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dt_DAC  
#1 Posted : Monday, January 21, 2019 10:56:52 PM(UTC)
dt_DAC

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Joined: 1/20/2019(UTC)
Posts: 2
Germany
Location: Munich

Hi all,

It's my first post here. I had been for some months reading hundreds of posts and DIY websites looking to build my own DAC + Headphone Amp. After checking different options, and considering my poor knowledge level in electronics, I decided that the Kits that Twisted Pear Audio are selling is already a good compromise for somebody like me to start with and don't "die" in the try :)

The challenge for me is to build a DAC able to feed my Denon HD-600 headphones (impedance – 25ohms
sensitivity – 108dB/mW Maximum power input – 1800mW Frequency response – 5-45,000Hz). I work with a computer all day long, so I would feed the DAC through the USB input, and I listen to Deezer music (320kbps) as long as this is the company computer I cannot store other kind of music. The DAC module, should be quite compact to fit in a normal table, I have no clue if all the boards, power supply and connectors can fit in just one case (not a full size one) or is better to split the parts in two Aluminum cases.

The idea of having a dual mono DAC is appealing to me but, being realistic, I know that even the one Opus board in stereo will already sound a lot better than the PC alone...

So now that you are more aware of my completely messed ideas and intention, what is your recommendation? Here is what I'm considering for now:

- Opus DAC in dual mono Combo. Is better the Amanero Combo or the USB offered with the Opus Combo? How difficult would be to start with single stereo and maybe in a future change to dual mono?
Can I feed directly a dual balanced XLR outlets for headphones straight from the Opus DAC in dual configuration?

- Amanero-Hermes-Cronus Combo - Clocks? Recommendations here?

- Joshua Tree Balanced Complete Kit (Controller + Relay Driver Board + 2 Relay Boards + Parts). If makes sense to go for Balanced system at the end... (all feedback is more than welcome!)

- 4:1 Mux Switch with the 4 position selector. I know that for the moment I only have a USB input but I think a couple of RCA and in the future probably an s/pdif module would be also welcome.

- Mercury or Legato stage? is that needed? Bearing in mind that I would install in the front panel a couple of 3pin XLR and a 6.3mm TRS outlet too. If I can achieve those connections with good quality straight from the Opus would make help to keep "somehow" the cost more reasonable... :P

- Power supply as is requested in each case (I would follow the recommendations of this website)

- Case from Modushop in Italy.

- TFT with Arduino, (I will have help from an expert friend on this) to display volume, input, and something more.

I will really appreciate all your help and comments to clear my mess, please have in mind that I'm not an expert so maybe I have posted some weird combination or missed something really important. I will build a rough 3D model of the components to fit them in a virtual case to find the "best" implementation on space and connections. Of course, also on connection/disposition side, hints and advice is welcome! :)

Thanks a lot in advance for your help and time!
David.
Possum  
#2 Posted : Sunday, January 27, 2019 1:18:34 AM(UTC)
Possum

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Joined: 8/5/2012(UTC)
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Australia

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Well, if you're after absolute fidelity (and maybe you're not if you are only going to listen to 320kbps source) I would definitely be using an ES9038PRO instead of the Opus (even a single BIII PRO ES9038 should easily best even a dual mono Opus - not that I've done an actual listening test). You also don't need to do dual mono with the ES9038 (I have done listening tests and a single ES9038 in stereo mode sounds every bit as good as dual mono ES9028s, which themselves should easily best the Wolfsen DAC). Dual mono ES9038 is probably overkill but you could do this upgrade if you're using Arduino control (not supported by onboard firmware)

If you are connecting via USB to a computer I would strongly recommend the Amanero with Cronos/Hermes to give you full isolation (as well as a common master clock). Its also a simple build as all the boards plug together via headers.

ES9038 requires Mercury IV stage. I am driving my demanding AKGs happily directly from the SE output of the Mercury (don't know if this supposed to be done but it works - otherwise add the Ventus module)

My personal preference is to have a separate power supply box. I also strongly recommend to use an entirely separate power circuit incl transformer winding for the BIII PRO DAC analog supply. You will need separate power for the Arduino too as otherwise it will seriously contaminate power to the DAC and create sound quality issues. You will also need to isolate comms between Arduino and DAC for the same reason.

