Slaying-Dragons

Slaying Dragons #20 – High resolution?

John Watkinson wonders what high resolution or high definition audio might mean. In these days of newspeak, words no longer seem to mean what they used to. Resolution and definition are terms used in audio that have been adopted from photography and television, where I believe they still have some meaning. To see what they…

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Slaying Dragons #19 – The deciBel

Alexander Graham Bell was a multi-faceted individual with wide ranging interests. One of the earliest machines to fly in Canada was down to him, and he also pioneered the hydrofoil. In audio the level unit we use commemorates his name. Bell’s wife, Mabel, was profoundly deaf and as a result could not hear herself speaking…

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Slaying Dragons #18 – Troubleshooting

John Watkinson looks at Troubleshooting. Sound only needs air to travel in, but once we want to transmit or record sound, we have to use technology which is imperfect and subject to failure. Locating and rectifying failures then becomes an integral part of dealing with technology. Efficient faultfinding requires a logical or scientific approach. Sadly,…

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Slaying Dragons #17 – The Oldest Technology

We tend to think of digital recording and information technology as something modern, whereas John Watkinson argues that nothing could be further from the truth. In order to see my point, we need to go back in two ways; back to the foundations of information theory and back before rock and roll, to the beginning…

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Slaying Dragons #16 – Information Theory

We are told we live in an information society. John Watkinson wonders how we recognize information when we see it. Dig deep enough, and everything is digital. Our DNA uses quaternary coding in discrete symbols. Atoms consist of discrete particles. Quantum mechanics teaches us about discrete packets of energy. Electrons are discrete and so on.…

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Slaying Dragons #15 – The Aperture Effect

John Watkinson looks at the aperture effect and finds that it crops up in a surprising number of places. One way of considering the aperture effect is that it is nature’s way of pointing out how non-ideal our efforts are. The ubiquity of the aperture effect underlines that next to nothing is ideal. An aperture…

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Slaying Dragons #14 – Digital Deflation

John Watkinson considers deflation in the digital world. Since the economic crash of 2008 it has become clear that it was not a temporary event, but a correction whose results would be near permanent. Corrections take place when the wrong road has been taken for too long. In this case the wrong road was excessive…

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Slaying Dragons #13 – What is Science?

I got to thinking about science, and how much better my life has been because of it; how much better things work. Yet I realise that I am in a minority and that we don’t live in a scientific world. Am I a scientist? Frankly no; that word doesn’t describe me. My life is not…

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Slaying Dragons #12 – Is Digital Automatically Wonderful?

John Watkinson wonders whether digital is automatically wonderful. I have lived long enough to have seen the so called digital revolution take place, not just in audio but in life. In one sense I feel very fortunate to have lived through that era and to have made a living documenting it. Being in the right…

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Slaying Dragons #11 – Computer and Network Security

John Watkinson wonders about computer and network security A long time ago when Pontius was still training to be a pilot, it was possible to consider audio as a separate topic. Today such a separation is impossible. Audio is just another form of information that can be conveyed over some network or other and we…

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