while were on the subject, id appreciate some clarification, and an answer to a question, if thats not too much to ask.
as far as i could understand, a DAC exists on anything that plays music, it takes the digital part, ie the 1's and 0's of your mp3/flac/aac/whatever and turns them into the analog bit, which is basically an electric pulse/wave (i dont know the terminology) which then goes into you headphone, making the membrane "dance", compressing and moving the air in a way that our ears (or rather our brain) interpret as sound. (please correct me if im wrong of course)
is this why your meant to plug a DAC into your DAP via usb and not through the headphone jack? because if the music got to your headphone jack it would already be an analog wave (again, terminology) making the external DAC useless?
Originally Posted by Clarkmc2
A DAC should be as accurate as possible, and that is not difficult to to do and should not cost much money. It should never impart any audio quality of its own and cannot alter things like soundstage (that is up to recording and transducers almost exclusively). Transparency is the goal, just like with amplifiers.
Most of a topic like this will usually be taken up with discussions and claims of what a DAC can do for synergy, a topic that really doesn't need to be in the Sound Science forum. Synergy is trying to alter the sound of gear that has faults by matching it with other gear that has different faults. In this strange hobby the really expensive electronics stuff is usually more colored - deviating from transparency - than the lower priced offerings. An expensive tube DAC, a discrete one or one with special circuits to do things with timing errors, etc, will never outperform the transparency of a competent DAC chip, and will rarely or never equal it.
A frequent straw man that shows up in DAC discussions is that the quality of the analogue section - the "A" in DAC - is the key to audible quality. True, but at these tiny signal levels that is also not expensive to accomplish.
i understood what you said, and again, keep in mind im just a newbe who doesnt even own a dac, but say i want more bass or more treble or any other emphasis in the music im listening to, what difference does it make where the color comes from? if its from my bassy headphones, bassy amp, bass boost switch on an amp, a dac that colors the music or for that matter - an equalizer? would a bass heavy headphone give a better quality than a bass heavy dac? i hope im making sense, ill try and clarify:
you said that the more expensive, coloring amps cant "outperform the transparency of a competent DAC chip", it sounds like your being critical about amps that provide color and i just want to know why, because no one speaks up when one talks about bass heavy headphones, or equalizing music for emphasis on treble, but DACs seem to be a heated subject for some reason.
edit: is it a question of whether or not DACs can provide you with any coloration at all?
and btw, whats the difference between a DAC and an external sound card? are they the same thing?
Edited by adamlr - 10/3/12 at 4:12pm