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Author Topic: Looking for an Open Hardware DAC  (Read 5217 times)

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Offline Antipixel

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Looking for an Open Hardware DAC
« on: July 17, 2016, 09:44:34 PM »
TLDR;

Looking for an open source hardware DAC plan or someone who built their own DAC and has mad ideas :D

Long version:
Was looking for a DAC, AMP, and a Speaker for a long time now. But none fit my needs... till it dawned upon me... I study physics, I can wield a soldering iron... build your own!

So my current idea is to build my own easily fixable box with all of that jazz in + an audio jack for headphones. (All the details will trickle in with onsetting problems)
But as much as I like reinventing warm water, I do need to also finish my degree. So I'd love it if someone has a template or tips how to deal with it so I'd only have to reinvent the parts I'd need specific for myself.
Of course I'd post my progress and plans in the end.

PS: Tips about components are welcome :D the ones I had to deal so far were accademic, and perfect, and on paper
 

Offline blueskull

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Re: Looking for an Open Hardware DAC
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2016, 10:09:50 PM »
What do you mean open hardware DAC? You mean open source DAC from IC implementation? That's gonna be hard, even implemented in FPGA.
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Online Kalvin

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Re: Looking for an Open Hardware DAC
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2016, 10:18:05 PM »
The sound will get distorted as soon as it enters into the crossover filters and leaves the speakers.
 
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Offline chickenHeadKnob

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Re: Looking for an Open Hardware DAC
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2016, 10:19:58 PM »
 

Offline Antipixel

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Re: Looking for an Open Hardware DAC
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2016, 10:38:11 PM »
@Blueskull Ya it sounds hard but if I want it to be tidy and not have 3 boxes on my desk or butcher the parts of 3 boxes and somehow squeeze them in one functioning box. Unless you have a better idea Im ears to everything at this point really.

The sound will get distorted as soon as it enters into the crossover filters and leaves the speakers.
Elaborate on this.

You mean something like this? https://hackaday.io/project/5996-drdac-usb-audio-dac
Something exactly like that.
 

Online Kalvin

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Re: Looking for an Open Hardware DAC
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2016, 11:02:27 PM »
The sound will get distorted as soon as it enters into the crossover filters and leaves the speakers.
Elaborate on this.
Even if the DAC and the amplifier are close to Perfect, the crossover filter will create phase/time error and the speaker elements with the enclosure will add their own artefacts [which are definitely audible by every person with golden ears, of course]. Most of the amplifier designs are driving the inductive speaker elements in voltage mode which may not produce ideal response either.

Here is a nice article about the crossover filters, phase error and time error: http://sound.westhost.com/ptd.htm
Here is a nice summary about the speakers and the current-drive mode by Tomi Engdahl: http://www.epanorama.net/newepa/2014/10/10/loudspeaker-operation-current-drive-better-than-voltage-drive/

Disclaimer: I am not an expert by any means and I do not have golden ears.

Edit: Added the link to Tomi Engdahl's article.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2016, 11:41:17 PM by Kalvin »
 

Offline NiHaoMike

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Re: Looking for an Open Hardware DAC
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2016, 04:51:20 AM »
If you're just looking for something to run some headphones, my best friend and I came up with this:
https://github.com/NiHaoMike/OpenDAC-HD

If you also want to use speakers, things get a lot harder. I do not know of any DIY purely digital amplifiers and adding digital crossover makes things harder still.
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Offline ip2k

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Re: Looking for an Open Hardware DAC
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2016, 01:05:45 PM »
Check out the Henry Audio DAC. In general though, as others have said, implementing one from scratch or on something like an FPGA is going to be Difficult. If you'd like to try that route, check out FPGA4Fun 's One-Bit DAC.


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Offline Harrkev

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Re: Looking for an Open Hardware DAC
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2016, 05:42:23 AM »
If you want to go COMPLETELY open-source, there is always the resister ladder.  Getting 16 bits of resolution might be a bit of a pain, but certainly doable...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resistor_ladder
 

Offline Lukas

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Re: Looking for an Open Hardware DAC
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2016, 10:53:41 AM »
You may also want to take a look at this: http://nwavguy.blogspot.de/2012/04/odac-released.html
 

Online NANDBlog

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Re: Looking for an Open Hardware DAC
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2016, 11:48:55 PM »
You may also want to take a look at this: http://nwavguy.blogspot.de/2012/04/odac-released.html
He never released the design files. Also he disappeared some 2 years ago, such a shame.
If you're just looking for something to run some headphones, my best friend and I came up with this:
https://github.com/NiHaoMike/OpenDAC-HD
That thing looks quite resonable, when I read the used ICs and the schematic. Then I looked at the implementation  :o
Good job  :-+
 

Offline HSPalm

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Re: Looking for an Open Hardware DAC
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2017, 08:49:42 PM »
@Blueskull Ya it sounds hard but if I want it to be tidy and not have 3 boxes on my desk or butcher the parts of 3 boxes and somehow squeeze them in one functioning box. Unless you have a better idea Im ears to everything at this point really.
So you're looking for an IC implementation like Blueskull suggested.

