DACs are one of many gadgets that you can buy to improve sound quality. Many avid audiophiles own these devices and will boast about the clarity that they offer. But just how much of a difference do they make? Will they really make your music sound better?
Before answering these questions, it’s worth first understanding exactly what a DAC is.
DACs are in fact built-in to all modern speakers, headphones and amps – without them you wouldn’t be able to hear anything! DAC stands for ‘digital to analog converter’. These devices essentially convert digital music files into analog signals so that they can be heard with the human ear.
Basic headphones and speakers will generally only contain basic in-built DACs. High end speaker systems and pairs of headphones often have much more advanced in-built DACs, providing overall better quality.
So what’s the point of buying an external DAC if most speakers and headphones already have them in-built?
Well, external DACs can be used to elevate the sound quality even further, providing even greater crispness. It’s likely to not be noticeable if you’re a casual listener playing music out of an already high end sound system. However, if you’re a close listener (i.e. a producer, a musician or simply a music nerd) with a mid-range listening device, you will hear the difference.
To better understand how DACs work, you can check out the infographic below. Spend your time reading online reviews and comparing prices to find the best device for your needs and budget.
Infographic design by Audiostance.com