Giant Killer Doorway DAC?

mhardy6647

Señor Member
FYI and FWIW -- I gave myself one of these as a Christmas present.
I am not exactly sure why -- it wasn't exactly a carefully reasoned out* purchasing decision.


Further details as (and if) events warrant.

🤭

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* Common sense and rational decision making have never been two of my core competencies.
 
It was mentioned before in this thread but I'll repeat the recommendation for the Khadas Tone Board. It's a bare USB + coax SPDIF dac which goes for around $100. Even with case and power supply, one should be under $150, unless one goes with a very expensive power supply. It punches way above its weight and in my system and friend's systems seems to be competitive with DACs going for much much more.
---Gary
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
It was mentioned before in this thread but I'll repeat the recommendation for the Khadas Tone Board. It's a bare USB + coax SPDIF dac which goes for around $100. Even with case and power supply, one should be under $150, unless one goes with a very expensive power supply. It punches way above its weight and in my system and friend's systems seems to be competitive with DACs going for much much more.
---Gary
I'd like to build one of those, what did you use for a case?

Sonore sells this in a case as the toneDAC, however that will set one back $299 sans power supply.
 
I'd like to build one of those, what did you use for a case?

Sonore sells this in a case as the toneDAC, however that will set one back $299 sans power supply.
I run mine "au naturel", i.e. just the bare board sitting on a piece of cardboard.
You can buy acrylic cases for between $14 and $30. Amazon used to have the cheap one but I didn't see it when I just looked. It is available on Aliexpress if you don't mind buying from overseas.
---Gary
 

rogerfederer

Junior Member
I run mine "au naturel", i.e. just the bare board sitting on a piece of cardboard.
You can buy acrylic cases for between $14 and $30. Amazon used to have the cheap one but I didn't see it when I just looked. It is available on Aliexpress if you don't mind buying from overseas.
---Gary
i now have 2 of these. one at work and one at home. super detailed. i did buy a case advertised on amazon but it was super cheapo: plastic broke as i was trying to assemble it (plus no real instructions for assembly):
 
One neat thing about the Khadas is that it doesn't draw too much power so it's possible to run it off of batteries. I've tried using a 13000mah power bank and after 12 hours the battery isn't even 1/2 discharged. I haven't done rigorous testing but I think the battery sounds better than a simple switching power supply. A good power line filter that prevents switching power supply noise from getting into the other stereo gear narrows the difference considerably.
The Khadas allows you to wire up an external 5v supply and it will automatically take power from that in preference to the USB, so that's on my list of projects. But it sounds good enough with the power bank that I'm not in a big hurry.
---Gary

Khadas Power Bank.jpg
 

rogerfederer

Junior Member
One neat thing about the Khadas is that it doesn't draw too much power so it's possible to run it off of batteries. I've tried using a 13000mah power bank and after 12 hours the battery isn't even 1/2 discharged. I haven't done rigorous testing but I think the battery sounds better than a simple switching power supply. A good power line filter that prevents switching power supply noise from getting into the other stereo gear narrows the difference considerably.
The Khadas allows you to wire up an external 5v supply and it will automatically take power from that in preference to the USB, so that's on my list of projects. But it sounds good enough with the power bank that I'm not in a big hurry.
---Gary

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gary,
i didn't realize you can use that spdif input. for some reason, i assumed you could only use the usb for the music input.
have you tried both? comparison?
thanks,
doug
 
. . . didn't realize you can use that spdif input . . . have you tried both? comparison?
Doug,
So far I've only used the spdif input, so I can't comment on usb vs. spdif. Right now I'm feeding the Khadas from a tweaked Squeezebox, which still sounds really good. I've got a Microrendu that I could hook up but it would be a big project to get it working. I'd need to hook up wifi to the Microrendu and then pick up a USB-B to USB-C cable before I could make the comparison. So it could take a while before I get around to it.
---Gary
 

mhardy6647

Señor Member
I just need to say this...
"Khadas" looks to me like a phonetic spelling of the way someone from up heah in my neck of the woods would pronounce Cardas.

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:smoke
 
. . . but it would be a big project to get it working. I'd need to hook up wifi to the Microrendu and then pick up a USB-B to USB-C cable before I could make the comparison. So it could take a while before I get around to it.
Correction - I only needed a standard USB to USB-C cable, which already came with the Khadas. And I had a portable netgear travel router which was easy to hook up as a wifi-ethernet bridge. So I did the following comparison.

1) Modified Squeezebox Duet to Khadas via spdif. Squeezebox hooks up to my music server via wifi.

2) Sonore microrendu (with linear supply) to Khadas via USB. The microrendu is set up as a Squeezelite endpoint, i.e. as a Squeezebox. The microrendu hooks up to my music server via wifi, with the netgear travel router acting as a wifi-ethernet bridge.

And the winner is . . . Microrendu to Khadas via USB. Sound is a bit more 3 dimensional. Whether this is due to the USB vs. SPDIF inputs or the quality of the Microrendu vs. the Squeezebox is an exercise left to the reader.

---Gary
 

rogerfederer

Junior Member
Correction - I only needed a standard USB to USB-C cable, which already came with the Khadas. And I had a portable netgear travel router which was easy to hook up as a wifi-ethernet bridge. So I did the following comparison.

1) Modified Squeezebox Duet to Khadas via spdif. Squeezebox hooks up to my music server via wifi.

2) Sonore microrendu (with linear supply) to Khadas via USB. The microrendu is set up as a Squeezelite endpoint, i.e. as a Squeezebox. The microrendu hooks up to my music server via wifi, with the netgear travel router acting as a wifi-ethernet bridge.

And the winner is . . . Microrendu to Khadas via USB. Sound is a bit more 3 dimensional. Whether this is due to the USB vs. SPDIF inputs or the quality of the Microrendu vs. the Squeezebox is an exercise left to the reader.

---Gary
Cool; thanks for giving it a try!
 
Cool; thanks for giving it a try!
You're welcome. And thanks for prompting me to do the experiment.
Since I've got a rather fancy USB-SPDIF converter/reclocker, I thought I'd add another datapoint by connecting the Microrendu to the Khadas SPDIF input via the USB-SPDIF converter. This improved the sound of the SPDIF input to the point where it sounded as good or perhaps better than the USB input.

I'll extrapolate these sparse data points and say that there's not much difference between the USB or SPDIF inputs. The quality of the sound is determined by the quality of the bits being fed into the Khadas. What I'm really hearing is the improvement in sound quality from a more modern streamer (the microrendu) compared to a now long in the tooth streamer (the squeezebox).

While I really like the improvement in sound that I'm getting with the microrendu and Khadas, there are drawbacks. Using the microrendu means that there are many little boxes all strung together (wifi bridge, power supply, microrendu, and for the best sound a usb-spdif converter/reclocker). It sure would be nice if all this stuff was combined in one unit.

---Gary
 
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