A general approach to audio processing is presented in terms which consider each step in the processing of a signal as a mapping between functional representations. A general result of this analysis is verification tht what we hear is not necessarily what we now measure in audio systems. Translating the analytical terminology into practical terms reveals among other things that there is a subjective difference between harmonic distortion in an amplifier and harmonic distortion in a loudspeaker. Several other apparent paradoxes of subjective audio are shown not only to be correct as we hear them but predictable by this more general objective approach.
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