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Old 23rd May 2020
Deleted 2c9d885
I agree that implementation and analog design is very important. If a designer screws that up it's all downhill! but look at actual full ap measurements of specific interfaces in the high end and most are actually really close: definitely if they use the same modern chips: implying for the most part the designers do their job right at these pro audio companies at least. (There are some poorly performing ones though!)
The DA in a new Motu measures better than a Hilo on AP tests. Not the AD ... At least in 624 though it's an older AD chip than the 828es. If you look at RMAA tests an Antelope Amari is highest ... Though RMAA is a loopback test like audiodiffmaker ... But with more info. (Not sure what motu828 you had ... There's many older versions with older chips and designs)

As far as audiodiffmaker ... my Lynx Hilo is on the top of the list of the results as you can see my name on many of the results there. I don't consider it a perfect test as you can't tell if it's the AD or DA as it's a loopback like RMAA and the diffmaker software is sorta wonky and not well documented and hasn't been updated in years. Certain numbers not even the thread starter knows how its exactly calculated. For example one number is low on the 828es but the other is much higher placing it much highee ... So it's an odd conundrum. More info is better so if you want to do a diffmaker test: cool. But I wouldn't put all my eggs in the diffmaker basket but think of it as one single aspect of measurements.

Another thing is actually doing proper level matched true blind tests with someone else flipping the switch etc at the same time... I've been fooled before when I don't have instant switching and let a minute or so lapse or don't level correct to .1 or something like that dB. Even going as far as actually covering your eyes not to know which is playing. Maybe you test like that? but I don't know.

Don't listen to me or anyone on here or what marketing each company spouts as to what "sounds" or is better is my best advice. Who knows what they are listening on and if they blind tested it properly. For all we know they are using some tiny crappy distorted speakers or low resolving headphones ... How many people actually do comparisons on Stax or Raal ribbon headphones? Or full range mastering speakers? How many on less resolving speakers and headphones? Did they get their ears checked recently!? Did I? :P Do they have lots of earwax buildup lol? Do I ha ha ha? Even if something truly does sound different ... Who's to say the person suggesting this or that has a similar taste as you or if clean to them is simply brightness.

I'd suggest simply looking at the AP measurements or RMAA or whatever other measurements there are to come to a conclusion is probably the smartest thing to do. Also asking companies for proper AP charts and full readouts like DAD or Cranborne/etc 2ould be a great step in the right direction for everyone here. If you don't already, when you receive a new item: truly blind test it. Though I'd personally still trust an AP analyzer more than my own ears as humans aren't perfect.

Anyway, I wish you luck in your search!