Introduction to Clean Audio Signals

What do we mean when we talk about a “clean audio signal?” Well, in simple terms, it’s an audio signal that is free from distortion, noise, or any other factors that could negatively impact the quality of the sound we hear. In the world of audio systems, it’s not just about having the most expensive equipment or the biggest brands; it’s about achieving the best possible sound quality.

The KISS Principle in Audio Systems

Now, let’s talk about the KISS principle. With nearly 30 years of experience in the audio industry, I’ve learned that the best results come from sticking to this simple acronym: KISS. No, I’m not talking about the famous rock band! KISS stands for “Keep It Simple, Stupid.” The idea here is that the simpler the audio path or design, the more likely you are to have a pure audio signal and, ultimately, good sound quality. This should always be the goal when selecting components for your audio system.

Factors that Degrade Audio Quality in the Digital World

In the digital realm, there are a couple of things that can really mess with our audio quality: jitter and noise. These two culprits often go hand in hand. Additionally, digital-to-analog (D/A) and analog-to-digital (A/D) conversions can also cause jitter. In case you’re not familiar with the term, jitter is a distortion of the audio signal when it’s converted back to analog (a pure sine wave).

Causes of Jitter

So, what causes jitter? There are three main factors:

  1. Poor power supplies: If the power supply isn’t up to par, it can lead to jitter.
  2. Noise from poor power supplies and lack of shielding: When there’s insufficient shielding, noise from poor power supplies can infiltrate your audio signal.
  3. D/A and A/D conversions: The more conversions you have, the more jitter you’ll likely experience.

The Role of PCs in Audio System Design

You might think that PCs are the answer to all our processing needs, but when it comes to audio, they can actually cause more problems than they solve. A prime example of poor power supplies and a lack of shielding can be found in many PCs. Just take a look inside one and you’ll see what I mean. The good news is that we’re past the point of needing PCs for processing power in audio systems.

sound waves projected through the air by speakers

Components of an Ideal Audio Path

Now that we know what can degrade our audio signals, let’s look at how we can create an ideal audio path to minimize these issues.

Lumagen 5000 Series Video Processor

At Wavetrain Cinemas, we use the Lumagen 5000 series video processor. This device boasts the lowest jitter and noise output of any HDMI source available on the market. It’s the perfect hub for all your sources, as it reclocks the signal, ensuring optimal audio quality.

StormAudio ISP

Another key component in our setup is the StormAudio ISP. This home cinema processor has the lowest noise floor of any similar device and offers 24 channels of signal processing (with 32 channels of digital output). Even better, it’s completely hardware and software upgradeable, so you can keep it up to date as technology advances.

Elementi Audio Amplifiers and AOIP

To maintain the highest possible audio quality, we use Elementi Audio amplifiers and Audio Over IP (AOIP) to run the signal digitally. This method ensures that there’s only one high-quality D/A conversion in the entire audio chain, minimizing the risk of jitter and other audio degradation.

Cable Lengths and Speaker Connections

Last but not least, we need to consider cable lengths and speaker connections. It might seem like a minor detail, but longer cable lengths can actually degrade your audio signal. We always make sure to keep the cable lengths to speakers as short as possible, ideally under 3 meters. This helps maintain the integrity of the audio signal, contributing to the overall sound quality.

Debunking the Smoke and Mirrors in the Audio Industry

There’s a lot of hype and marketing tactics in the audio industry, but at the end of the day, the best results come from simplicity. By focusing on a clean and simple audio path, you can achieve exceptional sound quality without getting caught up in the latest trends or gimmicks.

So, how do you apply the KISS principle in your own audio setup? Start by selecting high-quality components that prioritize a clean audio signal. Be mindful of the potential causes of jitter and noise, and minimize them wherever possible. Lastly, keep your cable lengths short to ensure the best possible signal transmission.

If you’re interested in experiencing what a low jitter cinema sounds like, feel free to contact us at Wavetrain Cinemas. We’re always happy to share our knowledge and help you create the ultimate audio experience in your own home or commercial space.

speakers in living room


In conclusion, the KISS principle should be the guiding force behind your audio system design. By focusing on simplicity and minimizing factors that can degrade your audio signal, you can achieve outstanding sound quality without breaking the bank or getting lost in the latest fads.

Remember, it’s not about having the most expensive equipment or the flashiest brands—it’s about creating a clean audio signal that allows you to fully enjoy your music, movies, and other audio experiences.

So, why not take a step back, evaluate your current audio setup, and see where you can apply the KISS principle to make improvements? You might be surprised at just how much of a difference it can make.

Contact us at Wavetrain Cinemas to learn more about our approach to achieving clean audio signals and to experience the magic of a low jitter cinema for yourself. We look forward to helping you on your journey to audio perfection!