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Gieseler Audio

GIESELER AK4499 DAC

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Just a quick update on how I am progressing with this.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I have sample chips, evaluation manual & a data sheet but it is going to take a while as it is a very complex chip compared to previous versions. The evaluation board will be a big help but still no ETA on this yet. I will first build a basic prototype for testing & development & then go on to a production version. I think the ETA on a production model will be at least three months away. It will be very different from the Fein/Gross series & have a new name. Cost wise it will also be a big jump & probably several times the cost (of Gross/Fein) however it will certainly have more features & options. Sound wise it is hard to predict & being current out I will no longer be able to use the simple Jensen transformer output design. This is a bit disappointing as I loved the sound of that & the simple design. The good part is the word on the street is that the AK4499 will probably be the new benchmark in SOTA DAC chips & with performance to match. Fingers crossed! I will update this topic when I actually have a working prototype.

Edited by Gieseler Audio

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This is AKM’s prototype.

They have configured the DAC chip for two channel output & I will do the same.

The chip has four channels, two seperate stereo DAC’s so with the correct registry settings

you can configure each DAC as a single output - one for left & one for right.

What this achieves is a higher dynamic range which ends up at 137dB in stereo mode which is staggering good.

Distortion is vanishing low - Quote from AKM’s website.

The World’s Highest in Class Characteristics Achieved by Current Output Architecture

THD+N: -124dB can be achieved from the Low Distortion Technology optimized for Current Output architecture.

It is good to see they have gone overboard in the PSU area - seven discrete ultra low noise supplies.

I will be doing the same however I don’t think my prototype will be quite as elaborate as AKM’s

DA039CFB-BB08-4D20-AA78-49CF290DFD3A.jpeg.40fbaf399da52b54ad404fa4b73ddd6d.jpeg

Edited by Gieseler Audio
Grammar

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This is AKM’s prototype.
They have configured the DAC chip for two channel output & I will do the same.
The chip has four channels, two seperate stereo DAC’s so with the correct registry settings
you can configure each DAC as a single output - one for left & one for right.
What this achieves is a higher dynamic range which ends up at 137dB in stereo mode which is staggering good.
Distortion is vanishing low - Quote from AKM’s website.
The World’s Highest in Class Characteristics Achieved by Current Output Architecture

THD+N: -124dB can be achieved from the Low Distortion Technology optimized for Current Output architecture.

It is good to see they have gone overboard in the PSU area - seven discrete ultra low noise supplies.

I will be doing the same however I don’t think my prototype will be quite as elaborate as AKM’s

DA039CFB-BB08-4D20-AA78-49CF290DFD3A.jpeg.40fbaf399da52b54ad404fa4b73ddd6d.jpeg


If you need someone to test it, put me on the list!

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What a beast! Seven discrete ultra low noise supplies! :sweat:

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Maybe I should put my hand up for product testing if there's room for more. Though I'm not as geographically as close as Benjet.

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Just coming back from High End Munich.

AKM had a booth and performed listening demos for manufacturers by appointment of the 4497 vs 4499.

Though consumer without financial interests they did a comparison for me and my wife.

First three pieces with 4497, then the same with the 4499.

The 4499 is a clear step above the 4497.

More musicality, better musical understanding, better musical performers.

But Clay is right, it is a pity that he can not use the output transformers with the 4499.

 

Matt

 

 

 

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Thanks for info Matt. Did you happen to get any photos?

Also did the AK4499 demo unit look the same as the photo of the one I posted.

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21 minutes ago, Gieseler Audio said:

Thanks for info Matt. Did you happen to get any photos?

Also did the AK4499 demo unit look the same as the photo of the one I posted.

I would say it is the same.

I did not make any photos, I was happy that they did the comparison.

They had two boxes in the same size, one with the 4497 the other with the 4499, they simply swapped the boxes.

Both boxes were switched off before listening, not perfect!

There is somewhere on the internet a story about AKM and the 4499 where both boxes can be seen.

 

Matt

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I finally found a new product that will be using the AK4499.

https://us.astellnkern.com/products/a-ultima-sp2000?variant=20969031303227

 

 

& a sample DSD 512 compilation to test it.

https://nativedsdpresents.nativedsd.com/albums/NDSD013-nativedsd-presents-5-tracks-in-dsd-512

 

That native DSD512 sampler would be perfect to check out the Fein II’s performance.

The Fein II will play native DSD512 on Windows systems & also on Linux but with the latter you

will need 2003be_71A firmware in the Amanero.

Edited by Gieseler Audio

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Hi Matt,

I have been following that thread with great interest.

The evaluation board looks massive! - I have a feeling it is probably $1000+

AKM  referred me to Arrow Electronics for the evaluation board but it doesn’t seem to be showing up there yet so I don’t know where Markw4 got his.

 Anyway I finally got my own evaluation board  yesterday and and I’m just waiting for a few more parts to finish it off.

 It is a very basic evaluation board that I designed  mainly to get an initial operation up and running and test out control codes. 

 It was a bit of a challenge soldering the 128-pin HTQFN package - super fine pin pitch.

 Anyway I should have it finished next week so it will be very interesting with the first testing process.

