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New Katana DAC from ALLO

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hi to all,

as many of you heard , we have been working on a new DAC .


We asked ourselves how its possible to bring true HIFI sound to the RPI. We wanted a price point thats accessible to everyone while blowing away any DAC made by anyone under 1000$ .
Lets see if we succeeded

1. DAC IC

First we chose a very capable IC , the ess9038q2m . This IC has excellent specs (theoretical THD+N at -120) and the analog stage (output) is left to the designer (more on analog stage below). One extra advantage of the ess9038q2m is DOP
Of course we used super caps and everything in audio path is film caps and thin film R.

2. Clocks

Any delta sigma IC is very sensitive to the clocks (jitter). We used the "ultra low jitter clocks from NDK NZ2520SDA http://www.ndk.com/en/products/search/clock/1190972_1433.html. We also made sure that power was filtered by 2 LDOs in series along with a HF filter. Noise tested is in uV. Of course we also used buffers (that also has its power filtered 3 times..)
What we achieved is the lowest jitter ever (390fs)

3. Analog stage

There are 2 kinds of analog stages , transfos and opamps. A lot of people swear by trans (with good reason) and others chose specific monolithic opamps. Still the consensus is that transfos are better as far as sound quality (but very expensive and bulky) and that opamps are better as far as THD+N numbers . If Opamps are used the quality of the PSU (opamps need dual rail 15V) is very important .

Still we felt that opamps CAN be better than transfos..

We concentrated a lot of efforts in this analog stage . You see , monolithic (integrated circuits) opamps suffer from the fact that not enough real estate is available on the silicon die .( excellent article https://sparkoslabs.com/audio-op-amps-gain-seek-bandwidth/)

So our choice was ultimately to build a discreet opamp (with IV stage we got 6 of them) while feeding it from a DC/DC convertor that has filters on input (+ LDO) and filters on output (+ LDOs) and of a course a common mode choke (each rail has independent filtering) for a total noise thats lower than 1mV

However building an opamp is not a trivial task . What we did is partner with Sparkoslabs.com and used his excellent design (thx you Andrew the wizard) . One review of those opamps https://www.monoandstereo.com/2014/08/sparkos-labs-discrete-op-amps-review.html

Each board is then hand trimmed (individually ) for DC offset (when board is warm to simulate conditions of a board that been running for at least 45 min)) and then programmed for THD+N compensation .



So in essence Katana dac is an excellent implementation of the Ess9038q2m in Master Mode (we are the first to do so) , with a discreet stage made by 6 opamps running in class A amplification . THD+N numbers (1Khz , 0 dbfs , a weighted ) at -112.75 !!!
Pricing at 249$ (US) and 259Eur (tax included) Release date 17 of July

katana.jpg

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Sorry but I am not familiar with the RPi and Allo ecosystem but is this a standalone DAC or does it have to be mounted on a RPi?

thanks.


QNAP TS453Pro w/QLMS->Netgear Switch->Netgear R7800 Router->Ethernet (50 ft)->Netgear switch->SBT->Topping NX4 DSD->Linn Majik-IL (preamp)->Linn 2250->Linn Keilidh; Control Points: Squeeze Commander (DroidX) & iPeng (iPad Air); Also: Rega P3-24 w/ DV 10x5; OPPO 103; PC Playback: Foobar2000 & JRiver; Portable: Sony NWZ_ZX1 & ZX2 w/ PHA-3; SMSL IQ, Fiio Q5, iFi Nano iDSD BL; Garage: Edifier S1000DB Active Speakers  Wish List: New DAC,  SBT replacement; Dream system: Linn EXACT or ATC Active or Big Tubes (KR or Nagra or Shindo or ...)

 

My goal is to use appliances and take home PC out of the chain...

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@jcbenten

 

Always nice to welcome someone new to our hardware.

We offer our DACs in 2 ways...

The board alone (for those who want to mount it themselves).

The player (assembled with the RPI in a case and ready to use).

 

The Katana will be available by next week on our site.

 

regards,

Andre

 

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This is impressive! Looks great and the price is very reasonable.

