"Bits are only Bits so long as they are used to store a representation of the music. As soon as you send them to the DAC (or as soon as the DAC's internal circuitry sends them to the actual digital-to-analog conversion stage) they become an analog waveform that tries its best to represent the digital bitstream. Compounding the problem, this analog waveform is no longer confined to the audio frequency bandwidth, where the chaff can usually be readily removed from the wheat, but is now way up in the RF frequency band where every problem you solve seems to cause another one to pop up elsewhere. That harmless phrase "an analog waveform that tries its best to represent the digital bitstream" hides a plethora of technical limitations that typically require enormous expense to implement effective solutions. Think of "femto clocks", for example. It is misleading to think of these simply as ridiculously fast timing signals. What they really are are ways of getting the noise in that "analog representation" out of the frequencies where it does the most harm."Well stated, my friend! If you're interested in my verbal ramblings on the subject of real vs. imaginary WATCH THIS VIDEO.
Removing the blinders
I can't tell you the number of times I have been so focused on the one thing I miss what's right in front of my face. It's the classic forest through the trees syndrome. Such can be the case with digital audio and a long-held fear that differences we hear might just be imaginary. Why? Because the seemingly ridiculous lengths we often go to for sonic improvements are made fun of by those who do not take the time to experience them. It's always easy to be a critic. One of the best explanations I've yet encountered for helping understand how seemingly minute changes can have such sweeping impacts was penned by Bit Perfect cofounder, Richard Murison who writes:
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