What is a DAC, and do I need one in addition to my preamp? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 2 Old 12-07-2012, 09:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi,

I have seen several references to "DAC"s in postings concerning preamps. What is a DAC? I see that it seems to take digital in and send analog out (maybe I just answered my own question -- perhaps it is a Digital-to-Analog-Converter?).

Why would one want both a DAC and a pre-amp, given that pre-amps also have digital in? Are DACs presumably better at doing digital-to-analog?

I have three main music sources: phono, CD, and Sonos. The Sonos box allows me to stream Pandora, Sirius, iTunes, and Amazon Cloud to my pre-amp. The Sonos boxes have both analog and digital out. The digital out is in two forms, coax and "optical". I currently use the analog out and route it to the "Line In" on my old Carver pre-amp. For the most part the sound is acceptable, but I am wondering if adding a DAC and then going SonosDigital->DAC->Preamp would result in cleaner sound.
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post #2 of 2 Old 12-07-2012, 09:10 AM
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The DAC in your Sonos is being used at present. If you switch to the digital outs, then that digital will need to be converted to analog using an outboard DAC. DACs are more than simply chips as it relates to sound quality. There are dozens of factors including the quality of the power supply, implementation of digital stage, implementation of the analog stage, etc. The better your speakers and pre/power amp is, the more you will benefit from a better DAC.
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