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Audio Electronics


Its all about waves#

Audio electronics encompasses the use of electronic circuits to convert sound or pressure wave signals into electrical signals, and vice versa. These circuits may also perform signal processing operations to modify the signal while in its electrical form.

Additionally, audio signals can be synthetically generated through electronic devices. Historically, audio electronics primarily utilised analogue circuit techniques. However, with the advent of digital technology, digital signals can now be manipulated using computer software, achieving results that are challenging or impossible with analogue methods. Ultimately, the electrical sound must be converted back into an analogue wave form, such as through a speaker or headphones, which are inherently mechanical and thus analogue.

It's important to note that both analogue and digital electronic designs are prevalent today, with the choice between them often depending on the specific application or user preference.

Amplifiers: A Topic of Debate#

Amplifiers are a subject of passionate discussion among audiophiles, with ongoing debate regarding the merits of digital versus analogue circuitry. A notable development in this field is the rise of highly efficient class D amplifiers. Musicians and audiophiles often have strong preferences for specific sounds or types of amplifiers they perceive as best suited for certain applications.

While much of this is subjective, there are undeniable scientific distinctions between various amplifier technologies. Some of these include:

  1. Thermionic Valves or Tubes (USA)
  2. BJT (Bipolar Junction Transistor) amplifiers
  3. MOSFET (Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor Field-Effect Transistor) based amplifiers
  4. Digital or Class D amplifiers

The Interplay of Science and Perception#

As previously discussed, there are measurable scientific differences in how various circuits or software affect sound wave harmonics and other characteristics. These differences can be analysed using test equipment or software. However, the perception of sound remains a subjective experience unique to each listener.

This perceptual effect is beyond the realm of measurable science.