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A Short-Term Analysis of a Digital Sigma-Delta Modulator with Nonstationary Audio Signals

Signal conversion quality of sigma-delta (S?) digital-to-analog audio converters (DACs) mainly depends on the S? modulator's parameters. Conventional quality examination of S? audio DACs has been performed in the frequency domain and can be considered indicative of quality only in the case of linear and stationary systems. However, highly nonlinear and nonstationary S? modulators create errors that depend on the input signal. In this study, a method for evaluating S? modulators in the time-domain is presented. Simulations and analysis were performed with the use of music signals. Results showed that the short-term performance of digital S? modulators is highly correlated with the variation of the input signal. This is particularly important as S? modulators are commonly used in DACs of both consumer and professional audio equipment.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society