Which DIY DAC?
Mar 20, 2006 at 2:33 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 16

Regus

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 30, 2004
Posts
224
Likes
0
Well I wanted to buy a Benchmark DAC1 to replace my E-MU 1212M, but the bank didn't agree with my assesment of my finances so I can't afford one this year
smily_headphones1.gif


So I started thinking about building one myself, and after a bit of searching the DDDAC1543 MK2 seems pretty apealing, I particularly like the modular design which leaves room for later experimentation...

But I figured I best ask around and hear if there is something else I might want to take a look at before I make up my mind...
 
Mar 20, 2006 at 4:23 AM Post #2 of 16

chris719

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
May 8, 2003
Posts
158
Likes
0
If you are going to buy a finished product, my advice is to buy something you can return. Some people do not like to admit it, but EMU 1212m is at a pretty high level and there are some external dacs that are worse. Personally, I don't buy into the whole non-os thing and you may well find the 1212m better than a dddac or other TDA1543 based dac.

If you are building yourself then these are good starting points because they are relatively cheap and simple.
 
Mar 20, 2006 at 4:36 AM Post #3 of 16

Regus

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 30, 2004
Posts
224
Likes
0
Problem is if I do buy something I can return, then it will either be a lot more expensive or a waste of time to even try it...

The E-MU 1212M is very good but I am not satisfied so i'll have to try something new, and it seems like i have to shell out something in the $ 700+ (including 25% import duty) to get something realistic.

I was thinking about the MicroDac but nothing to sugest it is noticably better than the E-MU 1212M. Beyond that we are into som pretty heavy teritory where I might as well go all the way and get the Benchmark DAC1 or something else in that price range.

Besides building a DIY DAC would serve as a hobby at the same time and I deperatly need a non-computer hobby that does not require me to dedicate a large quantity of time to maintainance or such (like say a sail boat)
smily_headphones1.gif


And I do have a reasonable amount of experience with electronics and soldering, although it has bee n a few years since I did anything more complicated than make a d-sub RGB -> Scart connector...
 
Mar 20, 2006 at 5:09 AM Post #5 of 16

n_maher

Resistorous Conflagorous
Joined
Nov 20, 2004
Posts
8,405
Likes
31
As Thaddy said, I'm a pretty big fan of the Monica. I've built two and had a friend listening to one for the last month or so. We both compared them to $1000+ DVD players with somewhat mixed results. I found a marked increase in the level of perceptable detail (without harshness) while my friend found that the Monica didn't quite jive with one part of his setup. He found that using his HD650s w/ Zu cable coupled with a PPA yielded just the slightest bit of harshness with female vocals. Even with that slight criticism he thought that it was a decent match for his Denon 4800 and in some ways still better. I was initially concerned but I can't say that I hear anything like it (and neither did he listening to my setup) with my PPA, HD600s w/ Cardas cable so as with all things audio it would appear to be a matter of synergy. I like to think I've found a great budget rig with my modded 3950 costing less than $100 and the Monica for around $200 (with premium components).

That's my 2c,

Nate
 
Mar 20, 2006 at 7:05 AM Post #6 of 16

peterpan188

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 25, 2005
Posts
164
Likes
12
Nate, mind if I ask if you got the kit from diyparadise or you got the parts yourself? What's your set up for premium parts?

Thanks,
Peter
 
Mar 20, 2006 at 9:35 AM Post #7 of 16

00940

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Nov 6, 2002
Posts
4,493
Likes
44
there's a sad lack of mid-range DACs using modern parts and oversampling. We're trying to design one for 200$ in parts in this thread http://www6.head-fi.org/forums/showthread.php?t=157955 but I wouldn't expect boards to be available before a pair of months.

If you go the non-os way, at least try an active I/V. You'll find an easy one on diyaudio, by "rbroer", in a thread called "a single rail I/V for tda1545-1543" or something like that. It sounds good enough. I use for now a highly modded cdp using the tda1545a in nos mode, in a setup objectively superior to the "monica" (direct I2S, better regulators, decoupling). It competes with cdp in the 400$ range I'd say.
 
