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Old 3rd April 2006, 04:11 AM   #1
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Default Clash of the Giant Killers

It seems the favorite DAC chip around here is the TDA1543 and everybody who has heard it raves about it, especially when multiple chips are stacked or paralleled. You know what they say: "If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is."

I recently purchased a Lite DAC-AH (eight parallel TDA1543) and gave it a listen. In a word: itís BAD, e.g., not good. OK, itís only $175, but it is still doesnít sound good. The sound is coarse, crude, and congested. No detail, air, or finesse. Compared to an Audio Note DAC 1.2, it just doesnít measure up. Of course, the AN costs hundreds more. Even compared to a stock ART DI/O, which costs less than the DAC-AH, the DAC-AH falls flat. Ordinarily I donít care for the sound of digital filters but in this match-up I prefer the DI/O. An additional annoyance is the DAC-AH emits a constant squeal all by itself without being plugged into an amplifier.

The DAC-AH measures poorly, too. Here is the DAC-AH (upper trace) side by side with the DI/O (lower trace).

689.0625 Hz sine wave @ 0 dB

The problem is not in the output stage because I see the same thing looking at the top of the I/V resistor.

689.0625 Hz triangle wave @ 0 dB

With the TDA1543, a triangle wave looks more like a sine.

689.0625 Hz sine wave @ -7 dB

At -7dB the distortion is diminished.

689.0625 Hz triangle wave @ -7 dB

It appears the TDA1543's linearity falls off rapidly beyond 15 bits.

I know a lot of you believe jitter is the most important aspect of a DACís performance. Here are 0-25K Hz FFT plots of Julian Dunnís jitter-test signal.

DAC-AH

DI/O

Finally, here are traces and plots of a 5512.5 Hz sine wave @ 0dB.

5512.5 Hz sine wave @ 0 dB

DAC-AH

DI/O

With all the added harmonic and enharmonic noise, itís easy to see why the DAC-AH sounds as bad as it does.

I canít say Iím disappointed with the DAC-AH because I really wasnít expecting very much. Itís just one more in my growing collection of reference DACs. Now I know what the TDA1543 sounds like and have a reference to better judge otherís opinions about it and similar DACs.
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Old 15th April 2006, 07:18 AM   #2
awpagan is offline awpagan  Australia
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I did listen to one once but i didn't think it was that bad.
and no, i didn't buy one.
I was looking for a unit i could play(practise) with mods on.

is this a copy of doede's 1543 dac?
ps, not pcb layout.

If so, are you saying the concept doesn't work or the pcb/parts. etc layout?

have you done a comparison with other 1543 dac's

allan
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Old 15th April 2006, 07:27 AM   #3
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I think the point is that the very heart of the Lite-dac, the TDA1543, is dire.
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Old 15th April 2006, 08:03 AM   #4
zanash is offline zanash  United Kingdom
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If your daft enough to put a sub £100 dac up against a £1000 one what else are you going to hear ?

You need to compare dac's of equal merit ...regardless of chip type.

What transport was used, was it the same for both dac's ?

I'm not here to defend the AH, but just to point out the daft nature of the comparison.

Would you compare a mini and a jaguar and complain the mini doesn't go as fast ?
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Old 15th April 2006, 08:23 AM   #5
awpagan is offline awpagan  Australia
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Quote:
Originally posted by zanash
If your daft enough to put a sub £100 dac up against a £1000 one what else are you going to hear ?

You need to compare dac's of equal merit ...regardless of chip type.

What transport was used, was it the same for both dac's ?

I'm not here to defend the AH, but just to point out the daft nature of the comparison.

Would you compare a mini and a jaguar and complain the mini doesn't go as fast ?

i had a mini

don't knock them, they were so much fun.

allan

ps dac thingy

is this a dac-ah bad design or implementation?
if so, why does it sound better(more detail) than a standard cdplayer?

rfbrw
this person is wrong then?
http://www.dddac.de/
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Old 15th April 2006, 09:01 AM   #6
zanash is offline zanash  United Kingdom
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I'm just saying its an unfair comparison.....of course the AH will sound bad......90% of all dacs will be put to shame by the audio note.


I'm currently listing to a MF - dac3 against the DAC-AH the AH is streets ahead in clarity imaging and dynamics. My task is to get the MF dac to out perform the AH ,as it should being about 4x the cost.

I'm not knocking Mini !! just saying you would not quotes its spec against an E types and complain the minis too slow !
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Old 15th April 2006, 09:37 AM   #7
ash_dac is offline ash_dac  United Kingdom
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Hi,

See my td1543 NOS mess below:-

Click the image to open in full size.

I've retired my tda1543 NOS dac as I'm pretty sure it was damaging my equipment.
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Old 15th April 2006, 10:15 AM   #8
poynton is offline poynton  United Kingdom
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Default Re: Clash of the Giant Killers

Quote:
Originally posted by Ulas


689.0625 Hz sine wave @ 0 dB

The problem is not in the output stage because I see the same thing looking at the top of the I/V resistor.

689.0625 Hz triangle wave @ 0 dB


Quote:
Originally posted by awpagan


is this a dac-ah bad design or implementation?

Hi.

Looking at the sine output, I would say that it could be either of awpagan's suggestions.

The waveform is asymmetrical and something appears to be limiting rather than clipping, given the shape. Power supply problem?

Andy
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Old 15th April 2006, 10:18 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by zanash
If your daft enough to put a sub £100 dac up against a £1000 one what else are you going to hear ?

You need to compare dac's of equal merit ...regardless of chip type.

What transport was used, was it the same for both dac's ?

I'm not here to defend the AH, but just to point out the daft nature of the comparison.

Would you compare a mini and a jaguar and complain the mini doesn't go as fast ?

In this case it is all about chip type. The TDA1543 is dire. It is dire in the £100 Lite dac and it is dire in the circa £800 Shigaraki.
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Old 15th April 2006, 11:11 AM   #10
awpagan is offline awpagan  Australia
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Quote:
Originally posted by rfbrw



In this case it is all about chip type. The TDA1543 is dire. It is dire in the £100 Lite dac and it is dire in the circa £800 Shigaraki.

maybe we should give up.
and all go out and buy a 800+ pound dac
that does not sound like DIY ideals to me.

allan
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