Anybody using the new ESS Vout DAC (ES9022)? - diyAudio
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Old 19th September 2009, 01:05 AM   #1
jkeny is offline jkeny  Ireland
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Default Anybody using the new ESS Vout DAC (ES9022)?

I bought some of these to basically have a play & hear what it's jitter reduction can do for an ordinary Vout DAC.

I have a Musiland USB DAC which uses PCM1793 DAC chip in I2S mode. I was hoping it might just be a matter of tapping into these I2S lines & feeding them to the ESS DAC. but no sound just a low whine. I then read the datasheet more carefully & saw that the ESS DAC states that MCLK must be > 192fs in asynchronous mode. How can I check if the existing board operates asynch mode to the DAC & if MCLK >192fs?

I have a 100MHz scope but barely know how to use it so some guidance would be appreciated here also, if it's feasible to check this.
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Old 19th September 2009, 04:49 PM   #2
Hurtig is offline Hurtig  Denmark
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Hi Jkeny....
Please do not take this the wrong way. But if you don't know how to use an scope, what is the chance of you building a high performance DAC-system?
Making a DAC chip work in a simple implementation is quite easy. But achieving optimum performance is lot harder than just copying a app.note (Even thouhg many commercial DAC's really just is a app.note-style implementation). Building such a DAC, is much more complicated than using a scope.

Anyway... Where did you buy these ESS chips?? And what is the price?? Is it possible to get a datasheet??
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Old 19th September 2009, 05:24 PM   #3
jkeny is offline jkeny  Ireland
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Hey Hurtig,
I agree with what you are saying about optimum implementation BUT.... if you re-read my post I was firstly trying them out to see if they held any promise.

Then I might get into putting together an optimum configuration but I wouldn't do this with this particular Sabre DAC as it's got an internal op-amp (oh perish the thought) from which you are known to break out in a rash at the mere mention of the word

BTW, I agree with probably 90% of what you are saying on the Buffalo thread & I posted my thoughts but I think it's time you stopped talking & started doing! get your DAC out to those interested & let some independent review happen. My contention with the Buffalo is that it in it's first incarnation it was value for money for those who wanted to hear the Sabre DAC as per the app note schematic (not an optimum implementation according to Dustin's account of how sensitive the PS is!).

The SABRE32 implementation is way up in price and no longer good value particularly as the PS issues haven't been dealt with properly. My own implementation will be less than optimal in a layout sense but will deal with the PS issues & allow tweaking - I wonder how it will fare against the Buffalo?

So you see, I understand what you are saying here & in the Buffalo thread but at the moment I was not going for the full body press solution, certainly with this chip - just cheap & cheerful!

You can get the chips form Ismosys.com, here in Europe - I don't know if ESS want yo to sign an NDA for this $2 chip or for their flagship 32bit chip (ridiculous policy anyway!)

Anyway, I got it working (without a scope)

Now I need to optimise it somewhat to give it a fair chance
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Old 19th September 2009, 09:09 PM   #4
jkeny is offline jkeny  Ireland
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The good news is I got it working, (a disconnected wire I hadn't noticed) - the bad news is it's not as good sounding as the on-board PCM1793 DAC but I have to look at the implementation - it's not optimum , and see where I might improve it.

It sounds a lot more like an ordinary digital playback system - the midrange or sound stage isn't as believable as the PCM. There's a bit of high pitched whine when volume is low & I'm not sure it isn't there all the time muddying things. When I feed it through a transformer (as per the PCM DACs) it cleans up somewhat. Maybe there's more to be had from it
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Old 22nd September 2009, 12:03 AM   #5
jkeny is offline jkeny  Ireland
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Nobody else using these?

I have a question, anyway - I tapped into the I2S traces going to a PCM1793 DAC to feed them to the Sabre DAC. Now, I haven't cut the I2S traces to the PCM DAC or powered it off during my listening to the Sabre DAC. Why, because it would be somewhat irreversible & I didn't want to do that yet, anyway.

