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Analysis of an alternative approach to digital domain volume control claiming high perceptual audio quality

In an increasingly digital environment, digital domain volume control offers a cost-effective alternative to analogue domain implementations. However, it has not found widespread use in the upper segment of the consumer audio market. Even if advances in digital to analogue converters and signal processing technologies have addressed the shortcomings of early days’ implementations, many audiophiles still complain about inferior sound quality of digital solutions. In this Engineering Brief, we analyse an alternative approach to digital domain volume control said to have scored high in casual subjective listening tests. Looking at bit-level arithmetic and information propagation considerations, we present objective elements which distinguish the new volume control from traditional approaches. These may explain the reported superior perceived audio quality.

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The Engineering Briefs at this Convention were selected on the basis of a submitted synopsis, ensuring that they are of interest to AES members, and are not overly commercial. These briefs have been reproduced from the authors' advance manuscripts, without editing, corrections, or consideration by the Review Board. The AES takes no responsibility for their contents. Paper copies are not available, but any member can freely access these briefs. Members are encouraged to provide comments that enhance their usefulness.

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