External DAC to rival Xonar Essence STX?

Kev06

Member
2006-10-05 11:42 am
Midlands
I'm using an Asus Xonar Essence STX sound card which I 'think' has a PCM1792A DAC. I've been quite impressed with it, but for various reasons I'm thinking of moving to an external DAC, perhaps a DIY one. But I know very little about building DACs and so I'm concerned that I could spend ages making one and then find it sounds worse than the Xonar soundcard.

Are there any kits (or PBC+ instruction type projects) that are sufficiently proven that I can be confident I'll match or improve on the Xonar Essence STX's sound quality?

(I'm looking for S/PDIF but can be optical or coax; USB would be useful but not vital)

Thanks
Kev
 

Hugh Jazz

Banned
2013-02-15 5:19 am
If you do not know how to do well, then try the simple one at the beginning. There are many to choose so it is price and solder skills - can you do sop IC ? what about ssop IC ? how much to spend ? Anyway, I think you can try Subbu ES9023 in the group buy forum.
 

Kev06

Member
2006-10-05 11:42 am
Midlands
If you do not know how to do well, then try the simple one at the beginning. There are many to choose so it is price and solder skills - can you do sop IC ? what about ssop IC ? how much to spend ? Anyway, I think you can try Subbu ES9023 in the group buy forum.

Thanks for the reply! Yes I'll probably end up trying one and see how it compares, I was just hoping someone could help point me at the more likely candidates to avoid me aiming too low. So thanks very much for the suggestion of the Subbu, people certainly seem quite happy with it so I'll look at it in more detail.

Yes I've done some stuff with SOP ICs - to be honest I can't say that I actually like using them, but I get there in the end. My electronics experience is generally quite old and I'm a bit rusty but I'd quite enjoy having a crack at a DIY one if the sonic results can match the STX card or the things one sees in what hi-fi.

Cheers
kev
 

Kev06

Member
2006-10-05 11:42 am
Midlands
its doubtful Subbu ES9023 will match PCM1792 objective performance, but it depends on what you want it for whether thats needed.
More valuable info - many thanks!

Yes I think that as a basic starting point I'd want to at least match or exceed the STX's (objective) performance. I know what really matters is what I can hear, but of course unlike the pre-built alternatives I wouldn't know what it sounded like until I'd invested time and money on it. I've also got plans to later upgrade the rest of my Hi-Fi and so what I could listen to at the moment may not give the full picture..

Cheers
kev