b*llsh*t as far as I can help it. I usually want to spend my money on things that actually make an audible difference. Places like ASR can help folks find their way through some of the b.s. claims that arise in the audiophile world.  If an Agon member is describing the sound of something plausible - e.g. the difference between speakers, or maybe even some tube amps etc - I'm all ears.  I know it's not fool-proof, but practically speaking I'm fine with accepting he's hearing differences.  But when it moves in to the highly contested, technically dubious areas, then personally I want stronger evidence than some audiophile's say-so and "I'm Just Sure I Heard It."  YMMV.

I’m glad that both types of sites exist, because I find value in each, and also some faults in each (for my purposes).

There is no such thing as EVIDENCE.

I’m afraid that statement seems to make no sense. You go right on to discuss forms of evidence after that statement.

How? Whether by trusting own senses (listening) or by reading Amir’s measurements, does not matter. Pick your method. Just don’t shove your method to other peoples throats

I agree that we are all free to choose the method we want for evaluating and buying our gear. I’ve said this many times. No audiophile needs to become an engineer or do science to buy gear. No audiophile needs to learn a single thing about how the gear works. To each his own.

But who is "shoving their method down people’s throats?"

I don’t see anyone doing this. I see people explaining various approaches, and that will for some people (like Amir) advocating or making recommendations. But since when is that "shoving a method down people’s throat?"

He’s got a web site you can choose not to visit. He’s got a youtube channel you never have to watch. He’s not coming jackbooted knocking down your door insisting you change your gear! Nor am I. Nor, as far as I recall, are other people in this or the other thread.

I see a common bias in your reply, where if you have one viewpoint and someone presents a different one, you just take yours as an assumed default, and therefore the other person’s view is taken as some assault on your own. THEY are the ones "pushing their view" and so you don’t notice yourself, or others with your view, "pushing" your view. People here are declaring all the time People Should Listen And Decide For Themselves! Use Your Ears! That’s How To Evaluate Equipment!"

Plenty of audio reviews, e.g. Darko, are continually saying this. But I haven’t seen you pushback on that as "shoving a method down people’s throats" because, likely, it happens to conform to your own approach. So, I argue, there is a natural asymmetry and blind-spot in your complaints.

@prof : I completely miss the point of your dissertation. But I am not a professor. My reply I thought was pretty simple. 

You say:

I’m much more persuaded by evidence, than mere claims.

May I ask: how do you find your evidence? What “persuades” you? 

To be clear, it has never been my intention to persuade anyone by sharing my experiences (or “making claims” as you call it). Anything I have ever posted 

What are we discussing?  Does audio replay equipment sound good or not.  I’m confused.

@hotei :

Does audio replay equipment sound good or not.

You are not supposed to post anything on how something sounds unless you have proof to back it up. If no proof, they you are in a nutshell making baseless claims 🤦‍♂️


May I ask: how do you find your evidence? What “persuades” you? 

Well, to take the example that started our conversation: fleschler is claiming Benchmark cheaped out on the parts for the Benchmark LA4, and that "better" grade parts would have made for better performance.

The type of evidence that would persuade me for this claim is what I asked of fleshcler:  Show me that another preamp with the premium parts he's suggesting measures better (lower in distortion/more transparent).  That would at least be a start.  And of course, an additional subject is whether "even better" would be audible.   But he could at least start by showing some objective evidence.

I don't take the evidence of his merely claiming to hear differences in some other gear as very reliable: that type of "evidence" is presented for literally every dubious audiophile tweak anyone ever dreamed up. So some objective measurements would separate his claims from all the other audiophile anecdotes.

To be clear, it has never been my intention to persuade anyone by sharing my experiences (or “making claims” as you call it). Anything I have ever posted 

Sure, that's fine.  But..

1. People like fleshler is clearly making claims he thinks I should be ready to accept.

2. Whether you overtly mean to persuade anyone, any claim is still a claim, and it's legitimate to counter any claim.  For instance, if you spend $1,000 on an audiophile USB cable to replace a working-to-spec cheap USB cable, and you write about the wonderful sonic differences, you may say you aren't trying to persuade anyone.  But many people take those as persuasive, or real data points, and they are influenced.  It's worth pointing out that there is no good technical reason the expensive cable would change the signal.  That's just adding another "claim" or other take, so people reading are free to ignore what you wrote, or ignore the counter-claim, or both.  Nothing wrong with various views being expressed.


Dude. It’s not a claim. It’s sharing own experiences. What part of “sharing experience “ don’t you understand. Claim? You guys crack me up. And “counter claim”? 😂🤦‍♂️🙄


And why do you try to mask where you stand on the Great Debate. Can’t you just be honest? Why the fuss. There is nothing wrong with you being a measurementalist

Measurements come a close second to how's it sound!

