Digital-to-analog converter - you can't do without it, but what is it?

February 2024

Every laptop/PC has one, every smartphone has one anyway. Without a digital-to-analog converter (DAC), modern music playback is simply not possible. But DACs have not only been needed since the triumph of Spotify and co. In order to be able to play back the content stored on a CD, the help of these small (or sometimes large) audio marvels was also needed "back in the day".

This is because headphones and speakers work with analog signals, just like our ears. A DAC is essential for digitally stored audio content to sound good on your home hi-fi system. If you want your favorite music not only to sound good, but above all to sound GOOD, it also depends on what kind of DAC is installed. But first things first:

What is a DAC?

A digital-to-analog converter is a device that converts digital data into analog audio signals. Digital music consists of a sequence of zeros and ones, known as binary data. A DAC takes this binary data and converts it into analog signals that can be reproduced by loudspeakers or headphones. Without a DAC, digital music would just be a collection of zeros and ones that make sense in the digital domain, but not as audible music. Or how do you like the ode to joy in an (admittedly not real) binary sequence: "One One - Zero One - Zero One Zero One - Zero One Zero One Zero One - One One One"?

Function of a digital-to-analog converter

The DAC converts the binary data into a continuous analog waveform that can be reproduced by speakers or headphones. Finally, a high-quality DAC ensures that the conversion is precise and accurate in order to reproduce the original recording in the best possible way.
Details and nuances of the music are thus better reproduced, resulting in better overall sound quality.
In addition, a good DAC minimizes noise and distortion that can occur during the conversion from digital to analogue signals. This enables clear and clean sound reproduction.

Many formats - one solution

A DAC supports various audio formats, so you don't have to worry about the content to be played back. It can play MP3s as well as various high-resolution formats. Music playback in the best possible quality, regardless of the format and without additional device after additional device - a DAC makes it possible.

A sonoro MAESTRO Quantum  HiFi Internet receiver that has a digital-to-analog converter (DAC).

DACs in sonoro products

Naturally, all sonoro products are equipped with modern and versatile DACs. Whether Internet radio, Bluetooth connection, direct access to Spotify and co. at the touch of a button or CD playback. Only a DAC makes the uncomplicated, source-independent and high-quality playback of your favorite tracks possible.

For example, the MAESTRO Quantumour latest generation Hi-Res Audio Internet receiver is equipped with a SABRE DAC from ESS Technology. Interference-free and meeting the demands of every audiophile, the MAESTRO Quantum reproduces a wide variety of formats brilliantly and in impressive sound quality.

Conclusion - Digital-to-analog converter: Small but powerful

External digital-to-analog converters can cost from €100 to €10,000 upwards. And if you have a system at home that is tuned down to the last millimeter of cable, you will also want to make a corresponding investment here. However, if you are looking for an uncomplicated way to listen to your favorite music in brilliant quality, regardless of the playback source, the All-In-One systems and hi-fi components from sonoro not only bring easy-to-use music enjoyment into your home, but also timeless design that can be seen and heard in any living room.