Home > General > Texas Instrument Audio Guide

Texas Instrument Audio Guide

Download here: [link]

Notable is the direction the company is taking with respect to new DACs:

  • No more investment in “ultra high end” DACs
  • Development is concentrated in the new 32-bit Vout DACs and USB DACs
  • Adding “miniDSP” into the DAC

As the product map indicates, the latest generation are the PCM51xx family of DACs. The first one, the PCM5102 was released last year and has been implemented in devices such as the Musiland 02 Dragon, the Jundac XI, and diy projects.

According the the TI product manager,

… it uses a next generation architecture based on the PCM1792 (The flagship 132dB DAC that TI has)

So the “flagship architecture” is now in the PCM51xx family. The new devices are incorporating good features such as I2C control and integrated DSP functions. Prime candidates for Arduino interfacing, and possible digital crossover filters.

miniDSP

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  1. Florin
    May 12, 2012 at 10:49

    I’d sure like to see a competitor for the hi-end ESS parts. It is not the cost that bugs me about it but technical details kept private and the lack of retails parts which together makes not a DIY friendly chip…

  2. Sam5050
    May 25, 2012 at 18:12

    Interesting reading the 6moons review of the excellent John Kenny JKDAC32, Kenny chose to use the PCM5102 like the Dragon 02.

    From the review:

    “A key feature of the PCM5102 chip are its two digital filter options – the more common FIR (finite impulse response) or brickwall filter; and the IIR (infinite impulse response) low-latency filter. With all FIR filters used in the majority of digital gear, pre echoes occur prior to each transient. Since those ahead-of-the-event echoes don’t exist in nature, this may partially explain why many audio enthusiasts dislike digital music and feel it just doesn’t sound right. With an IIR filter the energy contained in the pre-ringing is delayed until after the impulse peak has passed. However this post ringing now contains more energy. That can introduce phase distortions at the upper band of the audio spectrum. Nonetheless this is generally considered more acceptable to the human ear-brain since post echoes do occur in real life. We’re wired to accept those echoes as natural.”

    I’m wondering which implementation Musiland used for the Dragon 02, FIR or IIR?

    I’m listening to it right now (analog outs)and it really sounds excellent – detailed but very musical. So far 2012 Monitor 01 driving my tube DAC had a slight edge.

    Full review to come (I have a Monitor 03 US Dragon and a USD 03 coming soon).
    I will compare the 03Dragon to the 02 Dragon, to the M2Tech EVO and the Audiophilleo 02 driving my different DACs.

    • BlogGeanDo
      May 25, 2012 at 18:39

      Thanks for the update. I don’t know which filter they implemented in the 02 Dragon. If I were to guess, I would say the “standard” brick wall… I’ll check the photo and see if it is tied high or low…
      Looking forward to your reviews. (Closeup photos of the 03US Dragon will be appreciated :-))

  3. Sam5050
    May 28, 2012 at 23:01

    So far I am blown away by the sound of the 02 Dragon and 01, but scratching my head as to why the 01 sounds better, by a noticeable margin, over the 02 when used as a PC interface.

    With either unit and on both my systems KS sounded better then ASIO, so I stayed with KS for all comparisons.

    One issue – just could not get either to be recognized by my windows 8 PC using the USB 3.0 cable (probably do to the CY7C68013A-56 LTXC being a USB 2.0 chip). Not really a problem, since all my better USB cables are 2.0 and worked great.

    The Musiland drivers and control panel worked much better on my i5/8Gb RAM/Windows 7 machine – even running the 01 and 02 panels concurrently without issue (allowing me to switch between the two in foobar or JPlay). On my Quad4/4Gb/Vista machine the newest Musiland version choked and would not play, and FoobarJPlay would just crash the machine.
    M2Tech still has much better drivers on the 4Gb RAM machine. But I love the control and flexibility of the Musiland control panel.

    So far the 01, has easily beat the Audiophilleo 2 and the Hi Face USB. The EVO is still significant a cut ahead (driving my 6 – 32bit AKM DAC per channel, transformer coupled, ECC99 APL DAC). The sound has such a natural ease, perfect tone, and excellent detail – it is close to my EVO in sound. I can’t wait for the 03USD to see if it can’t beat the EVO.

