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HIFIME 9018D USB DAC

Discussion in 'Dedicated Source Components' started by skingg, Mar 22, 2015.
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  1. skingg
  2. Sam21
    I might order one, I sold off my HIFI ES9023 DAC. Was hoping to get the ES9023 Async one, now this just came out....lukcy me!!
     
  3. BorisH
    I own the regular 9018 and can definitely recommend this. I think the 9018D will be even better with the digital volume control.
     
    skingg likes this.
  4. SoAmusing777
    I just don't understand the 8 step volume control bit. So, I have speakers and a sub that have volume on them, as well as the google music app and my system software. I have my gain set at a certain place on the sub, the speakers are at 6.5 out of 10, the app volume I'd say set to 100% right? Then adjust my system volume as needed, but only in 8 different settings or what? Confused.
     
  5. BorisH

    You are correct. Basically your system volume is controlled by USB receiver on the circuit board and this only has a 8 step volume control. So your Windows/Mac volume slider will only work in 8 steps when the DAC is connected. As the volume is controlled by the USB receiver I recommend setting the system volume (and thus USB receivers volume) at 100%. By doing this you ensure that the full signal is going into the DAC chip to have the highest dynamic range. Also you will need to do this in order to play DSD files. The volume control of the USB receiver works by altering the digital signal going into the actual DAC chip. It will not be able to convert the digital signal if it has been manipulated by the USB receiver for DSD playback. This is no issue in your setup as your speakers have a volume control. This only affect people trying to listen DSD files directly from the 3,5mm output. The ES9018 is a capable DAC chip and I am sure you will appreciate it's HiFi playback. With a good set of cans you can easily follow each instrument throughout songs, it has great clarity. 
     
  6. SoAmusing777
    Thanks a ton. Hmm, with the system volume at 100%, I will probably have to turn down the gain on my subwoofer. That's actually extremely inconvenient. That means when I want my music to play loud, I'll have to adjust the volume with my fingers, but then when I want a quieter level, I'll have to do it again, at the cost of quality. Yeah, I don't like that.
     
  7. BorisH

    If you don't care for DSD playback you can still set the system volume lower at a slight cost of dynamic range. I personally cannot hear it on most recording. You could also check out the new 9018D from HiFime. This "big brother" has a digital volume control build-in which has access to the DACs data path. This means you can tune the volume on the DAC without losing dynamic range and DSD playback. I am most likely getting one and will post a review on it in the coming weeks.
     
    Always glad to help!
     
  8. SoAmusing777
    I'm too OCD. I upped my budget to $150 for a DAC, so I'm looking at the options there instead of just this 9018D. Any thoughts?
     
  9. BorisH

    I live in timezone UTC+1 but would like to give some suggestions tomorrow. Some questions on your preferences/setup:
    - What is your current setup from source to speakers?
    - Do you want/need to have the ability to play high resolution files? For files from the Google Play Music app this isn't needed.
    - Do you want the DAC out of sight or have it sitting on your desk?
    - Do you want a physical volume knob on the DAC?
     
    Regards
     
  10. SoAmusing777
    It's Google Music All Access on the Laptop > DAC > 3.5mm to dual 6.35mm into the sub > XLR out to LSR305's
    For the cans it's similar... Laptop > DAC > 3.5mm to 3.5mm female RCA Dual > Project Polaris headphone amp > headphones

    24bit/96khz is enough for me.

    Either way is fine. Just want it to take up little space.

    It doesn't have to have one. I like controlling it via the master system software volume on Linux. 
     
  11. BorisH

    Some DACs which I heard/read good things about but do not own myself:
    - HiFimeDIY Sabre U2
    - Audioquest Dragonfly V1.2
    - Cambridge Audio DacMagic XS
    - Stoner Acoustics UD120
    - Fiio E10K
    - JH Labs Geek Out 450
    - Schiit Fulla
     
    Just to be sure, you don't have a volume/gain control for your sub in reach on your desk? Otherwise I would still recommend the 9018...
     
  12. SoAmusing777
    Pretty much all the same in terms of quality I think, yeah? With the Geek out 450 being above the rest (ESS9018 DAC) But no, do not have that in reach on my desk for either the sub or speakers. The sabre U2, dragonfly, UD120, all use the same ES9023 DAC. Not sure about the others, but I know the DF has been rated a bit higher than the DacMagic. 
     
  13. mdiogofs
    I have the regular 9018. For one that uses an individually external amplifier i do not need the 9018D right? I have the FiiO E12A.
     
  14. SoAmusing777
    I actually now wonder how the GeekOut 450 compares to the 9018D by HiFime. They use the same DAC.
     
  15. BorisH

    Right! If you cannot play DSD files but hear noise instead just set the system volume to max and tune your volume on the FiiO E12A.
    I just got the 9018D and it is really nice with its alu casing, also doesn't get as hot as the 9018. Sound quality seems to be identical. I'll post a review in the coming days.
     
    skingg likes this.
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