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Author Topic: [MSI GS60 6QE] ESS Sabre DAC? But where? I just see a Realtek HD device..  (Read 13190 times)

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creativeimpulsesTopic starter

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I've just received my MSI GS60 6QE fullHD model. One of the reasons of buying this model was that it would be fitted with a ESS Sabre 9018 2M DAC. Of course I understand that the implementation of this chip will always be less in a laptop device than a dedicated audio device but I would at least have expected it to be in my laptop.. Where is it? I installed the audio drivers from the website and the whole thing just gets recognized as a Realtek HD ALC899 chip. Whats going on here?

Can someone explain where I have to look to find my ESS Sabre DAC? 

For what its worth, the audio output is quite decent but I would have expected a bit more. It also sounds like a higher end Realtek chip not like an audiophile DAC from ESS. I will buy a seperate DAC anyway but for on the move this output should drive my easy to drive AudioTechnica ATH-M50X headphones. 

Where is the ESS Sabre DAC?
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4lberto

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i really have to tell you this , you got to be dealing with the NAhimic sound i think , 


check this Guide for the Nahimic environment:

https://forum-en.msi.com/index.php?topic=262248.0;topicseen


maybe you'll squeeze much more sound this way.


post back again
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BlueAlexFPS

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Hello, as I know ESS SABRE HiFi is a DAC, so the audio source will bypass from Realtek audio chip and use ESS chip to headset output.
When users install the headset to audio jack, the Nahimic software will pop out a UI let users to choose "HiFi Headphone" as below image.

And when users choose HiFi Headphone, the Nahimic will show the "SABRE HiFi" logo on the top volume control, how we could sure it's through ESS SABRE HiFi? Because the volume control is independent, not with internal speaker's volume control. I would like to recommend you use better headset and set Nahimic at Music mode, you will hear very good sound detail with brand new HiFi experience.
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creativeimpulsesTopic starter

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I did not notice the ESS Sabre logo before when I select Headphones..

But you are seriously saying the DAC is only used when using it as a headphone output? That's just rank..

Also the AudioTechnica ATH-M50X are quite decent headphones for their money if you mod them with the Shure SR840 pads to open up the soundstage and tune down the exaggerated bass. I will get my sisters STAX SR-507 electrostatic reference headphones with matching amplifier to check it out.

But I definitely think it is a poor implementation of MSI to only use the SABRE with the headphones. I tried both settings as output and I'm definitely missing detail with the speaker-out option. Sound gets dull. Guess I just have to stay with the Headphone output option..
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creativeimpulsesTopic starter

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Why do I see files in the 'devices' folder named Hifi Speakers. But I only have the option to pick normal speakers when I plug in or headphones..

I do not understand MSI's choice to only use the ESS Sabre DAC for headphones. I run my monitors on the Hifi option since this gives me the best detail, but overall its a bit of a dissapointment. The headphone output also has little power.. even with my easy to drive M50X. So i've ordered a Matrix Mini-I Pro.

Don't get me wrong. The headphone output with the Sabre does good detail and has an reasonable soundstage but I think I just expected to much from a laptop implementation and I should've kept in mind the 9018 2m is no 9018S.

The thing that bothers me the most is that MSI did not implement the ESS chip for the speakers output option..
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david

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Why do I see files in the 'devices' folder named Hifi Speakers. But I only have the option to pick normal speakers when I plug in or headphones..

I do not understand MSI's choice to only use the ESS Sabre DAC for headphones. I run my monitors on the Hifi option since this gives me the best detail, but overall its a bit of a dissapointment. The headphone output also has little power.. even with my easy to drive M50X. So i've ordered a Matrix Mini-I Pro.

Don't get me wrong. The headphone output with the Sabre does good detail and has an reasonable soundstage but I think I just expected to much from a laptop implementation and I should've kept in mind the 9018 2m is no 9018S.

The thing that bothers me the most is that MSI did not implement the ESS chip for the speakers output option..

