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Introduction to audio electronics

A Brief Definition#

Audio electronics is all about the use of electronic circuits to either convert sound/pressure wave signals to electrical signals, or vice versa. Audio Electronic Circuits may also be designed to create signal processing operations; this is done to make changes to the signal while it is in the electrical form.

Additionally, audio signals can be created synthetically through the generation of electric signals from electronic devices. Audio Electronics was traditionally designed with analog electric circuit techniques until advances in digital technologies were developed. Digital signals may be manipulated by computer software much the same way audio electronic devices would. Indeed, much can be done in software that is very hard or impossible to do, using analogue techniques. Eventually though, it is necessary to output the electrical sound into some form of analogue wave. This is true even if we look at the case of a pure class D amplifier, since the speaker or headphones used to convert the electrical wave into sound pressure wave are necessarily mechanical and therefor analogue in nature.

It is important to note that both analog and digital electronic designs are still used today, and the use of one or the other largely depends on the application OR upon the preference of the user.

Amplifiers are one of the hot topics of audiophiles. There is heated debate on the pros and cons of digital versus analogue circuitry. Ana example of this is the explosion of class D amplifiers which are highly efficient. However, many musicians and audiophile HIFI types have strong preference as to which sound they want or perceive to be the best for a certain job.

While much of the above is subjective, there are undeniable scientific differences between various technologies. Some of these technologies are listed below:

  1. Thermionic Valves or Tubes (USA)
  2. BJT transistor amplifiers.
  3. MOSFET based output amplifiers.
  4. Digital or class D amplifiers.

Science or perception?#

As explained above, there are scientific differences that can be explored with test equipment and/ or software; such differences pertain to the circuit's OR software's effects on harmonics and other aspects of sound waves. While this is true, it is also true that the perception of a sound is a subjective quality that belongs to the listener.

There is no way to measure this effect!

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