Accuracy vs. precision
Your watch should be accurate. So too your alarm clock. And let's not forget how important it is for the country's GPS system to be accurate, for without accuracy, our machines that tell us where we are and where we're going will lead us astray. But how important is accuracy in your digital audio system? It turns out it's not very important at all. But what is important is precision. Understanding the difference between the two is important. Long term accuracy is critical to many systems that run our modern world. We want the trains and planes to show up at exactly the right time. But it matters not if our audio systems have this same level of long term accuracy, which is why adding an atomic clock doesn't matter. It doesn't matter unless that clock improves the short term precision, which many do, but not for the reasons you might think. Our digital expert, Ted Smith, again lays out the case for the value of precision vs. the value of accuracy in digital audio clocks and jitter in this short video presentation we called Jitter and Clocks. When I brought this subject up last time I got some angry mail pointing out that a few high-end DACS really do sound better when you add their optional external clocks. How could I say they don't matter? They do matter! They do make their attached DACS sound better. They just don't do it for the reasons you might think they do.
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