Choosing between a selection of the cheapest DACs

So I've been happily using my new, 100% overhauled car audio system for over a month. It has a Car PC + USB DAC for a source. But now the DAC is acting up and I'm gonna replace it. It's an el cheapo 2704 board, and it sounds great. I can just order another one. But, I've noticed that if I add a couple bucks, I can some other interesting DAC chips for not much more money. Here are the contenders:

  1. CS4398
  2. Another 4398
  3. AK4399
  4. ES9023
  5. TDA1543
  6. WM8740
What do you think, which one should I get? These are so simple you can get a good idea of the schematics by just looking at the photos.
I much prefer it to be USB-powered, but I'll consider other options if the DAC is worth it. And I need it to be fit for automotive use: resilient towards power supply interference, and above all - to EM interference. And, of course, I want the max. possible sound quality for my two dozen bucks.

Only line out required, no headphone amp or pre-amp.
 
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Eldam

Banned
2012-09-13 12:25 am
France
In each case the car will make more noise than the dac chip :D

All are good, maybe the two last will have a better bass/dynamic behavior but all the result is in the Layout ! and from the two the Wolfson is the best at my ears for the bass !

The ESS has a clean sound and some jitter reduction embeded! The AK are excellent chips....

Now what did I heard really as I relating my little experience ? The dac chip or the layout around it ? :D... With Ali cheap stuffs the layout is at its worst ! So I will not make a competition on such criteria !


And the chip which translate USB signal towards the dac chip is important as well in the final result....

All are good chips here :) in your choice ! None of them will influence too much the final result with the final result because poor layout of cheap ALI, so buy the less expensive or the easier to integrate with the whole system you have imho.
 
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In each case the car will make more noise than the dac chip :D
Clearly, I am talking about listening while the engine is off :) And as for noise as such - PCM2704 produces NONE whatsoever (i. e. it's inaudible).

And thanks for the reply. Yeah, I realize the layout and the schematics around the DAC (e. g. the output stage) may be even more important than the DAC chip itself.
I've been told AK is the best of these by far, but then I realized half the boards actually require external power and aren't USB-powered, which is a bit of a problem. Esp. the 12V-powered ones. So far I'm leaning to the SA9027+ES9023 just because it's highly integrated (hard for the Chinese to screw it up) + it's USB-powered (easy installation). And maybe I'll get the AK for experiments at home and comparison with EMU 0404 USB :)
 
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Eldam

Banned
2012-09-13 12:25 am
France
You're welcome....

I don't know if that helped :eek: !

I like the Es9023 chip as well ! Tried it with the Subbu DAC,sound good stock with its good pcb layout and even better when sligthy moded ! As all dac chips, sensible about the PS quality ! (you want a good reg which support 14.7 to 12V of the car (when driving if you change your mind or when engine off !)


Did I give you this link as well ? : HiFimeDIY Store
 
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Did I give you this link as well ? : HiFimeDIY Store
No, you did not, thank you! Their prices are not as ultra-low budget as Aliexpress offers, but it's still manageable.
Although, to my unprofessional naked eye, the HiFime boards don't look any better than the chinese ES9023 ones (example 1, example 2).
What about ES9018, is it audibly better than 9023?
 

Eldam

Banned
2012-09-13 12:25 am
France
I'm sure it's quite the same at ears... Thanks for the links ! Hard to say, but the second has a good look, I will change the green by the blue Epcos of the same value/size..., the tantals yellow are good enough for the digital side ! I don't like ceramics on an analog output (personal choice, I can hear it)
 
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I'll have to admit I don't have the first idea about different capacitor types, and which ones are best for which applications. I know cap tweaking is a big thing, but I never found a good explanation of which caps should go where. I only know 2 parameters of a capacitor - capacity and active internal resistance.
 

Eldam

Banned
2012-09-13 12:25 am
France
I concluded than only real experimentation is working then tweaking : I didn't find the ESr/ESL/max power capacity/ capacitance tell all the Truth.

stuffs must be designed with the values than simulation and measurements dictate, but after there is a margin around these values ! dielectric is important as hearable, but also the whole hifi and subjectives tastes dictate as well ! Also voltage rate !

that's why it's so good for the vendor and goods manufactors ! But of course there are devices better than others :) and engineers do the job :) ! After they have not the time to test all, it's an economic issue for the brands ! But 95% of the job is made on the designing phase. That's my simple understanding. When modding, most of the time you try to adapt the devices with each others in your whole hifi system (compensation) !