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Confessions of a DigiPhile VI

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Digital Future of Audio

This appeared in the thread:

In a perfect world, where would the D to A conversion occur?

The topic here is where is audio headed, for normal consumers and for audiophiles.

I put his hypothesis to you:

Audio will be digital all the way through.

I challenge you to a battle of reason and arguments, I give you:

The challengers:

Mr. A
Mr. A grew up under difficult curcumstaces; knowledge was scares and
life was hard. Little by little he was nursed to life and he spread out through the world.

Mr. A prospered and branched out, grew stronger and had a good life. His first tools were tube amplifiers and he did well and had no competitors to speak of.
Mr. A used class amplification, that was what his tools were good at.

Along came a new different tool, the transistor. In the beginning the transistor was small and not much of a threat, but then it grew stronger and cheaper.

Mr. A's cousin Mr. AB liked the small size and cost of the transistor and started using the new tool. Mr. AB's constructions with transistors grew stronger and suddenly Mr. A was getting beaten by his cousin.

Mr. A fought back for a while, but in the end he called in his troops and the withdrew to a few high grounds where they could still defend them selves with their tubes.

Mr. AB
Mr. AB was the man of the hour! He expanded out in areas where Mr. A had newer even thought of going. The transistors evolved into mosfet's and much later into super powerful IGBT's and they had a blast. Everybody needed them and the world lay at their feet.

Mr. AB's cousin Mr. C liked the small size and cost of the transistor and said: I can build a computer with then. My earlier venture with tubes were a disaster, and relays were no better.

Mr. C
Mr. C's smart constructions with transistors grew slowly stronger. Suddenly Mr. C found that he could put many transistors in one chip known as an IC. Mr. C builds a computer that can count and calculate and all sorts of things.
That changed the game - big time!

Mr. C is the man of the hour! He expands out in areas where Mr. AB had newer even thought of going. Mr. C has found blue waters and created needs that no one before him had dreamed about. Mr. A and Mr. AB still had a little friendly competition, but Mr. AB was clearly the younger, more agile and prospering of the two.

Mr. D
Mr. C's son Mr. D comes along. He is a scholar, a philosopher, a leader and a patron of the arts. He's grown up with the the many possibilities created by everybody that came before him.

Mr. D has no tools but his knowledge and his visions. In his view, everybody else is wasting their efforts alone in each their camp. He's vision is to form a conglomerate that combines his leadership with all the best tools in the world. That way every too can come to it's right an be used in the most efficient way.

So Mr. D starts programming PLC's and industrial computers that constantly measures and optimizes machines and factories and businesses to be more efficient and competitive.
That changed the game - big time!

Mr. D is the man of the hour! He expands out in areas where Mr. AB had newer even thought of going. Mr. D has found blue waters and created oportunities that no one before him had dreamed about.

The Arts
So Mr. D comes home form a long day at work, too late to go out for one of his much loved concerts. He just wants to kick back with a glass of wine and some good music. He has audio systems on his shelves build by those that came before him, and while they are all fine, they all seem quite antiquated compared to his new increasingly efficient and predictable businesses.

He grabs a beer to cool down while listening to his favorite music in the red hot glow of Mr. A's tube amplifier sitting on the shelf along with all the other gear. He thinks:

Mr. A - built a thug
The pioneer that built the class A tube amp.
The amp is a thug with little sophistication.
Big and wasteful like a SUV with a V12 engine.
Mr. A did try with a class A solid state, but it is still expensive an a furnace int the room.

Mr. AB - built a bully
The contender that built the class AB solid state amp.
Now that is a little more like it, if only the push - pull action is well adjusted and mosfeds operate linear and no clipping and no thermal glide and . . .
It still gets things done by insisting, so no sophistication in communicating with the outside.

Mr. C - built the technical boxer
Now Mr. C built the switch mode amp saving space and less heat.
His pile of boxes and interconnects is however just as high as everybody else.
And he is still no more sophisticated in his communication with the speakers.
He is just a tad better at insisting and gets off the mark faster.

Mr. D - What will it be?
Now Mr. D is thinking: how far can I take it?

- Sensors
- feedback
- system under control
- adaptive system
- designed frequency response (eq)
- designed derivatives: d(frequency response) / dt
- designed voicing: XX-tube, legacy amp/speaker system
- designed venue: Albert Hall, Opera in Sidney, wooden church
- designed venue adapted to the music

What do you think?

Find my blog: “Confessions of a DigiPhile” at

Updated 04-22-2012 at 08:10 AM by DigiPete

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