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HiFiMeDIY Sabre USB DAC Digital to Analog Audio Converter 96khz/24bit ES9023+SA9023 + USB to Optical Converter

4.7 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews
| 22 answered questions

Available from these sellers.
  • Sabre DAC Technology
  • 96khz/24bit USB input
  • Small, lightweight design
  • Output on 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Volume level adjustable with computer hardware keys
4 new from $49.99 1 refurbished from $68.99

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Product Description

Hifimediy Sabre DAC was developed by DIY (do it yourself} enthusiasts in the purpose of making a really good but cheap dac that could compete against regular commercial DAC's costing many times as much. It utilises a DAC chip from the ESS Technology which range of DAC chips is highly regarded amount audio enthusiast. You pay for the sound, not the enclosure. We use a small lightweight simple box, so you don't have to pay extra for a bigger and more expensive enclosure. The power supply is very important for the sound quality. We use a high end ultra low noise regulator (LT1763). Features: - Output on 3.5mm headphone jack. - Volume Level is controlled by the normal volume control keys on your computer. (no need to use the volume control inside iTunes etc.) - No drivers required for Mac, Windows and Linux! - Normal line level output (2Vrms) when connected to amplifiers/preamps. For headphones the level decreases down to 1Vrms for 32ohm headphones Additional features: -Usb to optical converter. Outputs optical signal if you connect a 3.5mm optical cable in place of a 3.5mm audio cable. Can be useful for connecting your computer to another DAC without usb input. New batch uses USB receiver TE7022L: - Accepts 32khz, 44.1khz, 48khz, 96khz and 16/24bit input signals over USB. Most USB DAC's use the cheaper PCM2704 usb receiver chips that can only accept up to 48KHZ/16BIT. Output levels: Open 2.2Vrms 4.7Kohm 2.1Vrms 1.8Kohm 1.9Vrms 510ohm 1.5Vrms 330ohm 1.3Vrms 30ohm 1Vrms Normally amplifier inputs are from 10K to 100K ohm. Normal headphones are from 32 ohm to 250ohm.

Product Information

Product Dimensions 4.2 x 2.7 x 0.8 inches
Item Weight 3.5 ounces
Shipping Weight 3.5 ounces
Manufacturer HiFimeDIY
ASIN B00AOH5JTQ
Item model number uae23
Customer Reviews
4.7 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
Best Sellers Rank #72 in Industrial & Scientific > Industrial Electrical > Semiconductor Products > Signal Components > Signal Converters
#72 in Electronics > Accessories & Supplies > Audio & Video Accessories > Digital-to-Analog Converters
#9,407 in Electronics > Accessories & Supplies > Home Audio Accessories
Date first available at Amazon.com December 15, 2012

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Product Warranty: For warranty information about this product, please click here

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Verified Purchase
I purchased the HiFiMeDIY DAC more out of curiosity rather than an actual need. Simply put I wanted to compare the performance of a DAC using one of the famed ESS Sabre D/A chips with the other audio gear at my disposal without having to spend hundreds or even thousands on higher end gear from Peachtree Audio, Oppo, JDS-Labs, McIntosh, etc. The HiFiMeDIY DAC fit the bill and this review details my (subjective) conclusions.

The HiFiMeDIY Sabre DAC is an external USB D/A audio converter designed by the DIY community and based on the entry level ESS Sabre ES9023 D/A chip and the ubiquitous USB 2.0, full-speed compliant Tenor TE-7022L audio streaming controller from the Galaxy Far East Corp. (GFEC). The HiFiMeDIY DAC is a device of remarkable simplicity but in the same time a model of efficient circuit design. Power is supplied by the USB to a Linear Technology LT1763 low-noise, low drop-out (LDO) micro-power regulator while all other functions: USB control, data retrieval, pin-addressing, clocking, oversampling, D/A conversion, low-pass filtering, etc., are split between the Tenor and the Sabre chips. This arrangement eliminates the necessity for any other processor (dedicated to some of these functions) on the circuit board. The data transfer in the HiFiMeDIY DAC is synchronous (the USB data link is controlled by the computer rather than the DAC). This is, arguably, not the best arrangement for audio purposes due to jitter issues (this jitter issue depends greatly on the other duties of the computer's processor.) Nevertheless, the Tenor chip features integrated phase-locked loop (PLL) to support single crystal operation (12MHz) and has some buffering capability, which helps mitigate jitter to some degree.
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Verified Purchase
Bottom Line Up Front: This is an astounding DAC! Buy it.

UPDATE: May 2016
I can't believe I've had this for two years, but it's safe to say I will never buy a big box DAC again. I have it back on my main system now, as it still performs better than any other DAC I've worked with. I got a mini one, and made a custom headphone cable for my AT Q702's, which now plug directly into a usb jack, which is lovely. Still highly recommended!

UPDATE: April 2014
After having the device for a couple months, I decided to buy another one to tinker with. I was able to separate the power from the USB host, and use a rectifier I made that was connected to a molex output from the PSU on my computer, and the sound became even more transparent. I'm going to be re-wiring the device to have RCA connectors on it, so I can use is like the Halide DAC. This little device is very DIY friendly, and I would recommend to anyone who has some knowledge in personal digital audio to test it out!

Original Review:

The Problem:
My computer soundcard is so noisy, when a song got quiet or a track was changing, you could hear the sound-card in the computer generating noise as it took resources from the CPU. It was very distracting, especially when playing games. I heard it both on my PC, as well as my Mac Mini, so I decided to do something about it.
I've been looking for an external-from-the-computer DAC for a while now, and I have used the Peachtree DAC-iT, Emotiva XDA-1, Halide DAC HD, among others, however I was annoyed at how large and expensive they were.
Then I found this little guy. It reminded me of the Halide DAC in size, however this DAC is 90% cheaper!
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Verified Purchase
As I've accumulated more and more music as strictly digital files over the last few years, it became increasingly apparent to my ears that, despite a modestly good desktop sound system, the output from the soundcards in my various PC's was lacking the fidelity and definition I would have liked. Eventually I began sending the PC audio output to my home stereo and, at that point, it was even more evident a better solution was needed. I conferred with a few friends who inhabit the audiophile world about a resolution to the sound issues and all of them unequivocally recommended an outboard DAC. Of course, there was no consensus as to manufacturer and cost but the best advice suggested that above a certain price-point, the rule of diminishing return for every dollar spent took hold.

So, before spending beaucoups $$$ on any of the more esoteric or renowned DAC units that had gotten good recommendations, the cheapskate in me took a chance with the HiFiMeDIY Sabre DAC. Being so inexpensive, even if it didn't offer any great improvement, I wasn't tossing out a lot of cash. Well, I definitely have no remorse about purchasing this HiFiMeDIY DAC. This unit is not only a great bargain, but it truly delivers the goods. Its sound quality now brings my digital music to a level that comes a lot closer to rivaling my other music sources (note: I said closer to, but not equal).

Yes, it's cheaply made, but it plugged in and it worked right out the box with both Windows XP and 7. It has a few quirks which are probably related more to one of the computers I use than the DAC. Anyway, I immediately noticed a distinguishable enhancement over the standard output, although not a huge 'night and day' difference in sound, but a pleasantly noticeable improvement.
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