Dac s dual chip dualmono whats the best? akm 4499 or Ess9038 pro

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Hi Im Erik
I have a super nice Vpi Turntable w Benz cartidge and CJ premier 7 pre amp, both form 1997.  Looking to upgrade my digital playback possibilites.  Im bewildered at the amount of new DAC s and designs
available. I m lookiing to spent $1500 to $2000 and like the looks of the Musical Paradise MP D2 MK# Deluxe. I like tube sound and dual mono .. Any suggestions ??


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Welcome Erik :thumb:
I cant response your question but I like non oversampling dacs.
If you dont need DSD the DAC DAC HS looks good IMO.
The basics: 4 versions
        DAC DAC 1 TL - Tube Like Sound
        DAC DAC 1 HS - High Spec, precise
        DAC DAC 2 HS - 130dB SNR, ultra precise
        DAC DAC 2 HSV - Digital Attenuation
Coax SPDIF input, PCM up to 192kHz sample rate, 24-bit resolution
External 12VDC power supply
Indicators for Power, Valid Signal, >50kHz Fs, >100kHz Fs
6.5" x 6.3" x 2.5" aluminum enclosure with vibration absorbing Sorbothane feet
No internal processors or fancy displays for low noise
DC Coupled Double Differential True Balanced XLR Outputs
On board jitter removal
« Last Edit: 20 Nov 2020, 04:30 am by FullRangeMan »


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Phil A



Head on over to HEAD FI forums and check out their forums and the For Sale forums.
They go through DACs like kleenex over there.

FWIW- I ended up with a used Ric Schulz EVS modded OPPO Sonica DAC with a single ESS ES9038Pro I bought from a member here.
Not sure if he is still modding them. http://tweakaudio.com/EVS-2/Oppo_Sonica_DAC_mods.html
Supposedly it makes a good DAC very very good.

Here is a techy review of it if you like that sort of thing. They are still available on Ebay pretty cheap if you are patient (7-800$).
I liked all of the options built into the Sonica and I am an OPPO build quality fan.

There are other newer DACs with the dual mono Ess9038 pro chips like the LKS MH DA004 which I considered.
I also looked at the updated RME ADI 2 DAC.

I have an OPPO 105 I use as a transport for CDs (which is really very good on its own and also can stream)  and I also stream hi rez and DSD files to the OPPO SONICA via JRiver and they sound fantastic on good recordings. Very analog like and I grew up on LPs.
Everyone has a different setup and room, etc and you know everything has an impact. I have a VAC Standard LE as a preamp, Odyssey Kismet monos, and ACI Jaguar/ACI Dual subs setup.

The VAC tube preamp is nice and I can play with different tubes. The system leans toward balanced and warm to begin with.
I also have a modest turntable setup (heavily KAB modded TECHNICS 1200) which I never use anymore which is all I can tell you.  :D

Good luck. Higher end audio is a rabbit hole as we all know so have fun with it.


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Ill check out HIFi
I looked at ric Shultz site very interesing stuff. Need to go back thee and read all he has to offer

Thanks for the info!

nature boy

I would suggest getting Modwright Instruments tube modifications to a Cambridge Audio CXN V2 music streamer/ DAC. I have the prototype unit and will be posting a review on AC shortly. Total combined cost is $2599 for the CXN + mods.


HT cOz

The difference between chip type and dual-mono is an order of magnitude less important than the implementation and analog output stage.  If you want a truly shocking exercise, buy a used Panasonic SA-XR receiver with a Euibit drive and use it as a measuring stick for your fancy expensive system.   :popcorn:  (I actually do this...)

Denafrips Pontus and Hestia
Purifi Amp
Selah Ceramica Speakers

Panasonic SA-XR and Selah Ceramica Speakers 

It's much closer than you would think!  You start chasing marginal gains quickly in today's world of audio.


Ill check out HIFi
I looked at ric Shultz site very interesing stuff. Need to go back thee and read all he has to offer

Thanks for the info!

I would buy used DAC and something that you can resell if you are not crazy about it.
Lots of good options depending upon what you are looking for.

Head FI classifieds will give you an idea what something is worth used.