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What does it mean to have 24/192 DAC?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Ok, welcome everyone to this noob thread,


I own AKG k701, with a cmoy amp and a Minimax amp setup.


I am planning on buying a DAC, have researched for quite a bit.


However, I just can't seem to get a concept of this 24bit / 192kHz.


When I'm using Foobar2000 as my music player on my desktop,


I see a bitrate ranging from 128 to 320 kbps, and whole bunch of FLACs that goes way beyond 320.


In fact, majority of mp3 files I have is at 320 with very few exceptions (10% of the total maybe?) that are lesser or equal to 192kbps.


Does this mean that buying DAC with 24bit/192kHz is meaningless?


I am so confused :P


I am still confused which factors to look at when buying DAC, and what improvements would DAC provide. (I read something about cleanness... etc..)


Considering the existing setup I have, what would be the ideal price range of DAC to buy? (I personally am looking at the range of 100~250)


Phew, thats a lot of noob questions. Hope to hear from you all professionals :)

post #2 of 4

I really doubt you would hear a difference between a 24-bit/192khz DAC and a 24-bit/96Khz DAC.

There are people who listen to music and would think it sounds good using a quality 16-bit/44.1khz DAC chip.

post #3 of 4
All it means is the DAC can play very high resolution files. Not much benefit if you listen to full size headphones or IEMs as it is hard to tell the difference between FLAC and 320kbs mp3. Do a search for gregorio's thread called 24bit vs 16bit the myth explained. In your collection you don't have any 24bit high resolution files so you wouldn't be seeing the 'benefit' of a 24/192 DAC but it would still work with your mp3s.
post #4 of 4

Let's go a little bit further with this. The 128/320/bigger number is not either of the numbers referenced on the DAC. That number is just an expression of how big the file is for how long it is. With lossy compression, this is set as a target, and the quality of the compression is dependent on how much space you're willing to consume. With your FLAC files, which are lossless, it merely indicates how efficiently it managed to compress it. But it's not a quality issue, lossless is lossless.


The two numbers are your bit depth (24) and your sample rate (192). Imagine an image of a sine wave running horizontally. To recreate that in PCM, we slice it up into a number of slices - samples - horizontally. The more slices we have (sample rate), the closer we (theoretically) come to that curve. Each slice has its position vertically as well. That's the bit depth, representing (again, theoretically) potential dynamic range.


So, of the files you mentioned, the FLACs are the only ones that this may have an impact on. And to find out, you need to pull up properties, or whatever, on them, and look for those two factors. Most will almost certainly be 16/44.1 - this is what's on a CD. Anything from high-res download sites, or ripped from SACDs will be higher, and if you want your DAC to reproduce it without any resampling, your DAC should be able to match up.


This is all grossly oversimplified, and ignores whether or not these differences actually have a practical impact upon listening. If most of your library is MP3 anyway, that's the least of your worries. Even if that isn't true... just worry about getting a DAC that sounds good, and not whose got the biggest numbers. 

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