AUDIOPHONICS EVO-SABRE PACK DIY Balanced DAC 2xES9038Q2M & Streamer for Raspberry Pi 4

AUDIOPHONICS EVO DAC Kit DIY DAC 2xES9038Q2M Fully Balanced & Streamer for Raspberry Pi 4
Here is the complete kit version of the EVO Sabre with all the elements (electronics + box + options including Raspberry Pi 4, remote control & power supply) allowing to assemble a functional Sabre-EVO DAC.

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This EVO-DAC kit can operate in pure DAC mode immediately after mounting.
ATTENTION: In order to take advantage of the network drive function of this product, you will need to install an Audiophonics software image containing the scripts for the display and the network. These are available here : Images EVO-SABRE DAC


Kit DAC 2x 9038Q2M 32bit full balanced 768kHz / Streamer Raspberry Pi 4

This is the full kit version. It includes all elements (electronics + box + options including Raspberry Pi 4, remote control & power supply) required to assemble a functional SABRE-EVO DAC from scratch.

This do-it-yourself kit lets you mount your own balanced DAC based on an ES9038Q2M chip combo.

With its 100% aluminum housing, its dual screens, its rotary selector, its remote control and its extensive connectivity, this kit is a perfect opportunity to grasp the essentials of a latest generation professional quality high-fidelity decoder.

This Do It Yourself approach brings vast possibilities. The DAC EVO-SABRE card is indeed equipped with all the necessary connectors to accommodate a Raspberry Pi (supplied). This extension transforms the DAC into a real dematerialized playback solution, capable of streaming your high definition audio files from a multitude of different sources thanks to generous connectivity, wired (coaxial S / PDIF, optical, USB audio, USB storage) as well as wireless (Wi-Fi, bluetooth 5.0 with all relevant audio protocols). To go even further, the caseeven allows easy access to the video connector and the SD support of the Raspberry Pi 4 card.

All you have to do is choose & install one of the many free software reading solutions and connect the card to an amplifier or active speakers to benefit from a complete high-fidelity package, rich in functionality and ready to use. 'employment.

ASR Review

I am happy to recommend the Audiophonics EVO Sabre given the unique functionality, form factor, and performance.

 test by the measurement forum Audio Science Review

EVO DAC Sabre audio circuit

Double DAC ES9038 integrated in balanced mode

The EVO-Sabre is a high-precision DAC using two 32-bit ES9038Q2M Sabre chips integrated in dual Mono mode: each of these chips see its computing power 100% dedicated to a single channel of the stereophonic signal. This achieves a sound restitution of exceptional clarity with tremendously low crosstalk.

This component belongs to ESS flagship series and is among the best current hardware solutions for high-fidelity audio decoding. It uses HyperStream 32 BIT 768kHz architecture with native DSD support. Each one of this chips is also equipped with advanced reconstruction filters and uses some of the finest dithering techniques available on the audio market.

ESS ES9038Q2M SABRE DACs are also very popular thanks to their ability to operate volume with almost no consequences on the audio bitrate.

The board works in balanced and single-ended mode and offers both a balanced stereo output on 3-pole XLR connector and an single-ended stereo output on RCA connector. The module can thus be ideally suited to most integration scenarios and will easily find its place in minimalist audio projects as well as in very complex Hi-Fi installations.

XMOS U208 USB Interface

The USB-B input (USB-2) works with a XMOS U208 USB interface. This is a reference component in the field of high-fidelity music, with digital streams supports up to 32-bit 768kHz as well as (native) DSD512.

Definitely designed for high-resolution, this asynchronous USB interface has a computation capacity of 1000 MIPS all of which is dedicated to the processing of your digital audio signals with minimal jitter and noise.

When the DAC EVO-SABRE is used in conjunction with a Raspberry Pi, this high-definition USB input allows to immediately interface digital audio streams to RPI I2S up to 384kHz / DOP 128.

FGPA Altera Max

Unlike its predecessor, the EVO-SABRE has several inputs driven by an independent interface.

SPDIF signals are handled by a FGPA Altera Max capable of performing clean processing of the digital input streams. These digital signals are interfaced in I2S to each of the two DAC chips, which represents a significant gain in performance compared to previous generations.

The SPDIF inputs support PCM signals up to 24/192 as well as DSD 128 DOP streams.

