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Intro to Computer Audio

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
I found this "introduction" to computer music in the newest issue of Playback's web site:

http://www.avguide.com/blog/computer...kes-difference

I think this article is ridiculous. If computers really had so many errors in timing, they wouldn't be able to function. If you think computers are that error-prone, why would you EVER use online banking? Or keep any data at all on a computer? And the stuff about RAM... well 3 gigs ain't gonna do anything if you never use more than 2 gigs. It's just headroom that does nothing at all. I loved the comments section though. Especially the last comment: "Computer geeks should stay out of audio discussions.Period. They have no clue as to what good audio is." Yeah, those geeks don't know anything! What good have computers ever done for us anyhow?
post #2 of 36
I'm tempted to just say it's nonsense, but he's allowed just barely enough room for plausibility. The entire argument is based on the idea that extremely small (tens of picoseconds) of phase error audibly effects sound. I would say that's unlikely.
post #3 of 36
humm, what was that all about again?
post #4 of 36
I think the RAM comment is mostly based on buffer errors that can cause a system to stutter. It's obvious though he has little technological background, and as such really isn't suitable to writing about it. He's also the type to rabidly defend his stance with no evidence whatsoever.
post #5 of 36
I bet whoever wrote that thinks spraying armor all on a CD makes it sound better. They can believe what they want, but I doubt any difference between computer audio and other digitized audio is noticed by even the best golden ears.
post #6 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by leeperry View Post
humm, what was that all about again?
I believe it's called "jitter"
post #7 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shike View Post
I think the RAM comment is mostly based on buffer errors that can cause a system to stutter. It's obvious though he has little technological background, and as such really isn't suitable to writing about it. He's also the type to rabidly defend his stance with no evidence whatsoever.
Nah, this has no effect at all on sound quality. Modern system don't need gigs of ram to play audio without buffer underruns. The RAM comment, I can only fathom, was implying that the additional RAM modules drew additional pulse current from the power supply, this injecting noise into the soundcard and its oscillator. However he seems to be arguing that adding RAM actually improves sound, which is entirely false. And there's the problem with these types of subjective opinions...you're certainly right about there being no evidence. I've yet to see any measurements for any of the things he mentions.
post #8 of 36
I think audio reviewers really, really don't like the idea of everyone replacing their sources with music servers. They really won't have anything to review anymore if the only real variable is the DAC, which doesn't make that much of a difference.
post #9 of 36
Lol I was smiling most of the time while reading his articles.
He is thinking himself as the best critic ignoring the facts that many of the computer and audio experts are going to read his thoughts
post #10 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by b0dhi View Post
Nah, this has no effect at all on sound quality. Modern system don't need gigs of ram to play audio without buffer underruns. The RAM comment, I can only fathom, was implying that the additional RAM modules drew additional pulse current from the power supply, this injecting noise into the soundcard and its oscillator. However he seems to be arguing that adding RAM actually improves sound, which is entirely false. And there's the problem with these types of subjective opinions...you're certainly right about there being no evidence. I've yet to see any measurements for any of the things he mentions.
I was reading a review of the new high-end asynchronous USB DAC from Ayre, and evidently the weak link in the chain was the computer until the reviewer increased the RAM in it. In the context of what this thing actually goes through to re-clock the datastream, I can see why. Most USB DACs are entirely different than the QB-9, being adaptive rather than asynchronous, and therefore don't need proprietary coding:

"For the QB-9, Ayre has licensed the asynchronous technology developed by Wavelength's Gordon Rankin for the new TAS1020B chip. Rankin spent nearly two years developing the software for the microcontroller that allows the TAS1020B to work with both PCs and Macs, using only the native drivers included in their operating systems. Rankin's software for the TI chip is marketed as Streamlength; Ayre is the first company to license it.

The QB-9 marries Streamlength to the Ayre ethos of zero feedback and fully balanced operation, not to mention Ayre's new minimum-phase digital reconstruction filter, implemented in a Field-Programmable Gate Array.

Setting up the QB-9 in my main system wasn't as plug'n'play as I'd envisioned. Details mattered—maxing out the RAM on my G4 iBook made a huge difference to the sound, as did matching the sample rates on the computer and DAC."

Quote:
Originally Posted by evanft View Post
I think audio reviewers really, really don't like the idea of everyone replacing their sources with music servers. They really won't have anything to review anymore if the only real variable is the DAC, which doesn't make that much of a difference.
IMHO, the DAC is equally as important as the source recording and resolution, the amplification, and the speakers/headphones; also DAC technology is obviously still evolving.
post #11 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by b0dhi View Post
Nah, this has no effect at all on sound quality. Modern system don't need gigs of ram to play audio without buffer underruns. The RAM comment, I can only fathom, was implying that the additional RAM modules drew additional pulse current from the power supply, this injecting noise into the soundcard and its oscillator. However he seems to be arguing that adding RAM actually improves sound, which is entirely false. And there's the problem with these types of subjective opinions...you're certainly right about there being no evidence. I've yet to see any measurements for any of the things he mentions.
I think you're giving him too much credit.

Most intelligent people wouldn't try running Vista on a system without a gig . . . unfortunately, there's still people out there that think their monitor is their computer if you get the drift. I've seen resource deprived systems every generation, and it can effect the most menial things (especially when you throw an AV or anything else on top of it).
post #12 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by grokit View Post
IMHO, the DAC is equally as important as the source recording and resolution, the amplification, and the speakers/headphones; also DAC technology is obviously still evolving.
Most DBT I've seen with DAC's concluded that they sound very, very similar, often indistinguishable from each other.

Of course, this assumes ideal conditions with the bitstream being fed to it.
post #13 of 36
Quote:
Going from a 3' USB connection to a 6' one is audible in some systems.
That's where I stopped reading.
post #14 of 36
Quote:
Going from a 3' USB connection to a 6' one is audible in some systems.
That's where I stopped reading.
x2

The guy has absolutely no clue what he is talking about.

Why do people insist on spouting nonsense?
post #15 of 36
Was this written as a joke?
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