Jazz Project Philips TDA1541A


I introduced in this world of the minicomputers and Volumio to learn and experiment for a very big project.

Although I have a lot of experience and satisfaction with Allo’s products and more recently with Terraberry 2, the goal was always the same: Build a i2s streamer with the Philips TDA1541A DAC (for many the best DAC chip in history) and valve output . I’ve been working on that project for almost two years, mostly collecting material, which is not cheap either.

This Christmas, when they were almost all the pieces, it finally sounded, and I am very pleased to say that the result is wonderful, and it sounds like I expected to sound: the sound of a turntable but without its drawbacks. Whoever has enjoyed the record player knows that there is an organic character in the analogue music that the digital can only aspire to approach, a deep bass and a timbre in voices and instruments that with a good system mimics perfectly the direct sound.

The TDA1541A chip has a lot of that sound, but by misfortunes, the SPDIF connections and especially the USB, introduce a jitter that eliminates much of the "magic " of the TDA1541A. With Rapsberry Pi I thought it was the ideal system to fight jitter. Another way to combat it was short i2s signs of quality and good cristals. This is where the IanCanada components of Diyadio are coming in: IsolatorPi, Fifo, DualX0 with Crystek clocks, and a special card for the DACs R2R. The PCB of the DAC chip is a RyanJ design also of Diyaudio and the output stage is completely vintage, tube, with components ranging from 1938 to 90 years, built by Abbas, by Abbas Audio.

I didn’t know anyone who was crazy enough to build something like that. Lovers of Rapsberry pi do not want to spend a lot of money, and for audio lovers who spend a lot of money Rapsberry pi is not expensive enough, prefer USB connection, and lovers of classic audio prefer SPDIF.

All with a superb linear feed, I dare say the best on the market, with sources of ultra low noise power filter from Sellarz Audio from Korea.

In this team there are components that have come from: New Zealand, Australia, Holland, Taiwan, Canada, Korea, Germany, China, USA, Ukraine, Russia, France, Japan, India, Spain, Italy (Volumio), and I’m sure I’ll leave some.

Missing some adjustments, and components, and a nice box that is at the height of this sound (probably will be wooden imitating the hifi equipment of the years 50), I’ll put pictures of evolution.

I did not want to explain anything until it sounded, because it could be a great facaso, but I am proud to say that it has been a great success, the end of the road for me.

Many thanks to many people, but especially to Michelangelo and Volumio Team, Ian, Abbas, Ioan, Ryan, and especially to my master, Antonio, that he has been the inspiration of this crazy idea, and Ami himself for taking that idea and turning it into a crazy reality that seemed at first.

Well done Jazz, it sounds (sorry for the pun) as though it has been an epic journey, but well worth the effort :slight_smile:.

Hi Jazz,

I was crazy enough to do a similar thing. I have a raspberry pi feeding a Kali reclocker, feeding a NON-OS TDA1541A double crown DAC. I use passive I/V to feed triode wired E180F tubes with plate chokes. To my ears the system is simply sublime.

Your build looks great.


the whole thing might be way over my top but I would very much like o listen to a TDA1541A fed by pi/Volumio.
To start with - would you spare some knowledge about the basic setup (block diagram) and the bottlenecks (where it gets really tricky)?
Would there be a basic setup to start with (pi, maybe reclocker, dac, I/V conversion) or is it much more complicated (I’m sure there is much more when it comes to perfection)?
I have the chip :wink:

This is remarkable as I have scoured many sites for the last few months and finally arriving at this! Exactly what I wanted to do.

I am already using RPI B+ with Digione --> to Coax input of a NOS TDA1541a. Decent enough but to use a Kali reclocker as I2S output to interface with the NOS TDA1541a is something I want to explore.

Can you please share the connection from Kali to TDA 1541a? Is it as simple as soldering a very short jumper from Kali (pins 12 - BCK, 35 - LRCLK, 40 - Data) to the corresponding pins on TDA1541a (2 - BCK, 1 - LE/WS, 3 - DATA)?

Normally, pins 2 & 4 of TDA 1541a is tied together which is confusing which acts as serial clock? Any pointers is very much appreciated, thanks.

I’m sorry, I can not help you, I’m not sure how you can connect as you ask, I used the components of Ian Canada diyaudio


I’m sure there’s a simpler way, but I do not know it. the design is not mine. A good friend told me what I needed and I have started and assembled. I am sorry.

Hello, after many tests with materials and I’m finishing my streamer/DAC.

The casse has been a problem, I did not like any, I was even going to send to build a special box from scratch by CNC. I have always liked the amplifiers of the years 70, when I was a child seemed an unattainable dream. I found this AKAI 2800 amplifier that fulfilled everything I like in a vintage box: alluminium, Vúmeters, many buttons and levers and nice wood. It may seem easy, but I needed the box to be big, and big boxes there aren’t that many in those years.

The Vúmeters are functional, and the volume is operating and goes with remote control (Arduino control), in addition to other functions such as turning off the Vúmeters.

I see the end of the road at the end of the road. I’m very happy with the result, it’s not even finished, but it sounds, the vúmetros work. It’s definitely the best player I’ve heard at any price, and everyone who hears it feels the same way.

Best regards

Jazz that is fantastic! Truly remarkable! And you got me really curious about the Philips dac…