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DAC v Amp v Headphones

FireFox500

34 months ago

I am rather confused on how audio works on a PC. Right now I have speakers plugged into my mobo audio port (which my headphones are then plugged into), the sound often crackles and after a few YT videos I found out an external DAC or AMP can help that. But this is where the confusion begins. Can I use a DAC to replace my speakers and make it sound better? Can I use an amp to do this? Can I use a DAC or amp in conjunction with speakers?

Any help is appreciated, FireFox500

Comments

  • 34 months ago
  • 1 point

The DAC is just a little box that you plug into the computer then plug a playback device (headphones or speakers) into it. The DAC can't play any sounds all by itself. Same with an amp.

You can use a DAC with an amp (DAC plugs into the PC, amp plugs into the DAC, speakers plug into the amp), or buy a DAC that has an amp built into it.

  • 34 months ago
  • 1 point

Does a DAC or amp provide better quality when compared to each other? Is there one you recommend over another (DAC, amp, speakers or a combination)?

  • 34 months ago
  • 1 point

Crackling with the speakers might not be solved with a dedicated dac/amp if it's an issue with the speakers themselves. That's the case with mine.

If your speakers have a volume knob, try adjusting it up and down a few times and see if that temporarily fixes the issue. If it does, then it's am issue with the speaker components themselves.

A poor source might cause static noise of humming noise, but I've never heard of crackling noise. That's why I suspect the issue isn't with your onboard audio, but the speakers themselves.

  • 34 months ago
  • 1 point

So if I grab a Schitt Modi or something it will fix it right up?

  • 34 months ago
  • 2 points

If it's the speakers that have issues, NO, it will not fix anything.

The dac decodes the audio. If you are not hearing static or humming/whining sounds, getting an external dac really won't do you much.

  • 34 months ago
  • 1 point

Static is pretty annoying in my headphones and will occur randomly and whenever I don't balance the volume knob correct.

  • 34 months ago
  • 2 points

If that's the case, a cheap external dac will do.

Fiio has great offerings at a low price.

If you care about features, Creative also has some cheap offerings with interesting features.

  • 34 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you very much for your help!

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