The innards spread out over three bigger circuit boards and, for the Raspberry server module and its dedicated voltage regulator, two small ones behind a metal partition. The USB 2.0 Amanero module did its usual small double-decker float. With the four bottles tucked inside spring-loaded metal canisters, what vied for attention instead were the four adjacent MCap tin-foil capacitors and the two bigger 15µF ClarityCap jobs with their very Gryphon-esque red winged lion branding on the power supply board.

Breaking out the guts across multiple PCB makes this DAC a modular affair. Hence a potential repair or major update wouldn't involve replacing one lone motherboard but just the relevant module.

Looking inside also showed a preference for traditional rather than computer-ribbon flying leads.

Reseating the cover to redo the bolts showed some hole misalignment for the front three fasteners as a reminder that this wasn't Swiss made. And it is obviously priced accordingly. Morton explained this was due to being unit #1 from their 0 series, hence not quite final production which would have such items licked.

The classy metal wand wasn't entirely self-explanatory because some buttons have more than one function depending on preceding command. To learn the secret handshakes requires the manual. And 'DSP' isn't short for 'display'. There's no 'dim' or 'extinguish' command. Or so I thought. "New software released includes display on/off when pushing the DSP button on the remote."

Whilst the 99-step volume control worked flawlessly mechanically, a stout 6V output on XLR combined with our 55-watt LinnenberG Allegro monos and 89dB/4Ω Audio Physic Codex speakers meant that standard levels occurred at 48dB(!) down. A quick swap to our Wyred4Sound STP-SE Stage II demonstrated undeniably superior sonics when the 9038Pro's on-chip attenuators were bypassed. For listeners with low system gain and very inefficient speakers, Sabre's scheme might well become attractive. In our hardware context, it simply threw far too much under the bus, Again, that's no general indictment of digital volume. It simply depends on how much you need to use. That said, the promoted direct connection even in 3V RCA mode should still provide far too much gain for amps that reach full output well below 1V to get unnecessarily heavy handed on bit-depth truncation. It's why LinnenberG's Telemann DAC with the same 9038Pro chips uses a gold-contact switched precision resistor array in the analog domain instead. And yes, that costs significantly more and lacks the server functionality. Horses for courses? "This DAC includes 32-bit digital volume so set to lower than about -30dB, it will reduce bit depth. Given your experience, we have decided to lower our circuit gain so that serious listening will occur only between -30dB and 0dB and not at -48dB as in your case." Talk about responsive action!