DAC advice AK4191 AK4499 or?

I spent a lot of time with AK4499EQ and then later with AK4191 and AK4499EXEQ. I gave up on those things after doing some work with discrete resistor FIRDACs. There are some open source or mostly open source projects in the forum, and there are some diy boards available for building some great dacs that way. The discrete resistor FIRDAC approach seems to be the way high end dacs are going. Bruno Putzeys Mola dacs are a variation on that. High end companies like Luxman and Marantz are using FIRDAC designs in their high end products these days too.

Personally, I see no reason to stick with dac chips any more other than if low-cost is a dominant concern.

Regarding 16-bit PCM, IME people are usually astonished to find out how good CD audio can sound when reproduced through a really good dac and a really good system overall. Most people have never heard it though. Don't know what to do about that. There is expensive high end junk out there that can sound bad, so it can be hit or miss to find a place where you can hear 16-bit PCM reproduction done well. A Mola dac dealer may have a reliable showroom; maybe something like that.

If interested in the entry level of high end diy dacs, I would suggest to start reading: https://www.diyaudio.com/community/threads/return-to-zero-shift-register-firdac.379406/
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
If you have $500 - $1,000 to spend, and if you are interested a diy approach, you are almost able to get into the really good high end FIRDACs. And yes its not too hard to outdo a $1,000 commercial dac. Or ones costing more than twice that. It depends on what you want to do.