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Thread: Cheap DAC working well

  1. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor View Post
    Kaushik,

    See my second email.

    I haven't tried the opamps you mentioned; I've only tried the opa2134 and paired opa267's. The latter opamps are very expensive unless you get them from China -- and the Chinese ones are very likely to be counterfeits !!!
    Hi Feanor

    I have not posted in a while but thought I would provide an update on the SMSL SD DAC. I am still loving the sound of this DAC. I have not changed the OP amps as I cannot fault the sound performance but decided to change the power supply. I did some research and found a PSU by Teralink. It was adjustable in voltage to suit the SMSL 9 volt requirement.
    See the spec below:

    Teralink-X2 / X1 U9VA Linear Low noise Power Supply (230vAC version)

    1.EMI AC filter.
    2.EI Transformers.
    3.CLC Low ripple DC filter.
    4.MJE15030 , BC550 low noise linear voltage circuits
    5.And high accuracy reference voltage output.
    6.STTH8S06 fast diodes.
    7.High quality Panasonic FM caps.
    8.DC output : 0.25V -9 V adjust ( Default DC 8.5v/1A in no loading for TX2/TX1)
    9.AC input :AC 115 or 230V
    10.Aluminum body , size is W101 x D115 x H46 mm
    11.Aluminum panel.
    12.Includes DC cable for connect Teralink - X2 / X1
    13.Weight :700g 1pc
    14.High level of silent background and detailed sonic performance can be achieve

    Now I am not sure if I am suffering from 'I have improved the PSU so the sound must be better' or not. At this early stage in the change of the PSU on the SMSL DAC I am really pleased with the detail and imaging, its fast, open and punchy. I did have to solder the original SMSL PSU cable end to the Teralink PSU cable end to join the two units together checking polarity, + middle - outer at 9v DC. I also had to pop the lid off of the Teralink PSU and adjust the voltage from factory 8.5v to 9v. The Teralink is all aluminium construction and is substantial in weight.

    I will continue to listen and update you with my thoughts over prolonged use and advise if there really is a difference with the Teralink PSU + SMSL DAC.

    Cheers
    Andy

  2. #77
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    I like to join the talk about the cheap SMSL 1955+ DAC.
    Every since acquired it in Feb, I am still enjoying it very much. I now use it in my CAS setup via USB port from my Dell desktop. . I like to retain the warranty so I have no plan to swap opamp - though OPA227PG4 is around US$8 from RS Components, H.K. I carefully chose a short RCA and after a week of burn-in, I don't hear the harshness coming from either CAS & Main systems. The manufacturer uses 9VDC adaptor for the newer products quietly as I just bought 1 more for my sitting room main system for some CDR with my Pioneer BD player as transport. The DAC may have the gain been further improved For around US$100. delivered to your door in US, it is a steal.

  3. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by TLCW View Post
    I like to join the talk about the cheap SMSL 1955+ DAC.
    Every since acquired it in Feb, I am still enjoying it very much. I now use it in my CAS setup via USB port from my Dell desktop. . I like to retain the warranty so I have no plan to swap opamp - though OPA227PG4 is around US$8 from RS Components, H.K. I carefully chose a short RCA and after a week of burn-in, I don't hear the harshness coming from either CAS & Main systems. The manufacturer uses 9VDC adaptor for the newer products quietly as I just bought 1 more for my sitting room main system for some CDR with my Pioneer BD player as transport. The DAC may have the gain been further improved For around US$100. delivered to your door in US, it is a steal.
    I'm glad to hear you're still enjoying the SMSL 1955+. For $100, delivered, it is indeed a steal.

    If you inclined to try an opamp swap, I'd say go for it -- if installed properly, i.e. with the correct orientation which is easy to determine, the new opamps won't harm your unit. If you don't care for the sound or you have some other problem for which you want to claim under warranty, just swap back the original opamps. N.B. You will need a dual (two-channel) opamps, so you'd need the OPA2227 version of the OPA227PG4.

    In any case for only $60-65 excluding shipping, I personally wouldn't be much concerned about warranty.

  4. #79
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    Feanor: Thanks for advice and notes. I shall order opamp 2227 on my next RS purchase. Only 9 VDC supply, do you agree the mod ?
    I like to let you know that SMSL is modifying 1955+ continuously . May be after I notified them about your gain problem earlier through email, they released a higher gain version quietly.

