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Some listening experiences and question for Sabaj A20d 2022

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Share some of my listening experiences of SABAJ A20D 2022
I like playing the piano for a long time, and now I often listen to classical music and some popular music. I recently listened a DAC and want to share some of my own feelings.

Recently, I visited the HIGH END 2022 exhibition in Munich. After my ears have been baptized by various good-sounding speakers, I have been thinking about upgrading my DAC.
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I heard RME's new product, adi2/4, at the show, but couldn't listen to it quietly because the showroom was very noisy. In addition, there is no way to play the music that I am familiar with, so I did not listen carefully. According to people from their company, the new product may come out in September this year, and I am waiting for it.
IMG_20220521_164919.jpg

Another interesting DAC is T+A dac200, also made in Germany. But the price is much higher, I need to compare and listen carefully. Then I can decide whether to buy it or not. However, at the exhibition, due to the large number of people, the exhibition room T+A cannot provide audition services.


When I was hesitating, I suddenly found a new DAC SABAJ A20D 2022, which uses a 9038pro chip. The measurement results are also quite good, so I ordered it directly on Amazon. 419 Euro, I think if I don't like the sound of it, just return it. Three days later, I received it. I used dx160 before, the IEM are fiio fa9 and aonic5, and the headphones are hd660s. The speakers are ADAM active monitor speakers. The DAC is smsl m300ii.

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Connect it direct to the headphone and compare it with the dx160.

The headphone output of a10d 2022 and a20d 2022 are both at 50mv around 85dB when i check the measurement.I first used the fiio fa9 to connect the 4.4 balanced to compare the headphone jacks of the dx160 and a20d. On the a20d's 4.4 (it is not a true balanced signal), the details of music can be clearly heard, the sound stage is larger, and at the same time it becomes cleaner. When listening to some classical music, the position of each instrument is clearer and many details are clearer. The sound of the Dx160 is relatively muddy, and the sound stage is relatively flat,like a 2D picture in front of you.
Shure's AONIC5 is a very sensitive headphone, and I can hear current noise on every device I've ever listened to. Some faint noises are still heard on the a20d, but if you don't concentrate during the day, you will hardly feel the existence of noise. Shure headphone for me are suitbale for listening to pop music, and i like vocals from it. Listening to the a20d, the details of pop songs become very clear, the sound stage is much wider, and the singer's voice is also very charming.But it has a disadvantage, that is, the volume of the headphone output can be subdivided. When I listen to the IEM, when the volume is adjusted to 1, it is already enough for me. A little too loud when listening to pop music. Listening to classical music is better, maybe the voltage of the recording is different. AONIC5 will have a very large current noise floor at 3.5mm of Dx160, which I can't stand it.

Adjust the HP output of the a20d to high gain and listen to it with the Hd660s. Since the impedance of the Hd660s is not very high, the sound on the a20d for me is acceptable. Although there is no headphone power amplifier connected, I am still satisfied with the sound stage and dynamics of the Hd660s. When listening to classical music, the sound is very natural and soft, and the sound stage is a special taste of Sennheiser.

Connect it to the speaker and compare it with the m300ii.

First of all, when I connect the XLR, I can clearly find that when playing classical music, the sound stage becomes larger, more 3D, Separation and Imaging are much more better. the dynamic range is much larger,when i playing the music from Ravel. The position of each instrument is clearer, the low frequency is also very powerful. In contrast, the m300ii's classical music is dim and the soundstage is flat. Playing pop music, the a20d can still clearly interpret various instruments and singers in the sound stage, but sometimes I feel that the instruments are more prominent than the singers. Switch to the m300ii, and the singer immediately stands out, with the instruments softened and hidden behind the singer. This may be some features of the ak4497, which is a different sound style from the 9038pro. Connecting to the rca interface, the advantages of the a20d are even more obvious, allowing me to fully enjoy the music at a very low volume.
IMG_20220716_105108.jpg

T+A's dac200 just happened to be available for listening on the weekend. Overall, the sound stage of the dac200 is much larger, with more details, the sound is more natural, and the low frequency is very clear and fluffy. The a20d feels a little too clean and has a smaller soundstage. But on the whole, the a20d also completely shows the details of the music very clearly. What is more interesting is the resampling of the usb signal. After the a20d is connected to a resampling, the sound stage is obviously wider and the sound becomes softer. I can't understand this. I don't know if the usb signal has been purified or some modifications have been added. Can some experts who can help me explain this? Or measure the change in usb data? I am very interested in this change.

