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: 16-08-2022.

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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 Pi 4 / 3 + / 3 / 2 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.

Test and review by Audio Science Review

"The AUDIOPHONICS DAC I-Sabre ES9038Q2M finally brings good performance to HAT DACs. It rivals the performance of the higher priced DACs from Allo and Orchard Audio but at lower cost."
Test Qobuz
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.

The rotary encoder only works if the OLED display is also present.

Upgraded power stage

Powered by a USB-C 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 followed by 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 now includes a relay meant to cancel any "pop" arising from powering on/off or brutal track switch.

power stage

Built-in dedicated kernel kernel driver in RPI > 4.19.34

Used in conjunction with a Raspberry Pi, the I-DAC SABRE ES9038Q2M benefits from a complete dematerialized streaming solution.

Audiophonics 9038Q2M driver is supported by Raspberry Pi kernel since version 4.19.34, which greatly facilitates the installation, and provides instant access to the hardware volume control, filter management, and input selection (I2S / SPDIF) .
(Dtoverlay = i-SABRE-Q2M in config.txt)

To date (June 2019) the selection of the driver is built in:

Software solution for audio moode raspberry pi


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.

Software solution for audio moode raspberry pi

moOde Audio

Moode Audio is a solution based on MPD like Volumio.
It allows reading files, radios, flow UPNP and even Qobuz (controlled UPNP)

dietpi software solution for raspberry pi


The software solution allows use DietPi Logitech Media Server / Squeezelite and / or ROON.
It is also an effective working basis to install other applications, however, require some knowledge (SSH connection) to go further.

Solution logicielle picore player pour raspberry pi

Picore Player 5.0

Picore Player is a powerful Squeezelite/LMS solution. It is easy to use, to install and to configure. This software solution can access all the DAC fonctions to enjoy every feature offered by the I-Sabre card.
You can find an installation tutorial here.

graphique alsamixer

Alsamixer control interface under DietPi

Controling DAC functions with I2C

This DAC card has a micro-controller which is very helpful to set basic functions. Any user can control it with an Arduino or any I2C controler for in housing integration.

The card allows multiple control thanks to 4 possible I2C addresses that can be reached with jumpers JP1 & JP2 :

I2C Address

  • Without jumper : 0x48
  • JP1 : 0x49
  • JP2 : 0x4A
  • JP1 & JP2 : 0x4B

Once connected the following registers are accessible (read-only) :

Registers functions

  • 0x20 : Volume from 0 to 100
  • 0x21 : Mute 0x00 = Mute OFF, 0x01 = Mute ON
  • 0x22 : Filters :
    • 0x00 = brick wall
    • 0x01 = corrected minimum phase fast
    • 0x02 = minimum phase slow
    • 0x03 = minimum phase fast
    • 0x04 = linear phase slow
    • 0x05 = linear phase fast
    • 0x06 = apodizing fast
  • 0x21 : Mute 0x00 = Mute OFF, 0x01 = Mute ON
  • 0x24 : Entrée 0x00 = I2S, 0x01 = SPDIF

Excerpt of Arduino code for volume control

Adresse_I2C = 0x48;
VarVolume = 50;

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)
outputs1x RCA Stereo

1x I2C for OLED (MCU)
1x I2C (RPI reference)
1x SPI (RPI reference)
Power supply5V USB-C
Length90 mm
Width57 mm
Weight42 g




Spectre audio réponse en fréquence 9038

Spectre audio réponse en fréquence 9038
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
DAC / ADC ChipES9038Q2M
Max sampling rate768kHz

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1 reviews
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Great sound!
I build a system consisting of a Rasperry Pi 2 (using PiCore Player), ALLO KALI Reclocker, DAC ES9038Q2M and linear power supply. The result is amazing, the sound is great (in general better and much more detailed compared to my previous sound card, a Sound Blaster X-Fi HD SB1240).
This review has been posted for AUDIOPHONICS DAC I-Sabre ES9038Q2M KALI EDITION Raspberry Pi / I2S & SPDIF / PCM DSD
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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