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Giving facts to the reader that misdirect, yet are accurate, is a key element in the writing of a mystery novel. These work because the reader cannot refute them, thus the setup for the unsolvable mystery begins. This is the same technique used by many audio 'experts' who love to cite an accurate fact then draw an inaccurate conclusion from that fact. For example, if we accept the fact that two different mediums have identical data on them, then our shortsighted expert conclude they must sound identical; case closed. Sadly these experts have readers who follow their logic and believe them. In our example of the Agatha Christie character, Hercule Poirot, the role of the myopic 'expert' is played by the hapless Inspector Jaap who sees only the facts on the surface and inevitably arrests the wrong man. The same is true of audio experts who then delight in proving their point that the 'audiofools' cannot see. It takes a good sleuth like Poirot to prove them wrong and uncover the real facts that answer the question.

So here is today's misdirection. We manufacture and sell the PerfectWave Memory Player. This is a CD/DVD transport that extracts the data from a disc and transfers it to a solid state memory before sending that data to a DAC. The memory is long enough to record about 30 seconds of music from a CD. The idea behind the player is to produce jitter free audio data without any errors, which the transport does. And if you take two discs, one a standard CD, the other a CDR copy of that same disc, and play them both through the Memory Player, the bits the player produces are in the same order and have the same meaning to the DAC. Yet, the two discs do not sound identical. In fact, the CDR will sound more lifelike than the CD version, even in a player as sophisticated as the PWT. I have delighted in demonstrating this to many people who doubt this is true. Once the demonstration is complete the first thing that comes to mind is that the memory isn't really in play and that it is perhaps some sort of parlor trick. At which point I start the CD playing and remove the disc entirely, handing it to the listener as the music continues to play for half a minute. All doubts of the memory working or not vanish.

If the PWT hasn't any correlated jitter because of its long memory and the bits coming from the player are identical, how then can two discs sound different?

It would seem an impossible mystery.

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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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