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  1. #1
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    Default The Most Budget DAC

    24Bit / 96K D/A converter: I haven't heard this DAC myself, but there are a few good reviews for it online, and it HAS to beat the pants off anything of similar price. (But really there is nothing of similar price at $105 :D) It uses a Brown-Burr chip and even has AES inputs. Could be fun...



  2. #2

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    Brown-Burr, eh? Is that like an Onega watch or a MacIntosh amplifier?
    But then maybe it's really Burr-Brown (which, if memory serves, belongs to TI nowadays).
    all the best,
    mrh

  3. #3
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    Oops,

    That would be a Burr-Brown PCM1716 chip. :o

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by zingo View Post
    24Bit / 96K D/A converter: I haven't heard this DAC myself, but there are a few good reviews for it online, and it HAS to beat the pants off anything of similar price. (But really there is nothing of similar price at $105 :D) It uses a Brown-Burr chip and even has AES inputs. Could be fun...
    The pictured side doesn't appear to show an AES input. Only SPDIF coaxial and optical.

    Burr-Brown is owned by TI and has better and less better chips like you'd expect. I'd be careful about automatically tieing BB to high quality. There's more to it than that. Contrary to what you see often posted, digital being good takes more than just 1's and 0's. There is the timing of those dits and dahs that's important.

    Interesting that it doesn't show a name on that side. You didn't mention one either... Maybe the other side has the AES, the name and a kitchen sink!

    CoolJazz

  5. #5
    GV#27
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    Quote Originally Posted by mhardy6647 View Post
    Burr-Brown (which, if memory serves, belongs to TI nowadays).
    Correct.

    Interesting,while the PCM 1716 isn't BB's best converter and there are likely to be some compromises in the analog section and power supply, but it looks good for a mere $100.I bet with some well thought out mod's it's performance could be greatly improved upon.

  6. #6
    GV#27
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    Quote Originally Posted by CoolJazz View Post
    The pictured side doesn't appear to show an AES input. Only SPDIF coaxial and optical.
    There is no AES input.They incorrectly state it to have an AES/EBU coaxial input when there is no such thing. It should have been listed as an SPDIF.

  7. #7

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    AES is an XLR correct?
    Please. Please contact me a ben62670 @ yahoo.com. Make sure to include who you are, and you are from Polk so I don't delete your email. Also I am now physically unable to work on any projects. If you need help let these guys know. There are many people who will help if you let them know where you are.
    Thanks
    Ben

  8. #8
    GV#27
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    Quote Originally Posted by ben62670 View Post
    AES is an XLR correct?
    Correct

  9. #9

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    One thing I have learned is I would rather have a mediocre dac chip and a good analog section than a sweet DAC and a weak analog section.
    My bud needs a DAC.
    Any ideas? We can build it;)
    Please. Please contact me a ben62670 @ yahoo.com. Make sure to include who you are, and you are from Polk so I don't delete your email. Also I am now physically unable to work on any projects. If you need help let these guys know. There are many people who will help if you let them know where you are.
    Thanks
    Ben

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ben62670 View Post
    I have learned is I would rather have a mediocre dac chip and a good analog section than a sweet DAC and a weak analog section.
    Yes the analog section has a big influence on the resulting SQ.

    Any ideas?
    Hard to get but one option certainly worth looking into.http://www.twistedpearaudio.com/news.aspx
    Otherwise get a good used one and mod it.Unlike analog Scratch building a DAC is no easy task ,I have done it but won't do it again.

  11. #11

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    Yeah I am not going from scratch on a DAC, but a board to stick in a pre yes:)
    Please. Please contact me a ben62670 @ yahoo.com. Make sure to include who you are, and you are from Polk so I don't delete your email. Also I am now physically unable to work on any projects. If you need help let these guys know. There are many people who will help if you let them know where you are.
    Thanks
    Ben

  12. #12
    GV#27
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    If I come across anything interesting I will let you know.

  13. #13

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    Thanks Fred. I am loving the DAC I have!
    Please. Please contact me a ben62670 @ yahoo.com. Make sure to include who you are, and you are from Polk so I don't delete your email. Also I am now physically unable to work on any projects. If you need help let these guys know. There are many people who will help if you let them know where you are.
    Thanks
    Ben

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by zingo View Post
    Oops,

    That would be a Burr-Brown PCM1716 chip. :o
    I would think any modern CD player would have a better DAC. That's a really old chip, here's the data sheet, copyright 1997:

    http://www.datasheetcatalog.org/data...n/mXyzyqwr.pdf

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by WilliamM2 View Post
    I would think any modern CD player would have a better DAC. That's a really old chip, here's the data sheet, copyright 1997:

    http://www.datasheetcatalog.org/data...n/mXyzyqwr.pdf
    Not nec true in all cases.......it's all about the analog stage. The BB PCM63 is an old chipset by today's standards and is still highly popular and when implemented properly sounds better than many newer chips in poorer designs.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by ben62670 View Post
    Yeah I am not going from scratch on a DAC, but a board to stick in a pre yes:)
    Quote Originally Posted by GV#27 View Post
    If I come across anything interesting I will let you know.
    Have either of you ever looked at the boards available from Peter Daniels? They're NOS, he sells them in kit form as well for either USB or SPDIF inputs through word of mouth and diyaudio.
    Wris****ch--->Crisco

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by strider View Post
    Have either of you ever looked at the boards available from Peter Daniels?
    I did see something about it, its pretty basic and ancient compared to the current state of digital technology ,both the Philips DAC chip and the Crystal input reciever are rather long in the tooth.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by GV#27 View Post
    I did see something about it, its pretty basic and ancient compared to the current state of digital technology ,both the Philips DAC chip and the Crystal input reciever are rather long in the tooth.
    Bummer. Over the past months I'd been doing some half hearted research, trying to figure out a game plan in regards to my digital front end as I finish and then start a couple projects before making a decision. Then my SACD/CD player started acting up; now it's to the point where it won't read the table of contents on most discs.

