KALI EDITION Audiophonics offers you the successor of the DAC I-Sabre 9028 now with the ES9038Q2M chip. The ES9038Q2M allows outstanding sound performance thanks to components selected to ensure the utmost accuracy and precision in playback without sounding aggressive.

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Shipping date: 21-01-2019.

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DAC 32bit 768kHz / I2S & SPDIF

Audiophonics offers you the successor of the DAC I-Sabre 9028 boarding this time the decoding chip ES9038Q2M. This version offers remarkable sound performance, thanks to the Hyperstream II architecture, traditionally found in professional devices. 

CAUTION: This product can not be connected directly to a RASPBERRY PI3 + / Pi3 / Pi2 without the Audiophonics side GPIO adapter that permit to deport the DAC on the RPI side.

This adapter can also be used without KALI.

The ordinary version with native Raspberry Pi support can be found here : DAC I-SABRE ES9038Q2M (NON-KALI version) - The only difference with the I-SABRE ES9038Q2M standard is the orientation of the GPIO connector.

Adaptateur Audiophonics Allo Kali DAC ES9038 ALLO KALI
Adaptateur, Allo Kali and Raspberry Pi 3B+ are sold separately

Ever increasing audio quality

Following its predecessors, the ES9038Q2M offers exceptional sound performance thanks to components selected to ensure the greatest accuracy and precision in the restitution without sounding aggressive.
This version is based on recognized technologies. It also benefits from Hyperstream II, significantly improving dynamic range while reducing jitter and unwanted noise.
The design includes an ultra low phase noise crystal as clock for ES9038Q2M.

CPDL, entrée I2S et horloge

An autonomous system

Like the previous ES9028Q2M, the ES9038Q2M has been designed to mount on a Raspberry Pi, thus providing the best possible output quality for a compact player.

It is compatible with other GPIO Raspberry format cards as well. Moreover it is possible to connect it to any I2S or SPDIF source. (USB interface, DSP ..)
The card offers an encoder-controlled hardware volume control, with an OLED screen display, allowing it to operate in complete autonomy.

Specific driver installation is optional and will allows you to control the volume or change the input source from Linux.

An improved user experience

Thanks to a built-in microprocessor, the I-Sabre 9038Q2M is able to automatically detect the format and sampling rate of the source and automatically adapt to it.
It automatically detects if the source is 16bit / 24bit or DSD DOP

This CPLD chip control maintains high stability while preventing decoding problems as well as the appearance of listening artifacts.

High quality analog output

The ES9038 I-Sabre board has two 9J NJM 2114 bipolar operational amplifiers powered by 9V for the C conversion section.I / V voltage, which allows a high quality of analog output.

A last AOP NJM 2214 used in buffer finalizes the analog output stage and ensures an optimal restitution.

AOP NJM 2114

A complete solution

Exemple branchement avec ecran digital et encodeur numérique

This converter has the potential to evolve into a complete solution. By way of example, an OLED screen dedicated to displaying the source, the volume and the bitrate can easily be added.

We can also add an encoder to control the volume of the DAC to avoid loss of quality inherent software volume management.

Warning: This product contains only the Audiophonics I-Sabre ES9038Q2M DAC. The RaspBerry Pi, KALI, OLED screen and rotary encoder are sold separately.

An efficient power supply stage

Powered by a Micro USB 5V input, the DAC has a particularly well-tuned power stage that allows both to ensure a stable signal while reducing sounds artefacts and noise.
For this, the PCB integrates a DC / DC converter from Mornsun followed by two LT7809/7909 linear regulators dedicated to the analog part, which is supplied with +/- 9V.

In addition, as for its predecessor, the Raspberry Pi is powered directly via the GPIO port, avoiding multiple connections.

The board includes 2 Ultra low noise voltage regulators dedicated to the DAC to isolate it from the main power supply.
DVCC is supplied with LP5907 (<6.5µV noise), which allow to internally generate the DAC 1.2V Vref which is a critical voltage.
AVCC is supplied with a dedicated ADP150 (< 9µV noise) 

power stage
DietPi solution logicielle compatible Sabre 9038 audiophonics

DietPi compatible

If used in conjunction with a Raspberry Pi, the I-SABRE ES9038Q2M DAC can take advantage of many additional features, includingdedicated under DietPi .
An open source solution that can control the ESS hardware volume control.
We can take advantage of a lossless volume reduction and use the DAC as a true preamplifier.

The DietPi software solution allows you to use Logitech Media server and / or ROON.
It is also an effective base for installing other applications that will require some knowledge of computers (SSH connection) to go further.

graphique alsamixer

Alsamixer control interface under DietPi

Compatible with Volumio

The ES9038Q2M driver is also compatible with the Volumio solution via a manually installable plugin.
Volumio offers an efficient and highly intuitive web control interface, ideal for getting started.
This is the ideal option to easily obtain a powerful and easy-to-use audio / decoder player.

You will find following the following link a tutorial to install the Volumio plugin on DAC ES9038Q2M:
Flight Plugin Installationumio ES9038Q2M

Solution logicielle volumio

Supported PCM / DSD formats

The DAC-ISABRE is 24/192 compatible with the RPI-DAC driver and up to 32bit 384KHZ with its driver and distributions using an optimized audio kernel. (Volumio, Dietpi ...)

It can also read DSD64 / DSD128 DOP with solutions like Volumio and Logitech Media Server

SPDIF input accepts PCM format up to 24/192 and DSD 128 DOP. 
I2S Input can accept up to PCM 32/768k and DSD 512 DOP.

Here is a tutorial to enable Logitech Media Server DSD support with Picore Player.
Link to the tutorial

The use in addition to an Allo KALI is not compatible with the DSD mode.

link moOde Audio ES9038

Audiophonics ES9038Q2M review by
The Hans Beekhuyzen Channel

Sampling rateUp to 32 bit 768KHz (Max 384 pour RPI) 
PCM 16/24/32Bit Auto switch

DSD 64/128/256/512 DOP Auto Switch (Max DSD 128 pour RPI)
THD0.002 dB
THD + N-108dB Measured
Output level1.54V Vrms / 2.24Vpp


inputs1x I2S GPIO (pinout RPI-DAC)
1x I2S

1x I2C (RPI)
Exits1x RCA Stereo

1x I2C for OLED (MCU)
1x I2C (RPI reference)
1x SPI (RPI reference)
Length90 mm
Width57 mm
Weight42 g



Measurement in real conditions with Audio Precision:

Spectre audio réponse en fréquence 9038


Schéma branchement sabre 9038 ecran et encodeur numérique
Pinout Winstar 16x2 screen
9038Q2MEcran Winstar 16x2
PIN 61
PIN 22
PIN 264
PIN 345
PIN 246
PIN 2211
PIN 1812
PIN 1613
PIN 1314
IR receiver
GPIO 26 (PIN 37)OUT (Data IR receiver)
Data sheet
Components / ChipES9038Q2m
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KALI EDITION Audiophonics offers you the successor of the DAC I-Sabre 9028 now with the ES9038Q2M chip. The ES9038Q2M allows outstanding sound...

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