 

 

DB0BA794-ADE4-4131-86BD-E85498D859B4.thumb.jpeg.8cbb4812241efce67c80e8cef7f838dc.jpeg

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On 29/06/2019 at 8:53 AM, Gieseler Audio said:

Hi Matt,

I have been following that thread with great interest.

The evaluation board looks massive! - I have a feeling it is probably $1000+

AKM  referred me to Arrow Electronics for the evaluation board but it doesn’t seem to be showing up there yet so I don’t know where Markw4 got his.

 Anyway I finally got my own evaluation board  yesterday and and I’m just waiting for a few more parts to finish it off.

 It is a very basic evaluation board that I designed  mainly to get an initial operation up and running and test out control codes. 

 It was a bit of a challenge soldering the 128-pin HTQFN package - super fine pin pitch.

 Anyway I should have it finished next week so it will be very interesting with the first testing process.

 

 

DB0BA794-ADE4-4131-86BD-E85498D859B4.thumb.jpeg.8cbb4812241efce67c80e8cef7f838dc.jpeg

Hi Clay,

what about the AK4499 DAC?

Any news?

Thanks

 

Matt

Edited by matth

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Hi Matt,

well I’m making steady but slow progress.

I’m on the third prototype now  & it is sounding pretty good.

Unfortunately it is a very complex build with eleven discreet PSU’s just for the DAC chip alone.

Currently lots of jumper cables on the pcb so the final production model will need a four layer board.

Also it will require a custom aluminium case.

In light of all that it will end up being a fairly pricey product.

Minimum $5 to $6k price range & probably not ready until feb/march next year.

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41 minutes ago, Gieseler Audio said:

Hi Matt,

well I’m making steady but slow progress.

I’m on the third prototype now  & it is sounding pretty good.

Unfortunately it is a very complex build with eleven discreet PSU’s just for the DAC chip alone.

Currently lots of jumper cables on the pcb so the final production model will need a four layer board.

Also it will require a custom aluminium case.

In light of all that it will end up being a fairly pricey product.

Minimum $5 to $6k price range & probably not ready until feb/march next year.

Wow, sounds like quite a large scale job, especially since you are basically a one-person operation!

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On ‎2‎/‎12‎/‎2019 at 4:02 AM, Gieseler Audio said:

Hi Matt,

well I’m making steady but slow progress.

I’m on the third prototype now  & it is sounding pretty good.

Unfortunately it is a very complex build with eleven discreet PSU’s just for the DAC chip alone.

Currently lots of jumper cables on the pcb so the final production model will need a four layer board.

Also it will require a custom aluminium case.

In light of all that it will end up being a fairly pricey product.

Minimum $5 to $6k price range & probably not ready until feb/march next year.

Hi Clay,

thank you for sharing the info.

What do think about the SQ?

Is the SQ worth the triple price of your existing top model?

What about the output stage, AFAIK transformers are not possible because of the current output?

Greetings

 

Matt

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Hi Matt,

the sound quality seems excellent in a good reference system I recently heard it in.

What I need to do is also compare it to my latest Fein II in the same system &  then I can get a comparison on the SQ difference.

The first prototype used op amps (as per eval board design) but in IMHO I'm now getting better results with some custom

transformers that suit current out DAC's.

 

 

  

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23 minutes ago, Gieseler Audio said:

The first prototype used op amps (as per eval board design) but in IMHO I'm now getting better results with some custom

transformers that suit current out DAC's.

Hi Clay. I'm curious to see you mention moving from op amps to transformers as transformers are what ASR put down the poor (measured) results from the PS audio direcstream DACs. Pardon my ignorance of DAC design, but is this in a different setting than they use the transformers for? Thanks.

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51 minutes ago, Ittaku said:

Hi Clay. I'm curious to see you mention moving from op amps to transformers as transformers are what ASR put down the poor (measured) results from the PS audio direcstream DACs. Pardon my ignorance of DAC design, but is this in a different setting than they use the transformers for? Thanks.

I think the ASR/Directstream thing came down to PSAudio cheaping out on the transformers.  Just like "oils ain't oils", transformers ain't transformers...

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54 minutes ago, Ittaku said:

Hi Clay. I'm curious to see you mention moving from op amps to transformers as transformers are what ASR put down the poor (measured) results from the PS audio direcstream DACs. Pardon my ignorance of DAC design, but is this in a different setting than they use the transformers for? Thanks.

 

Clay has used output transformers in his DACs for some time now... the Grob, the Fein and Fein II, and Klein III.  Whilst I haven't had the pleasure of hearing one of Clay's higher-end DACs, the Klein III is superb and is a notable step up from the previous transformer-less Klein.

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3 minutes ago, acg said:

I think the ASR/Directstream thing came down to PSAudio cheaping out on the transformers.  Just like "oils ain't oils", transformers ain't transformers...

I'm aware that transformers ain't transformers, but that's their top DAC and a $8,000 device... How expensive does it need to be before it has a good transformer? Clay's DACs are much more reasonably priced and he still manages to put good quality components in. But I wasn't aware Clay already used transformers, and his DACs certainly sound great to me, so go figure.

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