25 June, 2012

The 10 biggest lies in audio

Quad II Tube amplifier. (Wikipedia Commons, user Harumphy)
In the fall of 2000 The Audio Critic had an article listing the 10 biggest lies in audio.

The article is well worth reading even today although the scene has changed a little since it was written. It for sure makes you think.

Peter Aczel's points were:

  1. The Cable Lie
  2. The Vacuum-Tube Lie
  3. The Antidigital Lie
  4. The Listening-Test Lie
  5. The Feedback Lie
  6. The Burn-in Lie
  7. The Biwiring Lie
  8. The Power Conditioner Lie
  9. The CD Treatment Lie
  10. The Golden Ear Lie
I would say that now 12 years later, most of the points are still being valid.

When it comes to point no. 1, The Cable Lie, then the article was only concerned with analog signals. In the years since 2000, the myth has miraculously made the transition from analog to digital interconnects. It was helped by publications like "Is the AESEBU/SPDIF digital audio interface flawed?" dating back as long as to 1992, not noticing that the jitter problem discussed there is best overcome with better clock regeneration circuitry, not fancy cables.

You don't hear much about nos. 5 and 9 any longer. The zero feedback myth as a method for getting rid of slewing induced distortion (previously called transient intermodulation distortion) was something even a high-end brand like Norwegian Tandberg followed in the 80's. But that fashion has faded out. And of course CDs and CD players are getting more and more rare these days.

(Notice that on purpose I am not linking to the Audio Critic website as it seems to be infected by Trojan:Win32/FakeSysdef for the moment)