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Old 7th April 2015, 01:07 AM   #1
TomFord is offline TomFord  United States
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Mar 2015
Default ESS 9018 chip

Hello All,

Have any of you integrated the best DAC available in the ESS 9018s into your equipment?

Would love to have the DAC handling the audio on my system. Just not too keen on spending over 1k to do so. Especially since I've seen two of the chips available for $90

Also, wold there be any benefits of running more than 1 in a system? Or is it able to process 7.1 or 9.1 channels?

Appreciate any advice. Would really like to see this great piece of tech in more systems
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Old 7th April 2015, 03:03 AM   #2
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Raleigh
Hi Tom
I really enjoy my Twisted Pear Buffalo2 DAC. It uses ESS 9018 in stereo with the 8 channels paralleled to 4x4. The have various options for output stage, power supplies, clock, other options. I use Legato discreet I/V output stage powered by Placid Bipolar PS, it is a really great sound. Clean clear, ballsy, perfect tone on everything.

I use SPDIF input now, but I recently built a Buffalo DAC for a friend with DIYINHK USB input, and that made a big improvement over the SPDIF input, so I will be adding USB input in the future.

The latest version Buffalo3 can be configured as 8 channel DAC.

I think you can build a very good Buffalo DAC for <1000, especially a stereo version. Of course you could spend more, like Amenero USB input with Cronus clock, external regulators for the Buffalo, but it is still a good value.

No affiliation with TPA.

There are also other 9018 diy DACs available for even less money, like
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