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Old 23rd December 2010, 08:18 PM   #1
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Default CD-Resolution Transportable Source

I thought people might be interested in my work-in-progress on a portable unit designed to have CD-quality sound in a semi-mobile format.

Obviously, this isn't as compact as an iPod, but it sure sounds better. Here's the deal:

- Western Digital WD TV, optical output
- 1 TB portable hard drive, WAV files--maybe 2,000 CDs capacity
- Min-DAC PCM1793+DIR9001, OpAmp replaced w/LM4562 (better!)
- DAC running on 2200MAH LiPo battery w/monitor/low-voltage alarm
- 4.3" TFT rearview camera monitor
- 12v SMPS x 2 Pwr supply in base, separately switched.

I know SMPS are much despised around here, but I was going for compactness. Still may build a linear one. Everything runs on 12v. I get maybe 5-6 hours on the battery with the DAC.

Unit is basically a stack of 5mm thick aluminum plates that sit on threaded rods, and the whole thing clamps together with the big nuts on top. Monitor folds for best viewing angle and all the way flat for transport. Without the cords, it fits into the antique mahogany box for travel. Of course, I could have built it all into one box and made things permanent, but it seemed to me that this whole area is evolving very rapidly, and it made sense to keep it very modular so I can change it up very easily.

It's not perfect. Small screen makes information very hard to read. Thinking about a big clip-on fresnel lens like in the movie "Brazil." It would be nice if there was a large-type option on the WD TV. My Mac-formatted disk doesn't seem to be fully supported by the WD TV, so I can only play from folders, but that's not a big limitation. Currently using the Toslink optical, which is the only output supported. I like the fact that there are no ground loops with this. Wondering if it's worth hacking a coax or even an i2s with this. I know that's been done with the WD Mini; anyone done it on one of these which seem much easier to find these days?

Metal is roughed out, but still unfinished, and it still has the protective film on the monitor. Kinda grubby down in the shop.

Maybe ungainly compared to an iPod or something more audiophile-pocketable, but sounds as good as any CD player I've owned, and just 1/4 the size, even without the bulk of the 2,000 CDs. 7-8 pounds, I'm guessing

To me, something along these lines seems like the future of source units. So nice to do away with all the mechanical fussiness and failure issues of CD players. Would be nice to eventually have something like the WD TV a bit more optimized for audio, plus an open-source interface so things like the text size adjustment and who knows what else can be made. I think people are tweaking the interface on the eGreat M34A, so maybe that's worth a try.

Oh, and if anyone can point me to about a quiet 2-amp 12v (single) power supply circuit, board or kit that's well suited for this, I'd be appreciative.

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Old 23rd December 2010, 08:32 PM   #2
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Location: Cascais
No need for excuses - it looks lovely and you obviously enjoy the sound. Well done.
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Old 23rd December 2010, 08:54 PM   #3
Structo is offline Structo  United States
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I'm trying to get an idea of it's scale.
How big is this thing?
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Old 23rd December 2010, 09:02 PM   #4
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Location: Chicago, IL
It looks bigger than it is.

6.5" (16 cm) to the top of the knobs. 5 7/8" (15 cm) wice x 4 1/8" (10.5 cm) deep.

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