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Yulong Sabre D18 thread: reviews, impressions, discussion (full review added 2/5) - Page 56

post #826 of 1009
Quote:
Originally Posted by rawrster View Post

I got the D18 in the mail today.
[snip]

It's quite clear that the D1 is in a higher league than the D18 but that isn't something to be ashamed of. You may be asking why I got this if the D1 is better. The reason is that this way I can switch out the Concero (which I have been having usb issues and was getting annoying using a usb/spdif converter when the main draw is usb) in my main rig. I can have the D1, emotiva mini X amp for my HE6 rig while I can use this setup for the HD800.

It is quite obvious to me that the D18 is a smooth sounding dac. It does make this rig sound a bit more easy going than before without losing much detail. 
Have you given the D18 some time to burn in, along with yourself undoing psychoacoustics? If so, what makes the D1 a cut above the D18 in your opinion? I find the smoothness of the D18 is what makes it an audiophile's reference DAC. You also have it paired with the Mjolnir correct? I love the extra energy you get from that amp, especially for live recordings. With the Beyer T1's unsurpassed transients and musicality makes it a trio that is pleasurable for hours on end. Enjoy your D18 smily_headphones1.gif
post #827 of 1009
It was my first impressions so they could change. I bought the d18 used so burn in shouldn't matter. It is more of an audiophiles dac for sure and had a different approach than my d1 which also has the ess9018 but sounds more neutral . my pairing will be with the mjolnir and hd800.
post #828 of 1009
I liked the D18 > Mjolnir > HD800 combo. For my taste, the D18s smoothness went really far towards helping the latter two still sound musical and engaging since they can be considered analytical by some. Then again, I really enjoy a smooth and warm sound although I really like micro-detail and speed as well (not a slow syrupy unbalanced fan either). The D18 strikes a great balance in that regard for me.

I purchased a new Apex Glacier portable amp a couple of months ago. At first it was hard to like it a whole lot coming from my Woo WA22 tube amp. It sounded a little too far on the analytical sou d for my liking at first, but after a couple of weeks of adjusting to its personality I could really appreciate its more neutral approach without extra warmth coloration. I hope I like the Schiit Gungnir I just ordered as well.

I haven't heard an Anedio or Invicta yet, but from Project86's impressions they are a step up in SQ. I think I hear things pretty similarly to him from past experience so I really out alot of weight into his findings personally, but we all hear differently.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rawrster View Post

It was my first impressions so they could change. I bought the d18 used so burn in shouldn't matter. It is more of an audiophiles dac for sure and had a different approach than my d1 which also has the ess9018 but sounds more neutral . my pairing will be with the mjolnir and hd800.

Edited by Sid-Fi - 3/16/13 at 11:36am
post #829 of 1009

It might be worth noting again that the D18 has a somewhat different presentation through the balanced output vs the se output. The difference being that the balanced output presents a slightly warmer approach. If your preference runs to more detail oriented sound the se output may be your choice. When I read comments about the D18 sound I always wonder if the user has tried the two outputs (or which one they are commenting on). Granted most equipment is designed to have the same tonal balance through both outputs (assuming they have both) but the D18 took a different approach. I don't really know if it was intentional or it just turned out that way but the two outputs really do sound different. I have used the balanced outputs with balanced headphones and se headphones and it maintains it character difference with the se outputs. 

post #830 of 1009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chodi View Post

It might be worth noting again that the D18 has a somewhat different presentation through the balanced output vs the se output. The difference being that the balanced output presents a slightly warmer approach. If your preference runs to more detail oriented sound the se output may be your choice. When I read comments about the D18 sound I always wonder if the user has tried the two outputs (or which one they are commenting on). Granted most equipment is designed to have the same tonal balance through both outputs (assuming they have both) but the D18 took a different approach. I don't really know if it was intentional or it just turned out that way but the two outputs really do sound different. I have used the balanced outputs with balanced headphones and se headphones and it maintains it character difference with the se outputs. 
Indeed i have noticed this myself. Most designs will just branch the SE output from the BAL output. However, you can see the 2 discreet analog stages in the IV section, having different opamps, resistors, and capacitors. Alot of effort went into the analog part of this DAC, hence my love for it not sounding digital at all.
post #831 of 1009

I had ordered the D18 but got cold feet and canceled fearing it would sound too laid back, lacking the snap and timing I get with my EE Minimax.

 

Yesterday I borrowed a Rega DAC to compare with my EE which I find can be unforgiving on some recordings.

 

At first listen I thought WOW - nice weight and much smoother than the EE but after a few tracks I began to feel something was missing. What initially felt like good bass was now starting to feel wooly and lifeless and really bad recordings were still...pretty bad anyway.

 

So after about an hour of playing with the various filter settings I put it back in its box and hooked up the EE. The rhythm and snap were back. I've been listening to it for a couple of hours in random mode and have no doubt or urge to hook up the Rega to give it another try.

 

Now if I was sure the D18, which is also an ES9018 based DAC, could give me the smoothness of the Rega with the "sparkle" of the EE I would re-order one right away.

post #832 of 1009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Turn&cough View Post

I had ordered the D18 but got cold feet and canceled fearing it would sound too laid back, lacking the snap and timing I get with my EE Minimax.

 

Yesterday I borrowed a Rega DAC to compare with my EE which I find can be unforgiving on some recordings.

