Why can't a 32 bit DAC actually resolve 32 bits?
Nov 1, 2016 at 5:55 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 2

Andrew Rieger

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I'm a bit confused about this subject. There are numerous DAC's on the market that have 32 bit chips inside. I was reading about MSB's $90,000 Select DAC and they claim it has achieved the highest resolution conversion ever at 28.5bits (which is apparently an insane accomplishment). So why are DAC's unable to resolve up to the rated spec of the DAC chip they are using? What am I missing here? 
 
Nov 1, 2016 at 6:11 PM Post #2 of 2

Music Alchemist

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Some reading material:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effective_number_of_bits
http://www.analog.com/en/analog-dialogue/raqs/raq-issue-90.html
http://www.head-fi.org/t/671220/effective-number-of-bits-or-why-you-have-to-keep-software-at-full-volume-is-nonsense
http://www.msbtech.com/products/dacSelect.php
http://www.msbtechnology.com/dacs/select-features
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Field-programmable_gate_array
http://web.archive.org/web/20160811140354/http://www.chordelectronics.co.uk/chord-dac-technology.asp
http://www.head-fi.org/t/766517/chord-electronics-dave/1395#post_12262339
http://www.head-fi.org/t/766517/chord-electronics-dave/4515#post_12839928
http://www.head-fi.org/t/800264/watts-up/120#post_12586725
 
Also, number of bits doesn't mean much in and of itself. There's a lot more that goes into DAC design. Just look at the Chord DAVE (a Pulse Array DAC with FPGA), for example, which measures better than anything else in some ways. (Oh, and that tech page doesn't mention that it actually has 164,000 taps.)
 

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