• The Audio Fool

    If you assume your users are criminals, they will be.

    • 7 Comments
    A friend recently purchased for me a copy of a game, let's call it "Society III", that he knew I'd like. I had been an avid player of Society and Society II, and Amazon was having a $9.95 special. The game arrived in a standard manufacturer box, with...
  • The Audio Fool

    Always dither before you quantize

    • 2 Comments
    Quantization adds noise. Taking a nice continuous signal and expressing it as distinct integers will introduce a round-off error, which means you've added random fluctuations to the signal, which is the definiton of noise. Remember that noise is inevitable...
  • The Audio Fool

    Recent lack of posts

    • 0 Comments
    Apologies for the lack of posts. We're sooo close to getting Vista out the door, there's been little time for anything else recently. I assure you more audio posts are forthcoming. :) Meanwhile, make sure you go here and get ready for the best OS ever...
  • The Audio Fool

    I don't think it means what you think it means

    • 2 Comments
    Raymond Chen , noble defender of language, pointed out today that fellow Microsofties have now taken to inventing adjectives , in addition to nouns and verbs. Though Raymond's example is pretty benign, it does bring out the usual champions for language...
  • The Audio Fool

    Interface Design and the Law of Leaky Abstractions

    • 5 Comments
    Programmers are always trying to make things simpler, usually by making them more complex. Interface too complicated? Need a bit of extra functionality? Want to work closer to the problem? Add a layer of abstraction to the code. As most programmers know...
  • The Audio Fool

    Should you use Vista? I do.

    • 1 Comments
    I'm completely switched over. Aside from my two linux servers, every machine I run is on Vista, and the OS isn't even finished yet. Since Beta 1 we've been asked to "Self Host" - to run Vista on our primary development and productivity machines. On early...
  • The Audio Fool

    Audio Fidelity: Frequency Response

    • 2 Comments
    Not all frequencies are created equal. And they're also not generally treated equally by a digital filter. How inequally they're treated is one of the defining characteristics of a filter. Audio engineers have a metric for describing this behavior. The...
  • The Audio Fool

    Ahoy, ye downloading scoundrels!

    • 1 Comments
    Arr, software prices are too high. Copying isn't stealing. Copyright infringement is a victimless crime. Nobody gets hurt. Big companies have too much money. It's just sharing with my friends. It's only a few hundred gigabytes. I deserve this music. The...
  • The Audio Fool

    Audio Fidelity: Crosstalk

    • 2 Comments
    For years, recorded audio was just a signal, captured by a microphone, stored as an audio signal, and then played back by a speaker. The microphone acted as a "proxy" eardrum to hear the sounds when and where the real listener's ear couldn't be. But somebody...
  • The Audio Fool

    32 bit audio redux

    • 9 Comments
    In my previous post , I don't think I explained very well why a 32-bit signal wouldn't work on the low-end. The point, I think, was well-taken on the high-end. You don't want a 192 dBSPL audio signal applied to your body (or your planet, for that matter...
  • The Audio Fool

    A Lesson in Dynamic Range (or Why 32 Bits per Sample Should Never Catch On)

    • 11 Comments
    Anywhere you go, you will be able to find people who will insist that more is better. Bigger cars, larger portions, and more bits in your audio samples. But we thinking people know that there is such as too much of a good thing, don't we? I refer, of...
  • The Audio Fool

    The Dancing Bunnies problem and the need for application-level security

    • 2 Comments
    Raymond today has a discussion up about the folly of trying to set security with a granularity of per-DLL. As he explains, the moment you let something untrusted run in your process space, you cannot trust anything in the process. You cannot wall off...
  • The Audio Fool

    Quantization, Sample Rate, and Bits Per Sample

    • 3 Comments
    Forgive my digression, but I need to lay some digital signal processing ( DSP ) groundwork for what I want to talk about next. If you're already a DSP guru, then you may want to skip this one. (If you're a DSP guru, what're you reading a blog called ...
  • The Audio Fool

    Audio Fidelity: Distortion

    • 3 Comments
    Distortion in audio is very closely related to noise. Both "distortion" and "noise" are used to describe unwanted components of an audio stream, so what's the difference? I already defined noise when I talked about dynamic range . But what is distortion...
  • The Audio Fool

    Fidelity on channel9

    • 0 Comments
    Channel9 has a video up right now with Hakon Strande, one of my team's program managers, talking about next generation audio devices . Most of the video is about HD Audio, the new audio hardware spec from Intel. They also spend several minutes in the...
  • The Audio Fool

    Why is everything in audio measured in dB?

    • 7 Comments
    Short answer: Because the ear measures things in dB. The decibel is nothing more than a ratio between two numbers. (The unit was originally just a bel, but for audio it was more convenient to use tenths of a bel, hence the SI 'deci' prefix) Mathematically...
  • The Audio Fool

    Audio Fidelity: Dynamic Range

    • 4 Comments
    I want to talk about noise for a minute. We all know what noise is, and that we don't want it in our audio. Unfortunately, noise is always present, whether we want it or not. In pseudo-technical terms, noise is random unstructured variations in a signal...
  • The Audio Fool

    What's all this 'fidelity' stuff about anyway?

    • 3 Comments
    Nearly everybody has heard the term "high fidelity". Most understand that fidelity is a desirable thing to have, and many believe that the word 'fidelity' is synonymous with 'quality'. In any casual (non-technical) setting, they are the same. But what...
  • The Audio Fool

    L"Hello, World" // Enter the Audio Fool

    • 0 Comments
    Perhaps it's some kind of initiation ritual. An obligatory indoctrination task that each new blogger must go through. An arcane tradition whose origins are soon to be lost to the recesses of time. Surely the only reason we do it is because tradition demands it, but I prefer to think of it as the online equivalent of the nervous presenter stepping up to the microphone in a crowded conference hall and uttering, in a voice 20dB too loud, tinny from running through too many gain stages, those first unforgettable words......
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