Inexpensive ES9018K2M DAC

Hello all, I realize that not too many on this forum do much with Do It Yourself product. I built a DAC kit and have liked it enough that I thought its worth mentioning for those that might want to venture into it. I have had several low cost DAC's and USB converters. I've had a Musiland, A dual Mono Wolfson Dac called DACX9 that was Wolfson 8741 chips on each channel, it had separate power supplies for digital and analog, I had a Audio-Gd converter and Lastly the one folks here will most recognize a Wadia 121. I was using the DacX9 and reading a DIY Audio Forum about a new ES9018K2M Kit from this is a 2 channel version of the acclaimed ES9018 chip. I folded and ordered one.
It came without a power supply. Being so cheap, I searched hi and low on how I would do a power supply. I found a Switching Supply on Ebay that had all the correct voltage feeds, it was very cheap,a couple of guys on
DIY Audio warned me against buying a switching supply, I figured, its cheap "why not give it a try" Bought a case, already had all the plugs/jacks and had some decent cable at home for power. This thing went together very easily, it was clearly marked where everything went and only took a couple of hours to assemble, which includes drilling the case and complete assembly. The board was well marked and this thing went together quickly, put it in my system, it fired right up, it had a different personality than my Wolfson DACX9. I let it play low for about 4 days and came back to give it a listen. Its bass was leaner/tighter than my Wolfson, but still drove deep. There was a sheen to the music that I couldn't get around, I waited a couple more days and listened again. Nice overall soundstage, but still had that sheen. I
called my old buddy Ed Martin from Marcof-SpeakerCraft days, took it to his house and he measured, measured some more, then measured again. He said the power supply was actually pretty well made, was switching at almost exactly 200k, voltages out were right on, but there was a bit of
noise and some distortion being measured at the DAC's output. He designed and installed a filter circuit for me for all 3 power outputs of the Power supply. Put the DAC back in and WOW, what an improvement. Now after about a month of play, this DAC has morphed into the best DAC that I've had in my system. I actually preferred the Wolfson DACX9 slightly over the Wadia. The Wadia was a good bang for the buck being that it had a volume
control, but it was slightly thread bare or lean in the mid range through the upper octaves that didn't suit me in my system. The Wolfson DACX9 was richer presentation. Detail and speed was fairly close between the 2. By comparison the ES9018K2M was a bit faster, its leading edges or transients were noticeable over both of the DAC's mentioned above. Its top end was smooth and still ever so slightly more
detailed than the DACX9 or the Wadia. Its mid bass was a bit lighter, but its deep bass drove down quite well. It took a bit to get used to, but overall, I now prefer this. It makes my sub integrate easier in my room. I haven't mentioned this or tried it yet, but it also has bit
perfect volume from your computer, yes, using windows volume control is bit perfect, so you guys that would like to experiment without a preamp, this is a very inexpensive way to give it a try. The big thing that I have to stress is it is obvious to me that this DAC is very influenced
by power supply. Diyinhk sells supplies on their site, but I have no experience with those. I have nothing to gain here, I am just a happy camper at getting this type of performance for a very low outlay of cash. If anyone is interested, I have a drawing of the filter network that Ed made for me. Contact through my email here on Agon and I'll forward you the power supply link and a copy of the filter
network. Tim
Paragraph breaks - please!!

Rlwainwright.... Such great feedback, Thanks!
Just want to add that the USB input is the most current XMOS asynchronous chip. Sorry, should have added that in the first place.
Hi Timlub. I'm about to build a similar system into a valve system & was interested in knowing what software you're using on your computer to drive the DAC. I've bought the same kit from but will use the balanced output into a valve unbalanced & then into my existing valve HIFI system. I'm very much a newbie in regard to digital music so am looking for as much guidance as I can glean.