FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. How do I rip CDs into FLAC Files?
2. How do I get the best sound from my computer?
3. Do I need to use the Preamp section?
4. How is this DAC different than the sound card in my computer, phone or iPod?

3. Do I need to use the preamp section?

You can use the DAC without the preamp. The preamp section consists of a volume pot followed by a unit gain buffer. The DAC's raw output is around 1.7 Volts peak-to-peak and a standard CD player's output is 2 Volts peak-to-peak. The difference in volume between the DAC and a CD player is very small but noticeable when doing a A/B tests. The DAC's output (without the buffer) is high impedance (around 50K) and as such is hard to mate with standard audio devices which are usually 10K input impedance. When the match isn't good the DAC sounds rather lifeless. The OPA627 Preamp/buffer provides impedance matching (and volume control) between the DAC and the rest of your audio gear. The preamp output is around 20R.

4. How is this DAC different?

There are two main differences. 1) This DAC is a classic non filtered NOS DAC using a TDA1543 converter chip vs. the technology used in comerical products are very different. NOS DACs have a cult following in high end circles and for good reasons (google search on 'non filtered NON DAC'). 2) The power supply is very important to the overall sound. Many of the sound quality tweaks in this DAC involved selecting the best sounding capacitors and transformers in the power supply section. These components end up more costly and bulky than a mainstream manufacturer would include in his product.