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Review and Measurements of Sabaj D5 DAC & Amp

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Hi guys,
i am planning to get this week the Audeze LCD-3 headphones and still debating which amp/dac I should go for.
1) amp/dac combo like sabaj d5 (460€) or topping dx7 pro(600€). (The XLR headphone input is optimal as i could then also upgrade to XLR headphone cables which imo make a difference)
2) get an amp like THX AAA 789(ca 400/450€), SMSL SP200 (300€) or jds lab atom (no xlr input tho) AND link it with my focusrite 2i4 which would work as a DAC. Linking such amps to a D70/D90 would be probably better, but wondering if it's really worth it if i have the focusrite. Plus i'd prefer to keep my studio more compact (hence option 1 with the combo)

Cheers
Your option 1. XLR is not an option if your Audeze LCD-3 are 40 ohms or higher impedance. After Pionseer VSX, Halide DAC, Marantz HD-DAC-1, Schiitt Yggdrasil, I happily parked on your option 1. Doug Carn's Moonchild is goosebumps right now.
 
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Your option 1. XLR is not an option if your Audeze LCD-3 are 40 ohms or higher impedance. After Pionseer VSX, Halide DAC, Marantz HD-DAC-1, Schiitt Yggdrasil, I happily parked on your option 1. Doug Carn's Moonchild is goosebumps right now.
My Focal Clears are 55 ohms and the 1/4 jack distorted at medium volume. Should have paid attention to amirs measurements. What are 56 milliwatts going to do for your Audeze? Distort probably.
1590047132614.png


Balanced out totally different story.
1590047992639.png

What can your Audeze do with 433 milliwatts? Sound very very good. That's what.
 

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RickSanchez

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Your option 1. XLR is not an option if your Audeze LCD-3 are 40 ohms or higher impedance.
? That doesn't make sense. Audeze even makes an XLR --> mini XLR headphone cables; part #ADZ6B4 . In fact, when these headphones came out I believe they used to ship the balanced cable with the headphones.
 
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Your option 1. XLR is not an option if your Audeze LCD-3 are 40 ohms or higher impedance. After Pionseer VSX, Halide DAC, Marantz HD-DAC-1, Schiitt Yggdrasil, I happily parked on your option 1. Doug Carn's Moonchild is goosebumps right now.
Right. Option 1 would be a bit more expensive than option 2 but probably more reasonable linked together with Audeze - i could then also keep my focusrite soundcard without having to think of upgrading it. With option 2 I have the feeling (might be wrong tho) I'd be getting hiss and noises from the focusrite.
My only alternative to the lcd-3 would be the lcd-4mx (20 ohm - found a local deal for those) and lcd-x (20 ohm). Sabaj d5 should also be fine for these, even though these models don't need a lot of amplifying, right?
 

RickSanchez

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Right. Option 1 would be a bit more expensive than option 2 but probably more reasonable linked together with Audeze - i could then also keep my focusrite soundcard without having to think of upgrading it. With option 2 I have the feeling (might be wrong tho) I'd be getting hiss and noises from the focusrite.
My only alternative to the lcd-3 would be the lcd-4mx (20 ohm - found a local deal for those) and lcd-x (20 ohm). Sabaj d5 should also be fine for these, even though these models don't need a lot of amplifying, right?
Some points:
  1. There is no issue using the LCD-3's with the Sabaj D5. You have no need to search for lower impedance headphones; the Sabaj D5 was measured at 3 Ω output impedance. If you'd like to understand more about matching the output impedance of the amp to the headphone impedance, this is a good intro article: https://nwavguy.blogspot.com/2011/02/headphone-amp-impedance.html
  2. It's unknown if the Focusrite would cause "hiss and noise" issues. It hasn't been tested here, at least not the 2i4 that you have. So yes, if you want to ensure there are no issues then buying a well-measuring well-engineered DAC/amp combo makes sense. You can either do that with combo units (like the Sabaj D5 or the Topping DX7 Pro that you mentioned) or think about buying separates. I've seen many members here praise the KTB + JDS Labs Atom amp combo, and both measure extremely well.
 
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? That doesn't make sense. Audeze even makes an XLR --> mini XLR headphone cables; part #ADZ6B4 . In fact, when these headphones came out I believe they used to ship the balanced cable with the headphones.
You're right mr sanchez. I meant to say XLR is the ONLY option. See my later post with power output measurements 1/4 jack vs XLR. Late 2am post. oops.
 
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Some points:
  1. There is no issue using the LCD-3's with the Sabaj D5. You have no need to search for lower impedance headphones; the Sabaj D5 was measured at 3 Ω output impedance. If you'd like to understand more about matching the output impedance of the amp to the headphone impedance, this is a good intro article: https://nwavguy.blogspot.com/2011/02/headphone-amp-impedance.html
  2. It's unknown if the Focusrite would cause "hiss and noise" issues. It hasn't been tested here, at least not the 2i4 that you have. So yes, if you want to ensure there are no issues then buying a well-measuring well-engineered DAC/amp combo makes sense. You can either do that with combo units (like the Sabaj D5 or the Topping DX7 Pro that you mentioned) or think about buying separates. I've seen many members here praise the KTB + JDS Labs Atom amp combo, and both measure extremely well.
Right, makes sense.

