Analogue revived !

The future?

The DACmini CX is my new 24bit 192khz source. So far the sound is excellent… all it needs is a little tube love πŸ˜‰ It may be too tight inside for an all in one source / tube amp, but there is plenty of room to make it into an optocoupler volume control LC 26 tube preamp.


After using the CEntrance DAC for a while I am convinced it is an outstanding value. Not just because of its excellent sound, ability to play 24/192 files via optical or coax and 24/96 files via USB, but because of its stability and isolation from noise. Now it’s time to see just how transparent the Asahi Kasei AK4396 DAC chip really is. Bypass everything and run the balanced DAC output right from the AK chip, into high quality 1:4 step up transformers, then directly to the Hornshoppe Truth buffered preamp. This sounds astonishing! Even better than directly coupling the DAC to the grid of a preamp or driver tube. The dynamics feel decompressed, headroom limitless. It must be the synergy of the interstage transformers being given what they love and the exponential expanding dynamics from the step up transformers creating the most exciting, real and dynamic presentation I have ever heard. Yes, maybe even better than vinyl. πŸ˜‰ Pictures of the mod follow:

Don’t do this unless you have the steady hand of a surgeon, which is why my solder joints look as poor as they do. Each of those wires is only slightly larger than a human hair. πŸ™‚

The power, USB, optical and coax inputs. On the back is an analog input as well.

The CEntrance DACmini CX has been ‘dechassified’ and wedged into the Hornshoppe Truth chassis. Still plenty of room left for the interstage transformers…

Introducing the True Green DAC. πŸ˜‰ The final product has all the conveniences of a modern DAC. It is amazingly quiet, has a remote volume control, balance control, and plenty of gain. It is the perfect source for my powerful SMPS GM70 amp.

This post may not seem too interesting, but trust me… you will enjoy listening to this source at Hornfest.

This thing REALLY rocks!

Β« Older Entries

Follow me on Spotify


13 responses

  1. Drew

    Heya Eric,

    Haven’t heard from you for a bit, still trying to figure out the GG Pre and LDR volume, any chance of a bit more info please? Been playing with a 16xTDA1543 DAC here, sounding really quite nice, would like to be looking at something for the HI-res stuff, will have a geezer at the DAC Mini,
    Keep in touch, hope all is well!


    June 18, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    • Hi Drew,
      Where are you stuck with the GG preamp? You can tap off the 12V heater regulator to the EZ1588CT for the 2.5V source. The +2.5V then goes to the stereo 100K pot which splits voltage between the series and shunt optocoupler LEDs. The series optocouplers replace the 1K grid stopper resistors right on the circuit board. The shunt optocouplers then go from the grid to signal ground. Clear as mud? πŸ˜‰

      June 18, 2011 at 9:30 pm

      • don Austin

        Hi Erick: Still really enjoying my (Greenvalve modded) GG pre!
        Expand a bit on the above dac, what brand/how much &c.
        I’ve not put my foot in those waters, but am starting to gather info
        Best, Don

        June 18, 2011 at 10:20 pm

      • Drew

        Yup, mud, confused more like it, I have a photo of yours where you have the optocouplers at the sides of V3, but in the pics of the schematic I sent I cannot see a 1K resistor there? Are you running volume control after V1 and 2 or before? In the photo’s of Don’s they are all over the boards!
        Just a touch confused!


        June 19, 2011 at 8:05 am

  2. Oh Don,

    I still remember when you first turned me onto 24bit files… my boy was just born, it must be almost three years ago now! Well, 24bit is nearly as good as vinyl (my vinyl rig is top notch) but 24bit is so convenient. Just in the last few hours I have listened to tracks that were recorded from vinyl to 24bit from a dozen different albums. It is nice just to click and listen! CEntrance seems to be a great value, and it sounds like they know what counts for high res digital music reproduction.

    CEntrance Products

    Plus it makes a guy feel like a kid again… do you remember recording your favorite music from the radio? Its really a lot of fun, more fun listening to tons of music than I have in a long while. πŸ˜‰

    June 18, 2011 at 10:34 pm

  3. Love the picture, could we use it on our blog? With proper attribution of course…
    Cheers — Michael — CEntrance

    June 21, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    • Michael,

      That would be very nice, thank you !

      Lovin’ the DacMini !

      June 22, 2011 at 5:24 am

  4. Drew

    Hey Buzz,

    Thanks for coming back to me, is your yahoo email still running?

    You mean the 10k from V3 to V1B at the output stage going to the grid of V1 from the plate of V3? if so, this to me then would be sending the signal full “volume” through V1 and V2, then by varying the grid at V1B it changes the output volume? So from about 40 ohms to 25K through the LDR’s?

    Can send a drawing of what I mean, don’t want to take up all the room here, you also had the other resistor next to the 10K bridged out or removed, reasoning?



    June 28, 2011 at 8:37 am

    • Drew

      just to be able to get a notification, to quick on the enter key I was!

      June 28, 2011 at 8:38 am

  5. Ivar

    Hi, I just stumbled upon your site,and is informative and interesting. im contemplating on getting the centrance dac and mod it the way you did. What interstage transformer did you use? Thanks

    June 11, 2012 at 1:28 am

  6. Michel

    Do you have any idea how this DAC mini compare to a Behringer Ultramatch Pro SRC2496 …..whic is about 4 time less expensive ?

    August 22, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    • Hi Michel,

      I have never heard the UltraMatch SCR2496, but I do own the Behringer UltraCurve DEQ2496. I very much prefer the modded CEntrance DAC. If I have some time I will mod the Behringer as well. The Behringers do not have galvanic isolation, as the CEntrance products do. I have a hunch that is a big reason why the CEntrance sounds so good.

      Best Wishes!

      August 22, 2012 at 7:52 pm

      • Michel


        I guess your UltraCurve is largely equivalent to the UltraMatch…… so this Dac Mini is that good ! I am afraid to lose a lot in connections as I need to enter the amp via a DIN socket.

        August 25, 2012 at 6:10 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s