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Sabaj D5 vs. Topping DX7 Pro: measurement comparison

RickSanchez

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Thought it would be interesting to compare two high-performing DAC/amp combos: the Sabaj D5 vs. the Topping DX7 Pro. Thanks to @amirm for all of the measurements; all of this info is from him (unless otherwise noted), I'm simply putting the measurements side-by-side.

Author's notes:
  • Sabaj before Topping is simply alphabetical; I'm not implying one is better than the other.
  • All of the graphics are labeled, but to make it consistent: Sabaj D5 is always on the left, Topping DX7 Pro is always on the right.
  • I have no experience with either unit, nor do I have any perspective on build quality / customer service.
  • If anyone sees errors / omissions please let me know and I will make corrections.
  • If anyone has issues with the measurements or conclusions ...... take it up with Amir! :D


BASIC SPECS

Sabaj D5:

Topping DX7 Pro:



SINAD
Both measured using USB in / XLR out. However, the Sabaj D5 measurements were taken after 30 minutes of warm-up.

1.SINAD_XLR_out.png




DYNAMIC RANGE

2.dynamic_range.png




JITTER

3.jitter.png




INTERMODULATION + NOISE
The "ESS IMD hump" appears in both units.

4.intermodulation_noise.png




LINEARITY
Both units are capable of 20 bits of resolution.

5.linearity.png




32 TONE INPUT SIGNAL (192 kHz)

6.32_tone.png





THD+N RATIO vs FREQUENCY @ 48 kHZ

7.THDNvsFrequency.png





FREQUENCY RESPONSE
I didn't find this for the Topping DX7 Pro, so only the Sabaj D5 is listed.

8.frequency_response.png





FFT SPECTRUM OF WHITE NOISE @ 44.1 kHZ
For the DX7 Pro, please note this discussion regarding the filters between @Veri and Amir. As Amir states:

"... either the manual or the firmware may be wrong."


9.FFT_sprectrum_whitenoise.png







The following are the headphone amp measurements ...

POWER VS. DISTORTION (300 Ohm load)

13.power_vs_distortion_300ohm.png






POWER VS. DISTORTION (33 Ohm load)

14.power_vs_distortion_33ohm.png






POWER VS. DISTORTION (XLR out using 50 Ohm load)

15.power_vs_distortion_XLR_50ohm.png





CHANNEL IMBALANCE

16.channel_imbalance.png





OUTPUT IMPEDANCE
I believe Amir has previously stated that his test equipment adds about 0.8-0.9 Ohms? If that's the case you can subtract that amount from each of these measurements.

17.output_impedance.png







CONCLUSIONS

Sabaj D5

From Amir:
"The Sabaj D5 is a very well-engineered DAC and headphone amplifier. It nearly outperforms every DAC I have ever tested! The ESS ES9038Pro when implemented well (which is not common) brings stunningly low levels of distortion which shows here. Alas, it also brings the IMD hump which I blame on ESS for not working out before unleashing the design on implementers. If Sabaj and incorporate the fix that others are starting to roll out, it would have a complete game changer on their hands, obsoleting products at almost any price range!

The headphone output is simply very good. It doesn't break boundaries like the DAC side does but what is there is absolutely clean and distortion free. Only a person with very low efficiency headphone and/or need to play extremely loud would want to get something better. And if so, you have a fantastic DAC to drive whatever that is.

The only odd thing is having to leave the unit on for a few minutes for it to achieve its best performance. Then again even its "cold" performance is likely transparent enough.

Needless to say, It is my pleasure to highly recommend the Sabaj D5. A great example of a well engineered product at a very reasonable price."



Topping DX7 Pro

From Amir:

"The Topping DX7 Pro betters the DAC performance of all the products Topping had produced. On SINAD measurement, it lands in the coveted range of near 120 dB, proving beyond a shadow of doubt that it is transparent to any content you attempt to play. This is a super challenging bar to reach and I congratulate Topping for getting there.

The headphone is a step below state-of-the-art from measurement point of view. Subjectively however, it is very powerful and clean and satisfies every need I personally have. Some of you know that I use a Topping DX3 Pro as my everyday DAC and headphone unit. Given the performance of the DX7 Pro, looks and usability, I am going to replace that with DX7 Pro.

Needless to say, I am happy to give my recommendation to Topping DX7 Pro."



18.conclusion.png
 

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Different panther?

I try not to let the panther ratings influence my opinion too much, but after going through all the measurements I was surprised by that too. Maybe it’s because Sabaj is a relatively new brand whereas Topping has developed a solid reputation on ASR?
 
To me: DX7 has slightly better specs and amp. However, D5 beats it in multitone distortion and THD+N. Jitter difference should be inconsequential.

Overall the DX7 is the better all-in-one due to its better amp. Sabaj is the better value DAC for sure whenever its on sale, and its amp is better suited to low impedance headphones...

