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Which doesn't imply that the Sheva is like the others, only that its concept is already wildly cloned. In a roundabout way, this model presents a bit of a dichotomy for the growing portfolio of our popular Hong Kong boutique maker. As though to rub it in, it's also the only one to come with a silver face plate. And it's twice as costly as the former range topper; and sports XLR outs which aren't compatible with any of the 'proper' clones; and has an I²S port on RJ45 which will shake hands with very little.

That Sheva does it non-clone cloning a bit differently is apparent with the 18-strong array of denuded caps which strip off their stock plastic sleeving. Those we've seen in far smaller quantities already in Funjoe's AP1 preamp. There's also the 'three strikes and you're in' toroids. Those quite exceed one unit with multiple secondaries or even two to keep analog and digital discretely separate. Other recognizable bits are a Crystek 575-50 ultra low-noise crystal oscillator and femto clock; and Atmel plus Xilinx silicon with dual clocks on the Amanero Combo384 USB module.

Of course the above caps aren't the only ones to go nekkid. More deshabillé goes on around the AD843BQ opamps with 90dB of gain and 34MHz bandwidth as shown below. And with 6 inputs Sheva covers all conceivable needs (in this context dual AES/EBU is far too obscure a standard to be relevant).
The superior inputs on BNC and AES/EBU are very much relevant however.
24/384 PCM and DSD 64/128 apply only to USB and I²S.

How much would designer Funjoe—which isn't his real name by the way but from when he still worked a day job whose boss wouldn't have approved of a moonlighting audio guy—be willing to share on his chosen circuit relative to the output stage, I/V conversion and power supply? Those are the oft-overlooked analog bits which have the silicon surfers think they can predict final sonics by just identifying the D/A conversion chip. Anyone who has taken the trouble to compare even a few sabre-toothed converters from AURALiC, Burson and Wyred4Sound for example knows that they do not sound alike.

With the ESS on-chip digital attenuator activated, the Sheva DAC can obviously be used as a preamp though there's no remote. Overall system gain and listening level determine attenuation rates which in the digital domain eventually get audibly lossy. Depending on whose propaganda and ears you trust, this could kick in at already -10dB or be inaudible up to -40dB. (Ivo Linnenberg for example calls it a stop gap and merely activated it for his DAC because it's nearly free to do so.) Users of software players like PureMusic and Audirvana who need deep attenuation have the option of experimenting also with their 64-bit based fully dithered volume controls to avoid a preamp.

Another sighting of those Nordic 55pm this time driving €10'600/pr Emme Beta speakers in gold-leaf appliqué.
And the 25i integrated is said to work brilliantly with the HifiMan HE-6 headphones.

Funjoe's closing comments on his Sheva circuit: "The I/V and output stages are based on opamps but neither are those ICs cheap nor common for a DAC. I spent a lot of time deciding on just the right parts and had two different sets for my final evaluation round. My last tuning session was conducted in the Volent Audio studio with their amps and VL4 speaker and Ben's feedback. That's where I decided on the AD843 which is a fast-settling chip that combines the low 0.6nA input bias currents of a FET input amplifier with 34MHz bandwidth, 250V/µs slew rate and 135ns settling time to within 0.01% of the final value for a 10 volt step. And you assumed correctly that I treat the ESS 9018 in parallel-balanced mode, hence my subsequent circuitry is fully balanced. This reflects in a 2Vrms output for RCA and 4Vrms for XLR."

As we learn from the manual, the Sheva display confirms input, volume from -99dB to 0dB, PCM/DSD format, filter (fast/slow for PCM, 50/60/70kHz roll-off for DSD) and sample rate (44.1-384kHz for PCM and 64-512 for DSD). Menu selection combines knob rotation to move the arrow, push to select and push again to confirm/leave the section. Power consumption is 18 watts.