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Old 31st July 2006, 01:48 AM   #1
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Default Need help choosing USB DAC kit.

I have descided to make the switch to a pc based digital audio system and I would like to build a DAC with a usb input. What is everyones opinion on which would be a good choice for a beginner to build that will be reasonably easy to build and have great sound quality??
Thanks
Frank
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Old 1st August 2006, 05:11 AM   #2
dddac is offline dddac  Germany
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Default Re: Need help choosing USB DAC kit.

Quote:
Originally posted by imperfectcircle
I have descided to make the switch to a pc based digital audio system and I would like to build a DAC with a usb input. What is everyones opinion on which would be a good choice for a beginner to build that will be reasonably easy to build and have great sound quality??
Thanks
Frank
you may want to have a look at my Site: www.dddac.de
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Old 1st August 2006, 05:57 PM   #3
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Thanks, your dac is one of the kits thats on my list. Im just not so sure about the NOS dacs as ive heard they are bit lacking in detail and frequency extension compared to upsampling and oversampling designs that im used to? What kinda of power supply do you reccomend with your Dac?
thanks
Frank
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Old 1st August 2006, 08:26 PM   #4
kec is offline kec  United States
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imperfectcircle,

I'm starting to build the OS USB DAC-201 from audiodiylab.com. Decent price for what it can do - headphone amp, USB-to-SPDIF, line out, balanced/unbalanced output. Power is supplied from batteries or a wallwart.

If you're hesitant about soldering SMD components, you can order the PCB with the SMD parts installed. And, for $35 (USD) that ain't bad.

Here's the link: http://www.audiodiylab.com/modules/n...php?storyid=72

I know most everyone here seems to be in the Non-OS DAC camp. This will be my first DAC, so I'll have to build both types to see which one I like best.

Let us know which one you decide on.


-Ken
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Old 2nd August 2006, 04:37 AM   #5
dddac is offline dddac  Germany
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Quote:
Originally posted by imperfectcircle
Thanks, your dac is one of the kits thats on my list. Im just not so sure about the NOS dacs as ive heard they are bit lacking in detail and frequency extension compared to upsampling and oversampling designs that im used to? What kinda of power supply do you reccomend with your Dac?
thanks
Frank
Lets not fill your thread with millions of reactions of pro-contra-nos
....

If that would be true, I would not be using nos dacs. I use lead-acid batteries for power supply. Works very nice. With high cost mains power supplies can be built who top that possibly, but than there is no relation between both ....

you can read what others oppionions are Here

doede
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Old 3rd August 2006, 03:41 PM   #6
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I have been doing a bit of research about what is the best way to get the digital data from my computer to the DAC. The two options I have are Spdif output from my soundcard or USB output from the PC. Ive read alot about both methods and there seems to be no cut and dry answer about which is better. I would think a good pro soundcard like RME or E-mu would have a very high quality clock and Spdif output since it is made for audio?? USB wasnt really design specifically for audio so im not sure it would be as good???

I am very interested in you DDDAC, but now im not sure if I should build the Spdif version or USB version?? Which do you prefer if you had to choose between Spdif and USB???
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Old 3rd August 2006, 05:12 PM   #7
dddac is offline dddac  Germany
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Quote:
Originally posted by imperfectcircle
I have been doing a bit of research about what is the best way to get the digital data from my computer to the DAC. The two options I have are Spdif output from my soundcard or USB output from the PC. Ive read alot about both methods and there seems to be no cut and dry answer about which is better. I would think a good pro soundcard like RME or E-mu would have a very high quality clock and Spdif output since it is made for audio?? USB wasnt really design specifically for audio so im not sure it would be as good???

I am very interested in you DDDAC, but now im not sure if I should build the Spdif version or USB version?? Which do you prefer if you had to choose between Spdif and USB???
The USB version sounds the best ..... This also allows you to disable the soundcard and use the USB receiver as the Windows sound device.

doede
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Old 5th August 2006, 01:33 PM   #8
adhoc is offline adhoc  Australia
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i'm not sure if this is the correct place to ask this, but something has me a little confused.

with 'normal' transports, I2S signals are the default output. jitter is decided by the quality and implementation of the master clock that times both the transport's data output and the DAC's input.

how does a master clock fit in with a USB convertor? when the USB signal is converted to I2S, will the master clock work there? how would i hook up a master clock to sync both a USB convertor, and, say, -ecdesigns-'s octal TDA1541A dac?

Also, is there a correlation between frequency of master clock and quality? In other words, does a higher clock frequency mean less jitter?
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Old 5th August 2006, 04:57 PM   #9
Daveis is offline Daveis  United States
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Quote:
Originally posted by imperfectcircle
The two options I have are Spdif output from my soundcard or USB output from the PC.

...

I would think a good pro soundcard like RME or E-mu would have a very high quality clock and Spdif output since it is made for audio??
Why can't the PC be the DAC? Would something like a Lynx or RME card be about as good as a sub-$1000 DAC, eg. the Benchmark DAC1.

Quote:
Originally posted by adhoc
how does a master clock fit in with a USB convertor?
I'm interested in this as well. An idea I had was this...

If your music is already on your PC, why not have a sound player that reads an entire song into memory at a time. Loads the song into a memory controller attached directly to the DAC. Then the song plays entirely out of memory clocked by the internal clock associated with the DAC. The transport method I2s, SPDIF, etc. ceases to be an issue and you are left with only the quality of the master clock on the DAC to contend with.
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Old 5th August 2006, 11:20 PM   #10
adhoc is offline adhoc  Australia
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Quote:
Originally posted by Daveis
Why can't the PC be the DAC? Would something like a Lynx or RME card be about as good as a sub-$1000 DAC, eg. the Benchmark DAC1.
I seriously doubt so; apart from the much poorer power supplies present wihtin the PC, there also is the problem of rampant EMI/RFI to contend with.
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