    I'm torn between fixing my current player for ~ $200 or putting that money towards changing my disc based digital to a PC audio type set up. I like having the ability to enjoy an SACD, but the relative lack of titles concerns me enough to forgo that ability because of the plusses I perceive with going the PC route. Having a searchable index of my 600 plus titles is so alluring, not to mention the glut of new material available for download and via streaming.

    How good could this DAC get without completely re-engineering it? Would it be worthwhile to use it as a starting point with the ultimate goal being a very musical DAC for not a lot of money (say $300 for arguements sake)? I would like to use the USB output from my computer to feed whatever DAC, so I'd need to figure that into the overall equation, but not necessarily into the $300 budget..
    Wris****ch--->Crisco

  19. #19

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    Strider, I believe Peter Daniels DAC boards are based on the old Phillips TDA1543 chips from the early 90's, implimented with non-oversampling (nos).

    There are several of these nos TDA1543 designs around, both in kits and finished DACs.

    Many use 8 TDA1543's in parallel to inprove linearity and resolution. The other reason the old TDA1543 is popular is that is has a strong current output, which means I/V conversion can be done with a resistor. Therefore, many designs only have a resistor and output coupling cap in the analog stage - no opamps needed.

    Many find these simple nos DACs to be the Holy Grail of digital, with a musical, vinyl-like presentation with zero fatigue . Others look at the measurements these DACs can produce and immediately dispense them. Others find them to sound congested and lack detail. I think a lot of it is a personal taste and synergy thing.

    I've owned a couple 8 x TDA1543 nos DACs and currently own a VALAB which I modded with upgraded I/V resistors and output caps.

    If you're interested in trying an 8 x TDA1543 nos DAC, you could buy one and then mod it with better parts for around $300.

    A fairly new crop with a very similar design (with USB input) goes under the names of VALAB, Pacific Valve Fathom, Teredak, Gigalab. They all use the modern DIR9001 receiver chip with 8 x TDA1543 chips. They're all made in Tiawan or China and are around $200. I like the idea of the Pacific Valve Fathom due to the state-side support.
    Pacific Valve Fathom

    The VALAB has a couple huge threads at Head-Fi, with many posts abouts various modifications.
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  20. #20

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    Thanks for the post, Adam.

    That Fathom does look interesting, on sale for $229 to boot.

    I'm still trying to wade through all the information regarding the various iterations of outboard digital to analog convertors. The Peter Daniels USB DAC appealed to me because it was so simple. My system's philosophy, so to speak, is kinda based around the idea of having as simple a signal path as possible to get the job done well.

    The reason I've latched on to the idea of an NOS DAC was their being pretty consistently described as laid back. I'm not interested in my system taking a step towards being more clinical or revealing. It's already pretty damn revealing, almost annoyingly so. The other issue with that is it shows no mercy to sub par components.

    Such a conundrum.....
    Wris****ch--->Crisco

  21. #21

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    The "on sale" part of the Fathom is a joke, IMO. Essentially the same DAC sells directly from eBay for $200 as the VALAB, but it's shipped from Taiwan, so a pain if you have issues. I think the extra $30 is worth it for the security of state-side support. The Fathom has just been released, so I would have bought it instead of the VALAB, had it existed at the time.

    With the passive output stage of these designs, you can't get much simpler. I would definitely describe them as laid-back and non-fatiguing, but lacking if you are a detail freak. One thing I've experienced is that they make me want to increase the volume again and again, whereas my other (much more expensive) DAC makes me want to turn the volume down at times due to its more aggressive presentation.
    Polk LS90
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    Polk Monitor 7C (secondary location)
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    Audiosource Amp Three (2), Amp One/A (1)
    Cambridge Audio C500 Preamp
    Sony 222ES CD/SACD
    MSB Nelson Link III DAC with P1000 Power Supply, Music Hall DAC 25.2
    Squeezebox Classic
    Sony BDP-S1000ES
    JVC DLA-HD250 Projector
    Da-Lite HCCV - 100" Permwall 16:9
    Time Warner HD Cable
    Panamax 500 DBS
    MIT, Blue Jeans, AR, Outlaw Cables
    System Showcase

  22. #22
    GV#27
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    This looks intersting.http://cgi.ebay.ca/Mini-1793-DAC-wit...A3%7C294%3A50. If you are looking for something a little more up to date on the digital front and inexpensive.You would need to build or buy an appropriate power supply.It looks like a modders dream and if I didn't already have a PCM1792 based DAC I would snag one of these to play with.
    Last edited by GV#27; 05-09-2009 at 11:23 AM.

  23. #23

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    I'm NOS all the way. 1545 rules!
    "The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg." --Thomas Jefferson

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