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Old 30th June 2015, 02:09 PM   #1
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Question SU0 xmos u8 dac + AK4490 questions

I just want to use a cheap dac (for now) to upgrade sound from a realtek Alc269 hd audio codec of a notebook as it is the main sound source connected to my amp (decent only with EQ).
USB audio performance is critical as I use digital files media mostly (flac/mp3) and CDs over usb.

I would like to ask community, for some additional info about this cheap dac device I have found:

SU0 xmos u8 dac + AK4490 asynchronous usb decoder
example: Finished SU0 XMOS U8 DAC+ AK4490 top asynchronous USB decoder with headphone-in Amplifier from Consumer Electronics on Aliexpress.com | Alibaba Group

you can easily find pictures of pcb of this device in the net

1. Has anyone have ever heard or have any opinion on the sound quality of this device?

2. If I use an external USB CD/DVD Drive on a notebook will it be able to reproduce my CDs decently without to much audible jitter/artifacts? As far as I can remember from the past there is a way with some media players to on the fly "extract/rip" a cd and play it through any sound driver (xmos here).

3. What about the one op-amp used in this design (dip-8 socket replaceable)? I am mostly interested in line output (it says 2.5Vrms). Is this one and only op-amp connected to line-output or it only amplifies and affects headphone output? If I will test/use a better alternative (Like LME49720NA/HA) will it affect the line output sound quality (and/or headphone)? (the current one is a JRC 5532D)

4. Can I use a 5v USB battery power bank to power supply this device to upgrade sound quality? I think the cheap included adapter is 8v but it can be powered from usb (not recommented).

5. Other possible cheap improvements?

I am not an electronics expert but I can follow some basic directions.

Thanks

Last edited by pentajazz; 1st July 2015 at 04:27 PM.
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Old 7th July 2015, 02:45 PM   #2
tonyfg is offline tonyfg  Portugal
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Just pulled the trigger on one of these too. It looks too cheap for something actually using XMOS for usb, but I'm always willing to give a try to these sweet looking deals

Did you receive yours yet?
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Old 29th July 2015, 04:20 PM   #3
tonyfg is offline tonyfg  Portugal
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Quick heads up:

I received my DAC yesterday. It sounds pretty good on first listen, although I haven't had the time to compare with anything else.

I opened it up and it is indeed an AK4490EQ with an XMOS USB interface. The solder work is pretty sloppy, but everything seems to work fine. I'll post some pictures of the guts tomorrow if I have the time.

Does anyone have any information on how I might select the active filter on the AK4490?
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Old 29th July 2015, 05:24 PM   #4
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No I haven't purchased it yet but I probably will, i am cheking som other configurations.

But if you need info about filters check this more serious implementation:
AK4490 USB Dac with dsd support.

I suppose you will need a special driver to do so.

If you test audio quality for this device please let us know your findings.
As far as I can see some sellers give a 8v switching power supply. I guess this is a very basic and noisy power supply. I have some old AC/DC 9V regulated power supplies (heavy, probably linear?) I guess they will do the work better, can anyone confirm this?

What are the specs of this 8v power supply?

I am also wondering how a cheap tube preamp after this dac, could change the sound behaviour. e.g.
6J1 X2 HiFi Stereo Tube Valve Preamp Preamplifier Amplifier | eBay
1pc 6J1 Valve Pre Amp Tube Preamplifier Kit Assembled Board Audio DIY | eBay
Latest 6J1 HiFi Stereo Tube Pre Amp Valve Audio Preamplifier with Power Adapter | eBay
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Old 18th October 2015, 01:31 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyfg View Post
I opened it up and it is indeed an AK4490EQ with an XMOS USB interface. The solder work is pretty sloppy, but everything seems to work fine. I'll post some pictures of the guts tomorrow if I have the time.
Do you have some pics of the guts?
It would be interesting
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Old 3rd November 2015, 12:31 PM   #6
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Hi everyone! Here is a guts.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_20151103_201952[1].jpg (999.4 KB, 844 views)
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Old 3rd November 2015, 01:04 PM   #7
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Yours is definitively well made compared to mine :-)
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Old 3rd November 2015, 02:28 PM   #8
JensH is offline JensH  Denmark
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyfg View Post
Quick heads up:

Does anyone have any information on how I might select the active filter on the AK4490?
If you mean the digital filters in the AK4490 it looks like they can only be changed in this design by modifying the hardware. As far as I can see, the AK4490 is used in the "Parallel Control Mode" (by setting pin 13 high). In this mode pin 8 and 9 determine the filter setting. They have also been tied to the supply. So they will have to be (carefully) lifted from the PCB and tied either high or low depending on what filter you want to use. See the AK4490 data sheet for details on how to select the filter type.
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Old 3rd November 2015, 03:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vacuphile View Post
Yours is definitively well made compared to mine :-)
To be honest, at the first glance I had some doubts about sound because some soldering parts are far from perfect, but overall listening leaves the best impressions. Only power supply disappoints much and has to be replaced.
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Old 4th November 2015, 09:36 AM   #10
gugi100 is offline gugi100  Netherlands
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thank you integrin for showing the inside. Saves me opening my device. Mine is integrated in my home system with a (cheap) windows 10 tablet. It sounds very wel regarding the price of EUR 50. I am happy with it!
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