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DAC question - is there signification for other components other than the chip ?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Hey,

 

For DAC, there is the main DAC chip which is used (Wolfson / Burr Brown model etc').
So my question is, mostly in terms of sound quality:
Is there a significate difference between several DACs with the same chip ?
For example on-board sound card or a smartphone or an external USB DAC with the same DAC chip ?

From seeing some non-high-end external DACs, I can see that there are no many components other than the DAC chip. So other components on the external DAC will have a significant effect ? Amplifier etc'?
For example, see the DAC below - it has almost no other parts I see except the DAC chip.
If there are significate parts here - can you please explain according to this image ?

http://cdn.head-fi.org/6/60/900x900px-LL-60220dc2_P9041428.jpeg

 

Thanks !

post #2 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by liran1 View Post
 

Hey,

 

For DAC, there is the main DAC chip which is used (Wolfson / Burr Brown model etc').
So my question is, mostly in terms of sound quality:
Is there a significant difference between several DACs with the same chip ?
For example on-board sound card or a smartphone or an external USB DAC with the same DAC chip ?

From seeing some non-high-end external DACs, I can see that there are no many components other than the DAC chip. So other components on the external DAC will have a significant effect ? Amplifier etc'?
For example, see the DAC below - it has almost no other parts I see except the DAC chip.
If there are significant parts here - can you please explain according to this image ?

http://cdn.head-fi.org/6/60/900x900px-LL-60220dc2_P9041428.jpeg

 

Thanks !

 

Usually DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) chips used on motherboards and smart phones are not going to be the same, or as good as DAC chips found on external DACs.

 

The picture is showing a Audiotrak MAYA U5 USB sound card and it uses it VIA audio processors to also function as a DAC.

Where as normally an external DAC comes with a dedicated DAC chip and no sound card features (no audio processors)

 

Are you looking at getting an external sound card or external DAC?

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your response.

 

Quote:
 Usually DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) chips used on motherboards and smart phones are not going to be the same, or as good as DAC chips found on external DACs.

Right, but I was asking about the cases which the DAC chip is the same - like in this Audiotrak, and for example some smartphones with some Wolfson DAC chips. And off-course I am not relating to high-end DACs.

 

I am actually going to get this one,

the reason is the reasonable price, and also mainly because I want it for 2.1 channels for music: stereo + (active) Sub woofer.

So as you said, this is used as a DAC, and also as sound processor, like a sound card.

Audiotrak has also higher class products, listed as DACs, which are also uses also a sound card as I understand.

 

So in my case, this will function as a sound card / DAC.

What's your opinion, what components does it have for making the sound quality supposibly better than an on-board sound card with the same DAC chip ?

 

Thanks

post #4 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by liran1 View Post
 

Thanks for your response.

 

Quote:
 Usually DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) chips used on motherboards and smart phones are not going to be the same, or as good as DAC chips found on external DACs.

Right, but I was asking about the cases which the DAC chip is the same - like in this Audiotrak, and for example some smartphones with some Wolfson DAC chips. And off-course I am not relating to high-end DACs.

 

I am actually going to get this one,

the reason is the reasonable price, and also mainly because I want it for 2.1 channels for music: stereo + (active) Sub woofer.

So as you said, this is used as a DAC, and also as sound processor, like a sound card.

Audiotrak has also higher class products, listed as DACs, which are also uses also a sound card as I understand.

 

So in my case, this will function as a sound card / DAC.

What's your opinion, what components does it have for making the sound quality supposibly better than an on-board sound card with the same DAC chip ?

 

Thanks


I thought you were heading in this direction until I saw the other reply.

 

So here goes - what really governs a DAC's performance is the implementation.  IOW, the circuit around the DAC chip itself is all important.  There are differences in performance between DAC chips, to be sure, but implementation is key to realize all of the performance specs of the chip.  The circuit may or may not use regulated power, separate power, USB isolation (or some other data transmission protocol), a buffered output, etc., etc.  Some DACs will have these things, some will not.  It makes a difference.

post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 

Thanks.

 

I hope this card will provide me good results :)

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