Personally I wouldn't bother with the Joshua Tree as the 32bit digital volume of the BIII PRO is going to give you virtually the same level of fidelity - and you are much better off spending the money on a ES9038 solution than an Opus/Joshua Tree solution IMHO

The BIII PRO has an SPDIF in. The DAC IO pins can also be used for multiple SPDIF inputs if you are using an Arduino - so there is no need for the 4:1 Mux

The above will give you a stunning modular headphone solution that can be further upgraded if you wish (dual mono, tube amplification etc.)

Edited by user Sunday, January 27, 2019 1:28:19 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

dt_DAC  
#3 Posted : Tuesday, January 29, 2019 8:31:01 PM(UTC)
dt_DAC

Rank: Member

Groups: Member
Joined: 1/20/2019(UTC)
Posts: 2
Germany
Location: Munich

Originally Posted by: Possum Go to Quoted Post
Well, if you're after absolute fidelity (and maybe you're not if you are only going to listen to 320kbps source) I would definitely be using an ES9038PRO instead of the Opus (even a single BIII PRO ES9038 should easily best even a dual mono Opus - not that I've done an actual listening test). You also don't need to do dual mono with the ES9038 (I have done listening tests and a single ES9038 in stereo mode sounds every bit as good as dual mono ES9028s, which themselves should easily best the Wolfsen DAC). Dual mono ES9038 is probably overkill but you could do this upgrade if you're using Arduino control (not supported by onboard firmware)

If you are connecting via USB to a computer I would strongly recommend the Amanero with Cronos/Hermes to give you full isolation (as well as a common master clock). Its also a simple build as all the boards plug together via headers.

ES9038 requires Mercury IV stage. I am driving my demanding AKGs happily directly from the SE output of the Mercury (don't know if this supposed to be done but it works - otherwise add the Ventus module)

My personal preference is to have a separate power supply box. I also strongly recommend to use an entirely separate power circuit incl transformer winding for the BIII PRO DAC analog supply. You will need separate power for the Arduino too as otherwise it will seriously contaminate power to the DAC and create sound quality issues. You will also need to isolate comms between Arduino and DAC for the same reason.

Personally I wouldn't bother with the Joshua Tree as the 32bit digital volume of the BIII PRO is going to give you virtually the same level of fidelity - and you are much better off spending the money on a ES9038 solution than an Opus/Joshua Tree solution IMHO

The BIII PRO has an SPDIF in. The DAC IO pins can also be used for multiple SPDIF inputs if you are using an Arduino - so there is no need for the 4:1 Mux

The above will give you a stunning modular headphone solution that can be further upgraded if you wish (dual mono, tube amplification etc.)


Hi! First of all thank you very much for the answer!!

I had kept reading more and speaking also to some friends, and also with your help, I believe I have somehow more clear the final scope of the project.

Regarding the quality of the music, for the moment is what I can reach at work, I'm checking different alternatives, but due to confidentiality is difficult to bring an external memory with the music in... I could pay another online streaming service or quality but Deezer is the only that offers "good" quality with a family account I think. So If one day I'm able to bring my external hard disc, then I will be able to listen to at least, CD quality.

Said that, and bearing in mind that this is going to be my first DIY HIFI project, I prefer to start with something "affordable" and somehow "easy", if the adventure is successful and I can access to higher quality music at work, I will start to think in upgrading the system.

So, I really appreciate your opinion and I think I will focus now in the split option for power supply / DAC box, and try to reach a clean power to the DAC and a clean output to the XLR or SE outlet in the DAC box section.

I see no point on invest more than twice the price in the BIII DAC board if the music files are not even close to what the Opus can do.

I hope that with nice clean power, Opus, Amanero-Chronus-Hermes and the Mercury at the end, should be more than enough then to drive my Denon HD600.

I'm quite confident that this will sound a lot better already than listening straight from the computer... ;)

Thanks again!
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