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ESS Sabre DAC chip info search...

post #1 of 51
Thread Starter 
First hello,

I'm an electronics hobbyist, and after my last DAC project (Dual PCM1792DAC),
i plan to design a new DAC with probably the best DAC chip available,
the ES9018 "Sabre" DAC from ESS.

My first step of design is to examine the datasheet of the IC and started
to draw a schematic.

Unfortunatly,despite my research i don't find a full datasheet of this IC.
Of course, we can find some interesting info at the esstech.com web site,
but not a real datasheet...

My other problem is where i can buy it.
I'm in France, and the distributor is Ismosys (Ismosys).
This web site seem to allow buying parts, but after two e-mail for requesting
some information, i have no reply...


I would to know if someone have more info than me about it, and if he
would to share with me those informations !


I thank you all DIYers for his/her reading.


Frex.


Note:
Direct link for info about Sabre DAC Here:
ESS Products - DAC

and the distributor web store here:
ismosys.com
post #2 of 51
You must contact ESS and enter into a non disclosure agreement (NDA) to receive the datasheet.
post #3 of 51
why do you think the ESS chip is 'the best' ? curious.

the company will not release specs unless you sign your life away. that's one reason a lot of us won't touch a chip like this. you can't buy them in normal channels and the docs are locked up tight.

go for a wolfson chip. much more open company and much more buyable chips.

less pins to unsolder, too, should you need to (seriously!)
post #4 of 51
Thread Starter 
linuxworks,

I wrote "it is the probably DAC chip", it is only about objective and measurables specifications of this chip compared to all others DACs chip.
I agree of course, it is maybe not the best DAC regarding audio listening experience !
I

I know also Wolfson DACd, and i had hesitate to use WM8741 or PCM1792 for my last design. Moreover i use the famous (but unfamiliar) WM8804 SPDIF receiver for this design. It is right that Wolfon products are easy to buy with Mouser...

You seem to say, it is clearly impossible for DIYers to get the ESS datasheet .No ?
Maybe you know the site Twisted Pear Audio . They have designed a ESS Sabre DAC circuit board. How they can design a DAC without it's datasheet.
And another last question, why ismosys allow personnal customer like me to buy directly ESS Sabre DAC if i we can't build something with ?...

Thank you.

Frex
post #5 of 51
It is an expensive chip, therefore it must be good.

What I find interesting is that the same basic tech is used in the $4 ES9022 as the more expensive parts.

WM8524 vs ES9022 vs AK4424?
post #6 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by linuxworks View Post
the company will not release specs unless you sign your life away. that's one reason a lot of us won't touch a chip like this. you can't buy them in normal channels and the docs are locked up tight
If through their own research money they have made something genuinely unique, I don't see why they can't protect that IP for a while. Given time, more info will become available, and the part will become more accessible to DIY'ers.

Don't let your own life philosophy get in the way of something that you might otherwise find extremely interesting!
post #7 of 51
other vendors don't 'protect their IP' this way. why do they feel they have to be a special case?

I write software and sometimes drivers (for a living). I don't believe that giving away APi info AT ALL puts the wonderful hardware at risk. not one tiny bit. the hardware is WAY more than what an API gives clues about.

its backwards thinking and I'm sorry but I can't support such companies that think this way.

they have every right to keep the chip masks to themselves. but by requiring NDAs to be signed just to BUILD with the chips - I'm sorry - that simply goes too far and is not usual OR customary in the field.
post #8 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by linuxworks View Post
other vendors don't 'protect their IP' this way. why do they feel they have to be a special case?
I don't know. One might need to have the data sheet to find out.

Quote:
but by requiring NDAs to be signed just to BUILD with the chips - I'm sorry - that simply goes too far and is not usual OR customary in the field.
That doesn't preclude them from doing it. It certainly isn't any reason for me to get my knickers in a twist.
post #9 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by frex View Post
You seem to say, it is clearly impossible for DIYers to get the ESS datasheet .No ?
I have not tried but others that I trust have told me that its under NDA and so I believe it.


Quote:
Maybe you know the site Twisted Pear Audio . They have designed a ESS Sabre DAC circuit board. How they can design a DAC without it's datasheet.
they obviously signed the NDA and got chip samples and of course a steady supply of chips. they are not typical hobbiests, in the usual sense; they seem very much like an actual business and businesses often do sign NDAs to enter into commercial agreements.

I have not heard of any individual who has accomplished this. this does not appear to be DIY friendly, imho.
post #10 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by linuxworks View Post
they obviously signed the NDA and got chip samples and of course a steady supply of chips. they are not typical hobbiests, in the usual sense; they seem very much like an actual business and businesses often do sign NDAs to enter into commercial agreements.

I have not heard of any individual who has accomplished this. this does not appear to be DIY friendly, imho.
I believe there are at least a couple of folks on DIY Audio who have them.

Honestly, if you are even remotely interested, why not contact an ESS rep and ask them? Worst case scenario, you sign an NDA, look at the datasheet and do nothing with it.

Best case scenario, you really like what you see, and order some samples.
post #11 of 51
the first order of things, for me, would be to listen to such a dac and see if its worth the effort. I have not done even that much

I'm simply balking due to the need for NDAs. I don't see why they are needed and I usually object to signing them on principle, alone.

most things that have an NDA don't NEED an nda. that's one of my points.

and so, until I could hear one of these AND be convinced its worth this extra effort to get the chips and specs, there are plenty of other fish in the sea that don't make me jump thru hoops to do DIY work with their designs.

ESS is simply not DIY friendly, the way I define DIY friendly.
post #12 of 51
I don't know much about IC design, but I don't see how a datasheet is going to reveal any of their secrets. Even if they have some awesome new technology, simply listing a pinout and some operating parameters shouldn't give away any secrets. Knowing that pin 3 is left channel doesn't in any way reveal why that left channel sounds so good, right?
post #13 of 51
linuxworks, I don’t see why a company can’t protect there own property and investment. BTW TPA have “jumped thu hoops” with this company, and it’s been an overall success for a large community of DIYers. Just because the company won’t bend over backwards the way you’d like them too doesn’t mean squat. Your stance and your loss.
post #14 of 51
maybe the chip uses an active ground topology?
post #15 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by luvdunhill View Post
maybe the chip uses an active ground topology?
Oh crap, you've done it now......
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