  5. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by TLCW View Post
    Feanor: Thanks for advice and notes. I shall order opamp 2227 on my next RS purchase. Only 9 VDC supply, do you agree the mod ? ...
    What mod are you referring too? Yes, SMSL 1955 requires 9 VDC; I assume the 1955+ is the same. One could try a linear, full-regulated AC-input power supply or a battery power supply. Actually, battery power would be interesting: I suppose six 'D' cell cells in series might work, or several 9V batteries in parallel.

    Quote Originally Posted by TLCW View Post
    ... I like to let you know that SMSL is modifying 1955+ continuously . May be after I notified them about your gain problem earlier through email, they released a higher gain version quietly.
    My gain problem was only with the USB connection; I had no problem with either S/PDIF input.

  6. #81
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    Feanor:
    Adaptor mod - I refer to the post #76 above. Useful ?
    SMSL 1955+ has been launched over 1 year , Feb 2012. I had one in Feb 2013 and the 2nd in Apr 2013 with both labelled "1955+". The 2nd one may have the DAC enhanced for a little higher gain than my 1st one ( in 2 months' time.)

  7. #82
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    SMSL SD-1955 is LPCM only

    When I first hooked up the SD-1955+ to the Visio TV set S/PDIF output, it was loud static noise only. The problem was solved by switching the output from Dolby Surround 5.1 to PCM.

    Do I miss anything using the PCM instead of Dolby Surround? The DAC output is fed through an Adsom GSA-700 in my main audio systme.

    Are there a cheap DAC option with native Dolby Surround 5.1 support?

  8. #83
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    Yes, you're correct. The SMSL SD-1955 decodes stereo (2 channel) PCM signals only -- this is the case for almost all audiophile DACs. The SMSL only outputs stereo so you don't get any surround, but the 2 channel sound is just as good quality as Dolby Digital 5.1's.

    There are two basic types of Dolby "surround", Dolby Digital and Dolby Prologic. Dolby Digital requires 5.1 channels of discrete input whereas Dolby Prologic synthesizes 5.1 channels from stereo input; in principle you could feed the SMSL's stereo output to a Dolby ProLogic decoder to get synthesized 5.1.

    There are relatively inexpensive DACs that decode Dolby Digital but I have no recommendations.

  9. #84
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    Hi all,
    i'm also interested in the Teralink-X2 / X1 U9VA Linear Low noise Power Supply (230vAC version) for the SMSL 1955+.

    what are peoples opinion on it?

    thanks

  10. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by half5777 View Post
    Hi all,
    i'm also interested in the Teralink-X2 / X1 U9VA Linear Low noise Power Supply (230vAC version) for the SMSL 1955+.

    what are peoples opinion on it?

    thanks
    Do you have a link for that power supply? I might be interested. Many people insist the linear power supplies are superior to switching power supplies.

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  12. #87
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    That Anker Pro device is interesting because -- if I understand it's capabilities -- it provides a battery power source for the attached device, (e.g. an SMSL SD-1955). Battery power, in principle, is the lowest noise power source possible. If you get one, definitely let us know how it works out.

  13. #88
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    Half5777 and others,

    I'm linking this thread that casts a lot of doubt on the supposed benefits of battery power for DAC and, also I guess, phono preamps, etc. ...

    "Battery driven DACs" at AudioAsylum, see HERE.

  14. #89
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    Yes, opamps sound different

    Quote Originally Posted by kaushik741 View Post
    Hi Feanor ,

    Thanks for the reply and mail . I had also reverted back to your mail .

    Just to be clear about the FR/EMI factor , as the PSU is outside the unit shall RF/EMI still can affect the audio output if same PSU is Used .

    For OPAMP , did you tested LM 4562 or LME49720 ?

    ....

    Regards

    Kaushik
    So I tried replacing the OPA2134 opamps in my SMSL SD-1955 with LME49720's. The LME49720 is a recently, highly touted opamp especially developed for audio applications.

    I listened for about 4 hours in total which ought to be enough to burn in a tiny component such as an opamp. My strong impression is that while the LME49720 is sounds transparent, the top highs are far too shrill for my liking -- this might not be the cases with a different downstream amp than my Class D Audio SDS-258. As typical of class D amps, (I'm sure there are exceptions though), the SDS cuts no slack for harsh records or upstream components.

    So I wasted no more time listening to the LME49720 and rolled two of the three, i.e. the I/V / gain pair, for my trusty paired OPA627's. Yes, opamps do sound different from each other. The OPA627's are distinctly smoother on the top end and much more listenable at least in combo with my components. I suspect I do loose some resolution and perhaps transparency with the LME49720 though.

    I'm thinking the OPA627's are maybe just too smooth and I might go back to the OPA2134's as the best compromise.

