Do You Need A DAC With An Amp? Why Should You Have Both?

The DAC is an integral part of any sound system. Some models have a built-in amplifier, while some don’t. So, do you need a DAC with an amp?

The answer is yes. These components work together to deliver high-quality sound. For a detailed explanation, let’s follow our post!

Read more: 11 Best DAC Amp Combos for Every Budget

Do You Need A DAC With An Amp?

Yes, the usage of a DAC without the amplifier is impossible. Standalone DACs should have built-in amps.  

The DAC (Digital-to-Analog Converter) is an essential component of any electrical gadget that can play music. The video will show you how DACs work.

Your smartphone, PC, or MP3 player would be unable to stream sound without this converter. 

Amplifiers, often known as amps, are devices that raise the voltage of audio input to an output device.

Simply expressed, this component is in charge of increasing the volume that the input can push to its output gadget. 

DACs and amplifiers are interdependent. Without the existence of the other, neither gadget can operate adequately. 

The DACs would just turn the digital data into an analog signal without the amplifier and then have no method of amplifying the data to a level that the playback device can detect. 

Your headphones can be an excellent example of this explanation. The converters turn the digital signal, which is a series of binary digits, into an audio wave at the first stage. 

The processed waveform then demands a volume increase; otherwise, your headphones can’t detect it. 

The converted signal moves from the converter to a headphone amplifier, intensifying it and delivering it to headphones.

Do You Need A DAC With An Amp
Your devices should have both features

When Do You Need An Amp?

Many DACs come with a built-in amplifier, but what if yours doesn’t? Do you have to install an external amp? We will split this part into two sections. 

You need the external amp

An amp’s function is to amplify sound signals and send them through your speakers. You wouldn’t be able to get any audio output without it.

This feature is essential, but only like with the DACs. Devices, like your laptops or phones, already have a built-in one. 

However, most of those gadgets’ built-in amplifiers are insufficient for some high-end headsets. It leads to too low a level and poor audio quality in certain circumstances.

For example, if you put your headsets into any audio source, such as your laptop or phone, and the audio isn’t as loud as you want it to be, even at maximum volume. You will need an amplifier in that scenario.

You don’t need the external amp

Do You Need A DAC With An Amp
You can skip external amplifiers in some cases

The amplifier may be beneficial if you have expensive and niche wired headphones. However, in some cases, you may not need this feature. 

You can skip the external amplifier if you use Bluetooth headphones since the headphones feature built-in amps that control and adjust the volume level.


Whether you use external, standalone AC and amp combo or the built-in versions in an audio interface, the two are still essential for each other to function effectively.

Hopefully, we have satisfactorily answered your question. For any further information, please feel free to ask. Thank you for stopping by!

5/5 - (2 votes)



Solomen is the founder of, and he is happiest when working with technology and able to help others. In his free time, he often listens to Baroque music, swims or runs. Feel free to contact him on social media!

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
MrHow - Tutorials Related To Windows, Mac, iOS & Android