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Is Sabre ES9018 the best DAC chip right now?

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  1. aqsw
    hHave you tried your 777 agsinst the Hegel?

    Juan rates them

    LAMPI Amber
    HEGEL HG12

    How would you rate them.

    Ive never heard the Lampi or 777.

    The Lampi just checks off all I want in a dac. I love tubes.

    I just could not justify the price of the 777. Talk about diminishing returns. I feel that way on the Lampi to Hegel, but Im willing to keep both of them.
  2. preproman
    I never heard the Hegel.  But the Lampi Ambrer is the lowest tier DAC they sell.  The AMR should be able to beat it.  Now the Lampi Big 7 may be a different story.  AMR has the SE out now as well.
  3. borizm
    I strongly prefer AD1955 over other delta-sigmas like ES9018, WM8740 and WM8741. From my experience, ES9018 in my Audio-GD is no better than any Cirrus or Wolfson - just different, but sonically boring, not for an audiophile at all. I didn't test delta-sigma or advanced segment PCMs from TI, and PCM1794 is probably also very very good too, so it might be the AD1955 vs PCM1794 contest (both have I-out, however 1mA vs 8mA).
    AD1955 is a masterpiece in modern mediocre audio. Maybe I should get or build the better implementation for ES9018, but both are still inferior to old multibits with I-out (current output).
    Nevertheless the best DACs for me right now are old multibits PCM1701, PCM1702, PCM58, PCM56, TDA1543, TDA1545A, and TDA1541, and maybe PCM63 and PCM1704, but I didn't correct electronics of the player with them yet, so I'm not sure.
  4. money4me247 Contributor
    ad1955 is what is found in the emotiva stealth iirc right?
  5. goodvibes
    I tend to agree but of the delta/sigmas, I like the PCM179x which I'd take over the 16 bit units as I truly prefer 24 bit and that series can have some PRAT as it's a bit of a hybrid. Of course all these need a bit of massaging to get the most from. We're more sensitive to time errors (D/S) vs amplitude errors (R2R). DSD falls into the D/S group. It's a polite sound that I'm not as fond of. Best DAC I've heard uses 1704s with unique jitter rejection multiple clocks and outboard dedicated filters. Can play up to 768 natively.
  6. jusbe

    Which 1704 DAC was that?
  7. goobicii

    can you explain to me how is high quality Sigma Delta dac with filter that doesnt affect audible spectrum affect timing more than R2R dac? For example Benchmark DAC 2
  8. Stereolab42
    R2R DACs are a fad. They are no better than good delta-sigma DACs at equivalent price points. The Ygg is an excellent DAC for sure, but did not do anything extra for me over any Sabres in the same bracket.
    goobicii likes this.
  9. Clemmaster
    Are you using an amp, or headphones?
  10. defbear
    Does anyone think either R2R or DS chips benefit from Burn-in. I have an Emotiva Dac-1 that sounds great with a variety of amps. I do not believe the Dac-1 is going to change much with use. In my "Burn-in Belief System" I think my HDVD800 isn't going to change much either. But I know my R2R based Master 11 is going to benefit from use. It sounds better if left on for a few hours before listening also. And I think my Bifrost Uber will burn in with use as its a Schitt. A lot of owners think Schitt products benefit with use.
    Hey, after listening to my HD800's for a few months I cant believe how much bigger the Soundstage is in my Toyota Camry. I don't think my Camry's sound system burned in even though the Camry gets better gas milage than when it was new. Perhaps it is We who burn-in.
  11. jodgey4
    It's not so much the chips, as it is the rest of the components - things like capacitors really need to settle in sometimes, depending on what's used. Class A amps usually run best hot as well, so I leave my Class A gear on as much as possible.
  12. FFBookman
    I find that fewer and fewer people interested in audio understand signal chain as the years pass.  Perhaps digital is confusing them, I'm not sure. I actually went to school for some of this, and then have a few decades of practical experience on top of that.
    Signal chain theory says that nothing down the chain can actually improve anything above it. Therefore the start of the chain and the first couple 'links' are the most critical. 
    This is most clearly broken when people say "buy better speakers/headphones" to render lossy files through an integrated circuit player.  That's plain BS and lots of money is made off of suckers.
    The source must first be the highest quality available. If you've intentionally compromised the source file then no DAC, amp, tube, wire, or speaker is going to actually help much. This is also known as "shining a turd".
    The DAC must render the file properly, and the handoff to analog is critical. The analog circuit can of course be built with a variety of qualities, and many modern people simply believe that a $4 chip can do what a purpose-built discreet amp can do. Or it can get "close enough", which is another way to say "good enough but not the best".
    The dirty little secret is that most people's speakers (minus earbuds) could render much better than they do if driven properly. They are fed garbage most of the day so they return garbage. I'd put my consumer speakers playing 24bit files rendered on a ponoplayer or similarly competent player against high-end speakers playing iPhone mp3's or streaming.  But that's the lay of the land right now - lots of money in speakers, lots of money in outboard DAC's, lots of money in cabling, lots of spirit and music killed by loudness and horrible mixing for restricted formats. 
    I think the new little DAP's are making the audiophile types sweat. Letting people enjoy hi-res mobile playback for under $1k and no extra hassle (no snobbery) is good for the world, but maybe not so good for the entrenched players.
    NOSAudiophile likes this.
  13. nephilim32

    This is a great post. "Shinning a turd?' Absolutely true. I feel most of what you've said here is very true and I've experimented with a lot of playback files and the reality for me is that even 24/48 LPCM is really as good as it gets with the right equipment. I have also learned that there are no 'shortcuts' in building a an audio chain that is of great quality....sources (music files) included!!
    Anyhow. Well said and yes 'signal chain' or the cleanliness of it, is incredibly important. I bought the Burson soloist because it only uses 24 components in its signal pathway chain. Most OP amps use 54+!! Yikes! Thank god for class A amps, but let them get hot and they will song even more. It's a thing of beauty. :)
  14. tf10charged
    Sennheiser orpheus 2 $55k headphone &dac/amp is using this es9018!
    youurayy likes this.
  15. jodgey4
    As if people buying the Orpheus don't already have a better DAC... lol.
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