All in one / Amp,DAC,CD player? +?

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Hello, I would like to build Amp for my speakers (Visaton Experience V20) I'm building right now - 89dB 1W, 160W RMS 4Ohm, And I would like to build all in one device. My absolute limit is 250 EUR (340 USD) for the whole system without the case.

My vision is something like this -
Preamp - ????? do or not do? which one?

T3 from hifimediy (2 monoblocks or one stereo board, don't know which) - 92 USD Hifimediy

Mini 1793 DAC kit from hifidiy - Mini 1793 DAC kit [MIni1793] - $34.95 : 34.95 USD

I also thought about using this as a cd player HIFIDIY CD-Drive controller
HIFIDIY CD-Drive controller - $39.00 :

+ some more imput switches like add one more digital input to the dac and directly switch it or more analogue inputs... Is that possible without degradation and cheap? + I really have no Idea how to power it. power supplies or transformers? I really don't know. Can you help me to put it together?

What you are proposing to build is very similar to what I created a few years ago:

I am planning to build a new one, as I want to add a more powerful amplifier, and a couple of other things.

If you are going to go down this route, then I suggest that you start by buying a CD player with small boards (lots of empty space inside). Such as:

Philips cd723. Philips CD 723 [English]
Marantz cd4000.
Marants cd5000. These three above are mostly the same player.
Canbride Audio d300.
Cambridge Audio d500. Cambridge Audio D-500SE [English]

Make sure that your unit has a coax digital out connection, to make your life easier.

I am going to use the Cambridge Audio d500se. I will not need the output board as I will be reclocking from the main board.

I would imagine that the Philips would be available (via ebay) cheapest.

There are so many good and cheap DACs and Amp modules available on ebay now, that you should easily be able to do this within budget. Look at:

TK2050 TP2050 2*100W CLASS-T D TRIPATH T-AMP Board on eBay (end time 01-Dec-10 11:16:41 GMT)

24bit/192KHz DAC DIY KIT ,FULL ASSEMBLED KIT- PCM1798 on eBay (end time 27-Nov-10 07:54:36 GMT)

There are long threads on both of these on this forum.

You can add a switch before the DAC, as I did, to give you the option of using another digital source (squeezebox), but this may degrade the signal. Mine sounds very nice, but it may be better still, if I chopped the digi switch out. I am using this on my next build, but it is not cheap: S/PDIF 4:1 Receiver/MUX Module

You can easily add a swich before the amp to use other sources. This will not affect the sound as long as you don't use a totally rubbish switch.

Good luck
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What you are proposing to build is very similar to what I created a few years ago:

That looks a lot like something I want to build, thanks for your tips. I'll get the case CNC'd so I don't need one but if you tried to tell me that those players are superb to board + optical drive I chose then I get it. I have a lot of questions but it's hard to do it this way. Please, can I contact you more directly (ICQ,MSN...) ? Write me a message or mail when you have time or if you want. If you could help me I would be very glad. Thanks!
I wrote this for dublin78 in first place but he suggested that this topic could be helpful to some other members and i agree with it, so I hope it will help and I hope that I'll find more answers too.

I chose a T3 amp from hifimediy because his T2 and T1 should be very good according to diyaudio users, and I believe in his build quality.
It is cheap and it has 140W headroom (I doubt that I will push the speakers to the limits) but! more headroom means less noise from what I know.

From what I read in the forums, If I add a preamp with for example 3dB bass or treble boost I will need two times the power for bass channel than before so that should cover It (I don't know if I got it right)

Two mono blocks or one stereo board? From what I know, I will need two 300W smps's for monoblocks or one 600W toroidal transformer for stereo board (and that's a lot of copper - possibly much pricier) but it takes less place I think. Two mono blocks should have less noise if I am right. Hifimediy has also nice pots and banana jacks for my purpose.

Can I save on smps's or should I stick with proven ones ? After few minutes searching ebay I found smps with very similar specs as the meanwell one, hifimediy is offering but for 20 dollars cheaper that would save me 40$

Things I would need - DAC - I thought implementing USB DAC would be a great Idea because I could connect it to every computer I find at home or for example network streaming server. I don't know about which one is good and which to chose for my purpose. I would now also have a good choice of inputs (RCA - Direct to amp, USB ,SPDIF ,Optical)

Add a cd board? Right now I'm running out of money but hifidiy kit paired with digital output kit and an slot loading drive connected to DAC could be nice (At this point I don't know anything about the quality)

Here first problem arises. How to split one digital (optical) input of the dac into two? I could think of unsoldering (or not soldering at all if it's diy kit) included input, and adding a two a two position switch on front panel. I don't know how to do this right way. What switches are good which to avoid ? I did not find anything on ebay I'd like.

I would probably need more switches if I would like to select sources or add another pair of RCA's. This is the area I do know nothing about and I would need a greater guidance in how to do this right way. Also I heard I shouldn't use regular cables for this. Don't know which to chose.

I don't know if I need a preamp and if yes, which one will suit my needs? Is there something good and cheap I could add into the box? Maybe with some tone conrtols?

I could rise my budget a little but not too much.

