Musiland 01US USB DAC I2S into Sabre - diyAudio
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Old 25th November 2009, 12:37 AM   #1
jkeny is offline jkeny  Ireland
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Default Musiland 01US USB DAC I2S into Sabre

I started my recording of mods to the Musiland 01US USB DAC board here: M2TECH Hiface USB->SPDIF 24/192Khz asynch

I first focused on getting the most from the internal PCM1793 DAC that's on this board so my mods involved:
- external USB power
- changed digital decoupling caps for Oscons
- changed 24MHz crystal for low jitter 24MHz Crystek clock
- bypassed op-amp output stage & went direct from PCM1793 DAc Vouts to transformer


But somebody told me I should open a separate thread. Seeing as I have just done another round of mods, I decided now would be a good time.

I decided to experiment with the power supplies to the board so I cut some traces to isolate sections that I could then supply separately:
- First I wanted to isolate the PS to the PCM1793 DAC
- this has two PS a 3.3V digital & 5V analog supply
- The PCM1793 DAC is at the end of a 3.3V supply that feeds the Cypress USB chip, the Xilinx FPGA - so I cut the trace just before the decoupling cap to the DAC
- The 5V supply is provided through a circuit that has a dc-dc converter chip (NCP3063) - I cut the trace feeding the USB power to this circuit
- I also lifted the + & - PS pins on the OP275 output op-amp as I was using output transformers anyway.

So now I have the complete out stages isolated & they can be powered off also.

So now my total supplies to the board are:
- external 5V through USB cable
- 3.3V to clock
- 3.3V to digital supplies of DAC
- 5V to analog supplies of DAC
This improved the sound some but I finally tried the cheap Sabre 2 channel Vout DAC (ES9022) board which I had tried before but found then that I had a lot of noise on it. Because I was now able to power off the output stage I was happier feeding I2S to the Sabre DAC. So I only need a 3.3V supply for the Sabre - I disconnected the 3.3V & 5V analog supply to PCM DAC. I don't believe I need an external USB supply anymore as it's only supplying the Cypress & FPGA chips - not as critically noise sensitive as the PCM DAC.

This sounds far superior to the PCM1793 (not surprisingly, I guess) & there's no noise on it. It brings a much more natural, rich sound & there seems to be more resolution of detail which might have to do with the ESS jitter handling - hyperstream?. Sound now more divorced from the speakers. The output level is far higher than the Vout from the PCM1793 & The bass is now noticeably superior.

So the Sabre is a good cheap DAC (I think it was $2-3?), I would recommend (not sure if you need a NDA though - I had one already for the ES9018). I'll be listening some more & will post some pics.

In terms of bang for buck, I reckon this combo is dam good.
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Old 25th November 2009, 12:46 AM   #2
jkeny is offline jkeny  Ireland
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One thing I've noticed that bugs/confuses me & I wonder about
- when I bypassed the Op-amp & went with an output transformer, I noticed that If I select the HP button the Musiland control panel, I can hear the relay click & the vol went down slightly on my output. The same happens with this external Sabre DAC set-up being fed from I2S. Any ideas what is the cause of this - some change inside the FPGA, I really don't know?
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Old 25th November 2009, 04:32 PM   #3
glt is offline glt  United States
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jkeny,

Very nice!
Concerns about the multiple options of the US01 was one of the reasons that led me to get a US Mini to do the I2S mod since it is a single function device (still waiting for it).

That bug/feature is very strange. Why would it affect the digital lines? Maybe you can post in the musiland forum. I find using the google bar the best way to get instant translation.
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Old 25th November 2009, 05:13 PM   #4
jkeny is offline jkeny  Ireland
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Thanks glt,
I may well post it there but I can't always understand the answer in translation
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Old 25th November 2009, 08:25 PM   #5
olev is offline olev  Estonia
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Well my Musiland 02 US performs just like this - it has a memory for LINE and HP settings. Set LINE vol to 99, click HP set volume to 89. Now when you click LINE the volume turns to 99 and again when you click HP it goes to 89. You have to set both to 100 for digital volume control bypass. BTW I call this a REALLY good feature - LINE should be always at 100 but when switching to HP and volume is 100 you probably damage your ears/headphones (and this is why HP volume defaults to a much lover value).

