Updated on: July 3rd 2007

For the past months, I have been busy with experiments to improve the Nonoz II DAC. This has resulted in the Nonoz III DAC. I have the feeling that some parts of the Nonoz III can be improved and tuned. Still, I think that the current version is worthy of a release. In the next months, I'll see what improvements can be made...

It is now time to reveal the schematics of the DAC: show me the Nonoz III!!!

In the schematic, I included the Nonoz I S/P-DIF input configuration without transformer. The circuit with transformer I use now at the RXN and RXP pins of the receiver is borrowed from the Marc Heijligers DAC page.
What is the difference with the Nonoz II?
The Nonoz III has even less parts than the Nonoz II. The output level of the Nonoz III is much higher due to the larger I/V resistors. The supply is simpler and I got rid of the pre-regulator.

Which Nonoz DAC sounds the best?
IMHO, the Nonoz III sounds the most accurate of all. It has better dynamics, more detail and maybe is even a bit smoother than version I and II.

Why didn't you include the S/P-DIF transformer in the schematic?
I think that many DIY-ers will first build the DAC without S/P-DIF transformer. It easy to build in a transformer later. Also, the circuit to be used depends on the type of S/P-DIF transformer.

That's a nice PCB, can I buy it from you?
At this moment, no. The PCB is designed by Jean-Paul and I do not have the masks to make them. Regrettably, the design has been lost in a harddisk crash :-(
We will work towards a solution for this problem. In the meantime, you can buy PCB's from Doede Douma. It should be possible to fit a large part of the Nonoz III circuit on his PCB.

How does the Nonoz III DAC compare to the DDDAC1543?
I did not build that DAC yet, so I have no idea. I hope to hear one next year!

Why are there two 4.7 uF capacitors in parallel in the schematic?
This is the Super-E configuration. This means that two Black Gate capacitors are placed in anti-parallel position. The orientation of the Black Gate caps can be observed by looking at the texts.

What is R7 in the schematic?
I use a 2k resistor with a 10k variable resistor in parallel. R7 has to be adjusted for 4.4 Vdc on the output caps (C11-C14).

Why don't you use reclocking anymore?
This has multiple reasons. First of all, I wanted to make the DAC as simple as possible, to be able to build it on a small PCB and to make it more accessible for DIY-ers. Also, I had problems to get the reclocked DAC silent. After all, it is maybe not a good idea to build 100 Mhz circuits on experimental PCB's... (though good shielding will solve a part of the problems)

What supply do you use?
I use a 2x15VAC, 15VA toroid. The DC voltage at the DAC is 21V. The regulators get hot, but it works ok. I use a 200 mA fuse in series with the primary. Furthermore, I use a netfilter. I suggest to use a 12VAC or 10.5VAC transformer.

Can I use a battery?
Sure! It is a good plan to use a battery. You can use 1x12V, 2x6V or even 3x6V...

Where can I get the aluminium cases?
You can get them from Conrad. The part number is 522945. I payed EUR 13,27 for one.

What does the Nonoz III cost to build!?
I did not calculate that yet. I'd guess between 60 and 130 euro, depending on the build quality.

Gee, where do you get your inspiration?
A large part of this DAC is inspired by the Shigaraki DAC of 47 Labs made by Kimura. Though it is certainly not an exact copy of that DAC! If you want the exact sound of the Shigaraki DAC, buy one! If you want a DAC that comes relatively close in performance and costs far less, build the Nonoz III ;-)

Why are there no photos on this page?
Because they have not yet been made. See the Nonoz II photos to get an idea of the looks:   Picture1   Picture2