Microcontroller autoconfiguration

Thanks to an integrated microprocessor, the EVO Sabre automatically detects the format & the sampling rate of the signal source and will automatically adapt its configuration to provide the best listening performance without requiring any user intervention.

This control by CPLD chip maintains great stability while preventing decoding problems as well as the appearance of audio artifacts.

It also enables a continuous decoding of playlists with heterogeneous file types without having to worry about reconfiguring the DAC to benefit from optimal audio quality.

RaspDAC EVO interface

Dual Screen

The kit comes with two separate screens. The EVO SABRE audio circuit display (left) is a 1.3 "128X64 OLED screen. It simultaneously displays the active input, the sampling rate and the volume as defined by the DAC ES9038Q2M chip controller. This first display is useful to check in real time that the processing of the audio files is going as planned and in the best conditions.

A second 3.12 "256x64 OLED screen is connected to the Raspberry Pi (if present) in SPI (CN4). This secondary display can retrieve in real time the playback data at the software level (Dietpi / LMS) in a similar fashion to what our RaspDac Mini already do. This function requires that the EVO uses one of our custom distribution or that the user uses a custom display script. 

Front controls

A switch located on the front panel allows to turn on / off the system properly while preserving the integrity of the storage media (OS on SD card in a Pi & hard disks). It is backlit when the module is in stand-by mode but powered to indicate that the circuit is ready for operation.

The rotary encoder on the far right is directly connected to the volume control of the DAC chips. It allows easy and precise volume adjustment the from the device front panel.

I/R Remote control

The infrared receiver communicates both with the microcontroller in charge of driving the DAC chips and with the Raspberry Pi if the EVO-SABRE is used in network drive mode with LIRC configured. The remote control (included) thus centralizes most of the playback functions for great ease of use.

The input selection, volume and standby functions, as well as the filters adjustements are handled by the integrated microcontroller, while the play / pause, previous / next functions are transmitted to the RPI (requires LIRC configuration on GPIO 04)

Web App / LMS

Used in conjunction with a Raspberry Pi 4, the EVO-SABRE ES9038Q2M becomes a complete dematerialized streaming solution, capable of running the best network streamer / playback solutions. This opens up a lot of options for controlling the device (playback, recovery of audio files on a NAS, online streaming service) via the network (simple web browser accessible from any connected object, dedicated applications, or your own scripts) to cover the full spectrum of possibilities and realize the full potential of your audio installation.

The pinout is the most common, compatible with the RPI-DAC driver and present in all distributions.

It is also possible to use the driver for the I-Sabre 9038, found in the Raspberry PI kernel from version 4.19.34. 
This function allows access to the parameters of the DAC chips (volume, hyperstream parameters, filters) directly via the RPI and its softwares interfaces (in addition to access via remote control and controls on the front of the device).

RaspDAC EVO housing

The RaspDAC EVO kit is delivered with its dedicated custom box. The latter is machined from 100% aluminum, a light, robust material that blocks any interference that may affect the audio.

The housing is pre-drilled (spacers and connectors). Its assembly comes down to fixing the various panels using the supplied hardware.

Rear panel

Ports audio Sabre Evo Audiophonics

From left to right, the connector panel has a balanced XLR output as well as an unbalanced RCA output.

Then there are the digital inputs of the DAC with coaxial connector, optical connector, USB-B input and bluetooth antenna.

Finally, the connector panel is equipped with a Jack DC input dedicated to the power supply, then the RPI 4 connectors (RJ45, USB-3, USB-2, HDMI video output as well as connector for SD card dedicated to the operating system. ).

Both outputs (RCA & XLR) are active simultaneously.

The rear cover of the supplied housing is drilled to match the connectors of the RPI 4.

Optimized power stage

Powered by a DC 9V jack connector, the module operates from a particularly well designed power stage which allows to ensure a stable signal while reducing residual noise.
For this purpose, the PCB has a Mornsun DC / DC converter followed by two voltage regulators 79M08 / 78M08 dedicated to the analog part with is powered with +/- 8V.

The card has a separate 5V power stage dedicated to the Raspberry Pi. In this scenario, the RPI is supplied directly via its GPIO port, avoiding the need to add more connections and cables. Every configuration uses the minimum amount of cables for increased ease of use.

