I am interested in this mono-block amp. I have a question to the author of the previous review: What power did your SMPS have? Also, maybe the SMPS was defective?
10/10 very detailed. imaging is great. cleaned up my music, woke up my fidelio x2 tightened up the low end, highs are less exhausting and sharp, more natural..... i do wish it came with the 1.5m usb cable but that's a small complaint and has nothing to do with how amazing this dac sounds
15/11/2017shinra ceo bman
I was shopping for an inexpensive USB DAC for my my laptop/Spotify setup when I stumbled across a review of the Sabre 9018. I was running the headphone jack into my Nobsound HiFi 6J1 Vacuum Tube Preamplifier > TubeCube | 7 Stereo Vacuum Tube Amplifier: an awesome little 3.5 watt tube system ($225 total + tube upgrades). It sounded great, but instrument separation/definition and soundstage were lacking. It was also a bit harsh to my ears.
This is the best $70 I've ever spent on a music system. Hands down. All frequencies are smoother, yet clearer and more defined. Bass sounds much fuller and more rounded; treble is crisp, but not harsh. But, I'm amazed at the difference in midrange vocals. This is where things really bloomed. The DAC also completely eliminated a bad hiss I got from the headphone jack.
The Sabre 9018 DAC has brought my system very close to the warmth and clarity of my Music Hall MMF 7 turntable. I'm totally satisfied with this product and will recommend it to others!
I use this in office with my work laptop and a pair of iLoud Micro Monitor at very low volume. Makes the speakers come alive, and me glued to the table. Very good details, wider and a bit deeper soundstage, bass is extended and hits lower. Good dynamics and micro details. I know I nail it with this DAC as I'm just glued to listening compared to before I just constantly wanted to tinker with the setup to improve sound.
I have used 3 other DACs with this setup so far. Fiio E10K which sounded more polite with less dynamics and bass. Dragonfly black v1.5 which sounded as good as this Es9018k2m but with graininess. And also Mojo which sounds very very similar but let's just say more controlled but by no means lacking. Overall I think I just prefer this ES9018K2M. It just makes the music feels right.
One thing to note however is EMI or RFI. I have to find some shielding.
I'm new to stand-alone DACs and wanted one for listening to my FLAC collection without having to go through my computer's old ESS soundcard or having to burn to CD for listening on my component system. I settled on the affordable Sabre 9018. It sounds amazing with my Denon AH-D2000 headphones and drives them nicely with computer volume set at only about 30%. Lots of power to spare. If it ends up sounding even better after burn-in, I'll be smiling! I haven't tried the optical output yet but look forward to hearing how it does directly into my component systems. I have neither 'golden ears' nor experience with other DACs but I'm very happy with this purchase. A great value for the price.
To David regarding using the adaptive mode 9018 on Linux... I use Linux on Intel, Android and on Raspberry Pi with many HiFimeDIY DACs, the only difference I found was power consumption, the Async one does sound the best I agree, but I couldn't drive it with some Android devices I think due to power, whereas the U2 and others worked ok from Android, although I get stutters with the 9023 U2, which could either be power or just a bad instance of this model. This Adaptive mode 9018 worked on all my Linux devices with no hiccups, I'd say it's not Linux, but most likely the particular instance of the product, it may need to be returned and replaced.
The decision to go with adaptive over asynchronous was, IMHO, a cost-cutting solution that is bad for the end user. I've had excellent success with this product's predecessor, the Asynchronous Sabre U2, but this one doesn't work in Linux (with mpd) at all well. Jitter and stuttering aplenty, while the U2 works a treat. HIFIME reply: It works with other Linux devices, there might be settings you can change to fix this. Try adjusting buffer or process priority/niceness. This isn't directly related to async vs adaptive, but some other settings with the 9018.
Belle finition pour ce câble optique bénéficiant d'un prix très concurrentiel.
Quatrième DAC acheté chez HIFImeDIY (ES9023 synchrone, ES9023 asynchrone, ES9018K2M asynchrone 384kHz/32bit et ce ES9018k2M optique).
