In electronics, a digital-to-analog converter (DAC or D-to-A) is a device that converts a digital (usually binary) code to an analog signal (current, voltage, or electric charge). An analog-to-digital converter (ADC) performs the reverse operation. Signals are easily stored and transmitted in digital form, but a DAC is needed for the signal to be recognized by human senses or other non-digital systems.
A common use of digital-to-analog converters is generation of audio signals from digital information in music players. Digital video signals are converted to analog in televisions and cell phones to display colors and shades. Digital-to-analog conversion can degrade a signal, so conversion details are normally chosen so that the errors are negligible.
Due to cost and the need for matched components, DACs are almost exclusively manufactured on integrated circuits (ICs). There are many DAC architectures which have different advantages and disadvantages. The suitability of a particular DAC for an application is determined by a variety of measurements including speed and resolution.