This is one of the factors that I thought might be causing the whine. Anybody got any info on re-routing I2S?

I use a 4 " flat cable of 9 wires - 4 signal wires & 5 interleaved ground wires. I know the cable should be as short as possible and all wires of equal impedance (length) but I don't think this is causing the whine!
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Old 22nd September 2009, 10:05 AM   #6
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I saw that the 9012 reference chip alone costs 65€, and the eval board more than 486€.
The 9022 with op-amp is only 3,16€.

Btw one should not underestimate BB´s performance, they do know what they are doing.
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Old 22nd September 2009, 11:26 AM   #7
jkeny is offline jkeny  Ireland
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Yes Kurt, them's the prices . I have a 9102 which I will be building a board around at a later date so I wanted to experiment a bit with the cheaper 9022 first & get an idea of the family sound of these chips. Hence my casual approach to the implementation - I wasn't going for the best DAC build possible just a sampler of the ESS sound & maybe a better implementation if it showed promise!

So far, I'm not impressed but then I don't think the chip is giving of it's best & I wanted to resolve this!

Any ideas?
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Old 22nd September 2009, 07:51 PM   #8
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I do not either know the sound of the ESS family, and I do not know if there is any family sound at all.
What I do know is, that there is some kind of family sound amongst the BB DACs. And if you should want to compare the BB DACs to the ESS, you should use 2 pcs. of i.e. 1794A or 4 pcs of 1704K pr. channel, to get it right @ 24 bit.
If you want to compare 32 bit performance, you should use 2 pcs. of AK4399 pr. channel paralleled, and a CS8421 and then one pc. of CS8416.
So the ESS flagship DAC does really include a lot of sophisticated digital technology in one chip.
This might be a good idea, and it might not, I don´t know.
The only experience I´ve ever had with a lot of DACs parallelled was with an Accuphase CD player, where I think there was 8 BB DACs pr. channel, operating differential and thus 4 of them parallelled. Maybe it was only half what I´ve said, I do not remember, but the sound I really do recall.
16 or 8 or what ever DAC chips and then run through 4 JRC5534 op-amps. It sounded redicoulus, even the owner heard it, he hated it from ever after.
But it looked great, my god it did.
So! I really look forward to listen to the Sabre DAC with a nice powerfull no nonsence analog stage, with a well thought throug reconstruction filter.
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Old 22nd September 2009, 08:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkeny View Post
Yes Kurt, them's the prices . I have a 9102 which I will be building a board around at a later date so I wanted to experiment a bit with the cheaper 9022 first & get an idea of the family sound of these chips. Hence my casual approach to the implementation - I wasn't going for the best DAC build possible just a sampler of the ESS sound & maybe a better implementation if it showed promise!

So far, I'm not impressed but then I don't think the chip is giving of it's best & I wanted to resolve this!

Any ideas?
From my experience I´d say, that you should not really have any doubts.
You actually should get a feal of it in some sence, if you are a bit carefull.
Do not try to listen to any component with less than AN supplies. But from there on, you mostly can rely upon your impressions, and often it will amplify when implemented correctly.
In digital design there is some mysteries though. I.e. Clocks are very special, I do not yet know their sonic nature, but until now it seems like everything is upside down compared to nerd knowledge.
Nerds normally likes discrete clocks with high accuracy, but I hate them from the buttom of my heart They are no go
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Old 22nd September 2009, 08:14 PM   #10
jkeny is offline jkeny  Ireland
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Kurt, this is kinda getting away from the thread topic but based on my experience with the PCM1793 DAC, I would use a transformer output stage for superior experience. Others have also stated how good this sounds when used on the Buffalo board in place of the on-board output stage!

Nobody got ideas on why I'm hearing a whine? Somebody told me the fs from the Monitor 01 USD is 100KHz - I'm not sure exactly what it means that the word clock is 100KHz

Last edited by jkeny; 22nd September 2009 at 08:44 PM.
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