EverSolo DAC-Z8 Measurements

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This unit was loaned to me by EverSolo to test.
I have been assisting with some testing & updates to the DAC-Z8. The latest firmware can be downloaded here.


EverSolo is a company that may be new to many members of the audio community, and may soon be something of a household name given the performance and design of their current products. Other companies now have a serious competitor to watch out for!

The DAC-Z8 is designed around the ESS 9038 PRO DAC, and in my view stands out as a distinctly more ‘premium’ feeling device than many others close to its price point.

The exterior is an aluminium chassis with a matte black ‘soft touch’ finish. Silver feet, and on the back we have both balanced and single ended DAC outputs, coaxial and optical SPDIF inputs, as well as both type-C and type-B USB inputs.
The antenna facilitates a Bluetooth connection, not only for streaming audio but also for control of the device via EverSolo’s own app, allowing you to control volume, inputs/outputs, change DAC filters and almost any other setting on the unit.
The USB type-A port is for updating the firmware of the unit.

The front of the device features an LCD display that provides a very nice looking menu and UI, and during normal playback, offers VU meters with several selectable designs.

There is a 6.35mm headphone output, and a rotary encoder knob with an illuminated LED ring. The brightness of this can be adjusted in the menu.

I really do have to mention just how nice the UI is here. Everything from the curved volume indicator to the VU meters or navigation itself is far and above that of other products at this price.
But what about under the hood?

The DAC-Z8 features a custom switch-mode power supply and digital processing.

The analog stage design utilizes eight OPA1612 opamps, with a ‘Shunt Compensation’ approach. This design prevents a peak in gain of the opamp at higher frequencies, in theory reducing any potential unwanted ultrasonic or RF content that may degrade performance of other components in the chain. (You can read more about frequency compensation of opamps here)

If connecting to the headphone output, there are two BUF634 chips used to provide the headphone amplifier buffer.

Overall, a very clean design, and as the measurements will show, one with excellent objective performance.


Test Setup:

– Audio Precision APx555 B-Series Analyzer with 200kOhm input impedance set unless otherwise specified
– USB Source: Intel PC via intona 7055-C isolator
– All measurements shown are with the DAC connected via USB unless otherwise specified
– Measurement setup and device under test are running on regulated 230V power from a Furman SPR-16-Ei
– Audioquest Mackenzie XLR and RCA interconnects
– Intona Reference Impedance Characterized USB Cable
– Audioquest Carbon SPDIF and AES cables (1.5m)
– Exact analyzer/filter configurations for each measurement are detailed in the full reports
– Measurements shown are with the DAC in ‘Fast Linear’ mode unless otherwise stated

Full Measurement Reports:

Reports available here:

Dynamic Range (AES17): 129.2dB

SNR: 130.9dB

IMD SMPTE: -108.1dB

Noise Level RMS: 1.18uVrms (20hz-20khz) – 2.45uVrms (20hz-90khz) – 20.28uVrms (20hz-1Mhz)

DC Offset: 1.0mV active, 1.0mV idle

1khz Sine, 0dBfs, XLR Out:

1khz Sine, 0dBfs, RCA Out:

Distortion on both the XLR and RCA outs is incredibly low.

1khz Sine, Headphone Out (Max Volume, 32 Ohm Load):

The headphone output in high gain supplies up to 2.7V (0.23W at 32 Ohms). This may not be enough for headphones requiring more gain as the maximum output voltage is quite low, but performance is very good.

1khz Sine, 0dBfs, Headphone Out (700mV, 32 Ohm Load, Headphone level):

1khz Sine, Headphone Out (50mV, 12 Ohm Load, IEM level):

Performance at small signal levels is very clean thanks to the ultra low noise of the DAC-Z8. This will be great for IEM users!

Low level signal output:

1khz -90.31dBfs undithered sine (16 Bit) – 96khz capture bandwidth
1khz -90.31dBfs undithered sine (24 Bit) – 96khz capture bandwidth

Low level signal output is great, and also has almost no ultrasonic noise either. Exceptionally clean.

Filter Ultrasonic Attenuation:

96khz bandwidth
1Mhz bandwidth

Idle Noise FFT:

THD+N vs Frequency:


A slight bit of ‘ESS Hump’ but otherwise very low IMD.


With bandpass filter (only measuring level of 1khz signal)
Without bandpass filter (include noise in measurement)
THD+N vs output level (As a percentage)
SINAD/THD+N vs output level (As decibels)



Intersample Overs Test:

When DACs oversample, they can sometimes encounter a situation where the reconstructed/interpolated waveform goes above 0dBfs (the maximum possible digital value).
This is particularly common with poorly mastered music that has been ‘brickwalled’ (To clarify: I mean brick-walled as in the loudness-wars term, not brick-wall nyquist reconstruction filters https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loudness_war ).

DACs ideally should have a few dB of digital headroom to accommodate this and reconstruct properly, and many such as Chord, RME, Benchmark etc do, and will output signals with intersample overs without any issue/distortion.
But many do not do this, either out of lack of awareness of the issue or because doing so usually means sacrificing a few dB of dynamic range and/or THD+N performance. And as a result will not be able to properly reconstruct these signals.

We can test this by creating a signal that induces intersample overs.
See in the image below. All the 44.1khz samples (squares) are below the 0dBfs limit, but the actual waveform itself, is above this limit.

+3dB intersample overs test
+1dB intersample overs test

The DAC Z8 does have sufficient internal headroom to reconstruct small intersample overs without issue, that’s great to see. It is still susceptible to larger intersample overs, but these are quite rare.


44.1khz – USB input
48khz – USB input

Jitter performance is terrific!


The EverSolo DAC-Z8 offers top notch objective performance at an attractive price, and to sweeten the deal offers various features and quality of life aspects that in my view make this a much more attractive option than most similarly priced competitors.
Whilst I generally try to keep subjective commentary to a minimum in my objective measurement posts, I would also say that I’ve found the DAC-Z8 to be subjectively more enjoyable than a lot of other products close in price too, and in fact it’s now taken over DAC duty on my desk setup!

EverSolo has made a fantastic product, with quite a bit of effort and R&D into various areas where it matters, without unnecessary frills or marketing. I’m really looking forward to seeing what comes from EverSolo in future!

4 thoughts on “EverSolo DAC-Z8 Measurements”

  1. Any measurements on DSD performance? I wonder if the implementation of the opamps improves the typical performance seen from this ESS chip, if that’s even a possibility.


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