Remote controlled XiangSheng DA-03A tube DAC - diyAudio
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Old 26th June 2014, 02:56 PM   #1
kukynas is offline kukynas  Czech Republic
diyAudio Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Default Remote controlled XiangSheng DA-03A tube DAC

I found limited offer ($120 + shipping) from Xiang Sheng Electronics so wanted to share with you as you also might be interested.
I'm placing order tomorrow from here Tube HIFI-DA-03A remote control decoder PCM1794 TE7022 CS3310 TPA6120 amp Item?s description (only black version available) where fee and shipping cost additional 50-80 bucks depended on forwarder and ship to country...
better pictures here: XiangSheng DA-03A DAC Tube Decoders Headphone Amplifier [DA-03] - $236.00 : hlly fm transmitter, low power fm transmitter,tv transmitter

main specs:
Chip: PCM1794A+CS8416+CS3310+TPA6120
USB card: TE7022L or SA9027 (not included, cost additional $10)
Input: USB+COAX+OPT+BNC
Output: OP amp RCA + Tube RCA + headphone
Max. sampling: USB 24/96Khz, the rest 24/192Khz
OPA used: 3xOPA2604AP
Tube used: 6N3 (GE5670)
V regulators: LM337/317
AC: 220V or 110V
size: 260x167x55mm
weight: 2kg

additional specs:
SNR: general port output: 110dB
tube port output: 90dB
Harmonic distortion: general port output: <0.001%
tube port output: <0.1%
Sampling frequencies: 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, 192KHz
Output Level: 2000mV
Dynamic range: 120dB
Input Impedance: 75 ohms figures
Line Output impedance: 600 ohms
Headphone Output Impedance: 32 Ohms -600 ohms
Headphone output power: 500mW-100mW

remote controls headphone output, channel switching and mute
switching of internal pin allows control of remaining outputs

I will ask for PCB schematics

I think there is a room for improvements so I expect some fun

original source HIFI-DA-03A遥控电子管解码器PCM1794 TE7022 CS3310 TPA6120耳放-淘宝网

some info reg. version 2 Has Anyone Heard the XiangSheng DAC-02A?
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Old 31st August 2014, 10:29 PM   #2
kukynas is offline kukynas  Czech Republic
diyAudio Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
I took little bit longer than I originally thought but finally I was able to tweak it to the stage I'm quite happy about

inside of the original version, PCB is pretty tiny and full with limited space for upgrade

Click the image to open in full size.
image upload no compression

stage 1 contained change of the main filter caps from Chinese noname to Panasonic, it was bit of a pain due to fact that either caps were connecting top and bottom of the PCB without those copper cylinders or they were poor quality that I ripped them off when I was pulling old caps, anyway after successful fix of the problem sound became clean and quiet without background noise, at this stage I could easily compare it to my 2xAK4399 with wider soundstage...like chapel hall wide but it was still lacking some details and clarity at top end I was expecting of it.

stage 2 contained change of the tube output caps from Solen PB-MKP-FC to Jantzen Silver Z-Cap, sound became detailed, crisp and natural but it lost soundstage and airiness...

Click the image to open in full size.
free picture hosting

stage 3 ... change of the output caps to Mundorf SGO...it exceeded my expectation especially in this price range... precise, clear and natural sound full of details I didn't hear before, it's really different level...

current version...

Click the image to open in full size.
windows screen capture

Caps are temporary attached through the detachable double pins on top cover, I plan to shorten the wires and use double side scotch tape to stick them on top cover once NOS GE Red 5 Star 5670 arrive, I think that's the last bit and I'm done and more than happy how does it sound


.
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Old 7th September 2014, 01:26 PM   #3
wdg2101 is offline wdg2101  Turkey
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Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Istanbul
Nice review and mods of yet another interesting bargain Chinese DAC!

I have the very similar DAC-01A from Xiang Sheng, which I am thinking about modding along the lines of what you have done. I have some questions about this.

As you may know, the DAC-01A was also marketed by Grant Fidelity in North America as the Tube DAC-09---there is a fair bit of information about it in the Grant Fidelity area of diyAudio. (I have one from a Hong Kong seller that I bought for $146+shipping a year ago.) Like your DA-03A, the DAC-01A also has op-amp, tube, and headphone outputs. (The headphone output is not very good.) It uses similar components:

DAC Chip: Cirrus Logic CS4398-CZZ
USB Receiver: CM108
Input: USB+COAX+OPT+2 Analog Ins
Oscillator: TOYOCOM TCO-711A 12.000 Mhz
S/PDIF Receiver: CS8416-CZZ
Op-amps: 2 x LF353-N, 1 x Burr-Brown OPA2604AP
Tube: Chinese 6N3

The R-Core transformer in my DAC-01A is the same as the one in your DA-03A, though even among the DAC-01As, it varies according to production run. (The date on the main PCB under the tube is useful---mine says 2013-05.) Mine is wired so that the voltage can be switched between 110v and 220v via a small switch on the back of the unit---yours doesn't seem to have this switch although the place where it "should" be is clearly visible "above" the transformer in your first pic.

