DAC 2496 (AK4393) DAC KIT With CS8416+AK4393+5532 - Page 211 - diyAudio
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Old 23rd September 2012, 05:27 PM   #2101
Tolu is offline Tolu  Germany
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After reading about 1000 posts about what part to change I can't judge yet the quality of the device. I have got a small diyhifi.net DAC with PCM 1793, DIR9001 and OPA2134 two years ago and I compared it with some other DACs. The cheap diyhifi-DAC was always the winner.

I would like to test the AK4396-DAC but I'm not sure if it is worth a try without changing 70% of the parts. I had an E-MU 0404 USB with the same AK4396 and the sound was very mediocre.

So how can I compare the sound (modded/unmodded) to some known DACs?
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Old 23rd September 2012, 05:44 PM   #2102
bcmbob is offline bcmbob  United States
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Tolu,

O.K. I'll stick my neck out there. I can't say it is the best DAK in the world cause I haven't heard them all I will say that if you buy and install Dario's upgrade BOM it will take a whole lot of money to get a truly significant improvement over what it offers. I am investigating other approaches to feeding data to the Mini2496 but as a simple proven optimized design, I honestly don't think it can be beat.

I own an M-Box2, a pro Presonus 8 Ch, Lexicon Omiga and the DAC in a top line Denon receiver. I only use the Mini.
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Old 23rd September 2012, 07:59 PM   #2103
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ak4396 is a wonderful chip.
it would be almost perfect if it had nos warmth since it already had the smoothness but alas, it wasn't so.

since letting go of my altec transformer coupled mini dac, i've tried discrete output cs4398 and now, back to 1543, this time i2s via waveio board.

cs4398 was very good, midrange bit more juicy than ak4396 and with the discrete module, more dynamic than i could ask for. but it's tonality was wrong. the chip has an apparent brightness that's well known.

1543+waveio is almost perfect. no bass, but mid and high is best i've ever heard. it has no coupling cap. just i/v resistor straight to volume pot than myrefc

i have a 1541 dac on the way so my own humble ultimate comparison will commence.
but as of now, each to their own flavors; there is no clear winner, though 1543 is and always has been my favorite

Last edited by PreSapian; 23rd September 2012 at 08:22 PM.
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Old 23rd September 2012, 11:42 PM   #2104
erin is offline erin  Australia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PreSapian View Post
1543+waveio is almost perfect. no bass, but mid and high is best i've ever heard.
May I ask why this combination has no bass?
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Old 24th September 2012, 02:29 AM   #2105
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcmbob View Post
If you have a standard CD or DVD player, they usually have a RCA (normally orange) that outputs spdif. A simple stereo pot between the DAK and the amp works well for volume. In the U.S. I've seen new players for as little as $30 and even less at secondhand stores.
I'm currently running music server, therefore I need USB input. I thought of going with other DAC board that comes with integrated USB but I decided to go with this board due to the wealth of upgrade and modification info.

Thanks Dario for the BOM. It sure looks very promising based on the rave reviews.

About your suggestion above, I may get a used cd player and try the spdif input. But not in the near future though, since I would like to do the BOM modification first.

Last edited by tagheuer; 24th September 2012 at 02:41 AM.
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Old 24th September 2012, 04:45 AM   #2106
billno1 is offline billno1  United Kingdom
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Hi. I'm interested in getting the Ak4396 with the transformer and case off ebay and I was wondering how it compares to mainstream DAC's stock. Is modding essential? Thanks.
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Old 24th September 2012, 05:51 AM   #2107
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erin View Post
May I ask why this combination has no bass?
sorry that was a bit of an overstatement. single 1543, no active
stage is simply not as dynamic as the other methods i listed above.
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Old 24th September 2012, 06:26 AM   #2108
Tolu is offline Tolu  Germany
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Any further sound description or percentage ranking?
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Old 24th September 2012, 07:24 AM   #2109
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sorry, don't wanna sound too contrived.

ill rank it by happiness factor. 0-10, unhappy
to nirvana since everyone's preference
is different.

4396 trafo-7
4398 discrete-6 (i like warmth. this one was too neutral)
pcm1704+tube-8
all my past 1543 iterations-8 (once again i only care
for warmth/harmonics)
current setup with waveio 1543-9
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Old 24th September 2012, 07:50 AM   #2110
Tolu is offline Tolu  Germany
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Than I suppose that an unmodded AK4396 would be a 5 at your ranking!

I have an DIR9001, TDA1543 with direct out, too. In my ranking it gets an 3-4 because it has a poor resolution and sounded dull.

E-MU 0404 USB: 3.5

Musical Fidelity V-DAC: 4

iBasso D7: 6

TEAC UD-H01: 6

HifiDIY.net (PCM1793, DIR9001, OPA2134 DAC): 7

Northstar Essensio: 8

Linn Akurate: 9

Only my subjective overall voting!
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