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Build Thread - A New Take on the Classic Pass Labs D1 with an ESS Dac
Build Thread - A New Take on the Classic Pass Labs D1 with an ESS Dac
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Old 2nd April 2018, 02:04 PM   #711
barrows is offline barrows
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Default Yes...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Malefoda View Post
A nice DAC and other output caps to try
We already are high-end here, how much for the same in shops? A lot of money but hey, we want higher-end =)
Another input on ES9018 vs ES9028Pro, even more with new Tridents/regs. Should sound terrific on NTD1!
Buffalo III upgraded with ES9028Pro
Time to build guys (if $$$...)
I work in the Industry and have some ideas on retail pricing. A commercial version of this build would have to go for at least $10K in a half decent chassis, perhaps more. Of course you could do some shortcuts such that you did not need so many separate PCBs without hurting performance.
I want to try BuffPRO 9028 with it, but no time or $ for that now. As I already have my BuffPRO 9038 I am working on, and a DSC-2 to build this summer...
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Old 17th April 2018, 10:03 AM   #712
Crom is offline Crom  United Kingdom
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A quick update: Following a chat with Brian yesterday, I've ordered two 9028 boards from Twisted Pear. This happily coincided with a post from Russ releasing a dual mono firmware. The process to convert the boards to dual mono looks pretty much like it was for the BIIISE so that part of the journey should be relatively straight forward.

So Malefoda, option 1 it is ;-)

As far as I am aware I can keep the output stage and the power supplies completely identical to the 9018 boards and I should be able to play at least red book PCM material. I may end up having to heatsink the on-board regs if I want to play higher res/DSD material but we will see where we get to.

My current BIIISE's take their clock signal from Ian's McFifo board. Given Russ's comments about this not being worth the effort with the new boards, I will probably not bother with this step - I haven't decided yet. One other thing to investigate is whether I can feed the clock signal back from the McFifo to my Sonore USB card. I never got around to looking at this.

I will need to adapt the output cables running between the DAC boards and the NTD1 board as Brian tells me that the output phases are not reversed (as they were with the BIIISE boards).

I'll post some pics when I get a chance to start.

Last edited by Crom; 17th April 2018 at 10:07 AM. Reason: added bit about clock syncing
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Old 17th April 2018, 10:09 AM   #713
Malefoda is offline Malefoda  France
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That's just great, we will at last know how a NTD1 w/ ES9028Pro sounds =)
Were the phase reversed only for BIIIse or for all Buffalo prior to Pro?
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Old 17th April 2018, 10:25 AM   #714
Crom is offline Crom  United Kingdom
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Yes but don't hold your breath, I hardly get any time to play with this stuff nowadays ;-)

re your Q. Not sure - I got the info from Russ's post here: Introducing the Buffalo III-SE-Pro 9028/9038
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Old 25th April 2018, 07:06 AM   #715
Malefoda is offline Malefoda  France
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Guys,
I'm out of steam when it comes to the circuit itself (V4 in my case), and my memory is a black hole.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Owen about the V3
(...) Rails have been reduced to +/- 38VDC. This is a tradeoff between going to far better regulators, and slightly reducing bias current for the same given gain. Idle current is now 101mA if you use a 180R/390R resistor combo. It's slightly lower at 99mA if you go with the usual 200R/400R combo. (...)
There was that shet to calculate power and bias current, ok, but when I put what I do have, 200R/470R I got a lower 85mA when it seems best is around 100mA. It may change gain also. Anyone can explain me the parameters we balance here again?

Thanks
Matthieu
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Old 23rd May 2018, 07:17 PM   #716
Malefoda is offline Malefoda  France
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Hmmm... seems I'll have to read it all and really learn how electrons flows here... But if someone can help...
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Old 24th May 2018, 10:32 AM   #717
Crom is offline Crom  United Kingdom
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malefoda View Post
Guys,
I'm out of steam when it comes to the circuit itself (V4 in my case), and my memory is a black hole.


