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Review and Measurements of WesionTEK Khadas Tone Board DAC

bunkbail

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#1 - Which edition can be powered from either a dedicated 5V power supply or from the USB cable ?
#2 - So, by consequence, which edition can be powered only by the USB cable ? (Yes, it's an "easy" deduction, but pls. confirm IYDNM ...) ... i.e. it is stated in the specs for the VIMs edition : "USB-C Port = NC" but @amirm tested this edition as powered via the USB ... Sorry but the acronym NC has some 150 definitions out there ...
#3 - Which edition is "fully" compatible (based on today' driver status) with most of the audio Linux' distributions that are available out there, not only Volumio ... I am using Daphile and Audiophile Linux (AP), for example
#4 - Which edition offers the SPDIF IN ? (It looks both but pls. confirm IYDNM ...)
#5 - Which edition offers the SPDIF OUT ? (It looks only the VIMs but pls. confirm IYDNM ...)
#6 - Is there one of the two editions that offers both SPDIF IN/OUT ? (Obviously depending the type of upstream or downstream electronic)
#7 - Is the signal available in parallel from both the RCAs and SPDIF outlets ? If YES, which one of the two editions offers that ?
#8 - For both editions, it is stated for the XMOS chip : "Core Share up to 500 MIPS", whilst on other implementations (i.e. from Singxer ...) it is stated "up to 1,000 MIPS" ... Am I missing something here ?
1) I'm not sure about the VIM edition, but generic edition works with only USB.
2) NC = normally closed
3, 4, 5, 6 & 7) Not sure, sorry :confused:
8) XMOS chips have different tiers, more expensive ones have more computational power.

EDIT: 3) Just tested the tone board (generic) with my Manjaro Linux machine, it works fine out of the box.
 
Last edited:

Nango

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Can you pls. check out my above list of questions hoping you might have some answer for me ?
I have cramps on my index finger waiting to push the Enter key for my order confirmation since this morning ... Please !!! o_O
Order it, its good!!!!
 

Veri

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I already received my tone board for two days now, but wow the sound quality is unreal. It beats both my Chord Mojo and Audio-gd R2R-11 which I find very hard to believe especially at this price. Just wow.
I thought the Mojo was more or less transparent at its 100+dB SNR. You really notice a difference? :)

The Khadas sure looks good. I went for the DX3 since its headphone output can come in handy as an all-in-one when I'm not using an external amp, wonder if I will regret not going for the Khadas instead. Decisions are hard :D
 

bunkbail

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I thought the Mojo was more or less transparent at its 100+dB SNR. You really notice a difference? :)
Yup but it was a sighted comparison (volume matched though). I've seen lots of people rave about Mojo's imaging capability but the tone board image better than Mojo, both on my headphones and speakers. I'm genuinely surprised, really.
 

jackenhack

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I took out my old trusty RCA switcher, matched the Topping D50 and the Khadas DAC board to the same volume and feeding in the same signal. In my crude ABX experiment, I chose the Khadas board every time. I'm an old fart and don't hear a peep over 15kHz, but the soundstage through headphones was better on the Khadas board. So the D50 is going into the living room to feed my stereo, and I'll keep the Khadas DAC in the bedroom connected to my headphones where I do most of my listening. It will be interesting to try my THX 789 amplifier to see how that sounds. There's a lot of new hi-fi gear available now for ridiculous prices. Being alive is good.
 

graz_lag

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... In my crude ABX experiment, I chose the Khadas board every time ...
Can you pls. check out my above list of questions hoping you might have some answer for me ? :eek:
 

graz_lag

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2) NC = normally closed
EDIT: 3) Just tested the tone board (generic) with my Manjaro Linux machine, it works fine out of the box.
Thanks !!! ;)

#2 - What do you mean for "normally closed" as concept associated to the USB-C Port ? @amirm tested the VIMs edition and it was powered via the USB ...

#3 - Linux - The Manjaro distribution is based on Arch Linux exactly as AP-Linux, so I should be OK with this. Thank you so much !
 

bunkbail

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Thanks !!! ;)

#2 - What do you mean for "normally closed" as concept associated to the USB-C Port ? @amirm tested the VIMs edition and it was powered via the USB ...
Don't quote me on this but I guess when it is being used with VIMs, it'll try to fetch data thru I2S connection first, USB-C next and SPDIF last. But again, I'm not completely sure about this, maybe others can chime in.
 

