10 aprile 2013
Thought I'd start a new topic called – the MichelAngeloDac or MAD in honor of our erstwhile admin's Reference DAC outlined elsewhere on this site.
I ante'd up about two months ago for Michelangelo's trio of transport, DAC and power supply. The specs looked great, I'd never heard an ESS DAC and the price of admission was attractive. It took nearly two months for everything to arrive but they're all here. Finally. Patience is…. part of the DIY game.
Did the minimal soldering to build the power supply and hooked it all up. I used two rails in series to power the DAC, which is supposed to be driven by at least 6V – just short of the 5V provided by.the power supply. The DAC will work when powered by one of the 5V rails but bass and dynamics are improved when driven by the 10V supply of the two series-connected rails.
Powered the Pi with the third rail and decided to leave powering the XMOS board to the Pi for now (it was late) and fired it all up. No sound. Rebooted the Pi (the crude way) and it played!
This MAD is a winner! Thank you, Michelangelo. It's still breaking in – like most out-of-the-box DACs the sound changes, sometimes dramatically, over several hundred hours – but it is definitely great bang for the buck. I own several DACs including a Bifrost, Moon 100D, Matrix Mini, UDac and a Bel Canto DAC3 and initial comparisons after a few days break in put the MAD right up there with the Bifrost and Moon. It's not in the same league as the DAC3 but its definitely a contender in the Bifrost/Moon category. And I still need to get the XMOS board powered by the 4th rail on the power supply instead of via the noisy USB from the Pi……
Unfortunately, the price of admission has gone up as the supplier of the XMOS board and PS kit seems to have succumbed to the capitalist urge and raised his price by about 50% – thinly disguising it by raising the International shipping costs. If you're interested in the MAD maybe everyone should insist on a cheaper shipping rate or refuse to buy.
27 giugno 2013
Thanks for the write up. Is it possible for you to do a detailed write-up for the DIY MAD DAC
10 aprile 2013
I believe Michelangelo has promised a write-up under 'The best power supply for the Raspberry Pi' or his 'Ultimate DAC' article. Wouldn't want to steal his thunder just because my boards were delivered before his!! And it does need to be part of the official site as against in the forum.
Do you have all three boards? It's quite straightforward – just observe all the usual safety rules and be careful of the polarity when connecting it up.
10 aprile 2013
Got round to powering the XMOS board from the fourth rail of the PS board. Improved the bass definition and general sense of 'clean sound'. Worthwhile improvement.
If you power the XMOS board from a rail of the PS board there's no need to remove the ferrite bead FB1 from the XMOS board as suggested by the seller PROVIDED YOU DO NOT HAVE POWER ON THE USB CABLE. If you have power coming in from the Raspi to the XMOS board via the USB cable as well as externally from the PS board (or any external power supply) you will probably damage the XMOS chip. So you need to be sure the USB cable is suitably modified to prevent 5V being supplied to the XMOS board from the Pi. Cut and insulate the red wire in a standard USB cable.
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