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DanBNash's picture
Last seen: 1 year 10 months ago
Joined: Mar 17 2013 - 6:23pm
USB DAC question

Currently, I stream and play tracks from either a PC or my Android phone via a headphone to RCA cable connected to my integrated amp. I have floorstanding Thiel speakers. (I play vinyl more than any other source)

I was wondering if I would get any benefit from purchasing an external USB DAC. My tracks are played via iTunes and are not upgraded. I will probably stream from the cloud more than play tracks from the hard drive.

If I would get any benefit from this, I have a set-up question. Would I just connect the USB from the computer to the DAC and then also connect dual RCA cables to my integrated amp or do I bypass my amp completely?

Would I also then use the headphone to RCA cable from the DAC to my phone?

Sorry for the basic questions, but I just don't want to buy something I don't need; however, I would like to upgrade my sound quality if I can do so at a reasonable cost.

Thanks for any help on this.





jackfish's picture
Last seen: 4 years 1 month ago
Joined: Dec 19 2005 - 2:42pm
My Answers

If your digital music is all standard rez mp3s from iTunes then it is possible that a external DAC might not make much of an improvement.

The DAC would need to be connected to your integrated amp inputs.

The phone only has analog output through the headphone jack, no DAC needed to feed your stereo.

shp's picture
Last seen: 8 months 1 week ago
Joined: Nov 18 2007 - 4:57pm
Jackfish might be right.  If

Jackfish might be right.  If you're only streaming from iTunes cloud it's possible the bit depth and sample frequency aren't even CD quality (16-bit 44.1 kHz) and so a DAC might not help.  Or at least not much. 

But Apple has startedoffering higher quality files. And depending on your music preferences there are plenty of sites, like HDTracks, that offer hi resolution downloads. You might want to try those since you take listening seriously enough to stick with vinyl.

There are several inexpensive USB DACs and some will allow a 30-day trial if you want to test it out. 


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