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How Can the Headroom of Digital Recordings Be Used Optimally?

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A precise knowledge of signal values and their statistical properties can be used to reduce headroom requirements considerably. The study of sample statistics of CD recordings, digital recordings, and "soft" clipped versions of digital recordings reveal that through the appropriate use of nonlinear transfer characteristics only sporadic overshoots into the nonlinear range will occur, resulting in distortions of only short duration, which are inaudible. In addition, by using delay systems, nonlinear transfer characteristics tailored for peak signal values can be set in advance to further reduce the distortion.

JAES Volume 38 Issue 11 pp. 857-863; November 1990
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AES - Audio Engineering Society