Is this the end of the FAQ?
Yes it is.
Try building this DAC yourself ! You can have a lot of fun. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Watch out with your mains! Isolate the supply well, so it is safe to use the equipment. You could even use a standard 12-16 V supply to avoid messing with high voltages yourself, but the sound quality will likely be lower.
  • Watch out with low power tweeters like Ribbon tweeters!
  • Build the DAC in steps. First start with the DC supply (12-16V), then make the 5V and 8V supply. Test the supplies before connecting them to the receiver or DAC chips. I have heard people who distroyed the CS8412 receiver by accidently putting a high voltage on it. Finally, the rest of the circuit can be added. When the design is finished the DAC has to be tested with a multimeter. The voltage on both power pins (7 and 22) of the receiver should be 5V, the voltage on the TDA1543 (pin 5) 8 V. The output should have a DC component close to zero (below 40 mV). On the output capacitors (the 4.7 uF caps on the top right of the schematic) should be a DC voltage of around 4.4 V. When an S/P DIF signal is applied to the DAC (with music on it), the three I2S signals going to the DAC (pin 1-3) should have a DC offset of: pin 1: 2.7V, pin 2: 2.5V, pin 3: 1.6 (depending on the music). Now the DAC can be tried on your equipment (first with low volume!). I hope it sounds as you would have hoped... ;-)
  • The DAC will need some time to burn-in. This is especially the case when it is build with Black Gate capacitors. Wait a while before serious listening.
  • The DAC inverts the audio signal! This means that you have to reverse the polarity of both speakers, unless you have an inverting amplifier.
  • Check the polarity of the DAC and amplifier supply. I have used a polarity checker of Van den Hull. You can also do it by listening to the differences when you change the direction of the supply connector. I think that you will be surprised by the differences! For example, in my equipment, the mid-range is much smoother in the correct polarity setting.
  • Do not use the TDA1543A chip!!! This chip does work with a Japanese input format and is not suitable to operate with the CS8412.
  • First turn on the DAC, then the amplifier (or it's volume). The DAC makes a plop sound when the power is put on.
  • Put the volume of your amplifier down if no digital source is connected to the DAC (or the source is not powered on), because the Nonoz III DAC makes HF noise in that case. The Shigaraki DAC has the same problem. Muting has to be added to the circuit to solve this problem, but this is in my opinion not worth the extra complexity and cost.
  • Don't forget to send a mail to me when the DAC is ready!
  • The author is not responsible for any damage to yourself, your equipment and your cat...
  • TDA1543 16-bit DAC
  • CS8412 receiver
  • LM7805 regulator
    Parts list
    ID Used parts # of parts Comments
    U1 7805 1 5V regulator
    U2 7808 1 8V regulator
    U3 CS8412 1 S/P DIF receiver
    U4 TDA1543 1 16 bit DAC
    D1 STPS1045D 1 Schottky diode
    C1,C10 220 uF 2 High quality electrolytic
    C2,C9 220 nF 2 SMD multilayer ceramic
    C3 220 uF 1 Sanyo Oscon 10 V
    C4,C5 22 uF 2 Black Gate NX, 6.3V
    C6,C7 10 nF 2 MKT or MKS4
    C8 3300 pF 1 SMD multilayer ceramic
    C11-14 4,7 uF 4 Black Gate N 50V
    R1-R3 22 ohm 3 1% metal
    R4 75 ohm 1 1% metal
    R5 470 ohm 1 1% metal
    R6,R8 3 K 2 5% carbon, match them!
    R7 Variable 1 See FAQ. The value is between 1.4k and 1.7k.
    R9,R10 50 K 2 5% carbon, match them! I use 2x100k in parallel. Don't use larger than 50k!
    Div. Div. x Connectors, case, wires, transformer, fuse, PCB...
    47 Labs, the company that makes very inspiring audio designs!
    Amp Chip DIY forum, forum about Gainclones and non-oversampling DACs
    Doede Douma's page, you can find the DDDAC1543 project here
    Audio-cube, page about 47 Labs and other high-end products
    RJM DAC page, the non-oversampling DAC of Richard Murdey
    Scott Nixon's DAC page, the non-oversampling DACKIT PCBs can be bought here

    Show the other audio projects please!!!