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About this blog

Over my time reading and writing on the forum there appears to be a need for an aggregated list of component descriptions for "things" in the computer audio chain.   I intend this blog to meet that need.  I am very open to suggestions for entries that I can write about as well as have enough knowledge to describe in a concise manner.  PM me with suggestions please.

Entries in this blog

 

Data in a Flash

Here is a great article from Linux Journal about Flash Storage.  This just tops off the my previous article on storage!   Data in a Flash, Part I: the Evolution of Disk Storage and an Introduction to NVMe

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What is all this new disk stuff? -- M.2, NVME, Optane

What is all this new disk stuff? -- M.2, NVME, Optane

Over the last few years the form factor for mass media storage devices has started to evolve.  PC motherboards and many laptops now have SSD (Solid State Drives) as their primary non-volatile storage.  The computer industry invented the NGFF (Next Generation Form Factor) system which is now called M.2.   The M.2  interface is directly connected to the bus structure of the computer.  This dramatically improves the speed of operations.  One of the largest improvements is the NVMe  protoc

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The Elephant in the room -- The Room!

The Elephant in the room -- The Room!

The predominant factor in our sound system is the room.  The shape of the room, it's size — the ratio of the sides, the construction materials, the openings to the outside and inside.   Then we have the contents of the room, the selection of the speakers and their placement.  The furniture, the people and their placement are next in line to address.  It is a wonder that we can get our systems to sound right!  What is right?   I have been on the inside and the outside of this

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The Human Factor in Audio Systems

The Human Factor in Audio Systems

In a couple of responses to one of my blog entries there were some thoughtful comments about how we humans perceive sound and changes in sound.  Human perception is a very complex and is subject to many influences.  I do not pretend to understand them.  The influences around us are sometimes very hard to recognize. Things like confirmation bias are very real.  I want to at least recognize the fact that there are things that influence our perception that we should try to understand.    

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The Power Supply

The Power Supply

Powering electronic equipment is an area of great research in virtually all electronic systems.  Designs that waste less power, run cooler and manage fluctuations of voltage and current to provide “clean” power to our devices are very important.   We hear a lot about the LPS (Linear Power Supply) and the SMPS (Switch Mode Power Supply).  In GENERAL it has been shown that high quality Linear Power Supplies improve the performance of audio equipment.  An LPS design can be rather simple.

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HDMI

HDMI

The High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) standard has overshadowed almost any other means of providing a digital video signal from a source to a display.  It combines video, audio, control and more in a single cable and connector.  The standard has been evolving since it's inception.  The electrical properties of the cabling have changed and a whole lot more.  The standard is controlled by a single entity, and they are almost rabid about enforcing licensing.       While the idea

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Burn-in, Break-in

Burn-in, Break-in

I am sure that many of you have been told to be careful with your car or your new lawnmower to break-in the engine properly.  You manage speed, vary the load, etc.  until there are a certain number of miles or hours.  The oil is changed early, etc..  Many mechanical devices need this period to run properly over the long term.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Break-in_(mechanical_run-in)   Electronic and electromechanical equipment has some of the same needs.  The mechanism is

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Music Server / Streamer

Music Server / Streamer

Servers, Servers everywhere but not a bit to drink!   As I outlined when talking about the DAC, music data is sent serially to the DAC.   I like the record player analogy.  The stylus on the turntable is transferring what is in the grove at this very second.   So what does the server or streamer do?  In the most basic form, it provides the user interface to operate the software.  That software then reads the data from the local hard drive, or it connects to an online service

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S/PDIF  AES3 or AES/EBU and TOSLINK

S/PDIF AES3 or AES/EBU and TOSLINK

I love acronyms, but these are a mouthful.   S/PDIF  (Sony/Phillips Digital Interface) TOSLINK  Toshiba Link  AES3 or AES/EBU  Audio Engineering Society/European Broadcasting Union   The standards were co-developed for the consumer / professional markets.  They define both the data transmission formats as well as the connectors and cabling used to connect devices to transfer digital audio.  These standards include stereo and multi-channel audio formats.  

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D to D Converter

D to D Converter

Digital to Digital conversion is a "process"  that translates one type of digital into another.  D to D conversions have multiple use cases such as converting USB to SPIDF or I2S.     One example of this kind of device is the Sonore UltraDigial. Another is the Aurender UC-100.  You can visit their product pages for more information.  

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SFP Transceiver

SFP Transceiver

In modern networking, there are multiple media types including various types of Ethernet, Fiber Optic and Coax cabling.  The Small Form Factor (SFP) transceiver is a standards-based device that is used to allow different physical network media connections to network devices such as switches.  SFP has a standard mechanical and electrical interface for interchangeably.   Many applications of the SFP are for fiber-optic network connections that provide electrical separation or long distan

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Analog Wednesday: The Pre-amplifier and Amplifier

Analog Wednesday: The Pre-amplifier and Amplifier

Welcome to my first Analog Wednesday!  "Stuck in the Middle With You" With apologies to "Stealers Wheel."   DAC's to the left of me, Speakers to the right, here I am, Stuck in the middle with you       I do not want to leave out the parts of the system that make the sound!  In a file-based or digital music system something has to make the air move, and that is the speakers.  (OR Headphones). Working upstream from the speakers we need amplification to power the speake

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USB -- Universal Serial Bus

USB -- Universal Serial Bus

USB stands for Universal Serial Bus which is used to connect peripherals to computers. USB is used for data transfer, audio, power delivery and more.  The USB standards group has released three major versions of the standard.   In our daily lives, we use  USB to charge all kinds of devices. The mouse and keyboard on your computer probably use USB interfaces in one way or another.  We synchronize or transfer data between devices such as printing or file transfer to disk drives.  The USB

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DAC -- Digital to Analog Convertor

DAC -- Digital to Analog Convertor

The DAC is the heart of a file-based or streaming digital audio system.       Storing music or video for that matter in a digital format has some significant advantages.   The physical space needed is trivial to non-existent as a problem.  There are a lot fewer issues with long term storage such as moisture problems, print-through on magnetic tape and many more.  Digital also makes the effort of copying and transferring content almost zero.  File-based storage of music brings up issues

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The NAS  (Network Attached Storage)

The NAS (Network Attached Storage)

The NAS (Network Attached Storage) is a type of computer that, in general, has a single function.  It contains some form of data storage devices such as disk drives or SSD devices.  The primary purpose of a NAS is to make the information stored on the drives available to other computers on the network through file sharing.  Ordinarily, the user interface is via a web browser.     Over time the operating system and applications on NAS computers have gotten more powerful. Companies such

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