DIY DACs VS Commercial stuff .. really worth it? - diyAudio
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Old 23rd November 2005, 01:59 AM   #1
JinMTVT is offline JinMTVT  Canada
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Default DIY DACs VS Commercial stuff .. really worth it?

I've been reading this forum to learn more about DACs for about a month now ..
i have never built a dac by myself, nor have i ever built anything from scracth in audio electronics ...

The complexity of DAC circuitry/requirements doesn't stop to amaze me, and i thought that it was pretty much simple, feed some signal, power up the chip, output stage et voila! ( well i guess that nothing is ever that simple in electricity when you want performance )

We have seen many many examples of diy DACs using older chips, OS and non OS , a few using more recent chips like the pcm179X ... all seemed to require some extensive time to design and implement properly,
and i guess that most of the advanced user on this forum have helped out everybody to sort all bugs and things out wich led to nice results, am i right?

My question now is, was it all really worth it?
Taking this question in the point of view of performance,
and not for fun and challenge of designing/building something from scratch ( or from other's base )

Have you guys ever compared the performance of your DIY DACs VS the performance of available commercial kits?

When i first started to research this section of DIY
for DACs, i thought that a small board with only 2-3 main chips and a few resistors couldn't be that costy ..probably always sub 100$ for all components, that would've been for a ultra high quality DAC
( since i had seen that most DAC chips sells for 10$ and less each )
But i've seen some people around here and from outside links selling DIY kits for a few 100$ , wich pretty much closes up to commercial products in used form.
( and that was for older designs using older chips ,
i have yet to see a complete kit using the pcm179X for a reasonnable price <~200$, and i personally cannot settle for something less than the best/newer chips in those price range )

So taking apart the desing challenge, and diy community pleasure , is it really worth it to invest time on a diy DAC ?? ( again performance wise )

I'd like to see comparisons of price VS performance
of commercial and DIY type of DACs ... i haven't looked much into commercial since i wanted to keep the cost of my projects low , but since there is a lack of what i am looking for around here ( and i don't quite trust anywhere else for good reasons ) i might just consider getting some good used commercial stuff
( unfortunatly...again )

I have to say that i completly lack the skills necessary to design anything DAC wise, or even think about designing it .. this might affect my point of view i guess ..

What do YOU think ?

Shouldn't we all be working on a single recent ultra high performance design with options and possibilities, using the best chips available ?
that would be pretty cool ! i'd be the first in line to shell out some $$$ investing into this .. neway

i hope that there is a point to all what i just typed

Pleae prove me wrong ! !! ahahah
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Old 23rd November 2005, 03:37 AM   #2
gmarsh is offline gmarsh  Canada
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Ultimately, the quality of a piece of audio hardware lies with the person who designed it. If they've got good design skills - layout, grounding, power, good component selection, etc - then they can create a piece of equipment with outstanding performance.

Wether this person designed the equipment at work (commercial) or designed it in their own time (DIY) is irrelevant, really. I've seen plenty of bad commercial equipment, and plenty of great DIY equipment. I've also seen lots of bad DIY.

So... *shrug*
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Old 23rd November 2005, 03:52 AM   #3
JinMTVT is offline JinMTVT  Canada
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Thanks for the quick reply "G "

Well that is what i thought also ...
but i have failed to see any diy dac that falls into what idescribed ( except for your's ... wich i believe is not quite available ?? )

--------------------
Have you received my email BTW ?
I'd like to chat with you , If you have some spare time, i'd need some help based on your work !
contact me at: jin at intermonde dot net
----------------------

How does your DAC sounds ? have you measured it ?
What is your TOTAL cost for your DAC/amplifier ?
( only the DAC sectionn if you can sum it up like that )

Are you satisfied with its performance ?
You probably have the only pcm179x diy with a reasonnable price range ..

How long was it to designed the DAC section of your kit ? have you based it on other's work or starter from scratch ?
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Old 23rd November 2005, 06:55 PM   #4
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" I've seen plenty of bad commercial equipment........"

Been poking your head inside of some Wadia stuff, maybe?

"HILTS!!! 30 days!"

Jocko
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Old 23rd November 2005, 07:06 PM   #5
anatech is offline anatech  Canada
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Hi JinMTVT,
One thing to consider in any design is that the "best" way to accomplish something is always an opinion. There is more than one way to skin a cat so to speak. I've seen many good DACs, all different.

Another point to consider is that a designer may put together a great DAC, but a poor audio buffer or power supply. Some don't even believe in a buffer (it's in the chip then hopefully).

Getting a properly designed commercial board is important, so even if the cost compares to a commercial unit, I feel the chances of getting a superior unit are excellent. The workmanship is on your shoulders.

Finally, there is flexibility. You can redesign and implement different power supplies and buffers yourself. You now have the flexibility to do so.

-Chris
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Old 23rd November 2005, 07:47 PM   #6
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Just my two cents.

I built 4 DAC's over the years. Recently, I compared my Tube DAC with a TEAC Esoteric DV-50 (cost U$5500). The DV-50 is the best player I heard so far, music full of air, sweetness and delicacy, great timing, etc. This was with regular CD and oversampling.

Using the DV50 as transport, my Tube DAC gave me I would say, about 80% of the DV50 sound. It sounds just great. My Tube DAC can greatly improve the sound of my other CD players and cost a fraction of the TEAC.

Great DAC's are worth it

Bye...
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Old 23rd November 2005, 09:32 PM   #7
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This is the lowest price I've seen so far for Benchmark DAC: http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....onv&1137968841

Some people are really desperate to get rid of commercial, Stereophile class A rated product. I had one too.

I still keep ML360S, which is $7500 DAC. However, for the last 3 months I've been continuosly listening to home made NOS DAC, and haven't the slightest desire to plug the Levinson in.
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Old 23rd November 2005, 09:54 PM   #8
JinMTVT is offline JinMTVT  Canada
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thanks all!

i've read a part of your thread Peter,
where is it going ??
will your dac be available soon ?


Joko : i always have hard time to understand your "short replies"
i guess that Wadia is a brand ?



maybe you are just too intelligent for me

what is YOUR opinion ?
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Old 23rd November 2005, 10:05 PM   #9
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The DAC has been available since early May, however, it's not listed as a kit, and probably won't be. I only sell it to people who somehow find the info how to obtain it; it is a sort of special product, and I like to keep it this way
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Old 24th November 2005, 02:58 AM   #10
JinMTVT is offline JinMTVT  Canada
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coul you send me some info about ur Special kit!
??? info on chips used, pricing and building info!

jin at intermonde dot net

i am interested

thanks
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