ECP Audio/Beezar Walnut X.3 DAC

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by TomB, May 20, 2021.

  1. TomB

    TomB MOT: Beezar

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    It took a few more days for the wood to finally cure and for the Loctite to dry on the casework pieces. Once that was complete, I started in on assembling the casework.

    I can't believe I forgot to take a photo, but the first thing I did was attach the back plate and the false front plate. (The bottom plates were mounted in the last post.) After that, I worked on the sides. The wood is attached to the sides with screws, but being prudent, the wood sides are first drilled with pilot holes to prevent the wood from splitting when screwing them on:
    [​IMG]

    Here you see the sides attached (this is one of the Walnut sides). I splay the sides out at the top initially, until I'm certain the lid will fit. The entire Beezar/ECP Audio case design has very tight fits throughout all of the pieces.
    [​IMG]

    Once the sides were all attached, the front plates were next. The front plate is a full 1/4" thick aluminum. It's also used as the primary heat sink for the one transistor in the power supply that produces quite a bit of heat. (Heat is relative; it's still just a DAC, which are not normally power hogs.) Similar to the T4 headphone amplifier, heat-bar technology is used by applying a thick block of metal to connect the transistor to the front plates. The block is screwed through the transistor tab, through the false front plate, and to a blind-threaded hole on the back of the final front plate:
    [​IMG]

    A standard heat-sink adhesive pad is applied to the metal block on one side (facing the back of the transistor tab) and standard heat-sink goo is applied to the other side of the metal block where it interfaces to the front plates:
    [​IMG]

    Once the thermal interfaces are applied to the metal block thermal-bar, it's then screwed through the false front plate to the blind-threaded hole in the final front plate:
    [​IMG]
    Shown above (arrow) is the thermal-bar heat sink connection attached to the final front plate. Two more screws (holes to the right of the transistor thermal-bar assembly) hold the front plate in place.

    Once that's complete, and after much shifting, loosening, readjusting, and tightening screws all over the DAC to ensure the top plate will fit and align with a smooth finish, the DAC assembly is completed:
    [​IMG]
    Before the lid is screwed into place, the metal ECP Audio badge is also applied. Finally, rubber feet are positioned and stuck on the bottom plate. (Most of these final assembly photos are of the spalted maple as in the above photo.)

    Very quickly then, the other two DACs were assembled:
    [​IMG]

    As mentioned before, I kid Doug that his casework design are puzzle boxes. Well, more than that - these are Magic Boxes. The sound that is produced by these little jewels defies any expectation from their size. the Walnut X.3 is barely the size of my outstretched hand:
    [​IMG]
    Yet, they are literally plankton-fishers, with a very wide net. ;) Indeed, a step above the original with regular Lundahls, the amorphous core Lundahls outperform by a noticeable margin. With my T4 and HD800 headphones, the difference is noticeable in mere moments, depending on the music, of course.

    These first three have been checked out and are ready to be shipped. I'll be sending final invoices later this morning for these first three.

    I apologize for the fourth and fifth (my personal one), but I haven't heard from Lundahl yet on their new August shipment that's due. I'll be calling them later today and will add an update to the thread.

    It's been a long slog assembling these (mostly due to my contractors and resulting distractions), but it's time to get them out in the world and start watching for posted impressions! :)
     
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    Last edited: Sep 1, 2021
  2. M3NTAL

    M3NTAL Friend

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    Make sure all of Tom's stuff stays on a server that is super safe! We are getting an internship here! :headbang:
     
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  3. TomB

    TomB MOT: Beezar

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    Thank you for that very kind statement!

    Invoices have been sent for the completed Walnuts. Also - good news to the other customer(s): the remaining amorphous core Lundahls are back in stock. I've already ordered and paid for them - should be arriving by the weekend and I expect to have the remaining two Walnuts completed by the beginning of next week.
     
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  4. TomB

    TomB MOT: Beezar

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    I received and installed the new amorphous core Lundahls on the remaining Walnuts and shipped the last one just a short while ago.

    Hoping to read some impressions from you all ...
     
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