There seems to be some confusion about what sample rates the DAC-01A will accept over USB---I never got it to work beyond 48KHz and I am not convinced anyone else has either. This is the weak link on the DAC-01A---I bought a CM6631A-based USB->SPDIF converter from our friend Weiliang to overcome this shortcoming. (It'll go to 24/192 over SPDIF, like your DA-03A. Indeed, it uses the same SPDIF receiver chip.) Here's the inside of mine:


Click the image to open in full size.

Most of the capacitors are "Chinese no-name." The output caps are the blue boxes in the upper left of the main PCB. (I guess...) Here's a better look:


Click the image to open in full size.

You can see that I have replaced the Chinese 6N3 with a GE JAN 5670W. It doesn't make a huge difference... maybe a slight improvement. I also have a Sylvania JHS 5670WA that I haven't tried yet. Eventually I will break down and get a Western Electric 396A, which seems to be the tube of choice in this DAC.

As I understand it, the label "305J250" means 30 x 10^5 pF = 3 uF, 5% tolerance, 250v. These seem to vary greatly across production runs---I have seen units with unlabeled light green caps in this position, as well as models with red (probably WIMA) caps. You should consider yourself lucky that yours came with Solens... a surprisingly boutique choice for a Chinese DAC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kukynas View Post
stage 1 contained change of the main filter caps from Chinese noname to Panasonic
What series of Panasonic caps did you use? I usually just look for anything high ripple, low ESR, but if you have an opinion, I'd like to hear it. How big were the filter caps on yours? Mine has one Rubycon 6800uF/16v, three 3300uF/25v, two 470uF/16v, and a 150uF/250v (probably for the plate voltage on the tube).

Quote:
Originally Posted by kukynas View Post
stage 3 ... change of the output caps to Mundorf SGO...
Come on! Aren't those caps over $100 each? You only paid $120 for the DAC!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kukynas View Post
it exceeded my expectation especially in this price range...
Which price range are you referring to? Are you going to be able to fit those guys inside the case? It looks pretty tight to me. A related question: Have you tried to fit one of those HDAM op-amp modules into the DA-03A? Even with that I'm worried it'll stick up too far... Let me know how it goes and how you like the Red 5 Star. Good luck trying to get a schematic from Xiang Sheng... I know several people have tried without success to get one for the DAC-01A.
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Old 7th September 2014, 08:19 PM   #4
kukynas is offline kukynas  Czech Republic
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Join Date: Apr 2014
wdg2101: thanks...

main difference in specs is PCM1794A DAC chip, Tenor 24/96 USB chip, remote control and overall improved layout, don't know what is your headphone amp but this TPA6120 sounds pretty good

WE396A (none cryo version) is at the level of Red 5 star, if you choose cryo version ($100) than you might get best tube on the market for this DAC

those blue caps are output caps so this should be your first choice for upgrade, if you have powerful amplifier you do not need 3.3uf or 2.2uf, 1.5uf should be still OK, now I know I could safe some money ...
Yep, I knew I will get version with those Solens as I bought it directly from producer, considering their value it sounded surprisingly good.

I bought all caps at Farnell.com, I changed those 25v/3300uf to Panasonic FC 25V/4700uf, (EEUFC1E472), Rubycon 6800uf has been changed to Panasonic FC 8200uf/16v (EEUFC1C822), 150uf/250v has been changed to Panasonic EE 220uf/200v (EEUEE2D221), 100uf/100v has been changed to Rubycon YXJ 220uf/100v (100YXJ220M12.5X25) and those 470uf/16v (in my case 10v) to Panasonic FM 1000uf/10v (EEUFM1A102L), if you can't get Panasonic type I would look for Nichicon HE/PM version or any other low impedance high ripple

yep, those guys cost $110 each but you will most probably get best sound for your money, it's still not crazy priced like V-Cap or Duelund, of course you can choose cheaper caps like SO version or even cheaper Jantzen etc. I was following this and this (Czech shop where I bought mine) reviews

Price range...first of all I paid for my 2xAK4399 after all mods around $400 so same as tube DAC and which one do you think sound better? than I compared Xiang Sheng DAC to cheapest tube DAC in same category I found which cost around $500 untouched so I still didn't reached it with all of my mods...there is UK seller selling this DAC with mods like mine for +$1K

guys are staying outside, they are too big to fit inside, I'll just shorten wires and that's it, HDAM module will fit if you buy this one, I was able to change top opamp but not those 2, can't see on your board where they are all located and how big space you got between them, second option is extension DIP8 cable from audio-gd or you can make your own one, I'm not going to use discrete output stage so no need for me.

I was trying to get the schematics directly from producer but of course no chance

keep me posted about your progress
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