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    DAC Advice

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    Sprags

    Posts : 123
    Join date : 2013-02-27

    DAC Advice

    Post by Sprags on Mon Apr 01, 2013 9:48 am

    I could have sworn I saw the post hear but it could have been one of the other audio forums I read through.

    Can someone help me with advice on a DAC? At first I thought I read that it is an interface between an iPad or computer to use for converting files computer audio files into a better sounding alternative than going directly from mp3 to audio equipment sound. Then I thought, which is what I think I'd really like to do, is a way to convert FLAC audio files to a format that can be converted to a preamp readable format.

    I thought I read that someone was using their iPad as a sound source as opposed to requiring a CD player. I really don't want a PC connected to my audio system but using the iPad as a source is OK I guess except for the fact that it is limited to 64 gigs max which really isn't a lot in FLAC file format music. I do have a 500 GB wifi External Disk Drive which I wouldn't mind having connected to my audio system either. I just didn't want a laptop or desktop as part of my audio system.

    Then upon reading more I see that some companies are suggesting it seems to use a DAC as an interface between even a CD player and a preamp to give those CDs an even richer fuller sound.

    All of this is a little confusing right now. Can someone straighten me out?

    Thanks...Blake


    hawaii.ken

    Posts : 157
    Join date : 2012-01-31

    Re: DAC Advice

    Post by hawaii.ken on Mon Apr 01, 2013 1:25 pm

    Sprags wrote:Then upon reading more I see that some companies are suggesting it seems to use a DAC as an interface between even a CD player and a preamp to give those CDs an even richer fuller sound.

    All of this is a little confusing right now. Can someone straighten me out?

    Thanks...Blake
    If you are not listening your music from an analog source such as vinyl or analog tape then you are using a device that has some sort of DAC (digital-to-analog converter). CD & DVD & MP3 players and computers all have some kind of DAC.

    Affordable and improved DAC IC's have spawned those improved DAC interfaces.

    Here's one example: the Shigaclone story

    Zimmer64

    Posts : 113
    Join date : 2013-01-29
    Age : 52
    Location : Switzerland

    Re: DAC Advice

    Post by Zimmer64 on Mon Apr 01, 2013 2:39 pm

    Hi there,

    The analog output of iPad & Co is ok, but not really great. What you want is to get digital data off the iPad and run it through a DAC into your preamp / amp.

    Cambridge audio sells one for example, but I have now experience with it: http://www.cambridgeaudio.com/products/id100-digital-dock-for-ipad-iphone

    You also will need a DAC. There is lot' s out there. Depends on your budget.

    There are also wireless alternatives such as http://www.arcam.co.uk/products,rseries,wireless-dacs,rBlink.htm . I have no experience with those either.

    Hope this gets you started.

    Michael

    mhardyman

    Posts : 11
    Join date : 2012-04-15

    Re: DAC Advice

    Post by mhardyman on Tue Apr 02, 2013 10:22 am

    Using an outboard DAC can significantly improve the sound staging, depth and detail of the digital signal. The built-in DAC chips in your CD player, DVD player, iPod, iPad are OK unless you have already spent megabucks on a high-end dedicated CD transport. I have had remarkable sonic improvements using relatively inexpensive DACs from Grant Fidelity and Maverick Audio. A little bit of tube rolling within these units can help big time. The extra benefit of using this type of DAC is the little bit of gain added to the signal coming out of the source. It gives your preamp more to work with.


    sKiZo

    Posts : 1308
    Join date : 2013-04-01
    Location : Michigan USA

    Re: DAC Advice

    Post by sKiZo on Wed Apr 03, 2013 3:57 pm

    I'll throw in a big +1 on the Maverick TubeMagic ... I love that thing. Problem being, I'm a bit OCD and kinda got carried away on the rolling thing ...



    Somebody stops me!! Fortunately, there's only one tube in the box, which leaves me enough money for ramen and crackers ...

    Before I forget ... an outboard DAC can give you more gain ... but it can also give you less. Something just as important really, as you can easily match the output to your amp ... I run my HTPC output at max without clipping and dial it down with the Maverick as needed for individual selections, leaving the amp volume and balance alone. A simple click or two on the attenuator gives me what I want without messing up the soundstage.

    Back to the topic ... an outboard DAC can make for SIGNIFICANT improvements in the sound quality of your system. The stuff built into the average computer or deck is pretty sad in most cases, and even the good "premium" boxes fail to stand up if they're more than a couple years old. You also have issues with internal rf noise which can be an issue, and with computers, you're talking interference from shared resources. A decent outboard DAC gets around all that as it's dedicated to one specific purpose.

    Sound cards are also a problem in a majority of computers - older ones in particular, and especially laptops. Even something as "low end" as a Behringer UCA-202 can run rings around most of em. Surprisingly big bang for the bux on that one - kept me right happy here until I stumbled across the Maverick ...

    And not to forget on the Maverick ... IT'S GOT TOOB!!

    PS ... not sure if this has been fully addressed yet ... a DAC is a Digital Analog Converter, necessary to take your digital files and convert them to something a standard RCA stereo can deal with. An ADC is an Analog Digital Converter which allows you to play your old school components like turntables or whatever into or thru a computer or digital device. That's handy for ripping old vinyl to digital, something I'm currently halfway done with. Something like the Maverick is strictly one way, as in DAC, but the Behringer I mentioned flows data both ways, as in DAC/ADC.

    Doncha love it when they talk alphabet? tongue

    Maintarget

    Posts : 209
    Join date : 2013-02-10

    Re: DAC Advice

    Post by Maintarget on Sat Apr 06, 2013 3:29 pm

    Those are crazy looking glasses! Very Happy

    sKiZo

    Posts : 1308
    Join date : 2013-04-01
    Location : Michigan USA

    Re: DAC Advice

    Post by sKiZo on Sat Apr 06, 2013 5:22 pm

    They do take some getting used to ...



    Right handy for that size tube though. Just fold some velcro to about the right spacing and jam them in.

    Sprags

    Posts : 123
    Join date : 2013-02-27

    Re: DAC Advice

    Post by Sprags on Sat Apr 06, 2013 6:14 pm

    sKiZo wrote:They do take some getting used to ...



    Right handy for that size tube though. Just fold some velcro to about the right spacing and jam them in.

    KT88's would give you a really tubey vision?

    j beede

    Posts : 328
    Join date : 2011-02-07
    Location : California

    Re: DAC Advice

    Post by j beede on Sat Apr 06, 2013 6:24 pm

    Get yourself an Apple Airport Express--which is a wireless hub, DAC, and preamp in one. $99 new, ~$50 on craigslist. You will be able to wirelessly broadcast FLAC files from your iphone or ipad using iTunes as your "player". This is a low cost solution that will let you experience a wireless music server. You can run the Airport output directly into your power amp's input... just make sure the volume on your i-device is turned down to a safe level!
    ...j

    Bigron865

    Posts : 45
    Join date : 2013-03-15
    Age : 48
    Location : Birmingham Alabama

    Re: DAC Advice

    Post by Bigron865 on Sun Apr 07, 2013 10:06 pm

    Just got a Pioneer Dvd-V7400 that is supposed to be an awesome transport according to this article. http://www.stereophile.com/content/pioneer-dvd-v7400-giant-killer-transport-and-best-kept-secret-digital-audio

    I'm looking for a good tube DAC to go with it. Any suggestions?

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