Author Topic: What are DACs for  (Read 949 times)

Offline LouisF

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What are DACs for
« on: November 20, 2017, 12:33:38 PM »
Please pardon me, but what exactly does a DAC do? My system as it stands consist of an old (ca 1972) amp, Thorens TD125+SME 3009+Shure V15 II, TEAC cassette deck, speakers and headphone. Planned upgrades could possibly include replacement of the amp by a more modern unit and I might add an FM tuner later. As I understand it, I do not need a DAC. But what if I should add a CD player/transport? And what is the difference between CD transport unit and a CD player?
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Offline Lupo

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Re: What are DACs for
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2017, 12:56:37 PM »
As far as music is concerned, it is a device that that converts digital music (music that is stored digitally) to an analogue signal. Have a look at this whathifi article: DACs: everything you need to know - https://www.whathifi.com/advice/dacs-everything-you-need-to-know 

Simply put, a CD transport is a CD player minus the DAC.

Offline chrisc

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Re: What are DACs for
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2017, 12:59:15 PM »
There are two uses

If you have a CD player with a digital out (optical or co-ax) you can connect the CD player to the DAC and this will translate the digital audio (instead of the CD player's built-in DAC)

If you have FLAC or other music files on a computer, then you connect the DAC via a USB cable and this provides your analogue audio signal

The advantage of a stand-alone DAC is that the hardware and software is dedicated to translating the music signal as accurately as possible.  Plus from a computer you are also able to play 24 bit recordings and even DSD files

A 24 bit recording should have a lower noise floor than a 16 bit one and the upper frequency limit is much higher (typically above 100KHz)

A CD transport is just that, no electronics to provide an analogue signal, whereas a CD player plugs straight into your amp or pre-amp

Offline LouisF

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Re: What are DACs for
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2017, 09:47:33 PM »
Thanks guys, that covers all of it.
"No matter how educated, talented, rich or cool you believe you are,
how you treat people ultimately tells all."

David Avocado Wolfe

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Offline skollie

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Re: What are DACs for
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2017, 09:59:47 PM »
Nooo, LouisF

DACs were invented to reproduce or imitate analogue sound. In other words, no need to buy one - you already have analogue sound provided your equioment is of good quality and well set-up.

It's all anal.

skollie
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Offline LouisF

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Re: What are DACs for
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2017, 08:10:16 AM »
"No matter how educated, talented, rich or cool you believe you are,
how you treat people ultimately tells all."

David Avocado Wolfe

I have learned more from people who have differed from me than from those who have agreed with me.

Offline chrisc

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Re: What are DACs for
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2017, 08:32:13 AM »
^^^ 2 posts up - spoken by someone who has not experienced the richness and fidelity of accurate digitally recorded sound.  Its 2017 this year folks, the 20th century is long gone.

Offline itscraig

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Re: What are DACs for
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2017, 08:40:24 AM »
DAC's are fake record players

Offline Tenflare

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Re: What are DACs for
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2017, 02:49:05 AM »
DAC's are fake record players
Fast internet, the advent of the FLAC file, and affordable large scale digital storage are probably the main given reasons why external DACs are now part of the audiophile conversation. 

Perhaps less recognised, is the factor of Real Estate. Homes are smaller and more expensive than they were even a few years ago, but audiophiles continue to emerge every day, each generation more embedded into digital than the last, and each one more exposed to the prospect of congested living.

Apsirational as it is (and Lord knows it's my endgame), it can no longer be considered as standard for true music lovers to own archives of LP's played through REGA turntables, floorstanding passive speakers, twin monoblock amps, and tube preamps all in chain in a dedicated living room awash with Audiquest cables. The financial implications of such a rig are secondary -- most of us just don't have the living space to accomodate it.

Massdrop is a prime example. Their most popular "audiophile" products are headphones, DACs and headphone amplifiers. This tells us that the world of critical listening, for good or ill, is migrating away from the living room and increasingly toward the computer desk. The DAC is the only thing that enables that movement.

So yeah -- DACs may be fake record players.

But a R700 shelf stores a whole lot less than a R700 hard drive.
Never use a graph when a good metaphor will do...

Offline itscraig

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Re: What are DACs for
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2017, 10:31:14 AM »
^^^^ Well put
and the reason i love my Lapizator as much as the TT

i agree that the Headphone audiophile is the emerging new trend
and it is shown by the prices that some are willing to spend on setups.

Online fdlsys

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Re: What are DACs for
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2017, 02:39:55 PM »
Quote
What are DACs for?
For pickpocketing you - BIG TIME - of the money that would be far better spent buying records

 :tongue:
The four building blocks of the universe are fire, water, gravel and vinyl. Dave Barry
Come back when youíve lived a little. Miles Davis

Offline naughty

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Re: What are DACs for
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2017, 04:22:03 PM »
For pickpocketing you - BIG TIME - of the money that would be far better spent buying records

 :tongue:

actually records are the biggest con going right now .... R429 was the cheapest one i saw at Musica - i remember when records were the latest technology they were less than R20 a pop - i used to get many of my records at 5 bucks and a seven single was 99c

nowadays they just see you and your wallet coming from a mile away .... whatever anyone says digital files are way cheaper and sound 95% as good as the best sounding record and yet have convenience and you can use a remote control and lots of apps to control the playback software and best of all you lose the "Rice Krispies" (Snap. Crackle and Pop) and the biggest plus for me is that i dont have to stand up to change sides every 20 minutes ..... actually i lie .... because the bigger plus comes from the fact that most people like to listen to records with a glass of wine ... i dont have to use alcohol to mask how bad my music sounds while im using a DAC  ;)  ;)  ;)  (and yes its mostly the vinyl crowd talking about that setting up the record then sitting back with a glass of some kind of "Red")

all i can conclude with is "Each to their own" but the DAC wins out big time for me personally and records lose out big time despite their "claimed" superior sound but to be honest and in short, if i have to spend as much on digital as some of the guys spend on their turntables i would have equal if not better sound quality  :2c:
« Last Edit: November 23, 2017, 04:30:34 PM by naughty »

Offline itscraig

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Re: What are DACs for
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2017, 04:38:14 PM »
For pickpocketing you - BIG TIME - of the money that would be far better spent buying records

 :tongue:

hehehehehe well said Mike

Offline itscraig

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Re: What are DACs for
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2017, 04:40:04 PM »
I don't think this will ever resolve between DAC's and TT's

Personally I think it is really based on personal taste and opinion

Offline King_Julian_S

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Re: What are DACs for
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2017, 05:12:53 PM »
Iíve managed to survive without ever having purchased a DAC .. built in ones are free and they can read from 0 to 1...

and when I play my LP itís already converted into analogue .. why buy something different from analogue and pay to convert it back


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