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Difference between the amp coming "before" or "after" the DAC

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hi folks,

 

Newbie question, but crucial, because the cost of doing the (I believe) tradicional way: source (laptop) -> DAC (schiit modi) -> amp (JDS cMoyBB) -> AKG K701/Swans MKII would be about 50 times more expensive (I would need to buy 2x double RCA -> 3.5mm cables), whereas if I could do source -> amp -> DAC -> headphones/monitors without afecting the signal/sound quality, I would only need to spend a dolar in a P2 -> P2 and a P2 -> USB.

 

So, if anyone has any experience or theory about this, I would be grateful.


Thanks in advance.

post #2 of 9

It won't work, as 99% of the amps out there are analog, so there will be no point of connecting a DAC after the AMP.  However, you can get something like a DAC/AMP combo and save some money.  How much will the Schiit modi and JDS cMoyBB runs you?

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

DrSheep,

 

First of all, thanks for taking the time.

The Schiit and JDS cost me U$200, aprox. The thing is, they are hard to sell in my country, there are few headfiers here.

Also, I like to have a separate amp so I can carry it around in my pocket, which the JDS does pretty awesomely well.

 

But what you said about the amp being analog, well, that is sad :( . Are you absolutely sure there will be no gain in the signal level? Or will it even be worse, distorting it?

post #4 of 9

It has nothing to do with that.  The function of a DAC, like it's name sake, is to convert digital signal to analog, and since your amp can only function with analog signals, you will be effectively using the DAC inside your laptop instead of your Schiit.

post #5 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by santaclauz View Post
 

Hi folks,

 

Newbie question, but crucial, because the cost of doing the (I believe) tradicional way: source (laptop) -> DAC (schiit modi) -> amp (JDS cMoyBB) -> AKG K701/Swans MKII would be about 50 times more expensive (I would need to buy 2x double RCA -> 3.5mm cables), whereas if I could do source -> amp -> DAC -> headphones/monitors without afecting the signal/sound quality, I would only need to spend a dolar in a P2 -> P2 and a P2 -> USB.

 

So, if anyone has any experience or theory about this, I would be grateful.


Thanks in advance.

 

DAC - Digital to Analogue Converter. What signal will be coming from an amp (which came from a digital source outputting an analogue signal would be digital so as to work as an input into a Digital to Analogue Converter? It's not a Digital from Analogue Converter, it's a Digital to Analogue Converter.

 

What you need, which conforms to being able to use headphones and monitors as well as being a DAC, but not in being pocketable, is a Headphone amp+DAC+Preamp device like the NuForce Icon HDP, which takes a digital input and once converted to analogue can feed that signal into its built-in headphone amp for the headphone or through its volume control only and send it out as a preamped signal for the monitors, which in the process also gives you a single volume control that can be placed within arm's reach as opposed to one each gain knob on each studio monitor. I am not aware of any battery-powered, much less pocketable, device that does all these.


Edited by ProtegeManiac - 4/28/14 at 8:51am
post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post

DAC - Digital to Analogue Converter. What signal will be coming from an amp (which came from a digital source outputting an analogue signal would be digital so as to work as an input into a Digital to Analogue Converter? It's not a Digital from Analogue Converter, it's a Digital to Analogue Converter.

Well emphasized. smily_headphones1.gif
post #7 of 9

How would it be 50x more expensive exactly? RCA cables are cheap.

post #8 of 9

If you could find a way to physically plug the output of your amp into your DAC, your results would range from no sound (best case) to broken DAC and/or amp (worst case). 

Why do you think you need two RCA to 3.5mm cables? You need one, to connect the RCA outs of the DAC to the 3.5mm input of the Cmoy. These cables can be had for extremely cheap. Try Ebay or Monoprice. 

post #9 of 9

First, the DAC goes before the amp, just like the horse goes before the cart. Doing it the other way is pointless, so the sooner you understand that the better.

 

Second, your entire premise that the proper chain with source > DAC > amp > whatever will cost you "50 times more" because of additional RCA cables sounds both ridiculous & impossible. Unless you think you have to have the Summit-Fi cables that cost hundreds of dollars, which you DO NOT need. Monoprice.com sells both RCA & 3.5mm cables for around $3 each. 

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