As usual, local audio DIY group in Indonesia held a routine group meeting and gathering. This time, the topic is DAC. There were several contenders joined this session.

Below is the setup used on that session. CD Player was CEC. Preamp were solid state (Pumpkin-Shunty Balanced Preamp) and tube (Aikido). Power was Aleph J2 ‘clone’. Speaker was 3-way floorstander with Vifa drivers.

Contenders as below (Thanks to Commander Dino Ary for the list):

  1. AD 1865 + JFET output
  2. TDA 1541 + OpAmp + Tube output
  3. DAC PCM 1704 (Denon player)
  4. AD 1865 + Tube output
  5. AD 1865 + Pumpkin-Shunty output
  6. AD 1865 + OpAmp (balanced)
  7. AK 4393 + OpAmp output
  8. PCM 1702 + OpAmp output
  9. AD 1865 + unknown output
  10. AD 1865 + Pumpkin-Shunty output
  11. TDA 1541 + JFET output
  12. WM 8805  + JFET output
  13. DAC PCM 1704 + OpAmp output
  14. Yaqin K-9  + Tube output

And the winners are…

1st: AD 1865 + Pumpkin-Shunty output
2nd: AD 1865 + OpAmp (balanced)
3rd: Yaqin K-9  + Tube output

Yaqin K-9 with single triode tube output. Unknown DAC, some BurrBrown OpAmp found. Simple and neat design. Output capacitor modded with Auricap.

Bigger picture of the PCB. A lot of potential upgrade possibility on the PCB for the ‘itchy’ hand owner 🙂

This is the 2nd winner (black chassis on the top). Similar AD1865 chipset with the 1st winner, but with balanced OpAmp output. The bigger black chassis on the bottom is the Pumpkin-Shunty Balanced Preamp.

Finally, this is the winner. I would like to call this as ‘city of colorful parts’. As you can see, the design was very neat and properly arranged. Not to mention the beautiful color combination like red, blue, green, black, gold, purple, brown, etc etc etc. Deserved to be a winner, from the sonic point of view and also from the design wise.