Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Dedicated Source Components › Differences between Audio-gd "Reference 5.32" and "SA-1.32"?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Differences between Audio-gd "Reference 5.32" and "SA-1.32"?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I was wondering if someone could help me understand the differences between the sound of the Audio-gd "Reference 5.32" and "SA-1.32" DACs. They're both the same price. (I realize that the former is balanced, with single-ended outputs, and the latter is just single-ended. I would be using either one single-ended.) 
The Audio-gd website is cryptic about what the differences are. It basically says "The SA-1.32  retains rich details and high clarity with its abundant music flavor with wide and deep sound stage... The Reference 5.32 sound dead neutral and monitor." How big of a difference, relatively speaking, would this be?
I was looking at the "SA-2", which is probably related to the sound of the "SA-1.32", and the website says: "Musical (coloration ) but detail , smooth but not too warm." I assume that this is a darker coloration? What causes the coloration? Are the high frequencies intentionally rolled off or something like that?
What I'd just like is a PCM1704 DAC that's competently designed. I don't want something intentionally colored. On the other hand, if both units have a competent analog stage and the only difference is just a minor difference in sound due to the execution of the two types of circuits, I think I'd go with the slightly warmer one. It's really hard for me to choose right now though. Can anyone help?

Edited by MoonUnit - 10/13/12 at 9:41am
post #2 of 5
Thread Starter 

Sorry to post again in the same thread I started, but I was wondering if anyone could give any feedback on the sound of the Audio-GD SA-1, even if they haven't heard both units?


I noticed at least two SA-1s were bought and sold on the for sale forum, so some people must have heard this :) 

post #3 of 5

You may check my post at




I can add that my previous dacs (Audio-gd NFB-3 and Audio-gd NFB-10) are way below SA-1, the SA-1 being a little warmer, much smoother, much more detailed, more 3D - bigger soundstage - "weight" - attack, much more "fun" and never offending (critical for me with Hifiman HE-500). For me it is indeed "musical".

post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your comments on the SA-1!


By the way, I asked Kingwa and he said that the SA-1 rolls off the high frequencies by -2dB at 20 kHz (versus -0.5 dB in the current reference line). This is probably part of the warmer sound. I'm not sure that's something I find desirable... it's okay with a higher order filter, like some of the filters on the PWD, but with a low-order analog filter, almost the whole top octave is going to be affected. Also, it makes listening to high resolution music a lot less interesting.

post #5 of 5

If your deductions are right, I can probably console myself with arguments like:

  1. I have a disadvantage at hi res music (less than 0,5% of what I hear) and an advantage at the rest
  2. At my age, high frequencies are not much audible anyway!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Dedicated Source Components
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Dedicated Source Components › Differences between Audio-gd "Reference 5.32" and "SA-1.32"?