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Modding an HiFimeDIY ES9018k2M DAC
Modding an HiFimeDIY ES9018k2M DAC
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Old 7th February 2018, 05:54 PM   #1
Salar is offline Salar  Germany
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Default Modding an HiFimeDIY ES9018k2M DAC

Bought one of these recently:
Hifime SPDIF Optical DAC (ES9018K2M)
I hooked it on a TPS7A4700 Power supply, the Dac is dead silent.
But compared to any other Dac or player I own the 9018DAC misses warmth, i.e presence in the lower mids.
The combination in this DAC with Sabre ES9018k2M and 9601 headphone/line out driver seems to be very common.
Any way to mod this DAC to get back some warmth?
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Old 7th February 2018, 06:52 PM   #2
TNT is offline TNT  Sweden
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Some warmth disappears when distortion goes out. Find the balance by tweaking your loudspeakers (or others) and you will in the ended be greatly rewarded. There are more references about this - here is one I think makes sense.... How to Make a Track Sound 'Warm' and 5 Other Confusing Audio Terms, Explained

A system is a balance act. Never will I weigh up something by adding distorsion - I just don't believe in that if you have high goals.

Then again... harsness and coldness could also be dist.

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Old 7th February 2018, 07:14 PM   #3
Salar is offline Salar  Germany
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Hm- this definately means that my Twistepear Buffalo ES9018 Dac, Sony CDP-X5000, Sony Za5ES or and even the Sony CDP-101 I compared the HiFimediy-Dac to are all distorting? I donīt think so...
With the CDP-101 I think the goals are not high at all...
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Old 1st March 2018, 09:44 AM   #4
Salar is offline Salar  Germany
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No Ideas? Looks like there is not much to mod. As for the electrolytic apacitors,there is only 2 for the USB input and one between a
regulatorīs Output and the Sabre 9601 lineout/phone driver.
No data available if there is dedicted outputs for each prurpose.
If this highly integrated combo of DAC and preamp really sonnds as thin as it does against several dacs from several generations, Ess Technology did something essentially wrong...

BTW I am not using USB but a low noise power supply.
I would also like to know if the ES9018K2M has also current output (I doubt) to use/test it with a better output stage...?
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Old 2nd March 2018, 12:29 AM   #5
abraxalito is offline abraxalito  United Kingdom
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In my experience the ES9018K2M doesn't have completely natural timbre. Go for a multibit DAC with discrete output stage (or transformer) for warmth.

As far as I'm aware, you can use either a low impedance input (current mode) or high impedance stage following the DAC chip. Internally its just a bunch of resistors between the reference supply and GND.
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