Noise Is Always The Enemy of Audio
Nobody likes random noise, which is why people wear earbuds outside or make sure windows are closed when at home inside. But there’s another kind of noise that is just as insidious and just as aggravating. Only thing is that few people are aware of it because it’s not coming from fireworks or a crowd of people screaming or anything happening in the real world. This random noise has a digital background — it’s a direct descendent of the audio interference that came from RF (radio frequency) and other radio waves affecting audio equipment playback. But here the audio is being affected by interference coming through those digital devices that are now prevalent in homes: such things as streaming boxes and cable/satellite receivers and mobile devices and laptops/computers which are playing sounds. So what’s needed is for these devices to have technology to combat this digital noise that inhibits the best results of the audio playback (because jitter — hitting on that later on — and other forms of interference just love to mess with digital sound). Unfortunately such correction technology does not seem to be present in most of these devices and so an external solution to do this is needed; one that is as convenient to use as it is to carry around. That’s two thumbs up right there for Audioquest’s JitterBug FMJ.
Looks WIll Kill — Noise
The JitterBug FMJ on the outside looks a lot like a flash drive — USB plug and all. It’s also USB 2.0, which makes sense since that is pretty much as compatible with all the devices out there as could be. The sub-header here is Data & Power Noise Filter because it’s designed to work in both directions as regards digital data movement. So this means that it can be used in two ways: the first way it can be used is to plug in to a USB socket and it will function as a means for comforting and cleaning the audio being played — this could be inside a car or on a router or a streaming box or satellite receiver. Pretty much anywhere a USB drive can be plugged into. The other way involves the back end of the JitterBug — there’s an input cover (a rubber-like stopper) that, when opened, has a female USB socket that allows for another drive to be plugged into so as to use the JitterBug used in parallel (that input cover is carbon loaded RF noise dissipating, by the way, because the design blanks out radio frequency entering the closed cover). Not to be outdone, the exterior of the JitterBug employs part of its name to keep external noise/interference from seeping in —FMJ standing for full-metal jacket.
It’s The Tech
Now let’s get to the nitty-gritty, which is what the JitterBug utilizes against the bugaboos trying to wreck sound quality. There’s a dual set of circuitry devoted to discrete noise-reduction; these work at knocking down internally generated RF. So obviously if connected to a device it’s going to work at making a difference by reducing jitter (to simplify it’s the distortion of the digital signal playback of audio because a DAC - digital analog converter has to take the digital signal and turn it back to an analog for listening and a perfect conversion as to timing doesn’t always occur). The tech also works against errors in the “packets” of data being sent which can occur through streaming (notoriously problematic by definition due to how it’s moved through the Internet).
Listen To The Difference
So the real question is whether you can hear a difference or not? If you do a careful comparison of not using/using the JitterBug, for sure. Keep in mind that hearing that difference will be affected by such things as the resolution of the audio (low-rez MP3 should always be avoided), your age (affecting the frequencies being able to be heard) and general surface noise. Try putting on a classical music file in FLAC on your laptop with headphones and then inserting/removing the JitterBug. And for those less likely to go the “technical engineer specification” route, just know that there’s always noise and this is going to help.
The JitterBug FMJ can be used in more than one USB socket — providing you have a second one, plugging it in too will be beneficial. It’s small in size but mighty in results and extremely easy to use. For more details, go to https://www.audioquest.com/streaming-computer-audio/usb-data-power-noise-filter/jitterbug-fmj#!/features