Updated 10 May 2021
Note: Brexit happened and made our lives more difficult. Unfortunately this means more expensive boards for you in the EU, and challenging times for me. I ship from the UK, and EU is now the same as non-EU before. Shipping works but prepare to pay extra when importing a parcel. Usually there are no customs fees in electronics but you likely need to pay your local VAT. Moreover, my prices do not have VAT so unfortunately there is nothing I can do at the moment. For now I am not a company nor VAT registered so I still pay VAT on parts I buy. This really is a lose-lose situation. I am working on improving the situation but it will take months. So briefly, you will be responsible for extra costs which is likely VAT.
Note: There has been a fire at AKM factory at the end of October and due to this most AKM ICs are out of stock with unknown lead times. Some have estimated it may take a year for production to recover. Moreover, global semiconductor supply shortages mean things may get even more complicated. I try to secure critical components when available but as this is just a side hustle, I can’t buy large emergency stocks.
Most assembled boards for sale on Tindie
- For now I have not listed all new boards and batches on Tindie anymore. Reasons for this are volatile exchange rates (regarding USD and GBP), expensive Paypal fees (twice), and rather limited shop platform. I may still add stock there but the move will likely be out of Tindie at least for audio boards.
- I will open a dedicated nihtila.com shop in the future. But before doing so, I need to figure out some things related to this hobby getting more towards a small business. It will take some months before the shop is open.
- For now you can buy boards by contacting me directly. See prices below; postage fees will be added. If you don’t need RCA/XLR connectors (e.g. you have your own panel mounted connectors), a few pounds can be taken off.
- It’s a bit messy now and no live stock but please bear with me, the new shop one day should be better experience.
- Buying instructions at the end of page
- All boards are tested before shipping
- All boards come with connectors unsoldered unless otherwise mentioned
- See more (very detailed) information on dedicated board pages
Note that by default all boards come connectors unsoldered. If you don’t need the connectors (RCA/XLR) at all, let me know when contacting.
If there is mention that I have a board with connectors soldered and you want it, please let me know when contacting).
- W-DAC 4493, £69
- 0 in stock – lead time unknown due to supply shortages
- W-DAC 4490, £49
- 1 in stock with connectors soldered
- W-DAC S 4493, £79
- Out of stock – lead time unknown due to supply shortages
- W-Output XLR, £25
- 11 in stock
- W-Output XLR Mute 1 opamp, £29
- 3 in stock
- W-Output XLR Mute 2 opamp, £31
- Out of stock
- W-Output Digital, £35 (£40 with oscillator), page coming soon
- 4 in stock
- W-Input, £43
- 13 in stock – note that the main AKM IC is unavailable and made obsolete so this needs a re-design
- W-Input S, £44
- 5 in stock (from which 1 is with connectors soldered) – same as above regarding the IC
- W-Input+ Combo, £13
- 8 in stock
- W-Input+ Combo XLR, £16
- 10 in stock
- W-Input+ Combo BNC, £16
- 9 in stock (from which 1 is with connectors soldered)
- W-BB Breakout, £12
- 6 in stock
- W-BB Dual Breakout, £22
- 4ch version for 2x DACs: 2 in stock (from which 1 is with connectors soldered)
- 2ch version for W-Input and W-DAC: 1 in stock (with connectors soldered)
- W-BB PSU, £21
- Out of stock
- W-BB Dual PSU, £27
- 4ch version for 2x DACs: 1 in stock
- 2ch version for W-Input and W-DAC: 1 in stock
Do not hesitate to contact me to help choose boards. I understand there are too many options.
ADC AK5572 (v1.3)
Very high-performance audio AD-converter.
At the moment boards come with screw terminal and 2×4 I2S header soldered but XLRs (which are fully black unlike in the photo below) and 2×8 header unsoldered.
- Stereo board £87 – 0 in stock; more expected around beginning of June
- Mono board £76 – 2 in stock
I2S to S/PDIF converter.
I haven’t sorted the stock or information about new version yet but I do have these boards. Current version is v1.3 which is green PCB. It’s electrically the same as v1.1 but v1.2 increased the spacing between RCA and Toslink slightly, and v1.3 only changed Toslink footprint slightly.
The board can be populated with RCA and Toslink, or XLR. Moreover, there is a ‘basic oscillator’ version which is the same as earlier versions, but I can also offer significantly better oscillator. More information coming at some point but feel free to ask if you have questions.
There is also a special dual mono version to work with two mono ADCs. Ask if you are buying two mono ADCs.
SPDIF TX with basic oscillator £33 (specify RCA + Toslink, or XLR)
SPDIF TX with better oscillator £50 (specify RCA + Toslink, or XLR)
Read more about SPDIF TX.
USB microphone and headset interface
Assembled USBHI now for sale on Tindie!
Addon BalOut v2.0
A set of fully populated boards available, all with LM4562 opamps.
