Rose colored glasses

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In yesterday's post I asked "how many bits does it take to screw in a light bulb?" I had no clever answer but fellow Nerd Bob Whitlock did: "It's subject to interpolation". I guess the fact I find that actually hilarious means I am (as my wife Terri tells me constantly) without hope. Sorry, just couldn't resist. We now understand that in a full PCM based system (of which there aren't that many left anymore ... I'll explain that later) bits are directly responsible for size: more bits = more dynamic range and better signal to noise ratio. The number of bits do not affect the "resolution" as if they were pixels in a camera. Bits aren't pixels because, while they are similar in concept, pixels are actual physical sensors that can be made ever smaller and more crammed into the same space. More sensors in a smaller space means more resolution. More bits in our word does not mean finer gradations between samples. But wait! There is such a system in place that kind of does what most of us think is going on. And here's the surprising thing, most of us are using it and listening to it now - but we're wearing rose colored glasses when we do. What the heck does that mean? Sorry to be a tease, but that'll be the subject of tomorrow's post. Before I leave you this morning (I have to put the finishing touches on our longest owner's manual yet - the NPC - which is exceeding 25 pages) I would like to make a comment. With all the hub bub about bit depth, resolution, sample rates and so on, we keep skirting around the elephant in the room. On the one side are the technocratsthat try to use science to prove to we don't hear what we hear. They are well meaning folk, but like a skilled politician trying to convince you that something that's obviously happening isn't (like global warming), most of us kind of shrink from the fray and shake our heads. I can't bring myself to do that. Sorry. We'll be touching on this subject over time, so stay tuned.
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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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