Multi-channel DAC Differences - diyAudio
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Old 28th August 2007, 01:00 AM   #1
labjr is offline labjr  United States
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Default Multi-channel DAC Differences

I have been reading quite a bit about DACs. Thereís a couple things I donít quite understand. Pardon me if the questions have already been asked.

One of my questions is how Stereo DACs differ from multi-channel ones for home theater? How are the data streams different? Does the data get separated and sent to the respective DAC for each channel. Also, is the Data stream of CD and DVD audio compatible with the same DACs that would work for Bluray true HD and DTS HD master?

It would be nice to be able to make a great sounding two channel project which can be eventually scaled up to 8 channels.

Thanks
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Old 28th August 2007, 04:45 AM   #2
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Data comes from the source (e.g. computer, DVD player) in the form of either optical or coaxial SPDIF. It's then recieved by the SPDIF reciever, which decodes and sends out the data in a format known as I2S, or Inter-IC Sound. This is a widely spread format used by virtually all modern audio DAC chips.

Stereo DACs recieve and convert two channels of data (left and right), multichannel DACs can recieve more (often 6 or 8).

There are a few problems with what you are proposing however. It's up to the SPDIF reciever to decode all the channels, and very few SPDIF recievers can handle Dolby, AC-3 or DTS. I know only of one, the ST310 from ST Microelectronics. It basically decodes an SPDIF signal into 6 separate I2S signals, you then have the choice to feed this into a multichannel DAC, or into several stereo DACs.
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Old 28th August 2007, 10:43 AM   #3
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I2S is just one format amongst many. There are still a few devices that won't accept it.

Most modern spdif receivers have non-IEC60958(SPDIF) data passthrough so that when faced with AC3 or DTS, the data can be routed to an appropriate decoder.

A PC can also supply multichannel data via ADAT. 8 channels at Fs, 4 at 2Fs and 2 at 4Fs where Fs is 44K1 or 48K. There are also other transport protocols but you are unlikely to meet them in the consumer arena.
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