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Old 13th June 2010, 11:13 AM   #1511
Calvin is offline Calvin  Germany
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Hi,

haven´t read through all the thread, but has anyone actually measured the trus performance of the ESS-Chip??
So far I´ve seen just marketing hype.
ESS´s politics regarding Datasheets and information is really ominous. Even when requested officially, they don´t supply decent information as any other manufacturer like ADI or BB does. Thats not what I´d expect of a serious company!
Anybody could have written the official ´Datasheets´, because without references about the measurement setups any claimed figure is just a fantasy number without value. As example in another thread the user OPC measured just ~-80dB of THD at 0dbFS, which would be a high level even for a 24Bit-DAC and a ridicoulously high level for a 32Bit-DAC. Compared to the PCM1794A, BB´s Flagship the values are no better. Too I can´t find any figure where the data reaches those values one should expect from a 32Bit DAC (since every bit represents a step level of ~6dB noise and THD figures should be much better than with a 24Bit-DAC).
Obviously the quality of the ´current sources` of the DAC is low, presenting just 200Ohms output impedance (similar to Microsoft I get the Impression that ESS seems to sell bugs as features, telling You for example to have the ´choice´ between current steering I/V-conversion or voltage output, when in fact the impedance is much too low for a decent current source and too high for a decent voltage source).
In short, is there anything that raises this DAC above a mediocre level, good enough for consuner multi-channel surround sound?
Selling in Germany at 30€ per chip and ~600€ for an evaluation board is exceptionally costly compared to the competitor´s offers. With this price tag attached I´d expect a performance close to a miracle...which even the rudimentary datasheet doesn´t promise.
So has anyone hard facts about the ESS-chips?

jauu
Calvin
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Old 13th June 2010, 12:28 PM   #1512
Bunpei is offline Bunpei  Japan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ecodoppler View Post
I wish to know the price of Caprice DAC;
Oh, I missed the title you had in your post. Sorry.
The web page says its expected domestic price is "150,000 JPY".
This corresponds to 150,000/91.66 = 1,636 USD, 150,000/111.02 = 1,351 Euro.
I think it is very reasonable.
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Old 13th June 2010, 12:32 PM   #1513
qusp is offline qusp  Australia
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buy one and try for yourself. I dont think you have read owens thread either, where he has actually managed 115 actual performance with what is really quite a simple IV stage. and MUCH better has been achieved with opamps. the 80db number actually came out of a test to show someone how NOT to do it. OPC is owen BTW and he is the one laying out the PCB

but yes, agreed the datasheet is pretty useless

Last edited by qusp; 13th June 2010 at 12:36 PM.
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Old 14th June 2010, 10:39 AM   #1514
Calvin is offline Calvin  Germany
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Hi,

I assume that Your answer qusp addressed to me.
Well as I told before, I find both the information politics as well as the price politics of ESS ridicolous and tend to not support such politics. I regard 600 bucks for such a rather simple eval-board and 30 bucks for the chip itself way too high.
The measurements owen took are all made in differential mode. Asked, he told that the ´single ended´ mode resulted in much higher THD-values because the even harmonics wouldn´t cancel out. The BB/TI PCM1794 measured with different resistor values as I/V-converters in single ended mode already got results comparable to what ESS claims in differential mode.
But apart from that, has anyone besides Owen done any reliable measurement, or is all this just talking about marketing hypes and theoretical datasheets values????

jauu
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Old 14th June 2010, 02:09 PM   #1515
matejS is offline matejS  Slovenia
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Me and my colleague (well, mostly him) have done a board for Sabre32. It measures even a little bit better than specified by ESS. Actually, we've reached instrument limit. I do not know exact figures... but... it sounds better that TI's and AD's, AKMs. You have to try it out to believe it. Moreover, there are also other important things in DACs, like quality of digital filters, etc.
Yes, Sabre32 (actually 8 DACs) is expensive, but can take cheaper ES9022
Cheers, M.
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Old 14th June 2010, 06:24 PM   #1516
qusp is offline qusp  Australia
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yeah, information is a bit lacking, price is a touch high, but performance is not in my experience lacking and most importantly it sounds very well also. the TDH+N of 115 that owen got is pretty bloody good IMO and i'm looking forward to trying it out in the same configuration. I have not been able to make this thing sound bad yet with any output stage. simple resistive IV, transformer coupled, opamps and Jfets all sound pretty good t these ears, I wish I could say the same for PCM1794A
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Old 15th June 2010, 07:50 AM   #1517
Calvin is offline Calvin  Germany
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Hi,

