More Amazing DACs for Peanuts

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wushuliu

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Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #400 on: 28 Jan 2019, 02:44 pm »
ok, guys, so what do you recommend right now on the budget - I thought that that SE4 will be perfect, but it is not ;-)
Topping D30, Topping D10 or that ES9038Q2M mentioned above --> https://bit.ly/2ScVIZh ?
The be honest I would prefer to go under 50$, but if it is not possible I might invest that ~100$  (I am trying to build right now some stereo tpa3116 + speakers - so I think that it will better to spend more money  on speakers than super duper DAC). I don't even need any HI-RES DSD - just clear sound :-)

The first post of this thread gave you options.

baszek

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Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #401 on: 29 Jan 2019, 12:04 am »
The first post of this thread gave you options.
Yeah, but I am not looking for portable dacs like sabaj da2 or da3. I would like to have RCA outputs.

wushuliu

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Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #402 on: 29 Jan 2019, 03:06 am »
Yeah, but I am not looking for portable dacs like sabaj da2 or da3. I would like to have RCA outputs.

I believe I explained that the DA3 is *not* meant to be a portable DAC even though they try to position it as such. It is a desktop DAC. Use a 3.5mm adapter.

You are not going to beat the DA3 at or under $100. Equal it maybe, but not beat it. It is a powerhouse DAC in small form. In fact it's the only DAC in the budget range where the price has gone *up* since it came out. Nuff said.

baszek

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Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #403 on: 29 Jan 2019, 10:31 am »
I believe I explained that the DA3 is *not* meant to be a portable DAC even though they try to position it as such. It is a desktop DAC. Use a 3.5mm adapter.

You are not going to beat the DA3 at or under $100. Equal it maybe, but not beat it. It is a powerhouse DAC in small form. In fact it's the only DAC in the budget range where the price has gone *up* since it came out. Nuff said.
Ok I have just found that it has got unbalanced output - should be prefect for external headphone amp.
Output power: Balanced 32Ohm  111mW 64Ohm  111mW 300Ohm 52mW
Output power: Unbalanced 32Ohm 56mW 64Ohm 43mW 300Ohm 13mW

baszek

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Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #404 on: 29 Jan 2019, 09:48 pm »
Please share your impressions when the package arrives. Thanks in advance. :thumb:
There are two models - with DSD and without DSD, which you have chosen?
I wrote before about distortion from this DAC - it appeared that I have to set windows volume to 70% (instead of 100%) - this was the issue - probably my external TPA6120 heaphone amp was over-modulated by SE4 DAC --> now it is much better :-)

zek

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Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #405 on: 29 Jan 2019, 10:22 pm »
@baszek
Have you tested the SE4 with DSD64/DSD128 files?

baszek

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Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #406 on: 30 Jan 2019, 10:42 am »
@baszek
Have you tested the SE4 with DSD64/DSD128 files?
Yeah, I have tested but only one album. Unfortunately I have configured foobar2000 as DSD over PCM -- as far as I know for native DSD I need ASIO drivers & can't find it --- taobao seller is not responding ;-)

zek

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Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #407 on: 30 Jan 2019, 11:53 am »
Yeah, I have tested but only one album. .. ;-)

And what are your impressions now for SE4 playing DSD?

baszek

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Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #408 on: 30 Jan 2019, 01:19 pm »
And what are your impressions now for SE4 playing DSD?
To be honest I have downloaded Sting DSD album from torrents and in my opinion TIDAL master MQA version sounded better - I will download other DSD albums and let you know --> but still I think I have to wait for ASIO drivers to check native DSD. I heard also that people are using some foobar plugin to do upsampling to DSD :-) - this is crazy :-)

baszek

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Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #409 on: 30 Jan 2019, 02:01 pm »
I believe I explained that the DA3 is *not* meant to be a portable DAC even though they try to position it as such. It is a desktop DAC. Use a 3.5mm adapter.

You are not going to beat the DA3 at or under $100. Equal it maybe, but not beat it. It is a powerhouse DAC in small form. In fact it's the only DAC in the budget range where the price has gone *up* since it came out. Nuff said.
I have just watched Sabaj DA3 review --> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8HazumFx7Q -- it looks like that every time you power on DAC volume is lowered down and you have to each time volume up to get that 2V output to home stereo level - it could be annoying :-)
@wushuliu can you confirm if there is such a issue each power on ?

ceausuc

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Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #410 on: 1 Feb 2019, 12:21 pm »
Yeah, but I am not looking for portable dacs like sabaj da2 or da3. I would like to have RCA outputs.

I think Tone Board is as good as it gets in its price range (if you don't need volume control): https://www.khadas.com/tone

ceausuc

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Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #411 on: 1 Feb 2019, 12:26 pm »
I have just watched Sabaj DA3 review --> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8HazumFx7Q -- it looks like that every time you power on DAC volume is lowered down and you have to each time volume up to get that 2V output to home stereo level - it could be annoying :-)
@wushuliu can you confirm if there is such a issue each power on ?

It is true that the volume is lowered (22/36 if I remember correctly) but I found it very useful for headphone listening :)
And btw at max volume the sound seems "distorted"...

CallMeMike

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Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #412 on: 4 Feb 2019, 02:36 pm »
I have just watched Sabaj DA3 review --> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8HazumFx7Q -- it looks like that every time you power on DAC volume is lowered down and you have to each time volume up to get that 2V output to home stereo level - it could be annoying :-)
@wushuliu can you confirm if there is such a issue each power on ?