Last edited by olev; 25th November 2009 at 08:27 PM.
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Old 25th November 2009, 08:50 PM   #6
jkeny is offline jkeny  Ireland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olev View Post
Well my Musiland 02 US performs just like this - it has a memory for LINE and HP settings. Set LINE vol to 99, click HP set volume to 89. Now when you click LINE the volume turns to 99 and again when you click HP it goes to 89. You have to set both to 100 for digital volume control bypass. BTW I call this a REALLY good feature - LINE should be always at 100 but when switching to HP and volume is 100 you probably damage your ears/headphones (and this is why HP volume defaults to a much lover value).
Thanks Olev, & I agree with you about Line & HP on analog outs but this is running I2S into Sabre DAC so analog controls shouldn't effect it.

But, I'm even more confused now as I turned it on again tonight & the analog CH. left vol slider is now controlling the volume as well as the ASIO vol slider Last night the Analog CH slider had no control over the volume (as I would have expected) only switching between Line & HP there was a noticeable volume difference. I reckon it's a glitch/feature in the software - probably some memory storage issue.

I actually prefer it this way as it gives me finer control over the volume - last night a slight increase in the ASIO vol slider & it was too loud - now I have finer control over the vol. Just wish it was consistent.

The software also sometimes shows me a control panel is without any settings - it seems to lose it's settings stored in memory. This seems to only happen if I unplug it a couple of times - music still plays & if I can click on all the settings again
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Old 25th November 2009, 09:04 PM   #7
jkeny is offline jkeny  Ireland
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I'm listening to this again tonight & it is fantastic sound - I'm thinking of boxing it up into the best USB portable amp I've heard. The configuration I have is
- a Musiland USB 01 US feeding I2S ($80) into
- Sescom MI-97 transformers ($50) into
- a Sabre ES9022 2 channel Vout DAC ($3) into
- A modded Lepai Tripath TA2020 running off batteries (recovered from "dead" laptop battery pack)
- into DIY Jordan JX92S speakers

All this (except for the speakers!) could be boxed up into a neat enclosure with batteries for a really portable & great sounding USB music player.
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Old 25th November 2009, 10:26 PM   #8
jkeny is offline jkeny  Ireland
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Some pics:
- Musiland with all the output stage disconnected & red wire at the top = 3.3V dig supply for PCM1793 DAC. Red wire at bottom = 5V analog supply to PCM1793
- Sabre ES9022 connected via ribbon cable to Musiland using I2S interleaved with ground so 8 wires needed. The two black wires facing down are the previous connections from the PCM1793 DAC to the transformer. The black wire curving up to the top of the picture is the connection from the Sabre to the transformers.
- IS2 connection to Musiland is by plug into a socket installed underneath board. Fine copper varnish insulated wires connect to I2S tracks leading from Xilinx to PCM1793 & run to bottom of board through vias.
- Bottom of ES9022 Sabre on protoboard
- Top of protoboard

It's amazing this sounds so good with such lash-up wiring but it does with dead quiet background & fine sonics!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Fully Wired.JPG (330.1 KB, 1554 views)
File Type: jpg ES9022 Sabre I2S from Musiland.JPG (292.4 KB, 1486 views)
File Type: jpg I2S connection to Musiland.JPG (256.4 KB, 1422 views)
File Type: jpg ES9022 Sabre DAC.JPG (284.9 KB, 1383 views)
File Type: jpg ES9022 on protoboard.JPG (270.9 KB, 1361 views)

Last edited by jkeny; 25th November 2009 at 10:29 PM.
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Old 1st December 2009, 08:47 PM   #9
glt is offline glt  United States
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Default How to install caps

jkenny,

I got the MINI and wanted to upgrade the 10 uF caps around the regulators. However, those caps are TINY! The leads of typical sized caps I'm afraid will not fit in those holes. How did you solder the caps?

Here is a picture of the caps I plan on using. Right now I think it would be best to solder them in the backside of the board in parallel with the existing caps.

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 1st December 2009, 09:27 PM   #10
jkeny is offline jkeny  Ireland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glt View Post
jkenny,

I got the MINI and wanted to upgrade the 10 uF caps around the regulators. However, those caps are TINY! The leads of typical sized caps I'm afraid will not fit in those holes. How did you solder the caps?

Here is a picture of the caps I plan on using. Right now I think it would be best to solder them in the backside of the board in parallel with the existing caps.

Click the image to open in full size.
Hi Guillermo,
I think I used something like 22uF/16V Oscons to replace any digital decoupling caps. The 01US has more clearance above the board for these caps but is tight underneath so I'd imagine the bottom of the "Mini" will be similarly restrictive if you still want to fit it back in it's case? Your caps may have to lie down! I also didn't always try to fit the new cap leads in the vacated cap holes but found attachment places nearby.
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File Type: jpg Clock in Place with battery power.JPG (98.3 KB, 247 views)
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