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Review and Measurements of Sabaj D5 DAC & Amp

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I have a miniDSP UMIK-1 that I use to set up the system when I change components. Was planning to use that. I did not know that SPL meters on phones were that accurate. That is easier than using a separate mic.

My WXC-50 outputs optical and coaxial simultaneously, so planning to feed the D70 with optical and D5 with coaxial. Then take RCA out from both and feed different amp inputs. This would help switch amp inputs on the fly. I will be using something at 44hz, so optical and coaxial should not make any difference. Still, around halfway through the test, I will switch coaxial to D70 and optical to D5 to see if it makes any difference, which I believe it should not.
My I suggest playing back 2 bar loops rather than full tracks, as this will allow you to asses any differences better, as as music is changing dynamically constantly, you could mistake DAC having more "punch" than the other simply as the musicians played a little harder at that part etc.
 
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My I suggest playing back 2 bar loops rather than full tracks, as this will allow you to asses any differences better, as as music is changing dynamically constantly, you could mistake DAC having more "punch" than the other simply as the musicians played a little harder at that part etc.
Thanks, that makes sense. Will try.
 
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I just received my unit of this DAC and I had to make an account and rave about the incredible sound quality difference.

I never owned a external DAC, I have always used pc motherboard sound, and I don't know why I waited so long.

best way to describe the difference is, it is like playing Duke Nukem in 320p with the onboard sound of a motherboard to 4k God Of War on Ps4 Pro.

everything just sounds insane, I am hearing details that I never heard earlier and all sound effects seem amplified with so much body to it, the bass is so punchy and fast acting, i didnt know DAC's were capable of doing this, I thought having good speaker amps was enough, I am stoked.
 
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You will probably get someone telling you that until your old motherboard onboard sound is measured, your impressions of the sound improvement could just be you have not matched the level or it’s placebo. Only measurements can tell you something sounds better than something else!
 

Veri

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I just received my unit of this DAC and I had to make an account and rave about the incredible sound quality difference.
I never owned a external DAC, I have always used pc motherboard sound, and I don't know why I waited so long.

best way to describe the difference is, it is like playing Duke Nukem in 320p with the onboard sound of a motherboard to 4k God Of War on Ps4 Pro.
What are you listening to through the D5 :)?
 
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You will probably get someone telling you that until your old motherboard onboard sound is measured, your impressions of the sound improvement could just be you have not matched the level or it’s placebo. Only measurements can tell you something sounds better than something else!
I had heard a clear difference between D5 and even RME-ADI DAC (not FS) as DAC. It is not placebo. By the way, i have a pair of quite revealing headphone. All hifi system that we have undeniably impact the final sound. I think SINAD chart works very well.
 

Veri

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Wrong ! I had heard a clear difference between D5 and even RME-ADI DAC (not FS) as DAC. It is not placebo.
As he said, how do you know for sure, brain is easily fooled, no one is there to verify/control the test, etc etc... It's very easy to hear amazing differences one day and some other day you're not really noticing any of that. New toy syndrome is also easy to be a victim of.
And this is not calling you are liar or anything, it's just, our ears are not that reliable ...
 

solderdude

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Wrong ! I had heard a clear difference between D5 and even RME-ADI DAC (not FS) as DAC. It is not placebo.
You can win $500.- from Amir with this ability, I would say go for it and have your D5 for free.
You do have to use similar filter settings I'm afraid.
 
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I had heard a clear difference between D5 and even RME-ADI DAC (not FS) as DAC. It is not placebo. By the way, i have a pair of quite revealing headphone. All hifi system that we have undeniably impact the final sound. I think SINAD chart works very well.
I was not saying people could not hear a difference, I was just pointing out that on this site, if you say you heard a difference/improvement, be prepared for people to tell you unless this was a controlled test or that your old gear needs to be measured first, that your opinions mean nothing. They don't mean nothing to me btw, but they do to others.
 
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Here we go; from our SINAD chart, two quite good DACs are recorded by a user.


You might find out the difference. Just a reminder that you are listening the test through YouTube. My session was done through a complete hifi system.

