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Old 10th January 2011, 12:50 PM   #1
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Default Need advice on DIY DAC

Hi to all, after doing some reading and research, decided to give DIY a try. Since I am TOTALLY new to DIY, seriously need some advice.

First of all, I am highly rusty with my circuit theory though I believe brushing up should not be too big a problem for me. But for a first project, thinking of getting DAC kits (just to build up some confidence). In this case, how much of circuit theory do I really need?

What equipment/tools will I need? I figured a soldering gun/station and a trusty multimeter are a must. Apart from that, do I need a signal generator and oscilloscope for troubleshooting/testing? If so, are there any economical recommendation (e.g. a more PC based solution with some hardware boards to be connected)?

Thanks in advance for all pointers shared.
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Old 11th January 2011, 04:43 AM   #2
singa is offline singa  Singapore
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Hi, If you want to build confidence and not go wrong by etching the pcb then
just buy a dac pcb or kit,I assume you have zeroed in your favourite dac.
A basic multimeter is all you need to check voltages.

Signal generator and scope even if you have them you will rarely use.
Unless you have ample funds.For a free and powerful PC scope/spectrum
analyser/Zrlc meter/signal generator, do download the 2011 beta version of Visual Analyser.Do a search as I don't have the url now.This is not shareware btw but
a full featured software by an Italian phd. holder.

English documents is in main directory after installation.Unfortunately the interface board articles are in italian anyway just looking at schematics is all you need to make one,so download them anyway as they are helpful.
Regards.

Last edited by singa; 11th January 2011 at 04:49 AM.
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Old 11th January 2011, 07:45 PM   #3
josha is offline josha  United Kingdom
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Location: Holmfirth, West Yorkshire
Hi, I started by building a DAC - a simple NOS with a USB interface, I forget the kit but it came with the USB chip already soldered on the board (surface mount). I then built up the power supply and DAC with the supplied components using just a soldering iron and some side-snips.

Don't forget the case though! I bought an aluminium box from Maplin (UK), a pot, a volume knob and a switch.

Tools used - soldering iron, side-snips, drill, metal file, a screwdriver and a multimeter. I think I salvaged the transformer from an old NAD amp. (you might find a de-soldering pump or ribbon handy, I did!)

It was a fantastic experience and sounded better than anything I had heard before, all up around 50ukp I guess.

Once you've built the kit you could start tweaking it and testing with a scope (I have a scope but I never used it, too busy using the DAC ;o)

I had little or no circuit theory before this but building the kit taught me loads, the nos dac (tda1543 I think) was simple enough and requires very little in terms of supporting components - I'm sure it's not the most sophisticated circuit in the world but you can easily experiment with PSU's, output stages etc etc once you've got a working starting point.

Hope this helps.

Josh.
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Old 11th January 2011, 07:51 PM   #4
josha is offline josha  United Kingdom
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Join Date: Apr 2005
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I remembered! Audio Workshop

I don't know if they're still shipping, I ordered a few years ago, nice kit though, you can clearly see the different sections (usb decoding, DAC, PSU) so you could always hook up the decoder to a different DAC or PSU in future.

Cheers
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