DAC-38, DAC-60, DAC-68. Anybody heard?

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Yes, I have the DAC-68, and DAC AH

DAC 68 is the higher end model. It is very musical and smooth. I am amazed at this price, it performs as good as my Sonic Frontier SFD2. Well SFD2 is about 10 years old, I guess digital technology improved a lot. The only thing I don't like is the noise level of DAC68. I am not sure whether it is just the problem of my unit or the general design of the model.

I got the DAC AH at about US$100 as a finished product. It uses 4 TDA1543 per channel, total of 8 TDA1543. While it sound not bad, it is not as smooth as the DAC68. Also not as detail. Overall, it is not bad at that price.

G'day Bean!

...and thanks! Are we talking hiss here or some other kind of noise? Are you using it direct to your amp or with a pre-amp? I see it has a digital volume control and digital volume controls can be noisy. Have you tried tube rolling at all or are you using the stock tubes?

Once again, thanks.

Tony Da
Hi Tony

The noise I am refering to is the hiss. I also think that it is from the digital volume.....the volume chip is their own OEM, so I cannot tell who is the manufacturer....hence can't do much about it. They claimed the dynamic range is 144db, I expected it to be dead quiet...but it is not. However the hiss noise is not as annoying as the AC interference.
All other chips used are good. Sound wise, it is really not bad. I am happy with it. My Sonic Frontier is now retired. I will take out the digital parts and modify it with new digital circuit....using the tube diff amp.

The tubes came with the DAC68 were Sovet. I change them to NOS match pairs. There was a slight improvement in sound...more open in high end, but the hiss noise still the same.

Overall the DAC68 is quite good, but for RRP US$575 is slightly over price compared to other models they are selling.

I paid US$375 through a friend who has connection with the china factory.

There is another model you may like to check it out. It is from another china factory called Xindak. Xindak makes high quality audio stuff but at a very good price.

Last year when I was in HK, I listen to Xindak's DAC-3, it was about US$260. It is 24/96K, but it has built in upsampling circuit. Sound very good. The shop keeper let me open up the unit to see the inside circuit...very nicely built. But at the end I chose DAC68 becasue I got a good deal and the fact that I love tube gears. I am now actually regret not taking the DAC3.

Xindak web site is model is DAC3
They have a HK dealer call Coem Audio...web site is I know that Coem Audio will take oversea orders.

One more toy you may like to try is upsampling convertor from Behringer. The have a gear call the is a very good toy to play for digital audio. Behringer makes mostly PA gears. The Ultrmatch can upsample your CD to 24bit/96K. It also come with DAC, and also ADC....all operate at 24/96K. The DAC sound okay (use CS4394...not a bad chip for such a low priced gear) If you know how to change the by bass capacitors and op amp, it sound wonderful. It is only selling for RRP US$159...for that price, it is super value.

Thanks guys! I wonder if the DAC 60 might be more quiet than the DAC 68 - no volume control (I have a pretty good pre-amp - Bryston BP25 so don't need it). How loud is the hiss Bean? D'ya have to put your ear right up to the speaker or does it wake you up when you're drunk passed out on the floor?

Got into the Xindak web site once but when I tried a second time it stalled. DAC 3 plus sounds real interesting though. Tried the
Coemaudio web site but they only show Xindak cables. No DACs. My Cantonese is pretty lousy. Do either of you have any contacts with these guys? The folks at seem to be a little more set up to take foreign orders and the DAC 60 has a good review on their web site. Also wondering about the DAC 38
Hi Tony
I use the DAC68 with my pre-amp. The hiss is noticable only at high volume only or full volume setting only. It is not that bad but as their spec said 144db, I expected it to be very quiet....which is not. Except the hiss sound, there isn't any AC 60hz interference.

Both DIY club and also Coem Audio are HK dealers for Mainland chinese factories. DIY Club mainly do kits, components and finished product, while Coem Audio only do finished product.

