Have New L.K.S. HM-DA9038 with Oppo95 won't play SACD's, HDMI input on DAC is for 12S data

Sorry, I'm new to the site and misquoted the product name of my new L.K.S. DAC HM-DA004 with the upgraded USB port. 
I purchased this new DAC , L.K.S. Audio HM-DA004 , I really liked the spec’s and what it had to offer with the intent on improving the CD/SACD experience. I’ve got hook up to my system: Sunfire TG IV preamp, 3 X-Carver m-500T’s Mkll’s , Oppo 95, dbx-360 venue for speaker mgnt./eq. , Snell’s C-7s tower fronts, Polk Lsim 707 back surround. I do like initially what it does with the redbook CD’s, But I can’t get it to play SACD’s.
I didn’t know that the HDMI input on the L.K.S. HM-DA9038 was not capable of recieving regualar HDMI input. The HDMI input has been converted to a 12S audio input, but I believe its states it’s capable to receive DSD files.
I’ve read some of the treads on the new DAC from the Forum, Has anyone found this an issue and is there any way to make the DAC Capable of receiving SACD info. When I play CD redbook, I play it through the Hi Def Coaxial cable input and it plays and show’s that receiving the data at PCM 44k, But as soon as I put in a true SACD , Steely Dan’s Aja, it show that it’s not receiving any data. Any help with would be Greatly appreciated. I’ve had this for a few days, and if it’s not able to SACD’s I’ll be returning it. Thanks for your info and help.

I've seen that there are now some nice Mods now available , is there a Mod available now to enable the DAC to work with Mac's IOS system.Thanks again
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I’m the OP on the original LKS thread.

Yes the "hdmi" input on the LKS is NOT what we usually think of as hdmi. It is an i2s input. It will not properly receive an ordinary hdmi signal.

The problem with playing SACDs is NOT with the LKS. It is rather with the disk player, which I assume to be your Oppo. The Oppo is restricted by Sony from outputting SACD files (.dsf) through its coaxial or optical outputs.  You can blame Sony for having made our lives more complicated.

To play SACD files on the LKS (and they do sound GREAT on the LKS) you have to rip them and play them as .dsf files. Most do that by ripping to a hard disk and using some kind of device to input them to the Amanero board on the LKS through the USB input. I use a simple lap-top computer. But there are lots of other devices.

.dsf files can also go in through the LKS’s i2s inputs, but devices that do that are not so common. The Amanero board actually converts the USB input to i2s.

Thanks so much for the response. I do really like this DAC even only after a few days and a feel on tuning everything in with the different filters, and with my Dbx-360, etc... I Knew about that Sony's restrictions on SACD's, that why when I say the HDMI input, I thought perfect, I can now transfer the SACD Data from the Oppo to the DAC, and then have the ability to use the Balanced XLR's. Wth the use of the mono ESS9038's, and everything else they have done with the DAC
, I really saw a lot it had to offer. I really don't have that many SACD's that I couldn't do as you mentioned. But my other issue is a big one, I'm a Mac guy, and when I saw that streaming through L. K. S that "Need" 
10.6 IOS + I assumed that it would run with the latest running operating system of the IOS , which for me wasn't a issue. I can't get it to stream from my laptop "Tidal", or anything else. I then did some more researching and found that someone said that it Doesn't operate with the IOS platform, Mac's, and for me that all I use. I see that there are some Mod's being done with these new L.K.S DAC with what I read are some great improvements to already a great DAC. Is there anyone doing any kind of Mods to them, or do are you aware of what can be done to make it work with Mac's. I may need to return it. I may just go to a dedicated CD/SACD player with hopes I can find one that can match the quality of what this has to offer and stream music with Mac. Again, right now I'm using the Oppo 95 as the transport which I love the ease of operating with the remote and sound that I get with the Oppo 95 for now. I'm thinking a cd/sacd player like the Yamaha cd2000/2100 , Marantz hi end SACD/CD players, etc..
I really do like what this L.K.S. HM-DA004 sounds like, and what it has under the hood, Like the  twin mono ESS9038 . I just can't image what it can do after reading about some of the mods being done to it now.
Really appreciate the input.
Couple of things. There are people that will mod anything, and the spacious layout of the LKS just feeds that hobby. Yet in its un-modded form it has been compared to the very best and the very expensive. The mods being done are quite sophisticated--at the moment over at head-fi, substituting in a new femto-clock.