Normally I take ASR reviews with a grain of salt.

I did purchase the Matrix Audio X-SABRE Pro MQA: Best Audio DAC in the World? and couldn't be happier.

I often listen to TuneIn with a Denon for background music, but now I have a Bluesound Node (with TuneIn) connected to the Matrix Audio X-SABRE Pro and the improvement is so much better it's shocking how average TuneIn from Denon sounds.

Just don’t shove YOUR method to other peoples throats

@thyname BINGO! I don’t understand why such folks bother coming here and claim they are ultimate authority. I don’t care a rat’s rear about such people. Waste of time arguing with them. Best is to ignore such people.

It's because the internet made it possible to butt in and if necessary, troll away where they have no business. 


Can’t you read? I only mentioned Benchmark DACs, and in particular the HDR-1 from 2010-2 era. Stop with the nonsense of putting words in my mouth that I never wrote. I’ve never tried anything but Benchmark DACs, period!!!

JUST R E A D my prior post on Benchmark and Emotiva in this forum.  I stated " Not only that, I think that the Benchmark DAC I use has superior engineering, possibly due to their particular asynchronous oversampling."

Since when has a pre-amp used asynchronous oversampling?  Huh?

@prof But who is "shoving their method down people’s throats?"

Unfortunately, though I agree with much of what you are saying on this thread, I have to report that people jumped all over me on ASR when I reported that I like the Klipsch Heresy IV...  They insisted I was wrong and an obvious audio imbecile for liking such an "inferior" product that "resonates" ...

When I pointed out that musical instruments, rooms, ears, and indeed the entire physical universe resonates, my membership appears to have been terminated.

I'd say that is a "shoving their method down people's throats." ​​​​​​

@curtdr , sadly those other ASR members will never get to hear or enjoy those great Klipsch speakers to decide for themselves. You go online and read glowing user reviews from people who own them and the shell shocked minions think that happiness is a defect of the customer instead of the value of the speaker, crazy.


Question, someone spends $20K on a system and the other guy spends $50K.

The guy that spent $20K has components that measure meh, but his in room system measurements are ideal.

They guy that spent $50K has pristine component measurements but his in room system measurement is meh.

Whose system will likely sound better?





Can’t you read?

Yes, I can read.

I also have a memory that lasts more than one day ;-)

Here's YOUR post that I was referring to:



Your words:

"As to the Benchmark L4 versus the CJ pre-amp, one of the comments was The LA4 certainly isn't "lacking" anything. It's just transparent. But I could say it does 'lack' certain things in the sense of comparison to the CJ tube preamp.  Based on my experience with both brands, I found CJ to have a house sound, not one that I or my friends prefer.  The Benchmark, on the other hand, stock is clean and clear but lacking in areas the CJ excels-body and warmth of expression.  

There is a cure for the Benchmark.  Replace the computer quality, cheap-ass regulators, power and filter caps, maybe parts of the audio board, the Op-amp, etc. with audio (much more costly) parts.  Benchmark products are only okay stock but can be great when modified. "

So you literally referenced the LA4, mentioned it's "stock" sound and went on to explain the "cure" being higher quality/more expensive parts.  EXACTLY what I was addressing.

An apology would be nice, if you are up to it ;-)








Dude. It’s not a claim. It’s sharing own experiences. What part of “sharing experience “ don’t you understand. Claim? You guys crack me up. And “counter claim”? 😂🤦‍♂️🙄


I understand how human language and the implication of what we say and write and human psychology actually works.

Almost all the things audiophiles report, which you couch as "sharing experience," constitute truth claims. That very fact explains the acrimony in these threads!

So if an audiophile here says "I swapped out my stock power cable for a Shunyatta cable and it TOTALLY upgraded the sound of my system, it made the bass tighter, the sound cleaner etc"...that is something they believe to be true and thus are stating as true. It is a truth claim in that respect. Right?

That’s why, if some objectivist suggests "might you have IMAGINED it changed the sound?" the response tends to be an insulted "No! It’s not my imagination. It really works! It really DID upgrade the sound!"  They think it's true and defending their claim as true!  These threads have been strewn with just these type of claims!

So, as I said, you may say your personal motivation is "not to make any claim" but in fact, even you are likely doing so in what you write, and it is certainly the case most others are doing so.

It DOES NOT mean every audiophile’s report on their experience needs to be or ought to be challenged. Not at all. That would get utterly tedious if it were for every statement we ever make. By all means, share experiences.

But is it fair to debate certain controversial subjects now and again?

