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ESS DACs "Sabre glare" measurements?

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by abm0, Feb 21, 2018.
  1. abm0
    Not sure if this is more about a type of source device or more about science and measurements, but here it is:

    Does anyone know of any measurements showing the existence of the oft-mentioned "Sabre glare" in ESS Technology's Sabre-branded DACs? If there were audible extra content in the high mids or lower treble it should show up on FR or noise graphs, right?
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2018
  2. amirm
    It would show up in a number of measurements. I would dismiss that statement as folklore.
  3. bigshot
    What is "sabre glare"?
  4. amirm
    Sabre is the brand name for ESS DAC (chips). Someone is saying whichever DAC uses them has "glare."
  5. bigshot
    Then it's definitely measurable if it exists.
  6. abm0
    All I know for a fact right now is that claims that people can hear this "glare" exist, in various Sabre-based DAC and DAC/amp product reviews. :)
    The most plausible additional statement I got about this recently was that "it's only in poor implementations".
  7. bfreedma
    It's another oft repeated audiophile myth that, to my knowledge, has never been documented with measurements or properly staged listening tests.

    But has become a great excuse to buy new gear and makes for some good marketing material.
  8. HotIce
    These are the same folks that when you actually ask them to sit down in an "eye impaired" test to spot such glare, they vanish like vampires at dawn.
  9. castleofargh Contributor
    I've read and heard this many times over the last years. it might have been something real for some specific models where for example the power supply recommended was something you were certainly not getting in most cheap and portable gears that were at some point sticking a sabre no matter how just for the marketing bonus of having it. and I'm guessing it could be the same with the output of the chip, some stuff were pretty much empty aside from the sabre chip (member the cheap hifimediy).
    they now have made some chips for portable use accounting for less than ideal designs, low power, and non existing amp sections that do a OK job, but at some point it was the same chip stuck into everything because it was the one people had heard good things about. maybe that did lead to a trend with a characteristic defective sound?
    at the time I'm thinking of, the other "audiophile approved" chip was the Wolfson, that somehow had a reputation of warm sound... so maybe one of those was indeed non transparent and it set up the bad reference for the other? IDK, I'm looking for ideas, but personally I'm convinced it's all BS simply because most of those talking wouldn't know how to do a proper listening test to save their lives. and once that is done, they basically just take 2 completely different DACs with completely different specs, and cherry pick the correlation they want, like how the sound of the DAC must come from the tiny little chipset. we rationally don't even have a reason to believe any of it.

    but no I haven't seen or found myself any objective sign of why there must be some glare. I also don't feel that way, but then again maybe I need to put it against some old R2R NOS DAC that has the "real proper sound" before I can notice how wrong Sabre chips really are(subjectively). it's all a matter of reference after all.
  10. bigshot
    I don't know if I have a sabre chip, but all of my DACs and players sound the same.
  11. Glmoneydawg
    I'm probably the most "audiophile looney" in here and i have to think IF there is anything to this it has more to do with the analog pre out section.....but doubt there is anything to it...lots of good stuff out there using sabre dac.Also i find myself agreeing with Bigshot ....dont think its possible for both of us to be wrong!
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2018
  12. bigshot
    If it's anything it should be measurable. All of the measurements I've seen on DACs puts them well beyond the threshold of transparency. I keep asking people to show me measurements on DACs that have audible differences. Haven't seen anyone come up with one yet. Although I'm sure there is some sucker bait high end DAC out there that is deliberately hobbled.
  13. AudioThief
    Does this mean literally all DACs sound the same?
  14. castleofargh Contributor
    I should put on top of the sound science page: "fact: when @bigshot and @Glmoneydawg agree on something". ^_^ man that's going to make all our lives so much easier than boring testing and repeatability.:thumbsup:

    Glmoneydawg likes this.
  15. AudioThief
    Castleofargh, thats quite the strawman. The guy I quoted didn't say "I don't notice a difference", now did he?

    What he was saying was that he has never seen evidence of any claims of there being difference in sound in DACs (That is what I read, his wording was a bit strange). Then goes on to say that high end dacs might mess with the sound so it will show up as different in measurements.

    So the image you posted, mocking me, is mocking something I don't stand for or could possibly be believed that I stand for based on what I posted.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2018

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