In conclusion, the overall sound of this a20d 2022 with 9038pro is very clean, and the dynamic range is large enough, which is very suitable for playing classical music. For pop music I prefer to use the rca interface to connect the speakers. I personally think that it is also very suitable for studio use. For every very tiny problems in the recording, it's clearly visible below the a20d. The front headphone jack is also adequate for general listening.So I'm going to keep this DAC a20d, and I may listen to rme's new product and compare it with the da200 in the future.
 
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BDWoody

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But the price is much higher, I need to compare and listen carefully.

It does get very difficult to compare these things!

Here's a video our host put together to help address some of the issues around sighted and non-volume matched comparisons. Might be worth a watch since you plan to do some critical listening/comparisons.

 
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bruce bababaaaach
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It does get very difficult to compare these things!

Here's a video our host put together to help address some of the issues around sighted and non-volume matched comparisons. Might be worth a watch since you plan to do some critical listening/comparisons.

thanks, yes, it is indeed very difficul to tell the big difference. i think comparison needs very good and sensitive system and a long time for listening.
After half an hour of repeated testing, I could only hear some rough differences between dac200 and a20d.
I guess it's easier to distinguish these subtle differences with IEM.
 
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bruce bababaaaach
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Assuming they actually exist. That's the problem...
Hahaha, yes, some Prior Belief information will indeed affect the evaluation, posterior.

Resampling of the usb signal. This is the question I can't understand the most.
Hope our host can measument it. the digital signal become more precise or may have added distortion.
 
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bruce bababaaaach
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I found a problem, when I connect with bluetooth, there is a very noticeable interfering noise. When I touch the bluetooth antenna with my hand, the noise shows up. From the Internet that it is recommended to wrap the bluetooth antenna with tin foil, and the interference noise has disappeared, very magical
 

MAB

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Share some of my listening experiences of SABAJ A20D 2022
I like playing the piano for a long time, and now I often listen to classical music and some popular music. I recently listened a DAC and want to share some of my own feelings.

Recently, I visited the HIGH END 2022 exhibition in Munich. After my ears have been baptized by various good-sounding speakers, I have been thinking about upgrading my DAC.
View attachment 218723
View attachment 218724
I heard RME's new product, adi2/4, at the show, but couldn't listen to it quietly because the showroom was very noisy. In addition, there is no way to play the music that I am familiar with, so I did not listen carefully. According to people from their company, the new product may come out in September this year, and I am waiting for it.
Hello, and welcome!
If you want to get a DAC, RME makes current models which are fairly really worth looking at. For instance:
While it may be hard to hear differences between these DACs, the RME stands out because it offers world-class performance and DSP on top of stellar performance across all of the features. Of all the things that could make a difference DSP will. And, it comes with world-class documentation. RME is a well supported product line in my location, assume you would enjoy fantastic support in Germany. I do not own an RME DAC, but do own several of their interfaces and mic preamps, and I like the gear and I really like the documentation. If one ever broke, I imagine my good experiences would continue with their support!

The ADI 2/4 is super exciting too.
There is a discussion here:
And an RME forum thread:
It may not add value to you, but if you need an even more powerful headphone amp, or some of the other features (some I think are still in development), the current RME ADI 2 FS is something you should check out in a better environment than an exhibition.

I dunno what to say about the T+A gear except it seems to me a really expensive way to play music that was mastered using RME equipment;)!!!
 
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bruce bababaaaach
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Hello, and welcome!
If you want to get a DAC, RME makes current models which are fairly really worth looking at. For instance:
While it may be hard to hear differences between these DACs, the RME stands out because it offers world-class performance and DSP on top of stellar performance across all of the features. Of all the things that could make a difference DSP will. And, it comes with world-class documentation. RME is a well supported product line in my location, assume you would enjoy fantastic support in Germany. I do not own an RME DAC, but do own several of their interfaces and mic preamps, and I like the gear and I really like the documentation. If one ever broke, I imagine my good experiences would continue with their support!

The ADI 2/4 is super exciting too.
There is a discussion here:
And an RME forum thread:
It may not add value to you, but if you need an even more powerful headphone amp, or some of the other features (some I think are still in development), the current RME ADI 2 FS is something you should check out in a better environment than an exhibition.

I dunno what to say about the T+A gear except it seems to me a really expensive way to play music that was mastered using RME equipment;)!!!
hello, thanks. dsp EQ in rme is really useful for me, it compensates some headphones or monitor speakers frequency response. this is very nice. I found in the forum that the new 2/4 will use 1622 and have a 4.4 balanced output. Looking forward to it's measurements and also compare it in a quite environment. the price i guess could be over than 2000 Euro. because the old pro version with 4493 is 1620 Euro.
 