I agree with You matejS. I regard the most promising design advantage of the ESS is due to the way of the digital filtering and reduction of parts number count. The actual DAC stage within modern DAC-chips is imho not the most important part regarding sonic fingerprint any more. I think, that rather the digital input and filter-stages and of course the analog output stages define the sonics in first place. Still though the true sonic performance of the PCM1794A´s DAC-part is very hard to beat. The PCM1794A compared to the nearly identical PCM1796 show this phenomen. The PCM1794A features more ´calculating power´ and is sonically superior. Bypassing the digital filter block of the PCM1796 using only its DAC-part you can lift it on par or even higher than its bigger brother.
As far as i understand all measurements of the ESS were taken in differential mode. In this mode its not to difficult to reach acceptable measurement values. But it asks for additional circuitry when You want single ended outputs. This is mostly done under usage of OP-Amps......well if You like the sound of OPAmps this might be fine.
Now what happens if You want to reduce circuit complexity and want to use the single DAC-outputs immediately? With a PCM1794 You can simply ground its inverted output and run via the noniverted-branch-I/V-converter into the RCA-connector and still get a low distortion signal. In the best case this needs just one or two active devices within the signal path. How does the ESS behave in such a case? Or to put it different: are the good distortion values in differential mode due to cancellation of the even order harmonics or is each output itself (single ended) truely low distortion?

jauu
Calvin

The ESS9022 might be an cheaper alternative to the Sabre32 if it weren´t for the OP-Amp output which You - as it appears- can´t bypass.

Last edited by Calvin; 15th June 2010 at 07:53 AM.
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Old 15th June 2010, 12:04 PM   #1518
Bunpei is offline Bunpei  Japan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calvin View Post
In short, is there anything that raises this DAC above a mediocre level, good enough for consuner multi-channel surround sound?
Selling in Germany at 30€ per chip and ~600€ for an evaluation board is exceptionally costly compared to the competitor´s offers. With this price tag attached I´d expect a performance close to a miracle...which even the rudimentary datasheet doesn´t promise.
So has anyone hard facts about the ESS-chips?
In my case, I am satisfied with ES9018 for its capability of accepting I2S signals up to 500 kHz sampling rate on over sampling mode. With the ES9018 chip. some of SDTrans192 users have experienced playing 2L DXD files (352.8 kHz/24 bit PCM WAV) and Russ of TPA has succeeded in playing 384 kHz/32 bit PCM WAV files using his XMOS based system under development.
The hard fact makes me think that it is simply worth paying money on the chip & its evaluation board.

Please tell me if other DAC chips can play 352.8 kHz/ 24 bit I2S signals on over sampling mode.
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Old 15th June 2010, 01:18 PM   #1519
Calvin is offline Calvin  Germany
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Hi,

then Bunpei please tell me first which improvements You expect from more than 24Bit and 192kHz sampling rate, when there are still inferior sounding OP-Amps in the output stages, heavy analog post-filtering included?? What do You think can be gained if the limitations regarding THD and noise are already due to the restrictions of the analog stages? At the moment even most studios don´t support more than 24Bit/96kHz and samplerates above 192kHz merely inflate file-size in first place... but does it improve on sonics in any way?? Modern DAC-chips are internally clocked at 384kHz already, which leaves enough headroom for future developments.
So is there any sense in that besides marketing??

jauu
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Old 15th June 2010, 01:27 PM   #1520
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Quote:
So is there any sense in that besides marketing??
Well let's see some of those AD converter guts then.
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