Welcome to the DAC world

Technical torment Jerkin-Circle vs. Philosophical freedom and final enjoyment…

Ignorance is a blessing… stay ignorant, know nothing about anything and live happy!

Growing up being the youngest of much older brothers, my introduction into audio was by using what my older brother owned, and how they risked by making it available to me to use.

It all started with me coming into age, wanting to have my own stuff but not being able to afford anything…

This forum has a bug when typing so I might not be able to type a whole lot, by cursor is always behind very weird…

Well, I posted, came back to edit the post and now the typing is back to normal…

Since I can remember I have always been limited by my budget as a teen, and now as an old man, some things never change. Now days there are so many options that it will take a millionaire to be able to try everything that is available.

Anyways, I saved all my pennies and got me a set of no brand home speakers with 15 inch woofers matted to a Sonny AV receiver and a Sony CD player from a local store named Leachmare, the local version of BestBuy of back in the days. There was no Bestbuy.

Soon I wanted to upgrade the receiver I had because a new version came available of the same product that had a better LCD display with a graphic equalizer instead of the Bass/Trebel tone control on the old receiver. My first instance of letting of a piece of audio that actually made me happy.

Disappointment #1, that new receiver never sounded like the old one which I had to sell in order to get the new one. In the end I ended up giving the new receiver away and settled for an old vintage Techniques receiver.

Moving on with music… I got so into buying CDs of my favorite artist from the new to me Columbia House magazine, I will place the order and the CDs would come in the mail, what an amazing experience, much like the Spotify of today.

Here comes the CD dilemma, not all CDs sounded great, some of the recordings were harsh and I wanted to enhance the audio, there comes the need for an equalizer, also, I wanted to be able to create a compilation mix of all my favorite songs from each CD, thus the need for a Cassette mix, from the CD and equalized.

My brother showed up one day with a mixer board that he paid $200 new, it was awesome, we could connect two CD players and create our mix tapes with no gaps between the songs, also it had a 5 band equalizer for each left and right channel. He got it from the local guitar acoustic store. The icing on the cake was the sound signature of the device itself, it added this roundness to the music on the mix tape, it almost sounded like if I was a disco club, I loved it.

But my brother moved out of the house and took his mixer with him, so I had to save up to buy my own mixing board. When I visited the same store to go get the same mixer, it had been discontinued and they only had the new model available for an extra $50. It had a 7 band equalizer instead of the 5, and a few more features and buttons.

Disappointment #2. That new mixer never sounded like the one my brother had. This one came with a sound signature that was lean, not as round, didn’t have that disco club effect, what a disaster. Ended up selling for cheap, I hated it.

Then it came time to go to college, so I left home and never came back to live with my parents again and some how all that equipment disappeared since I became a nomad and really didn’t have a place to call home, setup, store and enjoy music at home.

To be continued…

Since I was a nomad, I decided to pursuit my music experiments on the Ford Ranger I had at the time. I started with a Sony head unit that was a disaster, painful to listen to, harsh and tinfoil high frequencies and the little base that it had was hard hitting and dry. Out of desperation I decided to try my very first Pioneer head unit and it was instant satisfaction, that Pioneer fake extra base was round soft, the high frequency were delicate and refined.

Then, it came time to upgrade my flip phone to the only smart phone I could afford, the Android LG Optimus which didn’t sound very good when connected to the truck stereo system.

Then came in the iPhone 4, I saved up and got me a brand new iPhone 4 with Sprint, this phone was audio was a night and day, it sounded so sweet and clear with the truck audio system. But, the motor that does the vibration on the phone failed, I took the phone back to Sprint and they gave me a new replacement iPhone 4, but the music never sounded the same. Back to the harsh high and the flat dry base. The never ending situation with how different devices can sound, even the same model, no two devices ever sound the same.

Fast Forward to 2017…

Got me an iPhone 6S Plus, the last iPhone with the head Jack. Another sweet sounding iPhone, it played so well on my Harley Road Glide audio system, I was in cloud 9 once again. Except the phone suffered from a yellow screen and a green cast on photos, blond hair would have these green cast. I should have kept that phone just as an audio player.

The new iPhone 7 Plus that I still own sound like garbage.


Got my first iPad, the 2019 model and back on cloud 9 again, that sweet sound, big round base, delicate highs… But once again I decided to upgrade to the new 2020 iPad because of the new chip and how much powerful it was, but the new iPad sounds like garbage once again.

Tired of being dependent on the sound coloration of each individual devices, the idea came to me that if I get an external DAC that I like, I won’t have to worry about which device I am currently using to stream music.

So my search started for a good portable DAC that I could use at home, with headphones and with in the car.

What a Journey, am exhausted, I didn’t know so many devices now exist, how expensive it can get, all the available options, but I really haven’t found what I am looking for.

I have settled for now on an EARSound ES100 portable DAC, which comes with an APP that provides an equalizer and so many other options and settings, but still am not getting that sweet round sound that I continue to look for.

I have found that although the phone is supposedly sending uncolored 1 and 0 to the DAC, it still puts its signature on the sound.

This morning I just gave up. Frustration got the best of me, maybe my hearing has changed and now nothing sounds good anymore.

Maybe in the future I would buy another device that will arrive sounding good and I will keep that for as long as it works.


Welcome to HFGF :smiley: you’ve chosen well lol…