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Sabaj D5: the DAC that is unquestionably a digital to analog converter

Discussion in 'Dedicated Source Components' started by Dadbeh, Apr 6, 2019.
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  1. wushuliu
    Also great deal on a 3-way Hi-Vi DIY Speaker monitor kit on Amazon to go with your new DAC, $30 off coupon. Reviews are excellent (unless you are into diy speakers in which you'll know the tweeter may be a little hot, but you'll know how to tame them).
  2. rettib2001
    Out of interest did anybody manage/try the Hdmi i2s connection with either a singxer su-1 or Gustard u-16?

    I received the Sabaj d5 this morning and out of the box redbook pcm works via i2s (singxer su-1) but I'm not having much look with upsample dsd.
  3. wushuliu
    After only 30min listening I will say the D5 has the best straight from PC USB playback quality I've ever heard - and I've heard a lot of DACs <$500. Typically I use Jplay w/ Kernel Streaming through HiFi Cable software when I listen to Tidal because default W10 output doesn't sound very good. For a dac to sound this good through default settings is really impressive. After a while I will use coaxial input, which is the next best input next to i2s (IME).
    Dadbeh likes this.
  4. Dadbeh
    I have actually not used the USB. I have only used the Coax and optical so far both with my LKS USB to SPDIF converter. Sound is great.
  5. wushuliu
    Have you compared line out with the headphone amp?
  6. wushuliu
    Impressions so far: line out to external amp is preferable to the headphone out, at least with my Massdrop 58X. Internal headamp is smooth and non-offensive but kind of flat. Presentation using either output is fuller and smoother than the typical budget ESS dac. Most importantly this is the least amount of digititis I've heard in a stock budget stock ESS dac. I could easily live with this as a permanent usb dac. Trade-off is possibly some micro-detail loss compared to previous dacs. Coax update still to come, and then comparison with my own diy/modded cheap but cheerful dac.

    Edit: I switched out the 58X for Senn 599s. The 58X are relatively new to me, whereas I've had the 599s for a while now and they're what I used for my dac comparisons the last few years. With the 599s back in the mix I gotta say I am *really* impressed with this dac. They have never sounded this good. Solid, punchy bass, clear mids and even the somewhat less refined highs (compared to the 58X) are clean.

    I anticipate any measurement of this DAC to show a very low noise floor.

    For the record, previously owned dacs include (but not limited to): Topping D50, SMSL SU-8, Hifimediy ES9038Pro, Sabaj Da3, IFI iDAC 2, Signtek, Fiio D3 (modded), Dragonfly Red, ODAC.
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019
  7. MarCo7
    Very interested in this unit. I'm looking to buy an amp/dac in the <$500 range and I'm considering the Monolith 788, Fostex HP-A4BL (though I've read is underpowered) and now this Sabaj. Anyone has compared the D5 to the 788 or A4BL?
    Thanks and subscribed
  8. Baten
    I think the monolith has the most power via XLR-4. The Sabaj uses 9038Pro chip, the monolith ak4493. Few people have used the D5 yet but it seems good to go.
    Which headphones will you be driving? If they are not crazy needy I think it doesn't really matter which you get of these two.
  9. MarCo7
    Thanks for the reply. I agree that there's not much info on the D5 yet. I understand that the D5 has a single 9038 chip while the 788 has dual AKs.
    My main hp's are Sendy Aiva, which though might not seem to need lots of power, do scale up well. I'm looking for a unit that I'll keep for a long while since I don't tend to buy components very often.
  10. Baten
    You could wait for ASR review of the Sabaj, just to see if it has no serious defects, in which case the Sabaj is very good value. The 788 is more expensive but has very good power output with the THX module it features. One major negative on the monolith 788, is that analog inputs are digitized which sucks, making it only really good/high-fidelity when using digital inputs.
  11. MarCo7
    Good point on the D/A conversion of the 788. Their prices seem pretty much in the same ballpark, at least thru Amazon, so I think I'll get the first one (788 or D5) I can catch on sale. I imagine the D5 will be on the big Nov. sale and I'm going to be checking monoprice for the 788. I did see that they have open-box units for a discount...
    One more question, if I may: the D5 doesn't have any EQ/DSP features? I didn't see any mention of it in the photos.
    Baten likes this.
  12. Baten
    Pretty sure it doesn't. Having such a feature is rather rare :)
  13. MarCo7
    I saw on the Zeos video that D5 has sound filters, which from experience have little perceived effect.
  14. maxxevv
    bidn, MarCo7, Baten and 1 other person like this.
  15. Dadbeh
    there were 3 things that I was looking for and hoping that D5 delivers:
    1 - SINAD excellent
    2 - channel balance perfect
    3 - the ESS hump is there is charts but my listening shows no detectable sibilance for fatigue so who cares.
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