Who actually measures - and ultimately, does it matter?

I’ll start this with a tangent, an illustration, if you will

I have two cars. I’ll call one my ‘shopping car’ and the other my ‘fun car’

My shopping car is newer, it has a tyre pressure warning system (and what must be porous alloys as it bleeps at me twice a month). I’m getting measurements and bleeps - but can I really tell when I add a few 1/10ths of a Bar? Not really, still handles benignly, predictably

My fun car doesn’t have any warning system - but a few tenths out in any tyre has a significant impact on the handling. It goes from wallowing, dangerous and frightening to, um, challenging :slightly_frowning_face:

The shopping car is like a music centre - it makes music noises, but it’s a blunt instrument and there’s not much that changes how it feels. The fun car is like a HiFi - it’s alive, dynamic, and very sensitive to small changes. I don’t need to be told a tyre is off, it’s obvious

So, to the subject; if you’re reading this, you almost certainly:

  • are an audiophile
  • have what Joe Public would think is a ‘crazy’ system
  • spend hours, on your own, sitting in the sweet spot (let’s be honest, HiFi is a very selfish sport)
  • know what your system is like; where it’s really good, where it can be frustrating, what you’d like to upgrade (the unscratchable itch!)
  • can tell instantly when ‘something’ changes - whether it’s your mood, the time of day, differences in versions of songs - and if the system has changed

Shopping car - drive it on the rims. Fun car - check the tyre pressures

When I change something in my system, almost anything, I can hear it
The change can range from ‘it’s different, but hard to pinpoint’ to ‘flip me, that’s amazing/awful’ :open_mouth:

I’ve never measured my system(s) - any of them - I don’t have the kit (how many do?) and I wouldn’t know where to start

If I could measure, or if I read/understood spec sheets - so what? Kit can only earn its keep if its a worthwhile upgrade, within my budget and if it’s desirable

When I’m assured with well-meaning ‘that can’t possibly work’ or ‘this is better’ or ‘this is proven, look at this graph’ - thanks, but so what?

How’s it sound in my system? Is all I care about

When I read ‘that’s a waste of money’ or ‘this is better value than that’ - thanks again for your concern, but how does it work in my system, in my budget and against my subjective criteria?

Measurements, spec. sheets, keyboard-warrior opinions (as opposed to actual listeners)? If they tickle your nerdy bits, great, but they’re no use to me, thanks

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I agree. Your ears are all the measurement you need. However, there are expectation biases and other biases that are unavoidable. So, everything you think you perceive with your ears and brain is not always real. But, that doesn’t matter.

Also agree

And, that we’re aware of that propensity, combined with ‘sleep on it’

We can get through…

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Nothing matters once you press play and enjoy what you hear. Measurement has its place for some but I do wish people wouldn’t simplify kit to purely that.


I’ll agree that our ears are the ultimate arbitrator of goodness (and toes for tapping).

That said, I’ve found measuring to help make significant improvements to my listening/watching enjoyment. Specifically:

  • I use an old Goldline reverb meter to guide me in using acoustic treatments. It has gotten me to solutions I’m sure I would have never arrived at with my average to poor hearing.
  • I use a Meridian surround processor that allows for low frequency matching to room acoustics. This has made a world of difference in bass quality. In some rooms, though, my ears haven’t always agree with the measurements, but the measurements have provided a mechanism to make small, deliberate tweaks to what my ears expect to hear. There’s no reason to think that I’ve actually improved the acoustics in these rare scenarios, but they’ve please my ears, so what the heck.

This is all so first-world problems that your " ‘sleep on it’ We can get through…" seems like the perfect conclusion.


I have measured 108dB of music utopia in my family room, haha!

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Some measurements can be useful. I measure(d):

  • Room acoustics using REW to apply correction DSP in Roon. This is a nice icing on the cake (acoustic treatments).
  • SPL from time to time. I like to keep it under an average of around 80dB to reduce the risk of hearing damage.

Spec sheets can be useful for certain things. For example, they helped me achieve proper overall gain in my system.

I agree, ultimately its what brings one musical pleasure. However, I think many focus on the components, while ignoring the elephant the room :slight_smile:. IMHO, proper acoustic treatments can bring in big measurable and audible improvements.

I fully concur, Akimo and hacker19,

Sorry, I should have been more specific; it’s the measurement of components, ancillaries etc. that have no practical value - and yet are often enthusiastically cited as ‘proof’ that something cannot work - and therefore any changes are ‘all in the mind’ of the self-deluding listener

I’ve also used room treatment for many years (e.g. diffusion at reflection points) and room correction since ~2008 (initially with TacT 2.2x and currently with Lyngdorf Room Perfect)

It’s telling that room correction used to be dismissed out of hand; ‘it cannot work’, ‘it makes a difference, but the downsides outweigh the benefits’ were common bandwagons

Bandwagons driven by vocal opinioneers and loaded with ‘never actually tried it’ pitchfork and firebrand wielders Ho Ho :rofl:

It’s ironic such people self-delude in thinking they are the only ones who know about the various ‘biases’ that cloud others perceptions


I’ve read that the Lyngdorf room correction is really good. Have you noticed a difference relative to your TacT?

Wow! This is classic propaganda-building: describe an “other”, in terms that make them feel like the madmen, instead of the speaker. Toss in a smiley, to fool the simple-minded to think you’re making a joke. Make it seem like they are somehow impeding “your rights”.

Never thought I’d see that kind of thing in this forum.

Yes, a pity that Underwriter’s Labs measure appliances, for no practical value.

It’s very good (yes, but I would say that… :grinning:)

TacT was early generation stuff 15 years ago (ish). After TacT and Lyngdorf (LD) split (~2008 ish), they took different approaches. LD made it built in, called it RoomPerfect (RP) and claimed it didn’t affect the tone/style of your speakers - it just allowed for the room

First gen was a separate board in the TDAi2200 - worked very well. A lot simpler (no separate PC) faster, etc. A few versions (firmware?) came out and the later iterations had the RP on the Mobo as I recall.

I changed to the TDAi2170 a couple of years ago (2018) - much cleaner sounding amp, better soundstage etc etc (the veil lifted ho ho). Really good, and very pleased with the upgrade

I’m thinking of going to the new '3400 (as my mate has recently done) it’s another leap in and amp RP performance - very, very open. Same huge soundstage with even more details and separation - but, :open_mouth: :slightly_frowning_face: :confused: it’s getting very expensive (GBP4795) and the dealers will not discount (I think on pain of excommunication).

I suppose it’s down to R&D and progress in computing power - compare a 2008 PC with a 2020 PC - they do the same thing, but with a load more grunt and better specs - if only the price hadn’t escalated!

BTW I’ve put my '2170 on sale - if it goes, the '3400 becomes, er, affordable :grinning:

One man’s fish is another man’s poisson