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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. Jimster480
    I'm sorry but what are you referring to?
  2. automojo
    I highly doubt it, because this DAC uses a fairly simple USB interface
  3. Haden2866
    We established a few pages ago that the DAC3 has field-upgradeable firmware and that an update is in the works. You may have already seen this and be doubting nonetheless, in which case apologies.
  4. automojo
    No worries...
    I wasn’t aware
  5. gvl2016
    I and some other people should, supposedly, be notified once the new f/w is available, but nothing yet. My understanding for its USB input the DAC has a micro-controller with a built-in USB interface that runs custom code to make it appear as a UAC1 device.
    Haden2866 likes this.
  6. automojo
    My Maverick D1 Plus uses a Tennor chip.
    No reclocker.
    Extremely quiet and very good sounding.
    May be a bit old school, but works perfect for my needs.
    Feed it a clean, quiet 5 volts and you good.
    As I have found with other DAC’s with this chip, and the DAC 3,
    A USB cord with a physically separate power and insulated wire makes a big difference.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2017
  7. Haden2866
    What about data-only USB cables? Does such a thing exist? I have a couple of battery-powered DACs including this one.
    I guess one could snap the power pins of a standard USB A or B plug. 1 and 4 I think.
  8. automojo
    You need to supply 5 volts to the DAC somehow.
    Wireworld makes a inexpensive cable that isolates the power and data wires, the Chroma.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2017
  9. automojo
    You can also use a outboard Power supply that bypasses the Computers 5 volt power, like the USB Disrupters, etc
    The cable in my experience makes more of a audible difference.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2017
  10. Haden2866
    Thanks. Yes I am using a 15v iFi Audio iPower SMPS with my DAC3. Just wondering whether there is any improvement to be gained by isolating it entirely from the USB power supply.
  11. kvik
    If you don't want to
    If you don't want to modify, an Sbooster Vbus2 Isolator or iFi iDefender can be used. There are data-only cables as well, I believe Curious Cables makes one (has an alt. version w/o sep. power). I am sure a lot of other diy cable makers could also make you one.

    I am not sure about this, but seem to remember some DACs need USB-power initially to perform a 'handshake', even when they are self-powered. Easy to try out, if you snap the pins as you suggest. Might be useful for others to know, if this is the case for DAC3. Though probably the designer would know, so perhaps just ask him.
    Haden2866 likes this.
  12. Haden2866
    All very helpful. iFi Defender I am familiar with and will probably try at some point. Sbooster Vbus I haven't come across but looks to be good value.
    In the interests of advancing both the science and the magic, I am prepared to take one for the team and sacrifice a whole printer cable by snapping off pins 1 and 4 to establish whether the DAC3 needs USB power for a handshake.
    I will report back...
    Jimster480 likes this.
  13. kvik
    I believe Sbooster deals with VBUS (pin 1) only, whereas iDefender deals with both VBUS (pin 1) and GND (pin 4). Exactly how iDefender deals with GND, I don't know (iFi calls it IsoEarth). You might want to start with snapping pin 1, check for connection/handshake, then snap pin 4 and check again (rather than snapping both at the same time). I have a self-powered DAC which works fine with iDefender, and also with a plug where VBUS has been cut off. Haven't tried the Sbooster.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2017
  14. automojo
    It’s all good
    I tried the Schiit Wired on my Maverick and it made the sound worse.
    I think the additional USB processing was to blame.
    For me the Wireworld Ultraviolet USB, made a much bigger difference than trying then using the Disrupter. The Disrupter works well on my Maverick D1, with the Tenor chip. It also cut the dropouts down to zero. Entry level lap top with marginal USB power.
  15. richard51
    I pick a very interesting remark on the Chord Dave thread about Nos dac:

    Romaz about the chord dave:
    «Having owned a very fine TotalDac d1- monobloc, I find NOS DACs like the Nagra and most resistance ladder DACs much more to my liking than any chip DACs I have thus far heard. They are indeed smoother and less "digital" sounding than chip DACs but I admit now that it is a distortion that I favor with NOS DACs. The problem with enjoying distortion is while pleasing on some level, there are limits to how real and engaging this can ever sound and you don't realize it until you hear something like the DAVE. With NOS specifically, there is the other problem of low ambition. The NOS concept aspires only to translate the original digital signal as best as it can. Rob, as we know, aspires to a much higher goal as he has been very clear that his goal has always been to reproduce the original analog waveform and this is simply not possible without oversampling and so it is ironic that people equate NOS to analog when it has no real intentions of truly being analog.»


    It explain the intention of one of the greatest Dac designer Rob Watts in few words....
    I recommend to all to read about this guy...

    The few of us that enjoy the French minimalist design Dac at the price paid, must think seriously before upgrading it.... My Dac 2 is so good in my system,musical, and non fatiguing, I will postpone to a future indeterminate my wish for the Dave... I think, but it is solely my non informed opinion, that under 1000 bucks, any so called upgrade of this battery dac will be a sidegrade....Enjoy your music, my best wishes to all of you for the best part of the year to come...
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2017
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