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budget R2R DAC

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Hello,

 

I'm about to upgrade my audio system which is now laptop + Devilsound DAC + AudioEngine A2 speakers.

 

Firstly, I'm going to buy M2Tech Hi-Face converter and then I'll need a new DAC.

 

After hearing about The Altmann Attraction DAC and reading some articles on mother-of-tone website I'm pretty sure to go for some multibit DAC based on PCM1704 chip.

 

Unfortunately, I cannot afford the Attraction DAC so would like to ask for some recommendations of any other good R2R DACs for no more than $600 - new or used.

 

Thank you in advance,

virushaus

post #2 of 23

A used Parasound 1100 or a used A-gd DAC19DF / DSP1 would come in under 600. The Parasound can be had for 300-400USD (shipped) while the DAC19 might be around 400-500 depending on digital filter and availability. Check out the FS forum and Audiogon.

 

There are very few pcm1704K (double white dot is K grade) based DACs (new) that are under 600USD unfortunately. There is a 2 chip DIY version that I ran across on eBay a while back but most of the DIY DAC kits use sigma delta based (TI,BB,Cirrus Logic,Wolfson,ESS, Analog Devices )chips or the Phillips TDA1543 or TDA1541 chips for the most part, the latter of that pairing is quite good but scarce and very expensive (for the single and double crown spec SA1 and SA2 respectively).

 

I'll see what I dig up for you and post links in this thread as I find them...Wow a lot WTB A-gd DAC19 requests with no FS threads. Maybe the Parasound will be easier to find...Struck out finding a used Parasound as well....the DAC19DSP1 new at 640USD is your best bet for a pcm1704K based DAC within sight opf your budget. The DF version is 480USD. I would recommended the DSP1 version though if you have a mediocre transport.

 

Peete.


Edited by Pricklely Peete - 7/31/10 at 12:27am
post #3 of 23

The new Hifiman HM-602 portable player has a TDA1543 chip and also functions as a USB DAC. Reviews aren't out yet though. 

post #4 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by virushaus View Post

Hello,

 

I'm about to upgrade my audio system which is now laptop + Devilsound DAC + AudioEngine A2 speakers.

 

Firstly, I'm going to buy M2Tech Hi-Face converter and then I'll need a new DAC.

 

After hearing about The Altmann Attraction DAC and reading some articles on mother-of-tone website I'm pretty sure to go for some multibit DAC based on PCM1704 chip.

 

Unfortunately, I cannot afford the Attraction DAC so would like to ask for some recommendations of any other good R2R DACs for no more than $600 - new or used.

 

Thank you in advance,

virushaus


I suggest you broaden your choices. A dac's sound is not dependent on the chip it uses. The power supply and analog stages must be taken into consideration as well as the chip. Two different dacs that use the same chip can sound worlds apart. It all depends on the overall design. There are many fine sounding dacs within your price range that can be found on the used market.

post #5 of 23

Audio-GD DAC19 (DSP or DF) : A Pair of PCM1704UK chip + Discrete Analog Stage = Really Good Choice.

post #6 of 23

Might be worth thinking about getting a used Audio-gd DAC19 DSP and let the DSP sort out the USB jitter and sosave your money on the HiFace to give you excellent value for money on your budget?

post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 

Quote:
Originally Posted by computerparts View Post




I suggest you broaden your choices. A dac's sound is not dependent on the chip it uses. The power supply and analog stages must be taken into consideration as well as the chip. Two different dacs that use the same chip can sound worlds apart. It all depends on the overall design. There are many fine sounding dacs within your price range that can be found on the used market.


I picked that PCM1704 chip only because it's the only mulitbit dac I know of - after reading the "conversion techniques" article on mother-of-tone website.

 

But if there are some other good R2R DACs based on different chips I'd be glad to add them to my shopping list too. So if you could recommend me some I'd be very thankful.

 

 

And regarding Audio-gd DAC19 - I read some reviews on it and it seems to be a good choice as it comes for a new DAC. But since I'm open to have a used one I just thought that I could find even a better one on second hand market.

 

But as I can see there's only one so far mentioned here - Parasound 1100 - thx Peete for the info. I'll have to make some research on it.

 

 

And as it comes to Hifiman HM-602 - it's hard to say anything about it since it's a fresh product - hasn't been reviewed yet.

 

 

EDIT:

@Nada

 

What is that DSP exactly? And is it really that good that can replace the Hiface converter?


Edited by virushaus - 7/31/10 at 3:03pm
post #8 of 23

 

Originally Posted by virushaus View Post


I picked that PCM1704 chip [..] after reading the "conversion techniques" article on mother-of-tone website.


I won't get into the debate of obsolete DAC's, but that very link is utter bs...the guy throws sine waves pictures w/o any information on how these were generated whatsoever. For what we know, he drew them in mspaint.

 

He also doesn't provide any information/figure about the chips he's comparing..a wild guess would be that PCM1794/AK4399 will spec better than TDA1543. This link is as misleading as you can get as the noise performance of the newest delta-sigma DAC's is said to match(and possibly exceed) what you'll get off R2R. Technology does improve, and that mother-of-bs link would require far more details to be taken seriously IMHO.

 

do you think these ppl have no idea of what they're doing? http://www.nekoaudio.com/

 

the K.I.S.S. principle applies: http://assets.head-fi.org/0/08/08ffecd6_DSC01272.JPG

 

the AP measurements at the bottom of the page look fantastic....noise? where? http://www.nekoaudio.com/measurements/d100-thdn_freq_0dbfs.gif

 

I've seen measurements of some semi-DIY discrete PCM1704 DAC's, they were no better than a 10yo SoundBlaster, huh.


