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post #676 of 1011
Quote:
Originally Posted by itwriter View Post

I have had my Yulong Sabre D18 for going on two months now and while I love the rich detail and authority of the sound, I cannot get used to the muffled upper midrange.  There is no air in the sound.  Admittedly, XLR out is a bit better than RCA, but honestly it's as if Yulong tried to drive all the air out of the upper registers. The treble extension is there, but it is muffled, recessed.  Very frustrating.  It is beginning to depress me.  I've started looking for brighter-sounding speaker cables.  Yes, I know this is a forum for headphone users, but nowhere on the Internet is the D18 discussed as thoroughly as in this thread. Does anyone have any advice?  My amp is a Marantz PM 7004 and my speakers are Mordaunt-Short Mezzo 6.  My current cables are Van Den Hul CS-122, which are kinder to the upper registers than some other Van Den Huls.

The Marantz won't be helping that either...You might end up at the decision that you need one of those two to be a little more neutral, or even bordering bright...

post #677 of 1011
Thanks, you are right about the Marantz, of course, but it sounds so good with my CD player and turntable. But thanks; a dfferent amp may well be the answer.
post #678 of 1011

thanks everyone for your reviews. the yulong unit sounds like exactly what i'm looking for at the moment having read up on benchmark, MHDT labs, lavry & most recently eastern electric gear over the years. i recently upgraded my speakers to awesome energy RC-10s that have the first metal dome tweeters i've ever owned. they are a little less image precise than the overly polite treble NHT superzeros i had that hated my NAD receiver, but have more of that "live sound" speed like maggies have, but paired with a tired old sony DVD changer and treble happy panasonic class D receiver that did wonders for my former silk domes, i'm experiencing a sound that seems best described as "thin". bright or forward would be a little harsh. the detail i was getting in the small room i moved out of was amazing on discs like planet drum & dark side of the moon with tons of "jump factor" with percussion. maybe some acoustic treatment might have helped as well as not having a system off center to accomodate an imaging impairing door left of my speakers where my superzeros had a larger room with egg crate foam in back and to the sides of the speakers.

 

now i have a larger room and will build bass traps before anything, but still think my system could benefit from a little warmth and especially a "high end" DAC. i wasn't liking the eastern electric DAC plus $1100 premium over the previous $750 minimax that included a volume control that could be used to directly drive an amp. the $700 price of the sabre 18 is much more acceptable and i'm ready to try gear with some of the warmth i've formerly avoided like the plague now that i have a clinical amp & speaker combo. i especially like the idea of being able to return such an "expensive" piece of gear if it isn't what i'm looking for.

 

eventually, besides making bass traps for my corners, i plan on switching to a "media tank" as my source and using room correction freeware to EQ my tracks as i save them to the hard drive, probably a $200 western digital tank even if it doesn't support high res files. maybe a decade ago my sony player was acceptable, especially with soft domes, but now that i have much better resolution, it's time to upgrade my source. i might switch to a gain clone too, but think my old player is the weak link in my system.

 

i just get so tired of nothing but reviews of multi-thousand dollar gear i know i'll never own. $700 for a decent entry level DAC is much more to my speed. to whoever asked if they were the only members here intending to use the yulong with CDs in the early pages before the studio owner bought a unit, no, but i like the idea of a hard drive with ALL of my music on it and with all of the tracks room corrected too better. i only wish my TV had a digital out that actually works, it's optical out is just for show.

 

now to just save up enough money to make my most ambitious hifi purchase ever. i've never spent over $300 on any piece of gear yet. i just hope that i don't lose too much of that high end sparkle that really makes metallic percussion ping like soft domes can't in the switch.

 

 

Quote:
Does anyone have any advice?  My amp is a Marantz PM 7004 and my speakers are Mordaunt-Short Mezzo 6.

 

see if you can find a panasonic class D receiver used. with the energys i just bought, imaging air was the most noticeable improvement i could hear. i wasn't getting that effect out of my superzeros. if your speakers can do air, it might help. in talking to a marantz/cambridge dealer, he noted that warmth is a marantz house sound, so you're having the exact opposite problem as me... i have a 2-3x clinical system where you have a 2x warm one. i think he said cambridge gear is more detail oriented too. system synergy matters. it's too bad you can't do in home testing of gear as much these days as you could in the good old days. the only way to properly hear anything is in your system and room. if your speakers have soft domes, good metal domes will add some air too. the sound you describe reminds me of how much i hated my NAD receiver with my superzeros. class D really woke my treble up with soft domes.


