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Sabaj D5 DAC and headphone amp : is it really good?

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Enkay78

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hifitoaster

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His reviews is the one stop place where I would look into when buying dacs under 40k . He is BRUTALLY honest. I know it from his apple lightning dac review. On level matching it was a side wise upgrade to my jds labs c5d , losing to chord mojo in terms of layering and separation.but on cheaper iems the difference wasn't that much noticeable, which makes sense for ppl who uses earphones or headphones upto 10000 rupees. U can believe this guy more than whathifi anyday.
 

Enkay78

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T
His reviews is the one stop place where I would look into when buying dacs under 40k . He is BRUTALLY honest. I know it from his apple lightning dac review. On level matching it was a side wise upgrade to my jds labs c5d , losing to chord mojo in terms of layering and separation.but on cheaper iems the difference wasn't that much noticeable, which makes sense for ppl who uses earphones or headphones upto 10000 rupees. U can believe this guy more than whathifi anyday.
Thanks.. had an intuitive notion that what you just wrote would be it.


I bought a topping NX4 based on his assessment. And it a good amp for the budget.

Currently I am hunting for a good desktop dac which would be part of my system chain for music. Thought of Denafrips....et al...GUSTARD, SML, RME...etc...then this result.

Seriously leaning towards this dac.
 

vin_eme

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Thanks.. had an intuitive notion that what you just wrote would be it.


I bought a topping NX4 based on his assessment. And it a good amp for the budget.

Currently I am hunting for a good desktop dac which would be part of my system chain for music. Thought of Denafrips....et al...GUSTARD, SML, RME...etc...then this result.

Seriously leaning towards this dac.
You could try Topping DX3 Pro V2
 

jls001

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It's good to measure, etc., but the best measuring device need not be best sounding. Measurements are best read together with subjective opinions. Also, one must "filter" what's relevant in the measurements. For example the measurement crowd will make a big deal of THD as if everything else is dependent on it.
 

Enkay78

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Very true.

Hence I was hunting for any subjective review.

However I do feel this guy @amirm is making some waves over the 'objective' parameters of what are being manufactured and "branded /advertised".

I won't consider it a conformational bias or perceptual bias to have a solid objective and scientific foundation for a highly subjective topic of music .....atleast for those which can be measured ; electronics and speakers et al.....leaving what cannot be measured between the ears.


Maybe it's because of my experience, I tend to be clinical and objective
 

Enkay78

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Enkay78

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Well, I took the risk.


I bought the Sabaj D5 DAC .....my first desktop dac. Got it today.

Now to experiment and check what the heck all this THD and blah blah. I have only my Topping NX4 DSD as a comparison.

Headphones and IEMs : Hifiman Sundara, Sony wh1000xm3, CCA C10, CCA C16

Will be using source : Spotify premium, YTpremium, Amazon music, JioSavn, and my local FLAC files.

Hoping the journey begins happily :D:D:D:D:D;)
 

Enkay78

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And .........no disappointment yet.


I can only compare with my Topping NX4 DSD. And my Denon 2500H.

I can notice more transparency and the bass sounds more punchy. There is an overall smoothness to songs that I had known and played before.

Tracy Chapman 'Fast car' sounds almost new.


* I am not much experienced in the audiophile journey. So i balk at premium prices of devices. However observing the reviewers etc I feel I may stick with Sabaj D5 for quite a long time.

* Incidentally I also have a Sabaj PHA3 which is a tube headphone amplifier....and sounds quite good using my Hifiman Subdara.
 

Enkay78

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With further listening, i find the headphone amp little inferior to the DAC......comparing the headphone amp SQ with line out, there is a difference.

So i would rate the DAC as very good to excellent.....and the headphone amp as okay type.

