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Quality of DAC in relation to used files

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hello Guys,

 

This will be my first post on this forum. I have been looking around for some time trying to get enough information in order get a good (headphone) based setup without making mistakes / spent to much money.

 

And here is my (possibly stupid) question: If I would use only high res files (apple lossless / flac) does this means that the quality of the dac will be less important?

 

Thanks for your help.

post #2 of 7

Two things you need to know:

 

1.Lossless files and high bitrate mp3/ma4 files are practically indistinguishable.

I know many audiophile people swear by lossless but unless those people are 5 year old kids with pristine ear canals, then they're just imagining things.

People usually prefer to get FLAC just so they can rencode them in whatever want later. Lossless format is good for long term storing and archiving.

 

2.DAC's make a serious difference only if your onboard soundcard is prone to interference (most internal soundcards are) and your headphones are too high impedence to be driven without amp.

 

In most cases DACs make anything sound better especially if you like your music loud, doesn't matter if it's a 320kbps mp3 or FLAC.

 

EDIT: I didn't reply to your specific question so here it is:

Unless you've got $3000 headphones, nope. it all depends on what headphones you have. There's no need to go extreme high end with the DAC if you're not going the same way with the headphones. Headphones quality makes the most difference in audio quality.


Edited by Tad-Bravo - 6/10/14 at 3:04am
post #3 of 7

The answer to your question is NO - using lossless or high quality source files does NOT lessen the importance of a DAC, because the files have to run through a DAC at some point, and if you have a low quality DAC, then your high quality lossless files could be compromised, potentially. That said, the DAC you have now may be sufficient, it just depends what your source is. I often use the on-board DAC of my MacBook Pro, and it seems to be as good to my ears as a lot of the popular small USB DAC's, like the Dragonfly, etc. 

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

OK, thanks for your answers. Lets me change the question for a bit. I'm over 40 years old (that was hard to write down) so part of my hearing is probably gone. Furthermore i don't need to hear details that are not audible during a live concert (of string quartets) anyway. Will the internal dac of on Ipod classic do for my purposes? The headphones will be the AKG K550 possibly with a amp like the Fiio E12 

post #5 of 7

What a DAC does is to receive digital(bits/0's and 1's) information through  USB (The USB driver software Uses a protocol to feed the USB chip inside the DAC with bits) and then the DAC chip converts the raw data(which the USB chip gives off and passes to the DAC Chip) into an analog signal.

 

An analog signal has varying voltages at different time instants...We have a continuously varying voltage that represents a wave. this wave is exactly the thing that vibrate the drivers in the headphones.


Edited by Sam21 - 6/10/14 at 1:58pm
post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irvv View Post
 

OK, thanks for your answers. Lets me change the question for a bit. I'm over 40 years old (that was hard to write down) so part of my hearing is probably gone. Furthermore i don't need to hear details that are not audible during a live concert (of string quartets) anyway. Will the internal dac of on Ipod classic do for my purposes? The headphones will be the AKG K550 possibly with a amp like the Fiio E12 

you don't need a dac if you're using the ipod, just the amp will do.

post #7 of 7

You'll probably be fine with just the iPod + E12.

 

From what I can recall, the classic iPod's used to have a pretty good on-board DAC, but they changed it at some point, though I'm not exactly sure when. I think it was later in the products' life cycle. You could probably find that info on the site if you search for iPod DAC. A lot of people here prefer the iPod classic as their DAP for its storage capacity and ease of UI.

 

Also, if you're north of 40 and think you may have lost some of your listening range, then most likely you wouldn't need to use lossless audio files. My guess is 320 Kbps MP3 would suit you just fine - the difference between 320 & FLAC is pretty small - I have seen it estimated at about 5% sound improvement, at the expense of a ~400% increase in file size. 

 

Of course you can always switch from the E12 to something like the E17, which has both a DAC & Amp.

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