Question about sound controls.

James Wilkinson james at
Thu Mar 10 17:49:38 UTC 2005

I wrote:
> IEC958 appears to be the standard behind S/PDIF, the Sony/Philips
> Digital Interface Format, which is what is normally used for digital
> output. Given that, a number of sliders names become clearer.

Gene Heskett wrote:
> Thanks for that clarification.  I've also wondered about that myself.  
> If it has to do with S/PDIF, whyintuncket was it named IEC958 in the 
> first place?

It's the usual situation: the manufacturers (Sony and Philips) come up
with a specification for a link. Consumers will want to see plenty of
stuff that will work on the other end of the link before they think it's

That usually means getting other manufacturers involved, and standards
for the other manufacturers. Quite possibly the designers want other
manufacturers (of kit at either end) to pay for compatibility testing or
trademarks or design assistance or patent royalties or whatever.

So they send the spec through a standards body (ISO or IEEE or whoever).
They give the spec a number (and occasionally a name) and then you have
at least two names.

So you get IDE (which was, at least, a Western Digital trademark) also
being known as ATA. You get Firewire (an Apple trademark) also being
known as IEEE 1394 and i.Link (Sony's name for the stuff).

POSIX is formally known as IEEE 1003, Ethernet 802 (and the 802.11
wireless version is becoming widely known by the number) ... it goes on.

Where a brand name is limited by trademark or is too closely associated
with one or two manufacturers, you will often find people using the
standard name so as not to appear to endorse those manufacturers. And
S/PDIF's full name includes both "Sony" and "Philips".


E-mail address: james | Five miles as the hippopotamus bounces...  | 

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