Of course. Especially because SOME threads openly invite these type of discussions, such as the previous ASR thread and this one.


And why do you try to mask where you stand on the Great Debate. Can’t you just be honest? Why the fuss. There is nothing wrong with you being a measurementalist

^^^ This is you showing that you don’t really care about understanding my position. Far from "masking’ I was explaining my position as clearly as possible, so you could see why I’ve been a long time member here as well as at ASR. How many references do you see to measurements in, for instance, my long "Contemplating Devores" thread where I discuss tons of speakers?

You are still dogmatically trying to fit a nuanced position in to a box of your choosing. I get that from certain inflexible thinkers at ASR as well. It’s tedious, so I bid you adieu.

@prof Again, if you read my original comment in the other forum, I was QUOTING from an ASR forum which is printed in italics As to the Benchmark L4 versus the CJ pre-amp, one of the comments was The LA4 certainly isn’t "lacking" anything. It’s just transparent. But I could say it does ’lack’ certain things in the sense of comparison to the CJ tube preamp. My following comments refer to my friends and my experience with Benchmark gear and Conrad Johnson gear in general, with my friends having experience with both companies amps and pre-amps and me with Benchmark DACs and many CJ amps and a few pre-amps. It is our experience that Benchmark products lack somewhat in body and warmth but CJ is dark and covered sounding. We were not specifying that we knew anything about the L4 other than what I read and extracted from an ASR forum. My audio equipment manufacturing friend has seen the insides of several Benchmark products and concurs that they use less than optimal audio quality parts which result in less satisfying audio results.  I was shown the different parts taken out and replaced in both DACs that were modified.  

The fact is you know nothing concerning the interior parts used in either CJ or Benchmark equipment and cannot comment on them until you do. Do you even know the difference between Ultralinear, Triode, Voltage Regulated (some Audio Research gear), Unity Coupled (early McIntosh), etc? I may not be an electrical engineer capable of building equipment but I understand basic circuitry. If you have a Benchmark product, open it up and look up the cost of the capacitors and regulators, then get back to me.

@prof Your Contemplating Devores forum is 100% subjective, wholly lacking in measurements in your opinions and choices.   What about all the ancillary equipment used to listen to each speaker in order to evaluate them in your room?  (Rhetorical).  

Despite having heard only the Audio Physic, Focal, Revel, Raidho, Paradigm, Monitor Audio and Harbeth speakers you surveyed, I agree with your opinions which I heard under show and/or showroom conditions with varying equipment. Your opinions and mine are wholly subjective.  

You then proceed in the ASR forum knocking the use of listening for differences and preferences as "imaginary" and unreal, listeners self-fulfilling prophesy.  Most of the Audiogon posters here are delineating the problems have had with the ASR site and their owner/many members.  Apparently, you cannot stop yourself from blanket criticizing everyone who posts an opinion on what they hear, even if they have possibly superior listening/hearing abilities than you do.  As to equipment, I suspect you neither construct nor comprehend electronic circuitry/parts use, based on your responses.   

I read five reviews of the Benchmark L4.  Uniformly, the reviewers found the pre amp extraordinary in revealing musical and acoustic detail, without any affectation or distortion, in a finely constructed piece of equipment.  Clean and clear was the universal opinion.

It is on ASR, Matt Hooper's review of it and the Conrad Johnson pre-amp Blind Test Results: Benchmark LA4 vs Conrad Johnson Tube Preamp | Audio Science Review (ASR) Forum that I find myself very interested in his keen observations (I used his quote in italics).  The four pages of mostly his observations indicate that despite the super detail, dynamic range and open bandwidth without any negative as to its operation, it is not his favorite to listen to most music and he prefers his Conrad Johnson, with all it's distortion and alterations of the sound.  He prefers a sound with more body and warmth.  Well I prefer my subminiature tube/voltage regulated design pre-amp and I don't prefer the CJ pre-amps or amps I've heard (plenty).  My pre-amp sounds more like an Audio Research SP28 WITH different tubes (6N6 or 6N6).  The stock tubes/unit as is just thin sounding and lacking in the body and warmth department.  I bet it measures better than the CJ and certainly is a more open sound.  With the change in tubes, wow, a totally different pre-amp.

I don't know what is inside of the Benchmark but is reportedly of professional audio quality parts per reviewers.  It may be possible to elevate this to a status which incorporates more body and warmth without losing any of its' measured superior qualities, openness, details and extension.  Changing some caps, regulators and/or resistors.  Or possibly it can't be done and it remains as a finished product with a particular clean, clear sound that is less attractive than other high end pre-amps that may not measure as perfectly.  

