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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. stellarelephant
    Chameleon looks nice, but out of my budget. I almost bought the 3.1. Glad I passed! Decided to go a modular route that will hopefully allow me to audition multiple DACs at minimal cost. Just today I took delivery of an iPower and a Raspberry Pi. I'm still waiting for my Allo Kali to arrive from Canada. With this trio, I believe I will have a first-class I2S signal that will bring high performance from different DAC hat boards. I'm going to start with matt_garman's TDA1387 design.
  2. richard51
    Any comparison between any dac is very difficult to accomplish.... Because the cleaning of the grid and isolation treatment problems, apart for the peculiarities of the other audio pieces themselves... For example the SPS dac with battery and run also with an external battery, in a cleaned electrical house grid will give a cleaner sound than another dac with a non isolated power supply in a non cleaned grid....And the first thing that I have observed in the first try with the dac 2 is an apparent lack of details in my non cleaned grid....After my grid was cleaned his natural musicality trounce my other dac without giving any impression of a lack in details...There is better than this dac but at what price?
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018
    automojo likes this.
  3. stellarelephant
    The iPower boasts ultra-low 1uV ripple. That's squeaky clean. And I have a Class A headphone amp that uses 2 9V batteries. So ostensibly I won't need any power conditioning whatsoever, for headphone listening. Over speakers will be a different story, though. My mother-in-law collects crystals--going to her house is like stepping into a natural history museum. Maybe she can be convinced to loan me a few :)
    richard51 likes this.
  4. automojo
    I agree...
    Sometimes I have to believe people have way too much time on their hands to endlessly research things.
    As far as power supplies modern units design for a specific purpose like the IFi relatively inexpensive and very versatile. I think instead of just constantly talking about things, try one out on a trial period, And find out for yourself. 2 amps for $49.
    IFi One of those companies that really takes isolation and noise reduction into account, pretty impressive.
    Conventional linear power supplies are not without their own problems like heat transformers getting buzzy after years capacitors etc. plus transformer hum.
    I totally agree, The inexpensive ways of dealing with noise and vibration.
    I agree, this DAC for the price it’s hard to beat, and the best way of maximizing this or any other unit is to fine-tune it to your system. Not with out it’s drawbacks- it’s flow and musicality sometimes comes with the often mention lack of air. Try a set of Heil, or dipole speakers. Try repositioning your speakers as well. Increase their spacing if possible. Schiit Rtr Dacs also have the same narrow, but stable sound stage. They tend to sound bright however. Too bright for my system.
    That’s one of the things I never get on these sights, is people constantly go through this piece equipment and that piece of equipment without really understanding how their components interact. And try to maximize what they have first before swapping out.
    Spazy consumers!!
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018
    richard51 likes this.
  5. richard51
    Nobody here or at another forums where I speak about that have ever try a simple means to clean the grid, at low cost, you will be the first....Try black tourmaline, agate, or quartz, black tourmaline,or jasper, the mix will be relative to the location and the specifics of your audio system or your electrical grid... put some of them on the central electrical panel of your house or room to begin with... You will listen to some effects.... The rest is experimenting.... Trust me it is better than to buy a thousand dollars power supply.... or worst a cable, or a new dac.... By the way I dont doubt the cleanliness of you Ipower, but a clean electrical house grid is another matter than the cleanliness of a piece of gear...:ksc75smile: thanks for your open spirit
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018
    stellarelephant likes this.
  6. CJG888
    F01BC1FD-9569-4AF8-AB7A-ABB5657CCE35.jpeg Inside the Chameleon
    richard51 and stellarelephant like this.
  7. richard51
    Congratulations ! Impressive and clean ....
  8. jcnb68
    Hi every one and apologies for my poor english.
    I have triyed more than 100 dac in the last 4 years in very efficient systems.

    From my experience, I would say that Delta Sigma dac, for the betters (AKM chips for me) made good or very good
    sound. When used in NOS mode but there are few (Nuforce was a king there). The upsampling effect is just criminal for musicality.
    All is there but after a quarter of an hour, you are just starting to become nervous, not engaged in the
    music, thinking in a lot of things you forgot to do.
    After thinking a lot on the reason. I think there is a big problem with TEMPO and all the multiple reclocking necessary when
    the message is upsampled. I fall in love with music listening when I was 11 years old (1981) and at this time, all the
    in analog mode. At the age of 20 years, I felt that it was more and more difficult to me to be involved in music listening.
    The emotion wasn't there any more. I concluded that it was the reason of my age. I wasn't any more a youth and the problems
    of being adult caused my lack of emotion.