jackenhack

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#1 - Which edition can be powered from either a dedicated 5V power supply or from the USB cable ?
#2 - So, by consequence, which edition can be powered only by the USB cable ? (Yes, it's an "easy" deduction, but pls. confirm IYDNM ...) ... i.e. it is stated in the specs for the VIMs edition : "USB-C Port = NC" but @amirm tested this edition as powered via the USB ... Sorry but the acronym NC has some 150 definitions out there ...
#3 - Which edition is "fully" compatible (based on today' driver status) with most of the audio Linux' distributions that are available out there, not only Volumio ... I am using Daphile and Audiophile Linux (AP), for example
#4 - Which edition offers the SPDIF IN ? (It looks both but pls. confirm IYDNM ...)
#5 - Which edition offers the SPDIF OUT ? (It looks only the VIMs but pls. confirm IYDNM ...)
#6 - Is there one of the two editions that offers both SPDIF IN/OUT ? (Obviously depending the type of upstream or downstream electronic)
#7 - Is the signal available in parallel from both the RCAs and SPDIF outlets ? If YES, which one of the two editions offers that ?
#8 - For both editions, it is stated for the XMOS chip : "Core Share up to 500 MIPS", whilst on other implementations (i.e. from Singxer ...) it is stated "up to 1,000 MIPS" ... Am I missing something here ?
#1 - You can power the board with GPIO pins soldered directly with 5 volt supply. Or you could buy a USB cable where the power is separate. But there's nothing to gain, no measurable difference when powered from low noise linear supply and via USB.
#2 - Both. If the NC nomenclature is in the schematic, it means Not Connected...
#3 - Both.
#4 - Both.
#5 - None if not connected to their computer boards.
#6 - No, see #5
#7 - No SPDIF output on either without their computers.
#8 - Do you care? The XMOS processor handles the USB communications an probably for setting up the DAC via I2C.

Hope that helps.
 

graz_lag

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#1 - You can power the board with GPIO pins soldered directly with 5 volt supply. Or you could buy a USB cable where the power is separate. But there's nothing to gain, no measurable difference when powered from low noise linear supply and via USB.
#2 - Both. If the NC nomenclature is in the schematic, it means Not Connected...
#3 - Both.
#4 - Both.
#5 - None if not connected to their computer boards.
#6 - No, see #5
#7 - No SPDIF output on either without their computers.
#8 - Do you care? The XMOS processor handles the USB communications an probably for setting up the DAC via I2C.

Hope that helps.
Thank you !!! ;););)

#8 - No I do not care in fact, but I need to properly fill up the form to get the authorization from my purchasing manager ...

1544037220034.png
 

jackenhack

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Thank you !!! ;););)

#8 - No I do not care in fact, but I need to properly fill up the form to get the authorization from my purchasing manager ...

View attachment 18444
You actually get all the GPIO headers with the standard board, so if you know you're way around a soldering iron you can add the headers yourself.
 
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I took out my old trusty RCA switcher, matched the Topping D50 and the Khadas DAC board to the same volume and feeding in the same signal. In my crude ABX experiment, I chose the Khadas board every time. I'm an old fart and don't hear a peep over 15kHz, but the soundstage through headphones was better on the Khadas board. So the D50 is going into the living room to feed my stereo, and I'll keep the Khadas DAC in the bedroom connected to my headphones where I do most of my listening. It will be interesting to try my THX 789 amplifier to see how that sounds. There's a lot of new hi-fi gear available now for ridiculous prices. Being alive is good.
Great stuff! May I ask how you control the volume on this thing?
 

jackenhack

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Great stuff! May I ask how you control the volume on this thing?
Right now, you can't. But Khadas are working on a firmware update that will appear within a week or two that makes it computer controlled. They have also hinted that they are about to release a hardware add-on volume control later on.

I'm running a pre-release firmware and so far no problems.
 
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I bought it just for curiosity unfortunately not as musical as my chord mojo at least via USB. I know this is not the fairest comparison since mojo is 500$ dac and this is just 99$ but based on amir's review they should be very close to each other if not equal good, not my case :( still looking for that giant killer.
 
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#1 - Which edition can be powered from either a dedicated 5V power supply or from the USB cable ?
#2 - So, by consequence, which edition can be powered only by the USB cable ? (Yes, it's an "easy" deduction, but pls. confirm IYDNM ...) ... i.e. it is stated in the specs for the VIMs edition : "USB-C Port = NC" but @amirm tested this edition as powered via the USB ... Sorry but the acronym NC has some 150 definitions out there ...
Both types of power supply can be used without conflict, but when usb-c power supply is used, the audio source will automatically switch to usb-c as the audio source.
#3 - Which edition is "fully" compatible (based on today' driver status) with most of the audio Linux' distributions that are available out there, not only Volumio ... I am using Daphile and Audiophile Linux (AP), for example
You may need to update our latest firmware :https://dl.khadas.com/Firmware/ToneBoard/
#4 - Which edition offers the SPDIF IN ? (It looks both but pls. confirm IYDNM ...)
#5 - Which edition offers the SPDIF OUT ? (It looks only the VIMs but pls. confirm IYDNM ...)
Both versions support SPDIF IN to DAC ,However, the VIM(SPDIF OUT Source) version of Spdif out can be output from tone board.
#6 - Is there one of the two editions that offers both SPDIF IN/OUT ? (Obviously depending the type of upstream or downstream electronic)
No.
Is the signal available in parallel from both the RCAs and SPDIF outlets ? If YES, which one of the two editions offers that ?
No,but you can customize it based on the VIM version
#8 - For both editions, it is stated for the XMOS chip : "Core Share up to 500 MIPS", whilst on other implementations (i.e. from Singxer ...) it is stated "up to 1,000 MIPS" ... Am I missing something here ?
There may be some misunderstanding here, for details you can refer to XMOS datasheet .https://docs.khadas.com/toneboard/HardwareDocs.html
 

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