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Is Sabre ES9018 the best DAC chip right now?

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  1. Ecoli
    Any opinion about the K2M ?
  2. b0bb

    This is the low power scaled down version found mainly on portable equipment, one of my  "DAC on a USB stick" has one, it does its job and I have not paid it much attention beyond that.
    Some manufacturers like Light Harminic use it in some of their DACs
  3. verycoolalan
    Just wondering if anyone knows how the Woo Audio WDS PCM1795 chip compares against the ESS 9018?
  4. imran27
    Any comments on PCM5102A? It looks good for a DIY DAC due to it's single ended outputs.
  5. borizm
    PCM5102 was rather mediocre - worse even than PCM2702 (not PCM2704) in my mostly spider-soldered solution.
    I haven't tested PCM5102A yet, but the only difference is that it has a slightly reduced amplitude (lower than 2V RMS), because PCM5102 external +3.3V and internally pump-generated -3.3V voltage was not enough and every PCM5102 (without "A") clips the output at the maximum amplitude.
    Maybe PCM5102A is quite OK in a better circuit, but it's not a typical and decent multi-bit, nor even a TI advanced-segment PCM179x (also very good) DAC - it's some sort of delta-sigma as far as I remember.
    If you ask my, I will prefer ES9023 than PCM5102A, because I know how good as a chip ES9023 is for a price, but I will probably focus on PCM1794 rather than on ES9018 - "probably" because I have some sort of problem with accepting the way ES9018 sounds in devices I have, connected to high price of the IC and PCM1794 sounds to me more like old, good multi-bit with a decent OS inside.
    viatraco and Traveller like this.
  6. imran27
    That leaves me with two options, CS4398 and WM8741
  7. borizm
    No, try PCM179x, ES9023 or even PCM5102A better then, because:
    1. CS4398 - could and lifeless to me,
    2. WM8741 and WM8740 - both sounds like broken, even in the best possible circuit - they have a problem with some sort of compression and sound is too dynamic in an artificial way,
    and both CS4398 and WM974x still requires more complicated design (even if you use only + or only - V-outputs through capacitor) than chip ES9023 and PCM5102A not giving any better SQ (I'm not talking about any technical advantages described in % or dB, but about the way the music is reproduced).
    Maybe the best option for a simple and still good DAC is to use old USB PCM2702 (only this one).
    There is also AD1955 which in my opinion is very good, maybe even better than ES9018, taking into the consideration an average SQ of available devices with both ICs.
    viatraco and imran27 like this.
  8. youurayy
    New dual implementation on the radar: https://www.rha-audio.com/us/dacamp/dacamp-l1.html
    Related thread: http://www.head-fi.org/t/818168/introducing-the-dacamp-l1-flagship-cl1-ceramic-and-cl750-from-rha
    Not much info yet, but opinions are welcome.
  9. jwbrent

    Yes, I'm interested in the L!, but never owning a DAC that used ESS chips, I came to this thread wondering whether there is a distinct tonal quality.
  10. germanium
    I can vouch for the sound quality potential of the Sabre chips. They are truely high end. Better than the pcm 1794. Easier to get absolutely great sound from but great attention must be paid to the following analog section. Full direct coupling & film cap bypasses on analog power supply for opamps is absolutely necessary to get the best out of them. Otherwise they can sound mediocre at best.
  11. FFBookman

    from the ponoplayer impressions thread, re: how they use the DAC in a circuit design:
  12. Jimster480

    They are also much more expensive and are more difficult to implement properly from what I understand.
    That is the new version also.
    The reality is that in all the work taken to do them properly for different channels and stuff you might as well just work on a R2R DAC instead.
  13. CyberGhost
  14. jodgey4
    If you're driving your headphones directly out of the unit, get the nicer one with the dedicated headphone amp circuit IMO.
  15. Clemmaster
    Schiit Fula2.
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