Jump to content

Recommended Posts

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 can stop everything.

I will take it home for the weekend & see how she sounds after an overnight run in.

 

 

 

Super-impressive work Clay! I tip my hat to thee!

 

You've probably already mentioned this, but is the DAC stage in the DAC/PRE combo the same as your latest DSD DAC in terms of sonic performance?

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 153
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

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

Hi Pete,

The digital/DAC circuit is the same but the power supplies have been improved a little. It terms of performance they are probably very similar. The DAC section in the DAC/Pre is a much smaller PCB than the Klein II because it has no filter/output stage, all that part is on the main preamp board. Also the main raw DC & pre filtering for the DAC is on a seperate PSU board. I think maybe because those two important sections are physically seperated from the digital part the overall sound is a little cleaner too if you follow. I will probably make a higher end DAC only based on the DAC/Pre layout/topology so suit customers who already have a good preamp or intergrated.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites


Hi Adam & everyone else wanting an update.

Last week was a mega one for Klein DAC's & PSU orders plus my BAS return so it was not until Friday that I finally got a chance to spend a little time with the DAC/Pre. There were a few little things that needed sorting & that went fine. The new power supply at 20v raw DC output has a lot more headroom so I needed to carefully adjust the Gyrators & final discreet regs for even heat distribution. Currently there are two LCD displays - one for the digital section & one for the preamp side so I'm trying to decide the best arrangement for them on the front panel.

Sound! I'm extreamly happy with the audio quality I'm getting out of it. Mike L called in & Friday so I sat him in the hot seat for a listen.

With a serious look & eyes closed he left me dangling for a minute before I got the big thumbs up. I have been informed to get it over to his place one night next week for a serious listen. He recons one good bottle of Shiraz between us should be enough for a serious evaluation. Tomorrows morning I will take it over to BAM's (Bruce) as he has very good system & top DAC so that will be a good test.

Next week I can get serious with with some front panel test runs & hopefully end up with a good looking final result!

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

Great to hear Clay, getting closer every day :)

I've got a nice bottle of Laphroaig waiting for when I finally get to hear this beauty.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Bruce's - Sunday morning listening session

Well I have just come back from BAM's after a serious two hour listening session.

First up a quick run down on Bruce's system which is highly desirable.

Source is an Antipodes DS Music server followed by an Intona USB isolator & then into a PS Audio Direct Stream DAC running Torreys firmware. This is connected to Musical Fidelity integrated amp but using the preamp section only. This is a temporary setup until a new Aesthetics Calypso preamp arrives. He did have a Musical Fidelity KW preamp but it was a tad bight with some material.

The preamp is followed by a pair of MB 90 KT150 Icon mono block amplifiers & finally into a gorgeous pair of Sonus Faber Amarti Homage four way speakers. All power interconnect & speaker cabling is seriously good.

First up we both listened to some well know tracks to get a feel for the sound.

Pretty good but not spectacular.

Then we removed the PS Audio Direct Stream DAC & Musical Fidelity pre section & dropped in my new DAC/Pre prototype.

Now what follows is IMO only.

Wow! whole new ball game absolutely everything is better, Bruce stops making the coffee, walks over over & says "now that's more like it!"

We crank up the volume & listen to some well know reference tracks & both agree it is sounding pretty darn good.

I'm keen to see how the Direct Stream sounds via the pre amp section of my DAC/Pre so we reconnect it that way.

Wow the Direct Stream is sounding really good now - even a little better than the DAC in my DAC/Pre. A bit more weight & maybe a bit more air to the soundstage.

I was still extremely happy though that my DAC section even got close considering the huge price difference.

I'm sure Bruce will chime in with his version to give you a more unbiased view.

post-112957-0-38998100-1469938464_thumb.

post-112957-0-41157100-1469938488_thumb.

Edited by Gieseler Audio
  • Like 7
Link to post
Share on other sites


Here's my unbiased opinion of our listening session today.

Clays DAC preamp combo easily beat my PS Audio direct stream + musical fidelity A5.5 intergrated (using preamp only). The Musical Fidelity produces a very forgiving sound but lacks detail. My previous Musical Fidelity KW preamp was very good but was not compatible with the tube amps, designed to match the kW amps.

Clays DAC preamp produced just the right amount of detail without being fatiguing. Bass was very good. I would have to say my system has not sounded better or as good for that matter.

Connecting the PS Audio direct stream to Clays preamp was a further improvement, slightly smoother, a bit more bass but was not chalk vs cheese.

It looks like Clay has produced an exceptional product which can compare favourably with products in a much higher price bracket.

  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's my unbiased opinion of our listening session today.

Clays DAC preamp combo easily beat my PS Audio direct stream + musical fidelity A5.5 intergrated (using preamp only). The Musical Fidelity produces a very forgiving sound but lacks detail. My previous Musical Fidelity KW preamp was very good but was not compatible with the tube amps, designed to match the kW amps.

