Perhaps the most difficult technology to wrap one’s head around is digital.
Analog? Not so much. Consider that it’s not that hard to understand how the quality of a tape head or a phono cartridge has a direct and obvious impact on sound quality. It has to.
Digital is a whole different can of worms. 1’s and 0’s should be easy to maintain quality. It’s far more difficult to try and understand how bits on a hard drive or, for that matter, bits sent across millions of miles of space can be affected.
Inviolate performance. Perfect sound forever. That was the promise.
And yet, DACs and transports sound different. One USB cable vs. another makes the difference between good and great.
Over time we’ve been learning what makes digital audio sound different. We’ve come to recognize and own up to the fact bits are not just bits. That the timing, noise levels, and quality of those bits changes that which we hear in music.
We never perfected analog and I sincerely doubt we’ll ever perfect digital.
But, we’re moving forward in positive ways and music is getting better for it.
That’s got to be a good thing.