Difference Between a DAC and an Amplifier – Detailed Guide!
Want to know what DAC actually is and what is its relation with the amplifier? In this article, we will share some important factors regarding the two that may add value to your knowledge. Also, with the advancement of technology, several new things have been introduced to facilitate you. From spending free time to doing work, everything is dependent upon technology. You can simply take the example of an earphone. You need it for playing video games, watching movies, attending online lectures, or for making a call to your friends and family. However, have you ever wondered how the sound actually comes into existence? Or what is actually making it possible for the sound to be audible through the earphones?
Difference Between a DAC and an Amplifier
Given below are some of the differences between a DAC and an amplifier:
DAC stands for digital to analog converter. As the name suggests, the function performed by DAC is that it transforms the digital signals and converts them into analog signals. This means that whatever you can hear in the audio is basically the result of DAC. The sound in videos, movies, music, etc is entirely dependent upon the digital to analog converter. In other words, you can say that the digital to analog converter helps the earphones to produce sound. Signals in the form of digital technology mean that whatever we see or hear on CDs, DVDs, music players, and many other devices.
Other than that, the major function of these digital signals is to change the input into the output in the form of analog signals. So, this means that the apparent noise or sound that is heard by you is basically the outcome of these digital to analog converters. Moreover, there is another thing that is directly related to the DACs and that is the ‘ sound card’. The major purpose of the sound card is to enhance the quality of sound. The input and output of whatever is heard from the speakers are completely dependent on the sound card. In simple words, you can say that the process of conversion of the signals occurs in the sound card. Plus, the sound cards also possess an innate DAC that boosts their performance.
The function of DAC is not only limited to the audio but also is capable of transforming the signals for videos. Therefore, the video that you can see on television, monitor, or even mobile screens is actually the result of DAC. so just like the sound cards, as discussed earlier, the video cards also contain DAC for the easy conversion of the digital signals into the analog.
DAC is responsible for the quality of the sound i.e how clear the sound is without any noise or distortion. On the contrary, the amplifier is responsible for the intensity of the sound. It means that the amplifier controls how low or loud the volume is. In fact, the word amplifier literally means ‘ to boost’. So, amplifying the sound means boosting the sound. Other than that, the bass effect that you can hear on the speaker or from the earphone is, in fact, the result of the amplifier.
Moreover, DAC and amplifier can come as two separate devices as well as you may also find a combination of the two in the electronic store. If we talk about amplifiers, we can say that there is a vast variety in the market. For instance, portable amplifiers are one of the types of amplifiers that can give you the best results for your devices. These portable amplifiers lack DAC thereby, giving you the best outcome. They are specially meant for the type of earphones that restrict the volume on your device such as mobile phones.
Other than that, there is another category of amplifiers known as desktop amplifiers. These amplifiers also lack DAC and can produce the desired volume with a quality bass effect. Some of the desktop amplifiers available in the market are FiiO E09k, Schitt Magni, and JDS Labs O2. The first category, the FiiO Eo9k is the one that is quite reasonable in price and everyone can manage it in their budget. The next type of desktop amplifier as named above is a bit costly however, provides you with better results. Finally, the last one, also known as JDS Labs O2 is an advanced amplifier and is based upon recent technology.
Apart from that, some of them are also available in the form of a duo. However, whether you want to buy them separately or combined entirely depends upon your choice and discretion. The results produced by DACs and amplifiers depend upon the type of earphones that you are using. Their performance also depends upon the devices. For example, their performance will be different for an android phone and entirely different for an iPhone. Likewise, the performance of a DAC and an amplifier will differ when it comes to computers or DVDs.
Moreover, you can come to know whether you really need an amplifier or not by simply doing a small test. All you need is to turn the volume to the fullest and see if the sound through the headphones is loud enough or not. If yes, then no need to buy an amplifier. However, if the volume is still not as loud as it is supposed to be, then it is definitely a yes. Apart from that, one thing that is important to keep in mind is that if you have Bluetooth earphones then you should not buy an amplifier. The reason is that the Bluetooth earphones already have an innate amplifier in them.
So, if you need to enjoy the music or the video then you definitely need to look into all these aspects. Whether you want a DAC or an amplifier, entirely depends upon your personal preference. Both of these small pieces of technology are equally good and important, having their own benefits. All you need is to check the compatibility of the two with the type of devices for which you are considering them. You should be aware of the fact that the outcome of the two differs for different devices. So, make a thorough research and then go for whatever you want.