Wow! TubeDAC Revitalizes My Stereo — Sounds Amazing

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“OMG the TubeDAC 11 is absolutely amazing!”

In a nutshell the weak link in modern audio is the DAC ( Digital to Analog Conversion ). I knew this. It makes sense that a DAC miniaturized to fit into an iPod has to have some serious compromises, but I kept asking myself, “So what … How much difference does a good DAC really make?”. I found out the answer a few weeks ago visiting my friend Iain T. That answer is “A LOT”. Even with songs ripped at 128k, but the real payoff comes with Lossless.

The difference is so big that every person comments on it. On every song — irregardless of music style. From Miles Davis to Van Halen.

Purchasing Lossless Recordings and using them in iTunes

This then begs the question. Can you buy a Lossless recording? The answer is yes some independent labels are doing that. For example this past week Merge released the new M. Ward album A Wasteland Companion in lossless form (FLAC).

Getting FLAC into iTunes Lossless format takes some work. Here is a good “HowTo” set up the xld FLAC to ALAC software.

How Do You Connect the DAC?

I connected it via USB port from my computer and the Tube output is connected to the CD inputs on my old amplifier. ( You can use the auxillary or the CD player inputs. ) Here is the full setup diagram.
Note that one needs specialized equipment to by-pass the iPod DAC. After some searching I feel that the only real solution is to commit to playing music from a computer. This did hold me back, but once I heard it. I was convinced.

Bottom Line

If you like to listen. Just buy one. It is amazing. The only negative is that I’ve now got some re-ripping to do.

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