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DACs and aliasing

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I have two DACs. I have been playing the same material, first on one DAC, and then the other. One DAC has a type of distortion, an inharmonious quality to the sound, in the highest register of a singing voice. The other DAC does not have this problem. I did check for clipping but where this happened had no evidence of clipping. 

Could this be aliasing? How would this be possible for a DAC? I thought oversampling and the reconstruction filter takes care of this. Can there be a difference in how one DAC reconstructs the analog signal compared with another DAC?



​PS: I wonder what aliasing actually sounds like.

Edited by r010159 - 5/27/14 at 8:40pm
post #2 of 3

It might very well be that they use different filters.

Filters do have a profound impact.


A good read: http://www.auralic.com/download/flexible_filter_mode.pdf


Alias is outside our audible range so it is not very likely you can hear it.

But it will fry your tweeters hence a filter is needed.


post #3 of 3

While it's possible that it's aliasing, it's equally possible you're hearing other things, such as extra jitter, certain power ripples, etc.


From what I've heard, aliasing tends to sound like an AM modulating signal; a visual representation might be seeing moire move around a complex brick wall when you move your eyes across a picture.


Usually, most digital filters, even ones that allow some natant aliasing, do a good job of limiting it such that it's still close to the noise floor. Hearing aliasing from your DAC would mean that whoever designed that DAC did a very poor job with the digital filter construction.

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