    By the way, I'm currently using my SMSL SD-1955 because my Schiit Bifrost is back at Schiit Audio being fitted with the Uber Analog upgrade. See the August '13 edition of Stereophile where in the reviewer stated that the Bifrost offered the best value for money of any component he had reviewed.

  15. #90
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    Thumbs up Opamps and power supply upgrade

    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor View Post
    So I tried replacing the OPA2134 opamps in my SMSL SD-1955 with LME49720's. The LME49720 is a recently, highly touted opamp especially developed for audio applications.

    I listened for about 4 hours in total which ought to be enough to burn in a tiny component such as an opamp. My strong impression is that while the LME49720 is sounds transparent, the top highs are far too shrill for my liking -- this might not be the cases with a different downstream amp than my Class D Audio SDS-258. As typical of class D amps, (I'm sure there are exceptions though), the SDS cuts no slack for harsh records or upstream components.

    So I wasted no more time listening to the LME49720 and rolled two of the three, i.e. the I/V / gain pair, for my trusty paired OPA627's. Yes, opamps do sound different from each other. The OPA627's are distinctly smoother on the top end and much more listenable at least in combo with my components. I suspect I do loose some resolution and perhaps transparency with the LME49720 though.

    I'm thinking the OPA627's are maybe just too smooth and I might go back to the OPA2134's as the best compromise.

    By the way, I'm currently using my SMSL SD-1955 because my Schiit Bifrost is back at Schiit Audio being fitted with the Uber Analog upgrade. See the August '13 edition of Stereophile where in the reviewer stated that the Bifrost offered the best value for money of any component he had reviewed.
    Hi Feanor

    On the opamp issue I followed your upgrade for the SMSL using the 2134 and 2604. I can honestly say I prefer this improvement in sound, its maybe a little more melow but I am hearing more detail with nice soundstage. This opamp upgrade is staying in place for me. I measured the SMSL case temps using a 3M IR meter and after running the unit for a couple of hours the temp was 28- 32 oC. This is more than acceptable. I have fitted some PC RAM heatsinks to the opamps just to dissipate the heat away from the opamps more effectively. You can buy these from Maplins, they are self adhesive.

    The Teralink (Teradak U9VA) power supply has also made a difference. Even before upgrading the opamps the bass sound was the area of improvement, it is tighter with a more defined bassline! I can verify the Teralink U9VA PSU as a good alternative. It is well put together and appears a quality Chinese item like the SMSL.

    Cheers
    Andy

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    OPA2227 on Ebay

    How much shall I expect to pay for the OPA2227 in the US? There are so many seller of the opamp on Ebay, how do I know whether I am getting a real one?

    Is this a reliable seller? OPA2227P High Precision Low Noise Audio Op Amp OPA2227 | eBay

  17. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by keilau View Post
    How much shall I expect to pay for the OPA2227 in the US? There are so many seller of the opamp on Ebay, how do I know whether I am getting a real one?

    Is this a reliable seller? OPA2227P High Precision Low Noise Audio Op Amp OPA2227 | eBay
    Sorry for my delay in replying.

    Personally I would prefer to buy any sort of electronic component from a well-established North American supplier of possible; this way you will be assured that the component is legitimate and not counterfeit. Reputable suppliers ...


  18. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor View Post
    Sorry for my delay in replying.

    Personally I would prefer to buy any sort of electronic component from a well-established North American supplier of possible; this way you will be assured that the component is legitimate and not counterfeit. Reputable suppliers ...

    It is a good reminder. It would be good if I can order from Newark Electronics and pick up from their local office. But they have a minimum order of 150 pieces. So it does not work.

    OPA2227PAG4 - TEXAS INSTRUMENTS - IC, OP-AMP, 8MHZ, 2.3V/ us, DIP | Newark

    Digikey seems to still take order for small quantity. I ordered 2 pieces at under $11. But there is no shipping estimate for the order. I will check later to see if the shipping cost is manageable. Thanks again for the reminder.
    Last edited by keilau; 08-31-2013 at 06:05 PM.

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    Digikey order worked out well

    Quote Originally Posted by keilau View Post
    It is a good reminder. It would be good if I can order from Newark Electronics and pick up from their local office. But they have a minimum order of 150 pieces. So it does not work.

    OPA2227PAG4 - TEXAS INSTRUMENTS - IC, OP-AMP, 8MHZ, 2.3V/ us, DIP | Newark

    Digikey seems to still take order for small quantity. I ordered 2 pieces at under $11. But there is no shipping estimate for the order. I will check later to see if the shipping cost is manageable. Thanks again for the reminder.
    The shipping for the 2 opamp from Digikey turned out to be $4.99 which is for any package less than 1 pound. This worked out very well for me.