So, score 1 for Mr. Hooper whereby he prefers a lesser measuring pre-amp buts enjoys both.   

On the last page, he mentions his love of vinyl.  Score 2 for Mr. Hopper. Immediately, he is warned by a donor member that ASR frowns upon discussion of vinyl records.   Mr. Hooper understands and obliges without pressing the issue.  That's probably why he is still an active member.   Can you imagine if Audiogon members said don't discuss vinyl as a warning, such as that could get one banned from the site?   That's why ASR is so narrow minded.   Don't mention an inferior music delivery format and be careful in your preference for an inferior measuring piece of equipment.   Like there is something amiss not preferring the perfect measuring equipment.   That's where most of the posters here at Audiogon recognize that maybe there are other elements of sound reproduction that are preferred to measured perfection, that are imperfect in some ways.    

Those ASR minions are so silly it makes one want to burst out laughing. I am just reading the thread on vinyl referenced above. What an absolute hoot. Then we get this comment: "Oh, science is right out of the window for this thread." I think there is something seriously wrong with them.; perhaps it is low self esteem. That certainly seems to be the case with Amir, as seen by his responses in other threads.

After reading Prof comments on Audiogon and MattHooper on ASR I would say they are the same person. Seems like a well rounded intelligent fellow who understands the value of measurements but not to the exclusion of what he enjoys. One can like vinyl but understand it doesn't measure as well as digital. You can like tube amps and know they can't measure better than a lot of SS amps. One can understand they are subject to human biases without assuming they are hallucinating, can understand that extraordinary claims that most tweaks advertise should provide extraordinary evidence. 


Another pissing contest that will end in the topic being closed.


i appreciate prof sharing his perspective. the guy is saying over and over that he consciously chooses equipment that "speaks" to him in some way beyond a set of measured specs, and that he doesn’t look at SINAD charts and go "oh yeah that one clearly sounds the best." jokes and differing opinions are all good imho but the way some people have responded to these threads looks like a mirror image of the worst aspects of ASR - the ignorance, lack of reading comprehension, closed-mindedness, tribalism etc.

as for amir i think he’s got an engineer’s brain with a manager’s skill set and he’s been arguing on audio forums for 20 years. thus the certitude, the imperiousness, the unemotional attitude, the hostility towards subjective experiences of any kind, and the (it has to be said) admirable ability to wave away any/everything that challenges his position. this might not be a great set of traits for a scientist, but for a forum poster it’s basically ideal.

anyhow, for my part i’m basically with art dudley on this stuff - there’s no one Correct way to hi-fi, and the people who claim otherwise are just confused

Art Dudley-I miss him too. (I followed his reviews since the 1990s)  There are so many roads to reproducing music. His reviews were generally full of feeling for the music, music that I appreciate.

I more thing about the Benchmark L4 pre-amp. Four of the major reviews (Stereophile, Absolute Sound, Positive Feedback, Soundstage) had the reviewers extol the superior attributes of the unit at the price. However, none of them indicated they would replace the pre-amps they currently use or purchase one. Reviewers often purchase well reviewed products. This unit got outstanding reviews. Nope, no one purchase it. Why? Maybe the sonic flavor was missing (like warmth or body). I don’t know but based on what Mr. Hooper, two friends experiences with their amp & pre-amp, maybe there is a less perfect pre-amp at that price that is more endearing to the music listener.

Topping DAC versus Benchmark DAC-At significantly higher price, the Benchmark is a very superior constructed unit. My modified DAC, despite it’s ordinary parts, has a dual mono balanced design with linear power supply, nice size transformer and very good quality DAC chips. I forgot to mention how fantastically 3-D it sounds. The downside of the DAC is it’s analog volume pot. Sonically lovely, it has a significant channel imbalance when played below 50% level (measured reviews indicate the amount and setting). Benchmark now uses stepped resistor attenuators to alleviate that problem (The L4 uses 40 precision relays and two independent 256-step attenuators, one for the left channel and one for the right channel).

One other point, I only use balanced interconnects from my DAC as the unit was designed that way and sounds best that way.

@td_dayton +1, as for the one right way I can't say about components that is true but what about the room? I think a close to a flat frequency response in the room beats willy nilly, that is a constant. 


@sngreen The former forum was closed by the moderator. It got rather snarky at the end and discussion was getting off topic (especially after Amir returned to add his two cents-what his comments are worth here).

@djones51 No, Prof is not Matt Hooper. Mr. Hooper owns and cherishes his Von Schweikert VR5 speakers. Prof has Joseph Audio speakers and never mentioned VS speakers in his extensive speaker review on Audiogon. Prof thinks we are all hallucinating if we hear differences (without measuring or blind testing) and think they are worthwhile. Mr. Hooper speaks for himself.




