DAC PCB design guides help!


Oct 25, 2020
Tamil Nadu
I would like to know if there are useful guides available on PCB design for DACs (probably something oriented towards medical grade devices)? I have had formal education in certain branches of electronics if that helps and have also taken considerable time to learn designs online (few nice places like allaboutcircuits.com, and some earlier op-amp schematics and design choices). I am open minded about design choices, don't quite subscribe to sine sweep objectivism.

I started going through amb gamma 3, which is a diy dac. I am able to comprehend the design (data flow path, and components like clock circuits, switches etc) and I could also understand the analog circuit in their beta 22 amp but I couldn’t get to understand the PCB part or how the design process is carried out for the pcb and choices in the design. I am currently looking into PCB design for raspberry Pi compute (there are resources on the same) and have been able to learn a little with respect to digital pathways, but for random analog signal like music in not able to gather useful information.

I haven’t done anything like this before but I have tried spice tools with basic circuit simulations and fairly comfortable with MATLAB and certain stuff about design rule checks. I am trying to get used to Kicad and am fairly decent at scripting.

I have fair understanding of available components for clocks, buffers, flip flops, switches etc (got by looking at teardowns of many amplifier designs and then exploring their design choices) but would again love to see known good choices for each. Few parts that have currently got my attention are - si86xx series of isolators, el2001 buffer amplifier, quite a few opamps (analog devices ad8397, ti alm2402F), some transistors from vishay, sowter/Jensen transformers (if I were to make the output transformer coupled). Haven't thought a lot about attenuator for the dac yet since it is likely I'll let either xxhighend or the amplifier following it do that task. Will need to choose the right components as I explore making the design.

I want to try and build one based on ti 11001a (it’s a new unit) or any other r2r chip dac. I believe it would be a little more complicated than delta Sigma due to the transition nature of r2r which could cause additional instability and ringing, but that’s the challenge I want to face and learn. And it would be NOS, with interpolation being handled by pc source (likely xxhighend+arc prediction) so atleast one complexity being taken away.

Of the existing diy dac designs, dddac1794 is something that has got me interested a lot, I also found some chips from audio gd for diy builds but couldn't find any schematics on the same.

I don't expect to get a masterpiece in first shot, rather want to really grow myself as an analog designer over time.
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