(New York Times) Chances are, your sound system isn't very good at math. It would sound a lot better if you could make it a little smarter, and you can.
You see, music travels to the ear as a smooth wave of sound. But digital music -- CDs or MP3s on a music player -- stores only bits of information taken at intervals along those sound waves.
Later, your sound system will play a sophisticated game of connect-the-dots to turn that choppy data back into a wave. That takes math. How authentic the playback sounds depends largely on how well the system turns digital dots back into the original wave.
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That de-digitizing is done by a computer chip and software combination called a digital-to-analog converter (or DAC) -- and here is a little secret of the audio industry -- to keep prices down, manufacturers often scrimp on that part. That means mediocre math.