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New ESS ES9018 eBay - Opinions?
New ESS ES9018 eBay - Opinions?
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Old 3rd October 2015, 08:30 PM   #1
redjr is offline redjr  United States
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Default New ESS ES9018 eBay - Opinions?

I'm starting to look at building a new DAC and want to step up to the ESS brand, or other quality kit. I've found this unit on ebay (pics below) and was wondering if it's a good starting point. I need a board that I can use out of the box, as it will possibly be integrated into another pre, so I'm not inclined to want to upgrade parts or otherwise tweak it. I would like it to have excellent sound for an above-average audio system, but not necessarily audiophile quality. Cost is an object! It needs to be reliable and simply, just work. I recent had a bad experience with AK4399 based board so that project got shelved - for the time being.

If you have other DAC kits you can suggest I'm open to all ready-made (assembled) DIY solutions. Whatever solution I end up with it needs to handle 384k, DSD sources and have a display.

Thanks -
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File Type: jpg ESS E9018 Picture.jpg (153.1 KB, 477 views)
File Type: jpg ESS E9018 Picture 2.jpg (186.1 KB, 471 views)
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Old 3rd October 2015, 08:44 PM   #2
billshurv is offline billshurv  United Kingdom
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New ESS ES9018 eBay - Opinions?
Can't tell much from a picture but 'seems' a very long way from the DAC to the I/V converter which would worry me. Seems the layout is more to allow people to op-amp roll rather than to give high performance.

But $170 might be worth a punt.
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Old 4th October 2015, 01:38 AM   #3
scott wurcer is online now scott wurcer  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billshurv View Post
Can't tell much from a picture but 'seems' a very long way from the DAC to the I/V converter which would worry me. Seems the layout is more to allow people to op-amp roll rather than to give high performance.

But $170 might be worth a punt.
By the listing not all necessary components are included? It is funny after all the DAC issues and high quality clocks they still want to roll op-amps, those 8-legs must be at the root of it all.
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Old 4th October 2015, 02:25 AM   #4
redjr is offline redjr  United States
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By the listing not all necessary components are included? It is funny after all the DAC issues and high quality clocks they still want to roll op-amps, those 8-legs must be at the root of it all.
Yeah, I'm looking for a DAC without issues. Whether a ES9018, or other brand. It's hard to wade through all the posts and find ones that sounded and worked reliably out of the box. Which designers should I stay away from? Weiling sounds like they have issues. Others?
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Old 4th October 2015, 04:38 PM   #5
scott wurcer is online now scott wurcer  United States
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Originally Posted by redjr View Post
Yeah, I'm looking for a DAC without issues. Whether a ES9018, or other brand. It's hard to wade through all the posts and find ones that sounded and worked reliably out of the box. Which designers should I stay away from? Weiling sounds like they have issues. Others?
I have yet to see one that looked absolutely turnkey out of the box that was not more $$$.
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Old 4th October 2015, 05:49 PM   #6
damuffin is offline damuffin  Canada
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I have the older 4 layer board like this, it has 7 regulators and this new one has less. The biggest problem with this design is the power supply's to the 9018. Once you give the AVCC a new clean supply it works very well. It's an unbeatable value, and the best DAC iv'e owned. If you want something less fussy you can go with AK4495 it sounds very nice but doesn't have the potential for balanced output, volume control, 10pin USB I2S. It's a great option for a toslink or coax only device.
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Old 4th October 2015, 09:41 PM   #7
Extreme_Boky is offline Extreme_Boky
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I have the older 4 layer board like this, it has 7 regulators.
this one?

ES9018 Soft Hard Controlled TOP USB DAC Decoder KIT 2LAYER NOT Include IC ZJ | eBay
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Old 4th October 2015, 10:52 PM   #8
damuffin is offline damuffin  Canada
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It's similar looking except the 4 layer has some decoupling caps next to the chip that you can remove to inject the new AVCC. On this 2 layer you would have to try and inject it through the SMD pad. It is also missing the 6 dip-8 sockets.(only 4)
Great price tho.
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Old 5th October 2015, 08:12 PM   #9
Salar is offline Salar  Germany
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Take this one from Twistedpearaudio, the first developers, scroll to the bottom of the page:

Parts Bin

It is sold out as overstock.

It is developed by DIYAudio Members Brian Donegan and Russ White.
I already have one since 2011, but I bought a second some days ago. Best DAC I have heard so far. I am not sure wether the ebay DAC can cope according to layout.

Last edited by Salar; 5th October 2015 at 08:18 PM.
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Old 5th October 2015, 09:07 PM   #10
redjr is offline redjr  United States
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Originally Posted by Salar View Post
Take this one from Twistedpearaudio, the first developers, scroll to the bottom of the page:

Parts Bin

It is sold out as overstock.

It is developed by DIYAudio Members Brian Donegan and Russ White.
I already have one since 2011, but I bought a second some days ago. Best DAC I have heard so far. I am not sure wether the ebay DAC can cope according to layout.
Thanks Salar. I'll investigate.
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