DAC Chip: ESS ES9038Q2M (Single)
PCM 32bit – 768khz DSD512, SNR: -118dB, Power: 2 Vrms SE, 4 Vrms BAL, Type-C Female, 2.5mm BAL & 3.5mm SE (Microphone: No), Aluminum Chassis, Optical output, 32bit/768kHz



  • Neutral and natural airy smooth timbre, uncolored
  • Smooth and crisp dynamics, matured vibrancy
  • Superb coherence with pristine clarity and transparency
  • Slightly intimate Mids richly textured and defined
  • Realistic Male/Female vocals
  • Crispy smooth Treble offering great depth, extension, and textures
  • Well balanced Mid-Bass responses with smooth decay
  • Deep, richly textured Sub-Bass with realistic decay
  • Excellent details retrieval, Macro and Micro
  • Realistic and crisp guitar, piano, cello, and bass guitar tones
  • Tall and spacious soundstage with great depth
  • Reference grade imaging, precise holographic spatial staging
  • Reference grade speed and transients handling
  • Super clean with zero floor noises
  • Devoid of any coarseness or grainy edges overall
  • Immensely powerful SE and BAL output with commanding drive
  • Absolutely gorgeous sounding paired with literally anything.
  • Great driving power for anything below 600 Ohm
  • Merciful on battery draw to the host


  • No hardware volume adjuster
  • Volume level jump not as refined as others
  • Boxy design and construction may not appeal to some
  • Slightly warm after prolonged usage


REIYIN DA-Plus. Among the many ES9038Q2M I have owned and tested, I am happy to declare that this REIYIN DA-Plus proudly claim a place alongside the top performers. It is not easy to tune and implement ES9038Q2M to sound as natural and effortless as this DA-Plus. Many have tried and I can only account the likes of Hidizs S9 Pro, E1DA 9038SG3, Shanling UA2 (all of them on ES9038Q2M) being worthy.

The strongest element for DA-Plus, it is free from the native ESS glare and shimmer that some may find fatiguing. The same sort of effortless presentation exhibited by Apogee Groove, which until today sets the benchmark for proper implementation of ESS Sabre DACs in Dongle form. What I find amazing is how well balanced the tonality is between analogue and modern sound. Many ESS Sabre based Dongles ended up sounding unnaturally bright and peaky, but not this DA-Plus.

To begin with, DA-Plus exhibited AMAZING synergy with 7Hz Timeless Magnetic Planar IEM. Mind blowing clean and airy natural timbre with mature dynamics. No hint of anything being overdone. There’s Hi-Fidelity all over the place. Deep, realistic Bass responses, Smooth crispy Treble, clean neutral Mids. Technical wise the DA-Plus worked exceedingly great at details retrieval be it Macro or Micro, offering crystal clean transparency. It has the speed to handle complex passages, cleanly separated layers to portray individual instruments, amazing spatial imaging and generous amount of airy spaces with soundstage. The same can be said of TForce Yuan Li, with an exception that Yuan Li offering a bit more of overall warmth and less air, more intimacy. So, either way it worked great for me to suit my moods. About the only cons I observed here is that the volume adjustment gap are not as refined, which forced me to click one notch down and listen at lower loudness.

Power wise, it’s nothing short of Amazing. DA-Plus was able to drive FOSTEX T40RP MK3 with such great ease and agility. The presentation absolutely wholesome with dynamic range well extended on both ends of the spectrum. Similar results as observed with 7Hz Timeless, except that natively the T40RP MK3 a little more organic and analogue-ish. It is as effortless as it is airy with mature vibrancy and control. With Etymotic ER4SR, which is another stubborn IEM to drive, the DA-Plus paired equally great even with the 3.5mm SE port. My ER4SR sounded natural and does not exhibit any unnatural metallic Treble extensions. The most amazing element of this pairing is the Mids – it is super clean and clear with exquisite details, vocals sounding very crisp and engaging.