PLEASE If you are going to help me, take your time, I don't need fast answers like try this with a link, or take a look at this. I'd like you to explain me why it's not good the way I want it to do.
I'd like to read at least - "You should use this DAC instead because it has everything you need, two optical inputs with switch and is of a lot better quality and that justifies the slightly incrased price." (hehee i wish). And that is because a lot of diy pages don't include enough information about their products to really compare them without seeing / hearing them in person. I thank to everybody that will participate here and I hope It will end in my satisfaction and help to other members.
Beware of asking too many questions at once, as you will usually not get them all answered.

Switching digital input: This would probably be better answered over at the Digital Line Level section of diyaudio, but here is my opinion. Firstly, it is commonly agreed that optical inputs are inferior to coax ones. I don't know why, but I have seen it stated many times. Switching coax inputs can be as simple as using a two pole selector switch like this one:

Rotary Input Selector Switch 2 pole 6-way on eBay (end time 24-Dec-10 20:13:02 GMT)


This is what I used. You can see the digital input switch on the right with the thick black coax going into it. The middle selector switch is the source input to the amp. This is a simple line level input. The rotary switch on the left is a stepped attenuator volume control.

As I said in my previous post, my selector switch on the digital input to the DAC may not be optimal, as it may change the impedance of the digital signal which should be 75ohms. To may sure that all is correct for my next system, I will be using the Twisted Pear Mux Reciever that I mentioned in my previous post (not cheap).

Pre-amp? It is commonly accepted that a preamp is beneficial in a system, but not essential. You could leave it out, and add one later if you decide that you want one, or if your budget increases. I am not sure about tone controls - they do not seem very popular around here. I have seen some kits on Ebay though. My first system had a passive preamp (just a volume switch). My next one will use Nelson Pass's B1 Buffer with a built in volume control. This does not add any gain but greatly helps impedance matching between source and amp.
Nelson Pass B-1 preamp kit Buffer Preamp.pdf

Hifidiy Cd controller: I am not familiar with this, but I suspect that you will need a whole lot more to get this together (special connecting cables, power supplies, etc), I also do not think that you get the drive included for $39. I suggest that you purchase a used cd player off ebay and canabalise it. That way you can be sure that it works, and that everything that you need is included. Make sure that it has a coax digital output.

Internal cables: Just use single core OFC copper, and twist it together. See mine. This is fine for the digital signal too, unless it is over 9cm long - then use coax.

Amps: I suggest that you keep it simple for your first build. Use one stereo board. The hifimediy ones have a built in volume control, and are very highly regarded. I doubt that you will get a significant improvement in sound quality by going down the monoblock route at this level.
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I think I provided a little misleading info about T3s they are both two different boards for left and right channel but one has two channel PSU board and other one has two PSU boards for one channel each, so it's either large transformer or two smps's, I'll go whichever way is cheaper.

They also have pot for T3's and nice speaker terminals.

I was just painting schemes on how to connect it up. And I ended up with this for line. If there is no preamp I will leave out the RCA bypass and add RCA1 and RCA2 to the main input selector.. I couldn't think of anything easier for the CD player though :( I will need to switch one switch to run CD Player and second one to run DAC this way.
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Oh... yeah a preamp... it should pre amplify so it's logical. I don't know what did I think of when I was doing this. But does that mean that the amp is always running at max power? I will control the gain of preamplifier but amp will run at constant level without a pot. Am I right?

I don't know which DAC to use yet, because no one suggested me a better one but this one has a little switch, so I would exchange it for something that can go to front panel.
I think that it switches just between digital and usb but I don't know how the DAC switches between optical and coax... It doesn't have documentation there and their web page is broken mess.
Mini 1793 DAC kit [MIni1793] - $34.95 :
This amp just amplifies the line level input at a constant rate.
The volume pot suppressess the line level signal to listenable levels.
The preamp may add gain, which may be helpful if your DAC outputs at a low level.
The preamp will generally also act as an impedance matching device that will allow the amp and DAC to perform optimally. This may or may not be necessary, depending on the output impedance of the DAC and the input impedance of the amp, and maybe the pot size. This is the limit of my knowledge. Ask someone else WHY this is so.
Oh dear. I fear that you will find it very difficult to get a digital output from this. I suspect that you will waste a lot of time trying to get a good result.

I fell into the same trap once and gave up (hence my advice). In the end I used the optical digital output (my player had this), and fed it to the same DAC that you are proposing to use. The sound was not good, and was not an improvement on the player as stock. Maybe the DAC was faulty, or maybe my power supply was poor???

I still have this DAC. I can send it to you for free if you want.

I suggest that you look for a second hand Philips Cd723. It would be a better starting point. They can be found on ebay for as little as 40$. Where are you based?

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Read this review:
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The player I have is no go. I will order the transformer for amps when I get the dimensions from factory, hopefully tomorrow and then order the T3's I still haven't decided for the CDPlayer. The panasonic is pretty cheap but everything I found so far is UK only. We'll see. Can you suggest some good quality 2 position switches? (for switching outputs, terminals and inputs)
I've ordered the amp output plugs and the transformer. What do you suggest as internal wiring? I need some cheap good and available cable.. I also need some input selectors, 2 position switches and rotary switches, I've got 50$$ left of my budget money so I think I'll go without the CD player if I won't find one really cheap.
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