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Hi-Fi Rig Setups: Difference between Desktop Components and Portable Components

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I have explored the world of desktop rigs for awhile and am now thinking about building a portable rig of my own.  The standard for desktop rig setups is as follows:

 

Lossless Audio Files -> DAC -> Amplifier -> Headphones

 

I have been researching portable rig setups for some time now and am curious to know if there is a similar standard algorithm to follow.  Is there one?  For example, it seems like some people use DACs, while others do not use them.  I don't understand the logic behind that choice because in the desktop world, a DAC is always required for an optimal setup...

post #2 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by BassInMyFace View Post

I have explored the world of desktop rigs for awhile and am now thinking about building a portable rig of my own.  The standard for desktop rig setups is as follows:

 

Lossless Audio Files -> DAC -> Amplifier -> Headphones

 

I have been researching portable rig setups for some time now and am curious to know if there is a similar standard algorithm to follow.  Is there one?  For example, it seems like some people use DACs, while others do not use them.  I don't understand the logic behind that choice because in the desktop world, a DAC is always required for an optimal setup...

My two cents

 

To hook up a DAC (external Digital to Analog Converter) to a source(s) device, that device needs to have a digital output interface that can output a digital audio signal (not the same as file transfer)

Computers come standard with a digital output interface that can output a digital audio signal.

Most portable audio devices come with a digital interface, but for file transfer only (or recharging)

(most devices come with at least a low cost DAC chip already)

Recently more portable audio devices are coming with a digital interface that can out the digital audio signal, that can connect to a external DAC.

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

My two cents

To hook up a DAC (external Digital to Analog Converter) to a source(s) device, that device needs to have a digital output interface that can output a digital audio signal (not the same as file transfer)
Computers come standard with a digital output interface that can output a digital audio signal.
Most portable audio devices come with a digital interface, but for file transfer only (or recharging)
(most devices come with at least a low cost DAC chip already)
Recently more portable audio devices are coming with a digital interface that can out the digital audio signal, that can connect to a external DAC.

Your response makes a lot of sense. Thank you for your input.

I have noticed that some DAPs (especially the various iPods and Sansa Fuze) are commonly setup with a line-out/LOD. Do those cables allow the DAPs to transmit data digitally so that a DAC can be utilized to improve audio quality, or is there another purpose for using them?
post #4 of 6

I wish that there is a DAP that sends out usb audio and a portable DAC that can async process and able to handle 24 bit files...

 

If I understand correctly, the Android USB audio out is still at its very early stage
 

post #5 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by BassInMyFace View Post

Your response makes a lot of sense. Thank you for your input.
I have noticed that some DAPs (especially the various iPods and Sansa Fuze) are commonly setup with a line-out/LOD. Do those cables allow the DAPs to transmit data digitally so that a DAC can be utilized to improve audio quality, or is there another purpose for using them?

Line-out and LOD feed an analog audio signal (post DAC signal) that bypass the device's headphone amplifier, this signal is considered a slightly cleaner analog audio signal (then using the headphone jack).

Apple's new lightning port makes it easier to get a digital audio signal (pre DAC signal) from the Apple device.


Edited by PurpleAngel - 7/22/13 at 7:33am
post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by BassInMyFace View Post

For example, it seems like some people use DACs, while others do not use them.  I don't understand the logic behind that choice because in the desktop world, a DAC is always required for an optimal setup...
You have perhaps confused yourself. Everyone uses a dac. Your portable player or smartphone has a built in DAC. Some people choose to bypass built-in DACs with external solutions. In precisely the same way you bypass your PCs built-in motherboard. The theory is exactly the same, the only difference is the scale.

Check out the portable rig photo thread for inspiration.
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