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Can someone explain a DAC to me In Laymans terms?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I'm having trouble wrapping my head around the benefits.
post #2 of 5

Benefits over what? No matter what you're using, it has a DAC if you're playing digital files.

 

In simplest terms, the digital copy of a file is like a long string of dots that represent volume and frequency of each note you can hear. A DAC takes those dots and draws analog sine waves between them, so you get an electrical signal that can move a headphone's drivers to the music.

 

Any DAC that's semi-competent will reproduce all the sine waves fine, but will introduce a lot of stuff that's not supposed to be there. Distortion and noise, for example. Theoretically the more you spend the less of that you should get, but it's often the opposite. There are affordable DACs that offer audible performance comparable to much more expensive products, even if the expensive products measure better.

post #3 of 5
Digital audio data is essentially just blocks of zeros and ones stored on a CD, computer hard disk, SACD, DVD, etc. This digital audio data represents an encoded set of measurements which need to be decoded and converted into an analogue electrical waveform which can then be sent to an amplifier and then on to speakers or headphones to be converted once again, this time from the analogue waveform into sound waves. A DAC (Digital to Analogue Converter) is the piece of equipment in the chain which decodes the digital data and converts it to an analogue waveform. You cannot hear digital audio data unless it is passed through a DAC for conversion. Any CD or DVD player, mobile phone or computer which is able to play digital audio files must have a DAC built into it. But you can also bypass these built in DACs (which are sometimes cheap and poor quality) and send the digital audio data to a stand alone, external DAC.

Hope this helps.

G
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Head Injury View Post

Benefits over what? No matter what you're using, it has a DAC if you're playing digital files.

 

In simplest terms, the digital copy of a file is like a long string of dots that represent volume and frequency of each note you can hear. A DAC takes those dots and draws analog sine waves between them, so you get an electrical signal that can move a headphone's drivers to the music.

 

Any DAC that's semi-competent will reproduce all the sine waves fine, but will introduce a lot of stuff that's not supposed to be there. Distortion and noise, for example. Theoretically the more you spend the less of that you should get, but it's often the opposite. There are affordable DACs that offer audible performance comparable to much more expensive products, even if the expensive products measure better.



So since it's waves instead of dots its going to have a better flow? And i'm using an iPhone 4 so will I benefit from picking up a half decent DAC.
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gregorio View Post

Digital audio data is essentially just blocks of zeros and ones stored on a CD, computer hard disk, SACD, DVD, etc. This digital audio data represents an encoded set of measurements which need to be decoded and converted into an analogue electrical waveform which can then be sent to an amplifier and then on to speakers or headphones to be converted once again, this time from the analogue waveform into sound waves. A DAC (Digital to Analogue Converter) is the piece of equipment in the chain which decodes the digital data and converts it to an analogue waveform. You cannot hear digital audio data unless it is passed through a DAC for conversion. Any CD or DVD player, mobile phone or computer which is able to play digital audio files must have a DAC built into it. But you can also bypass these built in DACs (which are sometimes cheap and poor quality) and send the digital audio data to a stand alone, external DAC.

Hope this helps.

G

Oh! Okay that makes more sense! biggrin.gif
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