Audio Technology Reference
This reference provides information on audio equipment and their associated technologies for the components listed above, and these pages (Industry State & Resources, Gear Review Philosophy, and Acquisition Approach & Acoustics) are recommended reading prior to provide a primer on audio technologies and terminology along with my overall approach and philosophy. In addition, the technologies covered here are typically applicable to both pro and consumer level gear, but largely only consumer gear will be covered. Only in studios or environments that are noisy (i.e. high levels of electrical magnetic interference - EMI) require pro level gear. In fact, typically the only differences between pro level gear and consumer level gear is the electrical ground shielding and interfaces that provide more EMI rejection along with features only required by audio engineers including potentially additional levels of resolution. None of this is required for the home user or even most audio enthusiasts, and excellent audio quality can be achieved with consumer levels of shielding, interfaces, and equipment. Also, caution should be exercised when using interconnects and interfaces typically used by pro level gear such as balanced XLR connections. These types of connectors are available on higher end consumer gear, but they are probably not compatible with pro level gear. To provide more EMI rejection, pro level gear in addition to utilizing differential signals between devices typically uses a much higher voltage amplitude. In short, mixing products from manufacturers or designers with a pro level background with consumer level gear at the very least can cause audible sound quality distortions or worse due to the hot signal provided to the consumer gear can significantly reduce its useful lifespan; consequently, the recommendation is to utilize consumer level audio gear only which will be less expensive and can provide excellent audio quality, better compatibility/interoperability, and prevent additional EMI issues because many pro level components actually generate more EMI than consumer level gear. Consumer gear typically is designed to prevent certain levels of interference where the pro level gear relies on its interfaces and interconnects to reject these higher levels of interference. In addition, pro level gear might provide perceivable levels of additional resolution beyond some consumer level components, but this can impact sound quality by adding an edginess, graininess, or an over emphasis to musical features that seems unnatural. Audio engineers use these components to bring out various musical features, but the final product is typically ran through other processes including down sampling to produce natural sounding music. To learn more about the audio components listed and their associated technologies, select one of the buttons above (on the ribbon of color)!