Orchard Article Series - #2 - What is a USB DAC? Jan 4, 2020 13:16:34 GMT
Post by orchardaudio on Jan 4, 2020 13:16:34 GMT
Want better sound quality and more volume from your iPhone/laptop/MP3 player? You need a DAC.
What is a DAC?
A DAC, or digital-to-analog converter, converts digitally-stored information into the analog sound that we can hear. A USB DAC is like an external sound card that can easily be plugged into your PC, laptop, tablet, phone or other music player.
Why does a signal need to be converted at all?
The original analog sound made by our favorite bands is recreated in a digital format, for storing convenience. While computers can understand these digital signals, we humans (I'm making an assumption here about our readership) cannot, nor can your speakers or headphones. So before we can listen to it, the digital signal needs to be returned to analog. A standard DAC is built into laptops and music players. However: the better the DAC, the higher quality the conversion, and therefore the better sound you’ll hear from your speakers or headphones.
I’ve never used a DAC before, so why should I get one now?
You may not have realized it, but you’ve used a DAC every time you have played music through your laptop or smartphone. The DACs built in to these products are poor quality, because they are designed to do one small part of a device's total functions, and on a budget. So if you’ve invested in some nice speakers or headphones, you’re not going to make the most of them unless you use a separate DAC which has been designed and optimized specifically for making high fidelity sound.
Investing in superior headphones or speakers and not investing in a high-quality DAC is like buying a Porche and filling the gas tank with water.
How does a DAC fit into my current setup?
A DAC can be connected to your existing receiver, pre-amp, amp, powered speakers or headphones.
If you want very high-performance in a compact size, look no further than our PecanPi® USB (orchardaudio.com/pecanpi-usb). Not only is it a high performance and quality DAC, but it also has a built-in headphone amplifier.
The PecanPi® USB will bypass the DAC inside your PC, laptop, tablet or phone. You'll immediately experience greater sound quality and clarity, with instruments and vocals standing out from each other to occupy their own distinct space.