Make a DIY USB audio DAC in a day

Subject: General Tech | August 28, 2013 - 01:06 PM |
Tagged: usb audio, ti, DIY, burr-brown

Perfect for a beginner electronics project or just a way for someone with experience to quickly put together a working audio DAC this project that Hack a Day linked to will give you seriously decent sound.  While the components are all labelled Texas Instruments they are in fact from Burr-Brown as TI purchased the maker of high end DACs a long time ago.  The PCM1794A is a 132dB SNR 24-bit 192kHz DAC which outperforms the DAC found in many stereos and the OPA4134 OpAmp is nothing to sneer at either.  Unless you can etch your own boards you will have to order one and wait a bit before putting this project together but it sounds like it will be work it

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"The on-board +3.3V and -5V voltages are generated by inductor-less power supplies. As [Jan-Erik] mentions in his write-up, the ‘high-end’ was put between single quotes because the PCB is single sided and uses through hole passive components. The board was designed using Kicad, etched by himself and put in a machined enclosure. All the production files can be downloaded from his website so you may produce it within a day."

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Source: Hack a Day

Boost the audio performance of your laptop with Creative's new USB DAC

Subject: General Tech | September 27, 2011 - 02:31 PM |
Tagged: Creative, X-FI HD USB, usb audio, audio, digital audio converter

It has become commonplace to see USB headsets that can be plugged into any system and will work without drivers needing to be installed.  That has not been widely spread to actual soundcards yet but Creative is changing that with the release of the X-FI HD USB, which does need drivers but should happily function on any machine.  For under $100 you get a small box which acts as a headphone amplifier and mic receiver but can also take audio from almost any source to be recorded to your PC.  It is a really good deal for a Digital Audio Converter, especially for notebook users which is why [H]ard|OCP heartily recommends the device for those looking to easily boost their audio performance.

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"Creative's latest sound card is an external model that sports a USB interface and boasts high quality digital, analog, and dedicated headphone connectivity options. We tell you if this may be the audio upgrade that laptop users and those of you with no free expansion slots in your desktop PC have been looking for."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP