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Sabaj A20d 2022 Version Owners Feedback

BHazard

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I feel like I'm one of the first few that purchased and received the Sabaj A20d 2022.


I was sold on the features and price. Waiting for Amir to confirm if the measurement numbers listed are true, because this will match or beat the Topping D90SE, still have MQA, and even include a headphone amp for almost half the price.

I'm less than an hour in, but I can already tell I have no need to swap my Gustard X16 back into my stack.
 
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BHazard

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I tried the Headphone Amp section today, running 4.4mm Balanced with my Hifiman Edition XS.

If I didn't already have a Lokius and Monoprice 887, I could very much get away with listening via the built in amp on high gain. I went to about 70 out of 99 max on the volume knob with the built in HPA and didn't hit any intolerable distortion. I missed my EQ too much to use this full time though. I think that's the next step in a DAC/AMP like this, built in hardware or software EQ/DSP. That would make this an absolute monster IMO.

The LCD screen is much better than my Gustard X16. With the remote I'm able to move between and select menu options pretty quickly. It's obvious it's an LCD screen though, as the background screen is a milky black/grey like most edge lit LCDs. Maybe OLED in the future for a slightly higher price?

The A20D 2022 is much lighter than the X16 as well. I also quite like the design and choice of silver, along with the handles on the front of the case.

I really liked my X16, but I'm liking this more, and I'm sure the ES9038PRO has much to do with it.

I don't quite understand why this hasn't gotten more attention? Are people unsure of trying Sabaj? I don't think they are that new of a company. Shipping from Hifi-Express was via DHL Express for me in the US (no extra cost, which was a nice surprise), and it arrived in less than a week from China, which was impressive.
 

pickyAudiophile

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[...]
I don't quite understand why this hasn't gotten more attention? Are people unsure of trying Sabaj? I don't think they are that new of a company. Shipping from Hifi-Express was via DHL Express for me in the US (no extra cost, which was a nice surprise), and it arrived in less than a week from China, which was impressive.
We don't know much about the 2022 series amp(s) and headphones amp(s) (thinkable A10a 2022 and A20a 2022, A10h 2022 and A20h 2022 respectively) yet. So it's some sort of a gamble moving into Sabaj's 2022 series at the moment.
Learned about an upcoming new "power amp", A10a 2022, recently:
https://audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/sabaj-a5-and-a8-announced.29250/post-1180730
...but sadly that one comes without any sort of tone control, without that NJW1194 electronic volume control, and without a display (all of these nice features which were implemented into that black case with blue led 2020 series).
Why moving back in time and features to a more or less "dumb" power amp, with a not-even-bypassable analog volume control again?
That doesn't look too promising so far, at least to me.
 
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BHazard

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We don't know much about the 2022 series amp(s) and headphones amp(s) (thinkable A10a 2022 and A20a 2022, A10h 2022 and A20h 2022 respectively) yet. So it's some sort of a gamble moving into Sabaj's 2022 series at the moment.
Learned about an upcoming new "power amp", A10a 2022, recently:
https://audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/sabaj-a5-and-a8-announced.29250/post-1180730
...but sadly that one comes without any sort of tone control, without that NJW1194 electronic volume control, and without a display (all of these nice features which were implemented into that black case with blue led 2020 series).
Why moving back in time and features to a more or less "dumb" power amp, with a not-even-bridgeable analog volume control again?
That doesn't look too promising so far, at least to me.
Understandable, but this DAC/Amp has comparable specs to much higher priced combos or even DACs themselves. The only thing I find "cheap" about the Sabaj is the washed out LCD screen, but I still prefer this color screen over what the Gustard X16 gives you.

The Sabaj actually cost me less than the X16 DAC alone, and I haven't heard a noticeable drop in performance yet. I actually hear an ever so slightly better performance which might be from the ES9038Pro. I consider the Amp section a bonus that I end up skipping for Balanced XLR out, but I really don't see any combo DAC/Amps that come anywhere near this price/performance ratio right now.

We'll know better once this gets measured and reviewed.
 

AnalogSteph

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This looks fairly similar to the SMSL M500 MKII in specs and performance... more comprehensive remote, arguably nicer-looking case, similar or a bit lower price. So it's not really revolutionary, just a nice (and welcome) evolution. Should be a step up from the somewhat less expensive Topping EX5.

The Sabaj actually cost me less than the X16 DAC alone, and I haven't heard a noticeable drop in performance yet.
Well, duh. In this class it's basically a competition in how much more beyond the limits of human hearing you can get, plus flagship DACs like the X16 or D90SE also come with extra I²S and AES/EBU inputs; the D90SE also sports slightly higher maximum output voltage. There should be zero perceptible differences in sonic performance whatsoever if the rest of your audio chain is remotely sensible.

Going by the published measurements, the Sabaj should actually be a slight upgrade over the X16. The Gustard sports a dynamic range of "only" 126 dB(A) (or 127 unweighted, which would be 129-ish dB(A))... basically it's more or less maxing out its dual ES9068AS setup. With the ES9038PRO, a hotter-running desktop part with more channels, the A20d makes it to 131 dB(A) balanced. That's getting close to the 134 dB(A) balanced of the D90SE, and is first rate by any standard. If you happen to have a decently low-noise power amp with balanced input plus high-sensitivity horn speakers, sticking your head next to the tweeters may reveal even lower hiss levels.

