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Starting Point Systems portable NOS DAC

Discussion in 'Portable Source Gear' started by cjg888, Mar 12, 2014.
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  1. gvl2016
    True fact: all NOS DACs (w/o a reconstructing filter) have a slight roll-off in the high frequency region.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2017
  2. gvl2016
    On a related note, I encourage those who listen mostly to redbook material (44.1Khz) on computer to try and oversample in software. The DAC supports up to 96kHz sampling rates. I found that even 2x oversampling to 88.2 noticeably "enhances" the treble. I still prefer the NOS mode tho, but it doesn't mean everyone does. Both JRiver and Foobar can oversample, HQPlayer does it too. Avoid oversampling using the OS settings however.
  3. gvl2016
    Did anyone bother asking the designer about the meaning of the "AGC" checkbox on the Custom tab in device properties in Windows?
  4. earwego
    This TDA1543 chip seems quite popular with the audiophile big boys! I mentioned Vertex earier on in this thread, how about Audio Note? The Audio Note 0.1x as shown here: http://www.audionote.co.uk/products/digital/dac_0.1x_01.shtml also uses this chip - interesting in that both Vertex and Audio Note uses only the 1 chip - others are trying to run them in parallel - but no - not Vertex or Audio Note!

    The Audio Note sound is amazing! Keep things simple I guess.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2017
    richard51 likes this.
  5. gvl2016
    As I mentioned, that happens not because this is such a great chip but because it is pretty much the only R2R DAC chip in good supply that is also easy to design around as it doesn't require any custom DSP to marry it to digital interface chipsets. It is cheap too. So any shop that doesn't want to use a Delta-Sigma DAC chip in their "audiophile NOS DAC" doesn't have too many options these days: a) TDA1543 b) industrial DAC chips c) custom R2R ladder. b and c are non-trivial and tricky to get it done right, requires special knowledge. TDA1543 is a cheap bolt-on solution, and can sound decent enough if the rest of the circuitry is done right. That's the truth.
    richard51 likes this.
  6. earwego
    OK now that I've settled down with the SPS DAC 3, I was going head-to-head with my favourite small DAC the Arcam irDAC. However there's problems with the comparison in that the quality of the interface has more of an overriding effect of the sound quality than the DACs themselves (quite to my surprise)!

    I played both DACs via their USB interfaces and, well, I wasn't getting involved. So I plumbed in my old mk1 TeraLink-X USB / SPDIF converted and that made a HUGE difference to the advantage of the irDAC - more of everything - however the DAC 3 would not sync up with the TeraLink so I couldn't make a good comparison here. Anyway, for now, the irDAC wins hands down with the USB / SPDIF converter in place. When BOTH were using their USB interfaces they were both equally uninvolving.

    So - I haven't given the two DACs a fair comparison yet until I successfully have them BOTH running from the same converter. Be warned - the interface is FAR more important than the DAC chip.
  7. Jimster480
    What interference do you speak of?
    Unless you live in a high EMF area this is basically a non-incident.
  8. GearMe
    Never Mind.jpg
    jimmers likes this.
  9. Jimster480
    Lol I realize they wrote interface xD

    Interfaces don't matter too much but the performance can vary wildly on certain products, its all based on the implementation and the choice of IC's for each interface on each device.
  10. GearMe
    Sorry...couldn't resist! :ksc75smile:
    Jimster480 likes this.
  11. earwego
    This SPS is DAC is performing just fine at the moment using a simple little Chromecast Audio through its optical interface!

    I'm not so much a headphone freak as you guys, I'm listening to this through Croft pre/power amplification (absolutely the best - will NEVER change these amps for any other make!) and Role Audio Enterprise Loudspeakers.
    Jimster480 likes this.
  12. Jimster480
    I forgot that Chromecast Audio had an optical interface, that's actually really cool!
  13. richard51
    I have received my little NOS french mini Dac... i have bidded and won it on ebay for 20 bucks, it is the dac2, without the usb... I connect it from a 12 volt lithium battery and by optical to an Hifimediy convertor and isolator from my computer.... the beresford bushmaster mkII dac i own already was good but is a bit less natural in the musical timbre and a bit less holographic in the imaging... In one word i am very pleased by this extraordinary purchase.... I must say that my system (aka all my pieces of gear) are rightly and totally damped with Fo.Q tape for all cables, with sorbothane and other materials and concrete load, and also treated with stones and crystals of my own design that modify also the sound of each one of my piece of audio according to their synergy and according to my taste....I must say that almost all people buy costly so-called upgrade dac before thinking to damp adequately their system and without treating their room if they have speakers, hence all reviews of any product is plague by ignorance of the unique synergetic links of all system parts,plague also by ignorance of the destructive impact of all vibrations and EMI, hence all reviews are at best highly relative impressions... For example this dac sound in my system without any defective or negative trait and is indeed a very good product by design and cost...And maybe it will not be this way in your system, especially if not damped...

    I cannot dream to upgrade this dac for a costlier one, because the price will not be commensurate with my own vintage amplifier and vintage speakers, that are astoundingly good for a ridiculous price (buying vintage is the solution for the poor audiophile because one of the best amplifier in 1978 is also an extraordinary product today).... This remarkable product will be my dac for years to come....
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2017
  14. richard51
    After some break-in hours at first it seems impossible to go back to my bushmaster...But i will keep the 2 dacs,i have 2 Sansui au amplifier with very different sound, and this little nos dac will do marvel with my Sansui au-X701 because it is way more analytical....

    update 2 : it takes more than 30 hours of break-in to lift the slight compression in the mids frequencies, the sound now is without fault in my system and better than the bushmaster dac .... incredible bargain ....
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2017
  15. Jimster480
    Considering this DAC also doesn't have USB in all forms.
    I just found this SMSL xUSB the other day and I ordered one and it works great, so for a DAC like this it would really make a difference or allow you to connect it to your PC at all.
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