Edited by budget minded - 12/25/12 at 9:47pm
post #679 of 1011
Quote:
Originally Posted by itwriter View Post

I have had my Yulong Sabre D18 for going on two months now and while I love the rich detail and authority of the sound, I cannot get used to the muffled upper midrange.  There is no air in the sound.  Admittedly, XLR out is a bit better than RCA, but honestly it's as if Yulong tried to drive all the air out of the upper registers. The treble extension is there, but it is muffled, recessed.  Very frustrating.  It is beginning to depress me.  I've started looking for brighter-sounding speaker cables.  Yes, I know this is a forum for headphone users, but nowhere on the Internet is the D18 discussed as thoroughly as in this thread. Does anyone have any advice?  My amp is a Marantz PM 7004 and my speakers are Mordaunt-Short Mezzo 6.  My current cables are Van Den Hul CS-122, which are kinder to the upper registers than some other Van Den Huls.

I agree that your amp might be the limitation. I used to drive my Energy C-3s with a Marantz 4003 and while it sounded good, I ran into harsh treble and loud choral and orchestral pieces would turn into a mess a moderate volumes. Granted it's a low end ht receiver. When I upgraded to a Nakamichi PA-7 (got a good deal used) that extra power really made the Energys sing. Literally a 20x improvement, and these are bookshelf speakers here. Not that your Marantz is a bad amp, just that your speakers might need a bit more juice.

Actually what brought me here is that the Nak is so revealing it immediately identified the inferior dac in the Marantz, which is now relegated to preamp duty. I was looking at the Rega, but now I'm thinking the Yulong might be a good fit for me.
post #680 of 1011

i remember, nakamichi used to have a brighter sound along with harman kardon. i was just looking marantz up today, and saw a few other mentions of soft, warm or overly forgiving sound. rotel tends to have a really detailed sound too.

 

besides a more revealing amp, in the short term, you could try applying digital room EQ or even boosting the air region artificially. if a lot of the sound is actually tuning, you might be able to correct the dropout.

 

the most extreme measure would be to switch to fast detail oriented speakers, but you can get a taste of class D sound on the cheap with amps like trends' 15wpc units for around $100 and if it agrees with your system, go for a more powerful amp if you like or need higher power.

 

a lot of time class D is described as dry, clinical and even ruthless, but i think of it as fast and detailed, but definitely lacking in warmth, romance and emotion of sound. to my ears, the panasonic unit embarrassed NAD and sony in particular for detail, but onkyo too which sounded slightly grainy in comparison. some of the latest amps like king rex and cary are supposed to sound even better. it excels in midrange and treble detail to me, but in a system with some warmth and forgiving elsewhere like the sabre or soft domes.

post #681 of 1011

I was seriously considering this DAC as a replacement for my EE  Minimax but in the end decided to hold off. The idea that an ES9018 based DAC could sound too smooth/laid back for some people had me wondering... What tweaks had Yulong implemented to get it to sound this way?  Is the ES9018's true nature being subdued, is it an artificially induced warmth? What is the tradeoff?

Maybe I'm reading too much into the whole thing and would have been perfectly happy with the D18's sound but in the end I decided to keep my EE for a while longer despite the fact that it may be a little less forgiving on poor recordings.

I've tweaked my system accordingly and avoid crappy recordings as much as possible. I can live with the 2-3% of my music collection that makes my ears ring and make me reach for the volume control.

In audio you always have to live with some kind of compromise - even in the megabuck range.

post #682 of 1011
Thread Starter 

That's a good question - what is Yulong doing differently than most other ES9018 implementations? There are a lot of aspects (digital filters, system clock, jitter levels) that play a part but I'm guessing the main difference is found in the output stage. I really do think it's the most important aspect of tuning the sound on a device like this. 

 

I've heard DIY designs with module DAC sections where the user could throw in a daughter card containing a PCM1792 or CS4398 or WM8740, etc, and the swapping of the DAC chip itself never made a huge impact on the sound. There were some differences but nothing night and day. 

post #683 of 1011

regarding the eastern electric gear, i think, i recently read an article about rolling opamps for different sounds with some being hyperdetailed and others warmer, and i imagine you could make capacitor mods that would change the sound too.