The card also has Ultra low noise voltage regulators dedicated to the conversion stage in order to isolate the DACs from the main power supply.

The DVCC voltage is generated from an LP5907 (regulation <6.5µV), which generates the DAC 1.2V Vref which is a critical voltage.

The AVCC voltage is generated from a dedicated ADP150 regulator (regulation <9µV).


Typekit DAC
Puce DAC2x ESS ES9038Q2M
Audio InputS/PDIF Coaxial
S/PDIF Optique
Bluetooth HQ
I2S GPIO (pinout RPI-DAC)
Audio OutputRCA unbalanced stéréo (2V RMS)
RXL balanced stéréo (4V RMS)
Sampling rate

USB : 768kHz / DOP256

RPI I2S : 384kHz / DOP128

SPDIF : 192kHz / DOP64

Power Supply9VDC (2A minimum) sur connecteur jack DC (Alimentation 4A fournie)
Idle consumption700ma
Interface USBXMOS U208
FGPAAltera Max
Housing100% Aluminium
Dimensionsmain board : 120 x 225 mm (Hauteur max : 32mm)
main display : 40 x 134 mm
Whole device: 185 x 300 x 55 mm

Measurements FFT

Parts included

EVO Sabre kit pièces fournies Raspdac
EVO SABRE Modulex1
Raspberry Pi 4x1
Main display pcbx1
Secondary display pcbx1
Display connectorsx2
Bluetooth antennax1
Power supply 4Ax1
Power cablex1
Front panelx1
Rear panelx1
Side panelsx2
Top platex1
Bottom platex1
Screen coversx2
M3 countersunk Phillips screw (panels mouting)x16
M3 countersunk hex screw (DAC board bottom mounting)x6
Spacers M3x 10 Female - Female (DAC board bottom mounting)x6
M3 x 5 domed screw (DAC board top & rear panel mounting)x10
M3 x 4 domed screw (display mounting)x4
Brass spacers M3 x 4 (display mounting)x2
Cable for display connectingx1
Brass spacers M2.5 x 12 (RPI mounting)x4
Domed screw M 2.5 x 5 (RPI mounting)x8

Cylindrical wood screw M3 x 10 (XLR / Optical connectors mounting)
M3 x 16 countersunk screw (SD card extension attachment)x2
M3 x10 washers (Secondary screen mounting)x2
Clamp for SD card extensionx1
Flat axis aluminum button 25 x ⌀6mm Blackx1
Extension for micro-SD connectorx1
Micro HDMI to HDMI panel-mountx1
2.4GHZ SMA 3dBi Male RF Antennax1
Polyurethane feet 3M 20x8mmx4
Data sheet
DAC / ADC ChipES9028Q2M
Max sampling rate768kHz
Max sampling rate384kHz
Streaming services & Network protocolsDLNA
Streaming services & Network protocolsSpotify Connect
Streaming services & Network protocolsQobuz
Streaming services & Network protocolsWeb radios
Streaming services & Network protocolsAirPlay
Streaming services & Network protocolsTidal Connect
Streaming services & Network protocolsSpotify
Streaming services & Network protocolsTidal

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Average votes
4.9 / 5
15 reviews
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Date :
Excellent produit
Je voulais m'offrir un lecteur Reseau/Dac pour le relier à une installation vintage (années 90) : Ampli Luxman A384 ; enceintes BC Acoustic Tibre.

Dans ce cadre, le prix était un élément important.
Au final , je me retrouve avec un produit excellent .

Le Dac est meilleur que mon Atoll Dac 100 (2014) + Armature Hecate.

Les aigus et les mediums sont magnifiés en particulier sur les vieux enregistrements qui pêchent sur la prise de son (sifflantes, aigus exacerbés).
Même si les basses sont un peu écourtées dans certains cas , elles restent tendues et belles.

Merci à Audiophonics de mettre à disposition des produits DIY de cette qualité et leur soutien technique rapide et efficace.
This review has been posted for AUDIOPHONICS EVO-SABRE PACK DIY Balanced DAC 2xES9038Q2M & Streamer for Raspberry Pi 4
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Date :
Excellent streamer avec un son magnifique
Après plusieurs heures d'écoute, voici mes impressions sur le Evo Sabre.

