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Son_of_Odin  
#1 Posted : Tuesday, February 19, 2019 8:36:53 PM(UTC)
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Hello everyone,

I have a built DAC with Amanero and 2 Buffalo III SE (ESS 9018) modules.
Buffalos work in mono mode.
Question - Would it be better to replace Amanero with
Amanero/Cronus/Hermes combo? Is Cronus more precise than Amanero alone?

Also, does it make sense to upgrade to ESS 9028 or maybe 9038 Buffalo modules (again in mono mode)?
Would it bring better sound?
If so, what changes to expect with Amanero/Cronus/Hermes?
And what with 9028 or 9038 modules?

That being said, I am very happy with the sound now.
But if it could be better...

Thank you in advance!

Edited by user Tuesday, February 19, 2019 8:38:30 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

Possum  
#2 Posted : Thursday, February 21, 2019 10:14:22 PM(UTC)
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The ES9028 introduced filtering that significantly improves midrange clarity (easily audible improvement in a good rig). It's backwards compatible with Ivy/Legato (but you need 2 of them to come close/equal the 9038)

The ES9038 added gain stage. It sounds at least as good as dual mono 9028s IMHO. In fact, there is no dual mono option available on the new boards (you have to create custom firmware to do it). The output current is significantly higher - so you must use the Mercury

You'll also need to upgrade the Tridents because of increased power consumption (at least for the 1,2V reg). The new Series Tridents offer an audible improvement (even on your existing 9018). I also highly recommend powering the AVCC and XO with separate clean power supplies rather than both the digital and analog regs running off of the same 5V supply. This makes a substantial difference. You can do the mod to your current rig as well.

The Cronus Hermes does make an improvement too

So if you have the money you will enjoy a substantial improvement
thanks 1 user thanked Possum for this useful post.
Son_of_Odin on 2/22/2019(UTC)
Son_of_Odin  
#3 Posted : Friday, February 22, 2019 9:48:26 AM(UTC)
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Thanks a lot for your answer!

I think, for the beginning, I will change Legato with Mercury, and Amanero with Amanero/Cronus/Hermes combo.

Which clock frequencies to choose?

Will they both (clock frequencies) reproduce CD, SACD and HD files up to 192 kHz?

Later probably add 9038PRO and Centaurs.

Is it possible to configure 9038PRO boards for dual mono operation?

fernfrost  
#4 Posted : Wednesday, September 16, 2020 9:50:45 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Possum Go to Quoted Post
I also highly recommend powering the AVCC and XO with separate clean power supplies rather than both the digital and analog regs running off of the same 5V supply. This makes a substantial difference.


Interesting idea. Perhaps something for my new build:)

How did you hook this up?
Possum  
#5 Posted : Wednesday, September 16, 2020 10:18:34 PM(UTC)
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Easiest way to hook up separate clean analog and clock supplies is simply to delete the TP AVCC dual reg and the XO trident and attach clean 3.3v power directly to their headers (either delete the dupont headers and solder directly, or make up a 2 pin dupont header plug

another way if you already have the TP regs is to cut off the 5V In pin and solder or otherwise connect a clean 5V supply to the 5V IN and GND lugs on the regs. This gives you 2 layers of regulation for possibly even cleaner power

I recommend regs that use the LT3045 for best results. Use separate regs for Analog and Clock of course.

THIS IS A MUST DO! THE IMPROVEMENT IN SOUND QUALITY IS DRAMATIC.

(The Sabre DAC manufacturer notes recommend this as the digital circuitry is very noisy - put a scope onto the 5V input when the DAC is on and you will see just how noisy it is - the onboard regulators cannot eliminate that kind of HF noise)

My other tip for best sound quality is DO NOT USE THE UfL CONNECTORS! (26awg pure solid silver for all connections)
fernfrost  
#6 Posted : Wednesday, September 16, 2020 10:54:32 PM(UTC)
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Thank you

Im tempted to give this a try. What difference in sound have you observed after this mod?

Do you have any pictures of your installation?
Possum  
#7 Posted : Wednesday, September 16, 2020 11:44:49 PM(UTC)
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All aspects of the music are noticeably improved - less grainy/more clarity, more detail, more realism - overall more transparent

After you hear the diff you'd wonder why TP designed the onboard regs to all run off of the same supply (esp. when the DAC manufacturer notes say to isolate analog and digital supplies)

The analog AVCC is the most important to separately supply. There are 2 (for left and right). I just use the same reg for both but if you want the theoretical best each can be supplies separately)

Clean XO power gives a more holographic image/better soundstage
fernfrost  
#8 Posted : Thursday, September 17, 2020 12:43:30 PM(UTC)
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Are you still feeding 5v into avcc, xo and vd or have you adjusted the voltage?
Possum  
#9 Posted : Thursday, September 17, 2020 10:53:44 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: fernfrost Go to Quoted Post
Are you still feeding 5v into avcc, xo and vd or have you adjusted the voltage?



