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Philips TDA1305 (DAC used in Naim, etc.)

Discussion in 'audio' started by 13mh13, Sep 23, 2015.

  1. 13mh13

    13mh13 pfm Member

    I've seen these DAC chips on eBay for not much $$. ($5USD from China)
    I think this chip came out in the early 90's. Naim used them in certain models (Cambridge, too, IIRC), departing from their usual multbit/R2R norm (at the time time, anyway).
    Not sure how much this late-model Bitstream DAC impacted digital sound overall. Some reviews (Stereophile?) noted that Naim's characteristic sonic signature (speedy, quick) was, indeed, reduced in Naim models incorporating this chip; other reviews mentioned nothing of Naim's sonic departure.
    IAC, Naim continues to use its very-similar tight PSU topology, PCB layout, etc, regardless of DAC.
    Bottom line question: are TDA1305-based Naim CPDs (CD3.5, CD5, etc) SIGNIFICANTLY different-sounding compared to their R2R/multibit models (CDX, etc)?
  2. All Naim CDPs sound very different.
  3. MJS

    MJS Technical Tinkerer

    The TDA1305 replaced the 16 bit TDA1541A in the late 90's. I like its sound - it's dynamic and exciting. But the 1541A has that magic sparkle that is difficult to pin down. I thought about trading in my CDI for CD3.5 but couldn't do it in the end.

    So, no. I don't think it is a significant departure, just a difference. And of course that PSU philiosphy that has as much of a bearing on sound.
  4. 13mh13

    13mh13 pfm Member

    I forgot to note that Naim came back to multbit, 2004-2009 (and current???), with CD5x and CD555 (PCM1704).
    Maybe because Philips discontinued production of the TDA1305. Tho' manufs., if they really like certain chips, will stock up on them (for use in future models). This seems to be the case for TDA1541A.
  5. Mike P

    Mike P pfm Member

    If you're interested in a TDA1305 based CD player the Cambridge Audio CD6 is a bit of a sleeper. They seem to get overlooked and so can be had for peanuts. Well worth checking out.
  6. Alan Brown

    Alan Brown Registered LUser

    The CD6, as designed by our own John W. It is a single box version of the Cambridge Discmagic and the popular DacMagic 2, though with less space for multiple power supplies (3 vs 5 in total). It is indeed a very nice player.

    I had both, and felt the TDA 1305 as used in the Cambridge products had a very decent midrange. However, I much preferred a modified Arcam Alpha 5+ with the TDA 1541A.

    I do think the Cambridge CD6 and Discmagic were truly exceptional when used as CD transports into a DAC, as good as the Pioneer stable platter IMO.
  7. JohnW

    JohnW pfm member

    Yes, the TDA1305 was designed as a budget DAC, its not great TBH....

    I never liked the sound, I originally designed the Cambridge Audio units for a different DAC but then discovered a design issue with the silicon so we had to change the DAC vendor at the last moment - the TDA1305 was the only other budget DAC available at the time.

    That said the CA offered really great performance / value for money so I can still sleep well at night....
  8. Barrymagrec

    Barrymagrec pfm Member

    Slightly crashing the topic, I have a couple of Burr-Brown PCM54JP DACs That I used for a solid state recorder project a bit over 25 years ago that I never finished. Does anyone (John) know if they are any use now or have they been totally outclassed?
  9. JohnW

    JohnW pfm member


    The BB PCM54 had 2 issues, 1. it needed an external deglitching circuit, and 2. it really needed its LSB to be trimmed...

    IIRC the PMD100 HDCD filter had some advance modes to get the best out of these devices...

    Using an external IV was also recommended!
  10. Barrymagrec

    Barrymagrec pfm Member

    Thanks John, not much use now then.
    I was only after PA quality so thought I could use 12 bit and a pretty low clock frequency -25Khz? - to minimise the memory requirement, the result was a lot of clock beating and stuff which I never got rid of before the whole idea went defunct.
    It was my only foray into building digital audio kit - not as easy as it seemed, of course you know that....

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