Archive for October, 2011

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A Pragmatic Approach To Jitter In Digital Audio

October 27, 2011

A couple of weeks ago I went to an audiophile trade show (the Rocky Mountain Audiofest).  It was interesting to note that a lot of the exhibitors and participants there were clueless about a great many things.  This article is about one of those things:  Jitter.  After talking with many people there I have come to the conclusion that the overwhelming majority of audiophiles have no idea what they are talking about when it comes to jitter.  Doing a google search for audiophile and jitter also bears that out by showing that no two audiophiles agree on what jitter sounds like!  Jitter is difficult to measure, difficult to quantify, and is very technical.  It should be no great surprise that this is fertile ground for misinformation, misunderstanding, and fraud.  This article will try to put a dose of reality and perspective on the issue of jitter. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Adventures at the Rocky Mountain Audiofest

October 18, 2011

This past weekend I went to the Rocky Mountain Audiofest.  RMAF is a tradeshow for audiophiles.  Three days of stuff at the Marriott Hotel at the Denver Tech Center.  I don’t know the exact count, but there was somewhere between 200 and 400 exhibitors.

It Looks Better Than It Sounds

If you didn’t know, I have a love-hate relationship with audiophiles.  I certainly applaud the efforts to make excellent sound systems.  But human perception of sound is a very subjective thing, and good audio equipment is a very technical thing that not everybody can understand.  When you combine something subjective with a lack of understanding then you open the doors wide open for pseudo-science and downright fraud.

You could roughly divide up the companies at RMAF into three rough categories:  Awesome, Clueless, and Deceitful.  From a practical perspective there isn’t much difference between Clueless and Deceitful.  It’s much like the difference between involuntary manslaughter and first degree murder.  Both result in somebody innocent dying,  but the deceitful company does it knowing full well what they are doing.

What surprised me at RMAF is that I expected much more deceitful companies.  I expected that maybe 50% of the companies would be in this category.  The real number was probably less than 10%.  Unfortunately, maybe 80% were clueless and only 10% were awesome. Read the rest of this entry ?