Head-Fi.org › Forums › Misc.-Category Forums › DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Discussions › What is the best DIY DAC up to $500
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

What is the best DIY DAC up to $500

post #1 of 51
Thread Starter 

I know there are such threads, but they are a bit old.

 

And I'd like to know how does it compare to the pupdac - I know it's not the same price range but i'm interested because of it's simplicity.

post #2 of 51

One I know is around 1000.

In this pricerance I think you would be better buying something fully built, as there are very nice devices available nowadays that would cost a diyer more than tagprice to make themselves.

 

my 2c.

post #3 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by big sha View Post

I know there are such threads, but they are a bit old.

 

 

The fact that a particular bit of gear is XXX years old means absolutely nothing. As much as the "newer is better" crowd would like the world to believe, newer is not always better. With the growing trend towards objectivism its rarely even different. 

post #4 of 51

well there are some issues that come up after release, broad use that sometimes influence the next generations

 

single bit delta-sigma,"bit stream", DSD DACs had to be improved on noise floor artifacts, "birdies" over several generations but still have high jitter sensitivity - requiring extensive correction circuity in the few still using single bit tech at the "high end" market target range

 

multi-bit delta sigma DACs are the more recent mode - reduce noise floor artifacts, jitter sensitivity by their fundamental operating principles - but still can have noise floor rise with signal

 

both of the above were adopted to leverage fast, cheap digital processing advances over the slower, more expensive gains in analog accuracy - accuracy required in full digital audio bit resolution binary weighted "ladder" DACs

 

that analog element accuracy still limits full bit resolution binary weighted audio DAC linearity - the delta-sigma lead there despite the other artifacts associated with them

 

 

which DAC tech's  set of compormisise is "the best" for audio reproduction isn't clear - the better implementations of these technologies can be better than conventional pyschoacoustic understandings of human audio perception limits - but that knowledge base isn't "complete", it is still evolving

 

 

the companies making audio DAC seem to have slowed the rate of introduction of new "flagship" DAC with better and better specs - many of today's "best" chips are ~5 yrs (or more) old - could be a sign that human limits have been comfortably exceeded - or just that market demand has shifted away from the "high end"


Edited by jcx - 12/22/12 at 9:04am
post #5 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcx View Post

the companies making audio DAC seem to have slowed the rate of introduction of new "flagship" DAC with better and better specs - many of today's "best" chips are ~5 yrs (or more) old - could be a sign that human limits have been comfortably exceeded - or just that market demand has shifted away from the "high end"

it's the processing limits that are approaching.

I am of the opinion that with discretes performances can be superceded as proved for instance by MSB.

 

On the other side of the fence there are truly digital dac-amps using sigma delta process and output mosfets.

post #6 of 51

I'm afraid there are few things in signal processing/conditioning electronics that can be done better in discrete today - mostly where higher power dissipation is helpful

 

you can't buy or build analog switches with the performance of those integrated in S&H, sw-C processing circuitry in modern ADC, DAC chips - anywhere the market justifes big companies with their own customized $billion semi fabs, engineering teams with deep institutional knowledge and cutting edge experience, 1/2 $million CAD tools...

 

even a MSB or AP with a handful of engineers is still at a insurmountable disadvantage competing with the big boys TI/BB, ADI, Cirrus/Crystal - at best these smaller shops can use fpga, maybe spin a chip with the open tech at TSMC or other generic fab house

 

 

the MSB site/photos simply don't show evidence of PCB layout techniques I find necessary to reach even 18-20 bit resolution at only a few kHz - much less "true 24 bit ladder DAC" for full audio bandwidth (I've designed strain gage amps, digitizers,  measured sub-lsb resolution on the 100 kHz 16 bit ADC, used a 20-bit 10 Hz BW ADC for system calibration)

 

despite MSB snarky white paper claim about searching for "hard information" on ESS tech in their white papers - MSB site is orders of magnitude worse in lack of tech info that would let an engineer form any opinion about their product's technology

but they do make a few claims that I can at best dismiss as puffey - or could "do the numbers" that would show the claims impossible using ordinary engineering assumptions behind the terminology they throw around