Mar 20, 2006 at 12:47 PM Post #8 of 16

Garbz

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
May 19, 2004
Posts
3,573
Likes
12
which is the reason I designed and built one myself
icon10.gif
 
Mar 20, 2006 at 12:48 PM Post #9 of 16

n_maher

Resistorous Conflagorous
Joined
Nov 20, 2004
Posts
8,405
Likes
31
Quote:

Originally Posted by peterpan188
Nate, mind if I ask if you got the kit from diyparadise or you got the parts yourself? What's your set up for premium parts?

Thanks,
Peter



I got the boards, chips and oscon caps from DIY Paradise. The rest, including Blackgate caps in the signal path I got from the usual suspects (Mouser, Digikey, Parts Connexion). I guess if I wanted to go really crazy I would have used some higher spec resistors (vs. the VD RN55s that I used) but I got some advice from another Head-Fi'er and his opinion was that the resistors probably didn't change things much, if at all.

Nate
 
Mar 20, 2006 at 6:40 PM Post #10 of 16

Regus

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 30, 2004
Posts
224
Likes
0
hmm this could become a fun long lasting hobby
smily_headphones1.gif


I think I will start out with the dddac, seems a bit of a challange but yet something I could actually make without any serious problems and without having to invest in an oscilloscope
smily_headphones1.gif
, and without having to make my own boards (been more than 12 years since I tried that, and then it was with a pen and bucket of yellow liquid in the basement of my parents house)

The modular layout wins it for me. It leaves far more room for later experimentation with alternate setups, and thats half the fun...

In any case I think I will build this thing and then play around with alternatives afterwards... there seems to be very differing perspectives on the quality of these dacs, anywhere from rubish to reflections of God.

Once I get my eye back in, I could be very tempted to build an experimental hybrid DAC combining a segmented design and PWM - which theortically atleast should make for a very accurate DAC...
 
Mar 20, 2006 at 6:47 PM Post #11 of 16

rickcr42

Are YOU talkin' to me?
Joined
Jun 21, 2001
Posts
13,874
Likes
14
Quote:

which is the reason I designed and built one myself


what he said.

because it is so simple everyone is using the Phillips DAC chips inNon OS but the options for other DAC chips are just not there and mean doing all the grunt work solo.I tend to the ADI chips and these puppies are a real b*tch to get to operate without a digital filter/oversampling and probably why you see very few examples from "DIYers" who can do plug-and-play but not actually design digital
 
Mar 21, 2006 at 3:22 AM Post #12 of 16

Garbz

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
May 19, 2004
Posts
3,573
Likes
12
Stop scaring the guy it's not that hard
evil_smiley.gif


Infact I'm very happy to see posts about the CS8416 and getting PMs myself from people who are going this route. Most chips fit together rather well without problem the onlything left is designing a board to sucessfully transmit digital data between them without problems.
 
Mar 21, 2006 at 6:40 AM Post #13 of 16

rickcr42

Are YOU talkin' to me?
Joined
Jun 21, 2001
Posts
13,874
Likes
14
try an AD1851 or 1865 Non OS without looking at how Audio Note did the interface and THEN tell me it is easy.damn timing nightmare
very_evil_smiley.gif
tongue.gif


Wanna know the weird part ? ADI actually published an app.note on such an interface and it does not work well
eek.gif
eek.gif
eek.gif
 
Apr 7, 2006 at 9:08 PM Post #14 of 16

Regus

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 30, 2004
Posts
224
Likes
0
Finally got my new soldering iron yesterday.

So today I built my 24 chip DDDAC - and it sounds very convincing even though it is currently being run off a PC PSU (a good one but still) and I have used only the cheap caps that came with the kit...

It seems to have better stereo separation and more general detail and a bigger soundstage than my E-MU 1212m - It has not had time to burn in and it needs a lot of tweaking but so far so good
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Apr 8, 2006 at 5:02 AM Post #15 of 16

SHLim

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 15, 2004
Posts
110
Likes
0
Anyone here tried the NOS DAC from Diyaudiocrft?
http://www.diyaudiocraft.com/tda1541...a1541a-v2.html
Seems to be very good value from the amount of parts and their quality.
Also, he seems to looking after his customer as he is giving free upgrade part.
http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/showt...threadid=69707
If you read his vendor bazaar forum in diyaudio you find he even give free v2 pcb to those who brought & build his v1 kit. Have not come across any kit supplier who go that mileage.
http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/showt...=&pagenumber=1
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top