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Old 2nd December 2012, 02:05 AM   #1
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Smile I would like to build a DAC

I am new here and to the whole DIY audio scene so please forgive my inexperience.

As the title says, I would like to build a dac. To be more specific, I have an asus essence STX sound card and some AKG q701's. I am happy with my setup, except for the fact that nothing sounds perfectly clear. There is always some faint noise when I listen to music. After doing some research and having one of my friends take a look at it, the noise I am hearing seems to be some type of electrical noise. My friend is saying that not only could I fix the problem, but I can improve my overall sound quality by getting a DAC. I looked up the price and kid of stepped back a bit. Normally I would get one and be done with it, but since I am currently building my own headphones (just for the heck of it), I am a bit short on cash and would like to spend less than 100 bucks on it.

The other issue is I would like to still be able to have my sound card process and amplify the sound, and let my dac clean it up in a sense. My friend once again answers that question and says I can use my optical out line and suggested a couple kits that are like 30 bucks, but I am not sure about the quality (or in other words I think I can do better).

That is where I would like some help. If someone can give me some advice on choosing the best parts for the job without sacrificing too much performance, I would really appreciate it.
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Old 2nd December 2012, 03:24 PM   #2
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$100 for the whole chabang? inkl transformer and chassis?
then you are better off buying a 2.hand DAC.
if you can get chassis and transformer + $100 for the DAC, then there is alot out there.

Last edited by AudioSan; 2nd December 2012 at 03:30 PM.
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Old 2nd December 2012, 03:34 PM   #3
DF96 is offline DF96  England
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Computers and their power supplies generate lots of hash. That is probably your problem. I'm sure there are people on here who can give advice.
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Old 2nd December 2012, 03:58 PM   #4
freax is offline freax  Australia
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DIY Kit Classical DAC CS8412 CP TDA1543 with PCB Gold | eBay

Run that off of a 6v SLA battery and it makes a nice DAC.

I would replace the output capacitors tho, the ones supplied are dreadfully muddled:
Modifying the Russian TDA1543 DAC off eBay.
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Old 2nd December 2012, 04:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freax View Post
DIY Kit Classical DAC CS8412 CP TDA1543 with PCB Gold | eBay

Run that off of a 6v SLA battery and it makes a nice DAC.

I would replace the output capacitors tho, the ones supplied are dreadfully muddled:
Modifying the Russian TDA1543 DAC off eBay.
Then is it possible just to buy the parts separately that way I am not buying capacitors twice? And if so, is there I part list that you guys can come up with?

It may just be my imagination, but I feel like if I go searching and hunting for individual parts that I could save a few bucks vs buying a kit. I could be completely wrong though.
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Old 3rd December 2012, 01:01 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freax View Post
DIY Kit Classical DAC CS8412 CP TDA1543 with PCB Gold | eBay

Run that off of a 6v SLA battery and it makes a nice DAC.

I would replace the output capacitors tho, the ones supplied are dreadfully muddled:
Modifying the Russian TDA1543 DAC off eBay.
0.7V output. that is a long way down from normal 2V.
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Old 3rd December 2012, 01:16 PM   #7
freax is offline freax  Australia
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1v is "normal" 2v is abnormal. Just turn up the volume?

Feel free to find a substitute for $99 that does everything including convert SPDIF to I2S and then to analog audio.

The PCB is available from the same seller if you want to go that way.
The Schematic is available on the eBay item page: http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/DIY-Kit-c...item1e6d3ad0ad
And the parts list is inside the schematic, in the bottom left hand corner.

A proper high quality USB to I2S converter on diyaudio.com alone will set you back $99.

With this kit for $99 you can simply take the digital output from either an onboard soundcard or an additional one (as the OP has).

Without this kit you will have to buy and import perfboard, capacitors, resistors, a TDA1543, a CS8412-CP and connectors and wire mostly from Hong Kong.

For me in Australia it was cheaper to buy the kit.
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Last edited by freax; 3rd December 2012 at 01:32 PM.
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Old 3rd December 2012, 06:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tjj226 View Post
I have an asus essence STX sound card and some AKG q701's. I am happy with my setup, except for the fact that nothing sounds perfectly clear.
That is a great soundcard, with PCM1792A DAC and everything.
You just have groundloop broblems, solve them.

Try disconnecting external cables and usb devices one by one from your pc.
Then try different AC power socket. Different power supply maybe?

Or change your audio settings. Try foobar2000 player.

Last edited by tamphist; 3rd December 2012 at 06:11 PM.
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Old 3rd December 2012, 09:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freax View Post
1v is "normal" 2v is abnormal. Just turn up the volume?

Feel free to find a substitute for $99 that does everything including convert SPDIF to I2S and then to analog audio.

The PCB is available from the same seller if you want to go that way.
The Schematic is available on the eBay item page: DIY Kit classical NOS DAC CS8412-CP + TDA1543 with PCB Gold | eBay
And the parts list is inside the schematic, in the bottom left hand corner.

A proper high quality USB to I2S converter on diyaudio.com alone will set you back $99.

With this kit for $99 you can simply take the digital output from either an onboard soundcard or an additional one (as the OP has).

Without this kit you will have to buy and import perfboard, capacitors, resistors, a TDA1543, a CS8412-CP and connectors and wire mostly from Hong Kong.

For me in Australia it was cheaper to buy the kit.
not $99. but $120
TDA1541A 16-Bit DAC Kit (Stereo)_DAC/USB DAC_Analog Metric - DIY Audio Kit

and that also include a OPamp output stage.

Last edited by AudioSan; 3rd December 2012 at 09:43 PM.
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Old 3rd December 2012, 09:58 PM   #10
qusp is offline qusp  Australia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tamphist View Post
That is a great soundcard, with PCM1792A DAC and everything.
You just have groundloop broblems, solve them.

Try disconnecting external cables and usb devices one by one from your pc.
Then try different AC power socket. Different power supply maybe?

Or change your audio settings. Try foobar2000 player.
^this

your soundcard is already much better than anything else suggested so far; just fix your ground loop problem. heres a good article on system grounding to help you. if you have a ground loop prioblem in your setup, getting a new dac is certainly not guaranteed to even fix it.

You may also have blitter noise caused by having your soundcard installed right next to a noisy video card which is radiating noise. this may be fixed by shuffling the cards around into different PCI slots so the audio card is not next to a big noise source.

1v is not normal, 2v is just below standard line level
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