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Oppo Sonica DAC
Oppo Sonica DAC
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Old 14th March 2017, 05:50 PM   #41
Bigun is offline Bigun  Canada
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Oppo Sonica DAC
Is it clear that the upgrade path for this unit then is to fit hats to all the chips?
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Old 15th March 2017, 02:28 AM   #42
markk02474 is offline markk02474  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Researcher View Post
Yeah, we definitely need more feedback from Markk02474 on this device, like many others I'm curious about the performance of the power supply and sound quality between balanced vs unbalanced outputs.
I have returned my Sonica for a refund, so no more hat investigations from me. It looked and felt like ceramic - hard and porous.

Both RCA and balanced outs on the Sonica have electrolytic capacitors in the signal path, limiting performance. Gustard dacs do not.

The ES9018 has been out 10 years, with better and better implementation in produces. I think over the next few years we shall see better ES9038pro products done more right. Really low noise voltage regulators are pretty new and we should see more of them used to audibly reduce jitter in SPDIF/USB receivers, clocks, and dac chips themselves. Analog output stages have 60-100 db PSRR, so they don't need really low noise regulators like the chips subject to jitter. I'm really optimistic for improvements we will see in the next few years. The ES9038pro is an outstanding chip that responds well to every improvement around it. I'm amazed at how much more I get out of the ES9028pro chips in my Gustard X20pro with each successful modification, and even things like adding a Ifi SPDIF iPurifier. I never thought digital could sound so good or there was so much on my CDs. The Oppo doesn't sound as good as my modified Gustard but does sound better than the $300 Breeze Audio Chinese DAC I've not yet modified, with jumpering the electrolytic capacitors in the signal path being top on the change list. I rather play with the two dacs I have for a bit while other manufacturers develop a better music appliance than the Sdac.

The important analog 3.3v regulators for the ES9038pro looked much like the reference design from ESS using an op amp as a regulator, though not the ultimate AD797. Other vregs looked OK, but not the lowest noise on the market like LT's 0.8uV one.
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Old 6th April 2017, 02:21 AM   #43
Researcher is offline Researcher  Costa Rica
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Well, seems like nobody was impressed about the SDAC sound quality right out of the box. I'm even starting to believe Oppo doesn't have much faith on it's commercial appeal.

Anyway, was googling today and just found this mod:

Mono and Stereo High-End Audio Magazine: OPPO SONICA DAC MODWRIGHT MODIFICATION

Modwright Instruments/Daniel Wright’s rolled out OPPO Sonica DAC. Transformer coupled in and out. Fully differential circuit, pure Class A, zero negative feedback. Both fully balanced XLR outs and RCA outs.

Latest SABRE DAC, Bluetooth, Wifi, Ethernet, DLNA, Airplay, coax, optical and USB input. Full DSD capability, lossless volume control...l


At least it looks nice
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Old 6th April 2017, 06:51 AM   #44
Dimdim is offline Dimdim  Greece
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Oppo Sonica DAC
I assume that a critical part of the "mod" is drilling 2 *******' holes on the top cover for the tubes to protrude properly..
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Old 11th November 2017, 03:56 AM   #45
academia50 is offline academia50  Argentina
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Hi
I want to leave my opinion to clarify a bit because with so much technical debate, I think it is not clear if the product is good or a garbage. Oppo Sonica is already in my system and it sounds wonderful.
Of course the rest of the chain has to be up to the task, if not, any DAC would be a waste of money. I use valve amplification and large horns cabinets.
And my ears have been pleasantly surprised with a sound similar to the best analog recordings of vinyl I have - including several direct cut - (Crystal Clear, Sheffield) but without their typical and well-known defects. (typical clicks and pops, subsonic frequencies, limited dynamic range, the problem of cartridge alignment, distortion by compression of the last grooves, etc.)
Sonica DAC ends with the critics towards the "hard" sound of the CDs, converts any of them into a piece similar to the best analog sound, has a huge dynamic range, no background noise, reveals many details (which I think do not the best phonographic capsules that have a value of five times the Sonica DAC.) And without taking into account the price of the turntable.
For me, it has been an excellent investment. Great benefits for the money paid. I use streaming with Tidal, and I have the feeling that I just bought the largest phonographic library that I ever thought of owning, for a customary monthly fee. In my opinion, the controversy between analog sound vs. the digital sound no longer makes sense. With these last generation chips, the arguments of the vinyl defenders have been lost. The king is dead, long live the king. Definitely.
For those who need measurements to convince themselves of the great performance of SonicaDac, you can see this link ...
I make it clear that I have no commercial interest in giving these opinions.

Regards

Archimago's Musings: MEASUREMENTS: Oppo Sonica DAC (ESS Sabre ES9038Pro based device)

Oppo Sonica DAC Review - Headfonics.com
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Old 3rd December 2017, 04:56 PM   #46
academia50 is offline academia50  Argentina
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I have tried to publish this in the page of Archimago,

Archimago's Musings: MEASUREMENTS: Oppo Sonica DAC (ESS Sabre ES9038Pro based device)



......as it does not allow it for some reason (I chose the Google account) I transcribe it here.

