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Digital to Analogue Converters

Digital to analogue converters (also known as DACs) are devices that convert digital signals (e.g. a fixed-point binary number) into an analogue output signal (e.g. a physical quantity, such as voltage or pressure) for other devices to recognise. DACs are mostly in the audio industry, where they are used to convert digital audio signal (binary code) into an analogue signal ready for the next device or headphone amplifier to pick up. The reverse operation (analogue to digital conversion) can be performed by an ADC (analogue to digital converter). We have a curated range of DACs featuring products from well-known brands within the industry, including Analog Devices, Maxim Integrated, Microchip, Texas Instruments, and more.

What does a digital to analogue converter do?

Audio digital to analogue converters capture high-quality digital audio and convert it into a direct line level output analogue signal. An example of this is when digitally-stored music, such as an mp3 track or a CD, is converted into an analogue signal in order to be played through speakers. Video digital to analogue converters operate on a much larger scale and are high-frequency, low- to medium-resolution type converters. They are used to convert digital video data into analogue video signals, especially when using older models of monitors or televisions.

Types of digital to analogue converters

  • R-2R Ladder DACs - These converters are binary converters that use repeating cascaded resistor values R and 2R. Using R-2R improves accuracy.
  • Switched Capacitors - Switched capacitors include a parallel capacitor network.
  • Switched Resistors - Contain a parallel resistor system in which resistors are enabled or bypassed depending on the digital signal.
  • Switched Current Source - Different current sources are chosen based on the digital signal being input.

Applications

Digital to analogue converters are widely used in applications across audio and video industries, including mobile phones, televisions, music players, and telephone calls.

Converters for audio applications include:

  • Digital music systems when played through speakers or headphones
  • PC sound cards
  • ,li>Telecommunications

Video digital to analogue converters have application uses in:

  • Mobile phones
  • TVs

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