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Old 26th February 2014, 05:08 PM   #401
LeonvB is offline LeonvB  Netherlands
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Garretson View Post
Thanks, Leon. For dual mono, do the analog outputs of each board need to be externally jumpered in opposing phase (as with BII), or is this done internally without the need for an external jumper?
As Russ said, it depends. Both methods are described in the latest version of the guide.
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Old 26th February 2014, 05:29 PM   #402
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Default B-IIIse and performance

cjf: The short answer is yes, you can build a DAC based on the Twisted Pear modules which has comparable sound quality and perfromance to the commercial products which you have mentioned.
The long answer is that you can build a DAC which outperforms most of the DACs which you have mentioned, but this will depend on how you do the build. When doing DIY there are a lot of possible options:
Some folks choose to pair a B-IIIse with a non Twisted Pear output stage, for example... Some folks might use a B-IIIse and Legato 3 or IVY III, but use different power supplies...
Some folks might change components, and even component values on the Twisted Pear boards looking for improvements/changes to the sonics (resistors, capacitors, etc).
And there is source choice: differnet USB modules for computer audio can make for performance improvements as well...
I tend to prefer the sound of the ESS chip when it is synchronously clocked and fed from a very low jitter source, this can be done as well.

So the reality is that there is no easy answer to your question: the good thing is that once you get a little experience, you can experiment a bit, and end up with a DAC which is fine tuned to suit your system and preferences, but it will take time, and effort in experimenting. A bog stock B-IIIse/IVY III build, using the SPDIF input and all stock parts with Placid power supplies will get you very, very good perfromance, on equal footing, in general, with some of the DACs which you mention. Going further with the Legato 3, and some mods or different approaches to parts selection, power supplies and configuration can gain even more performance, and if you use a really good asynchronous USB source connected by I2S even better...
If you want to learn more, be sure to study others' builds, and read the threads on the IVY III and Legato output stages as well.
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Old 26th February 2014, 05:35 PM   #403
LeonvB is offline LeonvB  Netherlands
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cjf View Post
...
So, for those that have built a DAC based on this board how would you say it stacks up as far as SQ and low noise goes against some of the readily available and well reviewed DACs on the market that are already assembled (ie...Ayre QB9, Weiss 202, Berkeley Alpha DAC...etc..etc) if we exclude price from the equation?

Is it fair to compare these other DACs with the Twisted Pear offerings and is Twisted Pears goal to be able to compete with these other choices on the market?

I am pretty new to the whole DIY scene but have dipped my toes into the water enough to build my own Hypex NC400 Amps. I enjoyed the project very much and have since been itching to give a DIY DAC build a go and the Twisted Pear seems like a nice candidate but only if it could potentially be as good or better then what I could get already made if done correctly (within reason).

Thanks for any info you can provide.
This is DIY. As such Russ and Brian can build good modules and I may write a pretty decent manual but in the end it's up to you to make it work as good as it can be.

To my knowledge there is no commercial ES9018 dual mono implementation that has 4 (or rather 2+2x2 = 6) shunt pre-regulators and 8 (10) shunt regulators. If it does, it's likely a bit expensive. So in that sense: no, it's not fair to compare a DIY product to a commercial one. The BIII(SE) design is quite flexible so it'll take quite a while before you run out of upgrade options.

Note: The nCore modules are almost plug and play, be prepared for a lot more work building the BIIISE.
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Old 26th February 2014, 05:55 PM   #404
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cjf View Post
So, for those that have built a DAC based on this board how would you say it stacks up as far as SQ and low noise goes against some of the readily available and well reviewed DACs on the market that are already assembled....

Is it fair to compare these other DACs with the Twisted Pear offerings and is Twisted Pears goal to be able to compete with these other choices on the market?

I can second what barrows said. I have a dual mono BIII with single Legato I/V board. Is it fair to compare? Of course. As Leon pointed out it is highly optimized. Results can vary in diy depending on execution, but if you do it right you will be rewarded with a DAC that punches way above it's price point with the inputs/features you want. My DAC is dead quiet and sounds very close to my analog vinyl sound. Closest I've ever been anyway. IMO it's the output stage that gets better with higher cost DAC's and players.

I opted for the discrete balanced output Twisted Pear Legato output board. That required getting a balanced pre amp since my amp was balanced. I think discrete balanced out sounds a little better than the single ended out.

I have no affiliation with TP, just a happy customer.

EDIT: One more thing to add. I felt my DAC was worthy of a nice enclosure. I went with HiFi2000/modushop machining so it looks great in my system. That cost me ~ $300US but it was worth it.

Last edited by SCompRacer; 26th February 2014 at 06:03 PM.
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Old 26th February 2014, 11:06 PM   #405
cjf is offline cjf  United States
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Thanks for the detailed responses guys. I think I have the reassurance I need at this point to consider this as a viable option.

I will continue to dig into the info found on the forum about the TP DAC options and go from there.

Thanks again
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Old 27th February 2014, 03:23 PM   #406
zz1969 is offline zz1969  Russian Federation
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I have a dual mono BIII with single Legato (I tried 2 Legatos but finally ended up with 1). Legato is packed with hi-end caps and resistors. Big and good transformers, good caps in TP Placids. I have nothing to compare with but I like the sound a lot. System: amps - Classe, speakers - B&W 802 Diamonds, cabling - reference Cardas. I tried SRPP stage instead of Legato and Unballancer from Broskie as well. There's more punch in mid-bass and bass, the sound there is richer, at least, in my system. But the detail of Legato and its spaciousness just makes me come back to it after all experiments. Maybe there's a way to improve Legato regarding mid-bass? That bass tubes give? I don't know. It could be a fantastic step forward. Maybe transistors change? Any advice?
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Old 6th March 2014, 06:08 PM   #407
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I now have dual mono BIIISE up and running, so far with only RBCD transport into SPDIF. The SPDIF inputs on the two boards are paralleled, which lowers input impedance to 37.5 ohms. Would it be preferable to bring the impedance back up to 75 ohms by doubling the value of the SMD input resistor?
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Old 6th March 2014, 06:10 PM   #408
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Garretson View Post
I now have dual mono BIIISE up and running, so far with only RBCD transport into SPDIF. The SPDIF inputs on the two boards are paralleled, which lowers input impedance to 37.5 ohms. Would it be preferable to bring the impedance back up to 75 ohms by doubling the value of the SMD input resistor?
You could actually just remove one, but doubling the values of both would also work well. You likely don't need to do anything at all.
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Old 6th March 2014, 06:20 PM   #409
RollE2k is offline RollE2k  Sweden
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The SPDIF input is 50 ohms by default if i'm correct brian?
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Old 10th March 2014, 03:14 AM   #410
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Default Quick ESS 9018 question

I have read somewhere that the ESS 9018 requires the OSF to be on for DSD to work. I can find no mention of this in the data sheet, but of course, the ESS data sheet is not really all that complete.
Can anyone confirm absolutely that the OSF must be engaged for the ESS 9018 to decode DSD data?
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