Desert-island DAC: TDA1541A vs. ESS, etc. (the bottom line) - diyAudio
Go Back   Home > Forums > Source & Line > Digital Line Level

Digital Line Level DACs, Digital Crossovers, Equalizers, etc.

Please consider donating to help us continue to serve you.

Ads on/off / Custom Title / More PMs / More album space / Advanced printing & mass image saving
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 27th May 2014, 01:20 PM   #1
diyAudio Member
 
hollowman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Blog Entries: 3
Default Desert-island DAC: TDA1541A vs. ESS, etc. (the bottom line)

I haven't kept up with either the latest DAC technology or DIY... I've just got a parts bin of now-ancient DACs.
Can't seem to come to any sort of "conclusion" -- if there is one -- on which classic or modern DACs are worth using (regardless of $$).

For the sake of this thread, let's keep things simple ...

...given careful/"optimum" implementation ... which would you rather have as your desert-island DAC:

ESS -- ES9018K2M (best modern DAC???)
...or ...
Philips TDA1541A (double crown)

Thx!

P.S. This thread may evolve as necessary ... e.g., you can add any comment about NOS, etc.
__________________
"I got banned from a Hi-Fi forum. And I liked it."
- Luv, Katy "Hollowman" Perry
  Reply With Quote
Old 27th May 2014, 02:48 PM   #2
esgigt is online now esgigt  Netherlands
diyAudio Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
I guess you'll have a better chance getting a ESS 32bit chip than a genuine TDA1541A dual crown...

TDA1541A DACs have not been produced since 2000.. so most of the single and dual crown versions available could well prove to be (very expensive) fake's...
  Reply With Quote
Old 27th May 2014, 05:36 PM   #3
diyAudio Member
 
hollowman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Blog Entries: 3
Default What' a good DAC?

Quote:
Originally Posted by esgigt View Post
I guess you'll have a better chance getting a ESS 32bit chip than a genuine TDA1541A dual crown...

TDA1541A DACs have not been produced since 2000.. so most of the single and dual crown versions available could well prove to be (very expensive) fake's...
I have a few genuine dual crowns in my stash ... they were purch'd around Y2K...

Anyway, the question was not about GETTING ... it was about HAVING either DAC ...

I dunno ... DIY forums are so confusing to me me now ... what with all the personal (uncontrolled) experiments and projects ... and not a lot of statistical polling.
And then there are the DIY egos ...micro-managers ...anal-nigglers ... yada ... yada ...
Don't get me wrong ... I'm not a huge fan of ABX or pure-objective testing ... but I still don't know what's a good DAC ...
...may be barking up the wrong tree ... that is, and as many suggest, that it really is the IMPLEMENTATION which is key ...i.e., you can make any DAC sound decent. E.g., a few years ago, the Zoran all-in-one chip -- video, audio, Dolby, the whole 9 yds. -- that was in $30 Toshiba SD 3990 DVD players-- remember that?!. It got a lot of modding attention on DIY forums...and that was at a time (2004-2006) when many of the current high-enders (WM8470, CS4398, PCM1792, PCM1704, AD1862 as well as all the classic Philips) were readily avail. WTF? Is DIY that trendy? Why, that trendy pathology smells a lot like the same affliction suffered by DIYer's favorite target of ridicule: audiophiles ... spending all their $$

....so ... DIY ... what have you done for me lately?
__________________
"I got banned from a Hi-Fi forum. And I liked it."
- Luv, Katy "Hollowman" Perry
  Reply With Quote
Old 28th May 2014, 12:07 AM   #4
esgigt is online now esgigt  Netherlands
diyAudio Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by hollowman View Post
I have a few genuine dual crowns in my stash ... they were purch'd around Y2K...

Anyway, the question was not about GETTING ... it was about HAVING either DAC ...
Sorry, that was not clear to me..

I guess the 32bit ESS might have some advantage in linearity over the TDA, but I have no idea to what degree that's audible. Most influence on the SQ imho is the quality of the DAC's implementation (PSU, PCB design and components).
  Reply With Quote
Old 28th May 2014, 04:51 AM   #5
diyAudio Member
 
hollowman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Blog Entries: 3
Default Encapsulated DAC -- it's the implementation, stupid!

Quote:
Originally Posted by esgigt View Post
Sorry, that was not clear to me..

