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AK4490 USB Dac with dsd support – Discrete DIFF/SE shield, PCM Filter setting


With our new USB only AK4490 based DAC, we wanted to give the DIY Audio world the possibility to build their own high resolution DAC. As it is a very demanding challenge to combined both analog and digital in a single efficient design and layout, we decided to offer a DIY/OEM DAC solution that was fully optimized with the use of a Mainboard and a Shield that can be mounted on top of that Mainboard.

The Discrete Output shield offers the best balance between Detail level and Musicality outperforming most opamps. Every stage runs in  class A. All capacitors and resistors in filter section is PPS 2% capacitors and Thin film resistors 0.1%. The discrete opamps has JFET inputs.

Some of the comments on the sound that we have received through DIYAudio:

“I just finished listening to some music with my friend Fab’s USSA amplifier (the one I’ve been using all week) using volumio 1.55 and a Pi 2 on the Mirand DAC and the discrete output stage.

I wanted to give it a torture test and see how well the new discrete output stage was coping with complex/busy music passages, how well it was able to render the instruments, scene. I used a piece from Jorane called “Battayum 2″ from the album “16mm”. Right from the opening, you’re struck by a three dimentional scene that seems to surround you from all sides (the recording is made this way), but the scene seems so much more engaging here. at about half mark of the song, you start hearing layers after layers of instruments and voices that keep on adding to the complexity, the discrete output stage does an amazing job at keeping each instruments distinct with the correct volume/size and positionning for each one. It is quite something to hear, almost an orgasm of sound!!

Timbres are natural and voices, oh voices are sublime, I didn’t know it could get better than what I already had with my current speakers. Like MisterRogers said it, “some of the bass notes really scrape the bottom” when I listened to “Hotel California” from the album “Hell Freezes Over” of The Eagles.

I’m actually rediscovering my music collection now!! The amount of micro-details I was not getting clearly before is now retrieved and believe me, this whole thing stays extremely musical and involving, you don’t get stuck listening to just the details but to the whole presentation itself (mind you, some of the songs I do listen to the details on purpose since new information is always fun to discover!!).

I would say get your board just in case Sonny decides to stop making them!!

I’m still going through my pile of music and enjoying every bit of it!

Next on, Miles Davis Kind of Blue Remastered 192/24…”

“Amen Do. My wife walked by and asked ‘how does it sound?’ She often asks me that, I’m always building, tweaking something then sitting in my office with my eyes closed, listening. I was trying to explain to her why I was so excited – all I had was ‘every now and then a change or component brings about such a marked improvement, it gets me excited all over again to listen to my music’. This IV is like that.

Ok. I’ll quite gushing. My best recommendation – order one. Try it yourself. I’m using an SSR03 to power the IV, and a Reflektor-D to power the DAC. Your mileage may vary depending on the quality of your other components – but feeding this DAC/IV with quality power will produce an astounding musical image.”

“Tonality / timbre is spot on.
Natural, relaxed presentation – great inner detail, maintains the space / air between notes / instruments. Blows away any OpAmp I’ve heard in the past 5 years.”

“Hey MisterRogers,

I started my listening sessions late last night and I must confess, you are totally right on the spot with your listening impressions. I thought the ADA4898 was really good (and it is) but this output stage just blow me out of my socks. I gave it 72 hours of burn in before starting to listen to it. Tomorrow I plan on taking a few hours at moderate level and fully compare it with the ADA4898.

Sonny, I can only give you praise! Continue the excellent work!”

As if it was not already compelling enough, we will soon be offering even more options to expand the product with a complete preamp section and a front panel to control the DAC and preamp features.


Available on backorder

SKU: AK4490 USB Audio DAC V1.0 + Discrete Shield DIFF/SE, PCM Filter. Category: . Tags: , , , , , , , .

Product Description

  • USB AUC 2
  • PCM up to 384KHz/32Bit
  • DSD/DOP 64,128 and 256 (First software revision does not have DSD 256)
  • AKM AK4490 DAC in stereo configuration
  • Output stage mounted on a “shield” to make it possible for users to make there own output stage, but we provide an standard shield with the USB DAC.
  • Output stage – Fully discrete differential and single¬†ended
    • Thin Film resistors 0.1%
    • PPS capacitors 2%
    • Discrete SSR relays for muting
    • 6 discrete JFET input opamps running in class A
  • Output stage filter set to PCM
  • 9 high performance voltage regulators
  • AK4490 VREF bypassed with 1500uF Polymer capacitors
  • 10 pole ribbon cable connector for frontpanel (Planned upgrade)
  • 10 pole ribbon cable connector for preamp section (Planned upgrade)
  • Power is through an Molex KK grid 2.54mm connector. We provide an cable harness with the kit.
  • Board size is 70x110mm, 4 layer PCB
  • Windows driver is provided with the kit.
  • Works on MAC OS/X, Linux, Volumio

MIRAND USB DAC V10 document release 010615

discrete output shield manual


ak4490 USB DSD DAC Shortdelay slow roll off 271115

Additional Information

Weight 0.2 kg
Dimensions 20 x 12 x 7 cm