A DAC, or digital to analogue converter, is a device that translates digitally stored information from a laptop, iPod or other such device into analogue signals, improving the quality of the sound and upping the volume in the process.
While computers can understand digital signals, we as humans cannot, nor can your speakers or headphones. This is why we need a DAC to do this for us and send the same information in analogue signals; the better the DAC, the higher quality the conversion and therefore the better sound you’ll hear from your speakers!
You may not have realised it, but you’ve used a DAC every time you have played music through your laptop, iPod or phone. These products will have their own in-built but often poor quality DAC, meaning that in order to distinctly improve the sound of your music it really is worth investing in a one of your own.
DACs do some important work – buying a separate will help you listen to your music at a quality that is much closer to how the artists originally intended, helping you hear sounds you never could before. You can, for example, connect one up to your laptop or home computer. This will noticeably improve the quality of the sound it produces, whether it be iTunes, Spotify, YouTube or any other source. Equally, add an iPod dock and the same will apply for any of your Apple devices. A DAC really is a versatile way of improving audio and many include a headphone socket for this exact reason.