GENERIC DIGITAL FAQ
What is a Digital-to-Analogue Converter (or DAC)?
A Digital-to-Analogue Converter (or DAC for short) decodes digital audio data (stored on computers, CDs and other discs, or in the form of digital broadcasts or streaming services) into analogue electrical signals suitable for amplifiers, receivers, active speakers or headphones. Speaker or headphones convert these electrical signals into sound waves we can. The performance of a DAC has a major effect on the quality of the sound we hear.
What is a USB DAC?
A USB DAC is an audio device connected to the USB port of a computer to covert digital audio on - or streamed by - that computer to an analogue audio signal. Modern computers do have digital to analogue conversion built-in, to allow sound to be played through internal or external speakers, but a USB DAC generally provides better sound quality than the computer's integrated audio system.
What is a 'sample rate'? What do the different sample rates mean?
Sample rate refers to the sampling frequency of digital audio - in other words the number of times the audio signal was sampled during the conversion to digital data. 44.1kHz (CD quality) refers to audio sampled 44100 times per second, while 96kHz refers to audio sampled 96000 times per second.
So what does the '-bit' number mean?
As the sample rate number refers to the number of times per second the audio signal was sampled, so the bit number indicates the number of data-points captured in each of those samples. The higher the number (given as '16-bit', '24-bit', etc), the greater the resolution of each of the data-captures, and thus the more precise the 'audio image' grabbed in each sample.
I have purchased high-resolution music files at 24-bit/ 176.4kHz or 24-bit/ 192kHz - can I play these files using my AR-UA1?
Yes: while the Windows or MAC OSX operating systems may not support the high resolution music files natively, the Jriver Media Center software supplied free with the AR-UA1 will enable them to be played.
GENERIC HI RES FAQ
What is Hi Res Music?
"Hi-Res music" refers to music beyond 16-bit 44.1kHz CD resolution.
The similarly named "Hi-Res AUDIO" standard refers to a standard defined by Japan Audio Society (JAS) and promoted by Consumer Electronic Association (CEA).
Some audio products convert "Hi-Res music" to CD quality for compatibility, thus losing the sonic advantage of the higher resolution, so certain performance criteria were defined in the "Hi-Res AUDIO" standard to ensure the resolution is genuinely above CD level, and is maintained through the replay chain.
What is MQS?
MQS refers to Master Quality Sound. It is a proprietary definition similar to the "Hi-Res AUDIO" standard.