SOLD - SOLD - For sale is my Border Patrol SE SPDIF (COAX input) R2R DAC in perfect functional and excellent cosmetic condition with new NOS EZ80 vacuum tube (~20 hours). High quality, hand-crafted by the Border Patrol owner, and made in the USA (Maryland).
I am asking $900 USD. It will ship from the Twin Cities, Minnesota 55337 USA. I will ship it via FedEx; local pickup/delivery is available. I accept PayPal, US Postal Money Orders, or cash if meeting in person.
This is a great R2R DAC chip (TDA1543) with no over-sampling (NOS) and no digital filtering fed from a very sophisticated choke input, and vacuum tube rectified power supply that will make digital files and CDs sound natural and smooth, very close to vinyl. Please refer to the photos for the physical condition, as I could not see any scratches, dents, or cosmetic issues with my DAC. I can supply more photos upon request.
Tube “rolling” is rewardingly addictive, and I was able to tailor the sonic signature by trying additional New Old Stock tubes, which I purchased online and in person. I am only including the new NOS EZ80 vacuum tube with ~20 hours on it. I would suggest you try other EZ80 and compatible 6V4 tubes in this DAC as they do change the sound characteristics.
This DAC can also be used with vacuum tube “off” in the circuit if desired - depends on taste and type of music. The only time I enjoyed turning off the tube was with my Monoprice Monolith Liquid Platinum headphone amplifier and a few audio tracks, which seemed overly lush. 99.9% of the time the tube sounds better, but it is fun to experiment and have this option.
There are many glowing reviews on this DAC and other “new” entry level R2R DACs. I was my second R2R DAC, and I like it better than the first (popular brand and all solid-state design), as the Border Patrol SE has a sweet, natural, open and organic sound and soundstage – these characteristics were the design goals for the Border Patrol SE DAC. Too many digital audio products sound processed, unnatural and un-involving and this is particularly true of many of the new generation of hi-resolution delta-sigma DAC’s.
You’ll enjoy listening pleasure for hours without “digital” fatigue. I have thoroughly enjoyed it since the COVID-19 lockdown.
I never used the stock power cord, as I have 10+ aftermarket power cords and enjoyed listening to the changes in the sound by swapping out different power cords. I settled on a “silver” power cord from TG Audio, which highlighted the detail and 3D-soundstaging characteristics of this DAC. I am only including the stock power cord, as the aftermarket power cords are dear to me.
Border Patrol recommends to keep the DAC “powered on” 24/7 and just turn the tube on and off for listening sessions—this button on the front of the DAC powers the vacuum tube on and off. I only left the DAC powered “on” and the vacuum tube powered “off” on weekends, or when I could enjoy the DAC on multiple days/evenings in a row.
Many Border Patrol SE owners have said this is the first DAC that they can listen to for long periods without irritation or fatigue and that lets them emotionally connect to digital music for the first time.
Several vinyl diehards are now happily streaming and playing CD’s after previously giving up on digital audio.
I am selling this SE DAC because I have brought home my “work” headphone audio system, which is another Border Patrol SE DAC that I purchased from the estate of a dear friend (it is not in good cosmetic condition).
This SE unit is upgradable to the SEi version for $295, including return shipping from Border Patrol in Maryland USA. The “SEi” upgrade replaces the high quality “Musicap” capacitors with the Ultra Hi-End Jupiter beeswax cryogenically treated capacitors. After I sell this SE unit, I will consider upgrading my second unit to the SEi model, as I enjoy “changing” my music system.
If you buy this SE, please enjoy it “as-is” and then if you like natural sounding “NOS” digital audio, consider upgrading it to the current SEi version and enjoy the transformation process, tube-rolling, and aftermarket power cords too!
A non-oversampling (NOS), no digital filtering Phillips TDA1543 R2R DAC chip circuit with no output buffering.
Plays files up to 24/96kHz via SPDIF(COAX) including TIDAL Master recordings.
A painted copper metal chassis, which helps keep external (Wi-Fi, 2.4GHz, 5G, etc.) electronic/microwave noise out of the DAC.
A tube/solid state hybrid choke input filter power supply featuring a vacuum tube rectifier. Border Patrol is the only company applying tube rectification and choke input filtering to digital circuits.
Dimensions: W x D x H: 9 x 7x 3 inches (226 x 173 x 78mm)
Shipping Weight: 8lb/4kg (it is solid and well built in the USA)
Includes: Border Patrol SE DAC, Original box and packaging, original (“stock” OEM ) power cord, and manual are included.
PLEASE NOTE: No extra tubes nor aftermarket power cords are included.
This DAC is resolving and benefits from minor changes. I recommend you have fun trying different tubes and power cords to best match your system.
Single Adult owner, no smoke, no funky smells, no pet, no children exposure—although I enjoy my friends’ kids and pets, I don’t have any in my home.