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AK4396: best solution for output stage
AK4396: best solution for output stage
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Old 17th May 2009, 09:18 PM   #11
Tolu is offline Tolu  Germany
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Do you have a good/better circuit for the Ak4396? I would like to change it in my Emu 0404 USB!
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Old 18th May 2009, 07:25 AM   #12
Hurtig is offline Hurtig  Denmark
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@ Thomas:
I do know a better solution for the AK4396. But since I will launch it in a CS4398 based DAC soon, I really can't reveal to much.
It is the product of about 4 years of developement and listening tests, and may very well set a new standard for digital audio gear.

You could start by cloning the LC Audio ZAPFilter. Maybe upgrade it, by using a push-pull output. This will most likely kick some op-amp ***.
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Old 18th May 2009, 07:44 AM   #13
Ola is offline Ola  Estonia
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Hurtig,

some people like midfrequencies, either for hifi-religious or psycho-acoustic reasons. Not long ago Dynaudio made (mabe still makes) a loudspeaker they advertised as being made for listening to acoustical music. It contained only one of their higher end bass-mid drivers and it's frequency response topped officially at 8 kHz.
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Old 18th May 2009, 10:38 AM   #14
Hurtig is offline Hurtig  Denmark
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@ Ola:
Funny.,.. I live about 2km from the Dynaudio Headquarter.

I am surpriced that they launched a speaker that will roll off at 8kHz.
I do not see what this has to do with the AK4396 output stage....

But anyway... try the discrete non feedback design, and you will be surpriced....
In our developement model, we had an arrangement, where we could switch in/out both the discrete design and an op-amp based analog stage in the same DAC-PCB. We have tried MANY op-amps, and yes. They all sound different.... But... Still so much alike. The simply sound like an op-amp! None og them was even near the performance of the discrete design.
But among the op-amps, the NE5534A was a true winner!
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Old 22nd May 2009, 09:25 AM   #15
Telstar is offline Telstar  Italy
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Quote:
Originally posted by Hurtig
I do know a better solution for the AK4396. But since I will launch it in a CS4398 based DAC soon, I really can't reveal to much.
Why the choice of this chip?
__________________
"The response of the inner ear extends to at least 200khz" Dr W. Tempest
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Old 22nd May 2009, 12:25 PM   #16
bwaslo is offline bwaslo  United States
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AK4396: best solution for output stage
Quote:
The bad thing are the irregular crackles. Is this normal for EMU 0404 USB or is it a PC problem?
Your problem with the crackles is almost certainly because of your computer not keeping up with the audio stream (and not because of badness of the analog circuit in the DAC). Fix that first before looking into exotic things like opamps and capacitors.

Probably not because of low computer speed, but is more likely due to a hardware device in the computer interrupting the processor for so long that it can't keep the DAC buffer filled. This happens very commonly with Bluetooth or Wireless LAN devices within the machine (because of bad driver design and particularly often on laptop computers). Sometimes a driver update can fix it, but usually disabling or uninstalling the wireless device is the only fix.

To find out if this is the case (and to check whether your computer can even work effectively with audio), highly recommend that you download and run the DPC Latency checker (it's freeware) from
http://www.thesycon.de/deu/latency_check.shtml
This can make all the difference! (The 0404 is a pretty good DAC)
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Old 22nd May 2009, 01:05 PM   #17
Hurtig is offline Hurtig  Denmark
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Quote:
Originally posted by Telstar


Why the choice of this chip?

Well... quite a hard choice. Kurt_von_Kubik who is also part of this project, is a hardcore fan of Burr-Brown. So we have been working with the BB/TI chips for a long time during the developement.
I have been a working with Crystal DAC's since the late 90's, and suggested the CS4398. None of us really believed that it would match the BB chips, since these generally have a little better data. But the CS4398 has shown extremely good results, when combined with our discrete non feedback analog stage.

The choice of CS4398 is 100% based on listening test, just like everything else in the design. Thats why we have been woking more than 4 years on this project already!
Currently we are working on implementing an ASRC in our prototype. None of us realle believe in ASRC's, but we have decided to give it another try.
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Old 22nd May 2009, 01:27 PM   #18
Bill Fuss is offline Bill Fuss  United States
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Hi, I can't resist adding my 2 cents. I am a recent convert to transformer output with a CS4398. I have been able to directly compare it to a Borbely discrete OP stage and the transformers are clearly superior, but YMMV.

Best, Bill
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Old 22nd May 2009, 02:36 PM   #19
ChuckT is offline ChuckT
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Quote:
Originally posted by Hurtig
@ Ola:
Funny.,.. I live about 2km from the Dynaudio Headquarter.

I am surpriced that they launched a speaker that will roll off at 8kHz.
I do not see what this has to do with the AK4396 output stage....

But anyway... try the discrete non feedback design, and you will be surpriced....
In our developement model, we had an arrangement, where we could switch in/out both the discrete design and an op-amp based analog stage in the same DAC-PCB. We have tried MANY op-amps, and yes. They all sound different.... But... Still so much alike. The simply sound like an op-amp! None og them was even near the performance of the discrete design.
But among the op-amps, the NE5534A was a true winner!

Interesting, every time I replace a 553x, I found a big improvement. Is there a specific brand/grade of 5534 that sound very good.
BTW, I found the tda1543 don't lack in dynamics and sound better than the cs4397 dac (P3A). Go figure...
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Old 22nd May 2009, 03:43 PM   #20
Hurtig is offline Hurtig  Denmark
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bill Fuss
Hi, I can't resist adding my 2 cents. I am a recent convert to transformer output with a CS4398. I have been able to directly compare it to a Borbely discrete OP stage and the transformers are clearly superior, but YMMV.

Best, Bill

Transformer... Hhmmmm... I really do not agree that this is the way to go. I guess you feel the sound more soft and maybe a deep black background. Right??

Just be aware, that the softness, is the result of the transformer killing every inch of dynamics.
And about the black backgroud: I know very few CD's recorded with such a black background. If you experience this black background, it's typically because everything below a certain level is gone. I have seen similiar results from a lot of classD amps. Very impressing at first because the details left seems more clear. But after a few days you discover, that much of the small details is totally gone.
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