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The AES Interface and Analogue-Digital Conversion

The AES/EBU interface is designed to facilitate the distribution of and good housekeeping for audio signals in a digital environment. It makes the implementation of large high integrity digital audio systems realistic. The requirements of the ADC, and to a lesser extent the replay DAC, are anomalous in such a system, in that they can require very high purity clock signals. Although such clocks are feasible, they complicate the already great task of integrating a large system - and limit its configurational flexibility. This conflicts with the message from the digital world, that wherever possible, system dependence on high purity signals should be avoided. This paper considers the ADC performance needed and suggests that oversampling ADCs (and DACs) are the architecture of choice for such a digital audio system, because they can relax the requirements on the clocking signals. It also briefly looks at some aspects of ADC linearity, and notes that such ADCs (and DACs) behave most like conventional analogue components - and so are very acceptable to use.

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