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Technical Specifications of a DAC

  1. yong_shun
    Hi folks,

    I always read about how many channel does the DAC owns in the product description. What exactly does the channel do? 8 channels means there are 8 inputs for digital signal? How does the number of channel affect the SNR?
  2. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    A DAC device will have only 2 channels.

    Some DAC chips can take more than 2 channels of input, like the ones used on HT receivers, some soundcards, and some car audio receivers with processors built in as well as lower tier processors. High end Pre-Pros and flagship car audio processors however might sometimes use three or more stereo DAC chips instead of an 8ch DAC chip.
  3. yong_shun
    "The ES9038PRO SABRE DAC is the flagship of the ESS PRO series. It sets a new benchmark for audio excellence with the industry’s highest dynamic range (DNR), up to 140dB, in a 32-bit, 8-channel DAC. "
    I got this from ESS Technology. What does 8-channel DAC means? Sorry my OP was not clear enough.
  4. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    It means it has eight channels to decode and output. Like Front Left, Side Left, Rear Left, Center, Rear Right, Side Right, Front Right, and LFE. It's "Pro" - they use that for pro applications like stereo audio being distributed, HT, or car audio processors .
  5. yong_shun
    Ohhhhh this explanation clear my doubts like finally! Do 8 channels DAC has lower noise as compared to normal DAC?
  6. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    Not necessarily. Some cheap multi channel DACs don't perform as well, which is why some high end pre-pros and car audio processors used multiple 2ch DACs used in CDPs and DACs.

    Now that there are flagship multi channel DACs those devices technically won't need to do that, but I can't imagine why a DAC with stereo output (that isn't for fully active systems like in a car, ex you need separate channels for each tweeter, midrange, midbass, and maybe even the subwoofers depending on the circuit, where digital crossover is applied before the DACs, allowing for multiple settings that you can't otherwise can't fit on a receiver/processor, not to mention the whole point for that isn't just to split the signal, but so you can apply a different time delay to each of the drivers to sync with the driver side tweeter) would use an 8ch DAC. That's kind of like making a laptop, but instead of using an Intel i7-xxxxU low voltage chip, you use an i7-xxxxK desktop chip and disable some of the cores. At best they might be using more channels for error correction, like old 16/44.1 DACs, but the reason why they used to do that is because those DACs will benefit from running 8 DAC chips in series for error correction. Modern chips don't need that.

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