Updated 7 Oct 2022
Update 7 Oct 2022. I have ran out of most main boards and there hasn’t been updates on the website for long time. However, after quiet times there has been activity in the background recently and I am planning to re-launch some older boards and also new boards. And hopefully will finally get a webshop running as well. All this will likely happen in the beginning of 2023 so it is unlikely to get any re-stock before that. I am planning to post updates in Oct-Nov 22, both on this site and newsletter (I know it has been a while!).
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 was a fire at AKM factory at the end of October 2020 and due to this most AKM ICs have been out of stock with unknown lead times. Moreover, during 2021 they have discontinued most of their Hifi and pro audio parts so they will likely never going to be back in production. However, they have re-introduced some of these parts with near identical product names, for example AK4493SEQ instead of AK4493EQ. My guess is this is the same design but ported to a different fab and both AKM and we users hope the performance to be very similar to the discontinued part, but leaving room for performance differences and therefore giving them slightly different part numbers. I don’t know of any schedule for these ‘new’ parts but I wouldn’t hold my breath given AKM factory was totally destroyed and semiconductor fab allocation is worth gold at the moment. When these parts are available, I will try them and hopefully get some of the boards back in stock.
Most assembled boards for sale on Tindie
- Some boards are still available on Tindie but I have mostly moved away from it. Reasons for this were first volatile exchange rates, expensive Paypal fees (twice), and rather limited shop platform. And just when Tindie announced on Twitter that they had been working on some improvements, including Wise as payment option, their parent company was acquired by Siemens who likely have no interest in Tindie and everything was thrown in a limbo. Unfortunately, there has been already some technical issues with Tindie after the acquisition and fixes have been slow. This is my personal opinion but I am not very optimistic about future improvements in the platform.
- I will open a dedicated nihtila.com shop in the future. This has been the idea for a while already but nothing has happened yet. I have now taken the first step and updated my web hosting so let us believe this will happen one day.
- 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
- Out of stock
- W-DAC 4490, £49
- Out of stock
- W-DAC S 4493, £79
- Out of stock
- W-Output XLR, £25
- 9 in stock
- W-Output XLR Mute 1 opamp, £29
- 3 in stock
- W-Output XLR Mute 2 opamp, £31
- Out of stock
- W-Input, £43
- Out of stock
- W-Input S, £44
- 3 in stock
- W-Input+ Combo, £13
- 6 in stock
- W-Input+ Combo XLR, £16
- 7 in stock
- W-Input+ Combo BNC, £16
- 7 in stock
- W-BB Breakout, £12
- 4 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: Out of stock
- W-BB PSU, £21
- Out of stock
- W-BB Dual PSU, £27
- 4ch version for 2x DACs: 3 in stock
- 2ch version for W-Input and W-DAC: 3 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 – Out of stock
- Mono board £76 – Out of stock
Read more about original ADC AK5572 (v1.1) and differences in new v1.2. Current version v1.3 is electrically the same as v1.2 but PCB is green.
I2S to S/PDIF converter.
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, RCA + Toslink, £33 – 5 in stock
SPDIF TX with basic oscillator, XLR, £33 – Out of stock
SPDIF TX with better oscillator, RCA + Toslink, £50 – Out of stock
SPDIF TX with better oscillator, XLR, £50 – Out of stock
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.
Simplified in the same way as version A but only one opamp but with the same gain. Population is per this simplified schematics, compare to the original one to see component differences.
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)
Dual Trafo Board
Make sure your transformers are the same pinout and understand that you are dealing with potentially lethal voltages!
Read more about Dual Trafo Board.
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.