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Chameleon DAC listening and modifications - Page 56

post #826 of 1144
Ok, that seems to end the discussion
post #827 of 1144

The Penny Drops

Sorry I missed the conversation, welcome aboard Jkeny.

First off Jkeny spells out the main issue with I2S, it does need to be terminated properly for optimum results. For example my Northstar I2S cable is a 100 ohm design and even that plays into the picture. Some cables are 75, 90 even 120 ohm, and with 16 DAC chips, drive is yet another issue. Given my long tenure with Steve Nugent DAC modifications ... no past DAC's, or I suspect current I2S DAC's board's, are ever set up correctly for I2S. Transmission line termination is very tricky business.

That info aside, does not mean hooking up a Jkeny optimized Hiface I2S to the input of the DAC board would not already give superior results compared to the stock spdif/usb input on the Chameleon. I suspect it already does! However understand going beyond this step for most people is calling in an expert ... expect to pay for that level of service.

Without fail I have found the simplest circuits give the purest sound. A principle that's seems to be lost to present day audio engineer's, as the current trend of endless choices drives the market. I myself only what to hear the music, not the technology. In that light I pursue open baffle speakers, SET amps, premium parts/silver wire, and the very cleanest sources. Most things i have learned to do myself. What I found is that with knowledge and hands on experience you can engineer the engineer out of the circuit. That's the real secret to better sound! However for every DIY player there comes a point where a man has to know his limitations. For now that point is I2S termination ... but I am working on simplifying even that.

Make things as simple as possible ... but no simpler. Albert Einstein
post #828 of 1144
I have just finished most of my mods on my VALAB NOS DAC. It was my first ever mod and at times I had my problems but thanks to many generous people out there such as: marcelnl, PatOMalley, MikeW, errnst, Wood and of course Bill Allen the sound out of this DAC is better than anything I have ever heard.

When friends hear it their jaws just drop! This thing really has the ability to let the feeling of the music through.

I have been learning the black art of music servers lately and currently have a Mac Mini, M2Tech HiFace & Pure Music system set up.

I have a Version 3.0 "Luxury" DAC and my last mod is trying to figure out if I can bypass the reclocking circuitry of the DIR9001.

I am thinking about another DAC project. My VALAB NOS operates up to 48Khz so I was thinking about something that could go to 192 KHz like the Buffalo II. But if there is a way to get I2S connection to the Chameleon I may go that route....
post #829 of 1144
Thanks Bill,
Agreed that I2S implementation is probably a step too far for a lot of DIYers - can you tell more about your simplification procedures?
post #830 of 1144
I compared my Ultravox isolator with my modded Musiland and usb direct. With the Ultravox its like looking through an almost clean window compared to the very dirty window of usb direct. With the Musiland the window is the cleanest of the 3 options, but now.... The window glass is warped, and is twisting the view, the bass is rolled of and the sound is edgy and clinical.

The Ultravox on its own is not enough, there is still some jitter clouding the view. This will be caused by the reliance on the PC clock that is introducing jitter. The Musiland is out, its clock is much better then the pc but something is wrong elswhere. I am pretty sure a stock Hiface with spidf output and the ultravox combo will garner great improvments, as the higher quality clocks take over from the PC.

The ultimate, at this price level would be Jkeny's modded hiface with direct I2S input, very clean power to those clocks, simple circuit path as Bill points out.

I hope we dont lose momentum on this as its to everyones benifit to float this boat. One potential sale is already lost, as feet are dragged.

http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f7/cha...ml#post6587095

I have written to Michael to ask if its possible to input I2S from the hiface direct to the Tenor chip output on the input board. And of course the X2 has I2S output as well.

Perhaps if more of us join in on this discussion, it will show enough interest for Michael to risk the expense of producing a moddified input board. Come on guys what do you say, its not fair to leave poor Bill listening to the Chameleon, at its absolute best, all on his own is it ?
post #831 of 1144
For I2S input, the cable length will be an issue. Maybe the LVDS interface should be utilized.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wood View Post
I compared my Ultravox isolator with my modded Musiland and usb direct. With the Ultravox its like looking through an almost clean window compared to the very dirty window of usb direct. With the Musiland the window is the cleanest of the 3 options, but now.... The window glass is warped, and is twisting the view, the bass is rolled of and the sound is edgy and clinical.

The Ultravox on its own is not enough, there is still some jitter clouding the view. This will be caused by the reliance on the PC clock that is introducing jitter. The Musiland is out, its clock is much better then the pc but something is wrong elswhere. I am pretty sure a stock Hiface with spidf output and the ultravox combo will garner great improvments, as the higher quality clocks take over from the PC.

The ultimate, at this price level would be Jkeny's modded hiface with direct I2S input, very clean power to those clocks, simple circuit path as Bill points out.

I hope we dont lose momentum on this as its to everyones benifit to float this boat. One potential sale is already lost, as feet are dragged.

http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f7/cha...ml#post6587095

I have written to Michael to ask if its possible to input I2S from the hiface direct to the Tenor chip output on the input board. And of course the X2 has I2S output as well.

Perhaps if more of us join in on this discussion, it will show enough interest for Michael to risk the expense of producing a moddified input board. Come on guys what do you say, its not fair to leave poor Bill listening to the Chameleon, at its absolute best, all on his own is it ?
post #832 of 1144
skibum, nice to see you have a great dac.