Hi creativeimpulses,

If you really want studio-grade sound, I respectfully think you're going about it the wrong way. The best DAC in the world will not change the fact that the interior of a computer is no place for analog circuitry. As soon as you've converted to the analog domain, you're beset with all kinds of noise and interference from the surrounding circuits. The best way to get stellar sound is to stay in the digital domain while inside the notebook chassis, use the optical S/PDIF output to feed the digital audio signal to an external DAC where the transition to analog can occur in a far better environment away from the noisy inside of your GS60 6QE notebook.

Secret: Many computer audio systems now purport to support studio-grade sampling rates. This may be true inside the DAC. But something about the way it is implemented is preventing it from working as it should. The most common failing is attenuation of the high-frequency response and a collapse of the sound stage (phase or time-domain distortion---probably because of the filters being used). For example, my GT80 2QE Titan notebook with its Realtek DAC and discrete headphone amplifier has this problem whenever I set the sampling rate to 96 kHz or higher. However, if I back it down to 48 kHz it actually sounds fairly decent with my Sony MDR-7506 and Sennheiser HD 280 Pro headphones. These may not be audiophile-grade headphones like your sister's STAX Lambda SR-507, but I need better noise isolation than an open-air headphone offers and my ears are "calibrated" to the former because I've been using them for so long. So, if you're attempting to use a high sampling rate with your GS60 6QE, try reducing it to 48 kHz and see if that doesn't restore the brilliance and open the sound stage.

Kind regards, David

P.S. One more thing: I wouldn't be caught dead with a sound effects program like Nahimic in the audio path of my computer. As far as I'm concerned, Nahimic and its ilk are nothing but distortion generators! (I've tested them.) For high fidelity, stick with a clean-as-possible audio path. The Realtek HD driver is actually quite good if you don't cobble it by strapping Nahimic or Creative Cinema onto it.
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creativeimpulsesTopic starter

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Hi David, 

Thanks for you comment.

And I agree with you. That's why I said in my last post that I probably was expecting to much of it. I removed the Nahimic bullshit app and the sound is actually quite decent for my headphones. My speakers like a little bit more than the internal chip so I ordered a SMSL Sanskrit DAC 6 for the time being. A fairly cheap but really good DAC (since i'm living in China these are just for grabs) The headphones will do fine on the headphone jack for now and in the future I will upgrade to a nice headphone AMP when I also get new headphones for daily use.

Thank you for all the replies. The whole implementation of the Sabre DAC could just be a little better.. MSI dropped the ball a bit here.
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briancgin

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The DAC is an ESS 9016K2M (Sabre) as seen here on the underside of the motherboard (keyboard side): (attached).

http://www.esstech.com/files/7314/4095/2152/ES9016-2M_PB_v1.9_141016.pdf
The amp next to it on the left is an ESS 9601K (Sabre) headphone amp chip - http://www.esstech.com/files/1514/4095/2893/SABRE9601K_PB_v1.4_141212.pdf

This combination is pretty much dedicated to headphone and line-out applications, i.e. see http://www.head-fi.org/t/780642/onkyo-dp-x1-dual-sabre-dacs-balanced-sabre-btl-amp-mqa-dsd-256-android-5

It actually drives headphones pretty well, including some planar magnetics. There really wouldn't be any point to have it drive the built in speakers, which are inherently low-fi and need a different amp than the 9601K. If you wanted to take advantage of the DAC, you could use it in line-out mode and connect to an external amplifier and/or speaker system. You do have to be a little careful about noise induced by the USB devices, though. When copying files off of an external HDD or flash drive, I noticed quite a bit of noise develop in the headphone/line-out jack.
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a.sterbini

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BTW

I have installed Linux on my MSI GS60 and I cannot change the headphones' volume, which is always at maximum level.
Is there anybody that knows how to recognize the Sabre ESS chip under Linux and change its volume?
I see no ESS info neither with lspci nor with lsusb ...
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royer10r

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BTW

I have installed Linux on my MSI GS60 and I cannot change the headphones' volume, which is always at maximum level.
Is there anybody that knows how to recognize the Sabre ESS chip under Linux and change its volume?
I see no ESS info neither with lspci nor with lsusb ...
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