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Old 20th May 2008, 03:02 AM   #1
tilroh is offline tilroh  Australia
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Default does USB DAC process MP3s too?

I'm missing some basic understanding of how a external DAC processes data. I know the USB DAC will process the WAV files on my hard drive but does it process other formats like MP3 as well?

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Old 20th May 2008, 03:46 AM   #2
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Yes, it should. I don't have any MP3s so have never tried it thou.

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Old 20th May 2008, 04:38 AM   #3
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hhmm interesting
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Old 20th May 2008, 04:56 AM   #4
ssmith is offline ssmith  France
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It's not the DAC that processes the WAV, MP3, FLAC, APE, MPC, etc etc. It's the computer.

In really simple terms, the computer takes a music file (whatever it is), processes it, and sends the resulting digital data to a soundcard, where a chip converts that digital stream to analogue, so you can listen to it.
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Old 20th May 2008, 05:15 AM   #5
tilroh is offline tilroh  Australia
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thanks ssmith,

...So digital output from the computer is a standard sound stream that DACs convert?

Is your music app. (iTunes, WinAmp, etc) processing the ones and zeros into this stream?

one question leads to many more, what a surprise.
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Old 20th May 2008, 06:01 AM   #6
ssmith is offline ssmith  France
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correct, the media player (iTunes, Media Player, Foobar, XMMS, whatever...) takes the file, decodes it and manages it (stop, play, pause, FF etc) in relation to a hardware output device (soundcard / USB DAC).
So if your media player can handle a WAV and send it to your DAC, the chances are it can take an MP3 and send it to your DAC.
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Old 20th May 2008, 06:03 AM   #7
ssmith is offline ssmith  France
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Oh, and cast a vote here for a separate PC audio forum!
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Old 20th May 2008, 06:32 AM   #8
tilroh is offline tilroh  Australia
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which leads to another question.... is there a difference in the sound quality of media players? and can the media player code be modded to improve it? (just kidding, I think).
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Old 10th June 2008, 04:50 AM   #9
Akita is offline Akita  Malaysia
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May I know, what is the difference between dac from pc sound card compare to usb?
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Old 10th June 2008, 05:26 AM   #10
dfdye is offline dfdye  United States
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That's heavily dependent on the sound card and USB DAC you are comparing. Think of a USB DAC like an external sound card, if you will--they both serve the same purpose.

That being said, the DIY implementation of a USB based chip is easier than building your own PCI card IMHO, thus the disproportionate representation of external USB based devices in the DIY crowd vs. internal solutions.
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