The website of Coem Audio doesn't show much, but anything you find on Xindak can get from Coem. You may have to send Coem an email or a call, they will tell you the price and other deteails (tel: 852 97221240 or 852 27811907). Their main business is retail shop but they do take overseas orders. They are decent company...I have brought many stuff from them.
Last year the price for DAC 3 was HK$2100 = US$270. I think it is getting cheaper. As I remember it has separate power supply from 2 toroidal trans, separate supply regulator for each stage, Analogue Device chip for DAC, and Analogue device chip for diff amp output in balance output. The good thing is at that price it also feature upsampling from 16bit/44.1k to 24bit/96K. The only thing is it is not 24bit/192K...which seems the latest standard nowadays.
But sound wise it is very good and very quiet. If you don't like the Analogue Device output, you can easily change them using BB OP627 or others. It uses DIP8, not surface mount, so it is easy to modify. Also all the caps are audio standard (solon and wima MKPs). Resistors are 1% metal film.

The DAC68 contain much more parts, and they use discreet component (Jfets) for diff amp and filters (not IC op amp). There are also tubes that is why it is more expensive. The PCB is just bigger and stuffed with parts. It is powered by 2 C core trans. The hiss noise is not from the trans as I tried to take the trans outside the case, but the hiss still there.

I haven't listened to DAC38 or DAC60. Both these two models are several years old. They are only up to 96K, and the older one is only 20bit or 16 bit. But they seem very good value though.

I also brought many stuff from Lite-audio (DIY-club). Their quality is quite good too. DIY club is the dealer from Lite-audio in HK. The price from DIY club is about 10-20% higher than Lite-audio direct. However it is hard to deal with Lite as they are in China, so paying that 10-20% extra may worth it. As you also realised that DIY culb is more setup for taking overseas orders. The lite audio website is, check them out, They have many stuff which are quite interesting and very good value. Exchange rate is about 1US=8Y (RMB).

Good luck
TonyDasilva said: seems to have a number of interesting plug-and-play DACs - DAC-38, DAC-60, DAC-68. Has anybody heard these and can offer any comments about their sound? Did a search and found a couple of threads but no comments about sound.

Thanks! DACs


From what I see from the schematics, these DACs are quite straightforward, so no special attentioon to jitter, power supply or analogue output stages.

Nevertheless, given their price, all seems reasonable, but they need some attention to become seriously good.

Personally, if I had to spend 400 or 500 USD, I'd put these in upgrading an existing CD player.
Hi Tony

I tried to change the tube...with a good pair of NOS which were used in other preamp without any noise....but in the DAC68...the hiss was still there.

I got this DAC68 at a much discounted price (about 40% off...I paid only US$375) from someone relating to the factory. It was new but it could be a factory second that selling to staff members. It could be the higher noise level that makes it a reject....I am not sure. But for US$375 for a DAC with tube buffer stage....and discreet JFET filters...power trans and all in a good looking is not bad at all. Most of the components are good audio I don't really need to do much modification (I changed the 4 output caps to Solon MKP). There are some other kits in the market which are more expensive but offer less.

Maybe you can check with DIYclub, and see whether the unit is really dead quiet before you buy it. It could be really juts my unit being noisy.

Regarding a better CD player Guido mentioned, DIYclub also has a cd that features up sampling. I wonder whether it is good. It is not expensive.

Modded Lite Dac Ah

Hi Everyone,

I have modded my Lite Dac Ah with the output stage but I also heard the hiss more at the beginning or when I turn on the DAC and whole system. When I switched to the Monica 2 Dac the hiss is disappeared. I have tried several times and it happened the same. I will bypass the opamp part with different modifications this weekeend and will see if the hiss still exists.
The DAC-60 is an excellent unit to mod. Excellent choice of chips and not too much to fix in the design. With Siemens cca tubes it can be a revelation. I modded one for a customer and thought it was so good that I'm doing an Empirical Audio version of it called the Spoiler with USB/I2S interface. It is showing signs of being even better than my modded Benchmark DAC-1.

I would highly recommend the Sonicraft mods for those that want to mod it for a small sum of money.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
Lite DAC 60 problem


I just bought a Lite DAC 60 Pacific Valves modded from a friend. The DAC was okay until one day I have tried to replace another better quality output capacitors (M-caps MFK sound so edgy to me). While working on the DAC suddenly I heard a couple snaps on the right op-amp capacitors surrounded. I replaced that cap and several other input caps and PS caps. But when I turned it on there was no signal ouput at RCA connectors (NO SOUND at all) but still have some small voltage at the output capacitors (around 90VDC-98VDC).

What does it mean? No sound at RCA connectors could be caused by burning or shortage of the miniature relay were placed after the output caps for security?

Does anyone know or experience with this problem please let me know? I would appreciate your time. Thanks.

Best regards,
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