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E1DA 9038D Review (portable DAC & Amp)

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So... how exactly do you adjust dbfs on android, particularly with tidal access intact? I am confused about why the 0 dbfs option exists considering the apparent imbalance in the effect of .5 dbfs compared to going from desktop class measurements to nothing special? What am I missing ?!
 

staticV3

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So... how exactly do you adjust dbfs on android, particularly with tidal access intact? I am confused about why the 0 dbfs option exists considering the apparent imbalance in the effect of .5 dbfs compared to going from desktop class measurements to nothing special? What am I missing ?!
You adjust the 9038D's hardware volume using the Tweak9038 Android App.
I am confused about why the 0 dbfs option exists considering the apparent imbalance in the effect of .5 dbfs compared to going from desktop class measurements to nothing special? What am I missing ?!
I have no clue what you mean by that, sorry.
Edit: aah, I think I got it. Ivan allowed the 9038D to clip so that the point of maximum performance was definitely within the user-accessible range of volumes.
You can simply set the volume limiter inside Tweak9038 to -0.5 or -1.0dB to cut that clipping point out.
 
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You adjust the 9038D's hardware volume using the Tweak9038 Android App.

I have no clue what you mean by that, sorry.
Edit: aah, I think I got it. Ivan allowed the 9038D to clip so that the point of maximum performance was definitely within the user-accessible range of volumes.
You can simply set the volume limiter inside Tweak9038 to -0.5 or -1.0dB to cut that clipping point out.
I've always set volume limiters around -6.5dBFS to eliminate distortion from inter-sample overs. Is this not common practice?
 
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Yes, I believe you that there is noise. I just think that the source of this noise isn't the 9038D itself evidenced by the fact that:
A) turning Mute on/off doesn't change anything
B) the 9038D doesn't have a squelch feature

Since what you're experiencing happens on multiple devices, it points to Neutron being the source of that noise.

I'll try the same thing using my most sensitive IEM and UAPP/Hiby and will report back asap.

I'd appreciate if you could give Hiby a try, just for troubleshooting purposes, since it's free.
If you do, don't forget to enable direct USB access in the settings first.

I created a better silence and the noise I heard in UAPP is gone. I can hear the 9038D's noise floor, but there's absolutely no difference in amplitude between playing silence vs pausing.
So, it turns out my silence was defective and I believe yours might be as well, @alter4 .

You can download mine here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1hASPuwcoUAxrKMwUR4UdM7dgLgPTKPAb/view?usp=sharing

I must say I had turned off dithering, Automatic Gain Protection, etc when I tested this first time with Neutron player. Today I tested 32 bit silence sample with Neutron, HiBy and FiiO android players (for sure, direct USB access enabled). I asked my wife to assist me and rundomly press play or say me "I pressed" but don't press in reality to have blind testing and avoid any mind games. The issue is reproducible in Neutron and FiiO but not in HiBy, plus Neutron has very weak but audible "pop click" sound when start is pressed. Also I noticed Neutron recognizes the 9030D as 24 bit that is not right actually but I dont have ideas why is that.
As bonus I tested:
this device (cheap but quite linear and noiseless)- almost the same issue, the difference that added noise disappears in 2 seconds after start playing silence. o_O.
Windows 10 with ASIO driver. Works flawlessly.
 
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staticV3

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I've always set volume limiters around -6.5dBFS to eliminate distortion from inter-sample overs. Is this not common practice?
Not really. Clipping in your audio files just indicates a poorly mastered track. Reducing the max volume won't just make that clipping go away, it'll still be there in the file, so there's really no point to that.
 

IVX

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Before November 2020 I tested each 9038S/D PCBA and throw out ES9038Q2M if its dynamic range too low, next a PCBA went to assembling. Now I do assembling first, next testing each assembled unit, and print on that the result. If DR >123db(A), typically 125+/-.5db, it is full price unit. <123db(A) we sell cheaper $50-70. The assembling contractor usually very busy, and when they ready for my order I can have no time for PCBA pretest. Also, my orders grow, today my batch 1KU at least, so to finish the test of 1000 units takes a lot of time.
PS: your "cheap but quite linear and noiseless" DAC is an overpriced Realtek-based device, Rhodium DAC is the same. It is truly garbage DAC vs Meizu HiFi DAC which I can buy on Taobao for $13, that's why I think realtek one should be $3-5. The noise modulation you experienced is a MUTE action i.e. DAC On/Off.
 
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Rottmannash

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Question. When I'm using it with the mute and standby icons checked it's the amp operating or just the DAC? If not, is there a way to use just the DAC?
 

IVX

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Rottmannash, FYI, between the DAC(ES9038Q2M) and 3.5mm output placed opamp. If the opamp is Off you'll never see output on the 3.5mm jack. ES9038has current outputs and without eternal opamp(as I/V stage) isn't fuctional.
 

Rottmannash

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Rottmannash, FYI, between the DAC(ES9038Q2M) and 3.5mm output placed opamp. If the opamp is Off you'll never see output on the 3.5mm jack. ES9038has current outputs and without eternal opamp(as I/V stage) isn't fuctional.
K. Thanks for the info. Still loving it.
 

Rottmannash

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Rottmannash, BTW, seems 9038S/D are only 2 portable DAC+HPA on the market with typical for desktop DACs I/V stages. Other portable DACs based on all_in_chip combos. Hence, 9038D is a compact desktop DAC+amp.
Very interesting. Didn't know that. It does sound incredibly good.
 

AudioJester

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I am trying my 9038D on an old work computer running windows 7. Is there a legacy driver for older versions of windows?
 
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Your "cheap but quite linear and noiseless" DAC is an overpriced Realtek-based device, Rhodium DAC is the same. It is truly garbage DAC vs Meizu HiFi DAC which I can buy on Taobao for $13, that's why I think realtek one should be $3-5. The noise modulation you experienced is a MUTE action i.e. DAC On/Off.
I bought this when it was only $7, now it's more pricey. It is not garbage. It doesn't consume too much power in comparison with flagship dongles and allow have "not bad at all" sound for not so demanding users. I dont believe many users can distings in their <$100 headphones 120vs90 SNR or able to hear -84db harmonics. Such devices does stuff in their area (<$10) for really demanding users we have truly engineering masterpiece as 9038D. :)
 
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It constantly amazes me what a small number of individuals can pull off occasionally absolutely destroys their big tech rivals: comes from the best talent not needing to work for others at the height of their capability I suspect (ps. I ordered one of these and am waiting for it with high expectations).
 
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mate1146

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I would have a few questions as I am torn between shelling out for a Topping DX3 Pro or buying this smaller one for half the price. I do not need Bluetooth or portability so I guess the biggest differentiators are out.
1. Would this DAC+AMP drive my Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro 250ohms sufficiently in a desktop environment with Windows 10?
2. Will this tamper with my Equalizer APO preset?
3. Do I need to change any settings in the Android app to get the max performance out of it?
4. Does even changing settings carry over to my PC?
Sorry for all the questions but I am truly considering this little gadget for home use.
 

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