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A low-cost multichannel spectrometer is proposed for magnetic resonance imaging. There are three distinct features of the instrument: (1) the scalable parallel acquisition with extension to 16 channels is achieved upon high-speed, wideband digital downconverters (DDCs). (2) high frequency range up to 400MHz is allowed by using two quadrature digital upconverters (QDUCs) as a radio-frequency (RF) source and a local oscillator, respectively. (3) the design is based on a system on chip (SOC) integration with PowerPC architecture. Besides, by combining field programmable gate array (FPGA) and digital signal processor (DSP) technique, the spectrometer is built in a digital manner with high performance and accuracy. The device consists of inexpensive and highly-integrated components which make it low-cost and compact. The spectrometer has been successfully designed and demonstrated by the experimental result.