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Video: The advantages of a digital-to-analog converter

Ralph Graves is one of Crutchfield's blog editors, and part of the company's social media team. He writes about home audio/video gear, specializing in Apple-related and wireless technologies. Ralph holds a master's degree in music composition, and his works have been released on various labels. He's served as product manager for an independent classical and world music label, produced several recordings, and worked extensively in public broadcasting. Since 1984 he's hosted a weekly classical music program on WTJU, and is also active as a blogger and podcaster.

More from Ralph Graves

This video explains how a digital-to-analog converter gives you better sound from the music stored on your computer.

Video Transcript


You've got music stored on your computer, but do you know what happens when you try to listen to it? In order for those music files to play through headphones or speakers, they have to be converted from their digital forms into analog signals. When you plug your headphones or speakers directly into your computer's headphone jack that digital to analog conversion happens in the computer's sound card: a sound card that more often than not does a fair but not great job of conversion. Your music can be missing important details that can make it sound, well, dull and lifeless. That's where an external digital-to-analog converter, or DAC, can help. Through your computer's USB port it receives the original digital file and converts it using its own high performance DAC. You'll hear your music with all its original detail. Which means it will have much more presence. Which means much more musical enjoyment for the listener — you.

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