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Old 2nd August 2004, 11:18 PM   #1
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Question I Want To Build A Very High Quality A/D Converter

I want to convert about a couple of hundred of my vinyl LPs over to the digital realm to either play them on DVD-A or even mix them down to 44.1 so I can listen to them on CDs.
Almost none of these records ever made it to CD, so just buying them in that format is not an option for me plus that would be ridiculously expensive in any event.

I have searched, but I have not found anything here that resulted in a completed project that I could just build that would do high quality 24/192 A/D conversions.
I want something a bit better than I could normally get on a computer sound card and the good rack-mount boxes are $2,000 - $10,000.
So I'm wondering, just how hard would this be?
A friend of mine gave me three CS5381 chips and said he would get me a reference board (for $150) if I wanted one.

What would be the best way to go about this?
Should I just buy the reference board and hook power to it or can we do a collaborative effort with people here from the site and get a better result for cheaper?

I have three of these chips, I only need one, so if anybody is willing to help me I could part with two of these.

Is this possible or is this just a completely hair-brained idea?
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Old 3rd August 2004, 11:31 AM   #2
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Location: Eindhoven

Never trust a semiconductor manufacturer demo board for sound quality

Designing and building an AD is not a beginners project

If you want to spend money then buy an AD, if you want to spend time design one :-)

You might look at


Guido Tent
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Old 3rd August 2004, 04:42 PM   #3
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Location: California
I'm sure the AD-1 is a beautiful sounding converter and I'm quite positive it is well beyond my price range as well. If I win the lottery, I will call you Guido.

So back to the original question, as I have more time than money.

Has anybody ever done this before?
Is it really that difficult (more than a D/A converter), or is it just not something that is in high demand?
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Old 3rd August 2004, 05:17 PM   #4
X.G. is offline X.G.  China
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Guido tent,

the smart man!!!

I just confirmed that Guido Tent not a beautiful girl


Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 3rd August 2004, 05:37 PM   #5
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I think you might have a couple problems. First, designing an A/D that outperforms what's available will be very tough - the noise levels on the top-grade gear (even soundcards) is very very low - your board layout and quality will have to be top-notch to compete. Second, transmitting @192 is still somewhat new, so you will need to make sure whatever soundcard you use can handle 192kHz via spdif.

You might want to look at the Emu 1212 before you get too far. It performs *very* well for the price - under $200. Maybe not up to the very highest grade external boxes, but far better than you might expect. It might even be attractive as a stop-gap while you design the project if you go that way.

I'm sure you're aware of this, but software to burn DVD-A disks is still pretty new and very expensive for full-featured versions. You can get 48kHz for cheap, and it *might* do 96 in stereo (not sure) but full 192 and/or MLP is still big $$$$ AFAIK. If 96kHz is 'good enough' you can just use DVD-Video with a 96kHz LPCM soundtrack which is much more accessable.
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Old 4th August 2004, 01:57 AM   #6
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start with the AD1801 chip
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Old 4th August 2004, 03:50 AM   #7
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Originally posted by rickcr42
start with the AD1801 chip
I googled that but did not come up with much.
What is that?

Is there anything wrong with the CS5381?
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Old 4th August 2004, 07:44 AM   #8
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Perhaps he means the TI PCM1802 but as you already have the CS5381 you might as well run with it.
I tend to disagree with dwk123 as to the difficulty involved but that is another matter. The odds are you will be creating CD or DVD discs on a PC and that brings us to the issue of getting the audio into the computer. Good digital smux- or dual/quad speed AES- capable audio i/f cards are not cheap as they are invariably aimed at the multichannel user. For the same price you would probably a pretty good card with on-board ADC converters.
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Old 4th August 2004, 06:15 PM   #9
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Use a "Terratec DMX 6 fire" and you`ll hear a difference between
vinyl and generated CD, same, as the glass on your table is filling with Coke or Pepsi listening your favoured music.
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Old 4th August 2004, 07:05 PM   #10
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It is not as easy as it looks. You need a good driver and interface (or how do you intend to record your signal on HDD?), who will write it for you? You need to have a stable clock plus different minor things. I recommend to use Lynx L22 for this purpose, it can handle 24/192 quite well. I bought it for less then $500 on ebay, and it worth. AK5394, used in it, is even better then CS5381 in specs, the level of jitter in L22 is below 20ps at frequencies 400-20000Hz (measured using AP). You can just replace OPA2227 in it, and it will be a VERY good ADC ... for that level of price, IMO. I will publish the measurements with such replacement soon.
Saying trully, 24/192 is still too much for vynil records IMO, except if you want to publish them on DVD-A using MLP ... 24/96 is quite enough - take a look at the spectrum of LP records: http://users.bigpond.net.au/christie...riots-lp-s.gif
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