Just wanted to chime in after a couple of months of using the D18, which I got as a simple, no-nonsense DAC solution: no settings to fiddle with, no need for USB. It does just that, and does it excellently well. It sounds neutral and uncolored to me, and if some people think it's (too) analytical, that fine by me anyway; I'm using the balanced output to my beloved tube amp and -it- provides any "coloration" that I'd like, my choice. The source shouldn't.
Interestingly, even though the V RMS on the balanced out is slightly lower than the previous DAC I used with my setup, the signal output is actually stronger (i.e. I keep the amp's volume level lower, everything else being equal)
Also, they really mean it when they say in the description that the source needs to provide a rock-solid digital stream, I had a number of issues with my (expensive) iPod/Pad/Phone dock which could be rectified on my other DAC by ratcheting up the the jitter correction, but no such leniency on the D18 :/ I ended up using a different dock and it's been all good since.
As far as XLR cables go, I ended up ZAES silver ones (Neutrik connectors etc.) even though I'm not into the whole cable thing, mostly because I found it very hard to find really short ones (~1")? (Other than ordering custom ones which would have been even more costly) And because they were so short, the cost was actually not too bad for what they are. Anyway, nobody should be able to say that the interconnects are holding back the performance of my setup ;)
Edited by TheGrumpyOldMan - 11/12/12 at 1:37pm