An invisible hand seems to be confidently plucking guitar strings a few feet away. Bass thumps heavily and unmistakably, but without distorting vibrations. The room feels ringed with drums.
The most amazing thing about this high-fidelity experience: It isn’t coming from a top-tier stereo system with a five-figure cost. It’s being blasted through the speakers of a humble personal computer.
The advance comes from a little chip produced by Tripath Technology, a 150-employee company in Santa Clara, Calif. It was founded in 1995 by Adya S. Tripathi, a 48-year-old engineer from the holy city of Varanasi, India, who dreams of improving the world’s relationship with sound.
Tripathi believes he can bring about inexpensive home theater systems, more powerful cell phones, better Internet access and new hybrids of electronics–like set-top cable TV boxes with a high-end sound system already included.