General Information

Dual flagship ESS Sabre ES9038Q2M,
flagship headphone amp Texas Instruments OPA1622
with balanced output up to 884mW!

5 navigation buttons, true retro LCD with soft colours
and old-fashioned operating system.



  • Dual DAC ESS Sabre ES9038Q2M
  • Single Ended 3.5 mm 4Vrms 442 mW 32 ohm
  • Balanced 2.5/4.4 mm 8Vrms 884 mW 32 ohm
  • Dual AMP Texas Instruments 2x OPA1622 and LPF 2x OP275
  • Non-Android Custom Operating System
  • Output impedance 2 ohms
  • Direct coupling output (no blocking capacitors)
  • Bluetooth 5.1 LDAC, AAC, SBC, AptX, AptX-HD, AptX-LL (Adaptive) up to 24-bit 96kHz (BT working as receiver)
  • USB DAC Amanero (separate USB-C for DAC only) up to DSD256 and PCM 32-bit 384kHz
  • Second separate USB-Charging port (working as data transfer to microSD as well)
  • Power save mode by 3.5 mm only 1 of 2 DAC/AMP section is working
  • Coaxial output up to 32-bit and DSD DoP128 (USB-C accessory cable will be available soon)
  • Line-out AUX 3.5 mm directly from DAC chip
  • Surround channels support up to 6 audio channels including Dolby DTS
  • Dual crystal oscillator + CPLD I2S
  • 7 DAC ESS filters
  • MicroSD 10T (NTFS, EXFAT, FAT32) supports all common loss and lossless audio format up to DSD256 and PCM 384kHz
  • Aluminium CNC housing 57*98*20mm 147g
  • 4200 mAh (8 hours or more)
  • Transfer files directly into microSD card using USB-C Charging port (tested in Windows 10)
  • 2 independent CPU/MCU chips (1st for Player-DAC processing and 2nd for USB/BT-DAC audio communication)
  • Album art cover 8K is supported in ID3Tag - tested 7680x4320 pixels 4 MB JPEG inside audio file
  • Coaxial USB-C expansion board available: click
List of supported audio files:
ISO, CUE, APE, FLAC, WAV, MP3, OGG, M4A, WMA, AIFF, ALAC, AAC, DSF, DFF, DTS, can read MQA without decoding additional hidden "fake kHz".


Latest reviews


Headphoneus Supremus
Who say you can't have everything?
Pros: Clean neutral detailed sound, great imaging, great transparency, powerful balanced output, 4 types of sound output (2Xbalanced 1xsingle ended, 1xline-out), Bluetooth receiver, USB DAC, Metal construction, Sounds filter, Parametric EQ, Excellent price value
Cons: Slightly cold tonality, sub-bass roll-off, average battery life (less than 5H), not very intuitive interface, hard to press buttons, amping can create distortion when pushed too high, high impedance output (2ohm) make it not suited for very sensitive IEM,

edit: this DAP work for about 6 months. quality check issue with Zishan is real, its like....a DIY company that can be genius but isn't due to QC issue.

ZISHAN is an elusive audio company from China that creates ultra budget-minded Digital Audio Players (DAP), ranging in price from 25$ (Z1-Z2) to 40$ (Z3) to around 100$ (DSD, Z4 etc). While this company isn't known for it's craftsmanship qualities, it is has a solid fan base due to the high sound quality it's DAP delivers for an absurdly low price. Their DAP use top-of-the-line DAC including AK4490, AK4493, AK4497, CS43138 and now DUAL ES9038q2m for their latest release. The tradeoff for this low price come mostly in quality control and durability of their products, so, with Zishan you always play some kind of budget audiophile lottery. The last DAP I try from this company was the T1, which was unusable due to very cheap and clumsy pseudo-touch-screen and poor hardware construction, it was litterally the worst DAP I ever use in my life...and I plan never buying anything elese from this company again...

But there comes a departure from their last DAP, the Z4, which actually look like a real DAP and not a DIY audio project that needs to be completed by the consumer.

Did Zishan finally evolve and learn from their past experience?

Give a look (and subscribe!) to my video review to learn more about this ultra-budget powerhouse.

Here I forget to talk about the IMPEDANCE OUTPUT which is high at 2ohm and can be problematic with very sensitive IEM.

As well, battery life is just average, you'll get between 5-8H depending if you use balanced output. When I say it can drive the Sundara, i'm honest....but it doesn't mean it's the best pairing around! In fact, bass can even distort!

Extra impressions info:
-The attack feels a bit scooped in impact or overly softed, which translate in a smoothly bright tonality not a vivid agressive one even if treble is sharpest part of sound spectrum.
-Background noise floor is either too sensitive too revealing or a bit hissy.
-Bluetooth connection was crap with my Z4, unless i stay at less than a meter from my phone....defect?
-The Line-out have volume control AND the DAP have automatic play, so be very cautious to dont blow your ears with 100% volume loudness!
-The DAP doesn't auto-shutdown after wtv number of time...

---- For more (written) reviews, give a read and subscribe to my audio reviews blog!
Last edited:
Francisco Geraldo Neiva
Holy crap, are those output powers even real? How come so few people talk about it then? This looks like a beast for the price, what's the catch?
@gael catch its durability worst than dollar store crap. need to change edit this now....QC is no1 Con with Zishan things.
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