Best value SABRE DACs?

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by nickwin, Nov 13, 2018.

  1. nickwin

    nickwin Acquaintance

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    That was good hahahaha, and 100% accurate.
     
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  2. nickwin

    nickwin Acquaintance

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    Yes, I've heard lots of different DAC chips from different manufactures. I don't see why its silly, it seems that everyone here thinks Sabre DACs have a certain sonic character; "shitty". Are you suggesting that all Sabre implementations have that sonic character because of the output stages they use?

    I thought "sounds like the bdp83se" described the sound I was talking about in my OP better than me trying to describe that sound in writing. That was my thought at least.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2018
  3. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    @nickwin:

    That's what I figured. Mytek 192 Stereo DSD for sure. The ultimate in SABRE sound.

    One man's lean, etched, strident, exaggeratedly detailed, and glarey, is another man's exciting and fresh. The HC guys seem to love stuff that sounds like this and probably feel we like warmpoo DACs. It's all relative.

    Don't listen to these hosers recommending SABRE implementations that try to be somewhat normal sounding.
     
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  4. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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  5. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    @nickwin:

    If you want to back off a bit from the SABREness of the Mytek, the X-Sabre is a really good choice. Pretty resolving and better technicalities than the Oppo.

    A used PS Audio PWD2 (Wolfson) is better than all the above. SABRE chip seems to have limits. All of the DACs mentioned have filters that change the transient response to suit various tastes.
     
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  6. zerodeefex

    zerodeefex Grumpiest admin

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    I'd be cautious buying new but the LH Labs stuff generally had great implementations. I use a Vi DAC on my desk at work still and it find it pretty inoffensive compared against other SABRE implementations.
     
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  7. nickwin

    nickwin Acquaintance

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    To everyone who had genuine suggestions (or a funny joke), thank you!

    How many of you have used Sasbre dacs with speakers as opposed to just headphones? I have a hunch (based on not much lol) that they tend to work better with speakers. The bpd83se for example was able to bring some cohesiveness and clarity to a speaker system/room that had always sounded kind of muddy and congested/chaotic with every other source. I think the "etched and exaggerated detail" characteristic Purr1n mentioned actually helped cut through the chaos in that case with very good results. With headphones, which tend to come across as more forward in general, I could see those same traits being more problematic.
     
  8. nickwin

    nickwin Acquaintance

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    Interesting, so the PWD2 uses a Wolfson chip but has the same type of filtering as the Sabres?
     
  9. zerodeefex

    zerodeefex Grumpiest admin

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    Some of us use speakers primarily.

    The Oppo players have all sounded like shit. They're pretty bad SABRE implementations.

    Larry Ho had success because of years of figuring out undocumented functionality only accessible via firmware. Anyone who does a paint by numbers implementation like Oppo ends up with pretty bad results.
     
  10. nickwin

    nickwin Acquaintance

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    Fair enough! like I said that hunch was mostly based on one set of speakers in one particular (not optimal) room but I still think they might tend to be MORE offensive through HPs than speakers for the reasons I already mentioned. If anyone is wondering the speakers were B&W 803s in a huge open room. It worked really well in that case.

    Good stuff about LH. Why do you say to be cautions buying there stuff new?
     
  11. nickwin

    nickwin Acquaintance

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    Ok, so Im going to pass this info along but Im going to suggest he tries out a Modi MB first. At $250 why not, maybe he will come around :)

    Thanks for the suggestions!
     
  12. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    Do, or do not. There is no “trying” Schiit Multibit DACs.

    Actually, just “do”. :cool:
     
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  13. Greg121986

    Greg121986 Facebook Friend

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    As of late, I've found the most important thing to making a DAC sound less crappy is feeding it through the proper interface. This is usually I2S or SPDIF, in order of my preference. I've found remarkable improvements by using something like a Singxer SU-1 and Schiit Eitr. I have to use the SU-1 because I have a lot of DSD. If your "brother" is looking to upgrade, I would try hard to keep something like this in the budget if his source may require the use of USB, or some other inferior interface technology. Several others here have had a lot more experience with this, so I'd encourage reading their first hand accounts on the subject. The notion that you should get a DAC with a particular chip, or that a particular chip will sound a specific way is something that needs to be avoided. IMO, this is a misleading and outdated rhetoric that should be avoided.

