Hifime Sabre 9018 DAC kind of a disappointment (colored a bit too much on the warm side)
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JayNetTech5

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Too much emphasis on bass, which sort of drowns out the details/articulation in a song, causing music to sound blanketed a bit, and makes my bass light AD700Xs sound muddy with loud hard hitting music, such as rock/metal and other popular music. It has amazing vocal projection and emotion, but has a detrimental effect on minute texture, details, articulation, and staging in certain songs, and because of the muddied sound, the fragile parts/details of a song often get drowned out when lots of instruments start to kick in. Not sure if the DAC itself or the built in amp is to blame for this. I'm trying to like this more and more, but the build quality and sound for the price is just disappointing, which kind of makes me wish I had my FiiO K1 back, even though this has more depth to the soundstage in comparison. If making a "quality" DAC means tuning it to mess with the natural tone of your headphones, for this price, you might as well just stick to a cheaper Sound Blaster and use the software that comes with it to tune it yourself. Don't get me wrong, I like a warmer sound, but this is colored way too much, and the materials for the price feel weak. I get that it's focused more on sound than build quality, but how is a "quality" DAC suppose to last you with cheap parts? I wouldn't mind spending $10-$20 more on something built with better materials. One positive thing that I could say, is that the wire feels better than the actual case. I feel like this is a good purchase if all you're looking for is volume to your weak onboard sound, but at that point, you might as well just buy a cheap amplifier, no? I may be knocking this a little too much, but in comparison to cheaper DACs I've owned, I do not see a benefit whatsoever. I don't know, maybe it's just me, but I like a slightly more neutral tone that isn't muddy, so that the delicate parts in my music aren't lacking. Some people may disagree with me on this, however, it seems to make my cheap Maxell AMP-Bs sound better than anything else I've plugged them through, but who knows, maybe this is good for making cheap consumer headphones sound good on the go, rather than being used as a substitute for a "big boy" DAC/amp? Maybe searching for a "good" headphone DAC is a bit far-fetched in my case, because it seems like finding one happens to be at random, like when you buy something such as, a TV, CD player, mp3 player, console, or just anything that has one installed, and you realize that it sounds so good in comparison to other stuff that you own, but then you look up why it does, and you see people talking about it having a certain DAC inside of it from a company that produces high quality ones, for instance, my SCPH-1001 model PlayStation has an AKM inside, among other devices such as, my Samsung J6200 TV and LG Motion 4G that I was using all sound great. The point is, sometimes, quality implementation comes randomly, at least in my case. Soundstage, separation, articulation, clarity/cleanliness, and texture are the most important aspects for a DAC to be good in my opinion, and this doesn't meet my expectations. This literally makes my AD700Xs sound like Senneheisers, where you have rich bass and sharp highs, but the rest of the music sounds quite/drowned out, or there's something missing in between, and sounds no different than plugging it into a nice iPod or phone. I'm looking for something neutral sounding, that pairs well with my AD700Xs as well as a variety of headphones, and is more forgiving on poorer quality recordings. Basically, something that isn't called "quality" when all it does is EQ your headphones, and is priced at $80 for a piece of plastic.
 
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