Showing 1 of 298 conversations about:
View Full Discussion
K2M - So the statement that it is the same chip that in Matrix X-Sabre is wrong...
ES9018K2M costs 10$ and have 2 dac units- The ES9018 costs ~60$ and has 8 dacs units.
SMSL M8 has a single ES9018K2M chip inside, see this video
As GourouLubrik correctly pointed out K2M is a cheaper 2 channel version of ES9018. It's a version EES made for mobile market to use in mobile phones, tablets and mobile DAPs. iBasso DX90 mobile DAP uses two K2M DACs, one per channel.
I've had gear with cheap regular DAC chips inside that sound outstanding and gear with super expensive DAC chips that sound like... meh. DAC chip itself does not make the audio DAC to sound good - the implementation is everything. Circuit layout, onboard stages of power filtering, regulated power supply, etc. If you looking to play anything above 24/96 not to mention DSD its better be a very good implementation.
Less complex and simple is the DAC , easier is to implemente it correctly (most times) .
Amazon product description + a pic that show a 28 pins dac and not a 64 qlfp package.
There is absolutely no es9018 inside, both chip plays DSD256 natively - es9018 has been reported to also work with DSD512 but I don't think this is officially supported.
It's a portable "flagship" - not real flashship (es9012 for stereo only, es9O18 for both mono, stereo and multichannel applications).
es9018k2m consume less energy, but provide only 2 dacs units instead of 8. I won't go into technical details, but using 4 dacs units in parallel make it better/easiers for I/V stage.
es9018k2m cost 18.90$ per unit / 65.90$ per unit at Ismosys (official distributor)
You can check prices here: http://ecommerce.ismosys.com/ordering/index.php?manufacturers_id=34
You pointed up a diy kit at 66$ (that needs 3 external regulated power supply which add costs)
es9018 is more versatile, much more complex and costly to use. A good implementation scheme is using separate VCC L+R /VDD L+R /DVCC. That's 5 power supply rails only for the dac chip, Shunt type are advised because the chip is sensitive to output impedance of the power supply. Es9018K2M only needs two.
As you see, ES9018 is still the "true" flagship, but it behave like a diva and consume much more power, so it's much more costly to implement it doing everything right. I prefer to see a 9018k2m properly done that a es9018 done badly.
Es9018k2m can detect the incoming logic signal (spdif, i2s or dsd) automatically, no need to use any hardware or software to config the signal, ES9018 needs a micro-controller for this task.
Still, es9018 has been used in "portable" DAP such as Ibasso DX100 or Sony PHA3. Upcoming fiio X7 is also rumored to sport an es9018.