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What Is A USB DAC? (And How To Choose One)

Here’s the first screen grab. The K5 displays different colors according to source file, which I thought would be fun to animate.
Here’s the second. Notice how the color changed from Blue to Yellow, indicating anything above 48kHz.

 

Here’s the 3rd grab showing Green to indicate any DSD file that’s playing.

Beginning Graphic

Here are some screen grabs from the intro graphic of the same video.

Some notes from the project:

  • If you look closely, I also animated the little switch on the very left of the K5 Pro, next to the 3 gain stage. It goes from top to bottom. With it switched upwards, you’ll be on Optical/Coax. Middle switch is RCA Line In/Out, and switched downwards is for a USB connection to your PC. In the video, I recorded the “click” sound it makes, and incorporated that into the graphic to add some extra zest. Upon turning the large knob, the unit powers on and also makes a click sound. I animated that as well (see the video below for the complete animation!)
  • The lines animate either from the DAC to the unit in question, or from the unit in question to the DAC. This is a subtle but thorough way of helping to explain the relationship between audio components. For instance, if you’re using the K5 with studio monitors, you’re outputting the sound, whereas paired with a separate DAC the sound is being inputted.

See It In Action!!

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What Is A USB DAC? (And How To Choose One)

I recently did a video comparing the FiiO K3 to the K5 Pro, but I also did one on the topic of What is a USB DAC And How To Choose One. Of course the K5 Pro came up, which got me thinking about how much it can do and how valuable it is in a studio or home listening environment. Considering it has a pair of line inputs and outputs, a USB jack, a Coaxial Input as well as an Optical Input, a 3 gain stage with the ability to play back DSD files and PCM up to 32-bit/384kHz, the possibilities became endless.
With that in mind, I decided to do a graphic illustrating a lot of what it can do. There's probably more, but considering I ran out of room, I'd say it was a great start! :P Also pictured is the beginning graphic displaying the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, Samson C01, and a modified MAC computer (It's a pear lol).