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ESS Sabre Reference DAC (8-channel)
ESS Sabre Reference DAC (8-channel)
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Old 24th February 2008, 01:20 AM   #61
Dougie085 is offline Dougie085  United States
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I'm wondering what the likelyhood is that someone will make a PCB for this dac as I'd really love to build one. I was thinking of trying but I really know nothing about designing a DAC. Be happy to beta test though.
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Old 24th February 2008, 02:24 AM   #62
rossl is offline rossl  United States
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I will be designing a PCB for the Sabre8 DAC chip. The schematic is still in progress. Getting a nice box is also an obstacle.

I wonder if those twisted pear guys ever do a group buy on some DAC boxes???

I am still working on the PIC microcontroller. Right now, every time I power down the DAC demo board box, when I turn it back on I have to configure it through the USB port before I get any sound.

I could rewire it so the Wolfson board sends SPDIF to the Sabre8 demo board and I wouldn't need the USB configure. But then I will be limited to some defaults, and the input would be 96K max with the master clock I have in the box. The way it is right now with the Wolfson board sending I2S, it will receive 192K data.

When I finish the PIC micro with the I2C controller, it will boot up and configure the Sabre8 chip and we won't need the USB port any more.
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Old 24th February 2008, 03:03 AM   #63
dusfor99 is offline dusfor99  Canada
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Hi Ross,

Wow looks like you really did a good job!. I was wondering if you could give your overall opinion of the Sabre DAC as you have it now compared to other DAC's you have worked with. You are the first to seriously do something with this part and I am curios to what you think.

Dustin
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Old 24th February 2008, 03:51 AM   #64
rossl is offline rossl  United States
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Hi Dustin,

I am really impressed with the sound. The ASRC function sounds much cleaner than the Cirrus Logic or TI implementations that I have experimented with.

Overall, the Sabre8 as I have it right now sounds better than the Anagram DAC. It is a very detailed sound and is neutral. The problem with op-amp IV converters and op-amp output stages is that the op-amps have a sound of their own. Transformers have a sound too, but the effects sound very neutral to my ears. The THD distortions do not sound "digital".

Neutral is good.

My Camelot DAC with the Anagram module is now being stored in the parts cabinet. I thought it was great a few years ago, but now technology has passed it by.

I wish I could get your managment to reconsider on the decision to not sell the ASRC chip. Your ES1204 does sound better than the Cirrus CS8421 ASRC chip. I think there is a market for the chip.

By the way. I discovered that by using the Wolfson WM8804 SPDIF receiver in front of your "A" revision ES1204, it fixes most of the locking problems and it sounds very good.
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Old 24th February 2008, 01:58 PM   #65
Spartacus is offline Spartacus  United Kingdom
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Hi Ross,

Enjoyed reading about your experiments. Can you tell me what sort of output the DAC has? I.E. current or valtage, balanced or SE? Does it put out much ultrasonic noise? Drive capabilities?

Thanks.
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Old 24th February 2008, 02:05 PM   #66
rossl is offline rossl  United States
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Hi Spartacus

In post #15 of this thread there are links to some articles about the Sabre.

The White Paper on the ESS website gives a detailed explanation of the part. You can find it here along with the schematic of the demo board:

http://www.esstech.com/techsupp/drivers.shtm
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Old 24th February 2008, 02:39 PM   #67
hirez69 is offline hirez69  Europe
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Default Where to buy

Someone may indicate where to buy the ESS Sabre Demo Board?

Thanks!
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Old 24th February 2008, 04:37 PM   #68
Russ White is offline Russ White  United States
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The biggest problem I am facing, is that this chip, for now at least, seems to be made of unobtainium.

Calls to ESS and pleas to purchase samples have been ineffective so far.

I already have a PCB laid out for the chip, but it does me no good without the chip.

So until I find you can actually get these things on something other than the demo board, I am not going to waste any more time with it.

Also it won't do me (or other DIY folks) any good if the only way to get them is in qty >= 1K.

Cheers!
Russ
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Old 24th February 2008, 05:10 PM   #69
Dougie085 is offline Dougie085  United States
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We'd have to to do a semi large scale group buy at that qty for sure. And even then everytime someone wanted to build this DAC there would have to be some sort of group buy involved. Maybe Dustin can find something out for us?
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Old 24th February 2008, 06:13 PM   #70
kuroguy is offline kuroguy  Germany
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Generally speaking, when a commercial manufacturer comes into a forum and asks for input, they usually give something back in return. On other forums manufacturers give up much more expensive items such as entire computers. Buffalo Technology has given out thousands of dollars of product as well as Nokia, just to name a few. Don't get me wrong here. I'm not looking for handouts, but if you are going to make money off our information, the least you could do is donate a couple dozen chips.
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