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The progress of 'audio' towards the still-distant goal of a perfect imitation of reality has been, and remains, inextricably bound up with the development of electronic components and circuit technology, and with the parallel progress in the various transducers and interface devices used to generate and reproduce electrical signals. However, while in the early years of audio almost all the development work was done in an empirical manner, with ideas being tested experimentally in the studios or listening rooms of those involved--for want of any better way of advancing the design technology--gradually, as our understanding of the technical problems and their solutions increased, the way in which the designers make their designs has become increasingly analytical and theoretical in its nature.
This change is as inevitable as it’s predictable since there are many parts of this work -- digital audio, for example -- which can no longer be designed by any pragmatic 'suck it and see' method, and whose undoubted success has been entirely dependent on the correct outcome of theoretical calculations and predictions. Unfortunately, this has left a large number of music and hi-fi enthusiasts in the dark about what is actually being done to achieve the results they hear; and the occasional design errors made by the engineers, which have led to deficiencies in the reproduced sound, have left many listeners suspicious of what they no longer understand.
Design errors still do occur, just as they have always done, but now that the design and marketing decisions are no longer based on a judgment of sound quality made by a knowledgeable enthusiast/designer, there is a greater risk that equipment embodying them will find its way on to the dealers' shelves.
The various hi-fi magazines perform a useful task - irritating though they may be to those who already know everything - in drawing the attention of the engineers to the not entirely infrequent differences between what the specification implies and what the ear actually hears. However, the main requirement for the listener must remain a greater understanding of what is actually done, and how this will influence what he or she hears.
This guide presents unique electronics-- it focuses on the electronics of audio design and explores the principles and techniques that underly the successful design and usage of analog and digital equipment.
This guide is an attempt, in one small corner of this field, to reduce this gap between hearing and understanding.
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