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Old 4th March 2014, 01:54 PM   #1
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Default Why use a DAC

Hello all,
Been away from things stereo for a while and hearing a fair amount of talk about dac's. I have been rebuilding my component collection for the last few months and trying to see the benefit of the DAC component to determine if I need one. What is the primary purpose of a DAC? Are they only useful for digital sources like cd, or music from a computer source? Is it a night and day noticeable difference? CD player is basic, pioneer 300 disc. Turntable is a pro-ject (fairly basic) with a decent clearaudio cartridge. I have a fair amount of music on my Mac,on iTunes, but never really thought of using it as a component source for stereo listening, even though it's 3 feet from my amp, (rotel rx 1052). Any thoughts would be appreciated. What and how does a DAC process the signal?
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Old 4th March 2014, 02:04 PM   #2
adason is offline adason  United States
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you seems very confused...you do not need DAC for any analog signal, because its already analog, and that is only way how we listen to it...
but every digital storage media (your CD player, MP3 player, DVD player...files in computer) needs a DAC (digital to analog converter), otherwise the signal exists in the numeric form, not suitable to listen, just to store or manipulate
you can have multiple digital signals going into one DAC...
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Old 4th March 2014, 02:30 PM   #3
Julf is offline Julf  Europe
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Originally Posted by adason View Post
but every digital storage media (your CD player, MP3 player, DVD player...files in computer) needs a DAC (digital to analog converter)
But pretty much all of those have built-in DACs.
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Old 4th March 2014, 02:31 PM   #4
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Recent developments in the DAC world have resulted in improvements that start to make sense for a bigger and bigger audience. In my experience, adding a decent DAC to any system without one, results in an improvement. As you already have a CD transport and presumably content to play on it(i.e disks) you could be well served by a nice outboard DAC. If you get some kind of network streamer later on you can always connect it to your DAC and keep enjoying good sound.

If you have a digital source you owe it to yourself to get a DAC.

Next you need to decide if you want a DIY solution of some sort(which usually involves SMD soldering), or something bought off the shelf. And decide on a budget.
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Old 4th March 2014, 02:35 PM   #5
Julf is offline Julf  Europe
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Originally Posted by yacuza View Post
Recent developments in the DAC world have resulted in improvements that start to make sense for a bigger and bigger audience.
Not really. External DACs are mostly a way for hi-fi manufacturers to sell you more hardware at a good margin (as the innards of your average DAC are very cheap to manufacture).

Quote:
In my experience, adding a decent DAC to any system without one, results in an improvement.
In my experience, most built-in DACs are already much better than anything else in the audio chain.
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Old 4th March 2014, 02:41 PM   #6
adason is offline adason  United States
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Originally Posted by Julf View Post
But pretty much all of those have built-in DACs.
I thought that was obvious.
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Old 4th March 2014, 02:48 PM   #7
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Because we can.

Didiet
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Old 4th March 2014, 02:51 PM   #8
Julf is offline Julf  Europe
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Originally Posted by adason View Post
I thought that was obvious.
I thought it was worth clarifying in view of the OP's questions.
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Old 4th March 2014, 06:52 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Julf View Post
Not really. External DACs are mostly a way for hi-fi manufacturers to sell you more hardware at a good margin (as the innards of your average DAC are very cheap to manufacture).

In my experience, most built-in DACs are already much better than anything else in the audio chain.
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Old 5th March 2014, 12:25 AM   #10
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Well, I knew that CD players would have something, but given the fact that some CD players sound better than others, would indicate that not all dac's are created equal. Would it be recommended to use one between a computer and receiver for music archived on iTunes?
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