Final test, serving as AUX feed for Shure KSE1500. As expected the DA-Plus also excelled here, feeding the Electrostatic Amp with 2 Vrms of pristine clean output (from 3.5mm SE Port). This is practically Endgame sound and fidelity – everything sounded right and realistic. The pinnacle of balance realized with this pairing. I can just sit and listen to this all day long…

All in all, despite the Cons, REIYIN DA-Plus nailed it right with what’s most important – the sound. A prime example of how ESS Sabre DAC should be tuned and implemented (alongside Hidizs S9 Pro, E1DA 9038SG3, Apogee Groove & ASUS ROG Clavis). Also not forgetting how well DA-Plus pairs practically with anything I throw at it.

⭐⭐⭐⭐½ ($77.00)

Best Pairing: Highly flexible with anything below 600 Ohm

Back to #donglemadness


  1. JP says:

    Whats the difference between Plus and Pro Version?
    How does it compare to jcally jm10?
    Had jcally jm10 on sennheiser hd 560s love the speed and clarity but think a little more power would be good.


    1. Andy.EF says:

      The Plus version obviously has more power at 4 Vrms while the Pro version is limited to 2 Vrms like JM10

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Burin says:

    Can you compare this that have one ess9038q2m with Tempotec e44 with dual C43131 . will it be less efficience for driving power for high ohms impedance
    Or less sentivity earphone . I am considering these two for my order at 11.11 Aliexpress . Thanks


    1. Andy.EF says:

      All of the 5 Star dongles has been extensively tested driving highly demanding headphone with as low as 91db sensitivity Magnetic Planar. Lower sensitivity is the key measurement how good the driving power is and not so much on High Impedance. For example my DT990 at 250 Ohm 96db is easier to drive than 50 Ohm 91db Fostex T40RP MK3. Even a 320 Ohm is easier to drive than a TIN HiFi P1 (95db). I will not rate any Dongle 5 Stars if they fail this driving power tests


  3. Ten says:

    For the 3.5mm, is this better than the E44?


    1. Andy.EF says:

      About similar in power at 2 Vrms. But DA-Plus is more neutral and E44 more energetic


      1. Ten says:

        Which one does both female and male vocal better?
        Which one more full sounding?


  4. Ten says:

    Thank you Andy for the prompt reply!


  5. mgphone says:

    How much power doest it draw from a smartphone?


    1. Andy.EF says:

      I didn’t actually measure it. But otherwise if the draw was heavy on the hosts’ battery I would have noted this in my review


  6. Miguel says:

    Excellent Review!!! I have one and I share your opinions 100%, it is a GREAT Dongle; my question is: using its 2.5 mm balanced output and pairing it with the HIFIMAN HE400 SE (91 dB and 25 Ohm) is enough to bring out its full potential? Thanks!!


    1. Andy.EF says:

      Thanks. It is one hell of fine unit. And yes H400 SE will run great with REIYIN DA-Plus from the BAL 2.5mm, full potential or no, hard to tell because there’s always more power to be had from desktop DAC/Amps like ZEN Stacks that delivers 15.1 Vrms, something that no portable device can hope to achieve. But if not comparing, I am very happy with DA-Plus driving my 50 Ohm 91db T40RP MK3


  7. Yuriy says:

    Which dongle has more analog and surround (deep and wide) sound with nice (natural) vocals – DA-Plus or Creative sxfi amp?


    1. Andy.EF says:

      CEntrance DACport HD, Lotoo PAW S2 and Cayin RU6 is what you want. They are simply the best in those areas. But between DA-Plus and SXFi, I would prefer SXFi for the qualities you mentioned


  8. Gerald says:

    Hi Andy, is REIYIN DA-Plus or TempoTec Sonata E44 better for rock?


  9. Gerald says:

    Andy, is this better compare to Colorfly CDA M1 ?


    1. Andy.EF says:

      If I have to choose between the two, I prefer DA-Plus more. But really both are already very well tuned with balanced neutrality


      1. Gerald says:

        Oh dear I asked wrongly, da pro vs colorfly which you prefer?


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