Tout d'abord, le montage de l'appareil est extrêmement simple et ne présente aucune difficulté car il est bien documenté (c'est juste dommage que le manuel ne soit pas fourni sous forme papier). L'installation d'une image système demande un peu plus de travail mais, grâce à l'aide rapide et bienveillante du SAV, c'est faisable également.

D'un point de vue esthétique et pratique, je trouve que l'appareil est une réussite. Il est compact et pratique. Son look, un peu high tech avec ses deux écrans, est vraiment agréable à l'oeil. C'est vraiment sympa de voir s'afficher le nom de l'artiste et du morceau ainsi que le temps des morceaux qui s'écoule.
La télécommande est pratique même si j'ai parfois l'impression qu'il y a un petit décalage entre le volume sonore affiché sur l'Evo et celui de Volumio.

En ce qui concerne le son maintenant :

Avant d'acheter l'Evo Sabre, j'utilisais un Raspberry 3b+ avec un dac Topping D10 raccordé en USB. J'ai remplacé ce setup par l'Evo Sabre. Dans un cas comme dans l'autre, je lis des fichiers FLAC stockés sur un disque dur externe et la partie logicielle est confiée à Volumio (plus simple à prendre en main et configurer que Moode).

L'Evo Sabre apporte un net gain par rapport au setup que j'utilisais auparavant ! Je prends plaisir à réécouter la musique en y découvrant de nombreux détails que je ne percevais pas. Le son est très bien défini, minutieux, avec une belle distinction entre les différents éléments qui composent les morceaux, que ce soient les instruments ou les chants. Autre aspect notable : les basses sont bien meilleures qu'avant. Elles sont fermes et profondes mais équilibrées, elles ne viennent pas écraser le reste.
En gros, la musique est plus nuancée, très bien étagée, très bien articulée, ce qui est sans doute à mettre au crédit du fonctionnement en double mono.

L'entrée Bluetooth produit également un excellent son. Sachant que ce n'est pas l'entrée la plus qualitative (la faute au faible débit de données du bluetooth), c'est une très agréable surprise d'entendre un son de bonne qualité en sortie.

Je n'ai pas essayé les autres entrées (coax, optique, etc.) mais j'imagine que le résultat est de la même trempe.

Je recommande vivement ce streamer qui a de nombreuses qualités, au premier rang desquelles un son vraiment excellent !
This review has been posted for AUDIOPHONICS EVO-SABRE PACK DIY Balanced DAC 2xES9038Q2M & Streamer for Raspberry Pi 4
Note :
Date :
Parfait ! Merci AUDIOPHONICS :-)
Un ensemble de grande classe, avec des fonctions à foison, et une sonorité digne de produits de "grandes marques".
Je l'utilise avec un ampli casque classe A, et un casque AUDEZE LCD2, le tout avec des fichiers en HIRES sur mon réseau local.
Le rendu est tout à fait excellent, le DAC est vraiment très bon.
De plus, ce système est ouvert à des plugins et de futures améliorations !

