please can anyone explain dac ?

admin_exported

New member
Aug 10, 2019
2,556
2
0
Hello i am confused somewhat by the amount of dac devices i thought a few months ago whf mag gave away a free dac unit upon subscription but i see that headphone amps are sometimes described as dac's and cd players are also i am looking for a headphone amp for my pc which sort should i look for and any reccomendations my budget as its only for pc is £150
 

professorhat

Well-known member
Dec 28, 2007
991
21
18,895
A DAC is very simply a Digital to Analogue Converter - it converts a digital signal from a digital source (like a computer, MP3 player or CD player) into an analogue one which an amplifier can understand.

Thus any digital device with an analogue output (like a CD player or an MP3 player) will have a DAC built into it. Like virtually everthing, DACs come in varying quality (and thus price), so an external one might be a way to improve sound quality. This is especially true for the likes of a computer or an iPod, where the inbuilt DAC is likely to be quite inferior to a good, purposely built external one. Thus, a headphone amp might also have a DAC built into it, allowing you to connect your digital device directly into it and take advantage of the better sound quality whilst also keeping your setup quite simple.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Hi. A DAC is a digital analogue converter. That means it takes a digital signal (the binary code) from the likes of a comptuer or CD and converts it into an analogue signal (basically a sound wave) which can then be amplified and played through speakers or headphones.

If you have a record player, its signal is analogue, which they goes to an amp and then speakers. If you have a CD player it starts off digital then goes to a DAC inside the CD player and then to the amp and speakers. There are also DACs inside DVD, blue ray players and computers as all start with a digital signal. The DAC inside a computer is usually part of its 'sound card' which also deals with amplification and mixing of sound. You can also bypass that and attach an off board DAC using a digital or USB cable.

Headphone amps are often combined with DACs just to have more features. Some emphasise the DAC part and have the amp as an extra. Some emphasise the headphone feature and have a DAC as an extra.

Have a look here http://www.whathifi.com/forum/dacs/usb-dac-headphone-amplifiers-list at quadpatch's brilliant list of combined DAC/headphone amps for features.
 

SteveR750

Well-known member
Mar 11, 2005
557
32
18,920
lanks76 said:
Hello i am confused somewhat by the amount of dac devices i thought a few months ago whf mag gave away a free dac unit upon subscription but i see that headphone amps are sometimes described as dac's and cd players are also i am looking for a headphone amp for my pc which sort should i look for and any reccomendations my budget as its only for pc is £150
A DAC is simply a digital audio converter, they are everywhere, in your pc, your phone, and of course as separte boxes in a hi fi system. A lot of DACs double as headphone amps, and of course your CD player has one built in, as do some amps. The mythical proprtions of them are simply consistent with the marketing and consumption of other hi fi products!
 

professorhat

Well-known member
Dec 28, 2007
991
21
18,895
In terms of recommendations, if you need the DAC as well as the headphone amp, the Beresford Caiman is worth investigation (in my opinion) - available here, but for a little over your budget at £180 though once you take VAT and shipping into account.

Thing is, though I know it's a good DAC, I'm not sure what the headphone amp is compared to others at that price as I've never compared any others and don't personally use it for that purpose so worth getting a few other recommendations.
 

gregvet

Well-known member
Dec 24, 2008
128
10
18,595
professorhat said:
In terms of recommendations, if you need the DAC as well as the headphone amp, the Beresford Caiman is worth investigation (in my opinion) - available here, but for a little over your budget at £180 though once you take VAT and shipping into account.

Thing is, though I know it's a good DAC, I'm not sure what the headphone amp is compared to others at that price as I've never compared any others and don't personally use it for that purpose so worth getting a few other recommendations.
I use my caiman as a headphone amp for my denon d2000 cans, it's a good head amp, and a great dac too in my opinion. For the money I'm not sure it can be beaten. I haven't tried all the others tho so I might be wrong!

If you can stretch to it (or find one secondhand), go for it.
 

Alantiggger

Well-known member
Oct 14, 2007
221
14
18,795
I wondered about 'dac' for quite a bit.... thanks prof for the clear information, most helpfull :)

(looking into getting one now, good man, thx :clap: )

I'm learning all the time on this site, almost on a daily basis.... hope it adds to me understanding so much more :bounce:
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
well i think thats cleared that up thank you . now just to decided which one to get think a visit to my local hifi retailer is in order
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS