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convert digital sound

Dear List,

After eight years, our standalone D/A converter has broken down. Now we
need a new solution. The old one was just too expensive: about 2500
Euro. Some years ago I was offered AD converters in HiFi shops for about
500 Euro, but it seems this did not sell well enough and is no longer
offered. Any suggestions?

We actually need a dynamic range which exceeds 16 bits. This needs not
to be within a single stimulus, but between stimuli 24 bit would be
fine. A solution where one could have 16 bit dynamics with the sound
signal (S/P DIF), plus 8 "volume bits" transmitted via serial port, USB,
... would be fine. (Is this a standard claim, or "special"?)

Any experiences with external soundcards? e.g. Teratec Aureon 5.1 USB.
Would that be as good as a digital soundcard plus an external DA
converter? Would that feature 8 "volume bits"?

Please substitute "chris" for "christian" in my e-mail address.

Thanks a lot for your help,
Christian Kaernbach

Dr. Christian Kaernbach
Institut für Allgemeine Psychologie
Universität Leipzig
Seeburgstr. 14-20
04 103 Leipzig