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Daft Question re DACs

Discussion in 'audio' started by doctorf, Feb 1, 2023.

  1. doctorf

    doctorf left footed right winger

    Sorry to ask a daft question but my knowledge regarding dacs and bit rates is poor. I use a Creative powered Bluesound N130 which has a dac chip handling up to 32-bit/384kHz.
    If I use an external dac which only handles up to 24-bit/192kHz, does that mean it can never sound as good, or is that logic flawed??
    I generally listen to Tidal or flac files.

  2. Dave***t

    Dave***t Revolutionary relativist

    There are technical differences between 32/384 and 24/192, but you won’t hear them.

    It’s also vanishingly unlikely that you have any files at 32/384, so irrelevant anyway.

    I wouldn’t worry, just go with what you like the sound of.
    julifriend and doctorf like this.
  3. doctorf

    doctorf left footed right winger

    Btw, the dac I’m going to try is an old Musical Fidelity M-Dac which I found in a cupboard.
  4. Dave***t

    Dave***t Revolutionary relativist

    There’s a lot of arguing about DACs if you look hard enough online.

    But on a strictly subjective level, old doesn’t necessarily mean bad when it comes to DACs. The one I use is based on a relatively ancient and technically deficient chip (TDA1543). But having compared a fair number of DACs it’s the one I stuck with on sound.

    Hope the M-DAC works for you.
    doctorf likes this.
  5. Bronzeage

    Bronzeage pfm Member

    That logic is, sadly, completely flawed. There are many factors, such as quality of output stage, power supply and many others that affect overall quality. The number of bits the dac chip handles, beyond 16 bits, is probably the least of all factors.
  6. doctorf

    doctorf left footed right winger

    That was my understanding, despite the lack of logic.
  7. shevans

    shevans pfm Member

    The Bluesound NODE (N130) and any Bluesound device to date only supports bitrates of upto 24/192.
  8. doctorf

    doctorf left footed right winger

    I got my info from ChatGPT!
    Mr Underhill likes this.
  9. colasblue

    colasblue pfm Member

    A dac can only reproduce up to the bit depth and sample frequency of the incoming bitstream irrespective of whether it's capable of handling greater depth or sampling frequency.

    CDs are all 16 bit 44.1 Khz so either dac should theoretically give the full available quality and any difference in SQ is down to its implementation.

    AFAIK there is virtually no commercially available material at more than 192 Khz 24 bit.
    doctorf likes this.
  10. James Evans

    James Evans Bedroom Bodger

    The danger of assuming information supplied by AI is accurate right there!
    shevans likes this.

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