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Cheap SA9027 + ES9023 (or PCM5102) DAC, anyone try?
Cheap SA9027 + ES9023 (or PCM5102) DAC, anyone try?
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Old 20th January 2016, 03:30 AM   #1
magman is offline magman  Lithuania
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Kaunas
Default Cheap SA9027 + ES9023 (or PCM5102) DAC, anyone try?

Hello,

I'm looking for inexpensive dac. Found this
SA9027 ES9023 24bit 96kHz Asynchronous USB DAC HiFi Sound Decoder with Case | eBay
And DA3 SA9227 PCM5102A 32bit 384kHz USB DAC HiFi Asynchronous Decoder Case | eBay

They look like same but only dac chip is diferent. which one is better?

Another option is to make AMB "gamma2" dac and feed i2s with something like whis: WL High End CM6631A 7 Pin USB Daughter Card Free Shipping 1504A | eBay instead of 60$ AMB "asynchronous USB-IS module".

+use external power supply.

Any advice?
Thank you
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Old 28th March 2016, 06:21 PM   #2
sharpi31 is offline sharpi31  United Kingdom
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Join Date: Oct 2005
I bought the DA3 (SA9227 with PCM5102A) and this is working fine with Windows (with Savi driver) and RPi running Volumio. I haven't opened it up yet but believe this is the PCB:
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Old 28th March 2016, 06:25 PM   #3
sharpi31 is offline sharpi31  United Kingdom
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Join Date: Oct 2005
The 10uF electrolytics appear to be output coupling caps, and if so these can be removed/bypassed. After that I will check the capacitance before and after the AMS1117 regs, and add/replace if need be. I'd be keen to try a lower noise alternative to the AMS1117 but haven't yet identified the best option. I'm not going to spend any significant money, and am keen to keep everything within the existing case. Basic tweaks where these can make a difference.
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Old 30th March 2016, 03:39 PM   #4
sharpi31 is offline sharpi31  United Kingdom
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The 10uF caps were output coupling, so have been removed. I measured approx 12uF on the output of each AMS1117 reg, and also 12uF on the USB 5V connected to the 2x AMS1117 inputs. As a first pass I added 100uF from input to ground at each AMS1117. No change to reg output caps.

When I first listened to the DAC (before mods) it didn't have any obvious problems. It sounded nice - maybe a bit less HF and punchier in the bass than the ES9023 I2S RPi DAC I'd been using beforehand. There was a very slight texture to the sound (not roughness, but heading in that direction) but nothing overtly unpleasant.

I've listened for approx 10mins since doing the mods detailed above. The slight roughness has gone and the HF is more open. There is an increase in depth. Pretty much what I'd expect after removing un-biased electrolytic coupling caps (so quite possibly a psychological element going on!).
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Old 1st April 2016, 02:05 PM   #5
magman is offline magman  Lithuania
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Kaunas
Hello, thanks for reply. I purchased diyinhk es9018k2m dac. And now making better output stage and power supply for it
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Old 5th April 2016, 08:44 AM   #6
Alexium is offline Alexium  Ukraine
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I'm going to buy the same DAC (but a couple bucks cheaper on Aliexpress). Two questions:
1. Don't you think those decoupling caps were necessary? Did you measure DC offset on the outputs?
2. Can you compare the sound quality to other, more thoroughly designed DACs with current output? Like PCM 1794?
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Old 5th April 2016, 09:04 PM   #7
sharpi31 is offline sharpi31  United Kingdom
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Join Date: Oct 2005
No need for output coupling caps with the PCM5102A - I've just measured +0.3mV DC on both L & R outputs.

The best DAC I have up and running right now is the SMSL M8 (ES9018K2M). I haven't done a proper comparison, but will do soon. I have a Buffalo IIISE almost completed too, so that will be a good standard for comparison. That will be used in voltage output mode into my TVC preamp.

All I can say for now is that the DA3 isn't doing anything obviously wrong (no audible noise, distortion, sibilance etc.) and has good dynamics and bass weight. Mids and top are cleaner and clearer since my mods.

I'm sure (hope?) I'll notice more when I do a proper side by side comparison with the SMSL and Buffalo. Having said that I'd be surprised if the differences were dramatic. Whether it's my hearing getting worse or budget DACs getting better (most likely both) I've not heard as much difference between DACs in recent years.
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Old 6th April 2016, 10:07 PM   #8
Jensen567 is offline Jensen567  United States
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Thought I might chime in as I recently purchased the bare PCB version with the PCM5102 (no real reason for that over the ESS other than I have a Ti bias).

SA9227 PCM5102A 32bit 384kHz USB DAC HiFi Asynchronous Decoder | eBay

I bought it mostly to play around with the SA9227 as I would like to use that chip in an upcoming project if possible. Still need to try to find some more info on how to program the chip, may be a proprietary tool to volume customers only. Anyway, that doesn't matter here, so back on topic.

I like the board, sound is very good, doesn't seem to add much if any color to the sound. No hiss or any other noise to speak of when it is powered but not playing anything which is better than I can say for some other cheap DACs I have tried.

I actually like it so much that I plan to embed this board into an APPJ PA1502 Tube headphone amplifier I have so I can play straight from USB when I am done probing at its chips

For comparison, my "daily driver" DAC which gets the most use is an Audiotrak Dr.DAC3

http://audiotrack.net/en/index.php?d...empt=1&mid=dac

The Dr.DAC3 contains a VIA VT1731 USB controller and a PCM1794 DAC connected to a TPA6120 headphone amplifier.

The Dr.DAC is definitely a bit clearer and cleaner, but it also costs 10x as much, and I have not modded my SA9227 board at all, just installed the driver in Win 10 and have listened for probably 12 hours over the past few days since I got it. Would recommend if you don't want to spend a bunch of money but still want a quality DAC.

Most of my listening is done with headphones, AKG K7XX, through the TPA6120 in the Dr.DAC (I am using the RCA input directly to the amplifier to test the SA9227 board). Some of the listening was done with my tube amps (same headphones), again the SA9227 board was mostly transparent here, comparable to using them with the RCA outputs on the Dr.DAC which bypass the amplifier.
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Old 1st May 2016, 08:24 PM   #9
cph2000 is offline cph2000  Denmark
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: San Diego
Quote:
Originally Posted by sharpi31 View Post
The 10uF caps were output coupling, so have been removed. I measured approx 12uF on the output of each AMS1117 reg, and also 12uF on the USB 5V connected to the 2x AMS1117 inputs. As a first pass I added 100uF from input to ground at each AMS1117. No change to reg output caps.

When I first listened to the DAC (before mods) it didn't have any obvious problems. It sounded nice - maybe a bit less HF and punchier in the bass than the ES9023 I2S RPi DAC I'd been using beforehand. There was a very slight texture to the sound (not roughness, but heading in that direction) but nothing overtly unpleasant.

I've listened for approx 10mins since doing the mods detailed above. The slight roughness has gone and the HF is more open. There is an increase in depth. Pretty much what I'd expect after removing un-biased electrolytic coupling caps (so quite possibly a psychological element going on!).
Are you sure that 10uF are in series with output? I would have thought they are between Analog VDD and analog GND?
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Old 2nd May 2016, 03:56 PM   #10
sharpi31 is offline sharpi31  United Kingdom
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Definitely output coupling. Power supply caps are all SMD. I replaced the 10uf electrolytics with a wire, and all still works (had they been PSU caps I'd have shorted the regs and had no voltage for the chips, so no music).
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