Asheville, North Carolina ‘s Home Theater and Audio specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

Just one more thing …

At this pace we’ll never get to our core subject, fundamentals, but, again, I just couldn’t resist.

A day or so ago Microsoft announced their new wearable computer, weeks after Apple announced theirs. He’s a picture of the two:

I won’t bother telling you which is which. If you care about design aesthetic, as I do, it’ll be obvious. One has a functional beauty… the other not so much. And yes, perhaps some will find the Apple watch too big, that’s not the point I want to make.

When you spend time appreciating the beauty and functional elegance of a product designed by a master like Dieter Rams, or Jony Ive, you really learn to admire what they’ve accomplished within the constraints of practicality. My son Scott McGowan, the driving force behind Sprout, is himself a disciple of Dieter Ram (as is Apple’s Jony Ive). Sprout is designed to honor the Dieter Rams minimalist approach. We refer to Sprout as a ‘personal stereo’ because of its intimate connection with the user.

Not everyone loves Sprout, not everyone will love any of these products; and that’s ok. If the design artist succeeded, it’ll be love at first sight for enough people to call it a success. And more than that one could not hope for.

Not familiar with the design work of Dieter Rams? Take a look at one of my all time favorites he designed for the German company Braun.

Gorgeous isn’t it? And this, in the 1960′s.

When it comes to design, beauty and imbuing a product with a soul, artists like Dieter Rams, Jony Ive and their disciples really honor the relationship we all have come to love with the objects we interact with on a day to day basis.

The rest are meaningless uninteresting products in my view.

Asheville, North Carolina ‘s Home Theater and Audio specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

Bits is bits again

I was going to get started on our ‘fundamental’ conversation started yesterday. But reading through the PS Forums I ran across an explanation by our own Ted Smith about some of the issues affecting the sound of digital audio. I wanted to post it here, so informative that comment.

When asked about why a RamDisk and its various setting might make an audible difference, Ted responded with this:

As a handwaving example the RamDisk can allow fewer disk reads/seeks during playing. Seeking fast costs energy, the faster the more energy. Each seek adds a big current spike/dip to the power supply. Moving these spike around will change when their effects happen. Reading a file all at once can cause fewer seeks over all and hence less interference. That interference can show up in the system in various ways – thru the AC used to power each unit of your system, thru RF (which often shows up because of ground loops, as well as high frequency hash over the interconnects, etc.), thru jitter via the DAC…

Another possible mechanism: Using a RAM disk can cause the file to be more contiguous in physical memory in the PC, perhaps causing fewer memory cache collisions with the rest of the running system (or more appropriately, perhaps not being as interfered with by the rest of the system.)

Noise from the PC affects all of the components of your system thru varying paths to varying degrees. It’s a very complicated system and figuring out from first principles all of the interactions is like using physics to predict chemistry. Possible in principle, impractical in the extreme.

A DAC can only do so much to help the whole system and jitter attenuation is among the things that a DAC can do to help, but jitter itself is a secondary effect, both at the source(s) and the destination.
Well said, and thanks Ted.