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Can anybody explain exactly what an amp does?
Should I use a dac with this?
Yes, this amp needs a dac as an input. This amp uses vacuum tubes to amplify the signal instead of 'solid state' amplification that you'll find in your cell phone, computer, powered speaker, etc. Tubes introduce distortion but create an audibly 'warm' sound that some people enjoy. Tubes can also 'widen' the sound.