CS4397/8 – A DAC Good Enough to Include?

I am a big fan of people with a passion for what they do, being enthusiastic about it and doing their best to do it well.  One such person I have come across is Lukasz Fikus who runs a family business dedicated to high quality HiFi and their web site is http://www.lampizator.eu/ (new window).  On his site he talks about the sound and build quality of CD players he has come across or more specifically – their DACs.

On the page http://lampizator.eu/LAMPIZATOR/CD_player_ranking.html (new window) he talks about the DAC chip CS4397 and CS4398 from the IC manufacturer Cirrus Logic (a quick explanation of what a DAC is and why you might need one is given at the bottom of this post).

I wasn’t going to include a DAC into my boombox as the digital audio world has been changing so rapidly recently that I thought it best to concentrate on the amplification system and let people chose the input they want/can afford.  There was also the extra cost involved, both monetarily and time-wise, as I would have to buy and listen to a few to find one suitable.

But having been reading Fikus’ ramblings for a while now I have come to respect his authenticity and lack of sales bias and now feel that if he says this DAC is that good, I should be comfortable in including it into the boombox.  Most importantly, it is the right price!

CS4398-DAC-Board

CS4398 DAC Board

It will be a squeeze to get it in since most space has already been taken but I’m sure I can do it and this will give the boombox complete usability as it will be possible to connect it direct to a computer via USB as well as the current Bluetooth, Phono, 3.5mm jack, 6.5mm jack combination currently catered for.  It is important for me to include a DAC if possible as I see the prevalence of computers being the future source of music listening (I’m not alone in this, it doesn’t take a genius to have worked that little gem out).  I know vinyl is resurgent and many argue that the sound quality is better than digital and in some ways I agree and in some ways I very much disagree – but that’s a different argument and the fact remains; if done right, a digital signal source is at least as good as an analogue one and in many ways (not least the convenience but also sound quality) is much better.  Digital amplification is a different argument and not one I will tackle here.

Actually, having thought a little about what to say when it comes to what DACs are and why they are needed, I think it best to make that a separate post as it will need a little thought and effort on my part to explain.  So maybe the next post?  Sorry to disappoint but I’ll have to make images and make sure the language is correct and not too technical.

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About Matal

Hand made HiFi, photos, a friends poetry.
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