Originally Posted by kawaivpc1
Not really. I had a Sony PHA 2 with the same PCM DAC chip. I'd say Sabre DAC chip sounds twice better and way more detailed. I sold Sony PHA 2 immediately after listening to my iBasso R10 with Sabre 32bit chip.
The PHA-2 has the lower-end PCM1795 (the PCM1795 is a PCM1796 with a 32-bit address bus, which really doesn't do anything except accept more bits, but doesn't improve on performance), not the PCM1792 (still TI's highest-performance DAC part, and considered its co-flagship alongside the discontinued purely-R2R PCM1704U-K), and the Sony isn't a great implementation, TBH. With the right parts surrounding the PCM1792, it is nearly as good as the ES9018 and dare I say more natural sounding while still being very detailed. The ES9018 has the tendency to sound a bit bright --- some people have called it the "Sabre glare", though that has a lot to do with the way manufacturers tweak its internal settings. FYI, I own a Concero HP, which uses the ES9018K2M, so I do like Sabre chips. But they need the right kind of engineering around them, just like the right kind of engineering around a PCM1792 will deliver great results as well. While the P1 is a single chip implementation, there are plenty of flagship-level dual mono PCM1792 designs that get 125 dB DNR or more. The Advanced Segment architecture is fairly unique in that it's not purely multiple orders of sigma-delta modulators, but also passes the topmost 6-bits via traditional resistive techniques. Of course, the Sabre architecture is also fairly advanced and unique, but that's why it's good to have variety. There are already plenty of Sabre-equipped DAPs out there --- iBasso DX100/HDP-R10, HiFiMAN HM-901, Calyx M, upcoming LH Labs Geek Wave (which I pledged for, BTW), and upcoming FiiO X7 --- so why go for yet another one? It's good that Cowon isn't merely following industry trends. The PCM1792 is still a very serviceable part.
Originally Posted by AmberOzL
How did you find it in X5?
I thought it was quite nice. The X5 is a great sonic performer, especially for its price. I don't like its styling and ergonomics, though, so I never really gave it a deep look.
Originally Posted by SilverEars
What is this S version?
It's just the regular ol' ES9018. Actually take a look at the PCB board and it says 'ES9018S' printed on top of the chip. Some datasheets also mark the part as 'ES9018S'. I name it that way to differentiate it from the ES9018K2M.
Edited by tomscy2000 - 6/27/14 at 12:31am