DAC Evaluation Board Review

Using a chip vendor’s DAC eval board is a great way to DIY a high-end digital source. Most DAC makers pull out all the stops to make a very high-end evaluation board to prove the quality of their chip design for manufacturers of professional and consumer devices and systems that include digital audio. Frequently these boards are sold below their actual cost, with any loses viewed as a marketing cost. Most of the best boards include a wish list of every DIYer’s dream components like Vishay/Dale resistors, Elna caps, Halcro resistors, etc.

A full review of TI1794, AD1955, CS4398, and the AKM 4396 are coming in February.

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Left, is a picture of the AKM4396 eval board. It’s a beautiful sounding board that has been modified with balanced outputs by bypassing the final single ended converter op amps.

Inputs: BNC spdif, TOS, I2S PCM

Outputs: Single ended BNC, hifimaker mod for Balanced XLR

Left, is a picture of the AD1955 eval board. This board is simply outrageous in it clarity, transparency, resolution of detail. Every part on this board is of the highest quality.

Inputs: AES, RCA spdif, TOS, I2S PCM, and DSD

Output: Single ended RCA, Balanced XLR