Well, I know Ric Schultz of Electronic Visionary Systems (EVS) has never been a fan of op amps, and I have to believe he knows what he hears with them in the signal path. But I now might disagree a bit with DAC chips being less important as there has been a bit of a resurgence of R2R NOS DACs on the market that have been garnering some significant acclaim. And in that type of application, DAC chips I think become relatively more important to the final outcome. While there is obviously more than one way to skin a cat and there are certainly excellent upsampling DACs out there where maybe the DAC chip itself (as long as it’s a good one) is not as crucial in the final output in relation to other areas of implementation, I’d argue that the nature and implementation of the DAC chip has moved more to the forefront over the past few years. At the end of the day, DACs are no different from an audio system in general -- the chain is only as strong as the weakest link. This seems to be one of the few inescapable truths in high-end audio.
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