Thanks Jason. I was about to mention the power supply issue. A user posted above asking why AK couldn’t do flagship chips like 9038 pro here, and the power supply was the answer.
To me it is a compromise here and sort of explains why it is priced cheaper. When making a “trimmed down” version of the flagship dap (which in fact comes out with more features like the tube amp), some compromises have to be made.
I have high regard for the Ultima line, hence my disappointment of using such an affordable dac that isn’t on par spec wise within ESS’s product range
understandably so that AKM chips are not an option due the time fire*