L0rdGwyn's DIY Audio
Feb 1, 2021 at 7:47 PM Post #2,041 of 2,550

bcowen

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May or may not be on the same level, but this one is a current production (and much smaller, I think):
https://ifi-audio.com/products/micro-itube2/

I was just scrolling down the page on that and it looked pretty interesting, then this:

1612226678216.png


I am now completely a$$-less as I just laughed it all the way off. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes::stuck_out_tongue::laughing:
 
Feb 1, 2021 at 9:34 PM Post #2,043 of 2,550

bcowen

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And this one....that takes RCA's and adds Bass/Treble:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07KMPLX9Y/

:wink:

I'm just waiting for a pair of uber-level headphones that have a 6080/6AS7-equivalent tube amp, multibit DAC, and wi-fi streamer built in with a flip-down screen where tracks can be selected via eye movement. Oh, and weigh less than two pounds total, of course. I'm hoping this is on @L0rdGwyn 's project list. :sweat_smile:
 
Feb 1, 2021 at 9:47 PM Post #2,044 of 2,550

leftside

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I was pulling an all-nighter last night to prepare for night shift...this is a very dangerous time for me as I will almost always concoct a new project to pursue.

I am making some furniture changes to my two-channel system very soon and with the new real-estate will come a new DAC. With this realization, the thought started to creep into my head "why don't I just design and build a DAC?" - I started reading up on NOS R2R designs with tube output stages and was quickly swallowed into the rabbit hole.

But I am trying to work on LESS projects, not add more to my list, and learning the intricacies of an entirely new type of audio component means money, yes, but more importantly time and energy.

How could I stop myself from taking this plunge? Oh yeah, I could finish the DAC purchase I put a deposit down on LOL 🤦‍♂️

So that's what I am going to do, buy my DAC from SW1X finally. I haven't completely abandoned the idea of designing a DAC some day, but in the meantime, I thought I would purchase the entry-level model from SW1X, the DAC I. Mind you, it is still very expensive.

I really like the sound I am getting from my analog system, so it will be interesting to see how it compares to the DAC I.
Real shame we're on different sides of the continent as I came very close to purchasing a SW1X, but then along came the Lampi GA TRP on the used market. I think shipping costs would make it prohibitive for me to send you my earlier Lampi GA to compare. Maybe @Monsterzero could send you his TRP to compare? :)

It will still be interesting to hear your comparison of the turntable vs the DAC. Are they at a similar price point: DAC vs turntable + cart + phono stage? The Lampi GA TRP with appropriate tubes is the closest I've heard a DAC come to my turntable setup.
 
Feb 1, 2021 at 9:48 PM Post #2,045 of 2,550

L0rdGwyn

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I'm just waiting for a pair of uber-level headphones that have a 6080/6AS7-equivalent tube amp, multibit DAC, and wi-fi streamer built in with a flip-down screen where tracks can be selected via eye movement. Oh, and weigh less than two pounds total, of course. I'm hoping this is on @L0rdGwyn 's project list. :sweat_smile:

LOL you're going to need a neck brace to hold up your head, but otherwise 10/10 on the convenience factor, I'll add it to the list :) all of the parts for my Zenith 7H820Z radio are ordered and my PCBs for the DarkVoice mods should be here Thursday, so should be able to work on one or both of them next weekend!
 
Feb 1, 2021 at 10:07 PM Post #2,046 of 2,550

L0rdGwyn

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Real shame we're on different sides of the continent as I came very close to purchasing a SW1X, but then along came the Lampi GA TRP on the used market. I think shipping costs would make it prohibitive for me to send you my earlier Lampi GA to compare. Maybe @Monsterzero could send you his TRP to compare? :)

It will still be interesting to hear your comparison of the turntable vs the DAC. Are they at a similar price point: DAC vs turntable + cart + phono stage? The Lampi GA TRP with appropriate tubes is the closest I've heard a DAC come to my turntable setup.

I would be happy to receive any assortment of Lampizator DACs in the mail haha! They will be well cared for :) it's tricky to compare prices since the turntable is vintage (and prices seem to inflate year-by-year) with some DIY flair and the phono is completely DIY, but I would say you could probably cut some costs on both to bring the price with the cartridge to something close to the SW1X DAC I and maintain the same sound, they are probably off by a few hundred bucks, but hard to say exactly. I'm very curious to see what SW1X brings to the table with its entry-level model. I believe the DAC I is very similar to the early SW1X DAC @2359glenn owns. It omits the tube rectifier of the more premium "Special" version but maintains the active I/V conversion and E182CC output stage. I figure if I go with the DAC I, I can either upgrade later or entertain my DIY DAC aspirations. DIY NOS R2R designs featuring the TDA1541 chip with a tube output stage are actually quite common, lots of information out there to sift through.
 
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Feb 1, 2021 at 11:07 PM Post #2,047 of 2,550

Xcalibur255

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Here's another approach to the tube buffer @JazzVinyl mentioned. Was quite nice with early digital players, but I don't think it's being made any longer. Have one that's been sitting on the shelf for a good long while, and IIRC uses a pair of flying lead tubes soldered to the main board inside, so definitely not a tube rollers delight. :smile:

https://audiophillness.com/musical-fidelity-x-10v3/

X10D Musical Fidelity.jpg
I did use to have a cheap little tube buffer once upon a time. Don't even remember what I did with it.....