    The problem with Digikey order is that they cannot provide a shipping estimate before you hit the proceed buttom because it depends on the package weight. And they cannot provide an estimate of the package weight either. From 1.01 pound to 5 pound, the shipping is a flat rate $10.

  20. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by keilau View Post
    The shipping for the 2 opamp from Digikey turned out to be $4.99 which is for any package less than 1 pound. This worked out very well for me.

    The problem with Digikey order is that they cannot provide a shipping estimate before you hit the proceed buttom because it depends on the package weight. And they cannot provide an estimate of the package weight either. From 1.01 pound to 5 pound, the shipping is a flat rate $10.
    I'm glad it worked out well from Digikey. Let us know your impression of these opamps.

  21. #96
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    Unhappy OPA2227 in SMSL1955

    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor View Post
    I'm glad it worked out well from Digikey. Let us know your impression of these opamps.
    I finally got around swaping out the OP275 with the OPA2227. But I am not sure that I like the sound better. It seems to sound boomy as my first impression.

    I may swap them a few time before I decide. What would be your first choice opamp that can be obtained from DigiKey?

  22. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by keilau View Post
    I finally got around swaping out the OP275 with the OPA2227. But I am not sure that I like the sound better. It seems to sound boomy as my first impression.

    I may swap them a few time before I decide. What would be your first choice opamp that can be obtained from DigiKey?
    Something that ought to give you a very smooth, musical sound would be these pair OPA627's, (the OPA627 is single opamp, unlike the majority which are dual). I replace the two dual opamps at the I/V stage with Chinese-sourced versions and the result was as described; (buffer stage I left with the one LME49720) ...



    I don't think Digikey, Newark, or Mouser sell them. If you want to be sure they are authentic, you could get them from Parts ConneXion, HERE.

    Or you could try the eBay, such as HERE, but there is a some risk that they are counterfeit.

  23. #98
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    Opa627 dual opamp converter

    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor View Post
    Something that ought to give you a very smooth, musical sound would be these pair OPA627's, (the OPA627 is single opamp, unlike the majority which are dual). I replace the two dual opamps at the I/V stage with Chinese-sourced versions and the result was as described; (buffer stage I left with the one LME49720) ...



    I don't think Digikey, Newark, or Mouser sell them. If you want to be sure they are authentic, you could get them from Parts ConneXion, HERE.

    Or you could try the eBay, such as HERE, but there is a some risk that they are counterfeit.
    Wow!! $110 (for 2) vs. $18 from Hong Kong. I think that I will take an Ebay chance. Thank you for the links again.

    I have only one signal source for the DAC now which is the low quality cable TV. Most channel, including the music channels, has so compressed signal that the stock OP275 sounds ok. After failing with the OPA2227, I wonder why I bother.

    Any other experience with the OPA2227? Why does it sound boomy? Or it is just my system?

  24. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by keilau View Post
    Wow!! $110 (for 2) vs. $18 from Hong Kong. I think that I will take an Ebay chance. Thank you for the links again.

    I have only one signal source for the DAC now which is the low quality cable TV. Most channel, including the music channels, has so compressed signal that the stock OP275 sounds ok. After failing with the OPA2227, I wonder why I bother.

    Any other experience with the OPA2227? Why does it sound boomy? Or it is just my system?
    I've never heard the OPA2227.

    I've tried the SD-1955 with three OPA2134; this was a very small improvement over the OPA275. As mentioned earlier, I tried three LME49720's: the sound was very well resolved but also very bright with my class D amp, (might complement a warmer sounding amp, though). The best sound I've had is two twined Chinese-sourced OPA627's, plus a LME49720 in the output position.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor View Post
    I've never heard the OPA2227.

    I've tried the SD-1955 with three OPA2134; this was a very small improvement over the OPA275. As mentioned earlier, I tried three LME49720's: the sound was very well resolved but also very bright with my class D amp, (might complement a warmer sounding amp, though). The best sound I've had is two twined Chinese-sourced OPA627's, plus a LME49720 in the output position.
    I picked up the idea of the OPA2227 in posts exchanges between you and TLCW in May. I mistakenly thought that you recommended it.

    I don't know how the Chinese sources can sell the OPA627 so cheap. I went to DigiKey to check their price. A pair of OPA627 needed to replace one OP275 will cost $50 at DigiKey. I will need 4 for the SMSL1955 which is pricier than the DAC itself!!

    I ordered the OPA627 with the single to dual adapter from this Ebay seller.

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