Does the ESS Sabre Chip have a telltale sound?

Wondering if DACs using these chips share some sonic traits vs DACs using Wolfson and other chips, of if the biggest sonic traits of DACs are influenced by other components in the DAC?
Sorry, typos make this a little confusing!

I'm trying to get opinions on whether the Sabre chips have specific sonic traits that influence the sound of the DACs that use these chips vs. other chips.
No. I have had about 40-50 different DACS through here over the past 3 to 4 years.

I always thought it was the DAC chip that dictated the sound. I found that was wrong. It depends on how that particular chip is used WITHIN the circuit. Many other factors influence the final sound quality.

I guess I could add the Sabre DAC chip "usually" smooths things out a bit, but other chips do this as well if not better.

As the old saying goes "the whole is greater than the sum of the parts".
It depends on how you use the Sabre chip. In my experience, if you drive it with S/PDIF input it uses the internal reclocking, which mucks-up the sound IMO. If you drive it with I2S, it is quite pristine and nice sounding. I believe it avoids this reclocking when you use I2S. I have not found it to be any better than the chips from TI or Analog Devices however.
I find there is a noticeable difference in sound between the dac in my Meridian MS600 (which I believe uses XMOS chips) and my Simaudio 650D (which uses Sabre chips).

The Simaudio dac has deeper, more articulate bass, slightly more treble emphasis, more pinpoint imaging, greater articulation, a wider soundstage and more body.

The MS600 has more bloom at the expense of less focused images, is a bit more ethereal, and sounds a bit more "organic" in the way it presents the music as a whole rather than calling attention to any particular component.

I wonder how much of this difference is due to the sonic signature of the chip sets? Clearly the Simaudio 650D is a much better built component with a much better power supply (the MS600 uses a switching power supply) and chassis (the MS600 benefited from extensive vibration control from HRS products).
FYI, the Meridian MS600 is using an AD1852 chip (24 bits, 192 kHz).
Interesting, you know over at Emotiva ,the design team hates the ESS Sabre chip. They claim it sounds awful.I myself don't know but do take a look at their website under digital and particularly the DC-1 threads.
Some Sabre DACs sounds dry, some sounds great. Gryphon Kalliope DAC has Sabre and for me it is The best DAC now on market. I had MSB Diamond, MSB Signature, dCS Vivaldi, EMM Labs DAC-2X, and many others. But Gryphon is The best DAC i ever heard.
Interesting. I think many attribute much of the highly regarded analog sound of the Oppo BDP-105 to ESS Sabre chips.

Auralic vega dac uses this chip and it sounds great, I guess emotiva is the real deal
Don't know for sure. I am not for or against any good manufacturer ,that includes Emotiva.
I am thinking they could too,follow the "me too" approach and make their DAC with the Sabre chip and call it a day,and start selling. Right? Jump on the wagon.
Apparently the DC-1 is a good product especially for the money and they specifically decided NOT to use the Sabre chip. There are guys that compared the Oppo 105 to Emotiva Pro Stealth DC-1 and claim the DC-1 sounds better hands down.That's all I am saying.As for me I am using the Bryston BDA-1.
All the best.


I have heard a number of DAC's with a Saber, including some DIY jobs a guy wanted to sell.

The sonic signature is slightly over the top detail that can sometimes be overwhelming, some sibilance control issues and a cold analytic top end.

When I was listening to the DIY DAC's before hearing them a person there said - you have heard Saber DAC's before - what do you think we will hear. I said the above. Later he said - you were spot on - amazing. Its not amazing - you hear it when you have lived with such DAC's for a while.

The interesting thing though is despite the claims the chip is jitter immune the sibilance and top end issue virtually disappears when fed with a good source like an Off-Ramp. They are quite good that way - with just a slight trace of analyticality and detail that a bit obvious. IMHO the chip is not as jitter immune as is claimed.

It's all about implementation. I've used the Twisted Pear Buffalo DAC with 9018 Sabre Reference in multiple configurations of stereo mode, dual-mono mode, as a voltage source, and(soon) as a current source. Also with different degrees of sophistication in power supplies. Performance varies by configuration from very good to over-the-top. I doubt that many commercial manufacturers have tried all the possibilities.
Stereophile measurements say the Simaudio 650D, which uses the E
SS Sabre chips, is pretty immune to jitter. Maybe Simaudio has other systems in play to handle jitter?

What sampling output rate were you using with the off-ramp that you found worked well with the Sabre chip?
'What sampling output rate were you using with the off-ramp that you found worked well with the Sabre chip?'

Back in those days I would upsample - don't do it so much these days.

Obviously since it performed pretty good with the Off-Ramp it can be in designs that don't have the usual issues.

I heard a Wiess Minerva yesterday for the first time. Very nice sound - nearly as good as the Killer I was hearing it against and better than a Playback Designs and about the same as the Phasure that was also there.

Of relevance to this thread is someone told me this was Sabre based. If so I couldn't really detect the Sabre signature - first Sabre based DAC I have heard like that.

The caveat is if true - I couldn't find any info it was Sabre based.