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3) Performance and Response

3.2 Performance and Response

To identify quality issues in audio systems, two concepts are proposed to designate limitation and unintentional change as affecting a system’s audio quality, and fixed and variable intended change to affect a system’s sound quality:

A collection of system processes that limit and unintentionally change audio signals, in reference to an ideal audio system, representing how accurate the system passes audio

A collection of fixed and variable system processes that intentionally change audio signals, posing a positive contribution to the system’s sound quality.

Summarizing: a hearing sensation is invoked when an audio signal - generated by a sound source - reaches a listener through an audio system. The sound quality experienced by a listener depends on the source sound quality of the generated audio signal, limited and unintentionally changed by the Performance and intentionally changed by the Response of the audio system. This arrangement is equivalent to the formula presented in chapter 1.6.

Performance processes
limitations noise floor in a signal chain
inability of a speaker system to reach 120dB at a listeners position
frequency bandwidth limitation of a speaker system
unintended changes
(always fixed)
distortion in a signal chain
damping factor in amp/speaker combinations
jitter level errors

Response processes
intended fixed changes EQ curve of a head amp, promoted as ‘warm sound’
passive crossover of a loudspeaker cabinet
fixed compressor and equalising in a speaker processor
intended variable changes
a mixing console’s channel strip with gain, delay, EQ, compression
plug-in and outboard effects
graphic equalizers in speaker system processors

>3.3 Natural sound and coloured sound

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