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Old 26th April 2013, 03:39 AM   #11
Jay is offline Jay  Indonesia
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Originally Posted by abraxalito View Post
A good example and one I use a lot in my own designs is TDA1545A.
Can you share a good schematic? TDA1545A in non-oversampling? It is not easy to build a non-OS DAC. It is like trying to get a good sound from very simple circuit.

What do you think about transformer and tube for such application. Transformer is effective for filtering the HF. How about tube? Do they have intrinsic behavior of filtering VHF?

Last edited by Jay; 26th April 2013 at 03:42 AM.
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Old 26th April 2013, 04:04 AM   #12
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I certainly could share a good schematic but there's just not the demand out there to make it worth my while investing the time in drawing one up and providing a BOM and notes on construction. When there is such a demand I'll be happy to share.

An example schematic already extant is peufeu's design here : The Extremist DAC

I haven't played with transformers but I may well do in future. I agree they're particularly good for filtering and also for isolating noisy grounds. Tubes are outside my interests at present, I get satisfying results from SS together with passive filtering.
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Old 26th April 2013, 07:14 AM   #13
Jay is offline Jay  Indonesia
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Originally Posted by abraxalito View Post
An example schematic already extant is peufeu's design here : The Extremist DAC
I think I have built that one. Tried many crystal but not Guido's. At the end I couldn't see the benefit of reclocking tho.
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Old 26th April 2013, 07:45 AM   #14
McGyver is offline McGyver  Poland
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Originally Posted by abraxalito View Post
I use heavy (like 7th order) analog filtering and the result is totally the opposite of 'dry, lifeless bad sound'. Do share - which DAC did you listen to which gave this listening result? I agree 100% about current output DACs - its necessary but not sufficient for top-end sound.
I had in my home many different DIY projects, as TDA1543 NOS DAC, TDA1541 NOS DAC, PCM61 NOS DAC, no one from above was worth to bother. No one from above could stand with my old Luxman D-351 (AD1864) with tube output stage built in.
I had Audio Note 1.1x DAC in my home for some time. It's based on AD1865 in NOS mode and tube output stage with some analogue filtering. So I had big expectations as AD1865 is one of the best DAC chips ever made. To my stupefaction, the sound was bad. Grey, dull and boring.

I made several DACs based mostly on PCM1796, PCM1794 and they sounds great. I made also several DACs based on WM8840, CS4397 and CS4398. CS4397 is the best here, but it sounds nowhere near PCM1798. I made also one prototype of DAC based on AD1865 with SM5842 filter and WM8805 receiver and it sounds amazing. It easily equals PCM1798. The only disadvantage is not accepting HD formats, but it"s great solution for listening CDs.
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Old 26th April 2013, 07:50 AM   #15
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Grey, dull and boring sound with multibit chips I associate with poor layout, not passive filtering. The greyest, dullest DAC I have in my collection is a CS4398 - not for want of improved layout either.
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Old 26th April 2013, 09:40 AM   #16
Jay is offline Jay  Indonesia
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Originally Posted by McGyver View Post
I made several DACs based mostly on PCM1796, PCM1794 and they sounds great. I made also several DACs based on WM8840, CS4397 and CS4398. CS4397 is the best here, but it sounds nowhere near PCM1798. I made also one prototype of DAC based on AD1865 with SM5842 filter and WM8805 receiver and it sounds amazing. It easily equals PCM1798. The only disadvantage is not accepting HD formats, but it"s great solution for listening CDs.
I think implementation, especially the I/V output stage is important. It is hard to judge which chip is better. It is probably the implementation that is good or wrong.

But I think a minimum of 113dB of dynamic range or SNR is required for high end sound. The rest is only implementation.

My CS439x is the most "high end" in sound impression (similar to Audio Aero Capitol in signature), but is boring, I guess because of the opamp output stage (NE5534).

My PCM179x was the most enjoyable sound (with OPA2134 output) but surely the least "high end".

My TDA145x NOS is the most natural. The least in dynamic and sonic such that it is not very enjoyable. Very hard to get right but I think it is good enough with attention to details, especially choke based heater supply.

Too many chips, I don't have enough time to match and tweak. I have break around 20 optical lens already. I think I will stick with my tube based NOS DAC and improve the CS439x DAC if I have time.
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Old 26th April 2013, 11:21 AM   #17
pilli is offline pilli  France
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Originally Posted by Starre View Post
I need a top class dac and wonder how much I have to pay. Suggestions?
Is your intention to build it from a kit, or even from scratch, or do you want a ready-to-connect DAC?


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Old 26th April 2013, 08:17 PM   #18
McGyver is offline McGyver  Poland
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Originally Posted by abraxalito View Post
Grey, dull and boring sound with multibit chips I associate with poor layout, not passive filtering. The greyest, dullest DAC I have in my collection is a CS4398 - not for want of improved layout either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay View Post
I think implementation, especially the I/V output stage is important. It is hard to judge which chip is better. It is probably the implementation that is good or wrong.

But I think a minimum of 113dB of dynamic range or SNR is required for high end sound. The rest is only implementation.

My CS439x is the most "high end" in sound impression (similar to Audio Aero Capitol in signature), but is boring, I guess because of the opamp output stage (NE5534).

My PCM179x was the most enjoyable sound (with OPA2134 output) but surely the least "high end".

My TDA145x NOS is the most natural. The least in dynamic and sonic such that it is not very enjoyable. Very hard to get right but I think it is good enough with attention to details, especially choke based heater supply.

Too many chips, I don't have enough time to match and tweak. I have break around 20 optical lens already. I think I will stick with my tube based NOS DAC and improve the CS439x DAC if I have time.
Lately I made a simple DAC based on AD1865 with SM5842 filter and WM8805 receiver. The power supply is simplest as it can be, just two 7805 and one 7905 regulators. There is passive resistor conversion and very simple tube gainstage attached to it. No analogue filtering at all. And it sounds like a beautiful dream. So I think the things should be as simple as it needs, and no any simpler. In my opinion removing digital filtering is bad. But the digital filter must be very high quality.
In my opinion opamps are bottleneck in any system, and I avoid it and I always make efforts to substitute it with discrete transistors design or tube design. Unfortunately in case of CS4398 and other voltage output DACs there is no way to bypass opamps.

Also, I do not differentiate the sound as "highendish" or "enjoyable". To me, when the sound is "hihgendish" but boring, it's not any good. And when the sound is "enyoyable", but lacking in dynamic, space, details or any aspect, it's not any good. The sound must be natural in any aspect, not only impressive or pleasant.
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Old 26th April 2013, 11:16 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McGyver View Post
So I think the things should be as simple as it needs, and no any simpler. In my opinion removing digital filtering is bad.
I used to share your opinion, going back about 3 or more years. But it has been overturned by experience. I've compared the SQ between a high quality (minimum phase 2X oversampling) digital filter of my own design against a straight through connection. The filter lost that comparison - not because filters sound bad but rather multibit DACs sound worse the faster you run them.

I agree about opamps being a serious bottleneck in general, but not all opamps are created equal. In my current project I'm hopeful that some fast CFB opamps won't degrade the sound but I've not got any listening results yet.
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Old 27th April 2013, 02:17 AM   #20
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IMO best low price is es9023. Best mid-price is ad1955 or ak4399. I guess you not want best high price ! BTW, I not like NOS but it is good to try if you not hear this sound before.
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