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Looking for recommendation on DIY DAC

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I'm looking to make a DAC (not DAC/amp) kit.  I'm running a Modi right now and would like to step up from there.  However, mostly I'm doing it for the fun.


Some of the requirements:


  • Complete 24 bit (not 24 bit chip with 16 bit interface)
  • 192 sample rate is a big plus
  • Optical or USB is fine as I'm running it off a mac.
  • No more than $300 complete



BTW: There are a bunch of kits on ebay that fit this bill, but I have no idea if they are any good (random example: http://www.ebay.com/itm/CS8416-CS4398-DAC-Kit-Support-USB-coaxial-DAC-Board-/110709598915?pt=US_Home_Audio_Amplifiers_Preamps&hash=item19c6ce6ac3)



Any advice?



post #2 of 8

I recently finished a DAC that might fit the bill.


It's a combo of Curryman DAC, a cm6631a receiver with I2S isolation and you'll need a +3.3V, +6V, +/-12V supply. Total cost for me was about 220€, all included.

post #3 of 8

That DAC sounds great 00940, how do you like it? 


The only DACs I can think of that fit the requirements are the Curryman DAC and ODAC, both of which come with pre-assembled boards which may or may not be a good thing depending on who you are. The eBay DACs can be a bit hit or miss. diyaudio has some mega-threads devoted to upgrading them which might be worth checking out. They're cheap and fun to build though.


There's also the SubbuDAC over at diyaudio, but its availability comes and goes with group buys.

post #4 of 8
Originally Posted by hembergler View Post

That DAC sounds great 00940, how do you like it?


I liked it about as much as the DAC I'm using everyday (based on a pcm1798). I don't have it anymore (I built it for someone else) but I could have kept it.


To be honnest, I'm not certain that there are huge differences in between good DACs. But the Diyinhk+curryman ticked all the technical boxes: possibility of a good supply, galvanic isolation from the computer, asynchronous transfer, wide range of input sample rates, use of the asrc inside the es9023 with a local clock to reduce jitter concerns to zero, buffer to reduce the DAC loading, improved hf filtering.


On many of these issues, it improves technically on the ODAC. Maybe overkill and inaudible but I can stop dreaming about doing it "better" and it satisfies the engineer in me.

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks 00940.  That is a great list of attributes to look for.  I checked out the Curryman unit, but there were some complaints about fulfilling the orders.  Being in the 'States' I think I'll skip that one.


I'm still pondering the kits available here: http://stores.ebay.com/diyhifiatminishow0328/  They sure _seem_ to be build able quality units.  Just wish I could confirm it.

Edited by SteveSound - 5/23/14 at 8:23am
post #6 of 8

I built one of the beta boards of the Curryman. I think the DAC is a great value. Of course, I got to build the board from ground up. If this is your thing perhaps you can contact Curryman on diyaudio and he might have a spare board around. I ended up using an Amanero for my transport and then went into a isolation/re-clocking board that went into the Curryman. The Curryman has an output for the clock so you can send it into the reclock circuit. This effectively re-clocks the SDATA, LRCLK, and BITCLOCK coming from the Amanero in a pseudo-synchronous fashion. I used Ambs Sigma 25 for power supplies.


PS I have one of the first beta boards if you want it for the cost of shipping. The challenge is the half the solder pads for the DAC chip have to be jumpered with 0 ohm resistors. You'd also have to source the jfets and inductors. The jfets have to be matched. And the inductors should be matched.

post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the offer, Mullet.  However, I think that sort of project is a bit beyond me.  


Actually it seems most of the better DAC kits are made up sections.  It's nice so you can pick and choose.  However, I'd prefer a ready to buy system at this stage in my learning.


I'm leaning strongly towards a Weiliang kithttp://www.ebay.com/itm/ES9018-32bit-192khz-Hi-End-DAC-Optical-Coax-and-Balanced-output-diy-kit-/130896291990?pt=US_Amplifier_Parts_Components  But some folks are complaining about the design and corner cutting.  



post #8 of 8

For the 9018 based DACs I'd go for something either from AckoDAC or Twisted Pear. They are for the most part ready made.

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