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Sabaj, Shanling, etc. Small DAC Power (M0, Da3)

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#1
Hey everyone!

Is the Sabaj Da3's Amp/DAC much better than the Shanling M0's?

I'm anticipating this response, "Those two aren't comparable!" I'm brand new to this wonderful world of audio, so I won't be sad if I hear that

I know the M0 has a DAC/Amp built in (in addition to its other incredible features such as it being a DAP), and I know the Da3 is purely an Amp/DAC. If the M0's power and quality compares to the Da3, I might as well invest in the M0, yes?

Thanks!
 
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Thread Starter #3
I gotcha. I think in one of the threads a few months ago he or someone suggested the same; how can we tag him in this post?
 

raistlin65

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#4
I gotcha. I think in one of the threads a few months ago he or someone suggested the same; how can we tag him in this post?
If you buy the M0 and offer to loan it to Amir, he might measure it for you. Most of what he is measuring is loaned by ASR members.

He does seem to be busy with measuring speakers right now. So if you did do that, you might not plan on seeing the M0 for a long time.

I can tell you that I have the Shanling M2X and really enjoy the sound of it and find the UI fairly user-friendly. I don't have any experience with the M0.
 

Yuno

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#5
I have m0, good thing about this dap is that it has Sabre ES9218P which is mobile use specific chip combining DAC and AMP. Basically it's very unlikely to mess up implementation of this chip. To me it sounds fine.
That said, we don't have measurements (and no, I'm not sending mine to US to get it measured), and above everything, this is a DAP, not a DAC. I never even considered using it as a desktop DAC because:
1. it doesn't have a lot of power to drive full size headphones.
2. I'm not sure if this is the case anymore, but it used to have bad latency. Maybe this was fixed with newer drivers.

Here is my honest take: unless you have very sensitive earphones (like I do, single balanced armatures), then just use your phone for mobile and get a real DAC/AMP unit for home use. There is usually very little reason to bother with DAPs anymore, unless you just like having dedicated device.
 
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Thread Starter #6
Thanks for the response, Yuno! That's a tough one for a few reasons. Most phones don't have 512gb of storage, and I've always liked having all my music with me for car rides, etc. Phones never gave me that luxury so I do like DAPs because of that.

As far as you saying it doesn't have a lot of power to drive headphones, I figure if the Sabaj Da3 does an amazing job of driving my dt770s, the M0 might? Since we haven't run tests on it, how are we sure? I guess that's what I'm trying to get, whether the Da3's price would be better spent on the M0, which is also a DAP.
 

raistlin65

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#7
As far as you saying it doesn't have a lot of power to drive headphones, I figure if the Sabaj Da3 does an amazing job of driving my dt770s, the M0 might? Since we haven't run tests on it, how are we sure? I guess that's what I'm trying to get, whether the Da3's price would be better spent on the M0, which is also a DAP.
The M0 specs claim 80mw into 32 ohms. Amir found that the Sabaj clips at 33mw into 33 ohms. So if Shanling's specs are to be trusted, it should have slightly more power for 32 ohm headphones. Which DT770's do you have?
 

Yuno

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#8
When I mentioned that m0 doesn't have enough power, I meant it for my use. I use 300Ohm hd600 at home, while m0 was able to get it do decent volumes (funny enough) there was no headroom. That said, to me m0 has much more power that it needs. On the volume level going from 0 to 100 I usually sit around 30, with 35 being locked as max volume, but again, this is with very sensitive iems.
If your headphones are easy to drive, it might work. But I would recommend to do some research if Shanling resolved latency issues for this thing in DAC mode. And keep in mind it requires installation of extra driver.
 

Berwhale

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#9
Most phones don't have 512gb of storage
I have the M0 and it's very good for the money, but I much prefer using my Galaxy Note 9 with 1TB of storage (512GB internal + 512GB MicroSD) with a Radsone ES100 with a balanced cable and my MEEAudio Pinnacle P1 IEMs.

What headphones/earphones do you intend to use?
 
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Thread Starter #10
Thanks guys! I have a DT770 Pro 80 Ohm.

My Sabaj Da3 required a driver, too, but it wasn't hard to find and install so I think I'm OK with that.

What do latency issues on a DAC entail? Does it throw off the listening experience, or does it take an extra second or two to get it started?

Also, nice setup with your Galaxy. I use iPhone; I bet if I had Android, with the ease of drag and drop, I'd probably use that as a DAP too. I hate the whole iTunes deal and I don't use it at all.
 

raistlin65

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#11
Thanks guys! I have a DT770 Pro 80 Ohm.

My Sabaj Da3 required a driver, too, but it wasn't hard to find and install so I think I'm OK with that.

What do latency issues on a DAC entail? Does it throw off the listening experience, or does it take an extra second or two to get it started?

