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Oppo Sonica DAC
Oppo Sonica DAC
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Old 4th November 2018, 06:07 PM   #91
Coris is offline Coris  Norway
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Oppo Sonica DAC
I agree, a very stupid design, when using both ESS9018 and 9038Pro chips. In Oppo players two of the DAC chip output pairs are wasted for headphone. Even more stupid in Sonica, the two channel pairs are just grounded and not mapped by software (firmware).
A possible explanation of this design in case of Sonica (as mentioned above in wealas post), is that the ESS9038Pro it need a particularly analog output circuit. This new design didn`t want Oppo to design, or they did not know how to do it. So they used the same old circuit, since 105 model.... Bad!
However, this old circuit it can be adapted to receive two of the ESS9038Pro channel pairs (paralleled). I did this experiment with good results. Maybe Oppo didn`t...
So, in Sonica they could map two and two channel pairs, one pair for XLR and the second pair for RCA. They chosen to ground it...

Unifying the two channel pairs either for 9018, or 9038Pro, I do currently (as standard) in my mods. Then I connect my output module to the unified differential channels, and this module it then split the DAC analogue out to XLR and RCA. I do it the same for Sonica a s well.
Unifying the DAC output channels is quite simple: just connect together DAC-A outputs in between, and DAC-B together as well.
Well, the further original circuits have to be modified a little bit to fit with the two output channels paralleled... If the original analogue post DAC circuits are used with paralleled DAC outputs, a decision about either XLR or RCA out have to be also taken.
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Old 4th November 2018, 07:50 PM   #92
wealas is offline wealas
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If you can find the i2c lines to the DAC chip you can probably use a small arduino module to change the channel mappings after the factory controller configures the chip. Might have to monitor the i2c line state to determine when the factory controller is not talking to the chip or just try few times until you get it to change.
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Old 4th November 2018, 09:23 PM   #93
Coris is offline Coris  Norway
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Oppo Sonica DAC
Well, of course there are solutions to fix this. Going into the firmware it may be a tremendous work... And I am not quite familiar with such things. And in the end one should flash the custom firmware to make it work this fix...
However, it works very well the Oppo`s handicapped ESS9038Pro chips, with only two paralleled channels... If they will come back in business, they may supposedly do things better...

Last edited by Coris; 4th November 2018 at 09:26 PM.
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Old 8th November 2018, 10:55 AM   #94
Coris is offline Coris  Norway
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Oppo Sonica DAC
Default My fully upgraded Sonica...

New and fully linear power supply, clock board battery powered, improved DAC power system, and the fully differential (OPA1632 based) output module for both RCA and XLR out (the two available DAC output pairs are tied together). Also some improvements on USB input board. WiFi/Bluetooth module is dismissed in this device.

New clock system it use two SAW oscillators (54Mhz divided for 27Mhz digital clock, and 100Mhz clock for DAC chip.
Very surprisingly the clock system upgrade it is decisive for the final touch in sound quality improvement. I did it this clock replacement in the end, after all upgrades it were in place. Lifting in sound quality after replacing the DAC oscillator, it is obvious.
How it sound all this? Over all expectations...

P.S. The picture hereby it was taken with the device in function. Therefore are placed the small heatsinks on the LPS regulators. Else, the LPS heatsink it will be the cover of the enclosure (thermal contact by thermal pads).
Attached Images
File Type: jpg SonicaDAC full upgrade.jpg (352.5 KB, 64 views)
File Type: jpg Sonica Upgraded.jpg (289.8 KB, 64 views)

Last edited by Coris; 8th November 2018 at 11:07 AM.
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Old 10th November 2018, 02:06 PM   #95
beeppeep61 is offline beeppeep61  Italy
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Hi Coris, having already modified the power supplies with low noise modules, I'm very interested in your differential output module XLR-RCA. Are you able to sell (and at what price) this module in assembly kit or preassembled ?? Can you please anticipate an assembly scheme with the modifications to be performed on the SONICA ?? Thank you so much
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Old 10th November 2018, 03:55 PM   #96
Coris is offline Coris  Norway
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Oppo Sonica DAC
Quote:
Originally Posted by beeppeep61 View Post
Hi Coris, having already modified the power supplies with low noise modules, I'm very interested in your differential output module XLR-RCA. Are you able to sell (and at what price) this module in assembly kit or preassembled ?? Can you please anticipate an assembly scheme with the modifications to be performed on the SONICA ?? Thank you so much
You have a PM.
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