Digital input amp


I see a few coming on market.  Previous threads were quite old.

They take a USB or other input. No DAC on the front end. Just the DSP engine to do volume, eq, etc, then whatever conversion to PCM to feed the class D output. So the only "DAC" is the output stage.   This makes sense as it further reduces the functions in the chain.  I have not seen objective testing or any reliable subjective testing. The ones I have seen are Infineon processer based. No idea if the output filtering or feedback implementation is up to the Purify quality.   I guess the next innovation is the GaNFET output.  One has a DAC to feed a sub out. Easy as any old $5 DAC will wo there. 

I was browsing and came across the Sajab A30a. ( quite inexpensive)  Peachtree has the old Gan-1 but coax PCM only.  That would be fine if it managed buffering and clocks internally. Unfortunately my all-in-one only has USB out. 

I suspect there is a lot to be learned here but it makes sense to me for the future. 

tvrgeek

OP:

Exactly how are you defining a DAC? From your description, the amp IS A DAC.

Simply put, a DAC stands for digital to analog converter. You don’t listen to PWM. You listen to, must listen to, music as an analog event.

So that PWM signal must go somewhere, and the moment it becomes an analog signal you have a DAC.

I should also point out that Class D is an analog, but switched system. A purely PWM driven amplifier has complications of it’s own, especially how the lack of feedback is a challenge.

To borrow a term from marketters, this is a powerDAC.

Want to add a little:

 

Class D is a switched output amp but the switching is completely controlled in the analog domain.

Modern amps like Technics may be called a digital amplifier in the sense that it is a digital process controlling the switching of the output duty cycle, but it IS a DAC. Further, these digital amplifiers (as I define here) have challenges in properly implementing a feedback circuit.  Technics famously gets around their issues with a calibration cycle.

Love it when a guy comes on here (@tvrgeek) and corrects a person with more experience in designing and building amplifiers than anyone here. Node has a DAC...

What is the GaN 1?

It is a 200 watt-per-channel power amplifier designed to be the sole interface between your variable output digital audio device, like a Bluesound NODE, and your speakers. The GaN 1 is a simple, pure and cost-effective audio solution. Connect the GaN 1 to a streamer and a pair of speakers. That's it...no DAC, no preamp and no input switching. The signal path from the music to your speakers is remarkably short and free from artifacts. Do you want to hear the intricate details in your music that have always been there, but you couldn't quite make them out before...but NOT in an analytical or fatiguing way...simply reproduced as naturally and realistically as they were captured? Then the GaN 1 is for you!

DAC is the acronym for "digital to analog converter"

Human cannot hear an unconverted digital signal as music.  It must be converted to analog. Therefore, if you are putting a digital signal into a device and getting an analog signal out of it, it must contain a DAC.