The quality of a technology can not be established outside of its relationship with how people use it…. that’s my hypothesis.

So, the AC3 codec allows people to encode audio with such a low bitrate that it “will sound really bad”.

I find this very intriguing.

There is a very tight relationship between technology and people using the technology. This is something that is becoming very apparent as the Internet pushes Information Technology forwards at rediculous speeds.

The quality of a technology can not be established outside of its relationship with how people use it…. that’s my hypothesis.

AC3 is obviously a more flexible codec than DTS … you can vary the bitrates, and do more. But putting this flexibility into the hands of ‘users’ can be very dangerous, because people will use settings which “will sound really bad”.

Why would a tool offer settings which will make its output so bad?

(ofcourse, I know it is because AC3 is aimed at many different uses… and used correctly, its quality will always be good.)… but you get my point…. my hypothesis.

mp3 is the same… any X or Y generationer with an iPod and half a brain (that’s 95% of us), will quickly realise that there’s no point encoding anything at a bitrate lower than 192… and really prefer 320….. when the X or Y generationer realises this, the impending question is always “why do they let it be such bad quality?”.

This is the same ‘user paradigm’ as giving a user a (dts) CD which the user will subsequently put into their CD player …¬† …. a technology is only as good as how users will use it by default…

ofcourse, I’m just thinking out loud here …. but this makes me wonder how we could apply these thoughts to ambisonics … to make sure that users ‘always’ have the best experience possible.

You could argue that AC3 (on DVD) will be better for Ambisonics simply because users will not get the ‘white noise treatment’ when they erroneously put a DTS CD into a CD player (which I think is a very logical thing to do).

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