Upgrading d/a converter


David Adamus
Hi, I was wondering if somebody could tell me if it's possible to somehow add a separate d/a converter to a headunit. I'm currently using a Pioneer Premier DEH-P400 unit, that has 2 pairs of preamp outs and a sub out. Is there anything out there like that, and is it possible to hook up? The 1 bit d/a converter isn't really doing it for me.. it's amazing how much better my home cd player sounds than the car one.

guertrude funible
hey man, i dont think anyone sells seperate d/a converters to hook up to a HU, but i know the eclipse CD8443 HU, which is around $400 has a 24 bit d/a converter. you should go with that headunit. im gettting that one, its baddass.

a: no you can't change the DAC in the head unit since by the time the signal reaches the CRA jacks, it's already converted to analog.

b: I highly doubt that the DAC is your problem, or at least the 1 bit versus 24 bit. No human could really hear the difference anyway. What you are hearing is most likely a poorly made line driver, or the rest of the system lacking at some stage.

best of luck in any event.
Don't be misled by marketing hype. There's a lot of hype and misinformation out there that pulls in the unwary every day.

Digital engineer
Unregistered guest
The Digital to analog converter (DAC) is a part of the electronics inside of the stereo. It is possible to change it, but not without changing the system clock, the digital filter etc.....
you also need scematics for both the head unit, and the new DAC (the Texas instraments Burr-brown website sells the converters and all the other junk needed. It also provides for free the scematics for the Burr-brown & TI converters). There will be a certain number of pins on the current DAC, and each of them performs a different task. If the number of pins on the new DAC and the old dont match, AND the pins arn't for the same function, then you can't easily change it. It would be cheeper to buy a new head unit with a 24 DAC if this is the case. DAC's are very cheep to buy (between $0.50, and $12.00, yes thats twelve dollars) but even MECP certified installers won't have a clue as to its installation. It requires an electrical engineering background (and or degree) to do.
If you know what a "sine" wave is, than this will make sense (if not ask someone or grab a graphing calculator and graph sin(x) ) In a 1bit DAC each line of information in that sine wave is made up of only 1 bit information. Distortion in a sine wave is anywhere that the wave flatens out (much like a 1 bit sin wave). Now imagine that sine wave made up of 24 bits of information, it's a whole lot smoother right? Yes it sure is. Here is the best way I can find to explain it. A 1 bit sine wave is a straight line, much like a pencil. A 24 bit sine wave is curved like a string. Which would you rather be hit in the ear with, pencil or string?

Gold Member
Username: Glasswolf

Post Number: 1307
Registered: 12-2003
that's quite possibly the dumbest analogy I've ever heard.
Not to mention, the least accurate.

Unregistered guest
Digital Engineers response is completely accurate AS LONG AS you don't read the last paragraph.

The problems you are hearing are not stemming from the DAC let us know what else you have in your system and we will take it from there.


New member
Username: Glasswolf

Post Number: 8
Registered: 02-2004
yeah anything is technically possible, but why bother at that point?
my response is still pretty much true. there is no realistic, reasonable way to alter tha DACs, and doing so won't give any real world benefits, so why bother?
My response was to his last paragraph, if you'll note my comment regarding his analogy about the pencil.
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