Looking to improve my setup DIY style!
Nov 6, 2008 at 2:15 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 13

FairyTales

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Hey guys,

As the title says i'm looking to improve the sound quality of my current setup with some DYI gear but i don't really know what to choose, i did find some info with the search function but the results i did get seems outdated (2005/2006 posts).

At the moment i have a Audio Technica ATH A900 which is pretty good (had a HD212 before), and a M-Audio 2496 pci card. From what i read a dac would be the best way to go with those cans.

I have half decent soldering skills, i did build some guitar pedals and stuff like that, and i have the most common tools, iron, multimeter, wire cutter and so on.

My budget would be around 250$ (300$ max) including the case, what would be my options for a nice sound improvement (i'm looking for some non fatiguing listening)?

Arnaud
 
Nov 6, 2008 at 2:45 PM Post #2 of 13

gurusan

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Well I'm pretty new at all this...but the sound card already has a decent DAC...if I were you I would build an amplifier to help drive your headphones better.

I have built a cmoy which was mainly just for practice and education, and now just finished a staving student millet amp which I am very pleased with. It's a really simple amp to build and I highly recommend it...I think you would get more of a difference out of something like that compared to a DAC.
 
Nov 6, 2008 at 2:55 PM Post #3 of 13

MoodySteve

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I agree with the above poster; an amp will probably be more beneficial to your setup than a DAC. In addition, the soldering required when making a DAC is considerably more difficult than the soldering for an amplifier. And lastly, I do not know of any readily-available DAC designs that are 'high end' - all of the ones I know of are portable.
 
Nov 6, 2008 at 3:26 PM Post #4 of 13

nikongod

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twisted pair audio makes a couple nice DIYable DAC;s, although the price may come up a little higher than quoted.

If you dont have a nice amp, I would start there though. the soundcard is at least OK, and you will need the amp with whatever DAC you build later on.
 
Nov 6, 2008 at 6:26 PM Post #7 of 13

MoodySteve

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Quote:

Originally Posted by nikongod /img/forum/go_quote.gif
twisted pair audio makes a couple nice DIYable DAC;s, although the price may come up a little higher than quoted.

If you dont have a nice amp, I would start there though. the soundcard is at least OK, and you will need the amp with whatever DAC you build later on.



I would have recommended the Buffalo or Opus but they're almost never available.
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Nov 7, 2008 at 11:34 PM Post #8 of 13

FairyTales

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Thanks for helping out guys!

Making an amp instead of a dac sounds like a pretty good advice, what would be the different choices in my budget?

The different options at the moment (from you inputs) are:

-Starving student (it's pretty cheap and i would prefer to find something closer to my budget)
-Mini Millett Hybrid Max
-SOHA (Unkle Erik, is suppose it was the one you had in mind)
-B22 ,but it would probably end up way over my budget, the 2 channel kit is 163$ +102$ for the power supply without the enclosures.
-CK²III?

Is there other options ?
 
Nov 8, 2008 at 12:08 AM Post #9 of 13

FallenAngel

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Starving student is a really nice amp for the price, and with some upgraded parts is very good. Skylab took it to a meet and all 7 in attendance said it's better than the DarkVoice 336
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Millet MAX is very good, I have one, like it quite a bit.

SOHA 2 is AWESOME! But getting 100V DC through you is no joke, I just toasted my finger yesterday, it sucked. Good thing it was just in/out through the finger; across the body would have been much more painful.

CKK-III is very nice for the price.

Beta22 - you won't get it finished that cheap. Incidentals and casing will add considerable cost. Take a look at the NABU case though, it's cheap and sturdy.
 
Nov 8, 2008 at 11:28 AM Post #10 of 13

Ferrari

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Arnaud,

Given your limited budget, there are several options as you can see in the previous posts, β22 is a bit above the budget.
From the remaining amps, SOHA II (NOT the original SOHA) is clearly best fit for your budget with the most audio potential and the ability to roll-in many audio quality tubes (6DJ8, 6N1P, E88CC, 5814, 5963, 6922, 8416… and many more).
Even building from stock parts, it sounds really decent.
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Nov 13, 2008 at 7:18 AM Post #12 of 13

TimmyMac

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Quote:

Originally Posted by nikongod /img/forum/go_quote.gif
twisted pair audio makes a couple nice DIYable DAC;s, although the price may come up a little higher than quoted.


Except they come pre-soldered... hardly DIY... I'd like to see chip/board kits from them, then maybe I'd be more interested.
 

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