Gamma2 DAC for Dummies - Parts selectionAt some point in your life you may want a DAC (Digital to Analogue Converter). The reason could be that you want to impress your friends or you believe it looks fancy or probably just because you believe that the DAC built into your source (be that your CD player, soundcard or whatever) is crap. Though some might find this hard to believe it is often the case, so instead of using the mediocre analogue outputs you will want to tap right into the digital 1's and 0's that is the music and have some good quality components turn that data into sweet sweet music. After doing a quick search on the mighty internet I found the Gamma2 to be a good compromise between apparent quality and cost, not to say that some other DAC's quite simply left me baffled as to what components I needed to buy to get where I wanted...
So... this is obviously where it all begins, the Gamma1 available from AMB.org. It features coax and optical inputs and outputs, an analogue output and USB input. Whilst the Gamma1 can be powered by USB it also features a power jack for an external power supply of 5V.
Reading through the Gamma1 overview my eyes caught the following statement: "While Gamma1 is already excellent, the Gamma2 upgrade elevates it far into the high-end".
Oh dear, we all knows what that means... On to the Gamma2 that apparently I could no longer live without...
So, this is the Gamma2 module. It has a switch to turn on/off anti-clipping and a selector switch that lets you choose from 3 digital filters. It adds another 3,5mm analogue output as well as proper RCA jacks.
Gamma2 front and rear panels
Since this kit was designed for a specific casing I decided to go with that one, and since AMB.org offers a ready-made front plate for it I chose the easy way out and decided to go with it.
So all was supposedly fine until I ran over the "AC adaptor or power supply" paragraph in the Gamma1's "Parts list" section... BAM! "You My good fella, simply CANNOT build the Gamma2 only to feed it power via USB or a measly "wallwart" AC adaptor, can you?". Though that is not an EXACT quote of the source it just might as well have been. As I wanted to go all the way I ended up buying the parts for the Sigma11 regulated power supply which, coincidentally enough, is also sold by AMB.org.
The Sigma11 build project can be found here!