Clays DAC preamp produced just the right amount of detail without being fatiguing. Bass was very good. I would have to say my system has not sounded better or as good for that matter.

Connecting the PS Audio direct stream to Clays preamp was a further improvement, slightly smoother, a bit more bass but was not chalk vs cheese.

It looks like Clay has produced an exceptional product which can compare favourably with products in a much higher price bracket.

Thanks for sharing. Did you play PCM or DSD or both?

Matt

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for sharing. Did you play PCM or DSD or both?

Matt

Only pcm files Edited by BAM
Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow the Direct Stream is sounding really good now - even a little better than the DAC in my DAC/Pre. A bit more weight & maybe a bit more air to the soundstage.

I was still extremely happy though that my DAC section even got close considering the huge price difference.

Clay, now that you have some extra space to work with.. Have you thought about experimenting with dual ak4490eq chips and/or boutique caps in the output stage? It'd put you over the line.. leave that Direct Stream behind for good  :P

Link to post
Share on other sites


I did think about dual dac chips but I'm not totally convinced that would actually make much difference.

No caps in the output just some nice nickle core Jensen transformers.

You are right though it would be nice to close the gap on the Directstream.

I think once it is mounted properly in a case & all that tempoary skinny wire is replaced with some good stuff it will sound a little better too.

More run in will help as well - only had about twelve hours on it.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I think if you tried native DSD, or PCM that is well upsampled to DSD, the gap will be closed.

The directstream is internally converting everything to DSD.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Guys,

I should just point out that that the digital board in the DAC/Pre I demo'd at Bruce's

was a new experimental USB only version, zoom in & you can see this. I actually discovered today it had a couple of faults so that would have had a detrimental effect on the sound.

The production DAC/Pre will be using the proven Klein II multi input board with the upgraded PSU. When I get time I will re-run the test at Bruce's with the final cased version.

AudioGeek - yes a comparison using DSD would be a better way to go.

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites


I like DAC Preamps that support various connection options............like the one being discussed here.  :thumb:

 

A USB only DAC limits itself to PC use only and is not relevant to this thread.........(or MY system needs) :)

Edited by JohnL
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

Small update.

On Friday I finally managed to do the first test run of front & rear panels out of black 5 mm acrylic on the cnc machine.

They turned out extreamly well - 400 mm wide by 50 mm high so a nice wide low profile look. The main filter caps just fit under the lid.

All text is engraved with a .5 mm bit so the next step is to paint fill it. Guys I'm sorry this taking so long but Klein I & II plus PSU orders have been really steady lately & that has been taking up all my time.

I took the prototype (on mdf board) over to Mike Lenehan's & we had a brief listen on some new ML1 References he had just finished. We played a few PCM tracks & then Diana Krall Wallflower in DSD64. Well - I think Mike was actually shocked how good the DSD sounded. It should be even better once it is installed in a proper chassis with decent wiring.

Stay tuned!

Edited by Gieseler Audio
  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

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 very happy with the sound & performance so there will be no more changes to the circuit or boards. The cased up version with better wiring sounded considerably better than the prototype on the MDF board. The only area I’m not totally happy with is the display which is too small to read from a listening position. We finally obtained an OLED display that works with our micro controller. There are stacks of displays out there but finding one to work with our control software has been quite challenging. At this stage it is all finished except for some fine tuning with the firmware to give the correct large display info.  It will be a single display, OLED & larger size with good output level readability from across the room.

Unfortunately I underestimated the build time which now works out to a full week by the time all the different processes are complete. This will bump up the final cost quite a bit. I’m now in the process of doing an accurate parts cost so I will have a final cost shortly.

IMG_2607.JPG

IMG_2633.JPG

IMG_2668.JPG

IMG_2622.JPG

Edited by Gieseler Audio
  • Like 13
Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks gorgeous Clay.  

 

I'm a bit of a fan of the split screen actually, reminds you of the fact that you have two separate components within one chassis.

Edited by Cafad
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking fantastic, I'm sure it will sound as good as it looks

what a professional job and its Australian made

well done Clay & to your son

Edited by woadl
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

This is the 2.4 inch OLED display we have been playing with.

It is much more readable from a distance. Also it is a graphic display (not character) so we can use the whole screen size to display say volume level

IMG_2701.JPG

  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites

Well some serious progress today!

Fletcher who handles the programming side of things has finalised the code for the new single larger OLED display. We are now using one much higher capacity micro controller rather than the previous individual micros on the DAC & Preamp boards. The new micro is on a separate PCB (separate PSU as well) so has much better isolation in respect to the audio circuits. Also system integration is far better with one micro in total control of the whole unit. The only down side is the senior solderer (ME) has the daunting task of mounting a hundred pin micro controller chip - 0.5 mm pin pitch so not too bad.

The OLED display works brilliantly, each function uses the entire character display so even I can read it from across the room without binoculars.

All that is left now is to cad up & order the new micro controller PCB.

