DAC Kit recommendation please -- I need to upgrade my Fiio D3

00940

Member
2003-09-03 12:17 pm
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Jennifer G

Member
2015-08-31 2:31 pm
What's your budget ?

This combo wouldn't be a bad starting point:

DAC: https://www.minidsp.com/products/minidspkits/curryman-i2s-dac
USB receiver: 384kHz Asynchronous USB to I2S/SPDIF CM6631A PCB - DIYINHK
PS: Classic Reference 78xx power supply linear regulator 3.3V 5V +-12V - DIYINHK (one for +3.3, +5 and one for +/-12V).

Add a case, a pair of small transformers and you're pretty much done.

This is certainly within budget. I'd like to keep it under $300.

Would the above combo sound better than say a V90 DAC, ODAC & FIIO?

You say to get two transformers, one for the power for each channel? So I need two of the above dc supply boards then right?
 

Jennifer G

Member
2015-08-31 2:31 pm
I'd go with JLSounds, IF you are feeding the DAC with a computer (over USB):
Products - I2S over USB Audio

If you have only S/PDIF Coax for the source, I can't suggest anything within reasonable budget, which is better than the FiiO.

Yeah I am feeding it with SPDIF right now. WOuld the USB sound better? Or does the physical connection to the computer introduce noise into my preamp & amp?
 

00940

Member
2003-09-03 12:17 pm
Liège
This is certainly within budget. I'd like to keep it under $300.

Would the above combo sound better than say a V90 DAC, ODAC & FIIO?

You say to get two transformers, one for the power for each channel? So I need two of the above dc supply boards then right?

You want me to be honnest ? Probably not by much if at all. My experience with DAC are that, once they're done somewhat properly, the differences are really quite minor and often a matter of taste.

The best bang for the buck isn't DIY but used equipment at lower prices. The earlier versions of the V-DAC were pretty fine already for example.

About the transformers: I mean one transformer with two 8VAC windings to provide the +3.3V and +5V (for the digital sections) and one transformer with two 12VAC windings to provide the +12 and -12V for the analog output. Sometimes you can find custom transformers with all necessary windings.

If I suggested the combo above, it's because I built a similar one for a friend (slightly better usb receiver) and know it works nicely.
 
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sottomano

Member
2011-03-27 9:29 pm
Yeah I am feeding it with SPDIF right now. WOuld the USB sound better? Or does the physical connection to the computer introduce noise into my preamp & amp?
USB in my experience is better, but only when done right.
The JLSounds USB to i2s does galvanically isolate the USB from the DAC, but you should power it with an external supply, as recommended AFAIR.

But if your Budget is up to USD 300, why not get an iFi iDSD Nano. This is a very very good DAC for the price point, and I think it costs considerably less than 300 bucks. http://ifi-audio.com/portfolio-view/nano-idsd/
 
What do you guys think of the Schiit Modi 2 Uber? It makes use of a 16V AC wall wart which means it has its own isolated dc supply inside -- vs. the Modi 2 USB which gets it power from the noisy switching supply from the PC. It's $149 vs the $99 for the USB version.

It has spdif and coax inputs as well as usb.

I wonder how it sounds compared to the Fiio D3. Well I guess $149 and I'll find out. I suppose I could sell for close to what I pay for it later on if I don't like it.
 
The v90 would go along with the look of my existing system fairly well:

[IMGDEAD]http://oi67.tinypic.com/2m4og1f.jpg[/IMGDEAD]

[IMGDEAD]http://oi66.tinypic.com/2mdhtea.jpg[/IMGDEAD]

Maybe put a black diamond sticker logo on the dac as well in the middle hah.

And the linear power supply to the left of the preamp is 12v which could power the V90 -- which I heard sounds much better with a good linear power supply vs the switching wall wart it comes with. I am thinking Ken Rockwell didn't use a linear power supply in his review, otherwise it might of sounded as good as ones costing twice as much? (The 12V power supply to the left is powering the FIIO D3 (2011) DAC to the right -- housed in radio shack metal enclosure.)

I have looked inside my Pyramid supply and to be honest it looks odd.. wondering if it is a switching as well.. lots of circuitry I don't recognize in a typical linear supply. Need to look at it again as I am a newb in electronics lol. I have built my own linear power supply though so that's why it was confusing to look at it. I might just build my own linear or use chimpamp.com dc supply board if it will work well for 12V applications. Along with an antek power supply.
 
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Just read that someone added a 10k uF electrolytic cap to the 13.8v output terminal of the Pyramid ps-3kx and said it improved the sound of the VDAC-II.

So I just added 2 x 1000uf electrolytics in parallel to the 13.8v input of my radio shack DAC enclosure (being fed from the same pyramid ps-3kx supply) .. about 2 inches from the input to the 7805 I am using [btw my 7805 has no input filtering cap (.33uf) -- maybe I should add this? I do have the .1uf output filtering cap though.] The addition of the 1000 uf electrolytics seem to be helping but not sure. Does it not matter since it's going into the 7805? Is it possible to add a 10k UF electrolytic after the .1 uf filter ceramic cap on the 7805 output? i.e. before it goes into the Fiio D3? Is it possible to have 10k UF caps on both input and output (like the following diagram shows) -- if this makes any sense at all.. new to all this:

[IMGDEAD]http://oi66.tinypic.com/33e2yjq.jpg[/IMGDEAD]
 

Luke

Member
2001-09-24 11:12 am
Hi Jennifer, if you are going to buy ready made, look on head-fi for reviews. It may help you decide. I expect for the money all the dacs you have listed are probably good value. If you are going to diy, I would get a curryman or jlsounds from the links above and diy the power supplies. Keep in mind that there are many good diy dacs, don't forget twisted pear, I have two of their dacs and they are very good.
 
Thanks Luke.

I ended up buying the SMSL M8 just a few minutes ago. I'll have it in two days from Amazon. If I don't like it (i.e. if it doesn't really sound better than my FIIO D3 v1) I'll return it. It's got great reviews though. One guy says it sounds as good as DACs costing a couple grand -- especially with linear regulated power supply (which I'll probably build myself).

Doing the B1 Buffer assembly in a couple days as well -- that should help a lot (matching impedance) since I am splitting my source signal in the preamp (one to go to LM3886 amp and other to polk powered sub).

Starting to think my speakers might be needing upgrading soon heh : Infinity RS 2001.
 
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Yes from the 80's. I refoamed the mid woofers. I think I bought in 2006 for like $50 used off ebay. And the refoam kit was like $25. They sound better than anything I've had before and were recommended to me by a sound engineer in Nashville, as affordable monitor speakers. But I've never had a good amp/pre/dac before.. and never had good speakers before either.. so I have a lot of experimenting to do with speakers now. Have tried a few amps now .. the Adcom 535, Behringer A500 reference, and now the LM3886. I like the LM3886 best, although the behringer was quite nice (better than the Adcom -- clearer and better highs).
 
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