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Audio Note Kit DAC 2.1 Build

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by DyersEve726, Oct 12, 2018.

  1. Neiro

    Neiro Well-Known Member

    Location:
    UK
    'Giving Brian the benefit of the doubt' big mistake
     
    timind and SandAndGlass like this.
  2. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    See below post...

    But again, the key words here are "assuming the omissions are well documented" which, from reading through these threads, does not appear to be the case.

    That does appear to be the reality, does it not?

    That would not be on the top of my list of concerns. As a former kit builder, I'm sued to standing way back when I power up a kit under construction, ever on the alert for sparks, smoke, buzzing and ozone.

    Only after the "all clear" do I attempt any intrusion into the amp itself. From my early teen and elementary school tube kit building experiences, I have long since learned to use extreme caution around high voltages.
     
  3. Xarkkon

    Xarkkon Would you like a Custom Title?

    Location:
    Asia
    Thanks for the very detailed writeup! I was hoping that Brian would have learned from your feedback but judging from recent posters, nothing seems to have changed. I'll be staying real far away from ANK, which is disappointing as I've been eyeing their kits for a long time!

    I guess it's back to bottlehead and maybe some hypex kits for me in the future :)
     
  4. DyersEve726

    DyersEve726 Schmo Diggy Thread Starter

    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    What is crazy is that I'd do it again, lol. Despite everything, it is my most prized piece of gear and I'd fight someone to the death over it. I'm half tempted to offer to deal with Brian and build these for other forum members, for a fee.
     
    Richard Austen likes this.
  5. Xarkkon

    Xarkkon Would you like a Custom Title?

    Location:
    Asia
    hope it's not a stockholm syndrome thing going on! heh.

    glad to hear about the happy ending :) maybe i'll attempt one when i actually know what i'm doing and am better equipped to handle the BS
     
  6. Rolltide

    Rolltide Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vallejo, CA
    I'd echo that both of my (pre-built) ANK products were great. Maybe the way to go is to stick with the products they offer pre-built, inquire about the ones they claim they don't (like everything with ANK, that seems murky), or have Digital Pete build it for you? Presumably DP is used to this, and frequently emails Brian things like "Heeeeey, so it seems like instead of copper caps you sent me lucky charms cereal, no biggie, want to give that another try?" a few times a day.
     
    Xarkkon and jonwoody like this.
  7. Raylinds

    Raylinds Resident Lake Surfer

    I built 300B transformer coupled mono block amps, the L5 Mentor preamp, and top speaker kits. When I built the Mentor, it was new and the instructions were not finished. I had missing parts issues, but just kept pestering Brian and eventually everything came out perfect. I do not regret the process at all as I had a lot of fun, learned a lot about electronics and ended up with a great sounding system a decent price. If you have the patience ANK is a good option. I was going to get one of their DACs, but lucked into a super deal on an AN UK DAC 3.1 signature.
     
  8. fully_articulated

    fully_articulated Forum Resident

    DyersEve726 likes this.
  9. TubeRoller

    TubeRoller New Member

    Location:
    Massachusetts
    I've been running the Bendix 5852 in my ANK 2.1 Signature for a month now with no issues.
     
  10. TubeRoller

    TubeRoller New Member

    Location:
    Massachusetts
    I built the Mentor preamp a couple of months ago using the new manual. I really like it.
     
    Sugar Man likes this.
  11. danno999

    danno999 Forum Resident

    Guys..first post, been a member a long time. I purchased a ANK Dac 4.1 kit a few months back. It came with all the parts. You need to have done kit building before attempting one of these. Any way I got all my parts from Brian, and was only missing a few screws and stand off for a couple of the boards. The 4.1 Dac came with SPDIF RCA in and a toggle switch for the USB card. My goal was to try and come out of my Cambridge CXN V2 on the SPDIF out into the Dac. The dac is rated to do 96/24 bit files.
    Well that idea didn't work too well as I could only play 96/24 files. Any 16 bit flac files it sounded like noise cutting in and out and it won't play 192/24 bit files as they should pass right through. So I then decided to try the Toslink out of the cambridge and bought an adpter to give me rca out to go into SPDIF in. Now everything plays except the 192/24 files. If I use a laptop that uses say foobar 2000 and use USB out of the laptop and USB into the Dac everything plays. This is not my ideal setup.
    I was hoping to sell the Cambridge later on and find another way to stream into this new tube Dac. I did have a Google Audio Chromecast which I hooked up and went Toslink out to the adapter and SPDIF into the Dac. It plays all files and you can control it using my Plex media centre on my phone or tablet. Not sure how good the Chromecast is bypassing it's Dac, but it does sound pretty good. I did some A/B tests between that setup and using my CXN as a full streamer and Dac, and ANK seems to have a bit more warmth, fine detail. It only has about 30 hours so far to break in the ANK caps in there. I have been trying to get Brian to get me more info why I have weird issues using the outputs from the CXN, but no replies. Wonder if the DAC card has issues possibly. The USB card wires connect to a different pins on the card and winder if I switched it with the SPDIF. But was waiting for Brian to ask the experts about this.
    Anyway I thought I would pass along my experience.
    The building of the unit was ok, I followed all the new manual and it actually looks very nice. It was nothing that as I turned it on and sat down that it blew me away, but it has some differences in the sound, still trying to sort out these input issues.
    If anyone else out there is a digital expert I would love to hear from you. I mainly do old school tube restoration work and repairs and use my Linn LP12 mostly, but this digital stuff is very interesting.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2020
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  12. jmpsmash

