Hifime UDA38Pro DAC (ES9038Pro + SA9227)

Hifime UDA38Pro DAC (ES9038Pro + SA9227)
Views: 113985 Brand: HiFime
Product Code: 10000158
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Hifime UDA38Pro DAC (ES9038Pro + SA9227)

The Hifime UDA38Pro utilises the ESS Sabre ES9038Pro DAC chip that has received a lot of attention and praised as the most important new DAC chip in ages. It has impressive specifications and some great features like the THD compensation that minimises THD (distortion) caused by external components. It also benefits from ESS’s patented 32-bit HyperStream DAC technology that is also present in other ESS Sabre chips like the ES9018.

We have paired the ES9038Pro with OPA1622 output stage amplifier that can drive a wide range of loads including low and high impedance headphones and also line level loads like preamps and amplifiers. The ES9038Pro DAC chip creates a detailed sound quality that also have a mature, profound feel to it making it sound very real. 


The UDA38Pro comes in a small portable case that can be powered from USB only or with an additional external DC power supply (5V-12V supported). There is a 3.5mm mini-headphone jack output and a stereo RCA pair. A digital volume control sets the output level from the DAC chip to obtain lossless volume adjustment in 58 steps. The DAC is clocked by a 80MHz TCXO and accepts inputs via SPDIF optical and USB. The USB input is asynchronous and accepts all PCM sample rates up to 384kHz/32Bit (including all MP3, FLAC etc) and DSD64 and DSD128. SPDIF input that accepts rates up to 192kHz/24bit.

No drivers are required in Mac, Linux and Windows 10 (Windows drivers are available for Win 7-9).

Power requirements

The DAC can get power from USB and doesn’t need any external power supply to function with a computer. With some Android phones it will require external power to work. It also needs external power when used at full volume with low efficient, power hungry headphones like the Hifiman HE-5LE, as they draw to much current and will make the DAC partially cut out in peaks. Power consumption is around 450mA without external PSU and 115mA with external PSU connected. 

It accepts a wide range of external power, from 5V to 12V DC, minimum 500mA We recommend 9 to 12V and min 1A.


We have tested the DAC with many different headphones and made it work with both sensitive in ear monitors as well as more demanding headphones like HD650 and even Hifiman HE-5LE (38ohm/87.5db).  Android phones vary a lot on how they supports USB DACs, and compatibility can also change after Android OS updates, so it’s not easily said what phones are supported. So far we have tested the DAC with a few phones we have available. 

Google Nexus 5X (Android 8.0.0) works (only tested with external PSU).

Xiaomi MAX (microUSB) also works without external power supply. 

The Xiaomi Mi MIX (USB type-C) works, (also without external PSU connected however we experience some skips and ticks when power supply is not connected.)

The DAC will consume quite a lot of battery from a phone when external PSU is not connected. However it can be convenient to be completely mobile for a listening session and then quickly charge the phone.


  • USB (all USB ports accepted) All PCB sample rates up to 384kHz and DSD64/128
  • Digital Optical SPDIF. Up to 192kHz


  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • RCA stereo


  • Chips: ES9038Pro, SA9227, OPA1622
  • 58 step Digital lossless volume control
  • Two inputs: USB (type-B) and SPDIF Optical selectable by switch
  • Optional DC input. Can run on USB power when DC power is not connected
  • USB input supports all frequency rates up to 384kHz 16/24/32 bit and DSD64 and DSD128
  • Optical inputs supports up to 192kHz
  • Asynchronous USB transfer. 
  • DAC is clocked by 80 MHz TCXO
  • Output: 3.5mm and RCA
  • DC input: 5-12VDC min 500mA. 9-12VDC 1A recommended (not included)
  • DC input plug: 5.5/2.1, inside pin is positive.
  • Output power on USB power (5V): 70mW@30ohm, 3.75mW@600ohm

  • Output Voltage on USB power (5V) 1.5Vrms

  • Output power with ex 9V power supply:  125mW@30ohm, 11mW@600ohm

  • Output Voltage with ex 9V power supply: 2Vrms@32ohm, 2.6Vrms@10Kohm

  • USB Power consumption: 450-520mA without external power, 110-120mA with external power
  • Size: 10 x 8 x 3 cm

Model: UAE38Pro

5 ( 5 / 5 )
Just recently received this item and I was very impressed. I have used other DACs priced around $2000-5000 with mono power amps of Mark Levinson, but this small one has the best resonating sound of all. It is spacious and precise in the high tones and natural, velvet, and expanding sound stage. I know there is a negative review but I highly suspect it is because it did not have power supply and used USB power instead. That negative review says distortions but I am clueless why such review exists. I am pretty sure there is nothing like that. I use DC 12V 5A 60W power supply. It is more than what this unit requires but more is always better than less for power supply. For this price, I highly recommend this unit.
5 ( 5 / 5 )
I couldn't sleep after ordering UDA38pro and seeing a bad review of it. But it turned out that the ES9038pro was real. The wide stage and natural sound made me like the sound of the ES9038pro. There are a litte problems. The noise is caused by the electromagnetic wave and it is a little bit larger for mobile devices. But more than offset this all is the special sound of the ES9038pro. I bought UDA38pro very well.
5 ( 5 / 5 )
During break-in of my freshly arrived UDA38Pro, I started listening with just a stock power supply and stock USB-cable. I found the sound a little too noisy for audiophile use. Disconnecting the stock power supply, running solely on USB power, eliminated most of the noise, but in order to let this DAC really show its full potential, some (limited) extra investments are needed. In effect, it appears to be more sensitive to the choice of power supply and USB cable than for instance my Focusrite Forte DAC/ADC. I now use the following accessories (listed in order of importance for boosting perceived sound quality): 1. iFi iPower 12V 1.8A power supply, 49 Euro 2. Supra USB 2.0 cable 1.0m, 37.50 Euro 3. Audioquest Jitterbug, 39 Euro Combined with my Nura headphones, this yields a big 3D soundstage with incredible amounts of detail and dynamics, wow! Also my speakers sound much better with this DAC, including a wider stereo image and tighter bass. Highly recommended!!!
5 ( 5 / 5 )
I use these dac whit my 4000 euro amplifier from Naim. Its much better than my old expensive dac. The sound is liquid and reminds me about my old records player. This is the best dac I have listened to.
5 ( 5 / 5 )
I always felt skeptical about investing in DAC, but man this little device proved me wrong, what a difference, it's a day and night difference compared to my focusrite. Worth every penny.

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