Information on ES9038 based DIY DACs

  1. carlmart
    Some days ago I received some ad, from I don't remember who, offering their new "extraordinary" DAC based on the recently released ES9038. Their words, not mine.

    So first I went to eBay and searched the DAC chip, and found this DIY board:

    After that I could find out there's a similar board with the ES9028, and that the ES9038 is simply eight ES9028 in one single chip. As there are no schematics on the ad, who knows what they did with the other six channels (???).

    Maybe someone here has used this board or the former ES9028 based one, and can chirp in the good and the bad things of this project.
  2. StrikeFreedom
    ES9018, ES9028, and ES9038 could using same PCB. There are some differences in IV stage and LCD Software. On ES9018, ES9028, and ES9038Pro, IV they're using 4 resistors values 680, 560, and 120 Ohm respectively. It was design by Weiliang. However, the ES9038 IC likely to overheat if you're playing back 176-384khz audio files. When the IC overheat it would unlock the i2s/coaxial signal repeatedly. The sampling rate display would switch to "N-LOCK" back and forth or worse could not lock the signal at all. Install heat sink on the IC might help. In my case, it fix the problem after installing copper heat sink on the IC.

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    snellemin likes this.
  3. carlmart
    What DAC board is that?
  4. StrikeFreedom
  5. carlmart
    What about the audio quality, compared to other DACs you may have used?
  6. StrikeFreedom
    If it doesn't have signal lock problem, i would said that its sound quality was good.
  7. Detectit
    I am also looking into these boards.

    But i really don't know if i should jump in to these.
  8. TypodCrowd
    I just don't know if we can expect the sound coming out of these board to be colored, or reference grade. Doesn't anyone have RMAA measurements?
  9. Detectit
    On diy audio they weren't very enthousiastic about the PCB layout. On the other hand they were comments on the 9018 board in 2013.

    I don't think this DAC won't sound 60% less compared to the price of Gustard 9038pro DAC.

    If it's even 20% less it's still a good deal i think.
  10. TypodCrowd
    Agreed - this should be the reference circuit given by the manufacturer (I'm assuming this because there are so many sellers on eBay that sell almost the same circuit).

    I believe the comments on diy audio were surrounding the fact that historically, the reference circuits, and the relatively cheap boards sold based on them, haven't been too great. This leads to suspicion that these may not be that great either...

    I still believe I wouldn't be willing to take the leap without someone posting RMAA measurements or something similar
    Detectit likes this.

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