Science of Silence
The Science of Silence
At JRDG, the audible magic of perfect sound emerges from a rich velvety background filled with the subtle low level cues of the recording venue. We call it ‘Live Silence’. Yet, there is no ‘magic’ involved in creating audible magic. Rather, we painstakingly apply the sound principles of science combined with advanced technologies to every aspect of design and manufacturing, chassis by chassis, subsystem by subsystem, board by board, circuit by circuit, and module by module, down to the humblest resistor and bit of dielectric… Because, at JRDG, we know that the magic of perfect sound can be achieved only by carving silence one block at a time.
All audio and control circuits are housed inside sealed, ultra-low-resonance, structurally rigid Chassis, precision-milled from solid blocks of aircraft grade 6061-T6 aluminum. Sealed chassis prevent penetration of external RFI/EMI radiation, which could otherwise contaminate the audio signal with external noise. Construction from thick Aluminum billet minimizes mechanical vibrations that would introduce subtle distortions of the musical signal.
The Pythagorean Golden ratio of classical Greek temples is used extensively to shape the geometries of JRDG power amplifiers, down to the design of their cooling fins. Maintaining the Golden Ratio in all three dimensions ensures that no unwanted harmonic resonances can create mechanical standing waves, which could deteriorate the operation of delicate circuits, and in turn yield audible noise.
All JRDG products are designed to operate at the lowest possible temperature, for the most energy efficient operations, from the highest end reference-level class A/B power amplifiers, to switch mode amplifiers, to all preamplifiers. Energy efficiency is not only an integral part of Jeff Rowland’s commitment to the environment; it is also key to JRDG’s multi-pronged strategy to reduce audio signal pollution. Internally generated heat is only the most noticeable part of entropic black body radiation, whose frequencies span the entire electro-magnetic spectrum with a Gaussian curve that looms ever taller as temperature increases, while the growing energetic disorder would progressively mar the purity of sound with audible haze.
JRDG power amplifiers feature massive cooling fins with novel structures. The design optimizes airflow around the amplifiers by inducing a large number of convective air columns each machined with a different diameter to reduce operational resonance to near zero. The innovative design of the massive fins optimizes external dissipation of residual black-body radiation that is generated by even the most efficient SMPS and audio circuits. If left unchecked, the rising Gaussian distribution curve of in-circuit generated energy would have a detrimental effect on sound purity.
In reference-level components, potentially noisier subsystems, like power supplies and control circuits, are sealed inside their own milled aluminum units to isolate them from the sensitive audio path. Furthermore, the left and right channel audio circuits are further isolated into individual milled aluminum pockets in true dual mono design for ultimate RF and EMI shielding. JRDG takes shielding to the extreme: Every aspect of mechanical and electric design and construction is painstakingly pursued to ensure that even the least residual signal contamination will never damage the purity of the musical experience.
In reference-level preamplifiers, all digital control subsystems are taken immediately offline after command execution. All signal switching relays are “latching” type devices that draw current only for a few milliseconds during the switching event, and then revert to a no current “off” state. Live digital control subsystem may potentially leak minute amounts of noise in the audio path. This can never happen in reference-level JRDG preamplifiers, where control circuits are alive only for the briefest instant during command execution.
JRDG reference products feature high speed, regulated, ultra-low noise switch mode power supplies (SMPS) designed for aerospace applications because of their vanishingly low noise floor and highest efficiency. JRDG power amplifiers further cleanse the incoming AC by converting it into a high voltage DC current by active Power Factor Correction (PFC) modules, while preamplifier SMPS are optimized by incorporating passive PFC circuits. The combination of advanced SMPS with PFC ensures that audio circuits are powered by the cleanest possible electrical energy, and thus internal capacitors maintain an optimum recharge rate without any rippling caused by residual voltage fluctuations or AC grunge.
All audio circuits of reference products are implemented on military-grade, multilayer, low dielectric constant, Rogers™ ceramic circuit board substrates that yield extremely low energy retention and absorption. Large, low impedance grounding planes are used for extended internal star-grounding. Newly developed ceramic capacitors replace conventional electrolytic types, resulting in power supply noise decoupling improvements by an order of magnitude (10X). JRDG’s passion for noise control continues in the signal path, where the low energy retention of multi-layer ceramic boards is combined with extensive star-grounding and new types of ceramic capacitors to further drain any sources of electric noise from the system.
All gain stages are implemented using the most advanced and lowest noise components available and the shortest possible signal path. The shorter the signal path, the lower the entropic black-body electromagnetic radiation, which would otherwise contaminate the magic of silence with subtle hash.
All inputs and outputs are routed through professional grade Lundahl transformers for maximum common noise rejection, EMI immunity, and cross-component compatibility. Transformer coupling also ensures invariant gain to all balanced inputs and outputs. All unbalanced inputs are converted to balanced mode upon entering the component. Transformer coupling combined with fully balanced circuits is so effective that, when Rowland preamplifiers are combined with Rowland power amplifiers, an astonishing 140dB dynamic range interface can be achieved.
JRDG volume controls circuits are relegated outside the audio path. They incorporate permanently noiseless optical encoders that always maintain their tactile feel, accuracy, and channel balance at all settings. Conversely, traditional gain control mechanisms may introduce subtle amounts of noise in the audio signal, and will eventually deteriorate. JRDG optically-encoded volume controls always remain perfectly stable, and being confined outside the processing path of the audio signal, can never inject noise into Live Silence.