 

getting the sabre sounds like it definitely requires proper system matching and would be a wet blanket in warm and forgiving systems. mine really needs some warmth, and i like the idea of getting it from a DAC more than a tube amp or preamp. i was interested in the eastern electric because of it's "giant killing" reputation at reasonable prices, and because you can chose between solid state and tube outputs but the new $1100 isn't reasonable to me, and it sounds like the sabre is even better still at a $400 savings too. the minimax reputation for being a little unforgiving sounds like a bad match in my system too.

 

if it doesn't work out, i'll just return it.


Edited by budget minded - 12/30/12 at 1:21pm
post #684 of 1011

hmmm... have been doing more reading of "underground gear" that has little reviews outside of forums like this and am starting to be interested in kingwa NFB dacs as those are half the price or less than the yulong, and the wolfson chip's natural sound quality is described as more musical than detail oriented than sabre DACs, so it sounds like a similar philosophy to the D18 without circuit bending to voice a sabre chip at an incredible value. does anyone know of any comparisons between the yulong and NFB 2 or 3 or eastern electric units that are about the same price used.

 

i'm a bit put off by the repeated descriptions of the D18 softening sound. i love speed and details and wouldn't want to give that up over my current sony DVD player which sounds really quick with metallic percussion on aluminum domes. i should try my panasonic DAC first though as i think it's a bit warmer than the sony which was bad with my superzeros, but maybe more natural with higher resolution.

 

i wish audio magazines would do shootouts of affordable gear instead of concentrating on single reviews of unobtanium. every time i THINK a DAC sounds perfect for the price, it's negatives compared to other units come to light. even with my sony player, i don't think my system sounds fatiguing at all. once my speakers were broken in, i got a lot of enjoyment from hours of listening at low levels, only there wasn't much in the way of warmth and weight in the lower midrange down through the bass. i'm almost inclined to think that maybe EQ or subbing would solve most of the problem, but, i do prefer the warmer sound of my cube 30 over my clinical, but nice clip + player for those who are familiar with both as this IS a headphone forum. the cube doesn't sound sluggish at all to me, just more liquid and relaxed. THAT'S the direction i want to go, but not to an extreme, from my sony's ancient DAC.

 

anyone have any experience with the kingwa units or any other sub $500 DACs that have a nice balance between detail and ease without grain? maybe another way to describe my system's synergy besides lacking midbass warmth is that it's really detailed and fast and not fatiguing, but it makes me anxious a little, not in a stressed way and not exactly in an excited happy way, but just more alert. i really love the newfound air and treble speed, but vocals just don't have as much weight as they used to. maybe the 40Hz claim of my speakers is exaggerated, or the new treble extension highlights the bass rolloff in a way my treble polite superzeros didn't.

 

it's frustrating every time i think i found my 1st external DAC, it's limitations like benchmark being "sterile & grainy" etc. make me have doubts. it probably doesn't help that one has to read a few pages of forum to find a brief user review light on details or comparisons.


Edited by budget minded - 12/31/12 at 12:24am
post #685 of 1011

it was the room. the system is warm and soft now like sony gear sounds. it was squarish before, with a large bay window just a couple feet behind the speakers with reflective plastic louvers and me sitting a yard or so in front of a glass door plate rack that spanned most of the width of the divider to the kitchen with wooden lower walls the same distance. the floors with concrete with low carpet. the speakers were only a couple feet from the back wall with a 32 inch widescreen only inches behind the font baffles where it's a foot back now for a quick music fix. the new room is wider and deeper with very different, if not ideal ratios on a wooden floor with medium pile shag carpet. that switch alone along with unpacked boxes serving as diffusers and the sound is much warmer. i won't be needing a yulong any time soon now. the new room reminds me of the sound of my superzeros in a little bit deeper room LEDE treated. surprisingly, the empty subwoofer boxes i used as stands didn't impart much boom in the sound.

 

all those hard reflective surfaces in something almost a cube was REALLY bad. the living room was a big selling point on my new place. more volume and better wall ratios. i was a little pleased to have eyeballed a setup here within an inch of centered each way 1st try. old room was bright and clinical, new room is warm and relaxed at low levels with nice bass for such small speakers.

