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Chinese ES9018K2M I2S DAC
Chinese ES9018K2M I2S DAC
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Old 29th September 2016, 11:29 PM   #1
hpereira is offline hpereira  Portugal
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Default Chinese ES9018K2M I2S DAC

Hi all.

I bought this DAC from aliexpress.

I connected a 12V DC power source and also connected the I2S lines and GND to a Raspberry Pi 3 with Volumio. In playback options I selected Generic I2S DAC as the DAC model. After this, I get sound in my speakers, however it comes with a lot of noise, that makes it impossible to actually hear the music.

Does any one else also has this DAC? What can be done to remove the noise?

Thanks.

P.S: I'm using a breadboard to connect the I2S cable through jumper cables to the Pi. I do realize that this is not the best option, but I do doubt that this is what's making the noise.
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Old 30th September 2016, 08:36 AM   #2
hpereira is offline hpereira  Portugal
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Just to add some additional information to the original post. I managed to get the DAC to work without producing noise if I either use 24bit/96KHz sources or if I resample my FLAC files to 48KHz or its multiples.

Any thoughts?
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Old 30th September 2016, 02:46 PM   #3
adrian311 is offline adrian311  United Kingdom
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Default Similar experience

Hi - I have also bought one of these on eBay. I use various Rasberry Pis, and use Moode (v2.7) as the software with this DAC set as the basic RPI-DAC through i2s. If you look on the Moode thread, you will see comments on the same problems you found. The consensus seems to be that unless we get an open source driver from ESS suitable for this chip, then we will be limited in using or unable to use the 9018k2m features (hardware volume control, programmable filters, higher bit rates, DSD, etc). I currently get very good sound on 24/96, but it is very frustrating that we cannot access the other features. Regards Adrian
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Old 1st October 2016, 10:06 PM   #4
DRONE7 is offline DRONE7  New Zealand
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Hi - I have also bought two of these on eBay. I use both Rasberry Pi B and 2B, and Moode (v2.7) with this DAC set as the basic RPI-DAC through i2s.
It plays fine and without noise or distortions on radio streams and Flac files through to 192/24 . 44.1/16 gives no trouble.

Possible your wiring is the first thing to try... check and post your connection and pins.
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Old 3rd October 2016, 07:50 PM   #5
adrian311 is offline adrian311  United Kingdom
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Hi all - I also get it to play all up to 192/24 with no problems now. Most of my material is 96/24 and I'm more than happy with the sound quality. The question is around the extra features of this chip and how to access them -e.g. bit perfect hardware volume control, playback of DSD, selectable filters.... I'm most interested in the volume control, since I like to use the RPi with Dac as a headless "pre-amp" straight into one of my power amps. Any ideas or progress here? Adrian
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Old 3rd October 2016, 09:11 PM   #6
Greg Erskine is offline Greg Erskine  Australia
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Chinese ES9018K2M I2S DAC
Quote:
Originally Posted by adrian311 View Post
The question is around the extra features of this chip and how to access them -e.g. bit perfect hardware volume control, playback of DSD, selectable filters.... I'm most interested in the volume control, since I like to use the RPi with Dac as a headless "pre-amp" straight into one of my power amps. Any ideas or progress here? Adrian
Hi Adrian,

You need the proper driver for the ES9018K2M. Using the generic I2S driver means the ES9018K2M is just working in hardware mode. ESS will not allow open source drivers to be made available so you are unlikely to find one in the usual Linux distributions. ESS force developers to sign a NDA so they can't even discuss technical details openly. The hardware developer should be supplying the proper driver assuming they have gone through proper ESS processes.

regards
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Old 3rd October 2016, 09:14 PM   #7
hpereira is offline hpereira  Portugal
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Erskine View Post
Hi Adrian,

You need the proper driver for the ES9018K2M. Using the generic I2S driver means the ES9018K2M is just working in hardware mode. ESS will not allow open source drivers to be made available so you are unlikely to find one in the usual Linux distributions. ESS force developers to sign a NDA so they can't even discuss technical details openly. The hardware developer should be supplying the proper driver assuming they have gone through proper ESS processes.

regards
I think the main problem with these Chinese DACs is that the I2C lines are not exposed, so you have no way of programming the internal registers to actually fully control the DAC. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.
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Old 20th January 2017, 09:56 AM   #8
Salar is offline Salar  Germany
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Simple question - the DAC definately uses the classical Philips I2S-Format?
I am asking because the "II2S" pin description

in the dac mentioned by the thread starter

uses Sony-terminology:
LRCK / BCK / DATA, those data lines can be found in the majority of
all japanese players.I remember this from the times when I provided digital out
to first / second gen. japamese players (Sony/Nakamichi/Toshiba)

I2S uses
Continious Serial Clock (SCK)
Word Select (WS)
Serial Data (SD)
Maybe the same is meant.

Reason why I am asking:
I would like to use the DAC in a cassical Philips player...
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Old 21st January 2017, 09:04 PM   #9
TazBox is offline TazBox
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Hi,

I also bought this DAC but I recommend avoiding it. It's a cheap chinese knock off with serious design flaws:

- there is no input regulator (at least a LM317). The two transistors are a joke. The noise from the power supply goes directly in the op amp.
- there is no bipolar power supply.
- the voltage for the digital part of the DAC is 5V which is too much for the DAC. Most likely it's a buggy / faulty ES9018K2M batch. Replacing the 5V LDO with a real TLV1117 (3.3V version from TI) makes things even worse for the digital side. The I2S input signal is very sensitive to wire capacitance and the playback stops from time to time.
- the small "Nichicon" capacitors (most likely fake ones) used for headphones and line out coupling are rated at only 6.3V ... this is too low if you use the DAC with 12V input.
- the DAC is used in voltage output mode instead of current output mode (that provides the best performance for this DAC). The op amp implements a differential multiple feedback low pass filter with a gain of 1.3.
- the crystal oscillator goes very hot.
- the sound is very loud in a 33 ohm headphones but also very distorted especially for low frequencies.

Instead of buying this crappy board you'd better save the money for something better.

I really wait to see a decent ES9018K2M implementation ... but it's not the case for this DAC.

Last edited by TazBox; 21st January 2017 at 09:17 PM.
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Old 21st January 2017, 09:54 PM   #10
peufeu is offline peufeu  France
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How do you know it's even an ES9018K2M chip inside?

I mean, if the I2C isn't wired, how would you know? Pick up any DAC chip that failed testing in a fab dumpster, stuff it inside a QFN package and voilą! Counterfeit ES9018...
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