About this project
Space - ESS Sabre Audiophile Class DAC
- Do you love quality music reproduction, but you don't want to spend heavy money on expensive CD players, AV receivers or high end sound cards? Do you want to have a high quality output on your notebook, TV or Playstation 4? (by the way, the PS4 doesn't even have an analog output) We have a solution for you!
- Space is a two channel PCM DAC (digital to analog converter) with extremely compact dimensions and with support for high definition formats, which was developed for solving the problems mentioned above.
- Space DAC has a very compact form factor (0,91 x 1,73 x 1,57 inch). The high-quality, full aluminium enclosure perfectly isolates the unwanted signals from the outside, and is highly stylish with its cool blue design. The DAC is also available with a matte black finish.
- The TOSlink Optical and Coaxial RCA inputs accept S/PDIF data, which is extremely widespread. You can choose the active input with a switch.
- If the switch is in COAXIAL/AUTO position, then the digital inputs are being switched automatically, with a priority on the coax input: if there is no signal on this input, then the Optical TOSlink input is going to be active.
- The analog outputs are RCA sockets with gold plated connections, where you can connect your amplifier or powered speakers. The Mini USB port is for powering the device with any 5V power supply, like a phone charger, or the USB port of your computer.
- Space DAC prototype in version 1.0
- Space DAC supports high definition audio formats up to 192kHz / 24 bits via the Coaxial S/PDIF and TOSlink Optical S/PDIF input. Of course, it has no problems with the well-known Audio CD format of 44.1kHz / 16 bits on both of the inputs. Other supported resolutions are 32 - 44.1 - 48 - 96 - 192kHz at 16 or 24bits.
- When we designed the Space DAC we carefully selected the components to achieve the best possible specifications and the best possible overall sound reproduction quality. You can normally find these components in much more expensive products, therefore the sound of the Space DAC is at least as good, if not better.
- Space DAC prototype in its aluminium box
- The Sabre Premier Stereo DAC made by ESS Technology is the soul of our product, which has uncompromised specs, making it a top notch chip - and this can be heard on the sound, endorsed by audiophiles around the world.
- Of course, for the best possible sound quality the chip alone is not enough, the other components used also complement to the sound, and we made our best to find the best possible components to achieve an unprecedented sonic quality at this price point. The parts alone are worthless, if the circuit board is not designed with enough care and knowledge, so we designed the PCB with this in mind, and carefully selected the best supplier of circuit boards as well.
- We were careful about the supply voltages of the components, like using 3.6V for higher stability and lower distortion of the built-in opamps, or separate power supplies for the S/PDIF receiver circuit and the ESS SABRE (ES9023) Digital to Analog Converter.
- For the basic operation of the CS8416 S/PDIF receiver a single 3.3V supply is enough. However to achieve a better quality, a power supply with three separate outputs is required: 3.3V for the digital circuitry, 3.3V for the analog circuitry and 5V for the Digital Interface Supply (VL). After building, testing and listening to both versions, we decided to go with the triple power supply.
- Schematics with the triple power supply
- We used high quality double layer circuit board, on which the two key components are located: the CS8416 S/PDIF receiver, which processes the incoming signal, and converts it to an I2S signal, which the DAC can understand, and the SABRE ES9023 digital to analog converter, which coverts the I2S signal to high quality analog sound.
- DAC ES9023, Digital Receiver (CS8416) and PCB
- The ESS Sabre (ES9023) datasheet PDF files are available below: http://www.esstech.com/files/4114/4095/2154/ES9023_PB_101103.pdf
- You can find the datasheet of the Cirrus Logic (CS8416) below: https://www.cirrus.com/cn/pubs/proDatasheet/CS8416_F3.pdf
- We settled for the ES9023 DAC chip with the ESS Patented Time domain Jitter Eliminator, the same renowned technology used in the famous ES9018
- It's a common problem that many new products don't have an analog line output, so they can be used only with expensive digital receivers. Space DAC can help you in this case as well, providing you with a high quality analog line input.
- The Space DAC schematic and PCB PDF files are available below:
- The devices below all have a digital S/PDIF output, but either don't have an analog output, or the quality of their analog out won't meet the expectations of many.
- Space DAC was developed for those who are not satisfied with the factory audio outputs of their audio components, and want to get the most out of their current equipment, without heavy investitions.
- Right now, we are about 90-95% finished. We would like to improve the power supply, mainly the supply for the digital part, and there is some cosmetic work to be done around enclosure. We hope, the Space DAC will not let you down with both by its sound and design.
- With Space DAC you will a have a great time enjoying your favourite songs with high clarity and dynamics: it will be just you and the music :)
- Don't hesitate and pre-order Space, the Audiophile DAC during this campaign for a very attractive price, especially if you order more pieces. Oh, and did we mention, that during the campaign we will offer you free shipping?
- Despite it's low cost, Space DAC will fulfill all your expectations about the audiophile sound quality!
- If you won't be satisfied with our product, you can send it back within 30 days for a full refund!
- Space DAC will bring you unheard clarity and dynamics to the music, which you will certainly enjoy!
Best regards, the Magic Pixel Team.
Risks and challenges
From the hardware point of view the project is finished.
When we achieve the funding goal, we will be able to manufacture at least 100 pieces or more, depending on the amount of funds we get, and deliver it on time. After the campaign is over, we will be continuing to support the product, and to develop new and interesting products.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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- (30 days)