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Old 20th April 2013, 08:15 PM   #1
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Default ESS9018 I/V

Hello guys,

I'm just looking for an easy and cheap tube I/V for the DAC ESS9018: I own Buffalo III DAC, I'm interested in your opinions about Lukas Fikus schematic using 6sn7, any suggestions to improve or other ideas to have better sound will welcome.

TIA
Felipe
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Old 21st April 2013, 04:26 AM   #2
tomchr is offline tomchr  United States
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The schematic you attached doesn't look much like an I/V converter. It's also not differential. As I recall the ESS9018 has differential output.

Unless you don't care about performance, I suggest you implement the circuit shown in the ESS datasheet or eval board schematic. Even then you have to be very, very careful with the layout and component selection in order not to screw up the performance of the DAC. By careful component selection, I mean selecting precision components where it matters and keeping the layout clean such that you get the performance you pay for.

You can then feed the output of the I/V into a tube preamp if that suits your fancy.

~Tom
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Old 21st April 2013, 10:35 AM   #3
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I don't need differential output. I want to make the I/V all tube if possible, suggestions will welcome. Tom thanks for answer, I have Legato 3.1 without caps with the BIII DAC but I want to experiment with tubes.

Felipe
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Old 21st April 2013, 11:34 AM   #4
kumori is offline kumori  Europe
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I think Lukas design only uses one phase for a single ended setup and both phases for differential output. If you only need single ended output you can save yourself some money here. This method also works well with the SEN-IV stage for buffalo, which I use.

I have one of Lukas kits lying around for a few month now, but had no time to build it yet.
I think his kit designs are pretty "mature", because he uses it for years.
You can also always improve on the PSU.
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Old 21st April 2013, 11:38 AM   #5
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Thanks Kumori, could you link me to the Lukas kit?
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Old 21st April 2013, 11:49 AM   #6
kumori is offline kumori  Europe
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This is what I have lying around: Lampizator - High End Lampizator Kit ver 3.0

There are is also a cheaper version without choke supply and balanced versions available under diy kits.
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Old 21st April 2013, 12:25 PM   #7
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Thanks for the link, surely sounds very good, Wavebourn recommend me this tube to make one headphone amp. I don't have this tube on stash but I have 6H8C metal base black holes to try. Have you used other tubed I/V stage?
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Old 21st April 2013, 01:28 PM   #8
kumori is offline kumori  Europe
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Well, I have not built it yet. It would be my first tube-build at all.
So, can´t give you any information about tube choices at all.

Only used discrete solid state for I/V until now, Legato and SEN. (SEN being more my taste)
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Old 21st April 2013, 01:34 PM   #9
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DAC with tube output I only used Audionote DAC with PCM63K and tube output using ECC88, with SS I use PCM1704 NOS with Erno Borbely I/V (sounds very good) and BIII with Legato without caps with double TP0604.
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Old 21st April 2013, 01:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merlin el mago View Post
I'm interested in your opinions about Lukas Fikus schematic using 6sn7, any suggestions to improve or other ideas to have better sound will welcome.


IMO if are looking for any kind of performance beyond the pathetic you should look elsewhere. Lampizator circuits may be great at masking the distortion of lesser dacs but why would anyone want to hamper a 9018?

With this in mind you have to first answer the question: do you actually need an I/V with the 9018 and are tubes suitable at all?

As tubes are inherently inadequate at presenting ultra-low impedances by themselves you can only rely on a passive resistor I/V and a subsequent hi gain tube stage.

Or forgo the I/V and choose to amplify/buffer the output in voltage mode. There will be a drop in quality, insignificant to the issues of a high gain tube stage. Broskie's unbalancer seems to be quite popular and is certainly much better engineered than anything from Lampizator.


Then again, the 9018 in voltage mode does not necessarily need any active electronics between itself and a balanced input power amplifier.

Last edited by analog_sa; 21st April 2013 at 02:01 PM.
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