Recommend ESS Sabre DAC/Amps

Just got e message from xDuoo about their new XD05 Balanced that I saw last year. It’s now available, but they added this message:

“The traditional Chinese holiday Spring Festival is approaching and our company has planned a holiday time from Feb. 6 to Fe. 19, total 14 days.

If you would like to try XD05 Bal, please do it quickly.”

This has the ESS 9038 chips (x2).

xDuoo XD05

Benchmark use ESS DACs in the DAC2 and DAC3. I have a DAC1 which I love, but I haven’t heard the DAC2 or DAC3 yet.

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I have to retract this statement now. I am getting noise in quiet passages and between tracks (when they start). I tried multiple USB C cables and the problem persists. I have a support email in. I tried with and without WiFi on in the phone, same issue. Does not happen when used with laptop or through the headphone jack of the same phone.

I’ll report back but I have to retract my resounding endorsement of the Sparrow for the moment…

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Sorry to hear- on Head Fi the owner has messaged on the Sparrow thread, asking those experiencing noise to contact them to request a new cable.

I tried it with another, pretty thick, USB cable with same issue but I suppose I’ll hear back. Thanks for the heads up. Strange I didn’t notice it before.

For those interested, as I started to use the Sparrow more with my phone indoors and with revealing IEMs, I did in fact hear EMI interference. To their credit, EarMen does have this disclaimer at the bottom of their product page:


Due to the increased radiation of some phone models, as well as using the Sparrow without a GND shield cables, there may be some interference when using the device.

Our recommendation is to keep Sparrow away from your phone and use shielded GND USB C cables at least 50 cm (20") long.

So if interested in this DAC, understand the limitations on its true portability.


UPDATE: Miroslav from EarMen wrote today that they are sending out new shielded USB cables next week. I have also in transit the OE Audio cable

Apparently the EMI does not happen with all phone models (and for me it ONLY happens with my phone), but they are addressing it anyway. I hope one of the others work because it is a fantastic DAC and only hampered with phone use. In fact, I just sold my Matrix Element X and using the Sparrow as my only DAC in my desk system. It sounds great!

I’ll report further when I have both cables in hand.

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