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Old 26th October 2014, 10:41 PM   #1
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Jan 2013
Default looking for a "ready made" DIY DAC...

So given that my amp, which was performing both DAC and pre/power duties has finally bit the bullet, it's time to consider my options for replacing my set up on a budget. Power amplification isn't a problem as I have a solid psu and intend to couple that to a pair of naim nap clones, so my only concern is dealing with the DAC/pre side of things.

My budget is very tight at the moment but all I'm looking for is a DAC with accurate low distortion conversion to plug into my PC's output, as all my audio is on the computer (mostly flac)

As my real expertise is in speaker design and I'm in my third year studying engineering at uni I don't have time to learn top build this for myself right now, so can anyone recommend a suitable solution? Looking to spend up to 70 on the DAC board itself, as chassis and psu are easy to source. Ideally a DAC with volume or DAC plus pre...

Also I don't have time to solder... so looking for built modules only.

Thanks guys
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Old 26th October 2014, 11:01 PM   #2
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: California
What input? USB? spdif? coax? toslink?

I have bought tested several of these and they have low distortion. They come with a small power transformer (110Vac or 220Vac mains) - just hook it up and play:
Little Bear DAC - has spdif input only, up to 96kHz
"Hardware eventually fails. Software eventually works" - Michael Hartung
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Old 27th October 2014, 04:10 PM   #3
PJN is offline PJN  United States
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Pa, USA
You might also want to take a look at the Curryman DAC being sold as a complete board by Minidsp. I got one and am very pleased with it. It's just the DAC only and takes I2S input so you'd need to supply an input source and a psu. I'm using the mini streamer to feed it from USB out from a PC.

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Old Yesterday, 01:24 AM   #4
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Jun 2009
Originally Posted by nannoo View Post
Looking to spend up to 70 on the DAC board itself, as chassis and psu are easy to source. Ideally a DAC with volume or DAC plus pre...

Also I don't have time to solder... so looking for built modules only.
They're not bare boards but otherwise you're describing Focusrite's VRM Box, Scarlett Solo, Scarlett 2i2, and similar.
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Old Yesterday, 06:34 PM   #5
Eldam is offline Eldam  France
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: At home, sweet sound home...
Surmising you should need and USB board with an isolator if you plan to listen from a computer/NAS source...

Hard in the budget you give (I mean with a SOTA USB input board with isolator)!

There were such similar asking in the last months : don't hesitate to surf on this part of DIYA on the pages before...

think really PSU is non as trivial you think and must be seen as a part of the DAC project/result !

Where do you come from ? because there is different opportunities if you are based on USA, Europe, etc...

All good advises above from people who knows SQ in relation to price.
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Old Yesterday, 10:38 PM   #6
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Cambridge, England
Check out the Sabre USB DAC ES9023 DAC's from

HiFimeDIY Store

They are excellent, and very reasonably priced. I have several, and am most pleased with their performance.

More information can be found on elsewhere on this forum.
Just the facts! State your evidence.
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