D/A converter

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D/A converter

D/A converter

(Digital/Analog converter) A device that converts digital code into analog signals mostly for audio. D/A converters (DACs) convert digital audio samples into the analog waveforms sent to audio amplifiers and speakers. A D/A converter (DAC), which may be a single chip or a circuit within a chip, is found on every device that sends analog speech or music to an amplifier, speaker or headphones, including computers, smartphones, tablets and A/V receivers. See DSP, codec, PCM and ladder DAC.

Also for Video
Earlier TVs accepted only analog video, and converter boxes use DACs to convert digital TV broadcasts to analog (see TV converter box). See DTV.

Stand-Alone Audio DACs
Also called "digital audio converters" or "outboard DACs," stand-alone DACs are used by audiophiles to convert digital audio from a CD/DVD player, cable box, local computer or the Internet to analog signals for amplification. Providing higher quality sound and higher digital resolutions than the DACs built into most equipment, stand-alone DACs range in price from USD $79 to several thousand (see USB DAC and high-resolution audio). Contrast with A/D converter.


A USB DAC
People like to organize their music on the computer and play it on their stereo system. The USB DAC provides a high-quality connection from the computer to the stereo (for details, see USB DAC). (Image courtesy of Firestone Audio, www.firestone-audio.com)







Another Kind of D/A Converter
Web payment services such as Square and PayPal use credit card readers that plug into the headphones jack (red arrow) in the mobile device, which accepts microphone input. When the card is slid through the reader, it converts the digital data in the magnetic stripe to analog tones similar to an analog modem for dial-up telephone lines.
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