making your own DAC

alexs2

Well-known Member
Very clever,very simple relatively speaking and some people swear by non-OS DACs.

All I'd say is that the sound is either something you'll like or not,but that's true of so many things,and as such,there is nothing at all wrong with that kit,or most of the others,incl the Audionote(apart from price in it's case).

Try it and see!
 

Knightshade

Active Member
About time we had another thread on these.
Excellent little DAC's. I've built a few of these now. The single chip TDA1541's are IMHO the best. They are very difficult to get hold of though and expensive now.
The DIY paradise DAC is not bad. Though try and steer away from the over use of Black Gates. These are rubbish if you use them in the signal path. If you get really into it and are able to make your own boards, it's worth modding the designs to encorporate some nice paper in oil caps or even better teflon. Then you start getting something really good. Very analogue sounding.
It's worth spending a bit on a custom made toroidal PSU to avoid using battery power.
Be warned they are VERY transport dependent.
 

shahedz

Distinguished Member
my knowledge of electronics is extremely limited, and to be honest i would not have a clue how to change or upgrade any of the individual components, so was going to try and buy the complete kit including parts and whack it together.
Knyghtshade is there a kit available within the UK that you recommend in particular?
 

cwick

Active Member
After making my own amp, I was very tempted by the Monica. Then I spotted a Derek Shek NOS DAC going 2nd hand, so laziness got the better of me :)

But this DIY audio lark is great fun, and incredible value. And these DACs are pretty simple, so there's not a lot to get wrong.

No more DACs in the pipeline for me (I might do some modding of my ART DI/O, but I'm enjoying the NOS DAC as it is). Bi-amping might be on the agenda ... but the biggest problem I find is getting attractive enclosures to do these things justice. Those Hammond boxes from maplins do the job, but they're a little on the plain side.

Cheers, Carl.
 

shahedz

Distinguished Member
has anyone got a thread on building a DAC already? if so a point in the right direction would be apprciated. Knight shade any photos or tips as you have already made one ? did you buya complete kit or source individual components?
 

alexs2

Well-known Member
Knightshade said:
The DIY paradise DAC is not bad. Though try and steer away from the over use of Black Gates. These are rubbish if you use them in the signal path. If you get really into it and are able to make your own boards, it's worth modding the designs to encorporate some nice paper in oil caps or even better teflon.
Black Gates are fine if used in the right places,and sparingly at that...they are superb in PSU applications,as well as for coupling caps,but the major problem(and probably main reason for the variable results)is that they require several hundred hours to reach their best performance,and this is also almost "re-set" by turning the device off,and requires a good deal of time after the next power-up for them to reach their best again.

Many recommend leaving them on all the time,which is why,although I'd be very happy with the sonic benefits,I couldnt use them in either tubed or Class A amps.

Your point about PIO(paper in oil caps) is a very good one though...the Jensen and Audionotes are very highly rated(I have a good sprinkling of Jensens in my 300B amps),and give a lovely smooth sound compared to polyesters or similar.
 

Knightshade

Active Member
shahedz said:
my knowledge of electronics is extremely limited, and to be honest i would not have a clue how to change or upgrade any of the individual components, so was going to try and buy the complete kit including parts and whack it together.
Knyghtshade is there a kit available within the UK that you recommend in particular?
None in the UK that i'm aware of. The Derek Shek DAC would be a good bet.
I have lots of links to circuit diagrams and information on sourcing components but nothing on fully built dac's. Try googling for 'tda1543' 'tda1545' this should give you some links to people who've built them.
I have some photographs but only of finished units. I can send them over but not sure how much use they'll be to you.
Zerogain forum is also a useful site for the NOSDAC.
 

Knightshade

Active Member
alexs2 said:
Black Gates are fine if used in the right places,and sparingly at that...they are superb in PSU applications,as well as for coupling caps,but the major problem(and probably main reason for the variable results)is that they require several hundred hours to reach their best performance,and this is also almost "re-set" by turning the device off,and requires a good deal of time after the next power-up for them to reach their best again.

Many recommend leaving them on all the time,which is why,although I'd be very happy with the sonic benefits,I couldnt use them in either tubed or Class A amps.
They do take a hell of a long time to run in. Trouble is however long I gave them I just couldn't get them to sound open enough, slight opening up at about 200 hrs but nothing better. The music always seemed veiled and closed in. They are very good in a PSU but I wouldn't use them anywhere else.
Alex2 said:
Your point about PIO(paper in oil caps) is a very good one though...the Jensen and Audionotes are very highly rated(I have a good sprinkling of Jensens in my 300B amps),and give a lovely smooth sound compared to polyesters or similar.
Like the BG's they take a long time to run in but the wait is well worth it. once they are run in an hour or so of warm up time and they're sounding as they should.
If you like the Jensens and money isn't an object give the VHAudio Teflon Vcaps a try.;)
 

Nic Rhodes

Well-known Member
The are a whole range of black gates for different applications and they are not easily swapped over.

I like a variety of caps for different applications but a good starting point is PIO for coupling (valve amps) but perhaps aren't really relevant here.
 

RobsterD

Active Member
Hi
Using a Derek Sheck NOSDAC that I've rehoused and rewired with pure silver wire also changed R3 to 1k5 to reduce some treble tizz,using the regulated PSU which again has been rehoused.
Running the above with a Sonic T modded amp and the results have pushed my AI500 valve amp to dust collecting activities
I was so impressed with the Sonic T and a SMPS that I've ordered a Charlize and the Monica 2 to have a play.
I love DIY now the benefits so far have been really impressive.
Rob
Check diyaudio out
 

Knightshade

Active Member
Nic Rhodes said:
The are a whole range of black gates for different applications and they are not easily swapped over.

I like a variety of caps for different applications but a good starting point is PIO for coupling (valve amps) but perhaps aren't really relevant here.
Found FK's to be the best in Power Supply, tried N, NX, NX Hi-Q in the signal path still not as nice as PIO.
 

shahedz

Distinguished Member
i have spent most of today seraching the web! america and hong kong seem the best place to buy from, there is so much to choose from its got :eek: ! but i am definitely going for a full kit so i dotn have to buy additional components and run the rsik of getting the wrong ones and screwing it up.
if anyone can recommed specific kits please do so.

cheers for your help so far guys
 

RobsterD

Active Member
To be honest the Moodlab DAC(derek sheck) is now a really good price of £120 inc deliveryhere
I'm certainly happy with mine with the upgraded PSU.
Monica and Charlize were £143 inc delivery but will obviously need a bit of DIY :)
Rob
 

shahedz

Distinguished Member
Hi Rob

i did actually consider the DAC especially since it has come down in price btu i think it takes the fun out of making your own, and since i enjoyed making the chu moy so much, really want to give it a go!
 
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