Après plusieurs jours d’écoutes, la comparaison se fait entre le modèle USB ES9018K2M et cette version optique.
Les 2 DAC ont des sources différentes. Il donc est possible que le résultat soit aussi attribuable à celles-ci (DAC-USB/PC-GNUdebian & DAC-Opt/Box-AndroidTV).
Dans les 2 cas, la sortie est la même : ampli tripath et enceintes Dynaudio Acoustics. Les fichiers audio, servant de test, sont les mêmes.
Le son produit par ce dernier système est plus dynamique. La séparation stéréo semble également plus marquée.
L’autre, procure un son que l’on pourrait qualifier de plus homogène. Sur de grands ensembles les instruments se détachent moins les uns des autres, mais l’ambiance générale (salle, réverbération, etc .) semble mieux retranscrite.
A l’écoute de ces deux systèmes, il est difficile de dire lequel est le meilleur. Tous deux sont excellents.
I'll start with the frustration. My unit arrived the day Hifime announced a 9038-based model. I know the 9038 won't be $159, but I would definitely have ordered the 9038 instead.
The 9018 is a definite jump from my Hifime 9023: better imaging, bass, and detail. A 5 volt battery extender adds to the difference.
I mostly listen through speakers.The UDA 18 works seamlessly with Linux and there's enough gain to overcome Linux not being loud enough.There's plenty of detail even at low volume. Transients are really good. The highs can be slightly harsh at very loud volume, butthe issue goes away with the handful of 24/192 remasters I have.
For portable use, I use it with a micro USB converter, an android tablet(my Samsung can power the DAC w/out the battery btw), and a pair of 1More Triple Driver iems. I'd been happy with a Fiio X3 Gen 2, but the UDA18 is the difference between a really good upright and a grand piano.
(edited down because of the 1000 characters limit)
Purchased this for inputting optical SPDIF to a Linux PC in a test setup because it mentioned needing no drivers. Indeed it's a USB Audio Class (UAC); even the volume knob is a standard USB HID.
Basic operation is quite fine. I don't have the equipment to perform an in-depth technical analysis (jitter, noise level, etc.) so I'll only mention a couple of things I noticed:
- SPDIF only supports up to 48kHz; the advertised 96kHz are only for the DAC
- There's some quiet, but noticeable pink noise on the analog output.
- Rather basic mixer controls; mute functionality (SPDIF, line out, headphone) would have been nice
- When changing sample rates first few samples are lost
Not studio class equipment but good enough for my purpose.
I've had trouble at first will full-duplex mode but that was caused by a buggy USB hub.
(Merged two reviews)UPDATE: It seems SPDIF output works with 96kHz sample rate when selecting the "analog" output device on the PC (which outputs to both analog and SPDIF output). Only the SPDIF input is limited to 48kHz.
Works like a charm, plug and play on both Windows 10 PC & Android 7 Smartphone. Sound quality is great, more airness, better soundstage, deeper bass, better clarity. Not day & night difference compared to the pc headphone out, but you can hear the difference, specially with a little bit hard to drive over-the-ear headphones. On the smartphone, the difference is HUGE in both volume & sound quality.
Amplification-wise, the volume is like 25-30% louder than my PC headphone out and 40-50% louder than my smartphone (Xiaomi Mi 5). I don't know if it's enought for high impedance headphones, but for a wide variety of IEM's and my ATH-M50x headphones they deliver more than enought power. Huge improvement on the bass and soundstage of the M50x, now they sound as good as they're supposed to!
I found that the sound improved by a huge amount using ASIO drivers, with Windows 10.
I am using one of these on a Google Pixel XL running Android 8.0. Everything works perfectly with the integrated system applications, and as expected exclusive mode USB Audio applications work perfectly as well. Literally just plug and play.
Highly recommended accessory for those who miss a headphone jack, or those like me who are not satisfied with the onboard audio chipset.
This DAC works well. Very good sound for the reasonable price. My old laptop's dac and headphones amp were so bad, and this is a good substitute.