The need for measurements by enthusiasts.

After reading an article by Mr. Brent Butterworth called “A crisis in headphone measurement?” I was not a happy headphone enthusiast.
I have a great respect for the gentleman but that doesn’t really matter because I find his “attack” on measurements made by enthusiasts a bit low and disheartening.
Sure his article is for a target audience made mostly of professionals* but even so, I don’t understand why all the bashing on people who measure for fun.
Due to legal reasons, I can’t copy parts of his article so I ask you, dear reader and enthusiast, to read the article I shared on the link above. After that, feel free to read my rant.

I understand professionals like Mr. Brent don’t do measuring for fun, it’s a job. Like every job, they get paid to use their skill set to help themselves or others achieve a goal.
Professionals who dedicated a lifetime to the craft have every right to use their expertise to pave the way and influence companies and individuals.
Sadly they also feel the need to defend their jobs, so when companies like miniDSP make test rigs for enthusiasts like the EARS. Professionals who until now never felt threatened by the few enthusiasts who are curious enough to measure earphones/ headphones, start considering the a fact that consumers are now given cheap tools to play around in a craft that only a few selected professionals could reach (mostly let’s admit it because of the price of the gear involved).
Because of a bunch of people measuring for fun and who know the limitations of what they are doing with cheap gear, a respected audio journalist feels the need to write an article bashing the amateur measurements made by the very same enthusiasts who help the audiophile community having a more objective view on headphones. Doesn’t matter if the rigs don’t adhere to a standard, if they can help us have a better idea of what we are hearing then we will keep doing it.
I find it hilarious that an audio journalist must inform an audience made mostly of informed audio professionals that they should ignore measurements produced using non-standardized test gear. After that little gem, he goes on to inform about his background just to be sure that his audience understands that he knows his trade.

Audio journalists like Mr. Brent are becoming less relevant by the day, especially when Chinese factories are starting to make affordable test rigs. At this rate in 20 to 30 years enthusiasts will have access to cheap calibrated gear to make their measurements for fun. Remember when having a desktop oscilloscope was a thing only professionals could buy, these days you can buy a nice one for a cheap price.

What Jude Mansilla (Head-Fi) said in his presentation to AISE was and is correct, “if manufacturers don’t publish measurements, consumers will.” Even if companies publish FR charts enthusiasts will continue to measure because we do it for fun and that my friends are what this hobby is all about. Enjoying the music and having fun.
To Mr. Brent I wish all the best, I also doubt he will ever read my rant because he is too busy doing his job to have a proper view of the headphone enthusiasts in the wild.

* The target public of SoundStage are consumers just like Mr. Brent Butterworth wrote on his comment below, I always had the idea that SoundStage was for professionals.

Mr. Brent wrote a follow up to his original article so please follow his link on the comments.

2 thoughts on “The need for measurements by enthusiasts.

  1. I don’t pay much attention to measurements in general, but, personally, I would trust amateur measurements over the nonsense that companies like Sony publish.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. One correction: SoundStage targets consumers, not professionals. I encourage you to read my follow-up, linked below, and drop in whatever comments you wish. Also, while you’re correct that the time I have to spend doing my job does not permit me to spend a great deal of time on audio forums, I do drop in as time permits, and I go to as many shows as I can (all on my own dime) to try to stay on top of what enthusiasts are doing and saying.


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