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Explaining how I use a DAC

Gonepostal

Well-known member
Apr 26, 2014
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10,545
Hi, where to start.

I currently use my iPhone connected to my amp by a USB A connection. It's been pointed out to me that this isn't a good way to listen to my music. I was told that an iPad would be better than the phone. Could anyone confirm this. I thought it wouldn't matter as the music gets converted by the same DAC as soon as it hits the amp.

Secondly, would I be better to buy a separate DAC, if so would it be worth buying one if still using my iPhone or would I need to buy an iPad etc, I don't currently own a laptop or tablet. If I did buy a DAC how do I connect my phone to it or would I be better buying a CCA and streaming etc.

As you can guess I'm a little clueless when it comes to streaming etc, I usually play LPs.

My current amp is a Quad Vena, I currently connect my phone by USB to the amp, I assumed this was fine. Maybe I'm wrong.
 

Gray

Well-known member
Nov 27, 2015
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12,070
Hi, where to start.

I currently use my iPhone connected to my amp by a USB A connection. It's been pointed out to me that this isn't a good way to listen to my music. I was told that an iPad would be better than the phone. Could anyone confirm this. I thought it wouldn't matter as the music gets converted by the same DAC as soon as it hits the amp.
You're right.
Ask them why an iPad is better than an iPhone in your specific example :unsure:

The only reason to get a standalone DAC would be to improve on the sound, but the one in your Quad would probably take some beating.

If you want to lose the wire.....that's another subject.
Maybe stick to the LPs :)
 
Last edited:

Friesiansam

Well-known member
Feb 3, 2015
288
181
11,070
I currently use my iPhone connected to my amp by a USB A connection. It's been pointed out to me that this isn't a good way to listen to my music. I was told that an iPad would be better than the phone. Could anyone confirm this. I thought it wouldn't matter as the music gets converted by the same DAC as soon as it hits the amp.
I think somebody just wants to sell you an iPad.
 

Gonepostal

Well-known member
Apr 26, 2014
69
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10,545
Thanks for replying. I was also told that a CCA would be better connected by digital into my amp as the phone wasn't made specifically for music play back.

Basically I just wanted to improve my digital playback but I'm unsure how to go about doing this. I play Spotify premium by connecting the phone to the amp, how do I improve that without spending silly money

Thanks
 

Friesiansam

Well-known member
Feb 3, 2015
288
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11,070
Thanks for replying. I was also told that a CCA would be better connected by digital into my amp as the phone wasn't made specifically for music play back.
My PC was not built specifically for music playback, doesn't stop music delivered by it to my DAC/headphone amp sounding damn good. All your phone is doing is sending ones and zeros to the DAC in your amp and, it's the amp's DAC section that controls the data flow, not the phone.
 

Gonepostal

Well-known member
Apr 26, 2014
69
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10,545
My PC was not built specifically for music playback, doesn't stop music delivered by it to my DAC/headphone amp sounding damn good. All your phone is doing is sending ones and zeros to the DAC in your amp and, it's the amp's DAC section that controls the data flow, not the phone.
That's exactly how I thought it worked. I don't know anything about DACs but I'm assuming the one in the Quad is better than ok. I was also told to try buying a Dragon fly black but I don't see how that improves anything either.
 

Friesiansam

Well-known member
Feb 3, 2015
288
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I was also told to try buying a Dragon fly black but I don't see how that improves anything either.
Audioquest Dragonflies are designed specifically to drive headphones, not to feed into an amp, Also, I think you can be sure the DAC in your amp is better than the one in a Dragonfly Black, especially as reviews suggest it is rather good.
 

Gonepostal

Well-known member
Apr 26, 2014
69
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Cheers for confirming what I suspected, you may have saved me some money. I might try a CCA just to see how I get on with wireless streaming, they aren't expensive and are readily available on eBay.
 

Svatopluk

Active member
Jan 6, 2021
5
1
25
I am also very new to all this. I am streaming using an older iphone into my amp and speakers via phone heaphone socket into aux in. of my old hifi set up (Arcam apha 8r + BW Dm 602 3s). Was using spotify premium - was OK but game changer for me was switching to Tidal hifi which I am trialing (1 month free). In this set up where is the DAC? In the phone or in the amp? What is the value in adding dedicated streamer / DAC (apart from flexibility / multi room possibilities). I have heard that if you are using something like Tidal hifi then adding whatever streamer /DAC is not going to add more than 10% to the sound quality. Are there any views on this? Aside from functionality is it worth me spending 500 - 750gbp on a streamer/DAC if I am using hi quality streaming from such as Tidal? May be stupid question but have not been paying attention to hifi developments for the last 20 years so am completely out of touch.
 

Gray

Well-known member
Nov 27, 2015
1,325
833
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I am also very new to all this. I am streaming using an older iphone into my amp and speakers via phone heaphone socket into aux in. of my old hifi set up (Arcam apha 8r + BW Dm 602 3s). Was using spotify premium - was OK but game changer for me was switching to Tidal hifi which I am trialing (1 month free). In this set up where is the DAC? In the phone or in the amp? What is the value in adding dedicated streamer / DAC (apart from flexibility / multi room possibilities). I have heard that if you are using something like Tidal hifi then adding whatever streamer /DAC is not going to add more than 10% to the sound quality. Are there any views on this? Aside from functionality is it worth me spending 500 - 750gbp on a streamer/DAC if I am using hi quality streaming from such as Tidal? May be stupid question but have not been paying attention to hifi developments for the last 20 years so am completely out of touch.
The DAC is in your phone, your amp hasn't got one.
Assuming Tidal Hi-fi gives (at least) CD quality, there's a simple question for you:
Does your phone sound as good to you as a CD player into your amp / speakers? Your answer to that dictates whether or not you change.

(With a standalone streamer you could of course still control your music with your phone (or laptop / tablet) wirelessly.....unless you don't mind being tied by wire).
 

Svatopluk

Active member
Jan 6, 2021
5
1
25
The DAC is in your phone, your amp hasn't got one.
Assuming Tidal Hi-fi gives (at least) CD quality, there's a simple question for you:
Does your phone sound as good to you as a CD player into your amp / speakers? Your answer to that dictates whether or not you change.

(With a standalone streamer you could of course still control your music with your phone (or laptop / tablet) wirelessly.....unless you don't mind being tied by wire).
Thanks. It sounds better than with the cd player. CD was Arcam which I dont use anymore. Your question is kind of my point - i would expect that the DAC in the phone / tablet would be terrible compared to one costing hundreds of pounds. Am thinking that what DAC / streamer adds is more one of convenience and less of a jump in sound quality. I am OK with that if its the case - just trying to get my head round this so that I wont be disappointed after spending 500 GBP. In the old days it was much simpler - the more you paid the better was the sound but with the law of diminishing returns applying in an upward curve.
 
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