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I'm a little confused with which models I will need if I want to play bookshelf speakers from my PC and also listen to my PC with headphones. Do I need all three? I know at the very least that my speakers will need to be connected to the PA3 Amp. I wish Massdrop would have shown the back of the devices as well.
Thanks for the help!
You need to connect the PA3 to a source, a DAC helps with connecting to a PC source, but other sources may not need the D30. Essentially, if you can connect from a DVD player to the PA3 with cables, you don't need the D30. Most PCs don't have that direct connection with RCA cables, so most times there will be a DAC to convert from USB from the PC to the DAC, then the DAC converts the digital from the USB into analog for the RCA cables for the amp to take and increase the power/sound volume.
The D30 moves digital audio to analogue audio. Your PC can give the D30 clean digital audio through USB connection.
The A30 amplifies anologue audio for a set of headphones. The PA3 amplifies analogue audio for a set of speakers.
They are each boxes specialised to be great at one task. If you choose to go with such a setup, you'd call it a "modular" setup since you can upgrade the box for a particular task one at a time, rather than having one box that does everything.