Computer Audio Part I: Demystifying “Computer Audio Demystified” – Archimago’s Musings

It’s nice to see that some of the seminars at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF) 2016 have been posted on YouTube. It gives all of us who may have wanted to visit a chance to review the “latest and greatest” tips and updates…

Although the RMAF is hosted by the Colorado Audio Society, remember that much of the material comes from Industry; with of course the potential for vested interests influencing the content. I think many visitors to this blog would be interested in computer audio, so let’s spend some time looking at the information disseminated… For your consideration, let us explore the one presented by Steve Silberman of AudioQuest – “Computer Audio Demystified” (RMAF 2016):


So then, for the purpose of hopefully demystifying the “demystification”, let us go over some of the material presented and see if we can discuss some alternate points-of-view; aiming to base claims on reason and point to experiments to provide evidence for these alternate views if they exist. Without further ado, in a semi-chronological order, my “top 10” rebuttal of observations and comments I thought were presented in a biased fashion, perpetuation of myth, erroneous or just plain mystical:

Archimago spends a great deal of time doing detailed measurements of audio devices, with a particular attention to computer-related devices. His takedown of this long video shows a number of myths that are continually propagated by those wishing to sell equipment to audiophiles.

I find this one particularly strange:

“It takes a lot more processing power to do audio than people think”

You can easily see how much CPU a computer is using when processing audio; to the left is a screenshot (from iStat Menus) of the top processes on my iMac as it’s playing an Apple Lossless file.

iTunes is using 2.3% of one core of my iMac’s CPU. Pretending that audio needs a lot of processing power is odd; does this person think that somehow the processing power is hidden? 98% of my available CPU power is idle…

Source: Archimago’s Musings: MUSINGS: Computer Audio Part I: Demystifying “Computer Audio Demystified”