March 26, 2010

Musical Fidelity V-DAC Initial Impressions

I spend too much time sitting in front of my computer. Blogging takes up some of my time, but I also do quite a bit of work from home. I figure that since I spend so much time here, I might as well make it as pleasant as I can. I remain very happy with the iMac I bought back in 2008, however it did not take me long to realize that I needed to improve the audio quality of a system I used so much for listening to music. I replaced the poor quality external speakers I had been using with some powered speakers from Audioengine awhile ago, and I continue to be impressed on a daily basis with what a difference they have made. Now I took another step toward audio bliss with the addition of an external DAC, the Musical Fidelity V-DAC.

Basically, a digital-to-analog converter (DAC) converts the digital signal inside your computer to the analog audio signal you hear over your speakers. There is already one inside your computer, but is not nearly as effective as an external DAC.

The Musical Fidelity V-DAC I bought is an external DAC that sits between the computer and the external speakers, taking the DAC tasks out of the computer and running them through higher quality circuitry. It connects to my computer via USB or toslink and outputs to the amplifier or powered speakers via RCA.

I received it yesterday and set it up this morning. In fact, that is why I am late with this post. My untrained ears can easily detect a difference, but it is difficult to describe. The music sounds more realistic somehow, almost as if the sound stage is expanded. Bass frequencies appear to have taken somewhat of a hit while I feel like I can hear a cleaner midrange. I have been told that most DACs require a lengthy burn-in period during which their characteristics are likely to change. Time will tell, but I like what I hear so far.

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