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A New Digital-to-Analogue Converter Design Technique for HiFi Applications

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A new Digital-to-analogue converter (in a .18 micron process) will be presented which exhibits exceptionally large linearity (Total Harmonic Distortion < -118 dB at full scale input) and a very good signal-to-noise (SNR) performance (> 120 dB SNR, unweighted). Targeted as a DAC to meet the Super Audio CD specifications, the DAC is designed as a n-bit (n = 4,5, or 6) switched current Sigma Delta modulator, running at a sample rate of 2.8 or 5.6 MHz. While the SNR is obtained by standard but carefully applied design techniques, the linearity of the DAC is obtained by a new Dynamic Element Matching (DEM) technique. Contrary to existing DEM approaches, the DEM technique fully removes any error due to mismatch in the switched current sources, instead of spectrally shaping the error. The new DEM technique will be explained in detail, and measurement results will be given.

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