To voice or not to voice

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Continuing with our can of worms about voicing we discussed in yesterday's post, I wanted to start this one out letting you first knowwe posted another short video of DirectStream's architect, Ted Smith, explaining what DSD is and what some of the differences are between DSD and PCM. You can watch it by clicking here. Watching it sparked the subject of today's post. I find it fascinating that on the one hand people write me questioning the art (even the wisdom) of voicing a particular product, while on the other hand comfortable asking a question that requires attentive listening and observation like "isn't the sound of DSD softer and more laid back than PCM?" Of course the answer to that question has little to do with the actual format differences between the two and certainly has even less to do with how they measure. PCM and DSD can both sound soft and laid back or hard and bright, all depending on how the DAC playing the formats is, wait for it ....... voiced .... or not voiced by the designer. "Voiced" would suggest the designer had the skill and desire to tailor and shape the product to sound like he wanted. "Not voiced" might mean several things: the opposite, a blind faith in measurements, or it might mean the designer is simply comfortable leaving the outcome to fate. Audio equipment is either purposefully designed to sound the way it does or assembled into a product in much the same way a cook might throw all the ingredients of a recipe into a pot and serve, hoping it'll taste good. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. For my soup, I prefer tasting the results along the way before serving it.
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Paul McGowan

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