    jmpsmash Forum Resident

    Location:
    Santa Clara, CA
    192k is beyond the sampling rate supported by the DAC4.1 as the spdif decoder chip only support up to 96/24.
    however, it should support 16bits. afterall, CD is 44.1/16.

    as for the sound, you should wait till 100-200 hours before making judgement, there are quite a few caps in there that needs to break in.
     
  13. Claude M

    Claude M Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Bergen County NJ
    I put the same one together early last year. Give it time and you'll see how nice it will start to sound.
     
  14. danno999

    danno999 Forum Resident

    So what are you guys using to stream files to this Dac? I really don't use a CD player anymore, I have one and have tried coming out of it into the Dac? I was hoping to use the CXN as a front end streamer. Anyone know of a decent streamer other than the Chromecast Audio I have, which actuallt sounds very good with this tube Dac and chops the 192/24 files down to 96/24 so then can be played?
    Thanks for the comments I will give the unit more time to break in.
     
  15. Claude M

    Claude M Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Bergen County NJ
    [​IMG]

    Bluesound node 2 and a CD player. I wired that switch in the back so when it's up the streamer plays, when down the CD player or the USB can be used (but obviously not both at the same time). I put all my CDs on a PC in the network so I can play them from the node 2.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2020
    jonwoody and Sugar Man like this.
  16. danno999

    danno999 Forum Resident

    Mine looks the same and I also have the switch, up is RCA digital and down for the USB. What is the bluesound node 2? I have all my flac files on a server and use plex media to stream. Like I mentioned above I was trying to use the Cambridge CXN V2 as the front end streamer and come out of that into the Dac, but optical out of the CXN into a small converter box to rca digital into the Dac. I did some more sound tests this morning and the Chromecast using optical out sounds very nice. I really wanted to get a streamer only, I don't use the USB input at all or a CD player...I do have a Cambridge with digital out. I will look up the Bluesound unit.
    I guess my end game is to sell the CXN and just use the Dac and a streamer.
     
  17. DyersEve726

    DyersEve726 Schmo Diggy Thread Starter

    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    I use an Allo Digi-one Signature as a streamer with Roon as the software. It does all the conversions for you, so you can set your maximum in the program, and anything over that will automatically be transcoded down. Sounds killer with cheapo power supply and even better if you invest in a good linear PSU. The Allo can be loaded with other streaming services also, but I think Roon is the best out there. Plex is great for video content, but their support for music has really only ticked up a bit recently, where Roon has been all about the music from day one, and you can tell. It is pricey though. I spent $500 for a lifetime pass, but I'm not sure if they still offer that. Totally worth the money if you ask me.
     
    Encore likes this.
  18. danno999

    danno999 Forum Resident

    Well I tried a Node 2i and the rca digital out to the Dac won't drop down 192/24 files, therefore I cannot play those. The description on the forums says it will but only on MQA files? I have flac files, the 96/24 is the max the ANK 4.1 will do. So maybe you don't use files above 96/24, I don't have a whole bunch and can down convert them and they play fine. Really I don't think you can hear the difference between a 192/24 and a 96/24 of the same song. Also wasn't too thrilled about the software, it din't do a good job of the metadata and got wrong album covers. But I guess for $550 what can you expect? Just thought I would passs this along.
     
  19. Claude M

    Claude M Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Bergen County NJ
    I used dbpower amp to convert all my CDs. I think it was either free or something like $30.
     
