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DAC 2496 (AK4393) DAC KIT With CS8416+AK4393+5532
DAC 2496 (AK4393) DAC KIT With CS8416+AK4393+5532
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Old 9th October 2012, 06:56 PM   #2161
ferynov is offline ferynov  Indonesia
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i have been finished dac akm4396, thanks to dario, erin,bcmbob, and members who give contribution. i'm silent reader, just watching...
I use LM317 and 337 for regulator for lower noise and colder than original 7xxx, also diode to tfk byw54. this dac is very worth price-performance.

Click the image to open in full size.
-Best Regards-
diy blog
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Old 9th October 2012, 07:33 PM   #2162
bcmbob is offline bcmbob  United States
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Congratulations, looks like you put a lot of time, effort and thought in your project. Did you use the RCA connections or combine the two with a more sophisticated approach?

Also, it appears the conversion module is powered by USB. Is that correct?

P.S. Like your blog
Bob M.
"Arrange Whatever Pieces Come Your Way."
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Old 9th October 2012, 08:48 PM   #2163
50AE is offline 50AE  Bulgaria
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DAC 2496 (AK4393) DAC KIT With CS8416+AK4393+5532
ferynov, please try the I2S connection instead of SPDIF and share your results. I2S soldered directly to the AKM4396 chip, search this thread.
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Old 9th October 2012, 08:55 PM   #2164
bcmbob is offline bcmbob  United States
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50AE, is this what you are referring to?
Bob M.
"Arrange Whatever Pieces Come Your Way."
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Old 13th October 2012, 06:31 PM   #2165
haik is offline haik
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Hello guys, and ladies....

I installed 5 of these kits with Dario's modification into a 19"rack, and sold it to a client (all 5 kits have 2 separate transformers (10 in total)).

The client is complaining that she hears a noise, and a sound around 250Hz. Since they are an institute which does musical and sound therapy, they know what what they are talking about.

I did not go to the client yet to measure (I am waiting for the Scopemeter to arrive from the USA).

What can that be? I know the output is not filtered (no exit capacitors), and I do not know if there are input capacitors on the sound processor she uses.

Since 250 Hz is not 50 Hz (like in mains inducted noise), and the 5-th order of 50 Hz should not be present, since it is DC powered, well filtered, the output cables are shielded etc.... (I even used a coaxial 75 ohm cable for the input).

Does anyone have an idea, or encountered this?

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Old 13th October 2012, 08:43 PM   #2166
knorst is offline knorst  Germany
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Hi all,

I'm new to this forum and reading this huge thread now since a few days.
after spending hours of reading, i gathered a lot of information about this wonderful little dac.

Nevertheless, a few questions remain, regarding which kit to buy.

1. Planning to apply Dario's mod according to his BOM, i would like to know if it makes sense to buy the r-core transformer sold with the kit's? or are very cheap used ebay block-transformers for 2$/ a piece are good enough? or should i use toroidal?

2. Is the AK4396 a newer, or better version of the AK4393, or are there just small differences which are up to the users taste? Or is there a little consensus in this thread to prefer one over the other?

3. Would you advice me only to buy only the pcb with the soldered smd's and get all the parts inluding the BOM from different or suggested shops? or would you buy the kit version (assembled or unassembled?)? Maybe already assembled only to swap the BOM-parts? what are your suggestions?

4. I plan to install a toslink optical module. Would you suggest buying the one for 15 bucks already mentioned in this thread and is it worth the miney, or should i build one , as the components would be quite cheap? Also there already exists a how-to -thread in this forum.

5. There were some comments about Salas voltage reg. What is the andvantage of using such a thing?

sorry for asking you all those beginner-questions, but the thread is already huge and i just couldn't find answers to my questions. Further more i'm a diy beginner in the audio area, what it makes even harder to understand all the comments.

After spending two days just reading in this thread i'm looking forward now to get short answers to my questions to quickly proceed to the shopping basket ;-) to order my own dac kit.

Thank you in advance!

greetings knorst
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Old 13th October 2012, 09:48 PM   #2167
hotiron is offline hotiron  Scotland
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I would suggest buying one already built and then mod it, since you are new to all this.

Finished 2496 (AK4396) CS8416 DAC With R-core Transformer+case 115V or 230V | eBay

You could also buy this and stuff it with Darios BOM and keep the original for comparison knowing you always have a working board.

If you give up easily Dont start!!

Last edited by hotiron; 13th October 2012 at 10:02 PM.
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Old 14th October 2012, 03:39 AM   #2168
truepaul is offline truepaul  United States
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Default Respond to Knorst

Hi Knorst,

Here’s my short answers, along with thread entry numbers if you want to backtrack and read more about each.

1. Erin and others discusses E-core vs F-core transformers [around post 435], and in theory, R-cores are less likely to produce EMI interference. Dario recommends the R-core transformer [e.g., at 1473]. Bob writes, “most of what I have read R-cores are the top choice for preamps and DACs, while toroids are best for power amps” [at 1983-1985ff]. Bob did an A-B comparison, and says the R-core won out [at 2002 ] – clearer sound, better dynamics.

2. The “mini-DAC 2496” was originally designed by evangelion1999 using the AK4393; the AK4396 version showed up later. It uses the same PCB board, just needs different low pass filtering (per the manufacturer’s spec sheets, and as shown per the BOM). See discussion along posts 12-26, regarding chip comparisons. Note also that a few DIY’ers also prefer another chip altogether, the AK4395 chip (e.g., Sendler at post 131, link to separate thread on the subject).

Reportedly, the AK4396 is a significant revision AK4393, based on both design and listening tests [see post 132]. As far as I can tell, there was no consensus reached, and members were encouraged to experiment and report. But since the AK4395 needs a different voltage, and thus requires quirky mods to the PCB board itself, it’s not been built much.

In general, I think most readers of this thread liked what they read about the AK4396 (e.g., roll-off characteristics [see posts 257-259], etc. and so have chosen the ’96 over the ’93.

3. Re: assembled or unassembled? I’d say either get both (for comparison) or go unassembled. For me, it is too much work to remove 80% of the components on the board – better to just start with a fresh board.

4. Re: toslink optical module. I’d say personal choice. I bought the one recommended.

5. Re: Salas voltage reg. The Salas voltage regulator is regarded as extremely good; so it is likely to be an improvement. At the same time, Dario put together a good design for this DAC. Both are based on the same principles (shunt regulator). [see post 1574]. So it comes down to how much money and effort you want to put into the PSU relative to the rest of the project.

Note (copied from an earlier discussion)...
"the AK4396 DAC sounds lean when brand new. It gains bass, richness and fullness in about 200 hours, so be patient. "

Hope this is helpful.
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Old 14th October 2012, 07:50 AM   #2169
knorst is offline knorst  Germany
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hey truepaul,

thank you very much for you answers, especially for the post numbers!!!

greetings knorst
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Old 21st October 2012, 04:15 AM   #2170
chiffre is offline chiffre  United States
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Default transformer wiring

Hey, I was wondering what wires to use for U.S. 115v on a CS8416+CS4398 DAC. I have a 30w transformer (pictured). The DAC has a three wire input on the left side and a two wire input on the right. what colors do I insert in each one? also what wires on the transformer go the power source? Thanks in advance.
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