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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. automojo
    I don’t find a bass flabby at all.
    IMHO it’s more a function of your system and speakers.
    I spent a lot of time on my ESS AMT 3’s , to get the bass tuneful, deep, and tight. They are fully acoustic suspension (sealed) 2x 10” long throw (11mm) paper cone woofers with foam surrounds. Ceramic treated and braced inner walls. Foamed lined inner walls and 2 types of damping material directly behind the woofers. The crossover uses all low ESR components to maximize efficiency, and reduce any negative interactions with the driving amplifier.
    It’s about 1 1/2 dB more efficeint the stock now.
    You really have to tune your speaker boxes by ear to get this.
    Manufactured unmodified speakers, you’re getting what they think is best.
    Modern versus vintage speakers well that’s a whole other story.
    The NOS TDA 1543 requires a certain system to sound its best.
    I think low power inefficient systems won’t sound very good with this DAC.
    I think the best way is comparing it is if tube equipment sounds good with your system...if it doesn’t then I would take a pass on NOS Dacs, or modify your system!!
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2018
  2. automojo
    As far as the chips being fake... it’s a bit weird but I’m not sure if that really matters if the unit sounds good.
    Regardless of it being made in China, someone voiced this unit, to sound a particular way.
    I’m not sure what the reference was, but it sounds very much like the DAC Box S Fl, (or visa versa?!).
    The Project references a Phillips design.
    And their intention was to sound analog, tube like... with all its pluses and minuses.
    But remember, back in the day there were a lot of poorly mastered CDs.
    So it’s good to have a choice.
    At this price you can afford to have a few different ones in your arsenal.
    Muses Burr Brown DAC is another good choice
  3. gvl2016
    IMO trying to find differences in sound between basic NOS no analog filtering passive I/V conversion TDA1543 based DACs is an exercise in futility. They all are based on similar circuit designs, there only so many ways to skin the same cat. What's iteresting some companies dare to charge 4 digits for them.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2018
  4. automojo
    I agree!!
    Even with the direct couple design the differences are so small it’s basically pointless.
    I have had the Box S FL for a number years I picked up second hand for $75.
    Even at $299, it’s a good value as it’s a more conventional box design, and easier to integrate. It’s a solid commercial design and has no quirks or issues it’ll run 24 hours a day if you wanted to with no heat issues.
  5. gvl2016
    If I wanted to spend $200-300 on a TDA1543 DAC I'd probably get one of the models from Teradak, they bring something if not new but at least different to the table, but frankly the SPS DAC3 was more than enough to satisfy my curiosity.
  6. Sapientiam
    There are a couple of things worth looking out for in terms of implementation of 1543-based DACs. First is the internal current source being used? If it is, there will be a resistor from pin7 to 0V setting the quiescent output voltage. Amongst those who've played with such DAC designs, one or two of us have discovered that the internal current source sucks, an external one can do a better job. The external CCS makes the design more agnostic to power supply quality, if the internal one's used then extra capacitance on the rails pays benefits.

    A second point is how optimized is the internal layout? - particularly what's done with noise currents arriving on the digital inputs. USB is worse than S/PDIF in this regard, unless isolation is employed. S/PDIF normally goes through one transformer (at least) - but if you find your source doesn't include one then make sure you have one in your DAC.
  7. stellarelephant
    Funny how the Teradak auctions seem to bill truncated playback as a desirable "feature" of their products:

    "TE7022 USB receiver chip, support 24 Bit, 96 KHz, without format conversion directly receive a variety of digital audio signal flow."

    Has anybody heard a 1543 try to cope with 24/96? Sound better or worse than downsampling?
  8. gvl2016
    The DAC3 can't do 24 bits over USB and even if it could one should still dither to 16 bits for best SQ. I did try to upsample to 16/96 in JRiver. This as expected adds more energy in high-frequencies and sounds less NOS-ish but overall preserves more or less the same sonic signature. Definitely worth a try.

    As for Teradak, it is kind of a "feature" as you don't necessarily need to convert externally 24 bits to 16 bits perhaps at the cost of some quality loss due to LSB truncation. You can't send 24 bits to the DAC3 over USB for example, haven't tried SPDIF, technically DIR9001 can do 24 bits but not clear how things work out down the chain as there is a reclocker in the path.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2018
  9. axtran
    Any recommendations?
  10. automojo
    My point was it’s old incorrect thinking that linear power supplies are always quieter then switch mode power supply... or somehow switch mode units are always inferior
    That’s simply not the case I’m using this 24 amp unit other projects as well
    The IFi power supplies are switch mode... and much quieter than any linear supply I have seen.
    The reason being because they’re designed properly and filtered properly.
    They also adapt to just about any unit you may have
    Not to mention transformers , particularly large ones hum especially as they age and that’s very hard to filter out.
    Take a look at the benchmark article, I don’t see anyone complaining about noise or any drawbacks with their power supplies.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2018
  11. Sapientiam
    Do iFi provide any information about the common-mode noise their switchers generate? Linear supplies do have the one advantage that they're not generators of common-mode hash.
  12. automojo
    IFi is a member here.
    Do a search, they have discussed this among other things as well
  13. Sapientiam
    Did a search on here, nothing showed up beyond a post talking about their 'Active Noise Cancellation'. Also did a similar one on Yahoo, nothing there either. Got any pointers?
  14. automojo
    I would suggest contacting them
    Alternatively trying one of their power supplies and see how it works for you they have a 30 day return policy
    You can spend a lot of time doing research or just give it a shot.
  15. CJG888
    I’m quite enjoying the Teradak Chameleon (modified with Obbligato output caps). By comparison, the 3.1 was disappointing.
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