Originally Posted by finrod
I've been reading all the posts in this thread. Though sometimes when I check after a couple of hours, there are more than 125 unread posts. That drives me nuts.
On the other note.... I usually listen to flac and proper ACDs/SACDs. But I do have a more than few mp3s. Who doesn't? :P But seeing that you greatly benefited from using the amp for uncompressed music and also considering that most of my collection is uncompressed, maybe I should buy an amp.
Any thoughts on DACs?
If by "uncompressed" collection you mean that you are listening to high dynamic range recording, I am sure a decent amp will improve performance overall, mainly by providing additional volume which might not be possible right now.
I would consider a DAC if you felt that the one you use currently (in your computer), to be brief, sucked. Mine sounds very good to my ears, everything is realistic, and it can handle up to a blu-ray format (24-bit 192 khz). That said, the overwhelming amount of music out there is still 16-bit 44.1 khz. Unless you have a DAC which is noisy I am not sure its worth it. Your ears "can't" necesarily hear the difference between different DACs. There may be an advantage however, in removing all the sound processing from your computer. In my case, there are a few static pops and some hissing at very high volume under some conditions. But that is a 1% observation, and not really a problem to be solved.
I'd probably withhold from investing in a DAC until you are satisfied that you have the power and the sound you want. I wouldn't buy one that didn't spec relatively well, or better than my amp. The goal is to maximize Signal to Noise, channel separation, and so on. Also, most DACs I see so far, tailored to headphones, don't even put out much line voltage. I wouldn't settle for less than about 2Vrms, which I think could help maximize signal to noise and drive amps well. In my case, I may spring for an ODAC later which is the match to my new O2 amp. My knock against it is that it can accept USB or USB+RCA, but it lacks a digital input. This limits its applications a bit, which I don't prefer. It is also $150 bucks, which is a lot. I may instead just shop for a CD player or something which can do the same job.