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Vinshine Audio DAC R2R-REF w/ soekris

Discussion in 'Dedicated Source Components' started by uncola, Oct 3, 2016.
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  1. uncola
    This thread is to discuss the Vinshine Audio DAC R2R-REF dac and headphone amp.  This is a commercial dac and headphone amp incorporating the well known Soekris diy dac pcb which was one of the things which made multibit r2r dacs popular again after delta sigma chip dacs ruled the world for decades due to being cheaper to make.  It also incorporates a custom vinshine audio low noise linear regulated psu and digital input switching board and the amanero combo384 usb to i2s input board.  For headphone amplification a lehmann type headphone amp is provided with dual 1/4" outputs.  This dac is shipping extremely soon and I wanted owners to have a place to post impressions and discuss good headphone and speaker pairings.  I was one of the first to preorder when it was offered earlier this year in a group buy.  
    The dac is capable of 32 bit 384KHz PCM playback, DoP 256 and has both fixed output for pure dac mode and a variable volume output level controlled by a volume knob.
    Design emphasizes minimal use of hook up wire, most components plug directly into each other or use very short ribbon cable.  Dual transformers, one for dac one for headphone amp.
    Professionally test benched with audio precision measuring device etc.
    Digital input board with low noise linear regulator:
    Headphone Amp Board:
    Master Sample being sound tested, amanero not pictured, soekris pcb back right.
    Current status of development:  All PCBs are finished and the metal chassis is currently being manufactured.  Should ship out soon!
    Follow progress here: http://www.xtremeplace.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=223862.0
    Here's what the front/rear ports will look like, it's going to be black anodized with laser etched text and gold brand badge
    Metalwork for the case:  this is before polishing and anodizing.  Check those thick panels!  It could chop an orc skull in half
    About Vinshine Audio:  Alvin created several successful group buys for audio fans on the forum xtremeplace and I took part in his Jay's Audio 12V linear power supply group buy which many bought to use with their Geek Pulse dac.  After creating a few more group buys Alvin decided to launch his own brand and the DAC R2R-REF is one of his first new products.  His products ship worldwide and prices are listed in singapore dollars so you'll notice the price in us dollars being lower.
    About Soekris dac:  The Soekris dam1021 dac pcb was created by Soren for diyers to use to build their own dacs with a high quality multibit r2r resister ladder based module and contains a spartan fpga for control and digital filters.  It's firmware upgradeable via serial port and a few third party digital filters have been released so far.  You can see it's development here.  
    About multibit r2r sound:  They're known to preserve microplankton details that help create holographic illusion of instrument placement throughout the room especially with speakers and to have less digital glare in the treble.  But the specific implementation of the dac and surrounding circuitry design are as important as dac topology.  Discussion of r2r dac sound here http://www.head-fi.org/t/777597/vintage-current-r2r-dac-owners-discussion-insight-and-review-thread
  2. Greg121986
    Very excited to receive my Vinshine DAC! I'll post my detailed thoughts as soon as I can formulate an opinion. 
  3. taz23

    Same here. It will be my first R2R DAC, and I look forward to comparing it with FPGA (Mojo) and DS (Geek Pulse XFi) DACs that I have.
  4. taz23
    Latest update on the development: the chassis is done, after the Golden Week holidays in China. 
    Assembly has been set in motion now...  and here are some images of the development:
    Siddhant Merh and uncola like this.
  5. taz23
    And testing after assembly...
  6. Greg121986
    Pulse XFi is my current DAC as well. I'm hopeful the Vinshine will be a nice upgrade. 
  7. Greg121986
    Just got word that mine is almost ready to ship. Just sold my LH Labs this week, too. Perfect timing! [​IMG]
  8. uncola
    mine too!  
  9. uncola
    my dac shipped today.  will update when it arrives.  Next month someone is going to loan me a metrum musette I can compare it to.  Things are happening woo
  10. taz23

