Our Design Philosophy

Here at dlb Research we believe passionately in audio. Our true passion is great music and listening to great music on a system that provides the maximum of musical enjoyment is our goal. Our background is professional audio, with years spent in the recording studio making audiophile quality music. We also have decades of design experience with products that have always exceeded the raw audio performance of the competition while still being price competitive. We have been a lone voice in the wilderness as an audiophile designer in the broadcast/recording/postproduction world. Good audio is good audio whether it is found in consumer, prosumer, semi-pro, professional or the audiophile classes of gear. We have always pursued the best quality in whatever part of the audio world we have been involved.

We firmly believe that a lot of what is done in the name of sound quality in the audiophile world is no more than cosmetic and that what often passes for esoteric is really just snake oil cooked up for marketing purposes. What matters to us, is not the beauty of a hand-milled from a solid block of aluminum chassis, but the electronics contained in that chassis. High performance audio circuitry, correctly executed, with sound engineering behind it wins the day. There are always scientific reasons behind a good design, but some art as well. Listening tests are always required, but so is sound engineering. We are constantly looking for ways to measure or characterize what we hear and why so that engineering science can be applied to the problem and improvements made.

We also believe that a well engineer product can serve both the audiophile and professional audio communities. A good example of this is the Benchmark Media DAC-1. This is a D-to-A converter that was designed by Benchmark, a company that has decades of experience in the pro-audio world. Their products have typically been aimed at broadcasters and other large audio venues. The DAC-1 was designed with a professional style cabinet, not intended to compete with the typical audiophile chassis or look. It is built to pro-audio standards, in both form and function. Its circuitry was designed to sound fabulous under real world conditions, such as high jitter environments, that often occur in large audio facilities. Yet here is a product that has found a real home amongst high-end DACs that cost many times its price and has received several 'Recommended Components" awards for performance. One reason, at least, for this success is that it is a well executed design while paying attention to what really matters in audio quality while not worrying about cosmetics and snake-oil like marketing. It fits in the pro-audio world by its toughness and reliability and is not finicky about power, signal quality or the like, and it fits in the audiophile world because it sounds great! As an added bonus, it has a reasonable cost.

That is also what we do here at dlb Research. We have a passion for high quality audio, and design our products and methods to get the most audio performance out of our products without costing an arm and a leg. In addition, we do this using quality engineering methods and measurements along with listening tests. While we cannot as an engineering community measure everything we can hear, we get closer with each new innovation and discovery, and often can gain insights into circuit operation through tests we can do that affect things we cannot directly measure. We also do not make cost our primary goal in choosing components, but rather performance. A degree of art is also involved as there are usually many different ways to solve a design problem, but there is an optimal solution that correctly balances all the issues for a truly great design. Obtaining this balance to arrive at the best design is our goal and passion -- to find the optimal solution!

We also believe in showing what our products can actually do, not just writing about them or attempting to describe them in words. We publish performance measurements when ever we can, and will attempt to show and demonstrate our work. Engineering science is an ever expanding field, and we are constantly learning and growing in our ability to execute great design. Nothing is ever settled and no one can rest on their laurels and expect to succeed.

In addition, the marriage of the DIY audio world and the pro-audio world seems a natural one to us. Taking the best of high quality audio and creating something for our own musical enjoyment while not spending the equivalent of Fort Knox in the process is very appealing to us. We hope to share products and ideas that can help anyone with a passion for audio gain greater enjoyment in their pursuit of great audio.

Copyright © 2010 David L. Bytheway