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Many digital audio experts maintain that it’s just not possible to optimize decoding of both PCM and DSD data streams with a one-lane architecture, even though there are plenty of DAC chips available that can handle both classes of files. With (at last count) 13 engineers on staff, T+A elektroakustik GmbH & Co. is a research-oriented manufacturer that builds its DACs and disc players with completely separate paths for PCM and DSD signals.
In the case of the DAC 8 DSD, a product priced considerably below those in the German company’s no-holds-barred HV series, the PCM pathway features four 32-bit Burr-Brown converters per channel in a “double symmetrical circuit” that’s capable of measurably linear and dynamic performance.
Oversampling is accomplished by a 56-bit processor employing unique algorithms to achieve precise timing parameters, the user choosing among several filter options. For DSD, T+A developed its own one-bit converter composed ofdiscrete components to preserve an unadulterated signal path for delta-sigma audio content up to DSD512.
The analog section of the DAC 8 DSD is meticulously executed and, with multiple digital inputs, single-endedand balanced outputs to an amplifier, and a volume control (a full-function remote, in fact), audiophiles with only digital sources can manage nicelywithout a preamplifi- er. World-class sound at a reasonable cost.