Home > Arduino, Code, DIY HiFi > Sabre DAC Datasheet: The Missing Parts

Sabre DAC Datasheet: The Missing Parts

January 17, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Now that I’m familiar with the Sabre datasheet and developed some code, I took a closer look at the long Sabre DAC thread at diyaudio. (over 1700 posts).

Before I had no idea about what they were talking about :-).  I have summarized some datasheet-relevant information here for my own benefit and for those who are thinking of programming the DAC


  • Pin 8: Reset: 125
  • Pin wiring to support Stereo and DSD-I2S-SPDIF: 145, 153
  • Pin wiring to support I2S: 147


  • Register 0-8, volume: 113
  • Register 8, 18 Switching input format on the fly: 125
  • Register 10 Jitter ON/OFF: 492
  • Register 11 DPLL bandwidth: 575, 821
  • Register 12, notch delay: 497, 758, 1315
  • Register 14 DAC source: 153
  • Register 14 true/pseudo diff (bit 3): 1683
  • Register 14 IIR filter: 229, 2?
  • Register 15 quantizer  35 and here
  • Register 16 Automute: 159
  • Register 17 Oversample bypass: 1279
  • Register 37-45: Programmable filters: 1289


  • Output impdeance, each output pin: 114
  • Change Input Format (SPDIF-I2S-DSD) on the fly: 125
  • Choice of clock frequency: 127
  • External oversampling: 241
  • Jitter Eliminator corner frequency: 320
  • Jitter performance (vs other DACs): 385
  • DPLL bandwidth compared 9018 vs 9008: 1256
  • DAC design priorities: 388
  • Digital Volume Control: 456
  • Filter passband ripple: 496
  • Input levels and switching frequency: 574
  • I2S bitclock requirement: 1578
  • DAC SNR and THD Spec: 1532
  • Built-in FIR filter characteristics: 241, 1295


  • Volume Control is done before Oversampling Filter: 113, 456
  • Oversample Filter -> Noise Shaper -> Jitter Reduction: 258
  • Inputs to DACs 3, 4, 7, 8 can be tied to inputs to DACs 1, 2, 5, 6 respectively: 153
  • DAC internal data path (ES9008): 254
  • DPLL uses (locks to) bit-clock: 1626
  • Data reclocking: 319




  • Buffalo DAC I Schematic: 189
  • White Paper: ESSTech
  • Experimental Results on best DPLL settings: 1853
  1. Florin
    January 17, 2011 at 07:18


    Great resource, thank you for putting this together.

    I was very skeptical in relation to programming a dac, but your endeavor on hifi duino really encouraged me on this. So now I am about to order an arduino and start learning some coding.

    Good luck with your projects!

    • Hifiduino
      January 17, 2011 at 18:36

      Yeah. It is not too difficult at all. Arduino is the best supported environment for the hobbyist out there. There are topics, sample code, hardware, discussion boards for almost everything you can think off. One you run the LED sample sketch and make the LED flash, you will be hooked 🙂

  2. Russ White
    January 17, 2011 at 14:39

    Good work!

    Keep in mind that some of the numbers in some of the posts are only true for the ES9008. In particular the internal data path is different for the ES9018.


    • Hifiduino
      January 17, 2011 at 18:37

      Thanks for the tip, Russ.

  3. RayCtech
    January 20, 2011 at 14:23

    Hi glt,

    As I reported the links does not work when I use Safari.
    I checked and the cause are simply that I have changed the settings on diyAudio.
    When you have linked to


    it translates to


    due to my changes to the default setup….

    I have to log out and connect as a guest to use your links correctly.

    Best regards,

  4. October 22, 2013 at 18:56

    AFAIK this DAC (sabre32) performs slightly better than the good 24-bit DACs (THD+N) so IMO it’s not reasonable people to get obsessed with it.
    I think 32-bit resilution is unreacheable yet, because it means that if Vp-p is 1v, the resolution has to be 1/2^32, which in volts is ~ 0.000000000233 V or 0.233nV I don’t know of a voltage source which would be so clean.
    It has digital volume control. Any volume control, applied in the digital domain reduces the dynamic range. If I want to build with it, what power AMP will peserve this performance ?
    I think that for experimentation a special combination of DAC+AMP in one could be created. As attempt to preserve the dynamic range. And the volume control affects the performance much.

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