I keep wondering if power condition is what I need, but that's audiophile hard mode when it comes to making informed decisions, just ahead of upgrading cables.
 
Feb 1, 2021 at 11:42 PM Post #2,048 of 2,550

bcowen

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I did use to have a cheap little tube buffer once upon a time. Don't even remember what I did with it.....

I keep wondering if power condition is what I need, but that's audiophile hard mode when it comes to making informed decisions, just ahead of upgrading cables.

Speaking of power, what's the condition of the AC receptacle(s) your components are plugged into? Are they relatively new with good clamping pressure? Or....not exactly?
 
Feb 2, 2021 at 1:50 AM Post #2,049 of 2,550

Zachik

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I was just scrolling down the page on that and it looked pretty interesting, then this:

1612226678216.png

I am now completely a$$-less as I just laughed it all the way off. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes::stuck_out_tongue::laughing:
Bill, please pay attention to what you've attached here! Clearly reads: "Nothing comes close for quality." --> totally your fault for assuming they meant HIGH quality... :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:
Joking aside, iFi's products are pretty good (at least some / most are). Maybe it sounds good despite of the GE tube? :thinking:
 
Feb 2, 2021 at 1:53 AM Post #2,050 of 2,550

Zachik

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my PCBs for the DarkVoice mods should be here Thursday
Just noticed today that Drop is selling the DV again for $200 (for the next few days).
Very tempted to grab one, just to be able to replicate your mod after you declare success!
 
Feb 2, 2021 at 3:26 AM Post #2,051 of 2,550

evonimos

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Just noticed today that Drop is selling the DV again for $200 (for the next few days).
Very tempted to grab one, just to be able to replicate your mod after you declare success!

Yeah. It seems to be a good value.

I like the simplicity of both the Crack and the Darkvoice.
Correct me if I'm wrong here, but I think these are basically iterations of the Aren van Waarde project (itself based on an older Rudy van Stratum schematic).

A basic topology of 2 double triodes with a 6922 (or an Octal) for input stage and a 6AS7G as a CF.
Simple as can be, no feedback, single-ended stuff.
Power supply follows suit.

So, i guess simplicity does the trick in this case and when built with quality parts, this design can really sing.

Actually, I just finished a project using a relevant PCB that found online.
Didn't want to go all out with point to point soldering so I ended up adapting it a bit to my modifications following the same proposition.

I have to say that my experience so far with this basic, no-frills design is very positive.
Compared with my other DIY tube amp with somewhat similar design but an SRPP for signal stage I think this one takes the cake.

Here it is waiting to be finalised.
20210202_094525.jpg


20210202_094558.jpg



Crucial points soundwise are mainly the capacitor bank in series to the output and the power supply (both filaments and anode power).
As usual problem with any kind of mods, the problem is fitting them in a tight space when you have to use a certain enclosure.
 

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Feb 2, 2021 at 4:30 AM Post #2,052 of 2,550

johnjen

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Hello JJ...must say, I had never heard of a 'hot air station"...I must be way behind :wink:

Here is a photo in relation to a 12AU7 tube, definitely all SMD inside,

Spark01.JPG

And the Innards:

Spark02.JPG

:)
From the look of it a 'skilled' DIY'r should be able to replace the larger 'active' components using a solder iron, but a re-work station would be 'better' all the way around.
However if it's a 'smaller' component like a resistor or cap it would be MUCH trickier without a re-work station, and judging solely on your description of the behavior it does sound like a cap has ceased to capacitate… :radioactive:

JJ
 
Feb 2, 2021 at 9:18 AM Post #2,053 of 2,550

bcowen

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Feb 2, 2021 at 9:27 AM Post #2,054 of 2,550

bcowen

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Bill, please pay attention to what you've attached here! Clearly reads: "Nothing comes close for quality." --> totally your fault for assuming they meant HIGH quality... :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:
Joking aside, iFi's products are pretty good (at least some / most are). Maybe it sounds good despite of the GE tube? :thinking:

My post was (mostly) in jest, which I realize is quite surprising and all. :smile:

Seriously speaking, I've seen a number of people report that the GE 5670 is actually one of the better sounding tubes of that genre. If it sounds good to them, that's all that really matters. And it does stand to reason that GE had to make at least some good sounding tubes, and I'm optimistic I'll run across one some day. :laughing::laughing:
 
Feb 2, 2021 at 9:41 AM Post #2,055 of 2,550

bcowen

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Just noticed today that Drop is selling the DV again for $200 (for the next few days).
Very tempted to grab one, just to be able to replicate your mod after you declare success!

I'll go out on a limb here and say that the Darkvoice is a great sounding little amp....for $200. Perfect? Assault on the state-of-the-art? Superbly engineered with premium parts? The stuff audiophile dreams are made of? Nope, none of that. It's simply a nice sounding amp for $200. I love Schiit's Vali 2, which at $150 is another great sounding little amp for the money (IMO). The Darkvoice definitely puts more "tube" on the plate than the Vali, and it's hotter and has some hum issues and coughs and farts with low impedance 'phones and all but....it's $200. Fun to play with, and if you totally blow it to pieces you're out $200, which is less than some of us have paid for a single tube. :smile: On the budget side of HP amps the Vali is a much better choice for low impedance 'phones as its power output increases as the 'phone impedance decreases. Exactly the opposite for the OTL Darkvoice. I wouldn't even consider using 'phones with less than 150 ohms impedance with it, at least in its stock form.
 

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