can a DAC for headphones work for regular speakers?
Mar 12, 2006 at 10:53 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 18

davidhw

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Forgive me if this is a really stupid question; I came on here a week ago to sell some headphones, not thinking I'd stick around, and boom! -- I'm learning all about things like DACs. :)

I'm wondering if an affordable DAC like a Headroom Micro DAC could be used with a computer (an eMac, in my case) not with headphones, but with regular speakers (in my case, I'm thinking of using a NAD amp with Paradigm Atoms or Titans)? Since all I'm wanting to do is "clean up" (is that the right phrase?) the signal from my eMac, it wouldn't matter whether the Micro Dac is feeding into a headphone amp or a regular amp, right? Or would it?
 
Mar 12, 2006 at 10:59 PM Post #2 of 18

digitalmind

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Sure, just stick the line-out of the DAC into the Line-in of your NAD, and you're set.
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Mar 13, 2006 at 12:06 AM Post #4 of 18

AndyRx7

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I've tried my microDAC with my stereo and it sounded great
smily_headphones1.gif
The drawback is that there are no RCA outs, so you need a mini-to-RCA.
 
Mar 13, 2006 at 12:21 AM Post #5 of 18

uzziah

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yeah baby; a DAC has absolutely nothing to do with speakers or phones, or whatever you're using to play your music.

it's like this:

into dac DAC out of dac
0100011100...............analog waveform (often called line out)

ok, that was lousy, but what you get out of your dac is an UNAMPLIFIED signal. it's week, but it's analog. then you put that signal into whatever amp you want (headamp, speaker amp, whatever) and put that into your speakers or phones
 
Mar 13, 2006 at 3:14 AM Post #6 of 18

davidhw

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Appreciate all the tutorials.
smily_headphones1.gif


AndyRx7: Wow. Looking at the photo from the manual, I would not have guessed that the line output on the Micro DAC is a mini-plug. It looks larger in the pictures.

So would I be correct in assuming that having to use the mini-to-RCA adapter would in no way diminish/compromise the signal issuing from the DAC?
 
Mar 13, 2006 at 5:14 AM Post #8 of 18

Clutz

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Quote:

Originally Posted by ManMower
The NAD probably has a DAC of its own.

You could get a cheaper usb sound device with spdif, and you'd have the ability to play 5.1 sound off DVDs too.



It may have it's own DAC, but it may not be as good. The MicroDAC has the flagship CS part I believe...
 
Mar 13, 2006 at 5:46 AM Post #9 of 18

majid

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Clutz
It may have it's own DAC, but it may not be as good. The MicroDAC has the flagship CS part I believe...


The CS4398. Even my very good $1000 Marantz SA8260 only has the older CS4397. You'll have to pay $1000 or so to get a better DAC (Lavry or Benchmark).
 
Mar 13, 2006 at 6:05 AM Post #10 of 18

Jahn

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Quote:

Originally Posted by davidhw
Appreciate all the tutorials.
smily_headphones1.gif


AndyRx7: Wow. Looking at the photo from the manual, I would not have guessed that the line output on the Micro DAC is a mini-plug. It looks larger in the pictures.

So would I be correct in assuming that having to use the mini-to-RCA adapter would in no way diminish/compromise the signal issuing from the DAC?



i'm using this MicroDAC right now, and i have a minitoslink adapter going in, and a mini to rca coming out, and both my Melos headphone out and my Marantz out to the speakers seem to have no problem with the signal SQ-wise!
 
Mar 13, 2006 at 6:35 AM Post #11 of 18

davidhw

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Yeah, I wouldn't expect a $400 NAD amp to have anywhere near the quality DAC of the Micro DAC. Since I'm working from the harddrive and not a CD player, I think the Micro DAC would be a sensible investment. I would be seriously surprised if *any* DAC didn't improve the sound quality coming out of a low-end consumer Mac like the eMac.

Again, thanks for all the tips.
 
Mar 13, 2006 at 7:09 AM Post #12 of 18

Ferbose

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For driving speakers, you may also consider an Onkyo receiver.
They have DAC built-in and can drive speakers.
Lower level Onkyo receivers have very good reputations for their performace/price ratio.
 
Mar 13, 2006 at 9:03 AM Post #13 of 18

manhattanproj

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Jahn
i'm using this MicroDAC right now, and i have a minitoslink adapter going in, and a mini to rca coming out, and both my Melos headphone out and my Marantz out to the speakers seem to have no problem with the signal SQ-wise!



just a question: is the marantz that you are referring to a speaker amp?
 
Mar 13, 2006 at 3:33 PM Post #14 of 18

Clutz

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Ferbose
For driving speakers, you may also consider an Onkyo receiver.
They have DAC built-in and can drive speakers.
Lower level Onkyo receivers have very good reputations for their performace/price ratio.



The DAC in an Onkyo still isn't going to rival that of the MicroDAC.
 

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