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  1. Semi-Customized DAC Part VI: Ribbons, Mesh, and Teensy, Tiny Screws (Finale for Now)

    "Ken, we're gonna have to take those screws out."

    We both started laughing helplessly, in that punch-drunk kind of way you do when you've got to release the stress somehow. "Both" being me and Ken Burton, the master woodworker who not only designed and built the beautiful DAC chassis you'll see more of below, but also had spent an hour or more a couple of nights earlier inserting four tiny screws through tiny washers and 300 micro-inch copper ribbons into thin-walled ...

    Updated 05-18-2014 at 09:25 PM by Jud

  2. Semi-Customized DAC Part V.99: Tease! ;-)

    Just the top, no base, no circuits inside, no stories - yet. :)

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    So two things:

    - As you can tell from the last photo, it's like fractals - the closer you look, the more details you see.

    - It is absolutely 100 ...

    Updated 05-07-2014 at 09:30 PM by Jud

  3. Semi-Customized DAC, Part V: Rollin', rollin', rollin'...

    Cap rollin', that is.

    In this corner, ladies and gentlemen: The AudioCap Theta, a film and tinfoil capacitor very well thought of for its price (rated among the "Tier AA : Top Shelf Performers" in an extensive cap comparison at The Great Capacitor Shoot-Out ).

    And in the other corner, the UpTone Audio MusiCap, another film and foil cap (not sure of the metal used). The MusiCap name was widely known as a product ...

    Updated 08-25-2013 at 07:22 PM by Jud

  4. Semi-Customized DAC, Part IV: Photos and Filters

    So first of all, some photos. Doesn't look like much of anything at this point - really needs a chassis. But it sure sounds nice, even before any rewiring, cap rolling, and vibration control.




    As I mentioned in other blog posts and comments, this DAC allows input at 8x rates (352.8/384), allowing the user to bypass the DAC chip's ...
  5. Semi-Customized DAC Part III - Success! (Provisional but sweet)

    Having connected the output wiring properly this time (had wired my output jacks to metal-rimmed mounting holes near the contacts rather than the contacts themselves), I was eagerly awaiting the new transformer. It came yesterday. Like Christmas in May - which, having been raised Jewish, is saying something.

    Soldered the transformer wires where they needed to go, hooked everything up, powered it on, turned on the amp, turned off the mute switch, turned up the volume, and - Music! Yee-hah! ...
  6. Semi-Customized DAC Part II (in which we hit a roadblock and ask for help)

    Disappointing news from the trial run (no chassis or ribbon conductors, just everything laid out and hooked up with regular wire for testing):

    Everything is soldered and connected, with a 1A fast blow fuse in the IEC inlet. When I plugged it in this morning, the transformer (an R-core transformer I purchased separately from the boards) got piping hot to the extent that I smelled plastic and was afraid to leave it plugged in long enough to listen to anything. One thing I did, though ...
  7. Semi-Customized DAC

    A very nice person has provided me some DAC innards, which will give me the opportunity to put together a semi-customized DAC that employs some thoughts I've picked up from various smart people along the way. Said nice person has requested that his/her identity and that of the innards remain confidential. Out of respect for that request, I'd ask anyone commenting as this project proceeds to please refrain from speculating on those points.

    The thoughts I'd like to try to put into operation: ...