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Old 3rd October 2006, 06:40 PM   #1
cowanrg is offline cowanrg  United States
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Default good simple DAC kit?

i am in need of a good DAC. mine is alright, but now that all my sources come from a single source with a good digital out, i would like to improve my sound.

i have a lot of other projects going on and dont need to be a pioneer and reinvent the wheel. basically, im looking for a kit that i can just assemble and go. i know its not very DIY, but ive got all the DIY i can handle right now, i just dont feel like spending $1k+ on a good DAC.

i have been looking on ebay, and "diy gene" has a nice looking kit, but i know you guys dont like him because of stolen designs and such. any other suggestions out there?

here is what i would be dealing with:

i use a media center PC for all my sources (best thing since sliced bread!). it outputs 24-bit through an RCA digital out. its pretty clean, ive compared it to some very nice transports and it does a fantastic job (beating out most of them). i am currently using the DAC in my processor (rotel sp-1098). its not slouch, its one of the reasons why i bought this processor. the manual says: "24-bit/128x oversampling d-a converters from AKM and crystal semiconductors 24-bit/192khz"

it does HDCD, and i assume i will lose that going with a custom built DAC. thats fine with me. i only have a few HDCD's anyways. any help would be great, and if anyone knows of any really decent commercial units for cheap, that would be great too! i dont have a ton of cash to spend on this, i just want to get a better DAC than what i have.
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Old 3rd October 2006, 06:59 PM   #2
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Have you looked at the DAC's from this site?

http://www.diykits.com.hk/dac.html

And also the "Extreme TDA1543" kit from this site.

http://us.hifidiy.net/

I was actually going to buy three of these, but my funds were low so I just bought three Entech 203.2 DAC's instead. I managed to get the Entech's for only a little more than one of those kits.

The above site even sells a chassis for that kit at a very reasonable price and it looks pretty nice.
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Old 3rd October 2006, 07:21 PM   #3
lineup is offline lineup  Sweden
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Default Re: good simple DAC kit?

Quote:
Originally posted by cowanrg
i am in need of a good DAC. mine is alright, but now that all my sources come from a single source with a good digital out, i would like to improve my sound.
Hello, cowanrg

I dont know if this DAC designed some years ago match all your requirements.
But this sensible and good DAC
by Sheldon Stokes ( think he is member here at www.diyaudio.com )
is in my opinion a Good simple DAC kit

Click the image to open in full size.

He also has got his Tube Dac:
Quote:
The output of the I/V stage
feeds the grids of a pair of tubes (6DJ8's or 12AT7's)
in an SRPP (shunt regulated push pull) configuration.
The total analog signal path consists of
a resistor, a tube gain stage, and a capacitor.
Sheldon's Projects are well documented and popular.
Guess you will find some topics in this forum about them.
http://www.quadesl.com/dac.html


Regards
lineup
http://lineup.awardspace.com/
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Old 3rd October 2006, 07:33 PM   #4
cowanrg is offline cowanrg  United States
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Quote:
Originally posted by theAnonymous1
Have you looked at the DAC's from this site?

http://www.diykits.com.hk/dac.html

And also the "Extreme TDA1543" kit from this site.

http://us.hifidiy.net/

I was actually going to buy three of these, but my funds were low so I just bought three Entech 203.2 DAC's instead. I managed to get the Entech's for only a little more than one of those kits.

The above site even sells a chassis for that kit at a very reasonable price and it looks pretty nice.
the extreme TDA1543 kit looks nice. the price is right, under $100 for the kit isnt bad at all. im not sure if they still make it though, it doesnt look like they offer it for sale, i guess ill have to email them. and there isnt much documentation at all...

the kits from diykits.com.hk look alright, but they have NO documentation as to what they are. the prices look great, but who knows that they really are?! maybe someone else has bought from them? here is one of them on ebay:

http://cgi.ebay.com/NICE-24-BIT-196K...QQcmdZViewItem

it looks the same. they seem to be decent, but i dont know much about DAC's, so i cant tell if any of these will sound decent or not. what should i be looking for?
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Old 3rd October 2006, 07:36 PM   #5
cowanrg is offline cowanrg  United States
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Default Re: Re: good simple DAC kit?

Quote:
Originally posted by lineup


Hello, cowanrg

I dont know if this DAC designed some years ago match all your requirements.
But this sensible and good DAC
by Sheldon Stokes ( think he is member here at www.diyaudio.com )
is in my opinion a Good simple DAC kit

Click the image to open in full size.

He also has got his Tube Dac:

Sheldon's Projects are well documented and popular.
Guess you will find some topics in this forum about them.
http://www.quadesl.com/dac.html


Regards
lineup
http://lineup.awardspace.com/
hum, i dont know if i want a design thats from "some years ago". also, he doesnt seem to offer a kit, just the bare PCB. i dont mind buying parts, but i would rather just have a box of parts that i put together, or a finished PCB that i add a PSU and case to.
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Old 3rd October 2006, 07:49 PM   #6
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I know the Etreme DAC kits are still available because he had some on ebay not too long ago when I was interested in buying them. Right now he only has a sinlge TDA1543 kit that would require a preamp.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Mini-TDA1543-DAC...QQcmdZViewItem

The first site sells on ebay also but doesn't have any DAC's for sale at the moment.

http://search.ebay.com/_W0QQsassZwww....com.hkQQhtZ-1

I don't know if you saw this on the site, but here's the schematic for the Extreme DAC.

http://us.hifidiy.net/Article.asp?ArticleId=175
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Old 3rd October 2006, 11:32 PM   #7
cowanrg is offline cowanrg  United States
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ok, thanks. that helps a bit. i can watch the ebay auctions and see if anything pops up.

really, im ignorant about DAC's, or at least DIY ones... my favorite real world DAC's are the musical fidelity ones (any of them, but mainly the tri-vista tube dac and the A3.24 one) and the esoteric stuff. if i could come close (or better) than the A3.24, i would be happy. i dont expect to compare or beat the tri-vista or the esoteric (both around $5K+, the esoterics are high as $10k+).

i mean, can i get good sound from a kit, or am i asking too much? and when i say good sound, i mean something that will compete with ~$1500 commercial DAC's?
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Old 4th October 2006, 01:17 AM   #8
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You could build something like the A3.24. There is a schematic in the forum.
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Old 4th October 2006, 01:27 AM   #9
cowanrg is offline cowanrg  United States
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Quote:
Originally posted by rfbrw
You could build something like the A3.24. There is a schematic in the forum.
hum. but is someone making boards for it? plus, in the newest one, they use chokes and such, it might be a little harder to make than i would want to do.
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Old 4th October 2006, 01:30 AM   #10
mourip is offline mourip  United States
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I have built two of Scott Nixons NOS DACs and find them to be excellent and very cheap. He makes SPDIF and USB DACs, tubed and non-tube.

http://www.scott-nixon.com/

Best,

Paul
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