How are tests and measures important?

Sonic arts are measured with your gut, not a slipstick. Complex specifications do little to help the rest of us get tone in playback  and reveals little about how a device will help connect your soul to your music.

Tests and measures dramatically accelerate the research and development for the experienced and tone-conscience engineer, those that have built a knowledge base of factors. Tests and measures are also necessary for proper quality control. Measuring, and the scientific procedure as a whole, is a very complex undertaking, and very much worth the effort for the engineer.

But how tests and measures might relate to your buying decision, I’m not sure- and here’s why.

Basic measures tell little about how the product will sound. Published specs might give some indication on how a loudspeaker might match up with a particular amp, or how a particular cable will fit an application, or that a phono pickup will work mechanically with a particular tonearm and deck. But as for graphs, it is extremely difficult to draw conclusions on sound. Also, the methodologies used by one manufacturer or lab or system will vary, making cross comparison very difficult.

In the end, it really is about the sound and Zu fully supports the design ideal that the ear and soul are the final arbiter of sonic pleasure. Nevertheless, Zu has and will continue to expand its published methods and measures.

THE sensation of sound is a thing sui generis, not comparable with any of our other sensations. No one can express the relation between a sound and a color or a smell. Directly or indirectly, all questions connected with this subject must come for decision to the ear, as the organ of hearing; and from it there can be no appeal. But we are not therefore to infer that all acoustical investigations are conducted with the unassisted ear. When once we have discovered the physical phenomena which constitute the foundation of sound, our explorations are in great measure transferred to another field lying within the dominion of the principles of Mechanics. Important laws are in this way arrived at, to which the sensations of the ear cannot but conform. —Lord Rayleigh