Meeting Report: October 2014… What’s All This Digital Stuff About Anyway?

What’s All This Digital Stuff About Anyway?

On Monday 13th October 25 members and guests met at the SAE Institute in South Melbourne to hear Dr Rod Staples speak on the topic “What’s This Digital Stuff About Anyway?”.

Digital Rod Staples 1

It was a journey through the evolution of digital communication technology from the earliest days, to today, finally drawing together all the various threads of digital communications to reference their relevance to modern digital audio equipment and practices.

Slide Sampling Theory2

Topics covered included sampling theory, digital coding, quantisation, dither, and practical systems and devices like Compact Disc, Digital Tape Recorders, DAT/ADAT, and computer-based recording/editing systems (DAWs). Relevant protocols were also covered, ranging from Ethernet, through ISDN to AES3 and AES10.

Rod gave an interesting and comprehensively researched talk on the origins of telecommunications protocols and their applicability to audio streaming. This talk brought the audience up to date with the protocols of the 20th century and the intricacies of delivering contiguous data streams through variable and often hostile environments. Highlighting the underlying challenge of audio data delivery namely: “You can freeze an image but you cannot freeze a sound”, Rod’s session has provided a solid “grass roots” base for the sessions on digital audio detail yet to come in our continued series on the subject.

The talk was accompanied by a comprehensive set of 62 slides packed with information. Rod has generously made those slides available for us, which can be used as a valuable introductory reference on the topic – View or Download Here

An audio recording of Rod’s talk can also be listened to, or downloaded here