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Review and Measurements of Sabaj D5 DAC & Amp

QQhh

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Also, the issue where the knob stops responding seemed to be caused by putting the unit into standby. Didn't have enough time to fully investigate.
My new d5 has the same problem. The volume knob stops working after standby. Not sure it is dysfunctional or a firmware issue (mine is 8.8.2019).
 

daftcombo

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In JRMC, Options/Audio -> Memory playback - Load full file (not decoded) to memory.

What's the benefit of this option? I have it turned off.

With my Foscusrite Scarlett 2i4 2nd Gen, I cannot use KS with JRiver, even with 1s buffering, I get cracks & pops.
No problem with that soundcard with KS in Foobar.
No problem with the Topping D10 with KS in both JRiver & Foobar.
 

cinstance

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I got my D5 this afternoon. The knob didn’t respond at start up, but a factory reset solved the problem.

Initial test was very disappointing. Treble was thin and almost scratching. Bass was lacking. In an AB testing with my 15 years old Apogee Mini DAC, the Apogee won hands down.

I was aware of the initial warm up issue brought up by Amir’s test, so I went to dinner and left the D5 on. A hour later, I tested it again. Suddenly it became a totally new monster, the top was silky smooth, and the lower was now warm and full. Just want to bring it up here to confirm the warm up time improvement is for real. If not because I had known it before hand, I could have easily given up on it upon first listening. Sabaj really should put a note about it on the top of the packaging.

Thanks Amir for sharing the test and help me find this little Gem.
 

cinstance

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I was hoping this can replace my Questyle CMA800i, which has been used as my main DAC but it lacks optical input. I hope that if D5 is as good, I can use my DAP’s optical output as the single source and retire my entire CD and SACD collections.

I just did a two hour listening session, feeding my cd player’s coaxial output to CMA800i and the optical output to D5 simultaneously. As much as I wanted the D5 to win the shootout, the Questyle simply is too good for D5 to catch up. To my ears, the quality difference is obviously on every source materials I tried, through 3 different headphones, my main speakers and my studio monitors. I wish I could merge the input section of the D5 into the CMA800i :).
 
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Veri

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I was hoping this can replace my Questyle CMA800i, which has been used as my main DAC but it lacks optical input. I hope that if D5 is as good, I can use my DAP’s optical output as the single source and retire my entire CD and SACD collections.

I just did a two hour listening session, feeding my cd player’s coaxial output to CMA800i and the optical output to D5 simultaneously. As much as I wanted the D5 to win the shootout, the Questyle simply is too good for D5 to catch up. To my ears, the quality difference is obviously on every source materials I tried, through 3 different headphones, my main speakers and my studio monitors. I wish I could merge the input section of the D5 into the CMA800i :).
Well the CMA likely has a better amp built-in. Maybe you should try D5 line-out to CMA external input ;)
 

DeepSpace57

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Wow, I just tried that. You are absolutely right. The CMA800i sounds even better using D5’s line out. I am going to pair it with D5 for the headphone duty then. Quite happy with my setup now.

Sabaj D5 is an amazing DAC with just-in-case built in a proper Amp. Actually, the D5 is so amazing dac that even thx 789 has bottleneck at every aspect when paired with. Bass Bass Bass baby ! LoL :po_O
 

QQhh

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Wow, I just tried that. You are absolutely right. The CMA800i sounds even better using D5’s line out. I am going to pair it with D5 for the headphone duty then. Quite happy with my setup now.

Does the volume knob of your D5 still work after wake-up from standby?
 

cinstance

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I did another 2 to 3 hours testing on mainly classic music (piano concerto, symphony, string quartet, etc). My main intended use for it is to drive my power amplifier and my main speakers, but the quality seems to very poor for this usage. The sound is kind of brittle and tiring, just opposite to being musical. After I switched back to either the Apogee mini DAC or the CMA800i, the music immediately began to flow and my ears were suddenly relieved. This is with the volume at about 22. Something is not quite right here I think. The filter setting is at default "fast linear".
 

ObjectiveSubjectivist

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I've just received the unit. And started listening tests. Anyone had problems with remote ? My seems to be not working...
 

REK2575

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I did another 2 to 3 hours testing on mainly classic music (piano concerto, symphony, string quartet, etc). My main intended use for it is to drive my power amplifier and my main speakers, but the quality seems to very poor for this usage. The sound is kind of brittle and tiring, just opposite to being musical. After I switched back to either the Apogee mini DAC or the CMA800i, the music immediately began to flow and my ears were suddenly relieved. This is with the volume at about 22. Something is not quite right here I think. The filter setting is at default "fast linear".

Hmmm -- I listen primarily to the same music, mostly streaming Hi-Res Qobuz rather than CDs (although that as well). My setup:

Bluesound Node 2i --coaxial--> Sabaj D5 --RCA--> Yamaha AS301 integrated amp --> Polk TSi300 speakers

This is admittedly a very 'budget' setup from an audiophile perspective, but it serves my needs well.

I found that the sound definitely improved -- richer, more detail -- when I added the D5 to the mix, rather than outputting analog directly from the Node 2i. Of course, the Node 2i is a far less expensive piece of equipment than your CMA800i, and I suspect its DAC is far outclassed (I haven't checked ASR's reviews but am sure they will bear that out).

Anyway, long and short of it, I found the D5 enhanced my stereo experience. Though that may be because my stereo setup is by no means high-end.
 
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