More Amazing DACs for Peanuts

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ketchup

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 88
Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #620 on: 24 Nov 2023, 04:21 am »
Three guys in our local audio club use ANK DACs: two 5.1 Signature and a 2.1. I was predisposed to not like the ANK DACs, a lot of money for a DAC that doesn't really do hi-res (24bit/96kHz) but I have to admit it is a very, very nice DAC. I use a HoloAudio May KTE, one of these years I would like to compare the two DACs.

I recently heard the ANK 2.1. We switched between vinyl and CDs (no streaming) and honestly, without looking, I wouldn't be able to tell what source was playing.

The turntable is excellent so the ANK 2.1 acquitted itself very well.

What phonostage was used?

WGH

Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #621 on: 24 Nov 2023, 05:16 am »
What phonostage was used?

Good question. I don't know because my friends electronics are built from scratch housed in mesquite wood cases made in his shop. He talks directly with designers and get the latest circuit modifications. The phono preamp does use tubes. The preamp may be a K&K Premium Maxxed-Out Hybrid Phono Preamplifier designed by Kevin Carter.
https://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue77/kandk.htm

But I do have a point of reference, we compared his phono preamp to my Hagerman Cornet2 with Sonicap Platinum, Sonicap Gen I and Mundorf S/O bypassed with .1 uF Russian FT-3 Teflon caps. Tubes are RCA 5V4GA NOS/NIB rectifier tube, 2 - Sovtek 12AX7LPS very low noise spiral filaments and a Raytheon 12AU7.

The custom phono preamp is just a smidgen better than mine in his system which is saying something because the Cornet2 is a damn good phonostage.
« Last Edit: 24 Nov 2023, 05:38 pm by WGH »

viggen

Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #622 on: 26 Nov 2023, 01:51 am »
Hi Viggen,
Please describe sound of the ES9038Q2M sabre dac in greater detail and how it compares to other dacs.

Thanks,
Alfi

I usually don't have difficulties characterizing a component's sound.  However, this is a tough one.  It's a sabre dac without the sibilance and ethereal airiness.  It's not emphasized in any frequency spectrum.  It reminds me of Mini LED monitors where the brightness and details appears where it is otherwise silent/dark.  It definitely does not draw attention to itself or is it romantic or fluid sounding.  Yet, it is very musical sounding.  This is about a month after first use.  There was a hint of sabre-ness when during first use.

mick wolfe

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 1230
Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #623 on: 26 Nov 2023, 05:20 pm »
A friend whose ear I trust is raving about the Topping E70 Velvet AK4499EX. Currently $381.65 at Amazon. No personal experience here, but if I were currently in the market for a DAC, I'd certainly give it a shot. No need to look for an outboard PS either... :thumb:

wushuliu

Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #624 on: 29 Nov 2023, 03:04 am »
A friend whose ear I trust is raving about the Topping E70 Velvet AK4499EX. Currently $381.65 at Amazon. No personal experience here, but if I were currently in the market for a DAC, I'd certainly give it a shot. No need to look for an outboard PS either... :thumb:

Yes, the newest wave of AKM-based DACs seem to represent another step up for Delta Sigma. Maybe I'll try one out in the next few months.

wushuliu

Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #625 on: 29 Nov 2023, 03:17 am »
Although, recently, I am using this dac more than the 1543:

https://www.aliexpress.us/item/3256805660696598.html?spm=a2g0o.order_list.order_list_main.21.54441802h0d6Gv&gatewayAdapt=glo2usa

It's a sabre chip dac which I hate with a passion.  But, this dac sounds good.  I am using i2s connection between it and the ddc mentioned above.

Built-in OCXO and discrete class A output filter, all for $120. Fascinating. May have to get one.

Edit: Turns out this dac was designed by a longtime member on diyaudio. So some credibility there. He also has/had an r2r dac and a USB/I2S converter called 'UAC1' which is also on aliexpress.

viggen

Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #626 on: 29 Nov 2023, 04:31 am »
Built-in OCXO and discrete class A output filter, all for $120. Fascinating. May have to get one.

