The power of words

Prev Next

Words are powerful. Wars have been started and ended with their use. They convey meaning and, as such, we need to be careful with their use. On our forums, long timer poster Gordon suggested that it's time to retire the terms 'analog' and 'digital' when it comes to describing the differences in sound quality in our systems. Perhaps it is time. He makes a good point. But another poster, Magister, suggested an alternative viewpoint I wanted to share this morning.

"I respectfully disagree. Most audiophiles who have been around for any length of time have experienced digital reproduction as different from analog. Many would say that analog is more natural, less harsh, lacks a certain "edge" or whatever. The exact words don't matter, and certainly some people like the (to them) more exciting sound of digital while others appreciate its convenience. These words stand for things that most of us have heard, whatever we end up choosing for our own systems. As DACs get better and better, as we are seeing with the DS, the distinction will gradually become less meaningful. But now I don't know of any alternatives that work well. "Natural" is OK but does not convey the specific idea of lacking the edgy sound sometimes found with digital playback."

We can easily pick apart the terms, I have done so many times in these posts, pointing out that analog reproduction is actually limiting in terms of dynamic range, when compared to digital. Yet, we're really referring to terminology in the abstract, rather than the specific.

As long as we're conveying the meaning, rather than the specifics behind each word, these terms continue to work.

Back to blog
Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

Never miss a post


Related Posts