Edited by leeperry - 7/31/10 at 6:19pm
post #9 of 23

There is nothing called as budget R-2R, would be more like getting a BMW or Mercedes, can't get it any cheaper.

 

 

 

post #10 of 23

No PCM63 luvin in these parts?

Sounded pretty good for the 2 weeks I used it with the HiFace.

post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by leeperry View Post

 


I won't get into the debate of obsolete DAC's, but that very link is utter bs...the guy throws sine waves pictures w/o any information on how these were generated whatsoever. For what we know, he drew them in mspaint.

 

He also doesn't provide any information/figure about the chips he's comparing..a wild guess would be that PCM1794/AK4399 will spec better than TDA1543. This link is as misleading as you can get as the noise performance of the newest delta-sigma DAC's is said to match(and possibly exceed) what you'll get off R2R. Technology does improve, and that mother-of-bs link would require far more details to be taken seriously IMHO.

 

do you think these ppl have no idea of what they're doing? http://www.nekoaudio.com/

 

the K.I.S.S. principle applies: http://assets.head-fi.org/0/08/08ffecd6_DSC01272.JPG

 

the AP measurements at the bottom of the page look fantastic....noise? where? http://www.nekoaudio.com/measurements/d100-thdn_freq_0dbfs.gif

 


Were R2r DAC's outmoded because they were surpassed in quality or other technology achieved adequacy at a lower price? 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by leeperry View Post

I've seen measurements of some semi-DIY discrete PCM1704 DAC's, they were no better than a 10yo SoundBlaster, huh.


How do you make a discrete chip DAC? I for one would like to see every single transistor. u kan due that weth r2r

 

Despite as many measurements as you would like to hide behind, you can not predict with any accuracy what a given individual will like. Let him enjoy his DAC. 

 

Im sorry that I dont have anything specific to contribute to the DAC search beyond encouragement to find what you are looking for.  Happy hunting.

post #12 of 23
Thread Starter 

@leeperry

 

 

Thanks for making me a bit cautious about that mother-of-tone website. I've just found an interesting reading on r2r and delta-sigma dacs:

 

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/Multi-Bit-DACs-vs-Delta-Sigma-DACs

 

It looks like both have their pros and cons - nothing is perfect in this world;(

 

 

@digger945

Could you give me more details on your PCM63 dac please ?

 

post #13 of 23

 

Originally Posted by nikongod View Post

Were R2r DAC's outmoded because they were surpassed in quality or other technology achieved adequacy at a lower price?  [..]

you can not predict with any accuracy what a given individual will like. Let him enjoy his DAC. 


I fully agree, I'm just saying that many ppl seem to take that mother-of-tone link as if it were the word of God...when nothing's on that page gives figures or model numbers, it's based on NO technical proof whatsoever...and the bottom link is a url to a webshop, heh.

 

AKM say that even an AK4396 reaches the R2R noise level performance and that Neko DAC based on PCM1794 I just mentioned has some pretty amazing THD+N figures...someone tell me where teh evil noise is please. All those cliches are history and based on nothing but snobbish audiophoolism until someones does a proper measurements shootout against the newest delta-sigma chips...I'ts a matter of "commercial bs" Vs "hearsay" at this point.

 

These ppl used AK4399 and it costs $1.5K, The AK4396 was already called the "miracle DAC" and AK4399 is 2 generations older w/ even more refined filtering: http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/416693/cary-audio-xciter-dac

 

and the Neko DAC I just mentioned includes a WM8804 reclocker on its S/PDIF input, this chip has a datasheet and zillions of measurements available...unlike many in-house reclockers from other companies that don't have any. Surely everyone talks a lot about R2R's amazing noise perfs and reclockers these days, but more often than not ppl have no figures to back up their assertions and expect good faith from their customers [:prosterne2]

 

But I've got no problem believing that an analog-colored DAC will sound better than another one w/ uber-low distortion.


Edited by leeperry - 7/31/10 at 8:33pm
post #14 of 23

Parasound D/AC-1100 is a PCM63 based dac.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by virushaus View Post

@leeperry

 

 

Thanks for making me a bit cautious about that mother-of-tone website. I've just found an interesting reading on r2r and delta-sigma dacs:

 

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/Multi-Bit-DACs-vs-Delta-Sigma-DACs

 

It looks like both have their pros and cons - nothing is perfect in this world;(

 

 

@digger945

Could you give me more details on your PCM63 dac please ?

 

post #15 of 23

The Lavry DA-924 is your totally discrete DAC, it sells for 8000$, is used in the world's top studio.

Basically it's state of the art as far as multibit DAC are concerned.

 

Just for fun it throws in

Oven for critical components for temperature independent operation
Automatic calibration provides immunity to component aging

to counter the the usual problems with the resistor mismatch.

 

Well, it's a little over the OP's budget ;)
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nikongod View Post




Were R2r DAC's outmoded because they were surpassed in quality or other technology achieved adequacy at a lower price? 

 


How do you make a discrete chip DAC? I for one would like to see every single transistor. u kan due that weth r2r

 

Despite as many measurements as you would like to hide behind, you can not predict with any accuracy what a given individual will like. Let him enjoy his DAC. 

 

Im sorry that I dont have anything specific to contribute to the DAC search beyond encouragement to find what you are looking for.  Happy hunting.

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