wowThat's what you call raising the bar!Awesome work Rich.
Thanks for the kind words Fred!
Got the green on black LCD today. A drop in swap. Looks much better.
Damn thats pretty. Much better than the blue. Beautiful job. Whats next ?
Agreed the green display adds the finishing touch.
WOW! The green display is just stunning on the faceplate! Great job Rich.
That is purdy! Awesome job, Rich.
Thanks again for the kind words.
Well, no USB to I2S module arrived yet. I do get slight gains using I2S over SPDIF coax in (I2S separates clock from data where clock is embedded in SPDIF signal). Also remember that the ESS Sabre DAC chip handles SPDIF differently than other DAC chips (does not rely on embedded clock signal). To expand on I2S, folks at diyaudio have been re-clocking the I2S signal before handing it to the DAC chip(s) for even less jitter and better SQ. I'm gonna wring out all the possibilities and stick with the best one.
Next - next up might be a DIY phono stage. I went with a balanced Class A Krell pre amp with MM/MC phono board as the DAC was designed to run balanced (although single ended ain't bad at all). This means dropping the ModWright SWLP with its incredible phono stage from my line up. The Krell MM/MC stage has some MC noise issues in left channel I am running down, but it also has less MC gain compared to the ModWright resulting in high clock position of volume control for 80-85dB listening levels. That high volume setting seems to leave little headroom, thus dynamics suffer. I'll try an MC head amp to boost phono input into the Krell and hear what happens.
A big thanks to Fred for directing me to the Twisted Pear Buffalo III DAC and all the tips he provided along the way. I ended up here after doing some extensive mods to a Music Hall 25.3 DAC. Even though I read how much power makes a difference in a DAC circuit, once I experienced it building from the ground up was more attractive than putting more money into an existing design. I am also not limited with current input format or sample rates. Hard media via modded CD/SACD player, SPDIF, I2S and native SACD (USB soon), up to 32Bit 384Khz and 6.144Mhz files.
Received my Amanero USB to I2S module today! This started as a temp install in my DAC although it is quiet with no music playing with volume ramped up to full and sounds great with music playing. Temp in that I am not ready to remove and cut a square hole in back panel, so I may leave it as is. I only have a hi-res (24/96) vinyl rip of Bolero on the laptop and vocals of left, right, both, so I need to fix that and do some listening. I am using foobar and ASIO drivers for now.
There are better USB to I2S modules that are isolated, but not many play I2S AND native DSD over USB (not dithered down to PCM) and can cost up to $450. This one cost me $50 on a group buy (60 or more folks required to go in). It isn't isolated but so far quiet with the laptop I am using. I can add isolation using an NVE IL715 but it could add up to 100 picosec of jitter (which is low, as it is one of the better isolators available). A recent firmware addition corrects the DSD R and L channel swap so I won't have to fuss with that in software or digital switching. If I stay with USB to I2S, I'll have to add an OTTO 2 digital switch so I can switch between the Denon or USB input. I'll use a switch to select between them like I do to switch between I2S/DSD out on the Denon, no more coding!
I had installed a Neutrik type A/B USB panel mount connector when I built the DAC. I don't have any USB B connectors here (on the way though) so I cut and spliced a short USB cable but did not connect the USB power wire. This way I can power the Amanero board by one half of a Twisted Pear LCDPS (clean linear power supply) adjusted to 3.3v, not computer power. If I mount the Amanero on rear panel I'll remove the on board voltage regulator......that way a powered USB cable can be connected and not power the module. Lighted magnifier work for me as the regulator is very tiny with SMD's by it.
I used three lengths of small coax to connect the Amanero board to Sidecar. The three coax grounds are all connected to the Sidecar ground pin. That helps shield the I2S signals. I got this coax from some old S Video cables lying around.
It just gets better....your knowledge and build is stunning :idea:
Very nice Rich!
If I could only find one like yours on Craigslist! :cool:
Thanks for the kind words!
Carl, there were days I wished I could have found one on Craigslist too.:eek::lol:
Next month, the Krell-der will land, eh? I gotta pull more wires for a second 20 amp circuit and put down a deposit at Com Ed.:eek:
The Amanero USB to I2S module is installed. I opted for inside mounting with short patch cable from a Neutrik panel mount USB connector as I am not sure if this will be the last USB module installed or further modded. The power wire is cut in the USB patch cable; power to the module is supplied from a linear PS set to 3.3v, not the 'putie. Some small coax of different color was used to connect the I2S signals. The shields of the coax are grounded at both ends.
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Very neat as usual.For me atleast I find making little wire harness's as much fun as root canal.
Thanks Fred! I hear you on them small harness connections; I have some time in them. I have crimp pliers for the small gold female contacts and hit them with a dab of solder, just to be sure. Once I'm done messin around, I could just direct solder everything.
Fred, it didn't take long for someone to offer an isolator/reclock board for the Amanero. $25US, bare board. Connect to the BIII ultra low jitter Crystek 100Mhz clock. I've got zero noise but interested in the reclocking the I2S close to home. And I thought I was almost done...:cheesygrin:
Cool.At least you still have some room left for it. Do you have a linky?
There have been various DIY attempts of synchronous reclocking of the bitclock mod with the Amanero. Some of the few dollar mods were compared to antennas or RF transmitters with broken ground planes when finished but still provided improvements.
This example is by glt of HiFiDuino.
A well designed board started here in the Acko DAC thread. Details and BOM to follow.
The GB thread.
AckoDAC web site.
The other alternative is Ian's I2S FIFO solution with reclock board, the ultimate weapon to fight jitter. He has made some neat boards. He also has an interest list going for a better Si570 clock board.
