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Old 23rd April 2010, 03:38 AM   #1
poler is offline poler  United States
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Los Angeles
Default birthday DAC...

Well today is my birthday and I have decided to treat myself and buy my first DIY DAC. I just wanted to ask you for recommendations on a kit around $200+- Thank you and have a great weekend!
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Old 23rd April 2010, 08:52 AM   #2
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Feb 2009
Hi poler,

first of all: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

Well, quite a difficult decision, because there are plenty of kits around in this price range which are supposed to be "good".

We definitely need to know more about your setup and your preferences.

1. What kind of input do you need? Spdif, optical or even usb?
2. Have you ever compared the sound of a os dac to a nos dac? You have to decide if you want to go for os or nos, or you can buy a ready-to-go kit from ebay seller raindrop_hui with the option to switch from os to nos.
3. What case are you planning to use? Do you need a dac with enclosure or without, does it have to be as small as possible or doesn't size matter?
4. What amp do you use? Is it a integrated or a pre/poweramp combo (then you can use almost any dac) or is it just a power amp with a volume pot (in this case you won't get along with dacs which provide a passive i/v conversion due to the rather high output impedance)?

So, tell us a bit more! ;-)

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Old 23rd April 2010, 12:04 PM   #3
poler is offline poler  United States
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Los Angeles

Thanks for the reply and sorry I should have given more details. Your questions are good so i'll answer them and hopefully I can get a better answer this way.

1. Spdif or Optical
2. I have not compared a os dac to a nos. I have been looking at the raindrop_hui dacs and certainly look interesting and if you can switch between os and nos then it might a good one to look at.
3. I'll be making my own case. Size doesn't matter.
4. I'm using a preamp and power amp.

What I had in mind is to get a dac that is more neutral (not so warm or colored) that will get me the most detail and let the pre amp / pwr amp add the flavoring.
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Old 23rd April 2010, 12:19 PM   #4
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: East Sussex
Hi Poler.
Many happy returns of the day !
I hope that this is not to off topic for you, but take a look at this on DiyAudio:-

FS: Cambridge CD2 4X tda1541

These, with a little bit of upgrading (opamps, caps, diodes and a better $30 clock) will give alot of pleasure, with sound better than many high end new machines.
Mechs are common Philips swing arm type.

Also see:-

CD2 cambridge Audio CD player

for a greater level of mods (I have not done the Lamp yet)

All the best.
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Old 23rd April 2010, 01:58 PM   #5
49 - for the 19th time!!!
diyAudio Member
c2cthomas's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Near "Music City" (Nashville Tennessee)
Here is an idea I'm looking at
CD DAC Lampucera lampizator

There is also an interesting project with a Behringer
ultramatch Pro SRC2496 - Behringer
DIY audio can be expensive but getting to see things go up in smoke - that's priceless!!!! ..... "whatever - call it brainfart of Mighty ZM"
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Old 24th April 2010, 12:08 AM   #6
poler is offline poler  United States
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Los Angeles
Oh yeah i've looked at the lampizator mods, look interesting.
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Old 24th April 2010, 01:30 AM   #7
glt is offline glt  United States
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Buffalo II DAC? but ~$300 with PS. It works as either voltage out dac or current out dac. TPA will start pre-sales tomorrow: The Buffalo II Digital-to-Analog Converter
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Old 24th April 2010, 01:52 AM   #8
poler is offline poler  United States
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Los Angeles
Thanks for the heads up. I read great things about the Buffalo but I didn't know when will they be selling it again.
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Old 27th April 2010, 09:32 PM   #9
poler is offline poler  United States
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Los Angeles
i missed the presale of the Buffalo (it sells out so fast) but it seems you need to spend a lot more than $200 to get all the components. So i've been looking at the raindrop hui (particularly the AD1955+AD1896 24BIT/96KHz Balance Output HDAM) kits on ebay and the gigawork ones. The raindrop-hui one looks interesting, I was reading some review on the forums but its mostly for the TDA1543 based ones. If anybody had some experience comparing both any input would be greatly appreciated.
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