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Old 5th March 2009, 06:57 PM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Question request for advice sourcing an amp module / board

Dear all,

I need to put together a module, or set of modules, that has optical digital input, and L&R loudspeaker outputs. It doesn't need any analogue inputs or a volume control or any other functionality - just: digital in / loudspeaker out; that's it.

Ideally, something like a B&O ICEpower module, except with an optical input and onboard DAC. (This is the kind of budget I have been given for my project).

Failing that, something like an AD-Labs RD-2 (www.audiokit.ro/dac_rd2.html) connected to an ICEpower board (http://www.icepower.bang-olufsen.com...ry=ASX2+SERIES).

I have been tasked with creating a custom PC (buying my own motherboard, ATX casing, etc) with audiophile loudspeaker terminals. There is plenty of room in the casing (big box, small motherboard).

I know from experience that the way to get decent sound from a PC is not to buy an expensive PCI soundcard, but rather to use HiFi components and electrically isolate them from the PC using an optical cable carrying SPDIF - which is what I intend to do here. You can actually get better sound from a PC if you use a Sony minidisc player with optical SPDIF input as and outboard DAC, than you can from a high-end SoundBlaster, just by virtue of using an optical fibre to isolate the electrical noise.

The power amp needs to have its own power supply because a PC power supply is totally unsuitable. If necessary, the DAC part of my module could use the 5v and 12v rails from the PC's ATX power supply unit, but I'd like to avoid that because that defeats the purpose of using the optical connection to prevent any electrical noise coupling between the PC electronics and the audio electronics (this is what would happen if I used the AD-Labs solution which is why it is not ideal).

I've done a lot of Google searching but so far not found anything particularly suitable.

Anybody got any ideas!?

Cheers,
Doug.
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