Parallel DACs

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Parallel DACs

In the crucial months between July 10 and October 31, 1940, during the Battle of Britain, radar operators were glued to their screens, straining to distinguish enemy aircraft from mere noise.

This was a time when radar technology was still in its infancy, plagued by challenges of interference and low Signal-to-Noise Ratios (SNR). Amidst this backdrop, British engineers made a game-changing innovation: they grouped multiple radar receivers together in parallel. The result was a dramatic improvement in SNR, suddenly making it easier to spot the German Luftwaffe against the backdrop of electromagnetic chaos.

This idea of paralleling multiple analog outputs to lower noise and distortion has been carried forward in all sorts of ways from medical imaging to complex climate modeling and, closer to home, high-end audio equipment.

Years ago, before there was anything digital to talk about, we routinely used parallel input transistors to lower noise and distortion of our moving coil phono preamplifiers (and we still do).

Fast forward to the digital age and we find the idea of paralleling multiple devices, like D to A converters also has its benefits.

How does paralleling work in a DAC?

By paralleling multiple DACs, one can average out errors and noise that affect the performance of a single converter. 


When DACs are paralleled, random noise can be significantly reduced because random errors in each DAC are statistically likely to cancel each other out, resulting in a cleaner analog signal with lower noise and increased dynamic range.

Distortion, both harmonic and IM, occurs when a DAC's output deviates from its intended linear performance. By averaging the outputs of multiple DACs, the effects of harmonic and intermodulation distortion can be minimized in ways that are clearly audible.

More DACs mean more bits, leading to an increased resolution—providing a finer scale to average out errors and enhancing performance.

All this to bring you up to speed about why our latest DAC, the StellarGold, is such a killer piece of audio equipment.

Inside, each of its two output channels are built using 4 high-resolution DACs in parallel.

And the results are not just lower noise and distortion, but an extraordinary listening experience that I can't wait for you to experience for yourself.

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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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