Are there still any high-end 1-bit DAC ICs being made?
I wasn't buying audio equipment when SACD was introduced (1999), so I'm curious what people were told was the advantage of DSD. I can't seem to find anything on the matter in Google Books from around that time. I would think the sales pitch highlighted that the DSD signal more closely resembles what hardware converters (ADC/DAC) work with. That is, if the hardware indeed uses a 1-bit delta-sigma ADC and DAC.
Of course that glosses over the difficulties of editing a signal in the DSD form, but let's for now assume that an analog master is digitized with 1-bit delta-sigma ADC and played back with a 1-bit delta-sigma DAC. That brings me to the question: are such ICs still being made? Back when SACD was introduced, there were already a few multibit delta-sigma DACs around: The Burr-Brown PCM1710U, PCM1712U and PCM1715U (introduced in 1994) had a 5-level (so a little more than 2-bit) delta sigma The AKM AK5350 (introduced in 1996) had 'Enhanced Dual Bit' delta-sigma DACs The Crystal/Cirrus-Logic CS5396 (introduced in 1997) had a 3-level (1.5-bit) delta sigma converter. It seems datasheets from present-day DACs don't spoil their internals as much as the older do, except when there is some novelty. The AK4499EX uses 7 bits (128 level), but that isn't secret because that DAC needs a front-end that is on a separate chip, which means the number of bits is in plain sight (the pins required). All datasheets I found that say something about their inner workings seem to mention being multibit. So, my question is: are DACs that use DSD unaltered still a thing at all? Could someone build a DSD DAC or SACD player using DSD unaltered without having to design their own DAC IC? Or would they have to use obsolete ICs? It seems most DAC IC accept DSD input, but convert it to their internal multibit format anyway.
Last Edit: 2023-01-23 19:54:56 by ktf