What is an ADC? (Analogue Digital Converter)

Two of the most common acronyms in the AV world are ADC and DAC. The HowtoAV team translate them into real words and explain exactly what they do.

What do ADC and DAC stand for?

Why ADC and DAC are required

In the AV world, the signal being converted with an ADC or a DAC is audio. Existing commercial AV or home entertainment systems change and develop over time. Certain components in the system may be added or replaced if they get damaged or become outdated. This can result in a mixture of both analogue and digital devices in one system.
For example, a wide variety of audio amplifiers from commercial PA amplifiers to high end Hi-Fi amplifiers use traditional analogue technology because of the pure uncompressed sound it is going to produce. Also, audio systems that feature older technology devices are most likely to be analogue (e.g. a turntable of a cassette deck).

Latest generation AV devices are digital (e.g. Blu-ray players, MP3s, Sky TV and streaming devices). Therefore, when integrating analogue signal into a digital AV system an ADC is needed and when integrating digital signal into an analogue system a DAC is required.

DAC System Digram

DAC system diagram

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With over 50 years experience in supply and system design for many of the UK's largest, high profile audio projects, our AV experts provide a unique level of technical support and customer service.

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