Edit: Turns out this dac was designed by a longtime member on diyaudio. So some credibility there. He also has/had an r2r dac and a USB/I2S converter called 'UAC1' which is also on aliexpress.

Yup I am using UAC1's i2s output to the dac.  I just ordered these:

https://www.aliexpress.us/item/3256805855753827.html?spm=a2g0o.order_list.order_list_main.11.21ef1802HjHCDe&gatewayAdapt=glo2usa
https://www.aliexpress.us/item/3256805584176583.html?spm=a2g0o.order_list.order_list_main.17.21ef1802HjHCDe&gatewayAdapt=glo2usa

I tracked the seller to diyaudio too. 

UAC1 is the first product I got from this seller.  Better than Singxer SU6, Denafrips Iris and Matrix XSPDIF2.  So, started buying his other products.

wushuliu

Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #627 on: 29 Nov 2023, 04:47 am »
Yup I am using UAC1's i2s output to the dac.  I just ordered these:

https://www.aliexpress.us/item/3256805855753827.html?spm=a2g0o.order_list.order_list_main.11.21ef1802HjHCDe&gatewayAdapt=glo2usa
https://www.aliexpress.us/item/3256805584176583.html?spm=a2g0o.order_list.order_list_main.17.21ef1802HjHCDe&gatewayAdapt=glo2usa

I tracked the seller to diyaudio too. 

UAC1 is the first product I got from this seller.  Better than Singxer SU6, Denafrips Iris and Matrix XSPDIF2.  So, started buying his other products.

Very cool. Will definitely check out the UAC1. Please keep us posted.

uncola

Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #628 on: 29 Nov 2023, 01:29 pm »
some very interesting products.. wish there was an in-depth review or guide

Charles Xavier

Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #629 on: 29 Nov 2023, 01:38 pm »
Yup I am using UAC1's i2s output to the dac.  I just ordered these:

https://www.aliexpress.us/item/3256805855753827.html?spm=a2g0o.order_list.order_list_main.11.21ef1802HjHCDe&gatewayAdapt=glo2usa
https://www.aliexpress.us/item/3256805584176583.html?spm=a2g0o.order_list.order_list_main.17.21ef1802HjHCDe&gatewayAdapt=glo2usa

I tracked the seller to diyaudio too. 

UAC1 is the first product I got from this seller.  Better than Singxer SU6, Denafrips Iris and Matrix XSPDIF2.  So, started buying his other products.

Do you have more info or links on the UAC1? Not much I can find with google.

wushuliu

Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #630 on: 29 Nov 2023, 04:26 pm »
Do you have more info or links on the UAC1? Not much I can find with google.

AliExpress UAC1 link: https://tinyurl.com/bddk9ch9



viggen

Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #632 on: 6 Dec 2023, 03:27 am »


as for the clock, the ad states 10-12v input but the one I received states 7-9v.  good thing i checked before plugging in the 12v input.  so becareful.

https://www.aliexpress.us/item/3256805584176583.html?spm=a2g0o.order_list.order_list_main.17.21ef1802HNY9r8&gatewayAdapt=glo2usa

too early to make an opinion.  i did get a little dizzy on my first listen.  not used to the "air" swirling around me?

Digi-G

Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #633 on: 6 Dec 2023, 04:00 pm »
"Air swirling around you"?  Can you elaborate?  Is that a good thing?

Charles Xavier

Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #634 on: 6 Dec 2023, 04:39 pm »

viggen

Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #635 on: 6 Dec 2023, 08:13 pm »
"Air swirling around you"?  Can you elaborate?  Is that a good thing?

i guess it's tantamount to going from a no suspension turntable to a spring suspension turntable if you've experienced the difference.

viggen

Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #636 on: 6 Dec 2023, 08:14 pm »
Is there a difference between these two other than the name UAC1 and UAC-1. And what power supply are you using?

https://world.taobao.com/item/681228697041.htm?spm=a21wu.11804641-tw.shop-content.15.4617718caTZX5h

https://world.taobao.com/item/695632033271.htm?spm=a21wu.11804641-tw.shop-content.18.4617718cKxl3HA

they are the same and I am using HDPLEX300's 9v output.  the one i ordered is the one in wushuling's post above.  however, the one i received didn't have a clock input.  so, i had to order a difference one to get the clock input:

https://www.aliexpress.us/item/3256805855753827.html?spm=a2g0o.order_list.order_list_main.11.21ef1802HNY9r8&gatewayAdapt=glo2usa

