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Dac + Amp combo with 100$ budget, would need some suggestions/tips.

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I'm currently planning on getting my Xonar DS out of my PC and building myself a DAC and an AMP. Since I'm switching to a SFF build this summer I need to ditch it. Now, I have been looking at the GrubDac and a tube CMoy combo, but I have no idea how to part my budget and what to build.

 

I have some soldering experience with a speaker amp and light modulator at school, but I never had to test a circuit or calculate resistor values so I plan on starting with something simple.

 

Opamp/tube wise, I have no idea what would be te best. I principally want good soundstage, imaging and a more energetic sound. I'm using a pair of HD668b and sometime my modded HD572.

 

Also, if there is something else I could get, I'm all in for suggestions.

post #2 of 11

Here's a budget amp...

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/promotion-TDA7297-Whi-fi-noiseless-2-0-Audio-Power-Amplifier-Board-MAX-30W-30W-/230931527980?_trksid=p2047675.m1851&_trkparms=aid%3D222002%26algo%3DSIC.FIT%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D163%26meid%3D6220351111854129182%26pid%3D100005%26prg%3D1088%26rk%3D1%26sd%3D160989484831%26

 

...get one even if you don't need it, U$8 shipped.

 

A cool JLH clone headphone amp...

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/JHL-headphone-amplifier-class-A-Preamp-DIY-KIT-with-ALPS-RK16-POT-/140933165384?pt=US_Amplifier_Parts_Components&hash=item20d0457148 USB/SPDIF DAC..

 

DAC with USB/SPDIF...

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/KIT-CS8416-CS4398-DAC-Board-Support-USB-coaxial-/221119626201?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item337bc1bbd9

 

Transformer...

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/30W-220V-R-Core-Transformer-9V-2-15V-2-Free-Shipping-/251215611166?_trksid=p2047675.m1850&_trkparms=aid%3D222002%26algo%3DSIC.FIT%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D11%26meid%3D6270158942254063299%26pid%3D100011%26prg%3D1005%26rk%3D4%26sd%3D320680108067%26

 

Enclosure...

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Full-aluminum-enclosure-preamp-case-headohone-amplifier-chassis-2205-/140923498655?pt=US_Amplifier_Parts_Components&hash=item20cfb1f09f

 

I haven't tried any of these items, but they look OK to me. Better than OK in fact. If I didn't have a shedload of stuff here already I'd get some of them just to try them out.

 

There's just loads of stuff to pick from on ebay, and you can easy get a DAC/amp for under $100. The problem is verifying the performance, not that I think you'll be unhappy with these. If you want documented performance then you need to spend ~$200 on an O2/ODAC (google it) combination.

 

w


Edited by wakibaki - 3/15/13 at 4:26pm
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the reply. I'm a bit confused about the transformer, is it only for the DAC or can I use it on both? The amp list dual AC12-15V for input voltage, does that mean that it need 2 15V channels? The transformer list 9V*2 and 15V*2.

 

Also, I can't find if the coaxial connection is optical or digital, is there any way to tell from the picture or I will need to contact the seller?


Edited by Th3l4st0ne - 3/16/13 at 7:46am
post #4 of 11

The coax is regular SPDIF, not optical.

 

The transformer has 15-0-15 and 9-0-9.. It's good for a total of 30watts.

 

The amplifier wants 240mA 15-0-15, that's ~7.5 watts. The transformer probably splits the power capacity equally between the 15 and 9V sections, so there's probably another 250mA available on the 15V windings

 

The DAC wants 15-0-15 and one 9V winding. The current it wants is probably negligible, so I think that you can run both amp and DAC off the single transformer.

 

You'll notice a couple of 'probablys' here. I'd just wire it up and feel the transformer regularly during the first few hours of operation to make sure it doesn't approach a temperature where you feel uncomfortable touching it.

 

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

Well, now that nearly everything was sorted out, just now I notice that the USB input is gimped (16bit,48K). Is it going to make a huge difference, as coaxial output on computers are rare and I won't be able to use it?

post #6 of 11

I didn't notice that.

 

I never use anything greater than CD quality (16/44k1) and the experts (http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/) say you can't hear any difference from higher sample speeds or bit depths. In fact there are quite a few here in the sound science forum (who have done A/B tests) who will tell you that good MP3s are very, very hard to distinguish from CDs, and that any difference is not worth bothering about.

 

Lots of people will tell you different, however, but I think it's all just a pi**ing contest. It's something you'll have to make your own mind up about. Try and get a listen to a system that offers both, but beware that a guy who has 24/96 recordings is likely to try and convince you of their superiority.

 

Have a look at Ethan Winer's site, http://www.ethanwiner.com/. He has some example files with degraded sound. It's surprising how much you have to reduce the bit depth before you can hear it at all. http://www.ethanwiner.com/BitsTest.html

 

w

post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 

I just stumbled on this one:

 

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/DAC-AD1955-WM8805-Coaxial-Optical-DIY-KIT-/140735106219?pt=US_Amplifier_Parts_Components&hash=item20c4774cab

 

It needs an USB addon card, but at least it has an optical input so it is useable with my PC, would it be a good choice too?

post #8 of 11

It's designed by weiliang, his designs seem to be comparatively highly regarded.

 

w

post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Th3l4st0ne View Post

I'm currently planning on getting my Xonar DS out of my PC and building myself a DAC and an AMP. Since I'm switching to a SFF build this summer I need to ditch it. Now, I have been looking at the GrubDac and a tube CMoy combo, but I have no idea how to part my budget and what to build.

I have some soldering experience with a speaker amp and light modulator at school, but I never had to test a circuit or calculate resistor values so I plan on starting with something simple.

Opamp/tube wise, I have no idea what would be te best. I principally want good soundstage, imaging and a more energetic sound. I'm using a pair of HD668b and sometime my modded HD572.

Also, if there is something else I could get, I'm all in for suggestions.

If all you need is 2-channel audio for music.

Then the Fiio E-10 USB-DAC-Headphone amplifier ($75) might work for you.

I would think that is about the maximum amount to spend for a DAC/Amp for use with the HD668B.

post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

If all you need is 2-channel audio for music.

Then the Fiio E-10 USB-DAC-Headphone amplifier ($75) might work for you.

I would think that is about the maximum amount to spend for a DAC/Amp for use with the HD668B.

It's more fun to make it, and I'm planning on keeping the dac/amp for a long time, those Superlux won't last forever evil_smiley.gif.

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

I finally sent an message to hifispot, the seller of the coax/usb dac, asking if he had a model with an S/PDIF input and today one popped up, same board but different plug. I'll give some feedback once it's up and running.

 

Thanks to everyone for the help!

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