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Aditya Gairola

Hifime UDA38Pro DAC (ES9038Pro + SA9227)

Hifime UDA38Pro DAC (ES9038Pro + SA9227)
Views: 61656 Brand: HiFime
Product Code: 10000158
Availability: 7 - 15 Days

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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 )
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.
5 ( 5 / 5 )
Coming from Resonessance Labs Concero HP with the Sabre chip ES9018-2M, and also using the internal DAC of the Woo Audio WA7 2nd gen for awhile, uda38pro is definitely an upgrade coming from both. uda38pro's sound is more clear, natural, and musical. There is also more space between instruments and the details stand out more. This is what I am using to feed the WA7 and the combo sounds fantastic with HD800S. Like others said, use an external power. The signature does not change but the sound definitely get slightly enhanced and opens up a bit more. I am using a DC 12V 2A that I had sitting around. For $250 and after using it for a few months now, this is a no-brainer recommendation.
5 ( 5 / 5 )
just got my uda38pro had uda 18 so far during break i can say that shines with my akg 240 headphones very clear open and vocals are so good i must add u must use an extrnal power i use 1amp 12v. i enjoy hearing sacd and dsd hi res audio with foobar very very happy. value for money nice upgrade and will update when break in will be done bass still not as tight as i would have wanted but the uda 18 took some time too to open up dont hesitate thank u guyd keep on developing i will for sure be back to buy more
5 ( 5 / 5 )
I own the ES9018 which I really like. Compared to the ES9018 the sound of the UDA38Pro DAC is so much clearer and a new dimension opens. Best choice for the money.
5 ( 5 / 5 )
Very nice sound ! I used output supply of DC 12V 2A. From low to high sound area I could hear in reluctance. This UDA38PRO is very calm

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