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The next product I am about to release is basically the current Klein II DAC combined with the new preamp.

It will be in a much bigger case with a totally new front panel design - definitely no toggle switches!

I am currently designing & laying out the PCB so I'm in a position to add or extend the feature list.

 

So far I have 

Three digital inputs

USB

Coax

Optical

+

1 x analogue input - RCAs

 

Outputs

1 x RCA

1 x Balanced XLR,s

 

Options I'm thinking about

extra analogue inputs

extra digital inputs

HT bypass

Dual RCA outputs (for sub bi-amp ect)

 

I'm open to suggestion on this but  as my case is 300 mm wide there is a limit on the number of sockets I can fit on the back panel

Currently only one row of sockets  but a second row is not out of question just means adding a daughter board.

Fire away!

PS heading out now for a farewell party so I won't be able to respond till late or maybe tomorrow depending on how late it finishes (or how much I drink)

Edited by Gieseler Audio
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Well finally after a super busy week filling DAC & PSU orders I managed to get the prototype up & running. All good which is a relief as there was a lot of new PCB cad work & one mistake

Hi Guys, At last I have finally built a relatively finished version. The production model will have will have a different text layout & a model name that will be a bit easier to read. I’m ver

As someone who has been following this thread closely, and may be interested in buying whatever final product is released, I think a few words of appreciation are well and truly due to Clay.  Whe

...definitely no toggle switches!

 

Reeally... I do like them. So, Batman LED depress type, no go on them either? Prefer the toggle switch anyway.... but, put on the back panel. This is how it all starts ya know, first the toggle switch goes, then there's an LED here, and then one there, and before ya know it... we are all plugged into the Matrix, and it's digital all the way. :sorry:

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My wish list is the digital inputs listed

Three analogue inputs

One variable output and one fixed output for tape

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Make the digital and analog PCB separate including the USB so they are all modular that will accomodate at will for any upgrades.

Have at least a manual volume control dial on the front panel, this doesn't mean to have a rotary pot that's motor driven, on the $6k preamp I have it's not motor driven but can be controlled via inferred remote or altered via turning the dial that is basically a optical encoder. The added volume control is there incase your remote fails to work or the battery are dead!

XLR input/output is a must.

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Hi Clay,

I am looking forward to the release of this new bad boy.

I've had one of your Klein SE dac's for quite a while now and have been extremely happy with it's performance sound wise and it's reliability.

It replaced a DEQX Premate in my system, which of course is a superb pre/dac but felt I didn't utilize it properly as I didn't use any of its speaker and room correction capabilities. So most of it's abilities were wasted.

Anyway I've never felt short changed with the Klein in my system. Obviously this new dac/pre is something I'm very interested in.

The basic input/outputs look great.

My wish list on top of what you've already mentioned: home theater through put

dual rca outs as I run subwoofers

Will the display show signal input to the dac and volume level? These would be the other inclusions I would like.

Really looking forward to it's release.

Regards,

Paul

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Hi Paul,

good to hear from you.

I have found a nice oled screen so yes to your question regarding the display showing input & volume level.

It will also display sample rate, mute & a few other things.

post-112957-0-82801700-1464588914_thumb.

Edited by Gieseler Audio
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Make the digital and analog PCB separate including the USB so they are all modular that will accomodate at will for any upgrades.

Have at least a manual volume control dial on the front panel, this doesn't mean to have a rotary pot that's motor driven, on the $6k preamp I have it's not motor driven but can be controlled via inferred remote or altered via turning the dial that is basically a optical encoder. The added volume control is there incase your remote fails to work or the battery are dead!

 

I especially like the suggestion of a modular approach. Should assist with future upgrades etc.

I have not previously thought about the manual volume control, maybe it is a good idea because sometime syou dont have the remote or you wish to do it manually, or alternatively if it is the "normal" type of Philips remote control codes one can always use another remote.

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Yes the manual knob sounds like a good idea - I will look into it.

I'm not sure about the modular approach but I can look at that as well.

As it happens we were using the normal Philips codes.