I PM'd Jkeny about I2S interface, with the Valab you would have to send the whole dac to him, unless can do the mod yourself, with the Chameleon, just the daughter board. Best to PM him yourself, but the whole kit and caboodle is about the price of the hiface again.

How did you find the hiface sq skibum?
post #833 of 1144
Good news Michael has responded to my question;

"We are thinking this proposal. If we provide the I2S input, the
original USB input may be removed because of space limitation.
Could you draw a picture for me for your suggestion?"

But drawing up schematics is beyond my abilities, if anybody else wants to give it go, please do.
post #834 of 1144
Quote:
Originally Posted by teraguy View Post
For I2S input, the cable length will be an issue. Maybe the LVDS interface should be utilized.
The Hiface would be mounted inside the Chameleon box (if it has not been filled up completely with output caps ) exactly where the existing Tenor chip feeds I2S into the circuit so no longer than the existing I2S length. This may not be the purist approach that Steve took with Bill's configuration but it also does not have the downsides of that he reported - no inputs other than USB & pops if not turned off/on in a certain sequence. It also preserves all the existing functionality of the Chameleon - ASRC, SPDIF input, etc

As Wood has said, after some thought I came up with the approach that only the daughter board need to be sent to me & I would modify it, disconnecting the Tenor chip & mounting the Hiface to the board connecting I2S into it. Two cables attach to the Hiface board - a USB cable & a power cable(s) - I would highly recommend using batteries for Hiface clock & clock handling circuits but I guess the cheapest option would be to use the on-board 3.3V
post #835 of 1144
. double post...
post #836 of 1144
Can we take this one step back pls, many bog standard CD players use I2S- what about using one of those as source.....?
I have a CD 960 sitting around awaiting major surgery (it did not consent yet) and would like to merge it with my Valab DAC, I2S cable length would not be an issue it is just that I have no clue where on the VALAB board I;d find the input for I2S.

(not being a big believer in Computers as High end source I;d rather stick to a CD-player, I know - no downloads and all that....)


Skibum; good to see things worked out, could you pls share what the problem was?
post #837 of 1144
Very good point marcelnl, these dacs are worth the extra effort I believe. If we can get CDP users on this as well, there would be a very strong case for a mod package from Teradak.

For now Ive bitten the bullet and asked jkeny to mod up my Chameleon daughter board with a battery powered hiface I2s connection.
post #838 of 1144
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wood View Post
Very good point marcelnl, these dacs are worth the extra effort I believe. If we can get CDP users on this as well, there would be a very strong case for a mod package from Teradak.

For now Ive bitten the bullet and asked jkeny to mod up my Chameleon daughter board with a battery powered hiface I2s connection.
You won't be sorry Wood, the first prottype modified Hiface easily beat a $4000 Lector CDP (with a tube output stage) - this detail was omitted from the first review to avoid the blushes of the owner in whose house we conducted the review. M2Tech HiFace USB – jkeny modded | TÃ*rNaHiFi.org
post #839 of 1144
Quote:
Originally Posted by jkeny View Post
You won't be sorry Wood, the first prottype modified Hiface easily beat a $4000 Lector CDP (with a tube output stage) - this detail was omitted from the first review to avoid the blushes of the owner in whose house we conducted the review. M2Tech HiFace USB – jkeny modded | TÃ*rNaHiFi.org
"at that point Wood grinned inanely"
post #840 of 1144
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wood View Post
skibum, nice to see you have a great dac.

I PM'd Jkeny about I2S interface, with the Valab you would have to send the whole dac to him, unless can do the mod yourself, with the Chameleon, just the daughter board. Best to PM him yourself, but the whole kit and caboodle is about the price of the hiface again.

How did you find the hiface sq skibum?
I am pretty happy with the VALAB at this point. As I mentioned I am going to see if I can figure out how to bypass the SPDIF reclocking circuit on my 3.0 version. Anyone have a schematic for the 3.0 VALAB out there??

I am looking to mod another DAC and I like the idea of I2S input for that one. I have been following this thread about an I2S mod for the Chameleon and if it works it sounds tempting.... I was also hoping for my next DAC to have 192kHz/24 bit capabilities though.

I think describing sound quality is a bit of a can of worms but it helps if you know what system the person has that is describing SQ. For reference I have 2 systems one my wife and I call "big car" (we could of bought a nice car instead....) and includes a Linn Sondek LP12 and top of the line Naim CD player and electronics and speakers. My other more modest system where I am currently using my VALAB DAC/Mac/HiFace system has a Rega CD Player and lower end Naim electronics. I have yet to try the DAC in my better system and will do so in the next couple of weeks.

I first hooked up my DAC through a Squeezebox classic player which gave pretty good results to be honest. I have used my HiFace with the Mac Mini since I bought it 3 weeks ago. The SQ of the VALAB DAC/Mac/HiFace system is stunning. The level of detail is incredible. You can "feel" the room where the recording was made. You can really understand the feelings of the musicians. To me, that's what's it's all about. If your system can't make you almost cry at times what's the point? : ) I have Dueland Caps and Texas Components resistors in my DAC and the soundstage and three dimensionality is MASSIVE. The DAC/Mac/HiFace system is far superior than my Rega CD player. I am curious how it does up against my LP12 and Naim CD player in my other system.... My guess is it will do very well indeed.
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