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DSC1.Difference : Update on the DSD Dedicated No-DAC (DAC)!

I have been slowly working on this project  behind the scenes, without posting about it much (aside from on ComputerAudiophile.com). This is a discrete” delta-sigma digital to-analog converter (DAC) developed by Signalyst (although, this wasn’t made by them). Their goal was to be able to convert DSD signals (digital equivalent to SACD) into analog while adding the least amount of noise possible during the conversion. I haven’t listened to the unit yet, so I can’t comment on it. I just finished up the build last night, now it just needs to be tested and put into an enclosure.

As Signalyst says, the best DAC for DSD conversion is no DAC at all!

Bottom Side of Completed DSC1
If you look at the voltage regulator boards (red) I have the EN pin tied to the Voltage in pin. This is approved by the datasheet if you want to use the power itself at the turn on switch.

 

I will probably put this DSC1 and my Douglas Self designed XLR to RCA pre-amp/converter in the same enclosure. This way I can easily provide an RCA output. Most amplifiers these days still do not include XLR inputs, even the mid to high-end from Marantz and Denon don’t have any XLR jacks. I will post back with more detail and photos once I have tested it and picked the enclosure. I will be able to test this right alongside the Burson Play DAC/Pre-amp and my ES9038Pro based DAC/Pre-amp, to see once and for all, who is the king of DSD conversion. After more reading, I found due to my choice in upgraded transformers, I can get both balanced and unbalanced signals from these transformers!

 

 

Top Side of Completed DSC1 2
This is just one of many ways you mount these boards, you can also use pins & headers.

 

It’s worth noting, this DAC (and others like it) can NOT decode PCM, it’s only for decoding DSD, keep this in mind!! However, with tools like DSDTranscoder, you can convert PCM into DSD before sending it to this board, so in effect, this board can decode PCM with a little work.

Upgrades I have installed include TPS7A4700 ultra low noise voltage regulator modules, along with 10k:10k permalloy transformers over the 600:600 stock ones. These transformers have a ratio of 2:1+1, made with a 0.16mm thick permalloy core and the frequency response is rated at:  10Hz to 195 KHz -0.2dB. Find out more on this 10k:10k transformer here. Both of these upgrades are recommended by Signalyst and you can read more on that here. I also added the two Neutrik XLR jacks found on the opposite end of the board from the voltage regulators.

 

Top Side of Completed DSC1
All I need now is a 3-way 5V LDO (on the way) and we are ready to fire it up! Note: the pre-amplifier sitting next to the DSC1.Difference is a DIY design based on the famous MBL 6010D.

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.

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