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It is getting very close now. I have found a good case & I'm just trying a few front panel ideas out. Balanced output is all sorted too & sounding excellent. I should have an ETA in about seven to ten days. Just need to check a few more things out first.

Rough final spec is;

Digital in; USB, Coax & optical.

Analogue in; 3. X RCA with one switchable to HT bypass.

Dual RCA outputs + Balanced.

Case std 400 mm width X 50 mm high.

Silver or black case with 5mm or 10 mm black acrylic front panel - possible rear text LED lumination.

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No AES/EBU input?

No BNC (true 75 Ohm) input?

Wouldn't 2 Analog Inputs suffice?

 

No HDMI/i2s input?..........would have made a LOT of "OPPO with de embedder" users happy!!!

Understand it's probably a licence/fee issue though.

 

Fixed and Variable Output.......

Surprised no one has mentioned adjustable output voltage level/gain (attenuator pads.....jumpers.........EG....Benchmark DAC2?)

CRUCIAL for optimal (and IME preferred) direct connection to power amps!!!!

( For example......My active ATC's are only 1V sensitive!!!!)

 

Outboard DC PSU?

 

Sticking with "PCM only" AKM?

 

Predicted "ball park" price point?......length of Warranty?........firmware upgradeable?

 

Thanks for requesting our input Clayton...............Just my 2c........ :)

Edited by JohnL
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Sounds awesome Clay.

Can't wait to see the finished product. Regards inputs/outputs, I guess you could make these the base standard model (you're obviously working towards keeping a reasonable budget/asking price) and make other requests optional, perhaps at additional cost.

Any way just my thoughts.

Very much looking forward to it's release.

Paul 

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John

AES/EBU & BNC input - both good points.

I don't get much call in that area but I could certainly cad the PCB appropriately & just make it a custom option.

HDMI & I2S

I would love to have HDMI but you are correct there are license/fee issues & I don't really want to go down that path at the moment.

I2S

Now I completely overlooked that & it would certainly be a useful addition. Will look into it.

Fixed & variable out.

It does have variable out & also a high low output level switch (just forgot to mention it) to optimise power amp matching.

Fixed out is certainly handy & I already have a customer request on it so I will add that as a permanent feature.

Outboard DC power supply.

That starts me thinking about all those seriously expensive Naim external PSU's.

I have lots of room inside the case & will be going overboard with multiple low noise supplies so I pretty happy in that area.

It will be powered by a chunky external transformer so you could always upgrade that to a Haishimotto if you have money to burn.

Sticking with "PCM" only "AKM"

No - full DSD as well up to DSD256 & possibly a future upgrade to DSD512

Predicted ball park price - 2.5k

Two year parts & labour warranty

Yes - firmware upgradable.

Thanks for you input John - some great suggestions.

Ray

Balanced XLR in.

I might save that for a even higher specked version otherwise the price will start to blow out.

Paulk

Yes Paul totally agree with all that.

Edited by Gieseler Audio
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Hey Adam I could offer it in two versions.

A basic entry level version with the bare minimum features in terms of inputs & outputs.

Say USB in & variable RCA & XLR out. I could then offer a upgrade service down the track to option it up to the full spec version.

Performance would actually be a little better due to less switching of digital & analogue lines.

In my own personal setup I am only ever going to use the USB in & variable RCA out - HT bypass would be useful though

That would make the cost of the basic unit arround 2k.

Edited by Gieseler Audio
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Haha, thanks Clay. If it's good enough for the maker, I'm sure it will be good enough for me :)

Will see how finances sit upon release - HT bypass and a second input could come in very handy in the future.

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Actually with all the different requests I'm getting maybe I should just make a base model with various optionial upgrades.

It will mean cnc'ing different rear panels but I only do small runs anyway so that not a big problem.

That way you are only paying for the actual features you need for your system. The PCB will cater for all options so future upgrades will be possible.

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Hi Clay,

As you say the base unit would probably be everything I would need.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Or maybe you could offer a choice of 2 only inputs (e.g. your choice of usb,coax,rca,xlr,aes/ebu etc.) and 2 only outputs (e.g.rca,xlr,etc), HT bypass on base model and then charge extra for any additional ins/outs.