    Yes, Alvin was at the factory to verify the QC, and he has been pleased with the product.  Things should heat up at this thread shortly.
    Here are some images at the factory and testing...
    The CDPro2 feeding to the R2-R DAC (acting as a preamp), and to FM711 Power amp...  sounding awesome!
  11. taz23
    I am very lucky to get hold of a unit of the VinShine R2-R DAC...  and very briefly, the wait is well worth it!
    Firstly, some pictures of the unboxing.  The box is simple, but does the job of holding the contents.  More importantly, the DAC is very well protected by THICK (and I mean real thick) foam.  There is also one power cable and one USB cable.  Images below:
    The finished product is very solid, both in terms of weight and the quality of exterior.  There is no sharp edges in the various sides -- good quality workmanship in the chassis.  The silver knobs and the silver nameplate goes very well.  The volume knob is very smooth, and the selector knob clicks to the various options.
    Overall, I am impressed with the product.  Sound impressions to follow in the next post...
  12. taz23
    I connected the VinShine DAC with my own power cable and let it warm up with some random music tracks into my HE-560 while I have my dinner. 
    After about 30 minutes of warming up, I took a brief listen with the HE-560.  Very clean and detailed music, with coherent soundstage.  That was only for a few minutes, before I let it cook for another 30 minutes or so while watching TV with the missus.
    Finally, I have alone time, and a quick comparison was done with the Geek Pulse XFi (with Jay's Audio LPS).  Comparisons were done using the same USB cable, and into the same HE-560.  Both DACs were fed from a laptop with SSD, using WASAPI connections.  (By the way, drivers for the DAC can be downloaded from http://amanero.com/drivers.htm)
    The operation of the VinShine DAC was faultless, connection was solid with no dropouts.  I found that the VinShine DAC has meatier notes, as compared to the Geek XFi with LPS; it makes the XFi sounds lean.  Additionally, the bass seems deeper too.  So I have to admit that I am impressed with the Lehmann buffer headphone amp section!  It really drives the HE-560 well. 
    The clarity of the VinShine DAC may even be better than that of the XFi (which is no slough).  But that may have been an effect of the sound being more forward than the XFi.  So I will need more burn-in and listening to be sure.
    Overall, everything sounds coherent, natural, and most importantly, very emotive! 
    PS: I briefly connected my Emotiva AirMotiv 6 powered speakers to the VinShine DAC, and the speakers just disappear while presenting flowing music.  Previously, I had to add things like the Intona USB galvanic isolator and an XMOS SPDIF converter to the XFi to achieve this.  So once again, I am very impressed with the "barebone" VinShine DAC!
    Edit: I will do more comparisons with the various inputs, and also with the addition of Intona, etc.  Finally, will include Chord Mojo in future comparisons over the next few days. 
    Edit edit: Ah, I forgot to mention that DSD works flawlessly too.  In WASAPI connection, please select DoP (DSD over PCM).  In ASIO mode, DSD works too.
  13. uncola
    wow awesome.  I'm going to use mine with and without an lh labs revive usb fixer with hd800 and also with speaker amp/speakers using the built in volume control.  then later this week I'll try it with a preamp for the speakers
  14. taz23
    After burning-in overnight, the VinShine DAC is now less upfront while retaining the clarity and weight in its note.  Excellent!
    I added the Intona (non-industrial) to the chain and the soundstage is deeper with better imaging and separation.  Excellent-square! 
    A number of live performances played make my hair stand on ends.  There is plenty of air in the treble and loads of low-end in the bass, and all these without sounding artificial.  The voices and instruments (e.g., violins, cellos, pianos) all sound true-to-life.  I truly understand the emotive effect of R-2R DACs now.
    The above is apparent with both headphones (headphone outs) and speakers (variable line-outs).  I am very happy with the purchase... and will report back over the next few days.
  15. Greg121986
    Thanks for reporting on the performance of the DAC with the Intona USB isolator. Is the non-industrial Intona better suited for audio use? I have been meaning to get an Intona. Now that my Vinshine DAC is on the way I'll have to order the Intona very soon. 
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