  Can ESS volume control be implemented? 

  


 

2012 Mac Mini, i5 - 2.5 GHz, 16 GB RAM. SSD,  PM/PV software, Focusrite Clarett 4Pre 4 channel interface. Daysequerra M4.0X Broadcast monitor., My_Ref Evolution rev a , Klipsch La Scala II, Blue Sky Sub 12

Clarett used as ADC for vinyl rips.

Corning Optical Thunderbolt cable used to connect computer to 4Pre. Dac fed by iFi iPower and Noise Trapper isolation transformer. 

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will balanced outputs be available?


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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On 7/12/2018 at 1:56 AM, ALLOaudio said:

 

@Panelhead

we have hardware volume control available... Alsamixer

 

@Ralf11

XLR output is available, you simply need to solder the connectors to the board

Neither of you replies really answer the questions. In terms of the volume control, is it attenuating the output, or using the internal ESS volume adjustment?

 

In terms of balanced out, I'm assuming that one can hook up an XLR but it will be single ended—if it is balanced, please correct me.

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1 hour ago, ALLOaudio said:

Sorry,  yes you can feed a pre-amp with the KATANA but please note that we output @ 2.5vrms, so not sure what the point would be.

 

 

 

s

Sorry this confuses you. There are several questions concerning a volume controller. The reference to an Allo controller confused me.

  I assume you are not using the volume control function included in the ESS chip. This is too bad. This is the best option. With 32 bits to work with it will never degrade the Sonics. 

  A question was asked about following the Katana with a passive (non-buffered) volume control. I will share my ignorance by saying yes. But it depends on the amplifier used. Short, low capacitance cables, fairly high input impedance on amp both will improve combination. 

  For me, using the ESS controller would be what I am after. Would give up Thunderbolt and four channel for now. 

  


 

2012 Mac Mini, i5 - 2.5 GHz, 16 GB RAM. SSD,  PM/PV software, Focusrite Clarett 4Pre 4 channel interface. Daysequerra M4.0X Broadcast monitor., My_Ref Evolution rev a , Klipsch La Scala II, Blue Sky Sub 12

Clarett used as ADC for vinyl rips.

Corning Optical Thunderbolt cable used to connect computer to 4Pre. Dac fed by iFi iPower and Noise Trapper isolation transformer. 

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On 7/17/2018 at 9:14 PM, Em2016 said:

 

 Also, is there room for the relay attenuator in the Katana player?


 

2012 Mac Mini, i5 - 2.5 GHz, 16 GB RAM. SSD,  PM/PV software, Focusrite Clarett 4Pre 4 channel interface. Daysequerra M4.0X Broadcast monitor., My_Ref Evolution rev a , Klipsch La Scala II, Blue Sky Sub 12

Clarett used as ADC for vinyl rips.

Corning Optical Thunderbolt cable used to connect computer to 4Pre. Dac fed by iFi iPower and Noise Trapper isolation transformer. 

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!!!!!!!!It's working!!!!!!!!!

 

Sound it's really great even with just one LPS

20180801_190924.jpg


Hackintosh I7 16GB Ram, Roon, HQPlayer, Drobo 8 TB NAS, Raspberry Pi 3 NAA, Gustard X20 ES 9018 Xmos, Audio GD C39 Preamp, The First ONE DIY Amp, Monitor Audio GS20 Speakers, Monitor Audio RSW12 Subwoofer, PI Audio MagikBuss filter.

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My speakers are http://www.aletheia-av.com/Aletheia-AV_productos_A-25II.html

 

I'm planning on using 3 LPS, One for raspberry, One for microcontroller and one 15-0-15 for opamps


Hackintosh I7 16GB Ram, Roon, HQPlayer, Drobo 8 TB NAS, Raspberry Pi 3 NAA, Gustard X20 ES 9018 Xmos, Audio GD C39 Preamp, The First ONE DIY Amp, Monitor Audio GS20 Speakers, Monitor Audio RSW12 Subwoofer, PI Audio MagikBuss filter.

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