    • Secondly, please don't read beyond this point if you're a card carrying member of the Anti Sabre Association.
    • Exectuive Summary: I found two Sabre implementations I like. Both are from Audio-GD.

    There are two very recent ES9038PRO implementations that I really like. This part is also going to enrage a few readers. They're both from Audio-GD. First up is the NFB11.38. This is/was a limited production unit from Audio-GD but I think you can still order it. It is a really simple and small DAC/Headamp/Pre all-in-one unit. I've used it in all of its functions. To my ears, I like it a lot. I have had other DACs with older Sabre chips, but this was the first one with the ES9038Pro chip that I heard. As a DAC, I do not hear the bad things that most people complain about with older Sabre implementations. As an affordable and multi-use piece of equipment, I'd put it head to head against anything out there.

    After I was certain I enjoyed the NFB11.38, I found a used NFB7.77 a couple weeks ago. This lives in my main stereo now. Its USB input is a major drawback so it needs a good SPDIF or I2S. The USB is an older iteration without isolation and extra PSU on the latest unit. Again, none of the problems I've seen people spout off on over the last several years regarding Sabre chips. All of the goodness in detail, tonality, sound stage, "black background," and everything else I've come to expect from high end audio. My last DAC in my stereo was a Holo Spring KTE L3 with I2S by Singxer SU-1. It was a different and unique sound, but I do not miss it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2018
  14. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    Uh, you should explore a few threads around here
     
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  15. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I'm not a big fan of the Holo stuff as I dislike NOS. With the Spring L3, I didn't care for the lack of microdynamics - this more than NOS. This is hardly a good reference point because NOS stuff is too different sounding and the L3 already served its FOTM run.

    The ES9038PRO is supposed to be an improvement. I believe someone at ESS heard the cries of the populace of Alderaan when it was destroyed by a sonic weapon utilizing earlier ESS chips. We won't be buying AGD gear using the SBAF community warchest because we essentially gave the products away (resale seems to become shit after we evaluate them). Perhaps if someone with one these excellent SABRE ES9038PRO implementations can send their units to one of the senior members specializing in evaluating DACs, these claims of sonic excellence can be verified. SBAF would cover shipping and any insurance requirements of course.
     
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  16. Walderstorn

    Walderstorn Friend

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    I'm surprised you didn't like the Holo. Is NOS something that you dislike overall or this particular implementation?

    I will although agree with you on the X-Saber and Mytec. There are very nice and i had no problems with either, just ended up preferring the DS sound of the Gungnir.
     
  17. nickwin

    nickwin Acquaintance

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    I’ve always preferred spdif over usb with the DACs I’ve owned. Havnt tried i2s. I believe he uses spdif as well. It’s funny because years ago everyone seemed to prefer usb and I was the odd one out opting for spdif.

    Thanks for the suggestions. Personally, I’ve avoided audio gd thus far because their circuits tend to look super messy and overly complicated. It also turns me off that they make so many models. I’d rather see a few refined products than 30 rough ones. Id like to actually test those assumptions at some point though! to be honest I haven't looked at their line up in years.
     
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  18. nickwin

    nickwin Acquaintance

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    Fair enough, I generally only read threads that are relevant to me but if I ever consider buying one I’ll do that.
     
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  19. Walderstorn

    Walderstorn Friend

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    @nickwin you can click on "Edit" to change your last message, don't need to double message every time.
     
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  20. nickwin

    nickwin Acquaintance

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    Noted. Is that just so this thread doesn't keep getting bumped up on the list?

    Thanks guys, this info is going to earn me some good advice on anything sports/fitness/travel related :) my brother and I have give and take relationship. He definitely owes me for this one lol.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2018

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