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DAC stands for “digital-to-analog converter”. The DAC chip found inside external DACs is what converts the incoming digital audio signals into an analog one. DACs will always have some form of digital input and analog output.
The incoming signal enters the DAC through one of its digital inputs. The signal then hits the actual digital-to-analog converter chip, at which point the digital 1s and 0s are converted into an analog signal. The signal then goes through the analog circuitry to the DAC’s analog outputs (like a 3.5mm headphone jack or unbalanced RCAs).
While you might not need a DAC, getting one is a great idea. DACs help you get the most out of your music files by cleaning the off the digital “grime”. Plus, most DACs have headphone amplifiers that provide clean power to headphones.
DACs are great for improving the sound of digital files. They help give your music more clarity, depth, and imaging. External DACs also can sport audiophile-grade headphone amplifiers, giving your favorite pair of cans all the clean power they need to sound their best.
Most external DACs feature built-in headphone amplifiers. These amplifiers have specialized circuitry for maximum performance and minimum distortion. They can also drive most headphones (including those with high impedances). Just check the specs to make sure the DAC you’re looking at will work for your headphones.
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