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Do all USB headphones have a built-in DAC?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I've always just assumed that computers send a proper audio signal out on the USB port.  Is that true, or do all USB headphones have built-in DACs and amplifiers?

post #2 of 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by iZMXi View Post
 

I've always just assumed that computers send a proper audio signal out on the USB port.  Is that true, or do all USB headphones have built-in DACs and amplifiers?

USB is digital, headphones are analog, so there has to be a DAC chip involved between the USB and the headphones.

A USB sound card does not really have to have a true headphone amplifier, to drive basic headphones.

post #3 of 3

All USB headphones have to have a DAC and amplifier.

It can be built into the headphones or be in a small adapter at the end of the USB cable (USB headsets often ship with a little adapter that has headphone-out and mic-in, so there even is an ADC).


Edited by xnor - 1/22/14 at 7:17am
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