Guiding Principle 4: It all starts with power supplies

I published an article back in 2015 that made a bold claim that there is no such thing as digital.

And there isn’t.

There are no 1’s being sent down a wire. There are voltages (or currents) being applied, and those can have any value within an acceptable range. Those voltages (or currents) are often clocked using yet another voltage (or current) signal. And the heartbeat of that clock is driven by a crystal that runs on (you guessed it) voltage and current.

Where do all these voltages and currents come from? The power supply – or supplies.

Musica Pristina started, in part, because of our obsession with linear power supplies. I was a slow believer that a power supply could have such a big impact on a digital circuit. Think about it, computers which often have cheap PSUs, aren’t losing bits from time to time. If they did, your documents and email would eventually be corrupted.

I read some research and did some research. I started to find empirical evidence to back up the claims that power supplies were having an often very large effect on the components they were powering.

Today for me the science is more intuitive. I can feel how the noise created by a circuit influences the power supply that drives it. And how that noise then influences other circuits. I don’t see the issue being about reading the wrong value. Hopefully nobody is making gear so poorly that the 1s are turning into 0s. But it most certainly is an issue about jitter and the accuracy of clocks on the digital side. And an issue of ground and common noise on the analog side.

We can’t control the power that goes into a Musica Pristina component. But once it gets there, we see it as our mission to ensure a clean, steady source powers the entire audio process within that Musica Pristina device.