Currently enjoying this chain
Surface 4 pro Music Bee (WASAPI exclusive) -> Sabaj DAC USB -> Sabaj PHA3 (tube headphone amp) -> Hifiman Sundara
 

dinesh1201

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It's good to measure, etc., but the best measuring device need not be best sounding. Measurements are best read together with subjective opinions. Also, one must "filter" what's relevant in the measurements. For example the measurement crowd will make a big deal of THD as if everything else is dependent on it.
I completely agree with your point. I used to read a lot of his reviews on Audiosciencereview. But the final assessment would be done by your ears only. A good measurement doesn't always mean good sounding...the chain matters too. And no one's ear can judge the difference in sound after DAC's processing...until and unless if there's a big margin which is very difficult to find and I'm not including extremely cheap ones. I'm including Topping, Fiio, Sabaj, Modi and many other good brands.
The colouration in sound however, can be judged but then you have equalization. Amir is doing good on his part, one thing he certainly do good is he can save you from buying snake oil in the market like many iFiaudio's extremely over expensive USB stuff.

I've had Audioengine D1, Multibit, Maverick audio DAC D2, Topping D10 and now I'm using Fiio K3. The common point is they all were good but have no major difference in sound department. You can't judge but you can do one thing pull your hair apart while judging one by one and then buying another DAC from the market in search of Audio Nirvana ... it's like never-ending.

Yes, DAC can be differentiated by features, built quality, chips used and in sound department somewhere and somehow (but a very little margin) and that adds the cost to it.

Now according to Amir Modi 3 has much better measurements than this brand's more expensive DACs but the owner of expensive ones have a different opinion than him. It's all a vicious circle ... and don't know when will I'm gonna buy another snake oil in future.
 

Enkay78

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It's basically a huge spat of conformational bias incessantly nurtured by marketing and profiteering.

For me I look at the chips used.....and especially when you have flagship ESS pro chips in a well measured (?engineered) product (s) .....it's buy from my side.

My decision to buy the Sabaj was , yes, influenced by ASR measurements.....but not the sole criteria for it.

I was looking for a good DAC (as it was proper first desktop dac for me) and also with a good price point. I started with reviews and research in this forum....got acquainted with the various brands and price points.

And then categorised what I found with the chips....and how price point differs with the chip heirarchy. Then I got wind of the ASR reviews of DACs which also help quite a lot ....at what to look as performance/the noise and THD etc...alongwith the jitters et al.

YouTube also helped a lot.

And since it was a new path for me, choosing a premium dac which costs in lakhs was out of question.

I was on the verge of buying an RME ADI dac( was also much enticed with denfrips offerings)...when I caught hold of the Sabaj at sale in AliExpress. And it ticked many features i wanted ...and the ASR review alongwith feedback in this thread was the icing on the cake. I could have gone with Topping/Gustard/SMSL....but the sale price was very hard to ignore with what it offered as price performance. (A similar thought process went with how i bought the Hifiman Sundara at sale in AliExpress.....though now it is listed at ~Rs 25k. Headphonezone et al listed it at Rs40k)


Soundwise I feel there is hardly >5% difference in what DACs i have - Topping NX4 DSD. ( a subjective opinion of mine).

I guess since I have lately started depending on music to destress myself ( a lot in surgery) I am most likely to follow audio nirvana (as an addiction) :D ....just hope that I dont get audiofooled.

PS: Objective measurements are a whole lot useful for myself .... especially since there is paucity of auditions.
 

Enkay78

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What was your landing cost for sabaj d5?
And in case of any faulty product what can be done?
Rs 27k + Rs 1500 customs. (This was during the sales......the regular price was Rs 35k). Bought it from the official Sabaj store. The courier was EMS....it took 20 days to reach me.

For the second part i think you have 30-60 days return policy. You can clarify this with seller beforehand.

And i usually choose sellers who are either official store or with very high rating and 100% responsive.

If one search around, one can have a fair idea of reputed sellers in AliExpress.

One can also have priority courier/shipping.

*For example my Hifiman Sundara reached me within 5 days (actual was 2 days shipping with custom hold of 3 days) via FedEx
 

prateekatasniya

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Rs 27k + Rs 1500 customs. (This was during the sales......the regular price was Rs 35k). Bought it from the official Sabaj store. The courier was EMS....it took 20 days to reach me.

For the second part i think you have 30-60 days return policy. You can clarify this with seller beforehand.

And i usually choose sellers who are either official store or with very high rating and 100% responsive.

If one search around, one can have a fair idea of reputed sellers in AliExpress.

One can also have priority courier/shipping.

*For example my Hifiman Sundara reached me within 5 days (actual was 2 days shipping with custom hold of 3 days) via FedEx
It doesn't have a remote ?
 
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