If you're like me and have mostly had boxy DACs over the years, the look can be striking, along with a large color LCD screen that provides useful information at a glance, and a handy large volume control knob. Even as audio performance continues to improve to such extreme levels of performance on DACs, as discussed in Part 1, I do believe there is still some way forward where functionality and other "creature comforts" can be expected. In my opinion, for the build and feature set, the Sabaj A20d 2022 Edition is currently only around $400 and represents the excellent performance and value of the flagship ESS ES9038PRO-class audio converter.
Sabaj A20d 2022 does a good job of keeping THD+N reasonably consistent across sampling rates. Once you increase the sample rate to 176.4+, the Topping D90SE shows excessive 3rd harmonic distortion (shown here; word on the street is that a recent firmware update didn't improve this). Although Sabaj performs much better, 3rd harmonic compensation may still be adjusted at 352.8kHz and above. Note that this is an extreme perfectionist nitpick, as the 3rd harmonic has dropped to around -130dBFS! Overall, this is an exceptional level of performance for a modern PCM DAC with RCA and XLR line level outputs.