Popular in the DIY realm, these high-resolution digital to analog converter (DAC) boards are perfect for translating HD music tracks on your computer transport to standard analog audio inputs. Although the board is called the Mini 2496, it can handle 24 bits at up to 192 KHz sample rate, which is as good as it gets at this price point. Based on the AKM AK4396 chip, the board is manufactured and distributed by audio engineer Zoe Tsang in China.
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“The first board that I hand-soldered was pretty much stock. It fit perfectly into my old Meridian DAC enclosure. It has separate analog and digital power supplies to reduce digital noise.” says NEBULIX creative director, Duncan McAllister. “Zoe sells the bare PC board with just the four SMD devices pre-installed for convenience.”
Over the past few years, audiophiles have devised new modifications to beef up the power supply filtration and replace signal path capacitors with high-end devices. Several methods have been documented to bypass the LPF and final stage linear op amp with microphone transformers and balanced outputs.