@baszek

This is not 'an issue'... on the contrary it is a very useful feature as it prevents one's hearing getting impaired, damaging speakers or annoying family/neighbours (in case of being used as a desktop DAC connected to an amplifier and loudspeakers). A careful owner of audio kit should be always aware of the volume already set on his/hers equipment, in this case DA3 does it for you... simples. If you have the case where you willy-nilly unplug/replug the USB cable (which carries the data and the 5V used to power up the DAC) then you are in a league of your own...

CallMeMike

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Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #413 on: 4 Feb 2019, 02:38 pm »
I have just watched Sabaj DA3 review --> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8HazumFx7Q -- it looks like that every time you power on DAC volume is lowered down and you have to each time volume up to get that 2V output to home stereo level - it could be annoying :-)
@wushuliu can you confirm if there is such a issue each power on ?

Sorry... double post

CallMeMike

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Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #414 on: 4 Feb 2019, 03:19 pm »
It is true that the volume is lowered (22/36 if I remember correctly) but I found it very useful for headphone listening :)
And btw at max volume the sound seems "distorted"...

@ceausc

The maximum normally means ZERO dB level (full output); if you hear any distortion at this level there is a problem in your music chain... I can confirm that I do not get any distortion playing the Sabaj DA3:
- running directly four types of headsets (one IEM, three over-the-ear, impedance range= 10-60 Ohm)
- running the above headphones via a dedicated headphone amplifier
- running directly a power amplifier via the AUX input (RCA Right + RCA Left)

The USB stream is provided by a range of: one tablet, one desktop PC and two laptops.

A very competent little DAC for the money I've spent almost one year ago.

Regarding the Khadas Tone Board it cannot be compared fairly to any of the DACs discussed so far as it is not a a one-stop solution as you'd need a custom case should you want to use it on-the-go; actually you'd need a case of some sort even you use it as a desktop solution. Please note that I am not discussing the merits of the sound produced by this DAC...

baszek

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Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #415 on: 12 Feb 2019, 08:47 pm »
To cut a long story short - I was thinking right now about sth with RCA out put so I have probably only this choose:
1. Khadas Tone board
2. Topping D30
3. Topping D10
4. SMSL Sanskrit 10th AK4490 XMOS

zek

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Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #416 on: 12 Feb 2019, 11:36 pm »
5. SMSL M-100 AK4452 XMOS XU208  :thumb:

baszek

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Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #417 on: 13 Feb 2019, 06:39 pm »
5. SMSL M-100 AK4452 XMOS XU208  :thumb:
I have just bought used khadas tone board generic edition = bought it for 80$ with shipment. I hope it will be pretty good - I will let you know probably within a month.


lps_audio

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Re: More Amazing DACs for Peanuts
« Reply #419 on: 27 Mar 2019, 06:48 pm »
Hi everybody,

a bit late to the party I guess.....anyway this is the very thread that introduced me to this forum.

Back then (about 1 year ago) I had bought the Sabaj Da3, so I had googled a bit for reviews/opinions and that is how I found this discussion.

Just like your opinions drove me to buy this dac, I will now post my review/impression after having spent lots of listening hours with it.

I had gotten interested in the Da3 as soon as it had been released, for the simple reason that I already possessed a Sabaj product, the headphnes amplifier named PHA2, and had been very impressed and happy with it.

The pha2 is an amplifier based on the well known ti tpa6120a2 and for the less than 50 euros that I paid for it, it is a killer deal.

I am not an expert in electronics, but looking at the pcb I'd say it is implemented with a fixed gain of some sort, cannot say how much but nothing selectable, and is powered by 5V either from power brick or it also has a mini USB port for portability.

I do not advise people to power it via USB ports tho, there is no noise filtering and that way the amp becomes audibly noisy. I also advise to change the power brick to something cleaner. The included transformer does not sound noisy but somehow imparts an (sometimes overly) warmth to the sound, I am not sure how but it makes the amp sound a bit like a tube amp, with rounded and thick mids.

Construction is very good and solid. Output impedance I never bothered to measure but to me sounds less than the standard 10 ohm seen in most TPA implementations.

The amplification is good ( good enough for me with low impedance cans) but not great. It is rated for 500+ mw into 32 ohms, but honestly I cannot hear them, to me it sounds more like 200-300mw.

However, it does sound very clean, no clipping whatsoever, and it is very cheap. I'd say it is transparent, expecially with an upgraded power supply.

So after this overall positive experience with a sabaj product, I decided to get their Da3 too.

It is a VERY nice entry level DAC.
Good solid build quality, nice thick aluminum case and firm grip on the desk thanks to the silicon pad. The display is very useful and nice. I also liked the solidity of the usb port and the 2.5 and 3.5 mm jacks, never had a glitch with them.

The control keys worked very well, never lost a step, however I do tend to prefer rotary knobs for volume adjustment.
 
As for the sound, the basic sound signature is exactly the typical Sabre 9018 sound : neutral to clinical (depends on personal preferences), very detailed.
I always prefered to use it with the "slow rolloff" setting to make the sound a bit more "analog" even tho I am aware there are conflicted opinions on this, but whatever.

Something that did, however, make a big difference in sound quality, is how clean the power fed to it was and the USB signal quality outputted by the computer source was too.

Just like other users in this thread, I experimented a lot with the so called USB decrapifiers, and found repeatable and definite improvements each time.

So it is very sensitive to the cleanliness of the source, and based on this it can sound from detailed and dynamic/energetic/very airy (clean source) to a bit overly analytic and "digital" (poor source).

Either cases, no background hiss can be heard. It has ok output power but not great, so it is mostly for low imp/high sensitivity cans. Audio Science review forum has measured it and came out fine.

While I have been quite happy with it throughout this past year, at the end of the day I am about to sell it bacause my headphones mostly suit warmer sources that have a more "analog", less detailed sound.

Ask me any further details on the two above products if you wish to.

Regards