My Sabaj D5 just arrived and realized that my Focusrite 2i4 doesn't have SPDIF outputs, so i will most likely sell the 2i4 and upgrade to an 18i8, 6i6 or 8i6, so that i can connect their spdif output to the optical or coaxial input of the sabaj d5. I think it's probably the best thing to do. Meanwhile i'll borrow tomorrow a 6i6 from a friend and make a few tests.
 

ReaderZ

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Impedance is not an issue. LCD-3 is 110 Ohm and a planar, it works well with my DX7 pro even with its 6 ohm output. So no worries there, but D5 may or may not have power to drive it in unblanaced consider how little power it puts out in single ended mode, so maybe you do need a balanced cable.
 
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Impedance is not an issue. LCD-3 is 110 Ohm and a planar, it works well with my DX7 pro even with its 6 ohm output. So no worries there, but D5 may or may not have power to drive it in unblanaced consider how little power it puts out in single ended mode, so maybe you do need a balanced cable.
I will get the Audeze LCD-3 next week and i'll let you know how it works with the Sabaj. I will be using with the headphones a balanced cable going to the XLR headphone input.
 
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Thinking of purchasing this as a replacement for faulty Topping D50s. Returning the Topping due to its inability to pick up COAX in signal from my streamer. Has anyone had any issues with COAX input with this? Also what is consensus on the AMP? Keep for XLR balanced but use something else for single ended? Will primarily be using XLR with Focal Stellia with this set up but occasionally 1/4" for Focal Utopia. I've already got an SMSL SP200 to pair this DAC with from previous set up so will be interesting to A/B the XLR. Won't be a contest for 1/4" though I'd imagine.
 

RickSanchez

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Thinking of purchasing this as a replacement for faulty Topping D50s. Returning the Topping due to its inability to pick up COAX in signal from my streamer. Has anyone had any issues with COAX input with this? Also what is consensus on the AMP? Keep for XLR balanced but use something else for single ended? Will primarily be using XLR with Focal Stellia with this set up but occasionally 1/4" for Focal Utopia. I've already got an SMSL SP200 to pair this DAC with from previous set up so will be interesting to A/B the XLR. Won't be a contest for 1/4" though I'd imagine.
The only difference between the SE and the XLR headphone outs on this (or any other) headphone amp is output power. If you have headphones that the D5 can't drive via the SE out then it probably makes more sense to either A) buy a balanced XLR-terminated cable, or B) look for a more powerful headphone amp.
 
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Have there actually been any measurements on the Coaxial and Optical Inputs of the D5, on their quality/jittering or so? Is there maybe a recommendation, since I was about to just buy a QED coaxial cable, or it doesn't really matter?
 

DeepSpace57

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Have there actually been any measurements on the Coaxial and Optical Inputs of the D5, on their quality/jittering or so? Is there maybe a recommendation, since I was about to just buy a QED coaxial cable, or it doesn't really matter?
Just wonder jitter performance of hdmi input. We know results regarding USB, but no test available when it comes to HDMI.
 

Veri

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Is there maybe a recommendation, since I was about to just buy a QED coaxial cable, or it doesn't really matter?
The cable won't heavily impact the jitter so no, don't spend unnecessary money. Most important for coax is 75ohm termination, that's the only thing that can actually improve the connection.
 

DeepSpace57

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The cable won't heavily impact the jitter so no, don't spend unnecessary money. Most important for coax is 75ohm termination, that's the only thing that can actually improve the connection.
What do you think HDMI input? Unfortunately, noone has sofar tested HDMI input for jitter
 
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Hi just thought I would share this, the Sabaj D5 is on sale for a couple days on the offical sabaj ali express store as low £295 once you have the store coupons and a fee free card. You can have shipped from UK warehouse or wherever is closest to you. This is good for UK/EU buyers as we can avoid the import fees. If you use payal it's a bit more but still a great price.

Got mine delivered next day! It was fufilled by Amazon prime, how strange. But that's awesome as they are £410 on the amazon sabaj store :)
 
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Hi just thought I would share this, the Sabaj D5 is on sale for a couple days on the offical sabaj ali express store as low £295 once you have the store coupons and a fee free card. You can have shipped from UK warehouse or wherever is closest to you. This is good for UK/EU buyers as we can avoid the import fees. If you use payal it's a bit more but still a great price.

Got mine delivered next day! It was fufilled by Amazon prime, how strange. But that's awesome as they are £410 on the amazon sabaj store :)
Will worth it
 
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I got my Sabaj D5 from Amazon the other day and in less than ten-songs-worth of enjoyment, I heard a loud screeching noise before it turned in to a $500.00 boat anchor. I'm so happy Amazon accepted my return and a refund is already on its way. The ten songs I got to listen too sounded great though.
 
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