Can we talk about DACs for a second?

Hello everyone,

I’ve always seen the upgrade chain goes headphones–> amp --> dac. Every other upgrade in my chain has made sense but I’m having trouble now that I’m at the DAC portion.
Mobdro Kodi
Is there any objective difference in DACs? Measurements? Anything that can justify the jump from say a modi 2 to a gungnir multibit ? (Not seeking purchase advice just an example).

I understand how an amp can color the sound but in my mind, decoding 0s and 1s to feed the amp should be the same…

Hi zhair. See for one set of objective measurements.

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Jetstream is offering very good advice. Visit the audio science review website and see which DACs perform well. The are some surprisingly reasonably priced USB DACs which can outperform many expensive, but less well designed, DACs.

As already mentioned audiosciencereview does a great job coming up with a measurable number. Now if nor not you (or anyone) will be able to distinguish the difference between a medium and a very high rated DAC is another question. I personally can’t even pass a blind test between 320kbp mp3 and a uncompressed FLAC file (or tell which stream is tidal and which spotify) and I’m quite sure I’d have a hard time to distinguish a $5 Apple USB to headphone jack dongle DAC and the Topping E30 that I have. But lots of people will swear they can. Try it our for yourself but be honest about it. Also the other equipment (AMP and speakers/headphone) can be a limiting factor to be able to hear any difference.

Now you might ask why I still spend $130 on a DAC. The reason is that it gives me peace of mind :slight_smile: so there you go! :wink: