Originally Posted by BLACKENEDPLAGUE
I have been doing this, but don't understand why, let alone why anyone else is. Why are we buying a sound-card with a DAC inside, only to use coax or optical and hook it to an external DAC? Why don't we just use the analog outs to an amp?
Are they both decoding, or what?
Computers have "electrical noise" (inside the computer case) that can affect an analog signal.
You can send the digital signal to an external DAC, where the analog signal is created free from any electrical noise inside the computer case
Usually an add-on external DAC comes with a better DAC chip then the DAC chip on the sound card.
Also some external DACs come with 2 or even 4 DAC chips.
When the external DAC is used, it bypass the sound cards DAC chip.
Also some sound cards can process headphone surround sound and send it out the coaxial and optical outputs.
Edited by PurpleAngel - 8/18/12 at 2:16pm