May 22, 2022
 by Paul McGowan

Car companies make great claims with respect to gas mileage and then they add a little disclaimer.

Your Mileage May Vary.

Isn’t it the truth? No matter what we or any other manufacturer might claim for what you should expect, your mileage will vary.

The question is, how much?

Fortunately, as with any well made and engineered product, there’s a minimum performance we can expect. When I write to you that one of our amplifiers does this or that or can hold its own against anything else out there, you can reasonably expect that to be true.

How close to duplicating what we hear in our listening room varies, of course, on any number of facts: your room, cables, source material.

There’s little reason to worry that bringing home a product for evaluation is risky in the sense that it won’t come close to your expectations.

As long as the company you’re working with has a good reputation for holding true to its word, the fact that your mileage may vary should be little more than background noise as opposed to a roadblock.

Subscribe to Paul's Posts

19 comments on “YMMV”

  1. Paul,
    “Talk is cheap”
    Prospective customers need to be able to hear what a complete ‘PS Audio’ system sounds like before
    they commit.
    Most would not have a problem with doing the 30 day in-home trial with one or two or maybe even three pieces of ‘PS Audio’ equipment, but I suspect that most will baulk at having everything sent to their home, including a pair of aspen FR30s.
    The sooner that you can open-up music room 2 to the public again & allow prospective customers, & other interested people/parties, to visit Boulder so that they can audition a complete ‘PS Audio’ home-audio system, the better.
    If people are really serious about home-audio, & can financially outlay what it takes, then they should (will) make the effort to travel to Boulder to audition said complete ‘PS Audio’ set-up…but it’s up to you & the ‘PS Audio Board’ to fling your doors open again.
    That way prospective customers will have greater certainty about ‘the milage’ 😉
    How much longer will you allow CoViD-19 to dictate whether you will or will not have visitors to
    4865 Sterling Drive?

    Dare I say, “It’s time, my friend.”

  2. Mileage may vary because such cars burn fuel when idle and more fuel when being driven hard. Electric cars mileage doesn’t vary. Same with a lot of modern amplifiers that are ultra-efficient and use next to nothing when idle and otherwise the same to peak power.

    I’m not one for reputations or marketing. I do like a home demo, and it is for evaluation, not confirmation. I recently bought a phono stage, following two home demos, one from a company I had heard of, the other from a company I’d never heard of. I bought the one I’d not heard of.

    1. Dear Not to Be Confused , sadly my Tesla Y mileage does vary. Cold weather and high winds drastically change mileage . Additionally driving habits. Another factor is climate control and window tinting. The glass roof is a solar heat magnet, and tinting is optional but still required. As for altitude hindering performance like a ICE car, I’d image the Tesla would perform the same regardless of elevation but I haven’t driven my over Vail Pass or Trail Ridge Road through RMNP, so that’s just a guess.

        1. Longplayer, Plenty of Superchargers along the way to Vail from Denver to make the trip. I have a friend with a Model Y in Dillon. Drives up and down through the tunnel weekly and loves the Tesla’s performances. Still haven’t had the need yet to climb I70 but plan a trip from Greeley to Grand Junction in the fall. I shall see.

  3. I have 2 basic rules regarding amplifiers.

    1) I want high current, not necessarily high wattage
    2) I always want the preamp and amp to be the same brand & level

    Those 2 rules seem to keep me out of amplifier synergy troubles.

  4. To borrow another phrase from the automotive industry, if you make enough of something you will make a lemon. Now if you are making Sony Game Stations by the millions, as opposed to $100K amps by the tens, there is a greater chance you will make some lemons.

    Getting a lemon does not count as YMMV. YMMV means there is a spectrum of allowed performance that is considered normal. Something that is dead in the box, brakes after a month of use, or does do anything well at all should never be treated as YMMV.

    1. Leyland / Austin made lemons by the million. I bought a new one that broke down 300 yards from the dealership.

      1. YES, Leyland/Austin did just that. Your experience and of many others is why the company, their brands, and other British car names are long gone.

    2. 3.4 defects per million opportunities = Six Sigma. Most companies do not achieve Six Sigma. I keep this in mind when I purchase something…

  5. I earned my way through college as a road test and engine development engineer at General Motors.

    My best work assignments were at the Milford MI proving ground, pushing cars to their limits on the various tracks.

    The most boring assignments were often testing car fuel economy and emissions. This was performed not on a track, but in a test cell with a rolling dynamometer. With the car chained to the dyno, the hood open and an industrial fan blowing through the radiator, the test technician needed to follow a trace on a strip recorder that recorded accelerator and brake pedal inputs.

    That was 40 years ago, but even today EPA fuel economy is measured in a test cell, not on a track.

    So how does this relate to audio equipment? You cannot fully tell how a car will perform on the road by a set of performance metrics like HP and fuel economy measured in a test cell. So why should audio performance metrics of equipment measured in a test chamber be any different?

    YOMV (Your Opinion May Vary). 😉

  6. Hi Paul, Retired auto engineer here and PS Audio fan.

    As you said your mileage will vary and indeed it will. These are not “car company claims”

    I’ll explain briefly. Federally mandated EPA/DOT mileage determinations that are reported for each vehicle are made on dynos under very specific conditions with calibrated equipment. The test method, test equipment, fuel grade, and test data are collected via the EPA method. This eliminates variability such as road condition, driver habits, wind direction, vehicle load, temp, altitude, etc…

    The EPA determination is a global standard and ideal condition for consumer comparison purposes ONLY.

    Thanks for a great blog. btw.

    Best Regards,

    PS: Additionally, this allows all vehicle manufacturers to test their vehicles in an identical way.

    1. Hi Phil,

      That assumes nobody attempts to cheat the system.

      Back in the 70s, while I was at General Motors, Chrysler cheated the rolling dyno test by changing the distributor advance when the hood was open to run the test. There was a light that would come on underneath the hood to aid in checking the engine. The light was triggered by a switch on the hood just like the door on a refrigerator. But there was an additional wire from the switch that ran to the distributor. This allowed the car to meet the emission requirements when the hood was open, but not perform like a dog when the hood was closed.

      Flip the calendar forward 50 years, and Volkswagen on their diesel engines achieved the same deception except using software. In the engine management computer, hidden in the software, was code that could sense the EPA emissions test being run. Since as you stated, all cars must be driven on the same EPA simulated driving conditions, the VW program just looked for the EPA simulated test conditions, and changed the fuel mapping on the management computer to reduce emissions.

  7. My car has a digital meter displaying fuel consumption. It is truly amazing to see how fuel consumption directly correlates with speed. Unlike years gone by, I now take it to the speed limit (or 65 mph, whichever comes first) and hit cruise control on the highway. I’m sure I inconvenience a lot of people by going that slow, but at least I don’t suffer from a leaky wallet. 😎

  8. I hear that expression a lot in audio and it is incredibly understandable because we deal with so many variables and subjectivity in audio in general.

Leave a Reply

Stop by for a tour:
Mon-Fri, 8:30am-5pm MST

4865 Sterling Dr.
Boulder, CO 80301

Join the hi-fi family

Stop by for a tour:
4865 Sterling Dr.
Boulder, CO 80301

Join the hi-fi family

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram