Katana Dac by allo

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Katana Dac by allo

Postby allo » Wed Jul 04 2018 08:38

Hello ladies and gents ,

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 [url]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-g ... 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/s ... eview.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
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Katana Dac by allo

Postby chsims1 » Wed Jul 04 2018 09:19

Sounds an interesting DAC allo :). Is it going to get a review on the Hamburg Soundcheck meeting, or is it too late for that now? I'm not attending, but will look at their feedback with interest.
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Katana Dac by allo

Postby allo » Wed Jul 04 2018 13:13

We can only ship in a few days , we wont be able to make it in time
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Katana Dac by allo

Postby ndriver » Wed Jul 04 2018 13:58

I believe you mentioned previously that you were also developing a new power supply (Nirvana) and a passive isolator.
Will those also be available at the same time?
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Re: Katana Dac by allo

Postby joenetic » Wed Jul 04 2018 15:58

Hello, can Katana supports native DSD or DOP?

How about use with Kali?

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Re: Katana Dac by allo

Postby pjmcos » Thu Jul 05 2018 03:41

allo wrote:Hello ladies and gents ,

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 [url]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-g ... 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/s ... eview.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
the price includes pi and case?

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Katana Dac by allo

Postby allo » Thu Jul 05 2018 07:58

New isolator will be available for purchase with Katana

Price only includes the DAC (no RPI or casing)

Nirvana development is going, no news yet

Katana works with DOP but since its a master DAC no Kali is necessary (it does its own reclocking )
Last edited by allo on Thu Jul 05 2018 08:03, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Katana Dac by allo

Postby pjmcos » Thu Jul 05 2018 08:01

allo wrote:New isolator will be available for purchase with Katana

Price only includes the DAC (no RPI or casing)

Nirvana development is going, no news yet
Thanks.

Allo has a separate casing already molded for this that can be purchased separately?

What rasp pi is it compatible? how about sparky? will it work on that device?

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Katana Dac by allo

Postby allo » Thu Jul 05 2018 08:05

Yes a new casing its necessary since this is a 3 stack DAC

1. DAC board
2. Opamp board (analog stage)
3. Power and MCU

Compatible with all RPIs , not with Sparky since this is a master on the i2s bus (Sparky only allows slaves)
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Re: Katana Dac by allo

Postby joenetic » Thu Jul 05 2018 08:46

allo wrote:New isolator will be available for purchase with Katana

Price only includes the DAC (no RPI or casing)

Nirvana development is going, no news yet

Katana works with DOP but since its a master DAC no Kali is necessary (it does its own reclocking )
Do you mean the price includes DAC PCB and analog output PCB?



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