Charles Xavier

Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #637 on: 7 Dec 2023, 11:00 am »
they are the same and I am using HDPLEX300's 9v output.  the one i ordered is the one in wushuling's post above.  however, the one i received didn't have a clock input.  so, i had to order a difference one to get the clock input:

https://www.aliexpress.us/item/3256805855753827.html?spm=a2g0o.order_list.order_list_main.11.21ef1802HNY9r8&gatewayAdapt=glo2usa

So this one above is the one you ended up ordering because the original one you ordered in Wushulings post came without a clock input even though it's supposed too. Correct?

viggen

Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #638 on: 7 Dec 2023, 05:26 pm »
Yes I ordered two of these DDCs about a few months apart.

The link in Wushuling's post shows the UAC1 with clock input but current version of UAC1 doesn't have clock input.  Some sellers on aliexpress has the updated pic and some doesn't. 

The new DDC I just received is SI384.  This one has a clock input but, not only that, you HAVE to have a clock connected for it to work.  Good thing is the clock plus DDC together is only about $250.

If I had to compare between the two.   UAC1 is slightly more euphoric compared to SI384.  It's not euphoric sounding at all but if I had to compare the two the UAC1 is the more euphoric one.  They are both super musical which is a quality I find lacking in the other DDCs I've tried.  Other than that, SI384 paints a fuller picture.  I wouldn't say it's more detailed in the classical DAC sound signature sense.  But, it brings background details more forward not in a way I'd say "oh I hear more detail" but rather "the picture/sound is more complete". 

Also, I just acquired the Aeolus magiDac off a seller on this site.  I first tried it with UAC1.  Sound is very good.  Lows is strong but highs are slightly hash.  After switching to SI384, the lows are less pronounced but the highs are tamer in a good way.  I think this is because "noise" is lowered hence the overall sound is more balanced and musical.  I am listening to the magicDac and SI384 combo at the moment and find it very very musical. 

I think these no name DDCs are very good at bringing out the potential in older R2R dacs much better than the other DDCs I've tried. 


viggen

Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #639 on: 8 Jan 2024, 10:32 pm »
It's been about a month since the SI384 DDC and the accompanying -100hz clock arrived.  With the dacs I have on hand, I actually prefer the UAC1 DDC.  The SI384 exhibits a more studio quality sound.  With each dac I tried, there's more space/air/detail and such.  But, the UAC1 sounds more musical to me.  Then, I found a Pontus mk1 on audiomart and the seller is very local to me.  So, wtheck might as well try it out.  I did previously own a Pontus mk2 but didn't like it but that when I had the Singxer SU6 and didn't appreciate the lack of longer term listenability. 

First, I plugged in the Pontus to the UAC1 via RCA/SPDIF.  It didn't sound annoying compared to the previous Pontus but it sounded kind of boring.  The Pontus 2 had a huge sound to it but its fake N/OS sound was hurting my ears after 10 minutes.  With this, it has long term listenability but lacks the charm of my other dacs when connected to the UAC1.  So, the UAC1 has an i2s output.  I thought what's the chance that they are actually compatible.  Well, they are compatible.

With i2s, the sound changed slightly.  Cleaner in a good way.  Slightly raised soundstage and less background noise.  But, only marginal improvement.  Then, I plugged the Pontus into the SI384.  The SI384 actually made a bigger improvement on the Pontus than the UAC1 did.  And, weirdly, it didn't improvement the sound by making it more audiophile sounding.  It's actually very listenable and even a bit charming.

Overall, I think SI384 is a bargain in terms of matching it up with your pre-existing Denafrips.  But, in terms of dac/ddc, I think I still prefer the UAC1/TDA1543 dac.  The sound has more character.  And, it's so small and diminutive on the hifi stand.  But, this is with the HDPLEX300 powering the pair.  If using lesser PSU, the SI384/Pontus probably sounds better if memory of my listening experience sans HDPLEX300 is correct.