Fully populated simplified PCB, version A (two opamps), 6dB gain.
This is simplified in a way that some components are left out and some shorted for simple single-ended input and balanced output. This provides not only simpler design but also even slightly lower noise. Population is per this simplified schematics, compare to the original one to see component differences.
With XLRs £29 (1 pc in stock)
Without XLRs £21 (3 pcs in stock)
Fully populated simplified PCB, version B (one opamp), 6dB gain.
With XLRs £24 (1 pc in stock)
Fully populated original version A (two opamps), gain 0 dB. Takes in single-ended or differential signal.
Like the A version in the original schematics except slightly different resistor values, 1k = 1k21 and 47 = 51.1. Also has the output protection components populated.
With XLRs, £25 (1 pc in stock)
H-DAC fully assembled board for AC supply
One Toslink, one coaxial, and USB inputs. All opamps are LM4562. This was the main board for all H-DAC measurements.
12 VAC (at least) 1 A power supply is required. Note that regulators get very hot if not mounted on chassis or proper heatsink! Can be used with DC supply as well although electrolytics are overkill for that.
No USB connector or PCB screw connectors next to RCA populated. Ask for these if you need.
£50 (pretty much price of components)
Dual Trafo Board
Make sure your transformers are the same pinout and understand that you are dealing with potentially lethal voltages!
Simple PSU 3 board
Smart PSU 3
Includes diodes soldered because silk screen symbols are wrong way.
Where do you get all the components?
I get all my electronic components from Mouser or Digi-Key. I have provided Mouser (and sometimes Digikey) part numbers in the BOMs. Mouser and Digi-Key have worked well at least when ordering to Finland and UK. You get free shipping for orders above £33, you pay VAT on them when ordering, and they handle all customs (there are no customs fees for electronic components at least in the EU) for you. Despite coming from the US, delivery is very fast – I get the parcel in 2-3 days from ordering.
Enclosures I mostly get from eBay and custom front/back panels from Schaeffer AG. A word of caution of ordering electronic components from eBay – there are lots of fakes around.
Do you have assembly and test instructions?
I do not have detailed instructions for each board as I expect someone buying a bare PCB to have relevant electronics skills. However, there are some general assembly instructions. Generally speaking, you should be fine with schematics, component placements, and PCB images. Not all boards have reference designators on silk screen so populating those boards requires a bit more attention using component placement files.
If you have questions or face problems, contact me. When I get questions asked I will understand what is unclear and can add more FAQs.
Why only DIY-unfriendly SMD parts?
Simply performance, cost, and availability. SMD components have better performance largely due to their smaller packages and leads, for example inductance of SMD-capacitor is significantly smaller than its through-hole counterpart. The smaller the better but I do try to choose larger SMD-packages if available. My normal passive component size has been 0805 but I’m moving toward 0603.
Not only smaller packages are cheaper but the space saved on board saves money on PCB costs. And again, more compact design means shorter traces and better performance.
Not many high-performance parts are even available in through-hole packages.
SMD-parts, at least the larger ones, are not difficult to solder at all and I encourage all DIYers to learn. Watch YouTube videos and get hands-on experience. Just do not fry your components (which does not happen easily) or destroy your PCB traces (can happen quite easily) and always check the soldering before powering up the board. Using extra flux makes soldering a lot easier! Although not very environment-friendly, I also recommend using old-school leaded tin for makers as it’s a lot easier to work with.
I do understand some of the smaller SMD parts are tricky to solder for less experienced makers. Therefore, I can solder some trickier parts for you if requested and if I have the part. I can also populate some passive components you do not have.
Offering kits of boards with SMD-components is simply not practical. Sorting the components would take too much time and it is also very easy to make mistakes. As many parts don’t even have any values on them, sorting out those mistakes can be very tricky.
How to buy?
- Before paying, contact me and let me know:
- What boards you would like to have
- Where do you live so I can figure out the postage fee; you can then choose between Standard and Tracked Royal Mail shipping, or also courier if you wish to pay for that (e.g. companies)
- Any other questions you may have
- I will reply you typically within a day (if not, please contact me again)
- If I have the products, you can pay via PayPal. If I do not have them, I will give you an estimate how quickly I can get them for you to decide if you want to proceed.
- After payment I will send you the products as soon as I can, normally within 1-2 days if I have them.
- Before buying, I expect that you:
- Have good enough skills to build the system these boards will be used in
- Understand the aspects of electrical safety, especially if your device uses mains voltage – I deliberately do not want to give detailed instructions on how to deal with such stuff due to possible liability issues; I hope you understand
- Understand that I will not be responsible if something goes wrong; this may be damage to your speakers or even electric shock
- Moreover, if you buy a bare PCB I expect that you:
- Have good enough electronics skills to build your board and debug it if required
That being said, feel free to contact me if you have any issues. I will also be glad to hear your success with your projects! You can also use my Twitter handle @nihtilacom.