More than twice as fast as USB 3.0—not to mention twenty times faster than USB 2.0 and twelve times faster than Firewire 800—Thunderbolt is the interconnection technology of the future. Co-developed by Apple and Intel Labs, it allows signal to be transferred at an incredibly fast 10 gigabits per second, which means virtually no latency. Thunderbolt interfaces such as the TAC-2 are also unaffected by computer jitter (slight variations in timing), so there’s no need to connect an external master clock source.
In addition, Thunderbolt carries 10 watts/18 volts of power (as compared to the 2.5 watts/ 5 volts carried by USB 2.0)—enough to provide stable phantom power. This also allows the use of high-end components such as the Burr Brown PCM4202 analog-to-digital converter and AKM AK4396 digital-to-analog converter in the TAC-2.
The TAC-2 performs 4-times upsampling during both analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog conversion. In other words, when the sampling frequency is set to 44.1kHz or 48kHz, the TAC-2 processes the signal at high resolution 176.4kHz or 192kHz. For A/D conversion, this means less aliasing noise; for D/A conversion, this means increased clarity and fidelity.