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Old 3rd June 2020, 10:45 AM   #1
Vortex is offline Vortex  Hungary
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Default R/2R DACs

Dear Members,

do we have a topic dedicated to R/2R DACs ? I tried to search but not much hits at all, to investigate a bit the - probably - appreciable sonic differences between these kind of DACs and conventional ones.

I also know there might be subtle differences among them too, ones built with discrete resistors and ones with ICs.

That's all I know and not sure if I'm correct at all with the last sentence, but I'd like to know more about them and especially hear opinions of those who have already worked with some.

For me it seems a bit like the DSD/PCM debate: which sounds better despite fundamental technological differences.
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Old 3rd June 2020, 11:23 AM   #2
abraxalito is offline abraxalito  United Kingdom
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Location: Hangzhou - Marco Polo's 'most beautiful city'. 700yrs is a long time though...
There are various projects using multibit DAC chips - try a search for AD1865 and TDA1387. There are also commercial discrete R2R offerings such as Soekris.
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Old 3rd June 2020, 11:15 PM   #3
sajunky is offline sajunky  South Africa
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Audio GD is offering now on their Web site DA-8 DAC modules $118 per pair for DIY users. Four pc's for $208. There is also a power supply module PSU2019 available. Details here: DA-8 DIY

A pair of DA-8 will make a single-ended stereo DAC. Four pieces are needed for a balanced stereo DAC. It goes much cheaper than Soekris offerings.

Previously DIY DA-8 sets were offered only on the third-party French website. Now there is a direct support from Mr. Kingwa, who is very responsive to the queries by Email.

Last edited by sajunky; 3rd June 2020 at 11:19 PM.
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Old 4th June 2020, 02:36 AM   #4
Terry Demol is offline Terry Demol  Australia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sajunky View Post
Audio GD is offering now on their Web site DA-8 DAC modules $118 per pair for DIY users. Four pc's for $208. There is also a power supply module PSU2019 available. Details here: DA-8 DIY

A pair of DA-8 will make a single-ended stereo DAC. Four pieces are needed for a balanced stereo DAC. It goes much cheaper than Soekris offerings.

Previously DIY DA-8 sets were offered only on the third-party French website. Now there is a direct support from Mr. Kingwa, who is very responsive to the queries by Email.
These look pretty good for the price. At first glance, not much info WRT
architecture, however 'push pull' would appear to indicate sign magnitude
arrangement.

I wonder how they measure?

TCD
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Old 4th June 2020, 06:42 AM   #5
MarcelvdG is offline MarcelvdG  Netherlands
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There is this thread:

List of all R2R DAC
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Old 4th June 2020, 06:44 PM   #6
sajunky is offline sajunky  South Africa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry Demol View Post
These look pretty good for the price. At first glance, not much info WRT
architecture, however 'push pull' would appear to indicate sign magnitude
arrangement.

I wonder how they measure?

TCD
Well..., but it will sound?

There is a review of Audio GD R7: Audio-GD R7 (2020 Version) Review – R2R Done Right

This model use DA-7 modules, which is essentially two DA-8 modules on a single PC board. The cheapest Audio GD DAC with DA-8 module is a model R2R11 ($350), then a balanced DAC R1 ($800) and R28 ($1070) in a basic configuration.

R2R11 is the best value, it include Amanero Combo384 and a quality headphone amplifier. But it is a DIY forum, so I thought $120 to make a quality DAC is worth to consider.
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Old 5th June 2020, 06:46 AM   #7
laserscrape is online now laserscrape
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I owned R2R11 which uses DA-8, thought it sounded horrendous and apparently measures horribly aswell.
Maybe in DIY context with a good power supply and different output stage+HPA it may be better.

Soekris DAM1121 0.01% tolerance version sounded very nice, there was a number of subtle differences that combined gave it a distinctly different sound to Topping D50.
Personally I think the Soekris sounds more true/accurate and this could be from the R2R architecture and/or the lack of any active output stage after resistor ladder, TDA1387 definitely had similar qualities with op amp or passive I/V IME so im leaning to towards R2R/multibit side.

The main issue with soekris is still does not manage to sound quite as transparent as the D50,
how can something be less accurate but more transparent and vice-versa? ... I guess a good analogy is the Soekris is like looking at something through an old, dusty window versus the D50 like looking at something on a 4K display... but obviously not as exaggerated.

Also there was some harshness to the sound which I think is related to the ceramic caps used for vref bypassing, which highlights the real problem for me which is that modding is too risky for such an expensive DAC board.

The AD1862 boards from DIYinHK are only $100 including superior J type chips, not sure if they've always been that price but that seems really good to me and the board handles all the complications with 1862 data inputs, I have one on the way.

According to datasheet the Ad1862 has better measured performance at 0dB than the Soekris, which gradually overtakes it as the output level decreases due to sign magnitude architecture.

I have seen many people mention they preferred non-sign magnitude DACs like AD1862 and TDA1541 (not R2R but faces the same problem) compared to the sign magnitude PCM1704, it will be interesting to try out the AD1862.

Also since it requires I/V I will be using OPA1612 based I/V, same as the Topping D50, it will be the least biased way to compare R2R and DS so far.

P.S When I say topping D50 I mean slightly modded version with seperate 15V linear supply rails for the op amps compared to the original +/-8V rails generated with a switcher from the main 5V supply input

Last edited by laserscrape; 5th June 2020 at 06:56 AM.
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Old 7th June 2020, 03:16 AM   #8
miro1360 is offline miro1360  Europe
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AD1862 in THT with gerbers, for free, pure DIY:
DAC AD1862: Almost THT, I2S input, NOS, R-2R
with only one limitation, no one has built it yet
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