What headphone DAC/Amps use the ESS Sabre DAC chip?
Sep 28, 2012 at 12:29 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 13


100+ Head-Fier
Sep 26, 2011
Hi guys,
I have listened to loads of HiFi DACs that use the ESS Sabre chipset and I have always liked their signature. I was wondering if people knew any good headphone DAC/amps that also used that chip as might try a couple to see if they have the same signature with several pairs of headphones.
Sep 30, 2012 at 2:43 PM Post #3 of 13
If you want something less expensive with Sabre DAC peraphs Audio GD NFB-27 or Compas 2 / NFB-11.32 depending on your budget .
Oct 1, 2012 at 9:05 PM Post #8 of 13
The Upcoming Burson Conductor have the Sabre dac chip as well, but it will be released till Nov. 
Oct 2, 2012 at 5:52 PM Post #9 of 13
just having the ES9018 isnt a guarantee of good design or sound. its a tricky dac to get right and requires pretty complex power supplies, typically prefers a 4 layer PCB. many IV stages used with it are either lazy or outright wrong it can be fantastic, but it can also have a very specific and hyped sound if done wrong
Oct 3, 2012 at 6:16 AM Post #10 of 13
Hi Qusp, couldn't agree more but I have found 'generally' that I like the signature the ESS 9018 gives. I have heard some bad implementations too so you are most definately right but mostly I have found a consistency and a soundstage I like. I am only realy starting to get into the headphone world so all my HiFi experience could be useless here :) Looking forward to finding out though....
Oct 3, 2012 at 1:40 PM Post #11 of 13
  1. Weiss DAC202 (7000$)
  2. Resonessence Invicta (4000$)
  3. AudioLab 8200 DQ (2000$)
  4. Yulong D18+A18 combo but no USB (1500$) 
  5. Audio-GD NFB-27 (>1500$)
  6. Anedio D2  (1470$) ,
  1. Wadia 121 (1300$)
  2. AudioLab M DAC (1200$),
  1. Peachtree Audio units (~1000$)   
  1. Audio-GD Compass 2  (>500$)
to be continued...
Oct 4, 2012 at 1:34 AM Post #12 of 13
NFB 1.32 and NFB 7.32 ..  Im loving my 1.32
Oct 4, 2012 at 2:48 AM Post #13 of 13
While we're covering DACs with the ESS Sabre, at the lower end there's the AudioQuest DragonFly (~$250) and the ODAC (~$150).

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