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DSD512 DAC Arrives!! (ES9028Pro + Amanero) & Quadraphonic Amp Update

When designing hardware (or a system of hardware), the term don’t spend your time trying to redesign the wheel is true as ever with audio projects (especially random NOS parts you find out you have!)  Ever thought about recycling a preamp from a home theater amplifier/DAC (5.1/7.1/etc.). An AVR that you no longer need or doesn’t work properly/fully, for modification use with a completely separate and custom/DIY design? Well… I DID! In an effort to save some money and some time I have found a very elegant preamp that is about as classic as a preamp could be for my generation anyway (Owner of Hallman Labs was est. 1987).

If I don’t hear differing opinions on a forum I use called, I am going to take my Dremel tool with a carbide cutting bit and cut this sucker up so I can tap each preamp individually.
Onkyo 6Ch PreAmp AVR_Pull_Pic1smallestOnkyo 6Ch PreAmp AVR_Pull_Pic2Smallest

My DAC consists of an ES9028Pro + Amanero (32bit/384kHz & Native DSD up to DSD512) w/ TCXO Golden Oscillators on the way for a small upgrade on the Amanero).

This will finally give me some proper hardware to use in my long awaited reviews for Burson Audio! One of the most patient, knowledgeable and just generally happy/funny people I have worked with in the consumer hardware review/article dept.


(Can see the stock Amanero module on top of the ES9028Pro Enclosure)

First Pics of DSD Case or Chassis 2

The ES9028Pro gives me 4 locations I can use Burson’s V5-OPA series and also Orange Amplification has provided me with review samples of their new discrete offerings. I am excited now that I can finally do the work for this stuff at the absolute top-end of “HiFi” or “Audiophile” digital music, DSD512 is basically the same quality as the recording engineer heard during mastering. Just realized that I probably only have up to DSD128 since nothing I had previous could even do native DSD decoding. This DAC has the option of Coax out or you can get the full quality using I2C.

I will be running 2x Toroidal Transformers (160VA & 200VA) + 30VA R-Core Transformer running those into the PSU module/rectifier using 63V 2200Uf Capacitors (x8) + MUR860G (x4).

I am also doing a quadraphonic MX50 SE x4 (mono-block style shown below). I haven’t found any preamps up to my standards that are available as kits or even just a labeled PCB haha, if any readers have preamp schematic recommendations, please share!


I still haven’t been able to find that specific ATC-“Frost 130” to get the specs on the transformer. I doubt it will be better than Toroidal or R-Core transformer in a closed space where EMI or just EMF in general can cause issues. I’ve heard arguments for both R-Core and Toroidal, so do your own research and check everything twice before purchasing, believe me on that advice. You don’t want a transformer that is just barely too low a VA rating to run what you put dozens of theoretical hours into building.

Looking forward to publishing some real reviews for everyone! Sit tight, it’s almost time!

Hallman Labs View All

Electrical Engineering student (Jr year) with a background in IT. Such as dealing with large scale network infrastructure upgrades at Lowe's HQ and former lead hardware tech for the NC Government. My specialty has shifted over to audio hardware and vintage hardware re-certifications along with treble bleeds.

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