Audiophonics I2S DAC's I-Sabre ES9023 (two types)

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Audiophonics I2S DAC's I-Sabre ES9023 (two types)

Postby Dion » Sun May 24 2015 14:47

Hi all,

After having used the RPi with an Audioquest Dragonfly USB DAC, which offered me a very satisfying experience in terms of sound quality, I decided I wanted to try out an I2S DAC as well. After some searching on this forum, I decided to go for the Audiophonics ES9023 DAC's. I have a Raspberry Pi model B and as I also wanted to buy a Raspberry Pi 2, I decided I would have two different ones to try, and use one for the living room and the other for upstairs.

So I ordered the following two types:

http://www.audiophonics.fr/en/kits-modu ... -8962.html

for the Raspberry Pi B
and

http://www.audiophonics.fr/en/kits-modu ... -9978.html

for a new Raspberry Pi 2

I have tested them both and compared the sound quality to the Dragonfly. All the DACs were connected to a Harman-Kardon PM645 Vxi amplifier and Driade 71 MKII speakers.
I need to say that I did not ABX types of comparison so my conclusions might be a bit subjective. However the differences were big enough to make me think my conclusions are valid nevertheless.

So here goes: my conclusions:

- The simple DAC (for the Raspberry B) had a clearly lesser sound quality compared to the Dragonfly USB DAC. The bass response is good but the high was sharp and unnatural. Also the stereo image was messy where voices would be scattered across the left-righ spectrum. This DAC might be nice for a simple hifi setup but definitely not a more high end system.

- The more advanced model with high precision clock on board for the Raspberry 2, beat the Dragonfly clearly. The sound quality is crystal clear with very good stereo placement and a very detailed high. The sound is transparent and very realistic.

So my recommendation: if you are looking for an I2S DAC, make sure it has a high precision quartz clock on board. It makes a lot of difference!

By the way: the advance I2S DAC: on the Audiophonics website, the specifications say you need to use the Hifiberry+ driver. This turned out not to be the case. Both types worked with the Hifiberry drive (without the plus). If I selected the Hifiberry plus driver, the I2S card did not show up in the audio device list in the 'playback' menu.
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Re: Audiophonics I2S DAC's I-Sabre ES9023 (two types)

Postby pistollero » Sun May 24 2015 20:50

How did you get the dac if it is new and out of stock?
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Audiophonics I2S DAC's I-Sabre ES9023 (two types)

Postby IRoN » Wed May 27 2015 12:18

Same for me.

I've asked them, I-Sabre TCXO edition was delivered instead of "standard" ones to compensate the long wait.
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Audiophonics I2S DAC's I-Sabre ES9023 (two types)

Postby Dion » Sun May 31 2015 20:17

Update:

Today I tested the ES9023 TCXO version again against the Dragonfly USB DAC. This time I could do a more direct comparison as I connected two Raspberry Pi's, each running volumio, to the same amplifier and played the exact same music on them so I could switch back and forth.

This time I could not hear much difference between the Dragonfly and the Audiophonics I2S DAC. I might have to try more types of music or listen together with someone else.
I am planning to do the same direct comparison between the two Audiophonics DAC's. And another plan: solder the separate TCXO clock to replace the current one. The Audiophonics helpdesk pointed out ot me that the separate clock is better than the one already soldered to the DAC (0.5 ppm in stead of 1 ppm). I am curious if that makes a big difference.
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Audiophonics I2S DAC's I-Sabre ES9023 (two types)

Postby funcool » Wed Jun 10 2015 22:18

Am I missing something or this dac haven't hardware volume control? you too use fixed or software volume in volumio?
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Audiophonics I2S DAC's I-Sabre ES9023 (two types)

Postby BryceJ » Fri Jun 12 2015 00:05

The Audiophonics website states that this card is supposed to use HiFiBerry+ driver and with Volumio it will allow bitperfect volume control.

Does anyone know what needs to be done to allow this to work?
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Audiophonics I2S DAC's I-Sabre ES9023 (two types)

Postby IRoN » Wed Aug 12 2015 15:16

Hi,

No hardware volume control on Sabre ES9023, use ES9018 (or flat and slobbery PCM51XX) if you need it.

https://myl8test.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/es9023-datasheet.pdf

It's a source, who need volume control on a source ? (to my mind it's not really "Hifi").
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Audiophonics I2S DAC's I-Sabre ES9023 (two types)

Postby tomcek » Thu Aug 20 2015 08:30

There is a third DAC from Audiophonics, the Audiophonics I-Sabre DAC ES9023 V2 TCXO:

http://www.audiophonics.fr/fr/kits-modu ... 10176.html

Does anybody know the difference to the other two existing?
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Audiophonics I2S DAC's I-Sabre ES9023 (two types)

Postby acousticmood » Sun Aug 23 2015 15:20

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Audiophonics I2S DAC's I-Sabre ES9023 (two types)

Postby IRoN » Mon Aug 24 2015 14:29

Just get mine not plugged yet, new form factor (easier to put in a case), HP out and faster TCXO
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