Published On: May 21, 2010

Audio Research introduces DAC8 with complete high-resolution capability

Published On: May 21, 2010
Last Updated on: October 31, 2020
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Audio Research introduces DAC8 with complete high-resolution capability

The newest digital to analog converter from Audio Research is here: the DAC8. While it may look similar to its predecessors, the DAC8 contains new engineering that provides high resolution USB audio. It accomplished this by incorporating USB 2.0 High Speed which runs at 480Mbps.

Audio Research introduces DAC8 with complete high-resolution capability

By Author: Home Theater Review
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Audio Research has introduced the new DAC8 digital to analog converter. Although physically similar to its predecessor, the DAC8 contains new engineering that provides high resolution USB audio.

Audio Research has maximized the USB capability of the DAC8 by incorporating USB 2.0 HS (High Speed) which runs at 480Mbps. USB 2.0 HS has a lower jitter specification than USB 2.0 FS (Full Speed 12mbps), consequently the DAC8 is capable of reproducing music at higher definition/resolution (up to 24/192) than products communicating at USB 2.0 FS speeds (24/96).

Additional Resources
• Read more reviews like this in the Home Theater Review Source Component resource page.
• Learn all about the DAC8 on Audio Research's official product page.

In addition, the DAC8 employs a low jitter Dual Master Oscillator design that will provide superior digital to analog conversion via its USB 2.0 HS input as well as via the more traditional S/PDIF (RCA, BNC, Toslink and AES/EBU) inputs that are also included on the DAC8. Our USB 2.0 HS audio interface is optimized for all six sample- rates currently in popular use; 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4 and

In the past, S/PDIF was the default interface mode for High Resolution music files at 176.4 and 192kHz. Now, with Audio Research's Dual Master Oscillator, USB 2.0 HS interface, and our Quad D/A converter design, USB audio is finally elevated to the status once dominated by S/PDIF.

Consequently, regardless of whichever digital input you select, the Audio Research DAC8 promises to provide a superior listening experience.

In addition to the High Performance USB design, the DAC8 features:

Read the list of features of the DAC8 on Page 2.


• "DAC8 HD Audio Device" software drivers, which allow listening to your music in its native sample rate as well as assuring BIT PERFECT, low jitter, data transfer from the computer to your DAC8. Because PC and Mac operating systems do not adequately support sample rates over 96kHz, Audio Research has developed ASIO drivers to make the USB audio experience sonically transparent at all sample rates.

• Sample Rate measuring function: Measures and displays the correct digital sample rate
being sent to the DAC8. This works in USB as well as S/PDIF mode. Consequently, at a
glance, you always know exactly which sample rate is being decoded.

• The DAC8 employs four 24-bit D/A converters. Each channel uses dual 24-bit D/A converters running in mono mode to lower the noise floor and increase the dynamic range.

Additional Resources
• Read more reviews like this in the Home Theater Review Source Component page.
• Learn all about the DAC8 on Audio Research's official product page.

• Dual Master Oscillators: When the time base of any DAC is not an integer multiple of the digital music sample rate, decoding and quantization errors occur. Consequently, the DAC8 uses two low jitter Master Oscillators; one for 44.1, 88.2 & 176.4kHz sample rates and the other for 48, 96 & 192 kHz sample rates. The DAC8 automatically selects the correct Master oscillator the instant digital music is detected at the selected input.

• All inputs are galvanically isolated from the source to reduce or eliminate noise and/or jitter from entering the DAC8.

• The Analog amplifiers in the DAC8 have received the same attention to detail as the digital section. Each channel of the DAC8 uses a true direct-coupled differential amplifier with a bandwidth in excess of 90kHz.

• The DAC8's S/PDIF inputs are designed to accept signals from an HRx, 176.4kHz, 24-bit, High-Resolution music server system playing HRx's DVD-R recordings. See for recommended music server setups.

• By virtue of all of the above points and our proprietary software drivers , intrinsic jitter has been reduced to less than 10ps.


The DAC8's USB driver software provides your computer with special high-speed audio drivers not supplied by MS Windows or Mac OS. The Audio Research USB drivers are specially designed to assure low jitter BIT PERFECT data transfer between the server/computer and the DAC8 at all sample rates. Our drivers setup the USB interface to guarantee bandwidth, independent of active bulk transfers from the hard drive.

From the ARC icon in your computer's input tray you can set the DAC8 to any sample rate from 44.1 to 192kHz and allow the music server/management software to up or down convert your music to the selected sample rate.

Audiophiles can use custom sample rate conversion algorithms or other file formats provided by third party suppliers such as Windows Media Player, iTunes, J Rivers Media Center, Media Monkey, FooBar, and many others to optimize your music experience.

The DAC8 is a fully balanced, zero-feedback, solid-state design utilizing a direct-coupled FET output stage with generous regulated power supplies and seven stages of regulation. There are separate new digital and audio power transformers, and the board material is the same as that used in the company's Reference products.

Related Reviews and Content
Audio Research makes many different kinds of home theater components. Learn more about these products by reading the Audio Research Reference 5 preamp review by Dr. Ken Taraszka and the Audio Research Reference 600 power amps review by Ken Kessler. Another resource for information is the Audio Research brand page.

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