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Australian Hi-Fi Magazine
July / August 2017
DSD And Dynamic Range...
Time to switch on the bullshit detector.
Editorial By Greg Borrowman

 

Australian Hi-Fi Magazine July / August 2017

 

  I am 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 (and/or purchases) as a result. And thirdly because of the number of people who will not only be deceived by the misinformation, but will also 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 or not on the source itself. 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 well-known 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.

 

Australian Hi-Fi Magazine July / August 2017

 

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 they sound better than recordings made in other formats. I think I might check whether or not that's true 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 comments that don't agree with their own views.

 

--- Greg Borrowman

 

 

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