Edited by jcx - 12/23/12 at 3:37pm
post #7 of 51
the MSB top of the line measures pretty badly compared to top of the line SD dacs that cost much less. in measurements i've seen there even seems to be obvious radiated noise from their own external power supply....
Edited by qusp - 12/24/12 at 6:38am
post #8 of 51

I'm also interested in the original question, particularly if there is a balanced dac that can do 24/96 via USB.  

post #9 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcx View Post

the companies making audio DAC seem to have slowed the rate of introduction of new "flagship" DAC with better and better specs - many of today's "best" chips are ~5 yrs (or more) old - could be a sign that human limits have been comfortably exceeded - or just that market demand has shifted away from the "high end"

You underestimate the human limits, and overestimate the semi manufacturers (esp. their marketing dept).

post #10 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by qusp View Post

the MSB top of the line measures pretty badly compared to top of the line SD dacs that cost much less. in measurements i've seen there even seems to be obvious radiated noise from their own external power supply....

Yet the MSB got named source of the year by the same magazine that measured it, and not some other perfectly measuring delta-sigma crap.

post #11 of 51
Quote:

You underestimate the human limits, and overestimate the semi manufacturers (esp. their marketing dept).

I find more often it is audiophiles, fanboys that underestimate engineering knowledge, modern design tools, measurement capabilities
 

I especially like when they often try explain to engineers that we don't understand, are misapplying signal theory, practical digitization limits, can’t explain wire and cable subtleties – while posting this drivel over Mbaud DSL modems pushing 256 symbol QAM over km of 50+ year old voice band twisted pair

 

 

try a few decades engaged in designing, debugging, testing Scientific/Industrial Test/Measurement instrumentation for learning to sort marketing claims - which crops up in every body's datasheets, app notes - and actual usable information, fact based statements of device capabilities

 

 

I'm not claiming it is necessary that MSB products sound bad - only that their website info doesn't begin to indicate that their DAC tech claims are technically sound - some of MSB claims are gratuitously bad - they really need to have their engineers go over it with absolute veto power for technical nonsense

 

 

 

as far as knowledge of human auditory limits goes - have you read up on psychoacoutics - own any textbooks, looked into psychoacoustic compression tech - ever read anything at http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/, tried DBT testing, ear training sw...

 

just curious how you established that human auditory limits are misunderstood 


Edited by jcx - 12/26/12 at 10:53pm
post #12 of 51
Quote:

Originally Posted by jcx View Post

 

as far as knowledge of human auditory limits goes - have you read up on psychoacoutics - own any textbooks, looked into psychoacoustic compression tech - ever read anything at http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/, tried DBT testing, ear training sw...

 

just curious how you established that human auditory limits are misunderstood 

 

I stay away from that place with a 2 foot pole. It's either can be measured with their standards or it doesnt exist. they would never accept the lack of more specific/different measurement types.

 

Current measurement techniques are still inadequate for some pieces, such as electronics and cables. They are better, much better for transducers. I have correlated measurements with sound in the latter, but not with the former.

 

Once scientists will fully understand how our ears work and how to mimic that with a microphone or another device, then we'll have electronics measurements that correlate better with auditory perceptions.

post #13 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Telstar View Post

I stay away from that place with a 2 foot pole. It's either can be measured with their standards or it doesnt exist. they would never accept the lack of more specific/different measurement types.

 

Current measurement techniques are still inadequate for some pieces, such as electronics and cables. They are better, much better for transducers. I have correlated measurements with sound in the latter, but not with the former.

 

Once scientists will fully understand how our ears work and how to mimic that with a microphone or another device, then we'll have electronics measurements that correlate better with auditory perceptions.

 

The question was of your methods, not what you claim to have achieve. 

post #14 of 51
Almost none of this thread even answers the OP's question. It is just a debate. Wow.
post #15 of 51

In the true tradition of posting responses that have little to do with the actual question. 

 

In a sound test I was unable to tell the difference between the Modi and a grubDAC. Considering the grub costs less than half. its a good buy. But these are fairly cheap DACs, so whatevs. 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Misc.-Category Forums › DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Discussions › What is the best DIY DAC up to $500