Thanks for the links Rich.Looks like some good reading.
You are most welcome Fred.
I2S is better compared to SPDIF but one must remember it was designed as a local digital bus inside a CD player. Smart folks say after a few inches of wire length you start to lose its benefits. LVDS (low Voltage Differential Signaling) is the best way to fly with moving I2S signals over long distances, like with the Twisted Pear Teleporters; one set up to send and one to receive (up to 100 feet IIRC). There is still the issue of recovering the clock. By reclocking at destination, we solve any source or travelling clock issues. I think it is worth a try to hear what happens. I do know that I2S/DSD (CD/SACD) from the modded Denon is outstanding via LVDS. Same with the modded Touch. It would be kewl to get even more bang.
This blog post at HiFiDuino sorts most of the useful info out with pics of Ian's FIFO/reclocker. You Canadians are pretty smart! In hindsight I am thinking this is the direction I should have went.
The BIII default operation is in asynchronous mode generating its own local master clock. There is an asynchronous reclocker in the Sabre32 DAC. To run in synch mode, you need a source of low jitter and need to disable or remove the BIII master clock. Ian (also a Canadian) made a neat clock board for the BIII DAC. Simply remove the clock and attach the FIFO reclocker via U.FL cable to run in synch mode. Remove the U.fl and stick the clock back in for asynch mode. With the Acko board you run the master clock signal to the board and let the Sabre reclocker figure it out. Like a synch/asynch approach?:confused:
I gotta ask, does it sound good? :twisted:
Very nice Rich! I am not at the point where I need something like you've got. It is a beauty. I hope to come out there and see it soon. The Krell is too heavy to bring in my carry on.
Hey Carl! Airport security would take you to that windowless room if you brought that monster with as carry on.:cheesygrin:
I've gone to great lengths to get the best sound out of digital here and it has been worth it. The DAC sounds absolutely wonderful. Dead quiet, highly dynamic, revealing, no background hiss/hum. Of course I could use and welcome another opinion now. Ed preferred the single Buffalo III DAC build over the ModWright 9100ES, but then again he does like that Krell gear?...:eek::cheesygrin: I2S sounds better than SPDIF in; I'll see if it gets even better with the isolator/reclock board for the Amanero USB to I2S module. Folks have been reclocking I2S at destination to get the absolute minimum of jitter for best SQ. Like high end gear, extremely low jitter numbers.
Jay may pop over this weekend.....hopefully I'll have the Krell KSL pre amp main and power supply boards recapped and it will still work.
thanks for posting i enjoyed the read.
I missed this along the way with my build. Back in 2010, Rosendorfer in Kraków had posted at diyaudio his dual mono Buffalo II DAC using a single Legato version 2 I/V board (I/V = current to voltage board). Using two Legato output boards, you get your balanced out from the R and L single ended channel outputs of each board. That puts the fully discrete Legato output through the single ended op amp circuit. Not necessarily bad, but it does change the SQ.
To run with a single output board, you have to combine the individual DAC boards right and left channel outputs, that is R to L and L to R. (Dual mono inverts phase on the opposite channel via jumper or I2C serial control). I borrowed his pics as I failed to take any of my harness. Rather than stack my DAC’s on my Legato version 3 board like he did on his version 2 board, I went with alongside so I could access the SE and balanced null DC pots. I would also have had to change or bend my output header pins down.
Since that post it appears the designer has put his blessing on the dual mono/single Legato build offering some suggestions. Since you double the amperage into the board with two DAC boards attached (from 16 to 32mA) voltage output doubles. To reduce output to 2v, solder a 392R resistor across each pos and neg of the balanced outputs. This will also reduce any increased THD+N added with the increased output.
Instead of removing one bi-polar power supply with the one Legato output board, I removed jumpers from the single board so each channel has its own dedicated power supply now. No SE output for now. I could always add two jumpers and power SE out with one of the two supplies. Along with SE out, I would also gain a headphone out that can drive up to 250mA dynamic phones.
What does fully discrete output do? To me it makes it sound better, richer, fuller. The dual output boards using SE out was like a recipe where all the ingredients tend to stand out; with the single I get full detail but with a smoother blend. I didn’t think I could make it sound any better, but I did. Very happy.
Still to come, waiting for the group buy Amanero isolator and re-clock board.
EDIT: I added board pics of the legato discrete and SE out ballsie circuits.
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I installed a Twisted Pear OTTO II 2:1 digital switch in the DAC to switch between USB to I2S input and the Denon I2S/DSD input. It stacks nicely on the Sidecar with a female header and clipped cap leads. The Sidecar is bewteen the 4 channel SPDIF input board and DAC. I just have to do some coding to make it work with the Arduino I2C serial control. I have to add an input and instruct it what to activate. Haven't coded in a while, nightmares will be returning....:eek:
Rich, you have to stop.....your making me sick with that dac build bro. Whatever it is you do for a living, you should stop and just build dacs. I don't think I've ever seen such quality in a DIY project. Your talent continues to impress, when are we lower level slobs gonna be able to get an ear on this puppy ? I'm waiting for a group get together so I won't be the only one crying in the crowd.:biggrin:
Hey Tony! Thanks for the kind words about my 'beyond retail' adventure.
The wife went and got herself allergic to some ingredients found in most common household items so I am waiting for her to stabilize to the replacement 'safe' products before I host something. I stand by with EpiPen and have that scene from Pulp Fiction memorized.:twisted::biggrin:
BTW, any idea of the parts count in that beauty? Ir rivals the Krell preamp!!