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erin 1st April 2011 10:42 PM

DAC 2496 (AK4393) DAC KIT With CS8416+AK4393+5532
2 Attachment(s)
This is the most recent DAC kit I have seen on ebay. The interesting thing is that it is the first kit I have seen using an AK4393 DAC chip. I have enjoyed this chip in my M-audio 24/96 Superdac, so I thought I would buy this kit to see what its like. It cost me $30 delivered. Which makes it also one of the cheapest DAC kits I have seen.
I also liked its basic no frills simple design. See attached schematic. :)

I have just assembled it using NCC PSC capacitors throughout the digital section and PPS bypass capacitors. Funny thing is just how hot all the capacitors get. I think it needs a lot more than the supplied 1800uf reservoir capacitors. I intend to build an off board power supply with more capacitance for it.

So far it is running in, so cant say too much about the sound except I think for $30 it is very good value. Please immediately throw the supplied NE5532 in the bin and install your favorite dual op-amp in its place. The supplied opamp sounds like junk, and will give you an unfair opinion of the sound.

Attached is a photo of the kit as supplied, I will try to post a photo of mine with the different caps installed.

weskoki 2nd April 2011 12:00 AM

Do let us know about the sound once it's burned in.

erin 2nd April 2011 12:14 AM

Will do :) That's the purpose of the thread :)

erin 2nd April 2011 10:16 AM

2 Attachment(s)
Ok, this is what I have done, its not necessarily a recommendation.
There is Silmic on the analog power rails after the regulator. Panasonic FC and FM on the digital and analog power rails before the regulator. Axial polystyrene 3.3nf and Roederstein 1.5nf as the analog filter. NCC PSC caps are installed on both sides of the board to make them fit. At the moment I have a TLE2082 op amp installed.
After some break in, its sounding quite good.

erin 4th April 2011 12:16 PM

I have just put 22,000uf on the analog power rails before the regulator and this DAC is starting to sound really nice and detailed and smooth. Will post pics and more reviews later :)

antos71 4th April 2011 02:13 PM

Thank you Erin! :)

detoxer 6th April 2011 11:47 PM

Erin, is that 22000uf or 2200uf? I have been playing with this Dac for a week or so and find that it runs hot. Also curious about the value of silmics your using after digital regulator. I have removed components way to many times,have destroyed several runs. I am currently unable to to get error led to exstinguish or get any music through the unit. I have ordered a new board to start fresh, I have been tinkering with tantalums and oscons coming off the dac direct to srpp set-up. I have also messed with swapping chip to ak4396.

erin 7th April 2011 01:19 PM

I am using 22,000uf!! Not a typo! :)
I actually have now also put 22,000uf on the digital section and this has made a fantastic improvement to the sound.
I am using 220uf silmic after the +/-15V regulators, and where the 100nf bypass caps were on the op-amp, I have removed these, and put 470uf silmic there instead, and bypassing these underneath the board.
The Silmics on the op amp give much better dynamics than just running the silmics after the regulators.

This DAC kit is really outstanding. It is incredibly smooth, has great detail, and strong bass. I have a hard time finding anything to criticize, but If I had to criticize, I would say that I would like some greater dynamics, but perhaps this could be corrected by using a better op amp, discreet output stage, or tube output? I'm not sure its just a theory.
For $30 this DAC is a very safe bet. It is very responsive to changes you will make to it.
I would not bother buying any other kit. This DAC is just so good. Perhaps others can try it and advise their thoughts.

weskoki 7th April 2011 01:32 PM

That's great news Erin! What kind of transport do you use?

erin 7th April 2011 02:59 PM

I have various transports, but, I was making these comments using a computer and foobar > teralink X > dac.
If you have a source better than this, expect some very nice results. :)

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