I join CP's bikerboy and headrott's Twisted Pear Buffalo DAC builds along with joining the ESS Sabre DAC chip crowd. The B III uses the ESS Sabre32 Reference (ES9018) DAC chip. I decided to build their DAC as there are numerous configuration options you can choose to run with. (Tube out - fixed or switchable, dual mono, multichannel, discrete output, etc).
Power supplies are shunt regulated; a TP (Twisted Pear) Placid HD and HD BP. (The Bi-Poplar gives you + and - output). Currently installed is the TP IVY III I/V output op amp based board. I have a Legato to try after populating the board with parts. The Legato I/V board is a fully discrete balanced active output.
My test setup just has RCA out and coax in via BNC connectors (See Fred, I do listen to you). The SB Touch remains RCA out as the thing is too hard to disassemble and I?d like a drop in board mount BNC connector versus a dongle hanging out of it. The DAC board connects to a TP 4-Channel S/PDIF input board which has three inputs open.
Initial listening impressions with the IVY III output are very good. While it doesn?t slay my existing modded MH 25.3, I do like what I am hearing with it. Next up is a proper case to get it off the temporary aluminum sheet I used to test it. Future additions will be the TP Sidecar board option. You tap into a CD/SACD players circuit board to output PCM (CD) and DSD (SACD) to the Sidecar which feeds it to the DAC. (Yes, the ESS Sabre32 does DSD). When TP finishes their hi-res USB, I?ll probably add one of them as an input. I'll also add a headphone out and install the supplied volume control (also part of the ESS Sabre DAC chip features).