5V on all those inputs would likely kill the DAC. Feed 3.3v except for the single 1.2V trident (VDD)

(Of course, if you already have XO trident and AVCC onboard reg and wish to modify them to take a clean feed then supply them with 5V)

From the Manufacturer:

Power Supplies
To maximize THD+N, AVCC_L and AVCC_R must be powered by low-noise +3.3V supplies. Although AVCC_L and
AVCC_R could be powered from a single low-noise supply, crosstalk would be compromised and so separate +3.3V supplies are highly recommended. The ES9311Q dual ultra-low noise regulator is designed to power AVCC_L and AVCC_R and maximize THD+N and crosstalk on all SABRE PRO DACs.
fernfrost  
#10 Posted : Thursday, September 17, 2020 11:08:17 PM(UTC)
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Thank you.

My current plan is to use 4 Placid HD (one each for AVCC_L, AVCC_R, XO and VD) and feed 5V into the tridents and VD.

Although the AVCC tridents share the same board they are seperated so there should be no crosstalk when using seperate power supplies for L and R?
Possum  
#11 Posted : Thursday, September 17, 2020 11:16:02 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: fernfrost Go to Quoted Post
Thank you.

My current plan is to use 4 Placid HD (one each for AVCC_L, AVCC_R, XO and VD) and feed 5V into the tridents and VD.

Although the AVCC tridents share the same board they are seperated so there should be no crosstalk when using seperate power supplies for L and R?


Unfortunately, that will not work for AVCC_L, AVCC_R, XO as the Placid HDs don't adjust down to 3.3v

I would recommend LT3045 based regs - particularly for AVCC. They are better, smaller and cheaper than Placid HDs.

Edited by moderator Tuesday, September 22, 2020 4:43:44 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

fernfrost  
#12 Posted : Thursday, September 17, 2020 11:20:03 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Possum Go to Quoted Post

Unfortunately, that will not work for AVCC_L, AVCC_R, XO as the Placid HDs don't adjust down to 3.3v


But if keeping the tridents I wouldnt i feed them 5v ?

Edited by moderator Tuesday, September 22, 2020 4:43:55 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

Possum  
#13 Posted : Thursday, September 17, 2020 11:21:06 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: fernfrost Go to Quoted Post
Thank you.

My current plan is to use 4 Placid HD (one each for AVCC_L, AVCC_R, XO and VD) and feed 5V into the tridents and VD.

Although the AVCC tridents share the same board they are seperated so there should be no crosstalk when using seperate power supplies for L and R?



Sorry - I misread. Yes that will work of course. If you have the Placids them by all means use them - but LT3045 reg boards are smaller, cheaper, and better if you don't. The current required for the AVCC is only around 125ma and the clock is a fraction of that, so Placids are a bit of overkill.


thanks 1 user thanked Possum for this useful post.
fernfrost on 9/30/2020(UTC)
fernfrost  
#14 Posted : Wednesday, September 30, 2020 7:39:53 PM(UTC)
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Possum, I tried to PM you but your inbox appears to be full.

I wanted to ask you if you use separate transformers and psus for each of the tridents?
Possum  
#15 Posted : Wednesday, September 30, 2020 10:12:30 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: fernfrost Go to Quoted Post
Possum, I tried to PM you but your inbox appears to be full.

I wanted to ask you if you use separate transformers and psus for each of the tridents?


Yes of course, but only necessary for analog and XO - a small PCB mount 7v-7v toroid works nicely for LDO regs - not really critical for the 2 remaining tridents as they're digital power

Transformers act as pretty good filters, but they're not perfect by any means. The DIYinHK regs have Murata chokes and I always put some filtering on mains power too (chokes and a couple of hi quality .47uF caps)




Jordo  
#16 Posted : Thursday, March 11, 2021 8:38:56 PM(UTC)
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Hi Possum,

I remember the difference in sound after the Trident Upgrade from the originals to the V3.0 I have now.
I'm very interested as well since I was looking to optimise my BIII set.
Do you indeed have some pictures of this tweak?

For the first option you omit the regulator. You refer to the LT3045. Would these be suitable? They come in different voltages.

For the second option you suggest to cut away only the IN pin from the regulator to the DAC board and feed it with clean power? Where do you connect the GND of your clean power regulator?

[img]http://[/img] Screenshot 2021-03-11 at 22.07.45.png (275kb) downloaded 4 time(s).

Maybe we should start a separate thread?