Pour terminer, je tient tout particulièrement à remercier et féliciter le SAV AUDIOPHONICS : réactivité, excellente communication, connaissance parfaite du système, permettant une mise en route en toute quiétude, que demander de plus ?
This review has been posted for AUDIOPHONICS EVO-SABRE PACK DIY Balanced DAC 2xES9038Q2M & Streamer for Raspberry Pi 4
Note :
Date :
Relaxed sound
This product lies outside the general rule “you get what you pay for”. As a standalone dac tested with optical ,coaxial, usb inputs sounds really good. I am not afraid to say it stands close to far more expensive R2R dacs I had the chance to listen to. My ongoing concern with digital has always been the listening fatigue ,this bombarding and exaggeration of microdetails that messes with your brain. This dac is a different story.
The RPI4 is a fantastic streamer transport and with the I2S connection to the dac sounds fantastic. Tidal HiFi in most cases sounds really good. (MQA is not my thing)
I have tested standard 16/44.1, higher sampling rates and DSD. My preference remains standard 16/44.1 and DSD through Volumio.
Being a vinyl fan from my early days and having accepted the pros and cons of this format I got lucky to run into this “desktop” sreamer-dac that gives me 4-6 hours of daily music listening without any fatigue. XLR output to a Luxman L550axII feeding a pair of heavily modified old Klipschorns and there you are !!!
A great combo from the Audiophonics guys!!
This review has been posted for AUDIOPHONICS EVO-SABRE PACK DIY Balanced DAC 2xES9038Q2M & Streamer for Raspberry Pi 4
Note :
Date :
Acheté début 2020, j’ai pris le temps de tester l’AUDIOPHONICS EVO-SABRE PACK DIY DAC Symétrique 2xES9038Q2M.
Avec l’entrée USB je suis déçu, le son est moins percutant. Je ne serai dire pour quelle raison, surement ma source USB (Serveur NAS ou Raspberry PI 4) ! De toute façon, je ne souhaitais pas utiliser cette entrée en l’achetant.
Le résultat est meilleur avec le Raspberry PI (interne au boitier utilisant les GPIO en I2S). Le son est dynamique, précis sans être analytique comme les autres DAC Audiophonics DIY utilisant également l’ESS SABRE 9038Q2M. Je pense que c’est lié au filtre a phase linéaire et ou la gestion du DPLL.
J’ai changé les AOP de sortie par des BURSON AUDIO SUPREME SOUND SS OPAMP V6 Classic AOP Simple (pour info, pas besoin d’adaptateur). A mon oreille cela n’a pas changé grand-chose (A l’époque où j’avais changé les AOP j’avais des enceintes et un ampli bas de gamme de 20 ans d’âge).
J’ai mis en place un dissipateur thermique sur le Raspberry Pi 4 qui s’intègre bien entre le PCB et le PI (Geekworm Raspberry Pi 4 11mm Embedded Heatsink (P165-B)). Ce qui m’a permis de gagner quelques degrés.
J’alimente le DAC avec l’alimentation proposé par Audiophonics (MEAN WELL Adaptateur Secteur Alimentation 100-240V AC vers 9V 4A DC ) avec un filtre ifi
J’ai remplacé l’écran de droite SPI par un écran DSI en couleur et tactile de 4,3 pouces (4.3inch DSI LCD Capacitive Touch Screen Display 800×480). J’ai dû le coller avec du double face en façade. Ce n’est pas des plus esthétique (ce n’est pas moche non plus) mais c’est fonctionnel. Je vois les jaquettes, je peux passer au morceau suivant, diminuer ou augmenter le son en appuyant sur l’écran.
Utilisateur de Roon, j’utilise la distribution Ropieee qui s’intègre parfaitement au DAC notamment la gestion du volume, l’écran tactile DSI (non SPI). J’ai testé d’autres distributions, Ropieee tien le haute du pavé avec Volumio en termes de restitution sonore.
Pour info, j’utilise ce DAC comme préamplificateur sur un amplificateur Audio-GD A1 et depuis 3 semaines sur des enceintes Triangle Magellan duetto. Le tout sonne très très bien.
Les plus :
- Rapport qualité prix
- Qualité de fabrication
- Pas mal d’entrées (GPIO(I2S), USB, TosLink, SPDIF, Bluetooth)
- En sortie XLR et RCA
- Module DAC symétrique Double ES9038Q2M
- Possibilité de choisir les AOP de sortie
Les moins :
- RPI I2S : 384kHz / DOP128. J’aurai préféré une liaison DSD Direct 512. Est-ce que c’est possible avec le Raspberry PI ? ou Est-ce lié au FGPA Altera Max ?
En conclusion
Très bon produit en therme de son. J’ai aimé le monter moi-même et le modifier pour mon utilisation (Roon Player). L’intérêt de ce produit est le prix, l’électronique de bon niveau, la flexibilité d’utilisation, mise à jour à moindre frais. Si Apple sort un nouveau protocole Airplay 3 (implémentation dans l’OS) ou un futur Bluetooth 6.0 (via clé USB ou changement du RasPI) vous pouvez mettre à jour après que la communauté est sortie la mise à jour.

This review has been posted for AUDIOPHONICS EVO-SABRE PACK DIY Balanced DAC 2xES9038Q2M & Streamer for Raspberry Pi 4
AUDIOPHONICS EVO-SABRE PACK DIY Balanced DAC 2xES9038Q2M & Streamer for Raspberry Pi 4
Here is the complete kit version of the EVO Sabre with all the elements (electronics + box + options including Raspberry Pi 4, remote control &...

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