While the speakers take a few days more to arrive, the AudioEngine D1 digital to analog converter that I mentioned in my previous post has arrived today. Setup couldn’t have been easier: plug it into a free USB port, change the output device in the system’s sound settings, done.

It’s really a quite small device, but looks and feels very nice. I’ve plugged my trusty old earbuds in and, listening to some music that I know well, I felt like a “fog” had been lifted from the sound. Low frequencies and stereo separation are particularly impressive — or maybe that’s just my heightened sensitivity combined with the subconscious desire for this thing to sound better? ðŸĪŠ

The one thing I did notice is that “it doesn’t go as loud” as I’d like to, and begins to clip at higher volumes, which I attributed to my old earbuds, since the speakers are still on the road. Not a problem at this point, because I don’t want to fry my eardrums with much too loud music via headphones, anyway.

After my initial excitement about the sound quality, I went on to compare the sound from the iMac’s 3.5mm headphone output jack and the output of the AudioEngine D1 DAC… and wasn’t really able to determine any difference in the sound quality. 😂 The iMac’s analog output sounded just as good. So maybe it’s a) wishful thinking indeed or b) my old audio system was actually not that good and its headphone out wasn’t good anyway (which seems increasingly likely!).

Either way, a more thorough evaluation will have to wait until the speakers are here.

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