The DAC is the 21st Century turntable

I was extolling the virtues of my new D70 DAC to someone, and they asked (after I’d already gone on at some length), “What’s a dak?”

So I groped for an explanation, and the one I found was that it’s the new turntable. They take static representations of music and turn it into analog voltage; they almost all are built from a few different chip lines, which are the analogue of the cartridge; there are many designs but only a few basic architectures corresponding to belt-drive, direct-drive, etc. on turntables; you can spend as much as you like on it but a couple of hundred bucks will get you a decent one.

He understood immediately.


I think of the server as the 21st Century turntable. The DAC is the phono preamp.


Maybe the server is the jukebox.


One difference is that the electromechanical technology of the turntable is relatively static — no dramatic improvements in decades — whereas the performance/price ratio for DACs continues to grow at a breathtaking rate.

Like your computer, your D70 DAC (a model that’s just about a year old) is already out-of-date. :wink:


I have a feeling we are are at the stage where DAC’s can only be improved in functionality, connectivity and/or looks. When looking at the measurements of my Soncoz SGD1 over at ASR forum I don’t think I will ever need something else for a stereo setup.

My 2009 iMac (i5 first gen) runs Roon just fine and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. The only problem is the power consumption… it’s an electronic heater :joy:

Streamers could be another story…

You’d lose 99.765 percent at stage. Turntable - yes. Phono what?

Really? It’s only got six filters. Is there a new one it should have, or what? No MQA? I’ve got another DAC for that, if I feel like it.

That was said only partly in jest.

Five years ago, the level of performance found in your D70 could only be found in DACs costing 10s or hundreds of times as much. Today, you could find DACs with comparable or better performance at half the price.

@jmvdv is right, though. The performance improvements are now at the completely inaudible level. So really you’re just looking at features and price.

I can’t think of any features lacking on your D70.


Well, it doesn’t have a 12v trigger output.