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Sabaj D4 Review (DAC & Amp)

Rate this DAC & HP Amp

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 10 6.3%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 103 64.8%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 45 28.3%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 1 0.6%

  • Total voters
    159

AlephAlpha001

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Oh sure, 30 years ago. But when *I* was young, that was LUXURY! I remember my first DAC: it was a large room full of people with abacuses and toggle swithces. Talk about a noisy DAC, you hardly here the music for all the clicking.
One of those rare cases when you'd want to yell at your workers "Start dithering there!"
 

Digby

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My wife always make fun of me when I start on a review at midnight!
What I want to see is video reviews starting after midnight, perhaps after a drink or two. It would make for good Youtube content and help grow the channel ;).
 

Digby

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Which DACs best this at $88? I think we need that SINAD/$ scale stat.
 

dananski

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Finally a DAC that measures worse than the Chord Dave!
"Finally"? The DAVE review here was followed by one for a DAC that measured worse. DAVE's in the top tier; on par with a Khadas Tone Board SINAD-wise, which was very high ranking a couple years ago. There's still going to be a lot that comes out measuring worse, just (hopefully) not anything close to that price.
 

Garrincha

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"Finally"? The DAVE review here was followed by one for a DAC that measured worse. DAVE's in the top tier; on par with a Khadas Tone Board SINAD-wise, which was very high ranking a couple years ago. There's still going to be a lot that comes out measuring worse, just (hopefully) not anything close to that price.
First of all, it should be obvious that my comment was tongue-in-cheek. Second, it is not true, after the Dave there were measured the Topping E30 II and the SMSL D-6, which both scored a higher SINAD. Before the new and cheap Sabaj ones, all better. So? It was only the also not very cheap Naim Atom that performed worse.
 
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Decent performance, cheap price, and a remote, maybe worth considering if you have some high-sensitivity headphones and you’re on a budget. Otherwise looks like a pass.
 

Jimster480

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Looks like it came out in 2018. Pretty good performance for back then.
Surprised you didn't do the linearity test. It uses 2x AK4452's. Has Bluetooth as well as Xmos... Pretty great considering the year it is from and its original price of around $150? What is the output impedance?

Back then there were no measurements of such units and it doesn't have inspiring looks, but it turns out it would have been a competent device that beats many expensive name brand components of the same era.

I don't think it is right to be so harsh on it in 2022...
 

laudio

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Looks like it came out in 2018. Pretty good performance for back then.
Surprised you didn't do the linearity test. It uses 2x AK4452's. Has Bluetooth as well as Xmos... Pretty great considering the year it is from and its original price of around $150? What is the output impedance?

Back then there were no measurements of such units and it doesn't have inspiring looks, but it turns out it would have been a competent device that beats many expensive name brand components of the same era.

I don't think it is right to be so harsh on it in 2022...

LOL. Like 2018 was "back then". When did you start listening?
 

Jimster480

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LOL. Like 2018 was "back then". When did you start listening?
I got into the scene in 2015 sometime, can't remember honestly.
However there were not many high performance devices for low prices back then. I remember I bought an SMSL M8 for $200 on sale from $250 and this was a "great DAC" after I had a Schiit Fulla2 and it sucked.... my first device though was the FiiO K1 (still have it today) and it blew me away because my laptop had a really crappy headphone output. Before this I had high end sound cards like Asus Xonar DGX and C-Media 8768 based solutions back when I was a kid. I just never had serious "hifi stuff" and the performance of most everything SUCKED to say the least.
Today lots of things still SUCK as I test lots of different products related to audio on a regular basis (BT headphones, speakers, headsets, BT gateways, sound bars, bookshelf speakers, MP3 players, wannabe DAPs, phones, dongles, laptops, tablets) and the DAC is really an afterthought.... most things that say "phones" or "headphone" have that as a total afterthought. Even my easier to drive Denon AH-MM400 (my outside / traveling / mobile) headphones sound like they are underwater with many devices.
IT is seriously amazing how many devices have really really bad audio outputs, especially dedicated audio devices like MP3 players, digital media players / PMP and laptops.
I find that my FiiO K1 (which by its own spec sheet should have SINAD somewhere in the 80s) sounds better and has way more power than most devices I test. I use the K1 as a baseline because if it can't sound better than a 7 year old $40 dongle DAC+Amp combo then it can't compete with anything "modern". Many dongles sold today are much worse as are these new "USB-C to 3.5mm" aux cables or "lightning to aux" or similar...

So the performance of this device should easily slap around my K1 which is my "baseline" and it isn't too expensive even 4 years ago.
 

PeteL

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First of all, it should be obvious that my comment was tongue-in-cheek. Second, it is not true, after the Dave there were measured the Topping E30 II and the SMSL D-6, which both scored a higher SINAD. Before the new and cheap Sabaj ones, all better. So? It was only the also not very cheap Naim Atom that performed worse.
Do you hear the difference between a 112 dB SINAD at 1kHz and 114 S dBinad at 1kHz? Is it more important than a correct reconstruction filter? Is the Sinad at 1 kHz your only metric to judge which is "better"?
 

Jimster480

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Do you hear the difference between a 112 dB SINAD at 1kHz and 114 S dBinad at 1kHz? Is it more important than a correct reconstruction filter? Is the Sinad at 1 kHz your only metric to judge which is "better"?
Yea there are lots of factors. Linearity is my favorite test to show if it really is competent or not.
 

AlephAlpha001

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Looks like it came out in 2018. Pretty good performance for back then.
Surprised you didn't do the linearity test. It uses 2x AK4452's. Has Bluetooth as well as Xmos... Pretty great considering the year it is from and its original price of around $150? What is the output impedance?

Back then there were no measurements of such units and it doesn't have inspiring looks, but it turns out it would have been a competent device that beats many expensive name brand components of the same era.

I don't think it is right to be so harsh on it in 2022...
I bet this thing blows the measurements socks off my Continental Dual Mono purchased on a whim in 2016 which cost considerably more. The CDM looks way cooler (and runs way hotter for sure) though.

Coulda been worse. If the store had had a Hugo in stock that day, I might have become a lost soul.
 

Robbo99999

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At $88 this seems like a fairly good deal, if you're really not wanting to spend much, as long as you don't have difficult to drive headphones. Ha, yes, it sure does look "odd".
 

Garrincha

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Do you hear the difference between a 112 dB SINAD at 1kHz and 114 S dBinad at 1kHz? Is it more important than a correct reconstruction filter? Is the Sinad at 1 kHz your only metric to judge which is "better"?
No, clearly this difference in SINAD is not audible, but the difference in reconstruction filters most probably not as well. And higher SINAD shows at least better engineering, contrary to companies that only claim to offer utmost care to detail, but deliver mediocre products with exorbitant prices like Chord.
 

kombajn

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@amirm
Any chance you could measure new version of good old FiiO E10K? They made E10K-TC based on XMOS XUF208 + PCM5102
 

PeteL

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No, clearly this difference in SINAD is not audible, but the difference in reconstruction filters most probably not as well. And higher SINAD shows at least better engineering, contrary to companies that only claim to offer utmost care to detail, but deliver mediocre products with exorbitant prices like Chord.
Again tough, and I am not saying that to defend the Dave, but define "Better Engineering" For a product made to listen to audio content, is focusing your engineering intelligence and money on something nobody can hear good engineering? In my book, good engineering is problem solving.
 

respice finem

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Good question... But, engineering in itself doesn't sell stuff to people, while marketing does.
We are buying things we don't really need all the time, cars, houses, phones - such "overkill" is written in our genes probably.
But we also like to limit our spending, so "most bang for the buck" is probably the optimum.
 
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