EDI­TOR’S LEAD-IN

Australian HIFI - - CONTENTS -

DSD and Dy­namic Range. You’d bet­ter switch on your bull­shit de­tec­tor, be­cause there’s plenty of it fly­ing about!

Iam al­ways dis­ap­pointed when I read mis­in­for­ma­tion on the in­ter­net. Firstly be­cause it is mis­in­for­ma­tion, and the more of it there is on the in­ter­net, the less use­ful the in­ter­net becomes. Se­condly be­cause of the num­ber of peo­ple who will be de­ceived by this in­for­ma­tion and make poor decisions (in­clud­ing pur­chas­ing decisions) as a re­sult. And thirdly be­cause of the num­ber of peo­ple who will not only be de­ceived by the mis­in­for­ma­tion, but will pro­mul­gate it, which in turn will lead to more of my first-iden­ti­fied dis­ap­point­ment.

The spread of mis­in­for­ma­tion on the in­ter­net is so virus-like that it would seem to be im­ma­te­rial where it first ap­pears, or re-ap­pears, but in fact this is im­por­tant, be­cause most peo­ple read­ing any in­for­ma­tion will base their opin­ion of whether it’s true on the source of that in­for­ma­tion. So if I read some­thing about beauty prod­ucts hav­ing been proved to work on a web­site that sells those self-same beauty prod­ucts, I am going to take that in­for­ma­tion with a grain of salt.

So I re­ally didn’t know what to think when I heard that a site main­tained by Cookie Marenco, owner of Blue Coast Mu­sic and a well­known record­ing en­gi­neer, had published an ar­ti­cle writ­ten by David Slat­tery of the Colorado Au­dio­phile So­ci­ety, ti­tled ‘A Mu­sic Lover’s [sic] Cre­ates His Own Test for Dy­namic Range—No Sur­prise, DSD Wins!’ that pur­ported to ‘prove’ that DSD record­ing had greater dy­namic range than record­ings in other for­mats—CD, SACD, et al.

The ar­ti­cle did noth­ing of the sort, of course, and any claim that DSD has a greater dy­namic range than CD or SACD is com­pletely false, a fact that was very quickly pointed out by the al­ways on-the-ball Chris Con­naker, of Com­puter Au­dio­phile, who posted the fol­low­ing in the ‘Com­ments’ sec­tion un­derneath the ar­ti­cle: ‘ Dy­namic range has ab­so­lutely noth­ing to do with the for­mat—DSD or PCM. Sug­gest­ing DSD has the best DR val­ues in any­thing other than this spe­cific col­lec­tion is like say­ing red cars are the fastest be­cause Sebastian Vet­tel won the 2017 For­mula 1 Rolex Aus­tralian Grand Prix driv­ing a red car.’

My prob­lem is that the site on which this mis­in­for­ma­tion ap­peared (www.dsd-guide.com) pur­ports to be an un­bi­ased author­ity on DSD, so the mis­in­for­ma­tion would not cause the aver­age reader’s ‘bull­shit’ de­tec­tor to spring into ac­tion, whereas if the mis­in­for­ma­tion had ap­peared on Marenco’s own site (www.blue­coas­trecords.com), on which he sells DSD record­ings, the aver­age reader might then have thought: ‘ Mmm, a site mak­ing a profit from sell­ing DSD record­ings has published an ar­ti­cle claim­ing DSD record­ings sound bet­ter than record­ings made in other for­mats. I think I might check whether that’s true or not from some­one un­bi­ased be­fore I hand over my hard-earned cash.’

Sure Marenco could claim that any­one read­ing the ar­ti­cle would see Chris Con­naker’s com­ment, but you have to scroll down an aw­fully long way to see that com­ment in the first place, and many peo­ple read­ing it might not re­alise that Con­naker is an in­de­pen­dent and un­bi­ased ex­pert on com­puter au­dio. I guess we can only be grate­ful that Marenco al­lowed Con­naker’s post to stay there… I know of other site-own­ers who re­move any com­ments that do not agree with their own views. greg bor­row­man [hifi@next­media.com.au]

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