Not willing to toss out your old system just yet? A digital-to-analog converter (DAC), which many of these systems use to brighten up compressed audio, can bring your digital tunes back from the dead. Here are six DAC systems to help you make the most of your existing setup.
Like the rest of the devices here, the Arcam rDAC takes a digital music signal from your computer's digital out (via a coaxial, optical, or, most commonly, a USB cable), and then converts it into a smoother-sounding analog signal, which is fed to your receiver through standard RCA cables. Testers noticed a rich, polished, bassy sound from the cast-aluminum rDAC. If you want to upgrade your sound for less than $500, buy this, or the similar Peachtree Audio DAC-it. [$480; amazon.com]