Digital media is a growing source of entertainment, but can offer compromises in several areas, including sound. However, the US$299 Merdian Explorer USB DAC (http://tinyurl.com/kdjbljy) helps overcome this problem.
The size of a USB stick, it replaces your computer’s sound card with a USB-powered DAC (Digital to Analogue Converter) featuring Meridian’s high quality audio circuitry and design derived from the company’s award-winning Reference Series components, along with a headphone amplifier with on-board analogue volume control.
Audiophile music-grade electrolytic capacitors decouple the analogue audio stages, significantly improving the quality. In fact, a significant proportion of the 6-layer circuit board is given over to analogue, not digital, circuitry.
As well as headphones, Explorer includes analogue and S/PDIF digital optical outputs. Connect Explorer to your home audio system and enjoy the best replay quality from your Mac (any Apple computer running Mac OS X 10.6.4 or higher). It provides a fixed-level output so you can use your system’s volume control. The Explorer also boosts the audio from a set of active computer speakers.