Ed's AV Handbook.com
Home Theater & High Fidelity Stereo Audio

Chapter Two
AV Physics
Page 1

Batting practice for the audio/video pro and a primer for the novice

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The Wave

          Dick Dale’s surf guitar is strapped to his side and plugged in.  Beach Boys harmonies drift with the breeze from a cheap portable radio.  An endless cascade of Pacific waves pound an expansive warm and sandy California beach.  Then a stranger from Mars asks, “What is an ocean wave?”  What would you say?  
          Try this --  An ocean wave is energy transmitted
a spring-like motion through water.  
It initiates with
a disturbance (energy) that causes
water molecules
to squeeze (compress) and then
expand (rarefact)
into neighboring water molecules.
 This compression rarefaction cycle continues until the wave terminates
on the beach.

Surf’s Up
          A surf report is more important than a traditional weather report for many in the communities of Santa Cruz and Huntington Beach California.  For their sake let's construct an assessment of the consistency, the power, and the length of the rides they can expect.
          For example, the length of the ride or
wavelength can be described as the distance traveled by one wave cycle.   A cycle begins at a wave's crest, continues to its bottom, then up to the next crest.  The consistency or frequency of the waves can be expressed by how many cycles occur over a period of time: per hour, per minute.
power can be objectively gauged by the height or amplitude of the wave at the crest
of each cycle.  However the backdrop of a vast horizon in an expansive ocean can distort the perceived height of the wave and mask its objective power.  Therefore offer a multiplier of
the objective power that expresses the waves perceived power or subjective intensity.

But what does this have to do with audio and video?  
        All energy -- such as the acoustical energy of sound and the electromagnetic energy of visible light and radio -- is a wave that can be described by its wavelength, frequency, amplitude, and when applicable its subjective intensity.

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Ed's AV Handbook.com
Batting Practice for the AV Pro and a Primer for the Novice.
Copyright 2007 Txu1-598-288   Revised 2017