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Square Cad #2 - Convert or Die!
John Siau (Benchmark Media)

On this episode of Square Cad it’s all about A/D and D/A conversion.  John Siau, Head of Engineering for Benchmark Media, talks about converter design and the future of conversion in digital audio.

Part 1:  Clock Watcher (0:00-18:33)
John discusses Benchmark’s history in broadcast, and how dealing with hundreds of pieces of gear in a chain prepared him for creating high-end converters.  He also talks about what goes into making an accurate converter, and why you may want to reconsider before you buy an expensive master clock.

Part 2:  Sigma Delta, Por Vida (18:34-26:40)
Next I talk with John about conversion schemes and which are the most robust.  From his point of view Sigma Delta conversion is the clear winner even though a resistor ladder network is quieter.  He also talks about the extensive and lengthly testing process that takes a converter from theory to your rack.
  • If you’d like to learn more about Sigma Delta Conversion you can check out this introductory explanation. If you’re feeling really tech-y check out the tutorial video from Texas Instruments.  Warning: it is super detailed.  Your eyes may glaze over if you aren’t adequately prepared. 


Part 3:  The Future Will be Converted…Quietly (26:41-34:53)
To wrap things up John speaks about the 2010 AES convention, why firewire doesn’t have to be a bad interface choice, and what he thinks future advancements in conversion will mean for working engineers. 

Music:
Deerhunter Spring Hall Convert

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Square Cad is published every other Tuesday by Adam Gonsalves of Telegraph Mastering.
Copyright © 2011
Adam Gonsalves. All rights reserved. Content and images cannot be reproduced without written permission.