    Next up the 03s and an AQVOX linear PS on it’s way.

    The 02 Dragon on the Analog outs, using a Acopian linear PS on the DC (this really helped) sounded really good. Only in comparison to the 01/Xindak 5 did I notice a bit of edge, smaller sound stage, and less natural tone. The EVO/APL combination is rightly in another league entirely (yeah for 35X the price!). For money this 02 is a steal. Although the headphone amp is mediocre. But hey, what do expect for $150! I would certainly use it on the road – it’s a great portable solution (love the round digital vol control).

    And the 02 Dragon played 2L’s DxD files (32/352K) flawlessly, and really sounded great.

    I used the foobar/Jplay combination on both my systems – it sounds really good – beating my previous fav foobar/SoX mod2 (176k,aliasing, linear phase, 95% Passband). But Jplay is such a pain! SoX can handle anything, all samples rates, flawlessly – never a crash or lock-up.

    Note: JPLAY/Foobar only works for Redbook files, it choked on anything above 44k. I simply rename the foo_jplay.dll file, and reopened foobar to disable it.

    More to follow…

    • BlogGeanDo
      May 30, 2012 at 00:07

      Thanks for sharing. I’ll wait for more of your review and then put it in a post…
      In your 02 analog comparison you were comparing the 02 RCA out vs the EVO feeding the APL DAC and then RCA out? what was the most striking difference between the two?

  4. Sam5050
    May 30, 2012 at 15:45

    “In your 02 analog comparison you were comparing the 02 RCA out vs the EVO feeding the APL DAC and then RCA out? what was the most striking difference between the two?”

    Yes, I compared the 02 analog RCA out verus both the 2012 01 SPDIF out into the Xindak 05 (with NOS 6922s) and the EVO (with Acopian linear PS) SPDIF out into the APL.

    The difference with the 01/Xindak combo was surprisingly small, but significant.

    Office system: Class A output/ Class A tube pre Hybrid integrated, Ref 3a Dulcettes, Tellurium Q Black cables, Velodyne Optimum 10 sub.

    Headphone system: Sennhieser HD800/Warren Audio cable, EarMax – NOS Tele 801s tubes.

    The differences were an extended depth and width of sound stage, a bit more dynamics, most important – a more natural timbre to most instruments (most noticeable on violins and clarinet). But the 02 (with the Acopian linear PS) was shockingly good for the simplicity and cost (my SPDIF cable alone cost much more!)

    Test tracks on all my reviews included (Redbook- Foobar/JPlay)): David Gray – White Ladder, Joni Mitchell – Court and Spark, ColdPlay – Mylo Xyloto, Florence and the Machine – Lungs, Brand New – Brand New, Mozart Symphonies – Berlin Phil, Arcangelo Correlli – Concerto Grossi.

    Hi-Res tracks (foobar only): Cat Stevens – Tea for the Tillerman (HD tracks 192k FLAC), 2L – (DxD resampled to 176K) Annar Folleso – Ole Bull Violin Concertos, Vivaldi:(192K FLAC) Recitative and Aria from Cantata RV 679, “Che giova il sospirar, povero core” .

    Main system: Class A MOSFET amp/Class A NOS tube pre-amp hybrid, Reference
    3a Royal Masters, Tellurium Q Ultra Black cables, Velodyne DD-12 sub.

    Using the EVO (Acopian PS)/APL the differences were much, much larger. Width and depth of the sound stage were greater, but more importantly, the realism of the position of the players in the sound stage. Think cardboard 2D cutouts staggered, versus realistic 3D holographic images positioned into the 3D sound field. Each point of music emanating it’s own realistic front, side and back wave. The front stronger, but back and side providing the really important ambient clues, it’s this ambient “presence” that helps create a lifelike realism. Very hard to achieve, but very rewarding. The 02 was more 2D then 3D, the EVO/APL extremely 3D.