Bottom line - should have a totally finished (one anyway) product in about two weeks.:party

  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey guys I have just come up with a rather radical idea that may interest the Multibit R2R fans.

I still have a stash of PCM1704U-K chips left from my PDX manufacturing days so I was thinking of a very limited run of digital front end boards using that chip. The DAC/Pre uses a seperate (relatively small) digital front end PCB with a socketed Amanero USB module so easy to swap over. It will be pricey though as genuine PCM1704U-K's from a reliable source are at least a couple a hundred a pop. From memory Element14's last remaining few listed arround $380!!!

Anyway I have ten PCM1704U-K's left, they are mono so I could only do five boards. Just a thought - feedback appreciated!

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

Hi Guys,

sorry for the delay with this. I'm in the process of changing houses so I have taken a bit of time off to get my house ready for sale. ETA on the finished DAC pre is about mid November. It is just waiting on a new controller board.

The PCM1704U-K digital option would be about $500 extra as that would be the extra cost to use those chips vs the AK4490EQ version.

I could also offer a AK4497EQ version at about $350 extra which is the one buy price for one of those chips at the moment. It is a lot less from AKM but they are only doing small runs at the moment & their minimum buy is 160 units! I have built up a AK4497EQ prototype which sounds very good but it is hard to tell is it is actually better than the AK4490EQ.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
55 minutes ago, Gieseler Audio said:

 I'm in the process of changing houses so I have taken a bit of time off to get my house ready for sale

Understand that, going thru the same thing here. Very stressful.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Gieseler Audio said:

Hi Guys,

sorry for the delay with this. I'm in the process of changing houses so I have taken a bit of time off to get my house ready for sale. ETA on the finished DAC pre is about mid November. It is just waiting on a new controller board.

The PCM1704U-K digital option would be about $500 extra as that would be the extra cost to use those chips vs the AK4490EQ version.

I could also offer a AK4497EQ version at about $350 extra which is the one buy price for one of those chips at the moment. It is a lot less from AKM but they are only doing small runs at the moment & their minimum buy is 160 units! I have built up a AK4497EQ prototype which sounds very good but it is hard to tell is it is actually better than the AK4490EQ.

 

 

 

 

Oh my! That's quite a big change! My family is only just starting to go through that process, still early days yet. Can't imagine the stress level of that so stay well.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...
On 19/10/2016 at 5:15 PM, Gieseler Audio said:

Hi Guys,

sorry for the delay with this. I'm in the process of changing houses so I have taken a bit of time off to get my house ready for sale. ETA on the finished DAC pre is about mid November. It is just waiting on a new controller board.

The PCM1704U-K digital option would be about $500 extra as that would be the extra cost to use those chips vs the AK4490EQ version.

I could also offer a AK4497EQ version at about $350 extra which is the one buy price for one of those chips at the moment. It is a lot less from AKM but they are only doing small runs at the moment & their minimum buy is 160 units! I have built up a AK4497EQ prototype which sounds very good but it is hard to tell is it is actually better than the AK4490EQ.

 

Hi Clay,

How has the house moving gone - hopefully smooth sailing, it's certainly not the least stressful activity one can undertake!

Any progress on the DAC-Pre?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Adam,

my factory is jammed packed with stuff from home - trying to de-clutter a bit & make the house look good for potential buyers.

DAC/Pre  -   we have actually been working on it today & making steady progress.

RE mico controller

The TQFP-100 Atmega2560 chip was proving a bit of a challenge so we have gone back to the DIP Atmega 328P as it is much easier to work with. The 328P has limited digital & analog outputs but it looks as if we will just make it. Preamp section now working nicely with the new OLED display so just need to add in the DAC code.

 

IMG_0173.JPG

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Clay,

 

My sympathies with the stress of moving home.

 

Just a question about using your DAC/Pre (or Klein ll - I need to decide) using USB-2 input: will it run as an ALSA device from an 'Idealish Server" running Snakeoil software without needing Linux drivers? Do you, or any of your clients, do this already?

Edited by BioBrian
got me terms in a twist
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Brian,

correct - no need for Linux drivers as the Amanero USB board does not need them with a Linux (or Mac) based server.

The Amanero only needs drivers for Windows which are available from his website.

I have tried Snakeoil with the Klein II using a mini-itx based server & it works fine.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey exciting news!

Digikey finally have stock of the new AK4497EQ DAC chip.

$71 US a pop tho. Ouch!

Actually just noticed that was in Aus $ so not too bad.

I have already developed a prototype using this chip so will be offering it as an option with the DAC/Pre for sure.

Edited by Gieseler Audio
  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, Gieseler Audio said:

Hey exciting news!

Digikey finally have stock of the new AK4497EQ DAC chip.

$71 US a pop tho. Ouch!

I have already developed a prototype using this chip so will be offering it as an option with the DAC/Pre for sure.

Hi Clay,

that is good news. Please offer the AK4497 as an option for your DACs without preamp as well.

 

Matt

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.




×
×
  • Create New...