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Old 23rd August 2015, 10:47 PM   #1
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Exclamation Parallel DAC or Balanced? TDA1541A

I have assembled a parallel DAC using TDA1541A. Wondering is it worth the effort to go fully balanced? My system is in this configuration.... WM8804 (Twisted Pear Audio) input receiver, 4X oversampling digital filter (not a crappy SAA7220), A pair of Red Baron TDA1541A boards (Version 5) and a 25 Ohm I/V with SRPP ECC86 with 2SK170 JFET (from a Swedish DIY forum). My DAC pair are S1 Crown's purchased in 1990. I have a schematic for an I2S splitter. My reading suggest that 16 bit dac's in parallel gives about 17 bits depth due to averaging. This clearly beats my other two TDA1541 (not A) dac builds. Open to comments. Thanks in advance....
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Old 24th August 2015, 02:58 AM   #2
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Default Parallel DAC

Here is a Picture of the DAC. It is enormous. I care more about sound quality.
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Old 24th August 2015, 08:43 PM   #3
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Default Parallel or Balanced?

So anyone offer an opinion? Stay Parallel or go Balanced?
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Old 25th August 2015, 02:02 AM   #4
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Paralel brawn, balanced beauty.
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Old 25th August 2015, 01:21 PM   #5
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Default 1-bit would require 4 DAC chips.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Torchwood421 View Post
I have assembled a parallel DAC using TDA1541A. Wondering is it worth the effort to go fully balanced?
This would likely most depend on whether your following gear (preamp, power amp) is balanced or not. If the succeeding gear is single ended, then there's probably little reason to go balanced. DAC outputs connected in a balanced configuration are effectively in series with each other. While the net improvement in SNR will be the same as for a parallel configuration, an balanced configuration will also exhibit twice the output signal amplitude but four times the output impedance versus an parallel configuration using the same number of chips.

Quote:
My reading suggest that 16 bit dac's in parallel gives about 17 bits depth due to averaging.
Paralleling DAC chips results in an 3dB improvement in signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) for each doubling of the total number of chips. So, two chips = +3dB, four chips = +6dB. 1-bit of increased DAC resolution represents an 6.02dB improvement, so, to improve the system by the equivalent of 1-bit would require four times the number of DAC chips. There is no improvement to SNR simply from re-configuring the same number of DAC chips from parallel to balanced (series).
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Last edited by Ken Newton; 25th August 2015 at 01:39 PM.
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Old 25th August 2015, 03:11 PM   #6
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Default Balanced

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Newton View Post
This would likely most depend on whether your following gear (preamp, power amp) is balanced or not. If the succeeding gear is single ended, then there's probably little reason to go balanced. DAC outputs connected in a balanced configuration are effectively in series with each other. While the net improvement in SNR will be the same as for a parallel configuration, an balanced configuration will also exhibit twice the output signal amplitude but four times the output impedance versus an parallel configuration using the same number of chips.



Paralleling DAC chips results in an 3dB improvement in signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) for each doubling of the total number of chips. So, two chips = +3dB, four chips = +6dB. 1-bit of increased DAC resolution represents an 6.02dB improvement, so, to improve the system by the equivalent of 1-bit would require four times the number of DAC chips. There is no improvement to SNR simply from re-configuring the same number of DAC chips from parallel to balanced (series).
Hi Ken, Thank you for responding. I appreciate your view. I noted a few comments that it was a way to get the most quality out of the TDA1541A. Most of my downstream equipment is single ended. There are practical challenges with the glue logic in making the attempt to go balanced. Speed and propagation delays. Proper splitting of the I2S signals. Something I will need to consider. Thank you for clarifying the bit depth issue. I do hear more detail in the low bit levels with the Parallel DAC. Quite obvious with Roger Waters "Amused to Death" CD.
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Old 29th August 2015, 12:56 AM   #7
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Talking Balanced

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Originally Posted by didiet78 View Post
Paralel brawn, balanced beauty.
Hi didiet78, Yes. The parallel DAC is quite brawny. It is interesting how detailed and musical it is as well. I may revisit the Balanced version in the future. Thank you again for the comment.
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Old 29th August 2015, 06:20 PM   #8
Mayday is offline Mayday  Sweden
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Hi Dave,
You'll have that dac in a very nice enclosure soon enough :-) I've seen your other builds and they are very good looking.
Not like my half*ssed solutions lol
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