Whether you’re using a home stereo system, headphones or a music streamer, connecting a DAC to an amplifier can improve the sound quality of your audio setup. This is especially true if your speakers or headphones don’t already have a high-quality DAC built-in.
First, you must understand what a DAC is and why it’s so vital to your audio experience. Without a DAC, your digital music files would be interpreted as analogue signals, which isn’t how the human brain hears them.
In fact, a DAC is the only device that can convert digital signals back into analog. This process allows you to listen to your music at the best possible quality. It also helps avoid distortion and other issues that come with storing your music in a compressed format.
There are many different types of DACs, all with their own unique set of features. For instance, some DACs are designed specifically for music streaming, while others are compact USB-based devices that plug directly into your laptop or phone.
Some DACs even offer Bluetooth connectivity so you can play your tunes from anywhere in the house. But if you’re looking for something that connects straight to your home network, a USB-based model is probably best.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that your DAC needs to be connected to a power source so it can operate properly. The most common way to power a DAC is via an external power source that connects to it with a cable, but you can also use a battery pack or an AC adapter.
Next, you need to check that the DAC you plan on connecting to your amplifier has an active attenuator. A lot of DACs have these, but if not, you’ll want to double-check that they do.
If not, you’ll end up blowing a 100 on a volume scale of 0 to 100 into your speakers and ears! A good DAC will have an attenuator that’s configured to be at least 10 dB lower than the output of your amplifier.
You should also look for a DAC that doesn’t have noticeable jitter. Jitter is a signal that’s not exactly the same every time it’s converted, which can cause slight pitch errors when played back.
Finally, you need to consider what type of cables you’ll need for your setup. Most DACs will require RCA cables, but some may need XLR.
Once you’ve decided on the type of cable you need, purchase it at a reputable online retailer. Often, they sell in bulk to save money.
Once you’ve gotten the cables, you can hook up your DAC and amplifier with ease. Just make sure to attach the right cables to the correct ports on your equipment. You’ll need RCA or XLR for your amplifier, and a pair of RCA cables for your DAC. You might also need to order an RCA splitter to get the most out of your setup.