A lot of people don’t like digital and prefer to run straight analog even going so far as to use vinyl. That is, of course, their prerogative to make that choice. Others are quite certain that any sort of AD-DA conversion is to be avoided because it leads to audible degradation. But how much merit is there to this? Many of us have performed our own tests on equipment of our choosing and haven’t been particularly careful with regards to either level matching or paying attention to the elimination of biases. As a result, our findings can be skewed one way or the other, perhaps affected by our own predisposition to one philosophy or another. The article below, which occurred about 20 years ago recounts some careful work that was designed to test this. The test was conducted in what would have to be considered most favorable for anyone who wants the ‘skeptic’ to be made a fool of or proven wrong. The person who set out to prove the inadequacy of digital was Ivor Tiefenbaum, who is presently (?) the managing director at Linn. He is, as is often said, a respected man and designer. The test was conducted at a place of their choosing using their equipment. What’s of particular interest to me are the findings where it strongly suggests (I won’t say proves) that this test had a bit of cheating in it. Read it and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Perhaps this will make some rethink their positions or rethink the pains that are taken in order to arrive at meaningful results. I certainly hope it’ll make you think that often times, the results that you see or hear when going to demonstrations are not necessarily because a product is better but because it’s been arranged that the chips fall a particular way. Sometimes you know, the Pepsi Challenge, Monster demonstrations, audible cable differences, happen in a particular way because of something pulled out of Houdini’s book. Things are seldom what they seem, skim milk masquerades as cream…and all that.