Also, nice setup with your Galaxy. I use iPhone; I bet if I had Android, with the ease of drag and drop, I'd probably use that as a DAP too. I hate the whole iTunes deal and I don't use it at all.
Find a used Android phone for $50. Get a Meizu HiFi Pro for $45, and you'll be set for a "DAP"

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...hifi-pro-usb-c-phone-dongle-dac-review.10423/
 

Yuno

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#12
What do latency issues on a DAC entail? Does it throw off the listening experience, or does it take an extra second or two to get it started?
The time it takes to get audio processed from your PC till it reaches your ears. It used to be pretty poor and I remember people complaining about it - but I also know that Shanling did mention in their later software updates that they reduced lag, so it's very possible that what I mentioned is an old issue that no longer exists. This is why I recommended to do some research on this, ideally on forums where there is a dedicated thread for m0 (head-fi for example has one).

Find a used Android phone for $50. Get a Meizu HiFi Pro for $45, and you'll be set for a "DAP"
At this point he actually very well can get a dedicated DAP. Do you seriously recommend carrying 2 smartphones and a dongle in pocket? m0 is about 1/6 size of a smartphone.
 

raistlin65

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#13
At this point he actually very well can get a dedicated DAP. Do you seriously recommend carrying 2 smartphones and a dongle in pocket? m0 is about 1/6 size of a smartphone.
You must be an iPhone fan.

If someone has an Android phone, there's no reason to keep carrying an iPhone ;)
 
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Thread Starter #16
I love it! Hah. I find myself decently tech savvy, but the Android just spins my head. It's like there are one too many home screens that confuses the crap out of me. I wish I had never gotten hooked onto the sweet ease of iPhone, but I was given one for business years ago, and the rest his history.

Here's another reason why a DAP sounds attractive. I don't know much about home audio, but when I set up my speaker system for the new TV I'm getting, I think it would be cool to have a library of 512gb music that I can pick up (like a remote), and just play music.

Is there a better way to do this, other than paying for something like Tidal, which I can't do at this time? I'd like to know a few ways I can just pick a song or album and have it play in the living room. My computer is upstairs.
 
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#17
Thanks guys! I have a DT770 Pro 80 Ohm.

My Sabaj Da3 required a driver, too, but it wasn't hard to find and install so I think I'm OK with that.

What do latency issues on a DAC entail? Does it throw off the listening experience, or does it take an extra second or two to get it started?

Also, nice setup with your Galaxy. I use iPhone; I bet if I had Android, with the ease of drag and drop, I'd probably use that as a DAP too. I hate the whole iTunes deal and I don't use it at all.
My daily headphone of choice is my DT770 Pro 80 Ohm, and my daily driver of choice is my iFi Zen Dac (with headphone amplifier). Somehow these two are a lovely little marriage - both need lots of burn-in time, but once they are burned-in they sound spectacular. I also have a Sabaj PHA3 tube headphone amplifier, which is lovely, but the Beyerdynamic sings with the iFi in comparison. My Sabaj and my Hifiman HE4XX sound magical together - must be something to do with the tubes working well with the planar drivers. I also find that music source plays a huge difference with the DT770 Pros - for example they actually sound different to my ears while listening to music streamed on Spotify Premium vs Tidal Hi-Fi vs Deezer Hi-Fi. There are subtle differences between Tidal Hi-Fi and Deezer Hi-Fi, but for some strange reason Deezer sounds the best on this setup - I play them via my MacBook Pro. Imaging and soundstage are enhanced and the DT770 Pros become airier - almost like listening on a very open-back headphone. Wonderful!
 

ZolaIII

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#18
If you have money for Shanling M2X go for it. M0 won't be satisfactory with with 80 Ohm's can's most I would recommend it for is 32 Ohm EMI's. The Shanling did lyi, the ES9218 paper says it top's 75 mW at 32 Ohm's. Meizu Pro would be a lower tier to drive those satisfactory. You want to bring more music with you? You will need to buy a Micro SD card what ever you choose.
 

Yuno

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#19
M0 won't be satisfactory with with 80 Ohm's can's most I would recommend it for is 32 Ohm EMI's
This is incorrect. m0 can drive my 300Ohm hd600 to loud levels at 70 out of 100 on volume meter, past that volume gets uncomfortable for me. Another topic is quality of audio on such headphones, which subjectively I think is not great.
I'm not saying that m0 will be able to properly drive power hungry headphones, but saying that it can at most drive 32Ohm iems is heavily understating how much power this thing provides. Frankly, I think this device is needlessly overpowered. I don't use more than 1/3 of it's power for IEMs.
 

ZolaIII

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#20
@Yuno I am telling you what's ideal for M0 at 50~70% volume lv. which can't have more than real 36 mW @ 32 Ohm's (not even with magic tricks). It probably can drive up to 64 Ohm's can's suficitly enough but again not on ideal gain level.
 
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