Simple DAC Question

Been a while since I logged in here, but I can’t wrap my head around a simple question, and I know someone here will know.

My computer audio set up is a laptop, connected to a dock. From the dock, I have a usb-C to 3.5mm Aux adapter. Then a 2.1 active speaker/sub system fed off of the Aux.

Where is the Dac?

Obviously the laptop must have a built in dac, but through the dock it’s putting out a signal through USB C that must be digital.

The active speakers probably have a built in dac, however since the signal is coming from a 3.5mm aux, it must already be analog (is this where I’m wrong?).

I highly doubt the $9 usb C to Aux dongle has a built in dac.

So what is happening here?

There is a DAC in the USB C dongle. DAC chips are not that expensive at the low end. It is all the companion components in the higher end DACs that influence the end result.

Cool, that makes sense I guess.

I had no idea DACs could be so small or fit in a form factor like a dongle!


NP, there are pictures on several sites of cross sections of those types of dongles showing how small the board is in there. it is a very simple setup, the DAC chip is doing both the conversion and amplification.

It is a common belief that transducers have the biggest influence on sound, then the amplifier, then the DAC. According to Mike Moffat of Schiit Audio, the analogue stage is crucial & is much bigger than the digital stage.; look inside any proper stand alone/ separates DAC & this will be clear to see.

When I said “companion components” I was referring to the other components on the circuit board within the higher end DACs (which would include the analog stage). I own a Bifrost 2/64 myself :wink:.

ok, I was thinking of the “end result” ; transducers then.

BTW have you had any problems with the 2/64? been reading a lot about windows 11 issues.

No issues thus far, but I do most of my listening using a Wiim Pro. Motherboard selection and driver versions might be the cause in some instances. I have an ASRock x570 Taichi.