Archive for October 14th, 2008

A DAC By Any Other Name

Computer audio is a wickedly complicated subject that most people don’t ever really think about, and perhaps for good reason: there’s a distinct tendency for those who do think about it to become obsessive-compulsive about it. I mean, seriously: one day your soundcard dies, and you ask your boyfriend to be a sweetheart and look into it, and a few weeks later he’s spent $400 on cards and cables (when is an audio cable not an audio cable? When it’s an “interconnect”, a fancy technical term that means “overpriced audio cable”) and boxes and parts and pieces, and won’t STFU about “lossless audio encoding” and “bit-perfect playback” and other crazy technobabble.

Dangers aside, computer audio is pretty interesting, you have to admit. One of the most basic – and most important – bits of the chain of things that makes the ones and zeros on your hard drive (digital information) into oompa-loompas in your speakers or headphones (analog information) is somewhat obviously called a “digital to analog converter”, or DAC. You can build your own, if you’re so inclined – a new project has just been released – or, if you’re less technically inclined (soldering surface-mount components is not for everyone) – you can just buy one.
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Published in: Geekiness, General | on October 14th, 2008 | Comments Off on A DAC By Any Other Name