The core functionality of a networked audio system is determined by the audio network protocol and its hardware to take care of the distribution of audio signals throughout the system, and Digital Signal Processors (DSP) to process (change) the audio signals. This chapter focuses on the core distribution and DSP functionality.
The sound quality of a networked audio system is not affected by the distribution system. A properly set up networked (or any digital) connection will transfer digital audio signals without changing the samples - the only function of a distribution system is to distribute, and not to process. The DSP hardware itself also does not affect the sound quality of a networked audio system - the internal processes in a DSP core can be regarded as distribution processes - moving samples to and from the DSP’s memory.
The DSP algorithms however do affect sound quality by definition - as the default status of a DSP algorithm is to just pass audio information from input to output without any change. Every change a DSP algorithm poses to an audio signal is therefore intended - it’s the most important part of a digital audio system’s Response.
The audio quality of a networked audio system on the other hand is not affected by the DSP algorithm - as all DSP algorithms are fully intended. Instead, only the bit depth and the sample rate of the distribution system and DSP hardware architecture affect the Performance of a system’s core functionality.