    I came back to music 5 years ago and just when I was thinkig to give it up again after 2 years (lacking of emotions), I came across the
    AMR DP-777 dac. Ah, the music was finaly there.
    After the AMR, I triyed a lot of old good dac with R2R chips. I never liked the ones with PCM 1704 ones (even the Aqua hifi La Scala mk2
    which is an modern one).

    But I have been playing for more than a year with the Altmann Attraction dac which only uses a TDA1543 chip.
    And this was the most involving dac I ever heard. When you listen to it, you forget all the rest.
    Your just in contact with the music and with the players.
    I can't say that the Altmann was the best dac that I heard but surelly the more enjoyable one. That is for sure.

    Mr Altmann says that the conversion chip is less dramatical in sound that the entry chip whic converts the
    digital message from source to spdif protocol. Which for him and for a lot of professionnals is a criminal protocol
    to vehiculate a musical digital message.

    All that to say that this little TDA1543 chip is perhaps one of the most worse understood. And I think that we could
    find a lot of bargains with dacs incorporating this chip.

    Hoppe it can help.
    Haden2866 and richard51 like this.
  9. richard51

    Thanks very much for this remarkable testimony.... I am nowhere near your experience with many dacs....But I can be with you on this review of the tda 1543 chip....My own experience is that this chip pulverise, because of the cheap price, many higher priced chips and dacs....

    By the way all reviews of this chip that speaks about a lack of details speaks more about the noisy audio system or the electrical house grid system where this chip is embedded than of the musical chip in itself.... People pay for audio system that they put all in a bunch, without precautions,without cleaning their electrical house grid,without isolating them, without damping them, after that they say that this chip lacks details ....:ksc75smile: I had plenty of 3-d musical imaging now with all details....My tda 1943 chip was paid a couple of bucks....
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2018
  10. stellarelephant
    Goodbye, digital glare. Hello NOS! I want to thank everybody who has participated since the beginning of this thread. All your impressions made me so curious about the NOS sound, that I jumped in. And now, of course, there's no going back!

    I got hold of a new open-source DAC developed as a Raspberry Pi hat on DIYAudio by Matt_Garmin. It is based on a single Philips chip like the SPS, but a TDA1387 in this case. For $20 its the best investment I have ever made in hi-fi. Nothing too fancy, really (although I do like the big WIMA polypropylene output caps)...but its still sort of in a beta testing stage, and mine has a minor ground loop issue I'm still troubleshooting.


    At any rate, this is the only digital source I want to hear anymore...I have owned Cirrus, AKM, Wolfson, and Sabre, and this is the one that I can listen to FOREVER, WITHOUT FATIGUE... Over headphones the sound is blissful...I haven't had so much fun with cans since I got a walkman in 5th grade. But the biggest surprise is that over my speaker system, this thing images with more precision than any other DAC I have. I guess it is the phase alignment...I get that depth in the soundstage that reminds me of analog. I like how it seems to emphasize the important details over the trivial ones...like natural timbre and timing of the music itself, rather than minute recording space reflections or pin drops. The much-maligned "digital glare"--which I perceive as a metallic ringing sensation with Delta Sigma--is gone. It's all so cohesive and still full of detail. Wow.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2018
    Sapientiam, Haden2866 and richard51 like this.
  11. jambul
    Actualy, i am doing this converting dac chip all of my dap to tda 1387 for a long time, since i realy love the timbre sound coming from this dac. my favorite IV is using BC560 without biasing before R.
    the first picture is using the pot to pin 7 to control the volume and not using the IV instead, only to drive a high impedance earbud (impedance earbud is the IV) but that picture is when i use the IV to drive my srs002.
    tda5.jpg tda1.jpg tda2.jpg tda3.jpg tda4.jpg
    Sapientiam likes this.
  12. jambul
    by the way, we already have dap using a tda1387 chip, you can search on revamp thread for Nuansa P1
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2018
    Sapientiam and stellarelephant like this.
  13. dwinnert
    What is the difference other than USB between the Battery DAC and DAC 3?
  14. gvl2016
    The DAC 3 has a built-in reclocker, I believe it reclocks all inputs.
  15. dwinnert
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