You mean something like this? https://hackaday.io/project/5996-drdac-usb-audio-dac
Something exactly like that.
So you're not looking for an IC implementation after all.

Many who's in audio say DAC and mean the whole implementation, from input connectors (USB often), through the actual DAC (the ic), further on through an amp and then out to speakers or headphones via connectors again. Looks like this is the case here.

You mean something like this? https://hackaday.io/project/5996-drdac-usb-audio-dac
About this, I admire the bodge-job on the DAC ic!
 

Offline ECEdesign

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Re: Looking for an Open Hardware DAC
« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2017, 12:29:45 AM »
You can read the literature on DACs.  To make one you need a CAD tool like Cadence and the money to send your design to a foundry.  Usually, only companies and well-funded universities have this kind of money since you can reach one million pretty quick.  Better off just buying an off the shelf DAC and learning a bit about how DACs work.
 

Offline tiger99

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Re: Looking for an Open Hardware DAC
« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2017, 08:35:07 AM »
A 16 bit DAC will cost you maybe a few pounds, dollars or Euros. A 16 bit R-2R DAC made at home will not be monotonic and so will cause horrible distortion. A string DAC made at home will be monotonic but not necessarily linear, unless you build it with Vishay S series resistors, of which you will need 65535, all of one value, at about 7 pounds/euros/dollars each, and at least 4096 16 bit analogue multiplexers plus decoding logic.

You CAN make a PWM DAC at home, and it can be highly accurate and linear, but it will need time resolution of about 350 picoseconds to cover the audio band with 16 bit resolution. You would need a FPGA with a phenomenal clock speed and minimal jitter. It will also need a well-designed low pass filter, which is entirely feasible as it involves op amps and only moderately precise (say 1%) resistors and capacitors, and only a handful of each.

A PWM DAC is supremely useful for low frequency instrumentation, where the superb linearity probably can't be beaten, and is a technique worth learning about, but is just not going to be useful for audio.

So basically you can't beat, or come anywhere near to, a moderately priced chip from any of the major semiconductor manufacturers.
 

Offline blueskull

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Re: Looking for an Open Hardware DAC
« Reply #14 on: August 08, 2017, 09:09:17 AM »
A 16 bit DAC will cost you maybe a few pounds, dollars or Euros. A 16 bit R-2R DAC made at home will not be monotonic and so will cause horrible distortion. A string DAC made at home will be monotonic but not necessarily linear, unless you build it with Vishay S series resistors, of which you will need 65535, all of one value, at about 7 pounds/euros/dollars each, and at least 4096 16 bit analogue multiplexers plus decoding logic.

You CAN make a PWM DAC at home, and it can be highly accurate and linear, but it will need time resolution of about 350 picoseconds to cover the audio band with 16 bit resolution. You would need a FPGA with a phenomenal clock speed and minimal jitter. It will also need a well-designed low pass filter, which is entirely feasible as it involves op amps and only moderately precise (say 1%) resistors and capacitors, and only a handful of each.

A PWM DAC is supremely useful for low frequency instrumentation, where the superb linearity probably can't be beaten, and is a technique worth learning about, but is just not going to be useful for audio.

So basically you can't beat, or come anywhere near to, a moderately priced chip from any of the major semiconductor manufacturers.

Welcome to the world of sigma delta modulation. With some solid knowledge in DSP and FPGA, it's not that hard to get 18 useful bits, and with some good calibration tricks, 20 bit should be fine.

True 24 bit is not yet achieved by any audio grade chips, even those so called 32 bit chips, but with careful enough design, there are very few true 22 bit chips, namely parallelled PCM1792A and Sabre Ultra (which is based on HyperStream technology, internally parallelled).
SIGSEGV is inevitable if you try to talk more than you know. If I say gibberish, keep in mind that my license plate is SIGSEGV.
 

Offline gagrdonik

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Re: Looking for an Open Hardware DAC
« Reply #15 on: August 13, 2017, 08:36:46 PM »
Thanks for this link, it's really helpful for me


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