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-   -   Which DAC to use for new project? (http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/digital-line-level/199928-dac-use-new-project.html)

krfkeith 6th November 2011 02:09 AM

Which DAC to use for new project?
 
Hello,
I'm trying to get started in DIY, and I'm looking for reccomendations on a DAC IC to use for it. The myriad of chips available makes it quite hard to choose any which one with any amount of confidence.

Anyhow, I had been looking at the Sabre32 ES9012/8, but I'd rather avoid anything which involves the signing of restrictive NDAs, mostly because I would like release the schematics of my DAC as open hardware. Essentially, I am asking if any DAC chips exist which would be of approximately the same quality of the ES9018, with more open documentation? ESS claims to have patented their so-called "HyperStream" DAC, supposedly offerring unmatched low distortion and dynamic range. I am naturally weary of such bold claims, especially when accompanied by an obligatory trademarked named. Are these boasts warranted? Are there any other DACs that offer the same degree of jitter reduction? I am not concerned with the built in DSP functions, as I plan on coupling the DAC with a dedicated DSP anyway. I am not sure if 32-bit is truly necessary, as I not even sure that any vaguely commonly available music is avaible in 32-bit.

Thanks,
-Kevin

alant4321 6th November 2011 02:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by krfkeith (Post 2771450)
Hello,
I am not sure if 32-bit is truly necessary, as I not even sure that any vaguely commonly available music is avaible in 32-bit.

Although 24Bit/96KHz is regarded is the highest optimum sampling rate for human being, there is no formal research to support it. Since sampling rate includes two parameters of Bit rate (e.g. 16/24/32 Bit) and Frequency sampling (e.g. 44.1/48/88.2/96/176.4/192 KHz) The sensitivity of bit rate and frequency sampling to human being is just a "question mark".
=>Will bit rate (Bit) be more sensitive than frequency sampling (KHz) to human being?
=>Will 32Bit/96KHz be better than 24Bit/96KHz or 24Bit/192KHz?
Presently, the highest resolution of music is 24Bit/192KHz in the market, but not limited to future development. For this reason, your question “I am not sure if 32-bit is truly necessary, as I not even sure that any vaguely commonly available music is available in 32-bit.” is hard to answer without formal supporting research. Thus, it is now subject to your preference.

counter culture 6th November 2011 02:46 AM

I would love to believe that ESS have a DAC with jitter rejection so good that jitter can no longer be considered to be an issue. I don't mean an issue for me, I mean an issue for everybody who obsesses about jitter.

But...

...I don't trust anybody who produces a DAC and calls it 32-bit, because I don't believe that any piece of electronics has 190-odd dB of dynamic range.

Thermal noise power (the noise floor at room temperature) in a 20kHz bandwidth is -174 + (10*log(20,000)) = -130dBm. 190 dB above this is 60dBm, or a million milliwatts, 1000 watts.

You pays your money and you takes your choice.

alant4321 6th November 2011 03:03 AM

In quantitative approach, it is unlimited to look for higher resolution in term of sampling frequency (i.e. it is technical feasible to design higher Bit/KHz) which is classified as “engineering”. In qualitative approach, it is limited to the audibility of human being which is classified as “Art”. Due to the constraint of budgeting in managerial level, the destination may be set to the end point at the same or slightly higher to the audibility of human being, but not the technical difficulty to attain higher specification.

TheShaman 6th November 2011 10:11 AM

I'm afraid that if you want the best you won't avoid the ESS DAC chips atm.
Good news is they've lifted their NDA, as far as I know. You can confirm with a distributor.

SoNic_real_one 6th November 2011 11:59 AM

DIY alternatives that are tried, tested and sound "perfect" to human ears are also avail:
PCM1794A
WM8741
AD1955
CS4398
The proper designation for "32 bit DAC" is "ACCEPTS 32 bit formated PCM". They don't have 32 bit performance. Heck, ANY DAC on market barely get close to 22-23 bit true audio performance.
WM accepts 32 bit. TI has also seven 32bit DAC's (like PCM1975) but the specs for those chips are below their present flagship 24 bit DAC.
They have moved to 32 bit more for bragging rights and, IMO, probably for ease of integration in some future low-end Bluray systems (because don't need an external DSP to process an eventual 32bit to 24bit).

TheShaman 6th November 2011 04:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SoNic_real_one (Post 2771740)
Heck, ANY DAC on market barely get close to 22-23 bit true audio performance.

Still, some get way closer than others. ;)

SoNic_real_one 6th November 2011 08:30 PM

Haha, yes, I should have said any decent DAC :)
Some only get close to 15-16 bit performance, even if the "eat" 24 bit formats.

Ken Newton 7th November 2011 03:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by alant4321 (Post 2771459)
Although 24Bit/96KHz is regarded is the highest optimum sampling rate for human being, there is no formal research to support it. Since sampling rate includes two parameters of Bit rate (e.g. 16/24/32 Bit) and Frequency sampling (e.g. 44.1/48/88.2/96/176.4/192 KHz) The sensitivity of bit rate and frequency sampling to human being is just a "question mark".
=>Will bit rate (Bit) be more sensitive than frequency sampling (KHz) to human being?
=>Will 32Bit/96KHz be better than 24Bit/96KHz or 24Bit/192KHz?
Presently, the highest resolution of music is 24Bit/192KHz in the market, but not limited to future development. For this reason, your question “I am not sure if 32-bit is truly necessary, as I not even sure that any vaguely commonly available music is available in 32-bit.” is hard to answer without formal supporting research. Thus, it is now subject to your preference.

I'm not certain if it is still posted on their website, but Meridian has researched this question and published the results in a whitepaper a number of years ago. If I correctly recall, they determined that 21-bits of resolution at a 60ksps rate was the maximum required to achieve absolute fidelity with respect to the human auditory system.

alant4321 8th November 2011 02:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ken Newton (Post 2773051)
I'm not certain if it is still posted on their website, but Meridian has researched this question and published the results in a whitepaper a number of years ago. If I correctly recall, they determined that 21-bits of resolution at a 60ksps rate was the maximum required to achieve absolute fidelity with respect to the human auditory system.

Thank you for information. It is welcome to anyone referring more supporting documents. In order to this research, you need “source + equipment + audience”. My questions are:
1) How did Meridian get 21-bit source?
2) Where is this research paper located for public reference or the ref. no. and date of Journal?


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