Sources – The Foundation of Sound
It’s funny because this is something that can be so easily overlooked by a lot of people. It was only the other day i was watching soemthing where someone said that when breaking down what contributes to sound, they gave a percentage to headphones/speakers, amplifiers and even cables but said that source/DAC/DAP was not worth bringing into account. I just cant get that, a good source is vital in whatever system your using, we like to think of it as the backbone of your rig, if its weak, the sound just falls apart. So yes, we really do care about ever compoment in a system and lets remember, your only as good as your weakest link.
A source is anything at the start of a chain, a computer, a phone, a CD player, a DAP, whatever comes first and even though something normally becomes before a DAC, we will also include them. As of now we havent had a CD player put through are tests but when we do, you know we will make a section for it. For now we just have DACs, (Digitial to Analogue Converter) and DAPs (Digital Audio Player). DACs have always been a thing, they are in CD players, phones even DAPs and they your stored music from 0s and 1s into something we can enjoy. Some we review are pure DACs and the signal will need to be amplifier seperatley, some will have pre-amp abilities and some even their own headphone output. DACs do two main types of decoding, PCM and PWM. Now pretty much all DACs do PCM, that is the standard type of stored music be it a pathetic 320kbps MP3 file, a losslss FLAC file ripped from a CD or high resolution 24/192 WAVE file. PWM is rather new in terms of being implemented and used in the mainstream. It is the decoding method of DSD, or a SACD rip and operated with a much higher sampling rate too PCM but is at 1 bit. We love DSD and really do hope we can get more and more music in that format.
DAPs have also been around since i can remember, even if that is only about 2000 when the first iPod was released but recently it is a whole new board game, something to be taken much more seriously. Companies now realise how many of us portable audio nuts there are and now make players dedicated to being epic, with audiophile DACs, powerful amps, lots of memory and no time wasting playing movies, these do music and music only. I love the market and know we will be reviewing a lot of these types of things in the coming years, lets just hope we can keep up with the amount of new releases.
So click on DACs if you want something in your home, your Hifi or a desktop set up and if you want the best sound on the go, then hit the DAPs section up!
– Sonny Trigg