Certainly Uncertain: When Measurement Results Don’t Match Part Four | The GoldenSound Key

“Why you can’t trust audio measurements” is the title of GoldenSound’s latest video and it handily illustrates, in exquisite detail, how and why measurement results don’t match and why they cannot be trusted out of hand. Is it my birthday? Christmas in May?

I’ve mentioned GoldenSound a number of times in these pages for his even-handed approach to measurements and listening, which I found, and still find, refreshing. Leave the dogma at the door.

If you have an interest in measurements of hifi gear, especially if you use measurements to inform purchase decisions [footnote 1], watch this video.


I will highlight a few high points:

…even devices with the same very high SINAD levels can sound very different. The Rebel Amp and THX 789 both show close to a 115dB SINAD but if you tried the two, you know that they sound entirely different.


Unfortunately, when you focus massively on one aspect of performance, other areas often have to suffer. And so it’s important to evaluate a product more thoroughly. SINAD alone doesn’t really tell you much.

So what am I trying to say with all of this? Should we throw away measurements entirely and go back to 100% word of mouth subjective feedback? No! Measurements indeed can tell us a lot and I wouldn’t have bought an analyzer if I didn’t think that was the case. I’m making this video both because people may find it interesting to get a better view of how some of these measurements systems work, and to warn people that measurements should not be taken as absolute, no matter who they’re from. They can be altered, nudged, changed through intention, accident, or simple difference in setup. Not everyone is using the same test hardware, in the same configuration, and so you should always treat measurements as guidelines.

I would add that reviews, all reviews are subjective, should also be used as guidelines.

Further Reading

Certainly Uncertain: When Measurement Results Don’t Match Part Three
Certainly Uncertain: When Measurement Results Don’t Match Part Two
Certainly Uncertain: When Measurement Results Don’t Match

1. If you use measurements for other reasons like picking the best, you may want to skip this video