Is the general audiophile population really that naive that they don’t know a BS sales pitch when they hear one? As a result of my recent visit to the crowd-sourcing site whose name shall not be mentioned on this site, their advertising has been following me around. I noticed their pitch on my FB page and saw the claim of “128x clearer and 8x louder” in the sidebar. Their crowd sourcing business strategy just keeps on spewing nonsense…and it seems to be working. The uninformed and easily swayed are pledging money on a device that is not even designed yet. Much to my disappointment, these folks will once again raise a substantial amount of money on a marginal product. How long do you think it will be until they roll out another variant in their line of converters? I’m sure we won’t have to wait long for the “Nano” version.
In the original video, the spokesman tell us that their $400 DAC sounds “90% as good as their $20K DAC”. I can only assume that the overpriced and overhyped premium DAC sounds pretty good. I highly doubt that it sounds as good as the Bryston BDA-1 External DAC or my favorite Benchmark DAC2 HGC. The way I heard it, the expensive units were being built to order…as you might expect there’s not a lot of demand for a stereo DAC in that price range. So the company headed for the other end of the price spectrum…and crowd sourced funding to pitch the new units. Their campaign was successful beyond anyone’s wildest dreams…and they’re hooked to a new business model.
And seemingly, so are enough audiophiles that they keep on playing the same refrain. But saying their small unit is “128 times clearer” doesn’t mean anything! And it’s patently untrue. What is the measure of clarity? Is it the same thing as fidelity? Or is it perhaps limited to the high frequency extension available with high sampling rate PCM or DSD 128?
As someone that is very interested in the accuracy of higher order partials and even ultrasonics in recordings, I can assure you that the “clarity” of a recording made using PCM at 96 kHz/24-bits is as good as it gets. If you play a 96 kHz/24-bit file back through a good DAC, the “clarity” will be fully reproduced. I remember having a prominent cable manufacturer say to me after listening to some of my HD-Audio recording, “Mark, these are incredible recordings but they’re just too clear!” I took that as a compliment.
Making any comparison requires that you state both sides of the issue. Is the sound coming from their new DAC 128 times “clearer” than a high quality smartphone? Or 128 times clearer than a submerged transistor radio? How is that determined? I’m guessing they arrived at that number by comparing the sample rate of a CD at 44.1 kHz and comparing it to the sample rate of double DSD at 128 times 44.1. Does anyone really think this makes any sense? Apparently, they do.
And how about the “8x louder” claim? Same deal…increased volume is not a determinant for fidelity. In fact, it’s the dynamic range that we want to be greater.
Their campaign is close to their goal…so close that it’s pretty much a lock that they will get another six figures plus of funding (Heck if I operated like they do, I would support the remaining amount with the funds that I got from the previous efforts). I don’t care whether their products ultimately prove to be worthy or not, I wouldn’t spend a dime on their DACs because of the deceptive marketing practices and the hubris of their effort and team. It’s a question of integrity.