which config for DAC ES9018K2M, Rpi 3 and Volumio 2


I’m trying to install Volumio 2.029 on a raspberry Pi3 with a ES9018Mk2 DAC I2S.
The problem is that i can only have a very saturated sound.
I’ve seen Tony’s post (es9018k2m-based-streaming-solution-t2087.html) and signature so it may work. But By following tony’s procédure, i’ve still got the issue.
Can someone help me to configure Volumio 2 to work with this DAC?


I have got a similar trouble on a diy chinese dac board based on ES9018K2M (4 wires) : Crappy sound when playing 16/44 files . But sound is ok when playing other sampling rate and resolutions. The only solution i found was :astonished: replacing volumio with Moode :cry:

I’ve found a tutorial here:
nw-electric.way-nifty.com/blog/2 … abreb.html

It seems that the ESS 9018 needs a dedicated driver and overlay. If you could get me in touch with someone involved in the development of the DAC I will request the driver source, and IF GPL compatible, I will add to Volumio (so it will work without issues).
Let me know

Thank you Michelangelo.

It’s a known problem.
ES9018K2M I2S DAC card on Raspberry pi 3 causes very distorted noisy sound when playing 44.1KHz/16 Bit flac files.
While Other Hi-resolution flac files are OK including 44.1KHz/24 Bit flac and 11MHz DSD files.

I have tested the same DAC card on Odroid C1+ .
Odroid plays fine 44.1KHz/16 bit flac files without problem.
However Odroid does not play DSD files well, very distorted.

I heard ES9023 and ES9018K2M BCK requirement are different and this might be the reason why.
We need the dedicated driver for the ES9018K2M.

Also I have tested Sabreberry32_v2031 driver both master and slave mode without success.
“Failed to open audio output”

Sabreberry32 driver targets SABRE9018Q2C I2S DAC.
There may be some difference.

Anyway I will help if you need.


Thx all for your reply and explanations,

I’ve find a github page with drivers sources : github.com/luoyi/Rpi-ES9018K2M-DAC

But I don’t know how to install/compil and which file have to be used for that.
I can help for testing on the device but it seems to be very technical and I have to be directed.

It seems to be GPL :

  • es9018k2m.h – es9018k2m Soc Audio driver
  • Copyright 2005 Openedhand Ltd.
  • Author: Richard Purdie richard@openedhand.com
  • Based on es9018k2m.h
  • This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify
  • it under the terms of the GNU General Public License version 2 as
  • published by the Free Software Foundation.

I went through the same problems you are having. I replaced my Pi 3 with the Odroid C2 with eMMC and it works great! Although, I now have that same distorted audio on DSD files only. Still need to figure that problem out…

BTW - The Odroid is WAY faster than the Pi at boot up, and everything!


Has anyone found a solution for this problem?

What about the people from Audiophonics? I’ve been in touch with David Aubert regarding sales issue, maybe you could contact him regarding the driver?

Kindest regards,


1)How about using Odroid c2 with dac board ES9018K2M I2S IIS-32bit 384K /DSD64 128 256 ?
2) ES9018MK2 DAC has not its own clock generator. Need I to use the MCLK of Odroid C2 board?
3) Will this DAC support 24 bit?

ebay.com/itm/1pc-ES9018K2M-E … Sw3v5Yos1g

Have you contacted ESS Technology:
esstech.com/index.php/en/sup … t-contact/

Telephone (408) 643-8800
Fax (408) 643-8801
ESS Technology
237 South Hillview Drive
Milpitas, CA 95035

@BarryMore : new user so i can’t replie to your MP :cry:

My ES9018K2M died last month, and was replaced by an easy going ES9023 :mrgreen:
So no more trouble :smiley:

What can you say about sound quality this board compared with ES9023 ?

I have a MEIZU PRO5 with the same es9018K2M and sound quality is much better on it. I have not tested this board with a good headphone btw but on the speakers i use, the es9023 is on the same level.

Have you found dedicated driver ES9018K2M for Odroid C1+/2 yet?

There is no dedicated driver for ES9018 as of yet and no Odroid community effort to develop one, sorry.