Cheers,

Jordo

Edited by user Thursday, March 11, 2021 9:17:29 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

Possum  
#17 Posted : Thursday, March 11, 2021 9:24:07 PM(UTC)
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Feel free to start another thread if you wish - but the trident replacement/upgrade is very straightforward - the principle is to feed DAC analog and clock with clean power rather than try to clean up the filthy power contaminated by the digital circuitry of the DAC (as per the recommendation from the manufacturer). Unfortunately, the XO trident and AVCC regs take their input from the same contaminated 5V supply and there is so much high freq digital noise on that supply that they have no hope of properly dealing with it.

As previously stated, clean power to analog and clock gives a significant overall improvement.

So I would not use an LT3045 like the one you linked to as it suffers from the same problem as the Trident config - it will take its supply from the same contaminated 5V source as the digital tridents (unless you modify it) - so instead I would use LDOs that have separate 2 pin inputs and outputs so its easy to feed them with a clean 5v supply (i.e.: a separate transformer and 5v reg)

EDIT - Like this one: https://www.ldovr.com/product-p/lt3045-s.htm

Alternatively you can modify the existing trident and avcc regs by cutting off their 5V in pin and soldering 5V GND input pins on top - or just use off-board 3.3v regs and connect it via a dupont header to GND and OUT of the trident and AVCC headers on the DAC board

Edited by user Thursday, March 11, 2021 9:36:55 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

Possum  
#18 Posted : Thursday, March 11, 2021 9:31:52 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Jordo Go to Quoted Post
Hi Possum,

For the second option you suggest to cut away only the IN pin from the regulator to the DAC board and feed it with clean power? Where do you connect the GND of your clean power regulator?

[img]http://[/img] Screenshot 2021-03-11 at 22.07.45.png (275kb) downloaded 4 time(s).

Maybe we should start a separate thread?

Cheers,

Jordo


I solder a dupont header pins to the top of the reg - use all 4 pins for strength even tho you will only use 2 of the pins

try soldering it horizontally (i.e. so its lying down on the reg board) bridging each pin to the existing 4 soldered pins
Jordo  
#19 Posted : Friday, March 12, 2021 5:16:26 PM(UTC)
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Hi Possum,

Thank you for your extensive reply. I think I want to try the TP reg option.
I do have a view questions, I don't want to do something stupid at this stage..

Can I use the 5V of the Placid that feeds the DAC Board or does the noise reflect back to the output terminal of the Placid?

And can you please confirm I hi-lighted the correct Vin headers? (ref attachment)

Thanks in advance!

Jordo

DAC.png (298kb) downloaded 6 time(s).
IMG_7380.png (324kb) downloaded 2 time(s).

Edited by user Friday, March 12, 2021 7:33:30 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

Possum  
#20 Posted : Friday, March 12, 2021 10:07:01 PM(UTC)
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"Can I use the 5V of the Placid that feeds the DAC Board"

NO - Definitely not! The entire point of this mod is to completely separate analog and clock power all the way back to the mains from the noisy digital circuits in the DAC

YES - The noise does reflect back to the output terminal of the Placid.

The AVCC and XO regs are already being fed by the 5V Placid so doing that would achieve absolutely nothing.

Seeing your current build (a dual mono BIII ES9018) which looks like each Placid has its own XFormer, the easiest initial approach is to re-purpose your 5V Placids to use one for digital only to both DACs (i.e.: connected to the main 5V in terminals of both DACs) and the other for analog (i.e.: wired directly to the inputs of the AVCC reg on both DACs after cutting the 5V in pin connector from AVCC reg to the main board)

Additionally separately powering the XO will require further mods - but clean power to the AVCC provides the greatest improvement to sound quality (clean XO power more subtly improves imaging)

Just keep an eye on power draw/heat. One placid should be able to power the digital of 2 DACs minus AVCC and XO with the standard heat sinks but if you're also powering 2 XOs this will push power consumption towards 500ma (from memory digital of each DAC is around 220ma, AVCC is around 120ma and XO is around 40ma)

If you have dual windings on your 5V Placid's XFormer then I'd suggest replacing one of the HD Placids with 2 LT3045 regs like this one which will give you separate clean power for AVCC and XOs:

https://www.diyinhk.com/...gulator-3357v-14ax2.html


Input ground and output are marked on the AVCC and Trident regs (IN, GND, OUT) - easily confirmed by checking continuity back to the 5V terminal.

BTW If you're handy with a soldering iron (or know someone who is) it is possible to replace the ES9018 chip with an ES9028/38 (I'd use ES9028s as you won't have to mod anything else in your build). This gives a substantial improvement as the newer chips include digital filters that noticeably clean up the midrange in particular.
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