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Is a DAC necessary for gaming computer?



Hey all, so I recently got a LOT of high quality audio files (lossless format, M4A), of classical music. I'd like to enjoy them as much as possible, so the question has come up.
Do I need a DAC (Digital analogue converter) to get proper sound quality? I have nice headphones, and may get nicer ones, so the only limiting quality at this point is my computer's DAC. Is one that I buy likely to improve sound quality much? Currently I'm using a mid range gaming computer with nothing fancy (that I know of) in terms of audio.


A high resolution DAC, especially an amp combo really does help with detail and audio resolution, though whether you'd actually enjoy the playback more is another story, but it will most likely change the sound of the headphones, you might no longer like the way your headphones sound through the device. I would personally see if you can listen and test multiple DACs and headphone amp combos to see which one works the best with your pair of headphones, or several headphones, assuming you have more than one.


trans girl, arctic fox, dingus. she/her
You do not need a good DAC on a gaming computer per say unless you plan on using that computer for critical listening as well. I would recommend, because DAC's get expensive quickly, invest in a good set of headphones first, because they get pricy less quickly compared to a DAC or amp. Then, once you've settled on headphones you like (don't be afraid to have a ton of headphones), test out DAC and amp combos until you find what you like. For headphone recommendations, i have a few. If you're like me, and you're a basshead, AudioTechnica M-50X's/M-40X's or Pioneer SE-MS5T's (my daily usage headphones). If you listen to all types, Samson SR850's are a cheap nice pair of Openbacks. If you like sparkly stuff, cheaper pair of Grado's (e60's)
For optimal analog sound you don't really need a DAC for gaming. What you probably benefit from is a pair of surround sound headphones.
The first time I saw a pair of true surround sound headphones was maybe in 1999 or 2000.

HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset​

has 7.1 surround sound and it's quite the "Sound" investment. Lol
Any way, they range between $100 to about $1000 depending on where you look. (Be careful of price gougers)


Soundcards on computers are pretty good now, gone are the days of hearing beeping sounds on headphones when you move the mouse lol. Whether you want a DAC or not, is more like if you're producing music so you can hear every nuance of the sound and not just a "pretty" version of it. Like every ugly detail where an album you liked isnt actually mastered that well. So it might not be best for just listening for pleasure