🔷 Aune X8

This is the official thread for the Aune X8

This thread is for discussion and reviews.

  • Altera Max II FPGA tuned by Aune w/ ES9038Q2M, USB/Coax/Optical in, line and pre out
  • swappable OP amp
  • Volume control

:red_circle: Linsoul Link


Z Reviews…


what can you change by swapping out the op amp on this?

The sound, different op amps will yield different types of sound. I like opamps from burson, sparkos, and muse

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so you could change the amp from being warm to neutral to cool / detailed?

Correct, different op amps will yield different types of sonic signatures and characteristics

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what do good op amps tend to cost?

Typically in the under 50 buck range, you can get some good opamps for cheaper of course

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interesting…very interesting. is this something Aune supports? doesn’t invalidate warranty / support or anything?

Most manufactures aren’t going to invalidate a warranty by just swapping an op amp I think, but I can’t say for sure. They do encourage it as a feature though

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are there threads out on Head-Fi and such that talk about op amp swapping? having done electronics in grades 9 / 10 & 11, swapping out a lil chip like that isn’t hard to do. :smiley:

Aune supports op-amp swapping. Just do not insert the op-amp the wrong way. Otherwise you void your warranty.

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I’m guessing the results of that happenstance are telltale if you send in a ticket, LoL!

There are 8 ways to do this, 4 of which have the pins sticking up.
2 other ways have 4 pins in the air.
1 Way has the notch in the socket not line up with the one in the Op-Amp

The correct way lines the Notches up.


Gee, it’s been a week since I’ve ordered mine from linsoul and they have yet to ship it. Burson op-amp sitting on my shelf already. I should also mention that the E30 and the op-amp came from the motherland this week in less than 4 days.

Just saw Z’s video on this. I’m really curious to see if anyone else thinks this thing sounds magical like he did.
I was considering getting a Bifrost 2 or a R2R DAC. It’d be nice if I could just get one of these with an opamp swap to save a ton.

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Correct me if I’m wrong but this is just a ess dac with an fpga slapped in? Not trying to say it’s bad or anything, just wondering if it’s actually a full fpga design and what they are using the fpga for

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That’s a good question lol. Zeos indicated in his video he believed this DAC was doing something similar in implementation to what Chord Electronics does. But then what’s the ESS DAC for? Maybe the FPGA is being used to tweak the sound after the ESS DAC?

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That would be reasonable, but it very well could be full fpga, who knows. Either way I have one that’s actually supposed to get here in a day so I can see how it sounds lol. My guess is that the fpga is for custom filters and the actual d/a conversation is done by the ess? That being said with the opamps in there too, it would be harder to pinpoint what actually is doing the most change that z is picking up on


What exactly would be the benefit of going to a full FPGA design? I mean, I struggle to think on how you can arrange a good set of filters and addition processing in the Gate array and make a good DAC. That’s quite the circuit real state. Don’t even know if you can do this in an effective way since most converters topology I know use pondered resistors/capacitors, not just transistor arrays. I think you can actually get better signal quality going with two separate systems.

There are number of very high end designs that do exactly this, Chord Dave, the high end PS Audio stuff and a number of others.