I realise the BIG problem with this is you would probably be machining every box. Obviously less than ideal.

  

Or stick with what you said usb input, rca/xlr ouput and HT bypass then offer any extra ins/outs at additional cost.

I guess this would keep costs down for people like me who don't need additional ins/outs in my system but still be able to offer those that do require them to get exactly what they need and not raise the expense too much. 

I guess the idea with your products has always been offering outstanding gear that offers a real taste of the hi end at a fraction of the price that just about anyone can afford.

Anyway just my thoughts.

Looking forward to getting a look at this thing.

Paul

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Hi guys,

Hey I just want a quick opinion on something.

Over the last couple of days I have been laying out the final pcb's & this has got me thinking about a different approach in terms of updating & future proofing the design. It is basically a modular approach that I think a Stereonet member mentioned.

The concept is to have a digital input/DAC board & seperate preamp board with all the analogue inputs & outputs. Basically the Klein DAC II + new preamp in one case. Each board would have its own onboard controller & display. WHAT - two screens - unorthodox I known but it means say a larger font/display for level & input to see from across the room & then the usual one for sample rate etc for the digital input side. When the AK4497 goes into production (or any future new model)I could offer a upgrade which would just involve replacing the digital board. The most expensive part is the Amanero USB board which is socketed so that could could be transferred to the new board & would reduce upgrade costs significantly. I already have the firmware for the respective DAC & preamp boards so that speeds up things for me. I know two displays sound a little odd but it will all be controlled from one remote & with side by side rear mounting it may almost look like one display- what do you think?

Edited by Gieseler Audio
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Are there plans to have any knobs, switches, buttons or LEDs on the front?

Just trying to think that I would like to see if there are already other things planned to be on the front panel.

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If I had one I would really like to be able to switch off the displays leaving a discreet led at most alight on the front .............. ideally the displays would reset themselves to light up again upon powering up  .............. I find my Klein's LED too bright  .......... but then so are LEDs on the server and the PSUs and the amp and powerboard .............  :)

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I have no problem with this design and yes the ability to dim the display is a must

Would this mean that you could get the same function and sound if you just ordered the seperate DAC and pre amp ?

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Thanks for the input guys.

First up the display can be switched totally off from the remote control.

Adam; the front panel will have a power switch, display & possibly a knob. The power switch will be the popular round push button with lumination which I will make sure is very low.

Brian; the DAC section will be very similar to the Klein II but with some more subtle improvements.

However the preamp section has a major upgrade in the output stage so IMO has a big jump in sound quality.

With the DAC + Preamp in the one case & directly connected it actually works a bit better than seperate units connected via sockets, cables ect.

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This sounds fantastic Clay.

If the modular approach makes it easier for you and purchasers know they'll be able to upgrade their unit to the latest greatest new dac (or whatever) when it arrives, well I think it's a no brainer. I think for a lot of us here knowing that you have the capability to have your unit upgraded when desired gives you peace of mind knowing you can remain at the cutting edge of technology and not be worried your new dac is now "old" news in a couple months time. I think it's a definite winner.

I think the dual screen sounds interesting and would certainly give the unit a unique look. As others have suggested being able to turn off or dim the screens is essential and that is obviously taken care of as you have stated.

Clay, will this make it better or easier for a more comprehensive range of inputs/outputs as standard or will things remain as previously mentioned?

Anyway I think anticipation of this product is at fever pitch.

Can't wait!!!

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Hi Paul - good to hear you like the concept. Yes I think the "peace of mind" factor is important - if you have spent say 2.5k on a top optioned unit is is comforting to know the DAC side can always be upgraded down the track.

The preamp PCB will cater for all options so I can just configure each order as per customer requirements.

The maxium options will be

Digital in; USB Coax Optical.

Analogue in; 3 X RCA

Analogue outputs; 2 X RCA & 1 XLR balanced both variable.

1 X RCA HT bypass 1 X fixed RCA - with this option you would lose one of the other RCA outputs.

OK once again time for me to get off the forums & back to laying out the boards - I will order them early next week & then ten days later I will have them - woo-hoo!

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