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Where can I buy a USB Sabre DAC?
Where can I buy a USB Sabre DAC?
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Old 18th September 2018, 07:00 AM   #11
abraxalito is offline abraxalito  United Kingdom
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That depends on how much you care about how the DAC sounds. The ES9018K2M can sound quite dynamic in a reasonable implementation but to my ears the ES9023 is the epitome of boredom even with attention paid to its power supply.
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Old 18th September 2018, 08:18 AM   #12
spaceman5 is offline spaceman5  Israel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abraxalito View Post
That depends on how much you care about how the DAC sounds.
That's the most important thing for me
That's why I am buying several different DACs..


Quote:
Originally Posted by abraxalito View Post
The ES9018K2M can sound quite dynamic in a reasonable implementation
but to my ears the ES9023 is the epitome of boredom even with attention paid to its power supply.
Wow..
So from these 2 options the ES9018K2M sounds better,
and the ES9023 is lifeless relative to it?
Hmm, good to know

BTW, do ESS have more Stereo DACs to consider from, or just these 2?

I only need stereo, I don't have any 8-Ch setting or something like that..
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Old 18th September 2018, 08:33 AM   #13
abraxalito is offline abraxalito  United Kingdom
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One of my mobile phones (that I no longer use) has ES9018K2M and apart from the higher frequencies (which to my ears sound too mushy), its quite enjoyable when fed into an external amp, i.e. used as a DAC.

ESS has more modern DACs than those two which are getting a bit long in the tooth now. ES9038 (more than one variant, -Q2M is probably the one most of interest to you) is the most recent and I believe it fixes up at least some of the 'mushiness' on HF. So I'd guess its going to sound better than '9018 all other things being equal.
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Old 18th September 2018, 08:40 AM   #14
spaceman5 is offline spaceman5  Israel
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Originally Posted by abraxalito View Post
One of my mobile phones (that I no longer use) has ES9018K2M and apart from the higher frequencies (which to my ears sound too mushy), its quite enjoyable when fed into an external amp, i.e. used as a DAC.
A phone that has a dedicated DAC chip? That's interesting..
What phone is that?


Quote:
Originally Posted by abraxalito View Post
ESS has more modern DACs than those two which are getting a bit long in the tooth now. ES9038 (more than one variant, -Q2M is probably the one most of interest to you) is the most recent and I believe it fixes up at least some of the 'mushiness' on HF. So I'd guess its going to sound better than '9018 all other things being equal.
I see..
BTW, another thing that was hard to understand from ESS's website,
is what is the difference between K2M, Q2M, and C2M?

Last edited by spaceman5; 18th September 2018 at 08:48 AM.
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Old 18th September 2018, 08:48 AM   #15
abraxalito is offline abraxalito  United Kingdom
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Its a Meizu MX4 pro. The only reason I stopped using it is its battery died and as its non-replaceable, I had to get a complete new phone.

Seriously if you're primarily after the best sound, I'd give ESS a miss and get yourself something like this eBay board which is based on a classic multibit chip. That is assuming you mostly listen to red-book CD-format music (16bit) : Philips Little Giant TDA1387 hum decoding (nos mode) (upgrade tda1541) | eBay

Its not that ESS makes poor-sounding DACs, I'm sure the ES9038 can sound great, its just that is so hard to find a board which makes the best of it. As for my suggestion, @matt_garman reckons it sounds great : tda1387 dac pcb "front end". Added to that its bound to be eminently moddable...

I forgot to mention, if you have access to Taobao its considerably cheaper there : ???TDA1387?????nos??????tda1541?-???
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Last edited by abraxalito; 18th September 2018 at 08:54 AM.
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Old 18th September 2018, 09:05 AM   #16
spaceman5 is offline spaceman5  Israel
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Originally Posted by abraxalito View Post
Its a Meizu MX4 pro. The only reason I stopped using it is its battery died and as its non-replaceable
It's non-replaceable by the user,
but a smartphone lab (or the mfrr) can mostlikely replace it, no?

Did you consider that option back then?


Regarding the other DAC:
it seems that options never end.. Where do we stop..
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Old 18th September 2018, 09:15 AM   #17
abraxalito is offline abraxalito  United Kingdom
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I didn't explain myself particularly well. Yes its non-replaceable by the user but I'm a techie guy, replacing a battery wouldn't faze me. However they no longer make that particular physical size of battery as the phone's too old.

As regards where we stop - I've stopped at RBCD. I have no desire for 'hi-res' or any of the other fancy stuff (DSD512). RBCD replay on my multibit DAC is immensely satisfying so I feel no pull to upgrade, only buy more and more music.
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Old 18th September 2018, 04:33 PM   #18
Yatsushiro is offline Yatsushiro  France
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These are quite cheap to buy, work acceptably as received, and there is a thread on DIYAudio (Cheap SA9027 + ES9023 (or PCM5102) DAC, anyone try?) about how to mod them:

HIFI SA9023 + ES9018K2M Fever-level Class Audio DAC Sound Card 24-bIT 96K USB | eBay

Last edited by Yatsushiro; 18th September 2018 at 04:38 PM. Reason: Added DIYAudio thread URL
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Old 18th September 2018, 05:50 PM   #19
spaceman5 is offline spaceman5  Israel
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Going to read that thread.


BTW, in the ebay's product page's title - "Fever-level Class", that's a new terminology?
Or it's just me who haven't heard it yet?
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Old 18th September 2018, 06:04 PM   #20
DPH is online now DPH  United States
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Fever-level Class seems like a mis-translation to English.

You can ask 10 people a subjective opinion about anything audio and expect to get 100 opinions. Take anyone's impression with an healthy amount of incredulity. You'll find one member (ahem) has a long litany of quirks and impressions that he spreads around especially to impressionable new members, but doesn't really like to back those up with any substance. Good luck.

The options never end -- the es9023 is *probably* going to give you a better chance of a decently working end part. The es9018k2m boards badly load the DAC with a buffer (rather than a transimpedance stage), and gives you an inferior end result. With a transimpedance stage (like the one I linked with data from vicnic), the es9018k2m will certainly outperform the es9023.

For someone starting out, I'd suggest the es9023.
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