Modding the DirectStream DAC

Hi. I’m interested in doing the transformer mod, too. I ordered the XS4400’s some weeks ago, also from Don Audio (I’m also based in Germany), but haven’t received them yet.

As I’m not used to soldering at this level, I’m looking into hiring a local tech to perform the swap. In oder to brief that person, I prepared a short document with relevant information from this thread. This includes the link to the manufacturer/products, the specs, all relevant quotes from @tedsmith about this mod (and there are plenty! :pray:) and some more quotes from forum members about the difficulties of performing the mod. I also included some shared photos from the DSD inside before, during and after the mod (and plan to replace these with new ones from the swap of my DSD).

And then I was thinking, “this document might be useful for others”, if they need to brief someone about “what to do”. But - none of this content was produced by myself.
I’m very aware that this “collection” is OK to do for yourself, but it’s nothing that should be shared - without the permission by the people who produced that content.

So - first, here’s a look at this document. If you see something that you do not want to be in there, please let me know.

I’d like to offer to share the PDF via PM. I hope it’s OK to do something like this. Please let me know, if not.


Thank you for your honesty and candour and thank you for organising the guide and offering to share it. That is so commendable. I hope things work as planned and that you have a pleasant experience.


What a great collection work and a great idea.
It’s a long thread already!

Many thanks.


If you haven’t heard from Don-Audio yet I would recommend to follow up with them. I got the following message from them on 02.06.

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are happy to anounce the information the Edcor transformers will be on stock very soon. They were unloaded in our next haven and we are right before getting the goods to sort them and ship them to all waiting orders. From then we will have some items on stock again for the next month. If you need frequently transformers from Edcor,please contact us so we can add them to the next freight.

Thank you very much for your patient!

If you have any questions, just give me a mail.

Have a very nice day!

Best Regards


This was followed by a shipment notification on the following Monday. (07.06)

The tricky part is indeed the de-soldering where you need to remove the solder - also from inside the holes - completely for the 24 legs. However, a decent solder station, a pump and some solder wick is up to the job. If you have a professional de-soldering iron it would make things easier but its not a must.


Very nice and a lot of work :+1: Hope you’ll be allowed to share. Thanks, much appreciated

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Yes, awesome, thank you Philipp!
And by the way, is there a dedicated thread or similar guide to the external linear PSU install? Thanks, T

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Please pardon my forum ignorance but is it possible to post video clips here? say, ~ 5MB in size? Thinking I’d like to make a quick clip showing how much audio band magnetic field radiation sprays forth from a toroid :smiley:

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No, the forum does not accept videos. But you can post it on YouTube and then post a link here.


Outstanding! Gold Star worthy!


Thank you for the positive feedback!

Regarding the power supply mod for the analog board - this is on my wish list, too. As far as I know, there’s no dedicated thread yet. It’s all in this one. This is THE thread :wink:

I’d use the same approach, collecting all the relevant input from the forum. First I need to find the time, but also it’s just not as straight forward as the transformer mod. There are several ways to do this, e.g. internal vs. external power supply, which one to choose (or build your own), choice of cables and connectors, special risks (e.g. the fried board by the Farad…), power on/off sequence etc.

So a good summary would need more curation and content work for sure.


Thank you all for the very positive feedback. I even got send more pictures. This is cool. Very much appreciated!


Yes please, if anyone would be kind to upload the transformer mod video on YouTube :star_struck:


Don’t understand why sunlight takes 300 hours to settle : it is a firmware @tedsmith help lol

different firmware uses different parts of the FPGA‘s circuits as far as I remember the reason


As jazznut said, each release uses different parts of the FPGA (by definition) so depending on the history of releases you’ve ever had installed and how long you used them various parts of the FPGA are really run in or have never been used. This release also uses another clock net and PLL, etc that weren’t used much in the past so they definitely will take a while to reach steady state. The inside of the FPGA is much like hardware outside of the FPGA, things need a while to reach steady state.


Sunlight definitely sounds better and better with time!


It’s a new dawn… … for a sun-set product.

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A great contribution to the community!




Maybe somebody already ask this but is it possible to place the XS4400 transformer in wrong direction?
Is there a kind of polarity?
I ask this because I noticed that the original transformers are not placed the same way.


Both sets of transformers have one pin closer to the others on one side.

Note the lower right pin spacing compared to all of the others.