MAB

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hello, thanks. dsp EQ in rme is really useful for me, it compensates some headphones or monitor speakers frequency response. this is very nice. I found in the forum that the new 2/4 will use 1622 and have a 4.4 balanced output. Looking forward to it's measurements and also compare it in a quite environment. the price i guess could be over than 2000 Euro. because the old pro version with 4493 is 1620 Euro.
Yes, ADI has several products that nicely bridge professional and home use, all are near perfect performance. The DSP features really separate them from these other devices. And in the USA RME is supported very well if there is a problem, I am sure you would get top-notch support too.
The ADI-2 FS sells for $1000 in the US, how much is it in Germany?
 
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bruce bababaaaach
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Yes, ADI has several products that nicely bridge professional and home use, all are near perfect performance. The DSP features really separate them from these other devices. And in the USA RME is supported very well if there is a problem, I am sure you would get top-notch support too.
The ADI-2 FS sells for $1000 in the US, how much is it in Germany?
1099 Euro now, Maybe the pro version is better, with recording function and two chips.
 

MAB

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1099 Euro now, Maybe the pro version is better, with recording function and two chips.
Both are reviewed and discussed extensively here. For example, a few threads to get started, I am sure I am missing some useful discussions...
The Pro version has a different feature set. For instance, for home-audio use the Pro version would allow integration with an analog signal (like from a phono preamp, reel to reel, etc.) Both are fantastic even if the Pro version is slightly worse performance than the non-Pro version. Again, the features are really more important at the is level of performance.
 

MAB

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And even an incredibly detailed investigation of the two different versions of the ADI-2 FS. Spoiler: both are SOTA.:)

This is either helping, or confusing;)!
 

Robocop

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In general terms its no comparison on price with the RME ADI-2. From what I read the RME has more features with the lower ESS 9028 chips, so its down to sound differences but it would have to be clearly audible to justify. As someone else suggests using an equaliser(software) at the source(computer) is a way to do it if you need it. We have yet to hear a sonic comparison between the RME ADI-2 and Sabaj A20d. For me its 4 times more money to get the RME over the A20d.
 
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Robocop

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"no brainer" I mean its worth buying just on the strength of what's been said already without listening. In digital retail prices are coming down with an increase in quality of product and sound.
 

MAB

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"no brainer" I mean its worth buying just on the strength of what's been said already without listening. In digital retail prices are coming down with an increase in quality of product and sound.
I don't agree with this generalization. The quality and reliability of some of these devices are quite poor. For instance, already on the A20d review thread people are finding that USB-C to USB-C connection doesn't work. Also complaints about overall USB stability. And another user has the device locked up with PROT on the display after a few hours, and no details in the owner's manual on how to reset. If confirmed, this is poor quality.
 

Robocop

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Early days product needs some time in the market to sort minor problems. Have to say I'm not keen on USB-C. My expensive USB cable only has USB-B connector and I'm not wanting to use an adapter. But perhaps USB-C is the future. It does come with a cheap USB-C cable.
 

MAB

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Early days product needs some time in the market to sort minor problems. Have to say I'm not keen on USB-C. My expensive USB cable only has USB-B connector and I'm not wanting to use an adapter. But perhaps USB-C is the future. It does come with a cheap USB-C cable.
USB-C isn't a mystery interface and should work, and offer the higher bandwidth and better connectivity that it has. Whether we like or dislike the interface, it should work. Cable cheapness shouldn't matter either. I actually prefer USB-C if only because the connector goes in either way, but my like of the connector isn't the issue either. The thing should just work. I don't consider interface connectivity problems to be minor, early days is not an excuse here.
 
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Jimster480

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USB-C isn't a mystery interface and should work, and offer the higher bandwidth and better connectivity that it has. Whether we like or dislike the interface, it should work. Cable cheapness shouldn't matter either. I actually prefer USB-C if only because the connector goes in either way, but my like of the connector isn't the issue either. The thing should just work. I don't consider interface connectivity problems to be minor, early days is not an excuse here.
you are definitely right that things like USB-C should just work... however lots of things are coming with USB-C connectors now but don't have all the pins wired so it only works with USB-A to USB-C....
Anyway these are small prices to pay if the device holds up and does well... The RME ADI DAC alone is 4x what I paid for my DX7. My Device is 4 years old next week and has no problems. The USB interface is broken but that is my fault.... I don't think that the RME devices would have any increase in SQ and since they also can't play MQA; I can't use them with Tidal Masters just like my DX7...
So outside of hardware EQ; it is hard to see what would be worth paying for.
 
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