Before warming up issue regarding D5 that Amir points out, i could notice the improvement after using it for a while (107 vs 119) before. Actually this and another reason ( i could not detect any difference between filters; i assumed my unit is faulty) made me send it back. That is, amirm did post the measurements after i sent it to Amazon. Had been trying a few other dacs, turned back to Sabaj D5. I am happy at all.

Yet, i can understand this beautiful forum is not based on subjective comments, but on measurable findings. Thats why I like to be here, and all above my comments can be ignored! But all i wanna say is Sabaj D5 have a SINAD of 119, and is for just above 400 USD. Impressive!
 
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BDWoody

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Before warming up issue regarding D5 that Amir points out, i could notice the improvement after using it for a while (107 vs 119) before.
Wow...
That's 'almost' unbelievable..

Course...no controls, right?
 

zym1010

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With THX AAA 789 delivered to my apt today, I spent some time comparing D5 and Topping D70. The amp used was (of course) THX AAA 789, and the headphones were HD 800 S connected to 789 via CH 800 S XLR cable.

I tried two schemes for testing.

In the first scheme, to be able to switch between two DACs quickly, I connected D70 to 789 via XLR, D5 via RCA, and turned down D70's built-in preamp volume control by about 6dB for volume matching. This way, I can switch two DACs by simply clicking the input switch on my 789.

The result was disappointing. I could not tell any difference by quickly switching between the two when two DACs were playing the same file. Or maybe this had something to do XLR vs RCA.

In the second scheme, I connected both DACs via XLR. Since there is only one XLR input for 789, for each music track, I audited one DAC first for around one minute, and then switch to another DAC for around one minute again. This time volume matching was given for free as both DACs had roughly the same power in XLR output (and I verified this using a sound level meter as well, with difference <1 dB).

I think there was more "musicality" in D5 than D70. Maybe overall D5 has better bass or better dynamics. I think overall I tended to dance to music more with D5 on than with D70.

In any case, this was not a strict A/B test, so results may not be valid. Personally, I found this to be interesting, and will try to tell more differences between the two DACs before selling one of them...
 
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AnalogDE

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With THX AAA 789 delivered to my apt today, I spent some time comparing D5 and Topping D70. The amp used was (of course) THX AAA 789, and the headphones were HD 800 S connected to 789 via CH 800 S XLR cable.

I tried two schemes for testing.

In the first scheme, to be able to switch between two DACs quickly, I connected D70 to 789 via XLR, D5 via RCA, and turned down D70's built-in preamp volume control by about 6dB for volume matching. This way, I can switch two DACs by simply clicking the input switch on my 789.

The result was disappointing. I could not tell any difference by quickly switching between the two when two DACs were playing the same file. Or maybe this had something to do XLR vs RCA.

In the second scheme, I connected both DACs via XLR. Since there is only one XLR input for 789, for each music track, I audited one DAC first for around one minute, and then switch to another DAC for around one minute again. This time volume matching was given for free as both DACs had roughly the same power in XLR output.

I think there is more "musicality" in D5 than D70. Maybe overall D5 has better bass or better dynamics. I think overall I tended to dance to music more with D5 on than D70.

In any case, this is not a strict A/B test, so results may not be valid. Personally, I find this to be interesting, and will try to tell more differences between the two DACs before selling one of them...
Do you hear a noticeable difference between the D5's headphone amp vs D5+789 amp ?
 

zym1010

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Do you hear a noticeable difference between the D5's headphone amp vs D5+789 amp ?
Well I did not bother to do that. As volume matching can be very difficult in this case. I have a sound level meter, but still I find this volume matching thing to be very tricky. For example, with the same relative location between the headphones and the meter, the reading could change depending on whether I was close to the meter or far from it.
 

zym1010

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I wonder if you’d have heard any difference if comparing any of these with something like a Lavry Black or Prism Orpheus or something?
Not sure. I think I've already achieved my end game, and it's time to save money on more practical things. For example, I've signed a contract to spend 5K+ on orthodontics in the next two years...
 

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