I guess the 32bit ESS might have some advantage in linearity over the TDA, but I have no idea to what degree that's audible. Most influence on the SQ imho is the quality of the DAC's implementation (PSU, PCB design and components).
Well, on diyaudio.com, ESS 32bit and TDA1541A (select grade) seem to be popular.
In the non-DIY and "audiophile" crowd there seems to be no similar "consensus". E.g., the latest Astell and Kern AK240 $3k (!!) DAP uses Cirrus Logic CS4398 x2 (Dual DAC) ... my $120 Colorfly DAP uses a single CS4398.
The TDA1545A/TDA1387 are avail in 8-pin SOIC .... so if "classic" Philips segmented-current-architecture sound is so great, Apple or Sony would've put these DACs into their products ...
That's not so far-fetched ... popular Chinese manuf. Head-Direct (HiFiman) uses a classic TDA1543 (8-pin DIP) in its NOS model 601 DAP.
Point being the implementation in which the DAC is encapsulated is more important than the DAC ... if not, prove that remark wrong ... you've go the rest of the thread

Not sure about the ultimate reason why DIYers select one DAC over another. E.g., is it form factor: e.g., TDA1545 and TDA1543 are DIP and only 8 pins ... so easy to breadboard, and veroboard ... etc.
Or are they simply bored and need to fill time with yet another "DAC" project?
Me, I gave up on DIY and picked up toilet-plunging and a crack-cocaine habit. Almost as much fun
__________________
"I got banned from a Hi-Fi forum. And I liked it."
- Luv, Katy "Hollowman" Perry
  Reply With Quote
Old 28th May 2014, 05:04 AM   #6
jcx is offline jcx  United States
diyAudio Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: ..
you could probably emulate the 1541 output with the ESS - would have to digitally add noise and distortion to the ESS

that would be adding than enough more noise to the ESS digital input to mask the noise floor modulation abrax worries about

Last edited by jcx; 28th May 2014 at 05:09 AM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 28th May 2014, 05:46 AM   #7
diyAudio Moderator Emeritus
 
jean-paul's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Germany
Quote:
Originally Posted by hollowman View Post
The TDA1545A/TDA1387 are avail in 8-pin SOIC .... so if "classic" Philips segmented-current-architecture sound is so great, Apple or Sony would've put these DACs into their products ...
As if manufacturers don't look at the costs....A smart manufacturer looks what can play back current formats (like 24/96 i.e. what the market "demands"), what chips are available and generally they choose a type that stays in production for a while. Using chips that are out of production is reserved for the "cottage industry" and that is not meant negatively !

A one chip solution and low part count combined with good specifications is considered a winner combination in commercial terms.
__________________
It's only audio. Official member of the Norske Brillegeit Gang.

Last edited by jean-paul; 28th May 2014 at 05:51 AM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 28th May 2014, 05:59 AM   #8
diyAudio Member
 
hollowman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Blog Entries: 3
Default Human science ca. 2014

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcx View Post
you could probably emulate the 1541 output with the ESS - would have to digitally add noise and distortion to the ESS

that would be adding than enough more noise to the ESS digital input to mask the noise floor modulation abrax worries about
Do you really think (scientific/measurable) "distortion", or lack of, is an important enough reason why careful listeners choose (or simply discern) one DAC over another?
MOS-FETs sound somewhat similar to tubes, but MOS-FET distortion doesn't even come close to tube ... IOW, other stuff is going on ... a lot of is probably unknown to human science ca. 2014.
__________________
"I got banned from a Hi-Fi forum. And I liked it."
- Luv, Katy "Hollowman" Perry
  Reply With Quote
Old 28th May 2014, 06:14 AM   #9
diyAudio Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Brisbane, Australia
The ESS K2M parts are more about power efficiency for mobile markets than absolute maximum performance ES9012 and ES9018 are still their headline parts though their specs are pretty similar and the K2M parts may allow different PCB layout improvement optimisations vs the additional available pins on the older 9018 and 9012 components with more pins and access to additional separated supply voltages etc.
  Reply With Quote
Old 28th May 2014, 06:27 AM   #10
diyAudio Moderator Emeritus
 
jean-paul's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Germany
That is right. The K2M parts don't need complex power supplies as a result. For standalone application it is either their cheapest chip or the "normal" line up to choose.
__________________
It's only audio. Official member of the Norske Brillegeit Gang.
  Reply With Quote

Reply


Hide this!Advertise here!
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Volume (level) ... the bottom line hollowman Analog Line Level 48 6th June 2014 06:32 AM
FS: AYA DAC Rev 2.0b TDA1541A Non-Oversampling DAC kit or complete krishu Swap Meet 0 17th December 2009 09:33 AM
ESS Sabre Reference DAC VS Prism sound ADA-8XR, DAD AX24 and weiss DAC? mbl Digital Line Level 12 19th October 2009 09:48 AM
Desert Island Auditions Mos Fetish Multi-Way 4 27th June 2003 02:52 PM
Desert Island Picks Sparhawk Music 3 7th February 2003 01:30 PM


New To Site? Need Help?

All times are GMT. The time now is 01:53 PM.


vBulletin Optimisation provided by vB Optimise (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2014 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Copyright 1999-2014 diyAudio

Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.3.2