 

an improvement in resolution wouldn't hurt, but now i know why the original sound seemed so bright. next step will be getting 4 nicely damped cinder blocks for speaker stands with something in between to keep the energys from getting scratched. it's a very satisfying combo.... energy RC-10s, an old sony DVD player, and a panasonic class D receiver in a decent room. maybe the NHT tweeters were better than i gave them credit for. the treble flattening makes the aluminum domes sound so much more relaxed now.

 

a good room, or at least a properly treated one can make more of a difference than even a speaker swap. 4 cheap concrete blocks should make a nice improvement over a cardboard box. getting rid of that should give some resolution back, especially with blue tack. sorry to hijack the headphone forum with speaker and separates talk. my AKGs are decent and light in the bass, but i just use them for PC & portable.

 

i'd hope the difference between decade old sony and yulong is significant. that and room tuning should do a lot for my sound. you know, i'd like to find a source of high fidelity public domain music to make a binaural dummy head (have one... THAT is my sonny cassette headphone tech) recording EQed, for my binaural mic too recording of some real out of the head and forward imaged headphone fodder. the mic does weak center images maybe in part because it's a small beauty school trainer head.

 

that would be a real treat for all the canheads here... putting my binaural field recordings of streams, fireworks, trains, a summer city sunset, water fountains and crowd responses online. i'd like to get a clean sounding digital front end over the low S/N cassette eventually. nothing sounds as good over headphones than binaural encoded ambience.

 

energy RC-10 speakers ARE NOT bright or thin! they're nice budget bowers with a twist of old school boston, infinity, M&K, NHT (dynaudio/LS5/celestion even?) with the ports plugged semi aperiodic style. i really liked the speed and imaging of NHT classic 3s, but all of that aluminum gave it a slight ping sound sometimes. 5 1/4" is a nice balance between speed and bass with kevlar too in the RC-10s. 6 1/2" is too much for midbass to me, but makes for decent bass in 2 or even rare 3 ways. i've regained some respect for NHT soft dome treble today. it would have sounded hyped up in the cube room too. oh, if only i could crank this baby up in here!

 

oh!, i need to try my panasonic DAC again, and look for the news years, a few years ago, drum circle tracks i made before my cassette or batteries froze up. one or two of the jams was funky and a good musical demo for binaral. i can't share my binaural bootleg. my best sounding recording i think so far though is the city ambience near an intersection i made. you can hear the summer air in it it if that makes sense.


Edited by budget minded - 1/1/13 at 8:54pm
post #686 of 1011

Things aren't looking good for my D18.  It's freezing up for a split second every 3-15 seconds.  I tried another optical cable to make sure that wasn't the issue.  I also downloaded the latest sound drivers for my Windows 8 PC.  I'm going to try hooking up a CD player to the optical connection, to make sure it's not the optical connection.  Otherwise, it's going back.  Very disappointed.
 

post #687 of 1011

optical isn't the best connection. you might want to try an optical to coaxial converter. the sabre DAC chip is tempermental, and i've read of a couple people having trouble with optical connections if not with the yulong, with another sabre based DAC. in general, optical sucks because it's more jitter prone. i couldn't get my TV's optical out to work at all and was annoyed that it doesn't have a coax. i think there are optical to coax converters out there very cheap. i seem to recall one particular one being popular but didn't pay much attention as tosilink only is never an option for any piece of gear for me.

post #688 of 1011

Is optical generally inferior to coax?

post #689 of 1011
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasBuck View Post

Things aren't looking good for my D18.  It's freezing up for a split second every 3-15 seconds.  I tried another optical cable to make sure that wasn't the issue.  I also downloaded the latest sound drivers for my Windows 8 PC.  I'm going to try hooking up a CD player to the optical connection, to make sure it's not the optical connection.  Otherwise, it's going back.  Very disappointed.
 


You might want to get a usb to coax converter, that should fix it. From CD player to optical D18, there shouldn't be a problem. I tried the optical out from my mac to D18 it works fine.

post #690 of 1011
Quote:
Originally Posted by AManAnd88Keys View Post

Is optical generally inferior to coax?


Well that's what some people said, but other like how it sounds. So, it's up to personal preference I guess.

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