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Upsamplers, DACs, jitter, shakes and analogue withdrawals, this is it.

Need vs. Want

The output of DAC chips is small. Amplification is therefore a required function of a DAC, which must drive a line level signal. Using a vacuum tube is only one possible mechanism to achieve the amplification. One needs some amplification, but it doesn't have to come from a tube.

Some people want the noise and distortion of tubes, although this isn't the terminology that they use to describe the coloration of sound. Perhaps the noise and distortion are covering or cancelling some defect in their recordings or playback chain. One problem with many systems is that their high frequency response on axis is too flat, making many recordings excessively bright. Tubes have a higher output impedance than solid state line drivers and this combines with the capacitance of interconnect cables to provide high frequency roll-off. It is one of the inane aspects of "high end" audio that some people result to extremely expensive means to accomplish something that used to be accomplished inexpensively (e.g. with a tone control).

Tony Lauck

"Diversity is the law of nature; no two entities in this universe are uniform." - P.R. Sarkar


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