HiFime Sabre 9018 USB DAC

HiFime Sabre 9018 USB DAC
Views: 177746 Brand: HiFime
Product Code: 10000146
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Best portable DAC in Norwegian newspaper VG! 6 stars and best portable DAC of the Year in Lyd og Billede!


The new Hifime Sabre 9018 DAC is a great sounding audiophile DAC at an unbelievable price. We have picked the most important features to create an incredible sounding DAC packaged in a simple, nice-looking case at the lowest cost possible.



The high-end 9018 DAC chip combined with the Sabre headphone driver give a very detailed sound with a great soundstage. The noise is very low and can be used with also the most sensitive headphones. It is tested to work and sound great with Audio Technica ath-m50 (38 ohm, 99dB), Sennheiser hd650 (300 ohm, 103 dB), IEM: JH Audio JH-13 (28 ohm, 116dB).



It works without drivers with all major systems and programs; Windows, MAC, Linux. iTunes, Spotify, and Android see compatibility list). iPhone adaptor available here (lightning to USB).



  • Sabre ES9018k2m DAC chip and SABRE9601 headphone and line out driver, SA9023 USB receiver chip
  • Works and sound great with most headphone (including low impedance IEM and high impedance headphones) and all line-level devices (preamps, amplifiers)
  • Accepts 32kHz, 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz and 96kHz input files @16 and 24 bit.
  • Volume controlled by computer vol +/- keys
  • Ultra-low noise regulator LP5907 with added noise-reducing aluminum solid capacitors (NCC PSF series)
  • Patented Time Domain Jitter Eliminator (by ESS Technologies)
  • Optical output
  • No drivers required! Optional Windows ASIO drivers available


  • 122dB SNR 
  • 110dB THD+N: 2V rms @ 600 ohm load
  • 100dB THD+N: 30mW @ 32 ohm load
  • No DC blocking capacitors on the output
  • Power usage: 40-80 mA depending on sample rate and volume
  • Dimensions:5.5 x 3.5 x 1.8 cm (without cable)
  • Weight 30g


32kHz to 96kHz resolution

The Sabre 9018 DAC can play any format (MP3, AIFF, FLAC etc) from CD quality up to high resolution 96kHz files. It does not support 196k or 384kHz natively, nor does it play DSD files. Why? Most users does not have 192/384/DSD files and do not benefit from a 384kHz capable DAC when playing CD quality (or high resolution 96kHz) files. If you need a 192kHz/384kHz/DSD DAC then we have other options for you. We have intentionally omitted this for all of our customers who don’t play 384kHz/DSD so they can save and get a better sounding CD quality DAC at a lower price. 


But I thought higher resolution is better??

If you have bough high resolution 192kHz/384kHz files then yes it is better to have a DAC capable of decoding 192/384 without down-sampling. However, most users play CD’s, FLAC, Apple lossless, MP3's, iTunes, Spotify, Tidal high resolution etc, and will not benefit from a 192/384kHz capable DAC. 


The benefits of max 96/24 includes:

  • No drivers needed!
  • Responds to system volume level in detailed 64 steps
  • Works with the USB isolator to further reduce noise from the computer and improve clarity and sound quality
  • You don’t pay extra for what you don’t need


More technical background

The most important parts in a DAC are:

  • DAC chip
  • Headphone/output driver (if any) 
  • Power supply
  • Circuit/implementation

We have chosen a great sounding and performing pair (ESS Sabre ES9018k2m DAC+SABRE9601 driver) and added DC noise filtering to improve the DC power quality from the USB port. There are high-performing aluminum solid capacitors together with a new ultra low noise regulator (LP5907). We spent a long time designing and optimizing the 4 layer PCB for the circuit in order to achieve the best performance and low ECM noise.


USB transfer mode

After careful experimentation we have chosen USB adaptive mode for this DAC. You can read more about the difference between synchronous, adaptive and async here:



The Sabre 9018 is also the first DAC to use our new case. We have made a simple case at minimal added cost compared to our existing generic case.

Model: uae23hd
5 ( 5 / 5 )
This is brilliant product. A good DAC implemented and paired with excellent components and on top of that made USB audio driver compliant at up to 96 KHz / 24 bit for ease of use. This is all you could ever want regarding the sound quality for such a small, portable and affordable device. Nobody need more than thisdevice can output anyway unless you need to drive an extremely low sensitivity headphone loudly. 24 bit is more than enough for any practical uses that is way more important than to have 96 KHz. 32 bit sound for distribution and listening to music is utter pointless, even if the DAC-chip supports that, so nothing is lost by standards of what you can realistically perceive. Excellent details in the sound without needing to be artificially fatiguingly bright if played with revealing/detailed headphones. The output driver handles just about what you can throw at it at a decent volume. Hats of to the makers of this one!
5 ( 5 / 5 )
I have a Marant PM8005 and Mission LX-2 speaker, i wanted to upgrade my professional dac. After searching thru some forums i bought the HiFime Sabre 9018 USB DAC I bought it from amazon uk since i live in denmark i wouldn't wanna risk ekstra taxes Chosed fast delivery from england to denmark less than 18 hours i got it,payed 70.50 £ First impression: it's tiny and has a little edge on the top play out of the box using tidal hifi and supra minijack to rca/phono biline (not the cheapest) and michael jackson's Off the wall, katie meluas moonshine has as deep,full bodied bass as im use to,it still sounds a bit less blotted than im use to, shiller germnan electronic music sounds wide,the deepth also sounds a bit deeper,longer than im use to For the money a good buy, especially if you only use a laptop or a pc with a cheap motherboard
5 ( 5 / 5 )
What a lovely product. Worth every penny spent on it. So much detailed mids and highs. High resolution of details. I am re listening to my audiophile collection with this via Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro. Just like listening to live performance in a live event. And the bass! Its not the boosted bass and u should listen to this to know whst bass is. Outstanding product
5 ( 5 / 5 )
A wonderful product. Before this one I was a user of 9023 chip variation. The main difference that was obvious right from pluging up was the higher output power - a lot more power than 9023. My audio technica ath m50x headphones sounds wonderful with them. The sound is more vivid, the soundstage is better and there is a little more clarity over the 9023.
4 ( 4 / 5 )
It has great sound in combination with headphones; there is a lot of detail and a good sound stage. On my car radio there is an unbelievable gain in detail, especially in the low end.   However, I am having issues with the iPhone 6s, there is jitter every few seconds making it impossible to enjoy. It works quite well on my Dell E5570, but there still is jitter, though very little. No jitter on my desktop, but the highs are too harsh on my sound system and the sound stage is more compact compared to my Asus Essence STX II + OPA627 as buffer + LT1498 in I/V. It does yield more detail, but I know that is the trade-off by using the LT1498 in I/V; they are very open at cost of a little detail. The most obvious difference however is how voices and string instruments are very soft in comparison, they are blended into the background and therefore more difficult to perceive compared to my current setup.   Overall, I am enjoying it very much in combination with my Sennheiser HD449 headphones!

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