App note: DAC ICs: How many bits is enough?


A very old application notes from Analog Devices that tells about Nyquist Theorem, sampling rate and quantization used on DACs. Link here (PDF)

At the heart of every digital audio playback system lies the single-most critical component for high-fidelity audio: the digital-to-analog converter (DAC). These converters handle the delicate task of translating the 16-bit binary words encoded on the disc or tape into corresponding analog signals worthy of amplification and, ultimately, of the human ear.

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  1. If you ask the audiophile brigade, they’ll probably say 2048 bits is for the losers who don’t have a proper record player with thermionic valves. If you ask me, there wasn’t anything that didn’t sound good enough on the DIY 8-bit stereo Covox clone hanging off the LPT port at the time and I definitely can’t hear anything missing at 16 bits today. Any extra bits you’re welcome to keep, I have no use for them…

  2. No Max, these days audiophiles need only 1 bit… delta sigma DACs *cough*.
    Yep, old app note indeed…

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