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Which DIY DAC project?

Discussion in 'd.i.y.' started by Son_of_Thor, Jan 3, 2018.

  1. Son_of_Thor

    Son_of_Thor pfm Member

    So I think I've got to the end of the line with my Raspberry Pi HAT DAC project and fancy having a go at a DAC build of some sort. I've been following the Twisted Pear Buffalo stuff for years, but never go around to dipping my toe in the water. What else is there out there that's worthy of consideration? My soldering isn't fantastic, but will improve with practice! How do the DIY offerings compare to commercial DAC's? I've compared my current setup with a couple of commercial offerings and it's neither better or worse, just different - better in some areas and worse in others.

    I'm considering keeping the RPi, isolator, reclocker and purchasing one of the Digi HAT boards for output to a separate DAC (possibly all built into the same case)

    Thoughts? Options?
  2. orangeart

    orangeart KJF Audio Ltd.

    TBH having everything as close together as the HAT/reclockers etc with centralised clocking etc is probably as good as it needs be. The buffalo stuff is really good stuff and better than a lot of top of the line DACs spec wise and I really enjoyed mine however the approach you've taken, assuming you don't need other inputs is a good one.
  3. djdstone

    djdstone pfm Member

  4. brumjam

    brumjam pfm Member

    Seconded. The DDDAC is a straightforward build which you could use in conjunction with your Pi, isolator etc. That's how I use mine.
  5. Son_of_Thor

    Son_of_Thor pfm Member

    I don't need any other input, I can stream Spotify, radio, etc. via the RPi. DDDAC seems an interesting option, thanks.. Anything else out there worthy of consideration? The only problem is not being able to listen to any of these solutions to see if they suit without going to significant time/effort/expense...

    Edit: Not too bad if this is a £50 HAT board, but either of these two option look like upwards of £400 to build
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2018
  6. Shadders

    Shadders pfm Member

  7. slavedata

    slavedata pfm Member

    That article was dated 2014 is the kit now available? Most of it is pre built those sort of components can only sensibly be flow soldered. So using boards like that should be a simple link up the set of boards sort of job. Or am I missing something?
  8. Shadders

    Shadders pfm Member

    Yes - after some further checking can be purchased as a kit, so much easier to build.
    Son_of_Thor likes this.
  9. Son_of_Thor

    Son_of_Thor pfm Member

    Thanks for the link, but I don't think my soldering is likely ever going to be up to SMT work!

    Edit: Does look like it is available pre-built which may be an option..
  10. Son_of_Thor

    Son_of_Thor pfm Member

  11. MarkW

    MarkW Full Speed & Pagan

    The Soekris dam sign magnitude module can with a bit of work and care yield stonking results.

    Listening to mine right now.
  12. martin clark

    martin clark pinko bodger

    - and my impression of yours remains - it's very enjoyable.
  13. Son_of_Thor

    Son_of_Thor pfm Member

    So essentially it seems that there are 3 options to look into, time for some reading up!

    I've read a lot about the different sound from ESS vs TI DAC chips. TBH, I don't think I've ever heard an ESS-based DAC. There seem to be lovers/haters of each. Is this really a concern, or are the real-world differences more to do with implementation, power supplies, etc?
  14. orangeart

    orangeart KJF Audio Ltd.

    Son_of_Thor likes this.
  15. Son_of_Thor

    Son_of_Thor pfm Member

    I suspected as much - now I just need to decide which option to go for! :)
  16. brumjam

    brumjam pfm Member

    Agreed. It’s the power supplies and output stage that make more of a difference than the DAC chip.
    fred sonnen likes this.
  17. sq225917

    sq225917 situation engineer

    Buffalo, loads to tinker with.
  18. Son_of_Thor

    Son_of_Thor pfm Member

    Think I've decided to give a Buffalo build a go - going to see if anyone's got any used boards spare to get me started and go from there...
  19. MartinC

    MartinC pfm Member

    I have quite a few TPA modules sitting around from differing builds, I don't have a DAC board itself spare (both mine are in units), but have Legato and IVY boards plus some power supply modules and old version Tridents. I'll compile a list for you, they are yours for the postage + beer money (or a charity donation).

  20. Son_of_Thor

    Son_of_Thor pfm Member

    Hi Martin,

    That's very kind of you - I'm sure we can come to an arrangement :)


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