    The 02 had a hardness, almost metallic quality to the tone. The EVO/APL was supremely natural, rich and detailed, with the natural decay of overtones. This is especially noticeable on acoustic instruments, i.e. acoustic guitar, violins, piano (big time), etc… The APL with it’s tubed output (internal linear PS)and transformer coupling excels here. The effect of opamps (even the best) and coupling caps has a major effect on this part of the sound. I have heard many solid state DACs, and none can produce this kind of natural tonality. Even ones with really good discrete output stages (Burson, Meridian, etc…).

    Lastly dynamics, here is was closer. The edge still with the EVO/APL combination. It’s not as much the macro dynamics as the micro dynamics that count. The the impulse response issue (and ringing). The Hi Res recordings are so good here. I mean, how realistically fast and accurately can a system response to a plucked guitar string? It’s the difference in sound good versus realistic sound.

    More to come….

  5. Sam5050
    May 30, 2012 at 15:50

    Sam5050 :
    “In your 02 analog comparison you were comparing the 02 RCA out vs the EVO feeding the APL DAC and then RCA out? what was the most striking difference between the two?”
    Yes, I compared the 02 analog RCA out versus both the 2012 01 SPDIF out into the Xindak 05 (with NOS 6922s) and the EVO (with Acopian linear PS) SPDIF out into the APL.
    The difference with the 01/Xindak combo was surprisingly small, but significant.
    Office system: Class A output/ Class A tube pre Hybrid integrated, Ref 3a Dulcettes, Tellurium Q Black cables, Velodyne Optimum 10 sub.
    Headphone system: Sennhieser HD800/Warren Audio cable, EarMax – NOS Tele 801s tubes.
    The differences were an extended depth and width of sound stage, a bit more dynamics, most important – a more natural timbre to most instruments (most noticeable on violins and clarinet). But the 02 (with the Acopian linear PS) was shockingly good for the simplicity and cost (my SPDIF cable alone cost much more!)
    Test tracks on all my reviews included (Redbook- Foobar/JPlay)): David Gray – White Ladder, Joni Mitchell – Court and Spark, ColdPlay – Mylo Xyloto, Florence and the Machine – Lungs, Brand New – Brand New, Mozart Symphonies – Berlin Phil, Arcangelo Correlli – Concerto Grossi.
    Hi-Res tracks (foobar only): Cat Stevens – Tea for the Tillerman (HD tracks 192k FLAC), 2L – (DxD resampled to 176K) Annar Folleso – Ole Bull Violin Concertos, Vivaldi:(192K FLAC) Recitative and Aria from Cantata RV 679, “Che giova il sospirar, povero core” .
    Main system: Class A MOSFET amp/Class A NOS tube pre-amp hybrid, Reference
    3a Royal Masters, Tellurium Q Ultra Black cables, Velodyne DD-12 sub.
    Using the EVO (Acopian PS)/APL the differences were much, much larger. Width and depth of the sound stage were greater, but more importantly, the realism of the position of the players in the sound stage. Think cardboard 2D cutouts staggered, versus realistic 3D holographic images positioned into the 3D sound field. Each point of music emanating it’s own realistic front, side and back wave. The front stronger, but back and side providing the really important ambient clues, it’s this ambient “presence” that helps create a lifelike realism. Very hard to achieve, but very rewarding. The 02 was more 2D then 3D, the EVO/APL extremely 3D.
    The 02 had a hardness, almost metallic quality to the tone. The EVO/APL was supremely natural, rich and detailed, with the natural decay of overtones. This is especially noticeable on acoustic instruments, i.e. acoustic guitar, violins, piano (big time), etc… The APL with it’s tubed output (internal linear PS)and transformer coupling excels here. The effect of opamps (even the best) and coupling caps has a major effect on this part of the sound. I have heard many solid state DACs, and none can produce this kind of natural tonality. Even ones with really good discrete output stages (Burson, Meridian, etc…).
    Lastly dynamics, here is was closer. The edge still with the EVO/APL combination. It’s not as much the macro dynamics as the micro dynamics that count. The the impulse response issue (and ringing). The Hi Res recordings are so good here. I mean, how realistically fast and accurately can a system response to a plucked guitar string? It’s the difference in good sound versus realistic sound.
    More to come….

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