AUDIOPHONICS DAC I-Sabre ES9038Q2M Raspberry Pi / I2S & SPDIF / PCM DSD USB-C Power Supply


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

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Shipping date: 22-07-2019.

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DAC 32bit 768kHz / I2S & SPDIF

DAC I-Sabre ES9038

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 reserved for professional devices.

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, OLED screen and rotary encoder are sold separately.

An efficient power supply 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 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

Built-in dedicated kernel kernel driver in RPI > 4.19.34

Used in conjunction with a Raspberry Pi, the I-DAC SABER 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-saber-Q2M in config.txt)

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

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

Compatible 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:
Plugin Installation

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.

MoOde Audio Connect

Test du Audiophonics ES9038Q2M par
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
Power supply5V DC via USB-C


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:

Audio specter frequency response 9038


Schéma branchement sabre 9038 ecran et encodeur numérique
Pinout OLED SCREEN Winstar 16x2
9038Q2MWinstar Screen 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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Average votes
4.9 / 5
11 reviews
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Note :
Date :
Superb product
Bought as a replacement for the AUDIOPHONICS I-SABRE V4 DAC ES9023. I use it on a Raspberry Pi powered by a linear power supply running PiCorePlayer streaming wirelessly from another Raspberry Pi running LMS under Max2Play.

It is a definite upgrade. Firstly, it is simpler to commission than the previous model. No faffing around with external on/off switches. (I power it off by turning off the mains block that serves the whole system.)

Secondly, it integrates easily and perfectly with PiCorePlayer.

The sound is different to the previous model. Clearer, more analytical. More urgent. It make the previous model, which still sounds excellent, sound smoother, but milder.

Anyway, highly recommended and a relatively inexpensive upgrade .

(I'm also using a ES9038Q2M board connected to my ancient (25 yrs old) Pioneer PDS901 CD player and experienced similar effects.)
This review has been posted for AUDIOPHONICS DAC I-Sabre ES9038Q2M Raspberry Pi / I2S & SPDIF / PCM DSD USB-C Power Supply
Note :
Date :
John Zwolle
Perfect sound!
This review has been posted for AUDIOPHONICS DAC I-Sabre ES9038Q2M Raspberry Pi / I2S & SPDIF / PCM DSD USB-C Power Supply
Note :
Date :
Belle évolution et excellent dac
Possédant le hat 9023 en tcxo et en plus le smsl m8 en essayant 9018 contre toutes attentes le 9038 va plus loin et est bien meilleur testés sur plusieurs oreilles le verdict est sans appel il est plus doux dans les aigus moins brillant ou clinquant , moins flatteur mais plus liquide plus analogique en sommes. La scène sonore est très agréable les voix aussi. franchement je voulais m'orienter sur de l'akm très belle découverte que ce 9038q2m en hat Raspberry.
Conditions: Pi3b volumio et alim AUDIOPHONICS dédiée ampli casque AUDIOPHONICS en classe A cf test qobuz et toute la gamme momentum Sennheiser filaire y est passée , testé sur klipsch rf82 et atohm eurus et ampli Pioneer et smsl 2.1
This review has been posted for AUDIOPHONICS DAC I-Sabre ES9038Q2M Raspberry Pi / I2S & SPDIF / PCM DSD USB-C Power Supply
Note :
Date :
High quality DAC for Raspberry Pi
Fantastic DAC - this is my 4th Audiophonics DAC; I have never been disappointed. Installed on a Raspberry Pi 3B with piCorePlayer 4.1.0 audio core, it plays high resolution PCM (tested with 352.6k files) and DSD files currently up to DSD128 (5.6M) with the I-Sabre ES9028 dtoverlay/driver - remember to enable the 384k option in Card Comtrol. The DSD option (DSDOUT="-D") needs to be set from outside piCorePlayer using the Audiophonics tutorial ( as piCoprePlayer - to my knowledge - currently does not allow this option to be set from the web interface.
The sound image is naturally rich and very clear with music instruments and voices clearly place in the sound image. Makes it worth listening to good music :-)
This review has been posted for AUDIOPHONICS DAC I-Sabre ES9038Q2M Raspberry Pi / I2S & SPDIF / PCM DSD USB-C Power Supply
Note :
Date :
bon DAC
Bon DAC qui, en écoute comparative, n'a rien a envier au allo Katana. Je n'ai cela-dit pas écouté le Katana avec 2 à 3 alimentations tel que c'est recommandé par le constructeur.
This review has been posted for AUDIOPHONICS DAC I-Sabre ES9038Q2M Raspberry Pi / I2S & SPDIF / PCM DSD USB-C Power Supply
AUDIOPHONICS DAC I-Sabre ES9038Q2M Raspberry Pi / I2S & SPDIF / PCM DSD USB-C Power Supply
Audiophonics offers you the successor of the DAC I-Sabre 9028 now with the ES9038Q2M chip. The ES9038Q2M allows outstanding sound performance...

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