Understanding audio measurements: Crosstalk

  • Expresses “leaking” between channels; it is measured by driving a stimulus signal in one channel while listening the other.
  • Crosstalk is expressed as a ratio between the quiet undriven channel and the stimulus in the driven channel, and given in decibels.

In stereo system, crosstalk is measured by driving a stimulus signal in one channel while listening the other. As the signal level is very small, sharp bandpass filter is used for the receiving channel – otherwise the signal would likely be below noise floor. The result is given in decibels as a ratio between the quiet undriven channel and the stimulus in the driven channel.

Signal frequency must be given when stating crosstalk.

Example: Crosstalk of H-DAC: -128 dB at 1 kHz, -112 dB at 10 kHz

These numbers are taken from the plot below. Crosstalk usually increases in higher frequencies as capacitive coupling increases. It is also typical to have differences between channels.

Crosstalk is one of the basic measurements on audio systems although it rarely causes any issues with modern high quality audio components.

 

References

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