It seems that nothing is perfect in life, and less in electronics ....


" I have been using Sonica Dac since the beginning of November. I asked my son to buy it at the end of October, when he traveled to the USA. All reviews talked very well about this product, but curiously none mentioned the lack of uninterrupted reproduction .... Well, Oppo's response that they can not assure that this will be solved in the future by means of a firmware update I He has left hard, stupefied! "If you're not happy, give it back?" Simple as that? I live in Argentina, and the shipping cost back to factory, plus the fees that I have already paid to bring it ....? Ohhhh, forget it, friend.
I'm quite disappointed with this design flaw, is anyone in Oppo listening to live recordings? Interrupting them is a heresy, it takes us completely out of the climate achieved.
Archmage, thank you very much for the review, it is very technically complete, but unfortunately it is not enough to compensate for my disappointment. I hope that Oppo will put on his long pants and keep his well-known reputation up to now."
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Old 3rd December 2017, 05:18 PM   #47
Dimdim is offline Dimdim  Greece
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Are you sure that the fault is not in your transport? AFAIK the DAC will just play what it is fed.. if the transport interrupts momentarily the stream during track changes (which I'm guessing is your problem) the DAC can't really do anything about it.
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Old 3rd December 2017, 07:35 PM   #48
academia50 is offline academia50  Argentina
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dimdim View Post
Are you sure that the fault is not in your transport? AFAIK the DAC will just play what it is fed.. if the transport interrupts momentarily the stream during track changes (which I'm guessing is your problem) the DAC can't really do anything about it.
It is not the transport. The gap is in streaming and apparently in some albums played from the storage device connected to the USB input. The latter I must explore. The first thing I have experienced, and unfortunately, it is true.
You can read it in the previous link Archimago's (see reader's answers), and here you have another one:



Oppo Sonica DAC Review - Headfonics.com





Gapless Playback

There are a few limitations with the USB Storage, as well as the DLNA server media delivery and that is chiefly the ability to deliver gapless playback. Right now, the Sonica DAC does not have the ability to stream gapless playback from network storage devices including USB hosted storage devices. There has been a loose commitment to exploring it for future firmware updates but not as yet. Letís hope it can be remedied soon
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Old 26th December 2017, 06:06 PM   #49
raoultrifan is offline raoultrifan  Romania
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Hello,

Seems quite a decently built DAC and I am thinking to get one myself, well, not now...in the next 12 months perhpas, despite Mark's refund.

However, technically speaking, based on Mark's detailed photos:
- I was hoping the switching PSU is used for powering ON/OFF the device and to get the green-energy approval (auto power off to save power), but from the pictures it looks more complicated. However, maybe someone will have time to put a scope inside the Sonica DAC and check if there are some noises induced into main components or not.
- The main power regulators are indeed noisy, so these can probably get replaced with ease by LT equivalent or by discrete devices (though, these regulators are only powering the analog parts, but the opamps are already having a CMRR/PSRR of about 100dB so should not be affected by the noise injected by these regulators).
- ADM7151 regulators are pretty fine for 0.8A regulators, only 1.6uV RMS across 10Hz-100KHz; I assume these are driving the digital part of the ESS chip.
- AZ1117CD-1.2G1 is not perfect with it's 0.003% noise (about 36uV RMS across 10Hz-100KHz for the 1.2V output). This is also looks connected to the ESS9038, so it can probably be easily "upgraded" with better regulators (ADM7155 or something similar from LT).
- Also, the output caps can be upgraded too or just "bypassed" by short-circuit (if there's no DC present on output) just to check if there's any sound improvement. If no improvement can be heard, then it won't worth the upgrade.

Regards,
Raul.

Last edited by raoultrifan; 26th December 2017 at 06:18 PM.
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Old 27th January 2018, 10:42 PM   #50
academia50 is offline academia50  Argentina
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There is no news (solutions) from Oppo for the gapless problem.

I have read something on the web:

The problem would be a bad choice of the components (hardware) related to the decoding when using streaming programs such as Tidal or Spotify.

And then there would be no solution through a firmware update .....

I am very sorry for this, sincerely it is a point against a brand of Oppo's prestige.

I was listening with Tidal the last LP (remastered) of the fabulous four, Abbey Road.
The sound is excellent, with a lot of detail and dynamics, but the interruptions in a work that was intentionally created with fusion between themes, turn to my taste, unbearable.

Maybe some remember how the LP audition ends? In the last song "I want you" she is so charged ", there is a violent interruption of the music!
The Beatles wanted to transmit "Enough, go, I can not stand you anymore" That was the meaning of them, but it seems that Oppo intervened in the same way in many other musical passages on their own, in the same way ... .
Does anyone know anything about the gapless problem? Why is this (technically) irreparable?

I will appreciate any comment
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