@kota1 i personally plan to measure the response in my room at some point next year because i am genuinely curious what's going on down here. as for getting the sound i want, i fooled around with speaker placement and furniture for a solid year and a half trying to get things sounding how i wanted.

am happy to report that i don't have any audible reflection issues at all due to the 18'x6.5' and 4'x6' shelves full of records, the 200lb desk and attached shelf with more records, heavy antique chair, multiple rugs, and the heavy sleeper sofa i listen from. but i would love to have a measured frequency response to reference for when i start seriously looking at speaker upgrades (am in the process of saving now, and will be for a couple more years most likely), and also just because it's nice info to have!


Perhaps I am wrong since I have no first hand knowledge just comparing writing style, but looks to me like Matt Hooper has Theil 2.7 and Joseph Perspective as does Prof. 


@td_dayton , I think if you are going to measure you will want to be able to have dsp. You might want to look into the miniDSP Flex or a Paradigm Link Pre/Streamer. The measurements of my room are in my system profile if you want to take a look. I am using the paid upgrade Pro version of Audyssey with a calibrated mic. I needed to combine a well treated room with DSP, not one or the other, YMMV.

Amir returned to add his two cents-what his comments are worth here

I found Amir’s many considered comments very informative and valuable. And now they are all forever gone at the whim of AG.

This has happened many times before on this forum.

To my knowledge Amir has ever only deleted one thread.  He may close the occasional one, but is not so rude to just delete.

@noske  we are all willing to help here, start a new thread, post your concerns, we are there for you bro, no worries :)

Yes I’m "MattHooper" on the ASR forum !

If anyone delved in to my posts they will see that I voice agreement with many on the ASR forum regarding the more snake-oil area of audio tweaks, and also the liabilities of a purely subjective approach, while also pushing back VERY often against the more rigid form of "objective" thinking that "if X measures this way it is a poor design" or " vinyl or tube amps are silly" and especially against "subjective impressions without measurements or controls are worthless."

I’m constantly defending the idea that we shouldn’t throw un-controlled subjective reports out with the bathwater, and I argue they can be practical, informative and useful. I'm viewed by some there with suspicion for even having reviewed speakers in the past.  It’s crazy how many pixels I’ve spilled over there arguing for the worth of subjective reviews.

Many people think in tribal ways and refuse to recognize an attempt at a nuanced or balanced viewpoint, which isn’t dismissive of "both sides." Even when we largely agree on many things they are "triggered" by any disagreement and therefore "You aren’t with me, you are against me! You are in the other tribe!"

I get that at ASR and I get that here too. And so it goes...


@djones51  My mistake, you are correct.  It is Martin who owns and extols the virtues of Von Schweikert speakers.  While searching for the answer at ASR, I came upon numerous Mr. Hooper postings concerning his preference for listening to vinyl and a statement that he doesn't require a huge dynamic range for listening to music.  Assuming that music does not generally require 100+ db swings in dynamics, vinyl playback can be adequate for most music.  (I've heard room shaking deep bass through a trio of Avant Garde Basshorns supplemented with a pair of Rel subs from a Donald Fagen LP under 100 db loudness-it was just deep and tactile sounding).   Bass under 50 Hz is generally limited to mono on most LPs for cutting reasons, so digital can provide stereo deep bass better.  

@prof if this is a rant, we are used to your rants by now. If this is a discussion please post your system photos, components, and measurements in your profile. 

If you are at your end game great, we have a thread here to discuss. If you are stuck on your journey post a concern in a new thread.


@prof I wrote the prior response while you were posting your admission. 

Martin and you contribute better posts on ASR than the vast majority.  You don't go off topic and start to talk about pizza toppings, wine, sport cars, soft drinks etc.  Why do you go nuts over information someone with greater knowledge has to offer here?  You'll note that you have been subject to written limitations on topics and criticized for your subjective views.  I agree with those subjective opinions I've read on ASR since a month ago, seeking out "normal" members who can articulate why they choose equipment and music rather than state, its' the best, the cheapest and forget the rest. 

I think my survey of reviews of the Benchmark L4 and your analysis of it and preference for the CJ speaks volumes concerning it's value and quality; however, it also indicates that despite reviewers stating there are no negatives, it is lacking in some factor that makes it less preferential.  You said it was body and warmth.  Same with their older DACs.  However, the older DACs can be upgraded to have that 3 dimensional, full bodied and warmer sound with modification of parts.  The engineering is sound as is the basic construction.  I don't know if the L4 can be modified to sound "better."  If it could, I bet I would like it.