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Recommendation for a decent DAC.
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Old 19th June 2019, 07:24 AM   #21
CallMeMike is offline CallMeMike  United Kingdom
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zacster View Post
My power supply is an Anker phone charger battery. When plugged in, it cuts off power to the Raspberry Pi and charges the battery, when unplugged or switched off, the battery power kicks in and powers the Pi.

The silver is an RCA interconnect from the Boss DAC that has RCA analog out to the pre-amp. I built this myself and was floored by how much better it sounded than what I had. The bass just came into such sharp focus that it let everything else come through clearly as well.
I see... I concur your findings, years back I've decided too to go 'silver' as well so in order to save money I've purchased two 0.5m lenghts of silver cable, some quality RCA plugs and the obligatory silver solder...The sound got more revealing and clear (CD player - amp silver interconnect).
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Old 24th June 2019, 10:24 AM   #22
zacster is offline zacster  United States
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I've ordered an iFi iPower 5v power supply. For $49 I figure it is worth a shot as an improvement. If not an improvement, I still needed one more PS anyway.

Some reviewers say it made a huge difference, others say not, or maybe the others are comparing it to even more expensive PS implementations.
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Old 25th June 2019, 03:21 AM   #23
zacster is offline zacster  United States
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Nope. The iFi iPower came today and I didn't think it was better than my battery power. In fact I'd say worse. It just sounded harsh.

I'll give it some more playing time, but I'm saving the box so I can send it back if I don't think it is better. I'll do an A/B comparison to the best of my ability, although it certainly won't be blind.

Maybe a linear supply would be better, or maybe I'm just getting what I can reasonably expect from the Boss. That would still be a big bargain.

Last edited by zacster; 25th June 2019 at 03:25 AM.
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Old 25th June 2019, 04:12 AM   #24
chromenuts is online now chromenuts  United States
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I recently got my hands on an SMSL M8 with the ESS9018K2 for $112 via the swap meet. This was the first DAC I have tried outside of the players I have used with their on board DAC.

I had been mourning the loss of my Rotel 855 with TDA1541A for a few years as it stopped working. I tried a few other players that I picked up used.

I went backwards in time and tried a SONY CDP-101 with the dual TDA1540. It was an overwhelmingly buttery analog experience for my ears. I actually kind of liked it on certain recordings. Alas, that player also had some glitches and needed to be gone through so I shelved it.

I picked up a tank of an NEC player from the 90s for $30 at a thrift store with a sticky drawer that had a Burr Brown DAC in it that I was able to live with as a temporary solution.

I tried an Arcam player that I had read rave reviews about. I can’t remeber which chip but it was a fairly recent model. It was so harsh and shrill that I couldn’t listen to more than a few tracks before I decided to return it.

Also tried an older Marantz and a few others.

The SMSL is the most modern DAC I have heard and the only one I was able to compare directly to my favorite original “reference” DAC.

I was finally able to get my Rotel 855 working properly again by buying a second 855 that I could canabalize for parts.

I was happy to discover that I could hook the SMSL up to the Rotel’s Digital output and connect it to its own channel on my preamp and at the same time connect the Rotel’s own line level output to a second channel on my preamp. This allowed me to continually switch back and forth between the two and compare them.

I had a listening session with a fellow enthusiast. I was skeptical at first that there was much of a noticeable difference. However, it became clear as we listened to many different CDs of all types of music that we actually seemed to prefer the sound of the SMSL (to my dismay in a sense).

The sound stage just seemed to open up more with the SMSL. There was better placement of instruments especially in live venue recordings. There was more detail. The Rotel’s TDA 1541 and op amp output stage had a warmth that was aggreable to me, but I was acutely aware of how the recordings illusion faded and the sound shrank each time I switched back to it. It was like being moved from orchestra seats in a theater back to the nose bleeds.

Just my experience so far. I doubt I would have paid the $250-$300 the SMSL was originally selling for, but I’m glad I was able to find a deal on this one second hand. My understanding is that it can be improved with a better power supply.

I’d also still like to try and harvest the TDA1541 from the extra player and build some kind of NOS DAC with it as I have never tried that. Finding a well reviewed and supported board design at this point in the game has been difficult.
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Old 25th June 2019, 06:55 AM   #25
CallMeMike is offline CallMeMike  United Kingdom
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Originally Posted by zacster View Post
Nope. The iFi iPower came today and I didn't think it was better than my battery power. In fact I'd say worse. It just sounded harsh.

I'll give it some more playing time, but I'm saving the box so I can send it back if I don't think it is better. I'll do an A/B comparison to the best of my ability, although it certainly won't be blind.
....snip...
I'm not saying that it would level to or better the battery source but you need to add (as close to the DAC) a 1,000-4,700 uF electrolytic and a 0.1 uF poly (both in parallel to the ground).
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Old 25th June 2019, 11:33 AM   #26
zacster is offline zacster  United States
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I gave the iFi another try this morning and still found it harsh. I then put the battery back in and there was definitely an improvement. I'm going to return the iFi.

Quote:
I'm not saying that it would level to or better the battery source but you need to add (as close to the DAC) a 1,000-4,700 uF electrolytic and a 0.1 uF poly (both in parallel to the ground).
Are you saying to modify the board or just add it to the line? I'm not doing either but I didn't understand this.

Last edited by zacster; 25th June 2019 at 11:36 AM.
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Old 26th June 2019, 07:08 AM   #27
CallMeMike is offline CallMeMike  United Kingdom
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Originally Posted by zacster View Post
I gave the iFi another try this morning and still found it harsh. I then put the battery back in and there was definitely an improvement. I'm going to return the iFi.



Are you saying to modify the board or just add it to the line? I'm not doing either but I didn't understand this.
Solder the two caps in parallel and place them between the V+ and 0V on the supply cable as close to the board or on the board itself if it is possible... and a shorter and larger gauge supply cable should help too. I am not contending that the outcome of these mods would better the battery supply you have but they will surely improve the overall DC voltage supply via iFi PowerFi.
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Old 26th June 2019, 01:21 PM   #28
zacster is offline zacster  United States
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ok, got it. I would think though that iFi would have done this filtering already if this is supposed to be so quiet.

I'm going to give the iFi another listen before I send it back. Maybe my opinion will change.
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Old 27th June 2019, 06:45 AM   #29
CallMeMike is offline CallMeMike  United Kingdom
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Originally Posted by zacster View Post
ok, got it. I would think though that iFi would have done this filtering already if this is supposed to be so quiet.

I'm going to give the iFi another listen before I send it back. Maybe my opinion will change.
It's not neccssarily the iFi filtering... it's the long and thin cable... and extra filtering always helps with a long run cable (at the device end).
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Old 27th June 2019, 09:39 AM   #30
DRONE7 is offline DRONE7  New Zealand
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Originally Posted by CallMeMike View Post
I see... I concur your findings, years back I've decided too to go 'silver' as well so in order to save money I've purchased two 0.5m lenghts of silver cable, some quality RCA plugs and the obligatory silver solder...The sound got more revealing and clear (CD player - amp silver interconnect).
I hear you and being a (now retired) jeweller I've always been able to take an ingot and draw down whatever fine-silver wire diameter I've needed.

Where possible a fixed point to point attachment with real stg solder (not 'silver solder' ) and where not possible then hard soldered to custom plug fittings of gold (solid not plated ) for the tarnish freedom....

Oh, and my 30+ yr old cramolin kit still works too...
http://store.caig.com/core/media/med...a69f64&whence=
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Last edited by DRONE7; 27th June 2019 at 09:47 AM.
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