Where do all the bits go?

September 21, 2022
 by Paul McGowan

3 comments on “Where do all the bits go?”

  1. Perhaps another way of looking at it is if you take a one second collection of samples from the bit stream, each sample being 24 bits long. You then plot each sample point, converting each sample of 24 bits into a number, on a graph where the (horizontal) X axis plots time and the (vertical) Y axis plots voltage (each sample number representing the ‘loudness’ of the signal).

    Let’s assume the original bit stream represents a signal sampled 192,000 times per second. You’ll see 192,000 points on your graph. If you join each pair of points with a straight line you’ll see an ‘approximation’ of how the signal voltage varies over time, particularly if you zoom out so that the distance between each point is not discernible and the line appears to be a smooth, wavy line.

    Zoom in again, take out your eraser and rub out every second sample point on the plot so that you now ‘only’ have 96,000 points in the one second sample. Now redraw a straight line between each new pair of points. Zoom out and compare the original line with the one you’ve just drawn. See a difference? Maybe, but isn’t it only noticable when you zoom in?

    Save the changed (down-sampled) bit stream and replay it. Can you hear a difference?

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