Overall they're close either way.
 
Dx7pro = Sabaj D5 + Bluetooth 5.0

It's simple as that. I don't think there will be audible difference between these two.

But the price of Dx7pro .......

Anyway I will stay with my Sabaj D5 (sourced with my smartphone/laptop).
 
Dx7pro = Sabaj D5 + Bluetooth 5.0

It's simple as that. I don't think there will be audible difference between these two.

Fair. The other factor, however -- as @maxxevv points out -- is that it the DX7 Pro amp has a bit more power. Doesn't apply to everyone but is probably important to those that need/want the extra juice.
 
Now I wonder if the panther is lying on the Sabaj because he had his head glued back on? :D
 
I have a Topping D10 and an SMSL AD18 (same company as Sabaj). The AD18 knob doesn't work properly anymore. Poor quality control IMO. Dull look and poor display. Won't buy from them again.
 
One thing I noticed on the Topping DX7 Pro is the Op Amps for the headphone stage and the line output are all on sockets, 4 of them in total.
It's using LME47920 chips in all 4 sockets but does that mean in theory you could 'upgrade' the Op Amps in the future?

b79d188a-6cc0-4a3a-80e9-e32b882ae8c4.jpg
 
One thing I noticed on the Topping DX7 Pro is the Op Amps for the headphone stage and the line output are all on sockets, 4 of them in total.
It's using LME47920 chips in all 4 sockets but does that mean in theory you could 'upgrade' the Op Amps in the future?

View attachment 36522
I don't recommend doing that. Because it doesn't improve performance.
 
One thing I noticed on the Topping DX7 Pro is the Op Amps for the headphone stage and the line output are all on sockets, 4 of them in total.
It's using LME47920 chips in all 4 sockets but does that mean in theory you could 'upgrade' the Op Amps in the future?

View attachment 36522
When you look at the 119dB SINAD, it's clear there's nothing to "improve". The sockets are there to cater to tinkerers who might put in Sparkos or other opamps which either harm performance or change nothing at all...

Not the best way to spend your money.
 
When you look at the 119dB SINAD, it's clear there's nothing to "improve". The sockets are there to cater to tinkerers who might put in Sparkos or other opamps which either harm performance or change nothing at all...
I don't recommend doing that. Because it doesn't improve performance.

Thanks for the replies, so the question is why are they using a socketed version?
Is there any tolerance involved in these op amps which means choosing a 'perfect' matched pair would help with stereo imaging?
(I realise I could be talking complete b******s so please be gentle ;) )

Edit: I'd also read that allowing the DAC to be the pre amp and handle volume digitally gives a perfect stereo balance, is that right?
 
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Thanks for the replies, so the question is why are they using a socketed version?
Is there any tolerance involved in these op amps which means choosing a 'perfect' matched pair would help with stereo imaging?
(I realise I could be talking complete b******s so please be gentle ;) )
It probably costs them very little to add, and attract more customers that think hotswap is useful
 
Pictures from backside would be nice too.

The DX7 pro also seems to have additional AES (in/out?).

Also would be nice to know how difficult it is to switch between different sources and outputs (headphones / line out to speaker). Just think about PC monitors where you need to press like 10 times the buttons to switch between inputs ...

I think the AMP of the Sabaj is better, less impedance, less distortion and power is enough to loose hearing ...
 
Pictures from backside would be nice too.

The DX7 pro also seems to have additional AES (in/out?).

Also would be nice to know how difficult it is to switch between different sources and outputs (headphones / line out to speaker). Just think about PC monitors where you need to press like 10 times the buttons to switch between inputs ...

I think the AMP of the Sabaj is better, less impedance, less distortion and power is enough to loose hearing ...


All the specs are up on the ShenzenAudio site; that may answer your questions. But here are some pics of the rear, including the close-up of the AES input.

dx7pro_frontrear.png




AES input:

dx7pro_aes.png
 
Is there any tolerance involved in these op amps which means choosing a 'perfect' matched pair would help with stereo imaging?
(I realise I could be talking complete b******s so please be gentle ;) )

Edit: I'd also read that allowing the DAC to be the pre amp and handle volume digitally gives a perfect stereo balance, is that right?
I have had the DX7 Pro for a couple days and am putting it through its paces. As the data would indicate, stereo imaging is exceptional, balance is solid, and yes, the digital volume control keeps the balance exactly in place regardless of volume/output.
 
I have had the DX7 Pro for a couple days and am putting it through its paces. As the data would indicate, stereo imaging is exceptional, balance is solid, and yes, the digital volume control keeps the balance exactly in place regardless of volume/output.

Curious to hear your impressions of the DX7 Pro once you’ve had more time to listen to it. I’m considering the DX7 Pro or D5, just waiting for 11/11 (or maybe Black Friday) to pull the trigger.
 
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