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I spent the last couple of evenings tweaking the power supplies in my DAC. The DAC is one of the 1st gen Twisted Pear Buffalo board but I swapped out the ES9008 for the ES9018 chip. I'm using transformers for the output and feeding it via IS2 via a disassembled hiFace USB interface mounted right next to the DAC board. Previously I was feeding the Buffalo board via a couple of LT1085 based regulators. The hiFace module had a fairly elaborate 5V supply I built that incorporated some of John Broskie's ideas on a feed-forward regulator. The overall result was quite good but I knew there was considerable room for improvement. In December I picked up some of Paul Hynes shunt regulators and they have been sitting until I finally had some time to tinker with it. The end result is I added 6 new regulators to the DAC; a 3.3V for the clock, a 1.2v for the core voltage, 2 x 3.3v for the analog voltages, a 5V in front of the two digital regs and finally a 3.3v for the clocks in the hiFace in place of the DC-DC converter as suggested by John Keny though not a LiPo battery like he is using. The 3.3v for the hiFace is being fed by the feed-forward supply and the 2 x 3.3's for the AVCC are being fed from one of the 1085 based regs. The 5v shunt that feeds the digital is being fed by the raw 9V supply. I have to say that so far the result are well worth the effort and expense. I spent a while listening last night and I kept wondering where the sock that was over my speakers went. I was hearing low level details in a very familiar recording that I have not heard before. The system seems faster and has better timing. I could not stop my feet from bouncing. Given that everything is brand new and none of the electrolytic caps have had a chance to form, it will be interesting to see if things change any. Some may ask, why no photo. It's ugly, just really ugly. At least on the inside. I built it into a old Musical Fidelity A324 DAC chassis, so it looks pretty good on the outisde, but it's very busy on the inside, a result of build, change, change, change and change... so things are not as clean as if I'd started from scratch.
Abstract:I was totally floored by what I heard. The improvement was real and big compared to the other converters. What impressed more about the modded hiface vs. the other converters is that the modded hiface made everything sound real while the others struggled at various degrees to portray a poor copy of the real thing. I just didn't have the strength/will yesterday night to switch to another dac to confirm my findings. I was able to just sit back and listen to the music without analyzing it ... which is a rare thing for me
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