There was that shet to calculate power and bias current, ok, but when I put what I do have, 200R/470R I got a lower 85mA when it seems best is around 100mA. It may change gain also. Anyone can explain me the parameters we balance here again?

Thanks
Matthieu

Hi Malefoda, I've only been scanning threads and maybe I missed something but I'm not sure what you're asking. Happy to try to help if I can.
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Old 24th May 2018, 11:18 AM   #718
Crom is offline Crom  United Kingdom
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Right, I've been busy! I ended up going for option 1 which was a literal swapout of the 9018 boards for 2 x 9028pro boards. Russ and Brian produced a test dual mono firmware which Brian kindly included with my order. It didn't take me long to do the board exchange although I needed some help from Russ as I didn't realise that I needed to connect the DAC reset pins together along with the other tweaks to get dual mono to work.

I was worried when Russ stated that boards can have up to 14% differences in output levels. However, subjectively this doesn't appear to be a problem.Maybe I was lucky.

The DAC itself is now made up of:

Sonore USB board > Ian's McFIFO with Pulsar clocks > 2 x 9028Pro boards > NTD1 > duelund coupling caps

Everything is powered by Paul Hynes regs.

The hardware in this listening test was a constant except the DAC boards. Some listening was done at 44.1 but mostly PCM oversampled to 352/382 using the (excellent) upsampling facility in the USB card. Also, all the DAC board filters etc have been left at default for now.

I was hoping to finally be able to play some DSD given that now the FIFO is DSD-compatible and the DAC boards are effectively DSD plug-n-play but for some reason I cannot get any DSD to play. I suspect it's an issue with the USB card firmware but I'm investigating that separately.

Anyway, what do I think...

In a word, great! It is not a night-and-day difference but a glare or digital shimmer has been removed from the top end. This takes a little getting used to and a couple of tracks sounded a little bottom-heavy to start off with, but there is now much more nuance and detail across the frequency range. There is an increased precision and immediacy to the sound - I think caused by better transient response. This increases the naturalness of acoustic instrumentsianos, voices, guitars all sound more real - my wife commented that Ben Webster and Oscar Peterson could have been sitting across the room from us. My acid test of some ACDC and Pantera now has increased viscera. The soundstage has increased in width and depth and separation is better...again, not huge changes but noticeable and appreciated. Worth it? Definitely.

At some point I will probably buy a couple of 9038's and build a separate DAC but I want to wait until there is a decent selection of output stages. Perhaps Owen will come out of 'retirement' and upgrade his excellent NTD1. As long as I can get DSD to play then I will have scratched the itch for now and this upgrade will more than suffice for the time being
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Old 24th May 2018, 11:25 AM   #719
Malefoda is offline Malefoda  France
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Hi Crom,
great job! ES9028Pro on my whish list. Do you mind my asking of what amp/speakers you have?
As for my own question I'll explain it better asap
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Old 26th May 2018, 07:24 PM   #720
Malefoda is offline Malefoda  France
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Hi Crom and fellows,

my request is for R17/R14 and siblings from Owen's schematic's pdf from here:
Build Thread - A New Take on the Classic Pass Labs D1 with an ESS Dac
I guess these are the "gain resistors" from the wiki here:
opc's NTD1 project
and these values are used in the sheet pointed in the wiki also, computing power dissipation.
And 200R/400R matches with values given by Owen here, 100mA current:
"The Wire" Official Boards for All Projects Available Here! BAL-BAL, SE-SE, LPUHP

Maybe someone has links (stupid me, no memory and never bookmarked useful posts!) to how one choose values according to gain/current targeted. I want to understand, without learning all from scratch (transistors and such...), why in my circuit I have 200R/470R, so 85mA, which is less heat but away from the 100mA point (99mA with 200R/400R and 101 with 180R/390R), and maybe some gain issues I don't remember.

Hope that someone can help! That bugs me very much...
Thanks!
Matthieu
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