I am surprised that you have had trouble with the ios. Given that you meet the Mac OSX 10.6+ requirement, I would have thought it would be simple, and much easier than Windows for which a driver has to be installed. LKS usually also recommends a program like JRiver or Foobar. I’m pretty sure you will need one of these to set the right output. Before you decide to give up on it, I would recommend that you write to the designer. He is Jinbo at LKS. Email: [email protected] His English is excellent and he will try to help by email. Could be a day or two turn-around. He has explained things very clearly to me when I needed help.

If you want to play disks I guess that’s OK, but if you can get the Amanero board to respond to your computer, you may find it so much more convenient to rip all of your disks and play them from a hard disk. There are lots of ways to do it, but I bypass my Oppo 105 and use JRiver and control the whole process from my phone. Even if you want to use the the Oppo and its coax output, if you rip your pcm disks you can play them controlling from your phone using the Oppo app. Most people I run into believe the SQ is better that way than playing the disk directly. I certainly do.

Good luck, and let us know how it works out.
I play SACDs from my Oppo 105 into my Bryston DAC3, which has 4 HDMI inputs.  The Oppo is set to send DSD from SACD into the DAC over HDMI.
NAD also makes a DAC with true HDMI inputs for about half the cost of the Bryston.

The Briston costs about $2000 more than the LKS,  Not to mention an extra $250 for its remote control.  Really!  The LKS has a much more robust power supply and a fully discrete balanced analog section.  Comes with a remote.  I guess one could argue the relative merits of the DAC chips and clocks used in each.  Much too much of a premium though simply to have the hdmi input for a few disks.

Besides, why would anyone in 2019 want to deal routinely with silver disks for audio, except as a file delivery device?.  With your Oppo you can easily rip the DSD disks

Which NAD DAC are you referring to?
Thanks Melm,
I appreciate the great info, and it is  really good to hear how well your music is working out for you. In regards to Running the IOS on  Macbook, I wasn't thinking. I finally check out the output and it was set up wrong on my computer, easy fix, and  is working fine now. I also had to change some setting in the Oppo 95 for the DSD /PCM files and then it all came together.  I've been reading and researching as much as I can  in learning, or catching up with the Digital DACs. I really do like the sound that I'm hearing. I have been playing my SACD's by running then through a different input on the oppo, so I have kind of worked out all those issues, but not running the SACDs through the L.K.S 2 channel DAC. 

It's really good to hear such positive feedback on the New L.L.S DAC from someone whom owns one. How are you running everything from your phone, I was under the impression that it had to run through the usb port by a computer. Did you install a USB Board for wi fi, or is the Oppo app  you mentioned running everything through it. I did,'t realize it could tie into my itunes music library. Looks like I have some more researching. 
The LK.S manual is so basic, it's difficult to get much out of it. Can you use the L.K.S also for network streaming. Right now I have my Laptop sitting on top of a shelve tied into it with the usb input and listening to Sirius, Tidal, right now. I just don't like the laptop having to be hooked up next to it. Unfortunately , my main computer is on the other side of the house. If I can't put everything together, and  I'm trying because I really think this Dac is really nice with so much potential.  I'm trying to learn about the different Fir Filters, like what best for certain sounds, and what they perform and such.  If I can't,  I was looking  at the possibility  of getting an All is one ,  the Lumin D2 Network streamer with the  Wolfson DAC 8741 running mono on each side as the L.K.S., But honestly I don't know how those DAC match up to the  ESS 9308, which I've alway been a big fan on the ESS DAC's. Any help and input would be greatly appreciated.
  My Bryston DAC 3 is the DAC for all my digital sources: Oppo 105, Sony 5400 ES SACD Player (a refugee from another system in the house), Bluesound Vault2,
a MacBook Air, a Bryston BDP3 streamer (Bluesound will exit as soon as Bryston adds Qobuz in the next few weeks).  I have a Synology NAS in another room and Ethernet wiring.
  Why spin discs?  I have several hundred SACD, along with assorted Blu Ray Audios and DVD-A.  I am not interested in some complicated way of extracting the DSD from The SACDs when I can just play the DSD layer directly from the Oppo. Regarding red book CD, I am trying to scan them to the NAS, but I have several thousand to go.  I am also not enamored of any of the music management systems that I have encountered as I frequently can’t find something on the NAS; it’s easier to pull the CD off the shelf.  And at this point red book playback sounds truly excellent 
That’s one big Collection!! And sounds like a very nice DAC.  Now that I have it running, I’m going to listen to it for a bit and learn how to use this new Dac. I do love how yours plays everything, monies are tight and I thought I heard they run a $2K more than the L.K.S, 
I’m sure that it’s very nice. So you feel that you don’t need a Network streaming player because of you large volume of CD’s,
SACD, etc.., or because you feel that they play as nice as the stand alone DAC’s.
No SACD play can send DSD by HDMI. ESS9038 is a delta-sigma DAC which is suitable for DSD playback.

