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Designing new amp/dac from scratch

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys for having me at your forum, where headphones are the main theme.
I am posting this because I am looking for advice. We are very close to release a headphone DAC and we would like to know your opinion - whether or not we thought of everything that people might need.
I am the designer of this beast and I can still add or modify things before formal release.
Your input much appreciated.

The basic features are:
Fully balanced lampizator DAC integrated with tube output stage.
We want to beat the normal DAC connected to a headphone amp - even a good one - by means of internal integration.
Tube power supply with a big dual diode and a big choke.
Transformer coupled output
Capacitor-less signal path
Pure single ended triodes in tube stage (no phase splitting) working in differential mode.
Ability to connect and use up to 3 headphones at the same time (for sharing music with friends)
Output to the loudspeaker amplifier (to use the device like a normal DAC) : balanced as well as SE, independent from volume control.
Manual volume control with stepped resistive attenuator for the headphone output.
Wide range of impedance from 600 down to 4 Ohms
10X volume headroom for outstanding dynamics
Total integration of the DAC resulting in an incredible clarity and realism
Outputs: 2 x small jack, 1 x large jack, amplifier XLR, amplifier RCA.
(do we need headphone XLR as well ??)

We want to be able to use DAC chip directly coupled to the good triode with just an inch of silver wire, no caps, no resistors - nothing in between. We want to combine DAC output I/V conversion, analog filtering, balanced to SE conversion, signal amplification and impedance matching - all these features in one tube circuit. There will be just three parts in total: Chip - triodes and transformer.

post #2 of 7
Hi Lukasz,
How will the integrated DAC section compare to the other DACs you make? For example, which level would it be similar to?

Will you ever offer an "integrated headphone amp" as an option on the level 4–7 DACs?

I'd like to suggest:
adjustable gain,
i2s input,
Spdif BNC input, and
Ethernet input
Edited by Haidar - 6/27/14 at 11:14pm
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hi, answering the first question: it will be similar to level 4/balanced but only similar. I wanted to avoid a giant box like Big5 or Big7 which would not fit on the desktop or near the bed. If the DAC proves to be a good seller, I may make a no compromise Big7 variant.

Thanks for all suggestions.

post #4 of 7

Why not include an analog input? That way the headphone amplifier could be used with other DACs too.

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

Ha ! Thats a good one. It is certainly doable. HDMI and LAN will not happen. I have something against HDMI. It is personal ;-)

post #6 of 7
Originally Posted by Lampizator View Post

HDMI and LAN will not happen. I have something against HDMI. It is personal ;-)


But i2s doesn't require HDMI. You can use an ethernet cable for i2s. There are other DACs that do this.


It would be nice if each headphone output had its own volume and impedance controls.

Edited by Haidar - 7/1/14 at 4:13pm
post #7 of 7

Why not make it with continuously adjustable output impedance?

I've never heard of anyone offering this feature on headphone amps.

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