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ES9038Q2M Board
ES9038Q2M Board
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Old 24th April 2018, 02:42 AM   #801
DPH is offline DPH  United States
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Yes, easily, replace the standard buffer with any of the recommended i/v circuits and a +/-15 v supply to start.
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Happy DIYing, Daniel
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Old 24th April 2018, 04:57 AM   #802
Markw4 is offline Markw4  United States
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@keilau, I read good reports and good measurements of DACMagic+ too. They go for around $350. If the group delay doesn't bother you maybe they are okay. The wah-wah-pedal type phase swish as instruments change pitch was a no-way for me (return label was on it within a couple hours of my first opening the box), but maybe you don't mind or wouldn't notice the same issue. How people hear seems to vary wildly, not in frequency response (for normal hearing), but in terms of other factors some of which may come only with training and practice.

Maybe even a better option, our friend cdsgames and his company, Allo, is in the process of coming out with a new Katana DAC based on ES9038Q2M. The are expected to sell for around $250, I think. They run on Rasberry Pi, again, I think. There is another thread for Allo somewhere in forum, maybe the Vendor's Bazaar section if you may have an interest.
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Old 24th April 2018, 05:07 AM   #803
Markw4 is offline Markw4  United States
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Also, I agree with DPH that you can start improving this Chinese DAC at the output stage, and with high-quality low-noise incoming power.

I would go a step more and say you could improve it again and again as you become more accustomed to the better sound, assuming you have left sufficient room in the case to do so. Pretty sure I am the only one besides cdsgames with personal experience as to exactly how good they can sound at their best or very close to it. If you look at his posts scattered around this thread you can get his opinion. Also, the folks at Allo used AP test equipment to measure their results, if that is important to you.
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Old 24th April 2018, 05:20 AM   #804
Markw4 is offline Markw4  United States
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Maybe I will offer one more bit of commentary. Sometimes people may get the impression a DAC such as this one is weak on bass. Unless there are excessively small coupling caps in the circuit it may not be due to a lack of bass but rather to an excess of low-level distortion. Sometimes some distortion can merely make something sound a bit bright and clear, or as most people seem to hear it, as lacking bass. One's first thought might be that EQ or tone controls sound like they would fix it just fine. In my experience, not so. Tone controls or EQ can make it sound better, but never right since the problem is not being caused by EQ in the first place. High frequency (HF) power supply noise can cause the exact same symptom perceptually speaking. Especially switching power supplies anywhere in the power chain.

That's all I wanted to say. Hard-won lessons your's for nothing. I won't go into all the supporting details, it would take too long.
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Old 24th April 2018, 08:35 AM   #805
eziitis is offline eziitis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JensH View Post
I measured -74.5dB or 0.02% as documented here.
I got my ES9038q2m v1.7 board yesterday and can confirm that unmodified it delivers about -74db THD at 0db. It was a bit better, sort of -80db with digital volume down to -15db. So it requires a decent I/V stage to be added, otherwise there is no point to listen such a DAC.
As a ES9038q2m reference (and as a current headphone amp) I have ProJect Pre Box S2 ( Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital: MQA HW decoding at reasonable cost - Page 30 - DAC - Digital to Analog Conversion - Computer Audiophile ) which I believe represents very much what can be delivered by such a mobile chip. Let see how much can be squeezed out of that SMPCB board intended now for a network streamer with RPI3.
Concerning other e-bay boards I think less mods will require an ES9028PRO board. Just some filtering of AVCC after LT1963 regulators, reduced gain for I/V and increased for filter. Everything else could be left at stock and SQ is pretty good. Perhaps also op amps with higher current output can be considered. With ES9038PRO again total rework of I/V is inevitable.

Last edited by eziitis; 24th April 2018 at 08:40 AM.
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Old 24th April 2018, 08:56 AM   #806
Markw4 is offline Markw4  United States
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The Project-Pre S2 looks like an interesting box. Some info here: http://www.box-designs.com/inhalt/en...xs2digital.pdf
Looks like what they did with the clocking is what cdsgames said sounds best and what I am about to try here.

It looks like S2 users may have had some issues with firmware and to some extent EMI/RFI sensitivity. No surprise here on the latter.

Not sure why more don't catch onto the benefits of upsampling. Benchmark and Crane Song got that part right but some others seem to miss it, IMHO, of course. Although I gave a rationale for doing it I am not sure that is the only reason.
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Old 24th April 2018, 11:41 AM   #807
Markw4 is offline Markw4  United States
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Looks like Twisted Pear started testing 'master mode I2S' for Buffalo DACs about ten days ago. Everybody is saying it is an improvement: http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/vendo...ml#post5414388

Of course, everybody may have their own way of doing it. Since I am starting with a Chinese DAC and trying to interface with an SRC4392 it results in its own set of issues. Also, since I can't or am not trying to sync a USB-to-I2S converter clock with the DAC clock maybe that would give a different result as well. WIP photo below.
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File Type: jpg MasterModeI2SSetup3.jpg (99.8 KB, 494 views)
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Old 24th April 2018, 12:10 PM   #808
cdsgames is offline cdsgames  Canada
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eziitis View Post
I have ProJect Pre Box S2 ( Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital: MQA HW decoding at reasonable cost - Page 30 - DAC - Digital to Analog Conversion - Computer Audiophile ) which I believe represents very much what can be delivered by such a mobile chip. Let see how much can be squeezed out of that SMPCB board intended now for a network streamer with RPI3.
I dont agree. ess9038q2m can sound really , really great . Project s2 and topping d50 are text book implementations of the EVM board (sabre). Problem is , EVM design concentrates on good THD+N numbers. All of us DIYers know that those numbers , while important ,don't correlate entirely to SQ.
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Old 24th April 2018, 01:13 PM   #809
keilau is offline keilau  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Markw4 View Post
Maybe I will offer one more bit of commentary. Sometimes people may get the impression a DAC such as this one is weak on bass. Unless there are excessively small coupling caps in the circuit it may not be due to a lack of bass but rather to an excess of low-level distortion. Sometimes some distortion can merely make something sound a bit bright and clear, or as most people seem to hear it, as lacking bass. One's first thought might be that EQ or tone controls sound like they would fix it just fine. In my experience, not so. Tone controls or EQ can make it sound better, but never right since the problem is not being caused by EQ in the first place. High frequency (HF) power supply noise can cause the exact same symptom perceptually speaking. Especially switching power supplies anywhere in the power chain.

That's all I wanted to say. Hard-won lessons your's for nothing. I won't go into all the supporting details, it would take too long.
Markw4, thank you for taking the time to write to me directly. I have much to learn about digital DAC and your input is greatly appreciated. For my purpose, I do not expect the cable box or Blu-Ray player to provide high quality input. May be the I/V output upgrade and the +/- 15 volts supply is good enough for now.

For my main audio system, the DAC function was performed by a Rotel RSP-1570 until recently. I used a Tainyun Zero for the computer sound. This ES9038Q2M is my first DIY DAC project. I looked at all the commercial boxes, including the Topping, Pro-Ject and SMAL using the ES9038Q2M chip, but the draw of DIY is too strong for me. The goal is modest, but should be an improvement over the analogue output of the video sources.
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Old 24th April 2018, 01:14 PM   #810
terry22 is offline terry22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Markw4 View Post
I put a Chrystek 575 clock in my Chinese DAC and sure enough, it made as big a difference as any of the other big differences, such as going from voltage to current modes, regulating AVCC as ESS recommends, getting the analog circuits off the digital power, etc.
Hi Mark,
is the Chrystek 575 clock the same size as the original clock?
If it is not, how did you connect it to the board?
thank you
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