How Does the Output Voltage of DAC Affect the System's Sound Quality? Does it Matter if One is Using a Quality Preamp?


Well-Known Member
May 31, 2010
How does the output voltage of a DAC affect system sound quality?

What is the ideal voltage if one is / is not using a preamp? Does it even matter if one is using a great preamp? Or is it a concern only for guys who want to drive the amp directly from a DAC?

How does, say, a voltage of 1.3 vs. 1.6 vs. 2.0 vs 3.2 affect the sound ? ( And what are the proper units V? V RMS?)

Thanks in advance


Well-Known Member
Sep 4, 2020
It’s complex and there are some pros here that should answer but may be afraid to.
SE and bal have a min n max in voltage
but it’s not just voltage that effects the sound from source to preamp.
The source needs to much lower in imp then the preamp
next gain input voltage should be adjustable at the preamp. This helps in varying voltage output at source.
The plan is to get the best dynamics without going into clipping the input of the preamp.
some sources allow for adjusting there output as well.
lastly if the dAC has a volume control this is used to tune the sound with the preamp again sws inside

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