  20. jmpsmash

    jmpsmash Forum Resident

    Location:
    Santa Clara, CA
    Has anyone upgraded to ANK Dac 4.1 from the 2.1? I am looking at the internals. The single largest diff is the output board with transformer output. Other than that, the other components are just caps and resistor differences. Is it worth the price? Does the different output make that much of a difference?
     
  21. DyersEve726

    DyersEve726 Schmo Diggy Thread Starter

    Location:
    Michigan, USA
    Pretty sure the 2i is a Roon ready device. You could give it a try. I think they have a two week free trial. You'd just download the software to your PC and the 2i should show up as an available device to stream to.
     
  22. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    While not up any longer Brian had a post on the main page acknowledging the issues and has apparently hired new staff and every kit is now being triple checked before going out. As well as better written manuals etc.

    So time will tell if we see less problems because it's sad when you have a great product and it is marred by constant very fixable problems like being able to count 10 resistors to put in a bag as opposed to only being able to count to 6. Eesh. It's sad that this has to be double or triple checked but that is an indictment of the western school systems I suppose :)

    Their statement on the split from Audio Note UK is as follows:

    There was a recent name change from Audio Note Kits to ANK Audio Kits. Audio Note UK is also announcing that they are no longer in the kit business. What is the story?

    Peter Qvortrup, president of Audio Note UK and a long time supporter of the DIY industry wanted to make it clear that the kit business is not being run within Audio Note and that a separate leadership/business is running the finished product business vs the kit business. The main reason for this name change was that Audio Note UK finished products was getting inundated with enquiries about kits either at their headquarters in the UK or via their world wide dealer network (45 in total) or anytime they went to Audio shows displaying their finished product line. It was clearly time to divide the kit business & finished products into two separate companies!

    In the early days of Audio Note Kits the kit business was a very small fraction of the sales that it is today. With just a Kit 1 and a DAC 1.1, the kit business was hardly noticed and flew under the radar. But after ten years of hard work ANK Audiokits now has an extensive range of products and sold more than 2000 kits in the last decade. With all this ANK Audiokits garnering a lot of attention from audiophiles and DIY’ers worldwide. So the official line now is that Audio Note UK is not in the kit business and please contact ANK Audiokits for any enquiries into kits!

    Audio Note UK has enough on their plate with a huge finished product line and dealers throughout the world that they are supplying, as well as a large DIY parts sales channel. They continue to supply their Speaker Kits, Tantalum Resistors, Tin, Copper and Silver Film Capacitors , a range of C-Core Transformers etc. to the DIY world. Meanwhile ANK Audiokits still works with Audio Note engineering on a contract basis as we always have, and we continue to buy quantities of Audio Note parts for the kits – Tantalum Resistors, Audio Note Film Capacitors, speciality C-Core Transformers, AN shielded cable, AN Silver RCA’s, AN Speaker Posts, AN Speaker Kits etc.

    FAQS – Ank Audio Kits – The authority in high end audio kits
     
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  23. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    It is a shame. I have their L4 EL34 30-Watt power amplifier, which I consider, as an A/B amp, to be very close to a single ended amp.

    The main difference being, with stellar source recordings, the single ended still wins, hands down.

    But with good source recordings, the differences are not that pronounced. As a result, I sold the Line Magnetic 518iA, and kept the L4 and the 3.9-Watt Decware Mini Torii, a single ended pentode.

    I think that says loads, with regard to the sound quality of the L4, which I use with NOS RFT EL34 power tubes.

    I was fortunate to have purchased the ANK L4 from another member, who had it professionally assembled.

    As you mentioned, the issues with the kits were numerous and continued in an ongoing basis. Not just a simple missing resistor or cap, here and there.

    I am glad that they are finally addressing and correcting these problems, as their kits are of high quality, maybe some of the best among kits.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2020
    Richard Austen likes this.
  24. Claude M

    Claude M Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Bergen County NJ
    I have to agree the instructions for putting the DAC 4.1 together were lousy (at least the pdfs I received were). Missing parts for me was only a resistor in the power supply which Brian sent, but not the same type that the rest of the board had. So I had to order it from a supplier in the UK before realizing there was a company in Canada that also had these parts (upgraded some caps and resistors while I was at it to make the order and wait worth wild). Brian said he was sending v-caps in the kit but then didn't. Yeah, pretty annoying, enough to not buy any more kits or offer to build them for family or friends that expressed interest in this dac.
     
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  25. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    Can you order one of these kits already assembled?
     

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