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Did anyone try one of these ES9028/ES9038 DAC kits?
Did anyone try one of these ES9028/ES9038 DAC kits?
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Old 3rd April 2018, 09:27 PM   #1
maartn is offline maartn  Netherlands
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Default Did anyone try one of these ES9028/ES9038 DAC kits?

Hi,

I am considering building a DAC and think these from DIYINHK based on ES9028PRO or ES9038PRO look interesting:

ES9028PRO ES9018 32bit Audio DAC PCB - DIYINHK

ES9038PRO XMOS DSD DXD 768kHz USB DAC with Bit-perfect volume control and SPDIF input - DIYINHK

Did anyone ever build and/or listen to one of these? Any experiences to share?

Thanks in advance,
Maartn
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Old 3rd April 2018, 10:25 PM   #2
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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Did anyone try one of these ES9028/ES9038 DAC kits?
Relocated to the correct forum.
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Old 3rd April 2018, 10:34 PM   #3
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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Did anyone try one of these ES9028/ES9038 DAC kits?
I haven't tried any of the current crop of ESS based DAC boards, but there is a thread here about tweaking an inexpensive ES9038Q2M eBay dac PCB.

ES9038Q2M Board

By the time you get the dac installed on one of these boards it's not so cheap. Unfortunately the photographs make it hard to tell how good the PCB design actually is.

The Twisted Pear DAC PCB is expensive but probably a safe bet.

There are also a number of 9038 dacs on eBay that may be worth a look with a view towards further modification.
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Old 13th April 2018, 08:19 PM   #4
maartn is offline maartn  Netherlands
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Thanks for your reply. I decided to take the gamble and order the ES9038 one. Intend to use this thread to document my progress and the result.
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Old 4th May 2018, 06:20 PM   #5
maartn is offline maartn  Netherlands
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The board arrived. See attached detailed pictures. I wanted to verify the opamps used. These are OPA1688 for the balanced outputs and NE5532P for single-ended. Good news because it means that I can definitely use the SilentSwitcher to feed the DAC! I will probably wait for Jan to organise a group buy, in order to avoid high shipping cost from the US.
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Old 5th May 2018, 04:23 AM   #6
Markw4 is offline Markw4  United States
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It would be great if you could sketch out a schematic with some component values. Give us an idea of how they handled some of the design issues. Clock part number, AVCC power design, not just the output stages. Probably the make the pictures much more meaningful.
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Old 6th May 2018, 08:48 AM   #7
maartn is offline maartn  Netherlands
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Here are the specs of some of the main parts I can make out:
- Oscillator is NDK NZ2520SD at 80 MHz
- Caps are Panasonic EEU-FR1E151 (ALUM 150UF 20% 25V RADIAL) and 1uK63 (can't make out the brand or S/N).

On the AVCC power: there are 2 separate connections - one for the left and one for the right channel. In between the power connector and the DAC chip there are a TI LP5907MFX-1.2 regulator, a 150uF cap, a diode marked MDD D7 and a few unmarked SMD caps.

Does this shed more light on the design? Let me know if there are any more interesting characteristics to look out for!
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Old 6th May 2018, 10:35 AM   #8
Markw4 is offline Markw4  United States
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The clock oscillator is a good one classified as low-phase noise assuming you don't get a dud. NDK makes some SDA suffex part number oscillators that they classify as ultra-low phase noise and that are specified down to 1Hz. The one you have looks like it might be their 2nd best type which is still very good, but not specified below 1kHz. There have been some reports of duds with much higher phase noise than most, which is luck of the draw (which NDK can do since the one you have isn't specified all the way down to 10Hz or 1Hz). Don't know if it is still an issue or not.

The 1.2 volt supplies aren't too critical, although they should be decoupled very close to the pins.

AVCC supplies are 3.3v, one for each side, as you say. Those are super-critical analog supplies for good sound quality and need to be separate from digital and clock power supplies.

You should use very high quality linear power supplies to power the board. Also, use fast turn off, soft-recovery rectifiers for the power supplies. Best to avoid switching power supplies because they tend to produce HF and RF junk that can get into the DAC electronics and cause ugly distortion. You might not know you even have a problem unless you have measurement equipment and or a very good reference DAC and amp to compare performance with (assuming very good switchers, for many switchers the issues are much more audible and it is much easier to know something is wrong, but it may not be obvious what exactly needs fixing).

One thing you might want to try with this DAC when you get it assembled is upsampling the digital input sample rate. If you use the SPDIF digital input on the DAC it is easy to do and would probably help with SQ (as I keep describing over in the ES9038Q2M thread). Choice of reconstruction filter may also vary depending on if upsampling is used or not. Reconstruction filters are still a problem with most DACs in that the filters do have audible effects, which they should not. Ideally, we are only supposed to hear the music, not the filter.

Last edited by Markw4; 6th May 2018 at 10:38 AM.
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Old 18th May 2018, 06:54 AM   #9
commstech is offline commstech  Singapore
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pops at the start of every DSD tracks.
PCM streaming is ok.
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Old 20th May 2018, 08:56 PM   #10
maartn is offline maartn  Netherlands
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I currently don’t have any DSD content, so shouldn’t be a problem. Any other findings/advice on building it? What power supply, digital interface etc. do you use?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Markw4 View Post
The clock oscillator ...
Thanks, Mark, for the insights and advice. For the power supply I was planning to use the SilentSwitcher -described elsewhere on this forum. What is the reason they the AVCC power supply needs to be separated from the other 3.3V connections?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Markw4 View Post
One thing you might want to try with this DAC when you get it assembled is upsampling the digital input sample rate.
I am planning to use the I2S input. Does your suggestion on upsampling apply in that case?

I soldered the board together. The only thing to mention is that with this particular kit less JST connectors are delivered than the board has room for. So you have to decide upfront where to use them - or buy some separately.
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