You can only run SACDs through the LKS (or almost all separate DACs that will accept .dsf files--and not all do) if you rip the SACDs to the .dsf files. Otherwise you will have to run your SACDs through your Oppo and its built in DAC, ignoring the LKS, using the disks.

You ask about how I use my phone. I have ripped all my CDs and SACDs and gathered other music by downloading PCM files all on to a hard disk. Initially it was a small USB disk. Now it's a Synology NAS. That disk is plugged into a small lap-top near the audio system on which I run JRiver. (The NAS can send the music files to the lap-top by wi-fi, but I find the SQ better if by hard wire) There is a USB connection between the lap-top and the LKS. JRiver has a phone app. Bottom line is that I sit in my chair and use the phone app to call up any of the music on the hard disk. I don't do network streaming, but if I wanted to I could just receive the streams through the lap-top. (I also run JRiver on an office desk top so I can listen to all of the music there too. JRiver converts the .dsf files to PCM for that computer. I use the desk-top for all the ripping and file management.)

With a screen between the speakers I do video with disks on the Oppo and sound out to the LKS, also youtube music through the Oppo using the coax connection.

Another option, but just for playing PCM files, as from the CDs, would be to use the Oppo 105 phone app to call up music from either of the hard disks and play them through the Oppo and to the LKS using the coaxial or optical connection.


Ripping SACD disks is not "complicated". It's even easier, once set up, than ripping a CD though it takes a little longer as the files are larger. I do is put an SACD into the Oppo, bring up a small (free) program on any of the computers and press "execute." That's it. I'm sure you can set it up and do it. You might, as I did, even find an improvement in the SQ.

Yes, ripping all the disks and setting up a management system can be major chore. I found JRiver to have a long learning curve--but in the end it's really a great system to have where anything can be called up to play at your whim, and anywhere on the network, and without leaving your chair. And you have the NAS. For classical music listening especially, it is great to be able to quickly compare performances. You seem to have a large collection so I can understand the hesitation. But, on the other hand, keeping track of a large collection can be made much simpler with a good digital file system.
Thanks for a good input  Melm, and others. I do have everything running, and as you said for the CD’s, I am running through the L.K.S, and the SACD’ through the Oppo using the oppos Dac. Once I got all done, it’s really easy to toggle between two using the DVD for the L.K.S, and CD for the SACD’s.
Your right about hesitation on ripping the Disk, But I really don’t have so many that it would be such an issue. I do want to get the best SQ as possible, and if that’s running from a Hard drive, that’s really not to big of an issue. Just need to figure out how to tie it all in with using IOS, I’m sure there’s something out there. I would like to run everything off an IPad mounted from the wall, just need to find out the best way. 
What’s the option of the MODs being done to the L.K.S out curiosity. 
As you can see, I’m really new to the DAC world, and what can be done. With the different FIR filters on the DAC, how can I find data on what they all do, and what filters are used for the best results and purpose. I havn’t found any data on those so far. I do like the idea of having the music all on a Hard drive, I just need to researching that 
also and how it best done.
Thanks again
The most complete info on this DAC and possible mods is here:
All 1856 posts.  Happy reading.

Posts about the LKS 004 DAC actually began at the LKS 003 DAC thread around here:

You could also look here:

Frankly, if I were you I would ignore all of this for a while and simply enjoy the DAC.  Putting your CDs on a hard disk and working out a convenient file system will pay rewards.  It's also not hard to rip your SACDs.  IMO the DAC is really quite fine out of the box.