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Also available: Completely assembled and tested kits
wrote in the WWW about the AD24QS and DA24QS kits
Here I introduce my Analog to Digital Converter AD24QS, the Digital to Analog Converters DA24QS ("QS" stands for "Quad Speed") and the new DA24DS ("Double Speed"). The designs went through quite a couple of redesigns and I believe them to be really fine.
With a design like this, it cannot be and it never was my intention to beat the price of cheap devices commercially available. I can beat the quality only. If you need something cheap I can probably give you tips, too.
Click here (or on the photo) for an enlarged view of both devices. (On the left is the AD24QS, on the right the DA24QS.)
- Audio Analog to Digital Converter 24 Bit / 192 kHz"
and "AD-IOA - Balanced In- and Outputs and Microphone Preamplifier":
- Audio Digital to Analog Converter 24 Bit / 192 kHz"
and "DA24DS - Audio Digital to Analog Converter 24 Bit / 96 kHz":
Every now and then I am asked about the sound of the converters or if I compared them to other devices by listening. My opinion concerning the quality of (not only my) converters is a very technical one and I must be a little careful because occasionally I might cause objections:
It is very well known what kind of deviations from the original signal a human ear is able to hear (e.g. distortion, frequency response, noise etc.) and also in which amount and under which circumstances this is the case. All these deviations from the original signal are measurable with a precision and sensitivity far, far superior to the human ear. I believe that any electronic system that is able to process audio signals in a way that they are falsified far less than what a human ear is able to recognize has no "sound", i.e., it can not be distinguished from other systems with a comparable quality. Given that, any audible difference is either imagination(!) or a deliberate or unintentional deviation from neutrality (and thus again measurable). This is why I do not believe in simple sound comparisons. Microphones and loudspeakers cannot and tube-amps shall not be neutral, for instance.
My conviction in other words: Would I hear the difference between a naked piece of wire and my converters I'd bet, there is something wrong with them. Or with the wire.
When trying to compare mine to other converters please also keep in mind: As far as I know, there are quite few pure analog / S/P-DIF converters like mine available in the world. Most equipment is PC-based, and to compare equipment designed for such different conditions of service would not be realistic - would it?
The original intention for these designs had been my pure interest of designing such a pair of converters for myself. I aimed a very good technical quality, a couple of particular properties and it should look nice. When the first ADC design, the AD2496, finally satisfied me (after two redesigns), I decided to let other people know what I did and wrote about it on my website (the very first article).
The DAC, by the way, did not work as good as I aimed and it wasn't as elegant either. Any improvement wouldn't do. A completely new concept was required instead, but I had none. Thus I ceased this project.
However, I found it to be unsatisfactory that other DIYs weren't able to reproduce the ADC because they would at least need the PCB. So I started to offer and sell PCBs. Anyway - there were still a couple of components more or less impossible for DIYs to get. Even I had quite a lot of problems to get these odd parts for my sample devices. E.g., many of them are simply not available in small quantities.
Thanks to the people who bought the PCB anyway I saw there was enough interest for kits and I began to provide complete kits. Believe me, this is much more work than just to get hold of the missing components for a single device. E.g., you cannot buy exactly as much as you need - you have to buy packing units and of course from these packing units there will be parts left when the first parts that cannot be bought singly are sold out. Other sorrow was caused by delivery times, allocation, erroneous orders and so on. And, of course, the price for the DIYs should be fair. No, that was not easy.
When the first lot of kits was sold out (to be more precise: The first critical component was sold out), I originally didn't want to continue the kits. But it seemed to become a sad time without selling kits. Once again DIYs reading the article(s) and not being able to build it? And I had ideas how to improve the design, I had a couple of components left over... So I did not only start the redesign of the ADC but also the DAC, because I had a new concept. And I ordered components, once again. Because I prepared the dual channel preamplifier as a kit as well, this time I had to buy and stock 4 times as much components as before... Now, in May 2009, I started one more round of kits, upgraded by the new DA24DS.
Up to now I made 6 revisions of the ADC-PCB (3 x AD2496, 3 x AD24QS), and another 3 revisions of the DAC-PCB (plus the ceased version). Both designs went through quite a lot of improvements. I am quite petty with details.
Anyhow, this project still keeps to be a hobby for me. But of course, I hope, it is going to become a huge success. *Sigh*...
I'd like to thank my company which allowed me to order parts under their name where otherwise I wouldn't get them. This is a very appreciative obligingness and probably many other companies should take this as an example.
I also like to thank a couple of sales people who supported me by providing samples or giving away parts in smaller quantities than they usually sell - though they knew it was never going to be for a big project. I better not name them - they might come into trouble when their bosses figure out for whom and what they were wasting their time... :-)
Last not least I want to say thank you to my wife Birgit who tolerated me sitting in my shack so many evenings. Moreover, she checked my texts (she's an English teacher). Meanwhile she also cares thoroughly for compiling the kits, writing invoices and preparing shipments. Isn't that great?
|Last update: June, 9th, 2013||Questions? Suggestions? Email Me!||Uwe Beis|