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output buffer may be a diamond follower, hard to tell. rest of it after the dac certainly looks like stacked current mirrors. certainly a complicated design similar to what you see inside integrated circuits. obviously assembled with high resolution pick and place machines. much better built than a lot of stuff I have been seeing these days. Now a year or 2 to make the software perfect and the thing will be gold. no sanded off parts either like the denafrips, so they are proud of their work. Only one board error with that hand soldered diode.

nice stuff and an indication of whats coming.

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output buffer may be a diamond follower, hard to tell. rest of it after the dac certainly looks like stacked current mirrors. certainly a complicated design similar to what you see inside integrated circuits. obviously assembled with high resolution pick and place machines. much better built than a lot of stuff I have been seeing these days. Now a year or 2 to make the software perfect and the thing will be gold. no sanded off parts either like the denafrips, so they are proud of their work. Only one board error with that hand soldered diode.
nice stuff and an indication of whats coming.
Hi Kevin, you have listened to the 1541. You probably seen the photos for the 1321 which omits a headphone stage, balanced outputs, an internal power transformer, and of course has a lower performance DAC section. I understand you haven't heard it but how do think (speculate) the 1321 would fair against other DACs in the ~$700 range?

I'm looking for an upgrade from the humble MF V-DAC MK1.

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I have not listened to the 1541, waiting for a USA distributor.

the lower end unit is probably similar to the denafrips unit and the same price. Both are likely very good, Birgir has the denafrips and the original soekris boards

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This is not mine so I have to send it to the owner. I just got the chance of a brief listening. This DAC was really good for those have no skill/time to DIY.

Compared with single 1021 w/ uber buffer fed into balanced CFA, uber has better sound stage and dynamics. 1541 has some more detail and sounded airy.

The front panel is a convenient feature so changing digital filter and xfeed are much easier than DIY ones. The chassis however, was solid but compromised on finishing. It looked cheap. For a DAC now 1290 Euro, and made in Denmark, I can't expect it having a much better look though.

The main issues here IMO, are

1) the performance of buck+LDO. I personally prefer some traditional way like transformer+ultra low noise linear PS.

2) the performance of the output buffer. It has only +-12V ps. But should be plenty for the output. It has different PS for digital and analog rail.

The 1021 DIY module drive 5V digital parts form analog rail. Which was somehow compromised, too.

So people have to choose form better buffer like Kevin's diamond buffer and some real ultra low noise LDO or isolated PS for digital/analog.

PS. the OP based balanced buffer on 1021 is utterly shit. Use raw output and some better buffers.

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FWIW, I just got a dac1541 in and I found the filter differences were most audible to me when playing Cups from the Ultimate Pitch Perfect album. I've only had a chance to play a few tracks so far.

5 hours ago, kevin gilmore said:

I have not listened to the 1541, waiting for a USA distributor.

Does Soekris have a US distributor for their previous DACs? I ordered the dac1541 direct from Denmark.

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FWIW, I just got a dac1541 in and I found the filter differences were most audible to me when playing Cups from the Ultimate Pitch Perfect album. I've only had a chance to play a few tracks so far.
Does Soekris have a US distributor for their previous DACs? I ordered the dac1541 direct from Denmark.
How much was shipping from Denmark?

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$60 USD for me in California. There is also a surcharge if you use credit card, which is avoidable by using bank transfer.
Thanks for the info. I would always use credit card if only in case something went awry. Delivery issues or disputes.

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6 hours ago, kevin gilmore said:

so all of that (the last pic) is that just the headphone amp, or is it also used as the output buffer for the xlr/rca

way goofy if its just for the headphone. and I really don't like digital volume control.

Both. I didn't see any extra amp for headphone jack. See pic 3. The rear output and headphone jack was controlled with relays by the switch on the front panel. One will automatically mute when the other is on. It will be really sloppy for amp but I don't think people buying this kind of DA will not have their own amps. 

Yes digital volume control. I assume it was done by FPGA. I didn't take the picture of the 48 lead QFP so I don't know if that was the volume control. It could be bypassed so not really an issue (if it's really done by FPGA).

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Digital volume controls usually sound like a bag of hammers, at least in the past. But technology moves on and maybe this unit makes a better fist of it. But with my old Logitech Transporter I have the default set to 100% and use an LDR passive pre from Tortuga Audio to select input source and do the volume thing.

All that said, would I like a DAC1541? Yup, without question.

Edited by Craig Sawyers
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2 hours ago, Craig Sawyers said:

Digital volume controls usually sound like a bag of hammers, at least in the past. But technology moves on and maybe this unit makes a better fist of it. But with my old Logitech Transporter I have the default set to 100% and use an LDR passive pre from Tortuga Audio to select input source and do the volume thing.

All that said, would I like a DAC1541? Yup, without question.

It really depends on the implementation, these days, I'd say.  johnwmclean mentions the NAD M51, which has the same volume control as the NAD M2, and the NAD M2 is brilliant sounding.

Edited by EdipisReks1
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so all of that (the last pic) is that just the headphone amp, or is it also used as the output buffer for the xlr/rca
way goofy if its just for the headphone. and I really don't like digital volume control.
Does Soren participate in this forum or only on diyaudio? I would like to know more too. Maybe you should look at the dac1321 board photos for comparison since it has no headphone stage. But maybe that's not enough to go on...

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