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What is clock jitter?

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What is clock jitter?

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Clock jitter is a colloquialism for what engineers would readily call time-domain distortion. Clock jitter does not actually change the physical content of the information being transmitted, only the time at which it is delivered. Depending on circumstance, this may or may not affect the ultimate decoded output. Let’s look at this a little more closely. Digital audio is sent as a set of binary digits 1’s and 0’s. But that is only a logical construct. In order to transmit binary math electrically, we use square waves. Realize that although we have two mathematical states, we have to transmit such a construct using control voltages and comparators. All digital audio systems start with a crystal controlled oscillator producing a square wave signal that is used to synchronize the entire digital audio sampling and playback processes. Now, for a clock, we don’t really care about the fact that the clock might be at state 1 or state 0 at any given moment. That doesn’t give us any information.

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Clock jitter is a colloquialism for what engineers would readily call time-domain distortion. Clock jitter does not actually change the physical content of the information being transmitted, only the time at which it is delivered. Depending on circumstance, this may or may not affect the ultimate decoded output. Let’s look at this a little more closely. Digital audio is sent as a set of binary digits….1’s and 0’s. But that is only a logical construct. In order to transmit binary math electrically, we use square waves. Realize that although we have two mathematical states, we have to transmit such a construct using control voltages and comparators. All digital audio systems start with a crystal controlled oscillator producing a square wave signal that is used to synchronize the entire digital audio sampling and playback processes. Now, for a clock, we don’t really care about the fact that the clock might be at state 1 or state 0 at any given moment.