(The ES9038PRO is actually quite well-known for being toasty... if it were mine, I'd be trying to get inside and ask the "finger thermometer", and if that says "ouch" very quickly, look into an assortment of small adhesive-backed heatsinks. Just make sure it's proper name-brand thermal adhesive, not some random double-stick tape. Should improve longevity and even reduce noise a hair.)
 

audiofun

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sabaj a20d 2022 = smsl m500 mkii = su-9n + topping dx5's hp amp.
sabaj a10d 2022 = smsl do100 + smsl ho100.
smsl ho100 = smsl sh-6 + differential input.
smsl ho200 = smsl sh-8s with headphone out + inverted to headphone out - = simplified thx888.

same circuit, same layout, based on my analysis of online pcb photos. they all perform very similarly.
 

maxxevv

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I feel like I'm one of the first few that purchased and received the Sabaj A20d 2022.


I was sold on the features and price. Waiting for Amir to confirm if the measurement numbers listed are true, because this will match or beat the Topping D90SE, still have MQA, and even include a headphone amp for almost half the price.

I'm less than an hour in, but I can already tell I have no need to swap my Gustard X16 back into my stack.
Interesting product. Its a direct product competition in terms of performance, headphone amp output and price to the Topping DX5. The DX5 have a higher headphone output. The other performance criteria are all very similar.
 
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BHazard

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A shame you didn't drop ship it to Amir for testing first... then we'd all know if the numbers are legit. ;)


JSmith
I think Sabaj did send him one to review. Looking forward to it if they did.

As far as the SMSL MK500 MKii, that one is missing Balanced Headphone Out compared to the A20d 2022. Wasn't there a hardware or sound issue with them as well? I remember seeing something about it awhile ago, and it kept me from purchasing it.

The tradeoff on the DX5 is that the A20d has the better DAC (ES9038Pro vs ES9068), and the DX5 has a stronger amp.

No complaints here. MQA, XLR Balanced out to my 887 all working very well..
 

Njoy

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sabaj a20d 2022 = smsl m500 mkii = su-9n + topping dx5's hp amp.
sabaj a10d 2022 = smsl do100 + smsl ho100.
smsl ho100 = smsl sh-6 + differential input.
smsl ho200 = smsl sh-8s with headphone out + inverted to headphone out - = simplified thx888.

same circuit, same layout, based on my analysis of online pcb photos. they all perform very similarly.
I do have the Sh-6 amplifier.Going by your information ,looks like they are using OPA 1612 to drive headphones.
 

audiofun

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I do have the Sh-6 amplifier.Going by your information ,looks like they are using OPA 1612 to drive headphones.
LOL 1612 simply does not have that power. in ho100, 1612 is only used for the differential input. sh-6 is rca only so does not need to have that.

the rest of the amplifier circuit is the same as sh-6. it's using a small op amp (marking is removed) as the master op amp and a class AB buffer as slave that route back to the master for error correction. very similar to the very 1st generation dx3 pro.
 

Njoy

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LOL 1612 simply does not have that power. in ho100, 1612 is only used for the differential input. sh-6 is rca only so does not need to have that.

the rest of the amplifier circuit is the same as sh-6. it's using a small op amp (marking is removed) as the master op amp and a class AB buffer as slave that route back to the master for error correction. very similar to the very 1st generation dx3 pro.
I am an Doctor / Agriculturist by profession.The last I read about anything related to electronics was in 1995 before joining my Medical profession.I do like to know what really is been used in Sh-6 .Yes,the markings on the op amp is removed.

I do have fiio k5,just purchased this ,frankly telling I can't make out much difference between these two amps.
 

audiofun

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I am an Doctor / Agriculturist by profession.The last I read about anything related to electronics was in 1995 before joining my Medical profession.I do like to know what really is been used in Sh-6 .Yes,the markings on the op amp is removed.

I do have fiio k5,just purchased this ,frankly telling I can't make out much difference between these two amps.
it doesn't really matter which op amp is used. it usually can be any audio op amp, as long as it's stable in this circuit.
In SH-6's case, based on online photo i can see the op amp is compensated with miller compensation so it should work for most op amps.
You won't hear difference between two transparent amps.
In most cases you don't really need an amp as most people can't hear a difference between a high quality headphone amp and laptop/phone headphone out.
 

cestmoi

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Sep 23, 2019
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I'm looking forward to the measurements.
 

cestmoi

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Sep 23, 2019
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sabaj a20d 2022 = smsl m500 mkii = su-9n + topping dx5's hp amp.
sabaj a10d 2022 = smsl do100 + smsl ho100.
smsl ho100 = smsl sh-6 + differential input.
smsl ho200 = smsl sh-8s with headphone out + inverted to headphone out - = simplified thx888.

same circuit, same layout, based on my analysis of online pcb photos. they all perform very similarly.
So, have you seen photos of the pcb for a20d and a10d?

Could you share them?
 
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Wolven

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Anyone knows if Amir is planning to test this unit anytime soon? I want to buy something, I like the looks.
 

cestmoi

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S59c2e5440038456a8ba81241331f71fcG.jpg


Sabaj's staff (Aliexpress store) told me 4.4mm HP output is not truly balanced... :rolleyes:
 
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