NEWBIE: Is JITTER a dance? and CLOCK like a watch?

What does it all mean? Please help!
Jitter are timing differences. A digital transport reads the data on a CD. The data has a sequence. To encode the sequence, timing data is embedded along with the music signal data on a CD. The "recovered clock" read from the CD by the transport is then conveyed to a clock in the digital converter to convert the digital signal into analog electrical info a preamp can use. Like all things audio, the initial reading, the conveyance and the conversion are imprecise. The more imprecise the match up between the music data and its intended timing sequence, the more jitter. The more jitter the edgier the music sounds.
Looking for confirmation: is it true that ripping a CD to a hard drive, and reading off the hard drive into a D/A converter results in much less (or no) jitter?
You might want to look at the Wadia site at

It gives a very simplistic explanation of jitter. Of course, they then go on to praise their technology for solving the jitter problem...but you can take or leave the sell job.

Perter: Not necessarily. If the DAC is good, it should have no trouble recovering the timing (within tolerance, of course, since nothing's perfect, as Rockvirgo said) no matter where the signal is coming from.

Jitter's been heavily hyped by the high-end community, partly because some of them came late to the realization that it was important, even though the problem was well known among digital engineers long before the first CD player came off the assembly line. There were some high-end DACs designed without a reclocking mechanism at all. Most studies have shown that it takes a lot of jitter to be audible--more than you'll find in just about any single-box player out there. Things are a bit trickier when you're using two boxes with a digital cable in between, but it's neither complex nor expensive to do it right--assuming you know what you're doing.