Summing up USB DACS

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In the last days of posts I have been covering what it takes to play music to a USB connected DAC. We've learned what the various formats of music we can play are and how they work - as well we've learned that the player itself contributes mightily to the sound quality of what we're playing.

Perhaps the biggest lesson we've learned is that when you connect a DAC to your computer through a hard wire, like a USB connection, you are at the mercy of the computer's player program for the final outcome of your music. This fact is why there are so many aftermarket programs like Audiorvana, Bit Perfect, Foobar, Amarra, Pure Music and the list goes on for both Windows and Mac. In fact, the list grows almost every day.

But next we want to explore another alternative: a network player. Different from a hard wired USB player, a network music player doesn't necessarily use the player in your computer and instead uses its own built in player. Moreover, a network player isn't restricted to the length of USB cable, the quality of the USB cable and can be located anywhere in your home - even miles away if you wish - all without any affect on the sound quality.

Tomorrow we start to understand networks and then network players.

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Paul McGowan

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