 

At first listen I thought WOW - nice weight and much smoother than the EE but after a few tracks I began to feel something was missing. What initially felt like good bass was now starting to feel wooly and lifeless and really bad recordings were still...pretty bad anyway.

 

So after about an hour of playing with the various filter settings I put it back in its box and hooked up the EE. The rhythm and snap were back. I've been listening to it for a couple of hours in random mode and have no doubt or urge to hook up the Rega to give it another try.

 

Now if I was sure the D18, which is also an ES9018 based DAC, could give me the smoothness of the Rega with the "sparkle" of the EE I would re-order one right away.


I havent compared he two myself, but i know there was a couple guys who had and said the D18 is better overall than the Rega. Give the D18 a try, there's a no-hassle return policy after all.

post #833 of 1009
Quote:
Originally Posted by brunk View Post


I havent compared he two myself, but i know there was a couple guys who had and said the D18 is better overall than the Rega. Give the D18 a try, there's a no-hassle return policy after all.


I don't doubt that it's better than the Rega but is it better (enough) than the EE to justify upgrading.

 

Also - two things that bother me about the Yulong (and the EE for that matter) are the fact there is no HP jack and the problems with locking on to low quality(set top boxes, etc) or high res (24-192) signals. The sound would have to be a considerable step up over the EE for me to hit the "add to cart" button.

post #834 of 1009
I had D18 for six months and thought it definitely had a lot of snap, pace, and sparkle like you are describing - it just had a nice organic warmth to it as well that i think people exaggerate. It certainly doesnt accomplish that by being slow and syrupy. However, I haven't heard the mini max. As great as I feel the D18 Is, im not sure I would expect it to be a "clear" upgrade over the EE, since the EE is a respected and more expensive than D18 to begin with if i recall corectly. I would imagine from reading impressions that the D18 would probably be a tad better, but I would doubt it would be a full step above as if you were moving up to a clearly higher price point. Anyway, my two cents in case it helps.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Turn&cough View Post

I had ordered the D18 but got cold feet and canceled fearing it would sound too laid back, lacking the snap and timing I get with my EE Minimax.

Yesterday I borrowed a Rega DAC to compare with my EE which I find can be unforgiving on some recordings.

At first listen I thought WOW - nice weight and much smoother than the EE but after a few tracks I began to feel something was missing. What initially felt like good bass was now starting to feel wooly and lifeless and really bad recordings were still...pretty bad anyway.

So after about an hour of playing with the various filter settings I put it back in its box and hooked up the EE. The rhythm and snap were back. I've been listening to it for a couple of hours in random mode and have no doubt or urge to hook up the Rega to give it another try.

Now if I was sure the D18, which is also an ES9018 based DAC, could give me the smoothness of the Rega with the "sparkle" of the EE I would re-order one right away.
post #835 of 1009

I've now had mine for quite a while and I'm also not sure where that "warm, organic" label came from. It's not cold or overly analytical, but I would not therefore call it "warm". I feel my M-DAC is actually warmer on most filters, which why I prefer it for some instances. I think if I had to put a label on the D18 in comparison it would clear and neutral, in the best possible way.

post #836 of 1009
Now I'm regretting not jumping on a great deal for the D18 in the FS forums a few days ago. I was really contemplating it but got cold feet too because of the 'warm and laid back' impressions people kept giving. I love a warm and laid back sound but I was afraid it would be overdone when paired with the HD650.

Got a D100 MKII coming in though, which I'm sure is great too. Maybe it's a blessing in disguise as it saved me a bit of money.
post #837 of 1009
Quote:
Originally Posted by EraserXIV View Post

Now I'm regretting not jumping on a great deal for the D18 in the FS forums a few days ago. I was really contemplating it but got cold feet too because of the 'warm and laid back' impressions people kept giving. I love a warm and laid back sound but I was afraid it would be overdone when paired with the HD650.

Got a D100 MKII coming in though, which I'm sure is great too. Maybe it's a blessing in disguise as it saved me a bit of money.

 

That probably was the D18 I picked up so I don't regret it :) The D100 is a great dac imo of course. I had the original version and it was very good for how much it cost. It's a good all in one where you can upgrade the amp to a better one than the internal amp and have a very good sounding rig that doesn't cost a fortune. 

post #838 of 1009
Quote:
Originally Posted by rawrster View Post

That probably was the D18 I picked up so I don't regret it smily_headphones1.gif The D100 is a great dac imo of course. I had the original version and it was very good for how much it cost. It's a good all in one where you can upgrade the amp to a better one than the internal amp and have a very good sounding rig that doesn't cost a fortune. 

Haha nice pick up, it really was a killer deal. I'm pretty confident I'll be happy with the D100 as it is really versatile. Should hold me over until I upgrade down the road when other offerings come out. Really curious about the Yulong DA8 and the D8, as well as the Audiolab Q-DAC.
post #839 of 1009

It's a slippery slope after the D100. I've gotten more expensive dacs after that but it does have very good value but probably not the best resell value.

 

As for the D18 I really like it. It is a better match than than the D1 I have. I lose out a bit in micro detail and such but nothing major. It is slightly more smooth and I like the coloration with the HD800. I rearranged my rack slightly to move things around and now I have more space on my desk. My D1 can go to the mini X amp which is only SE and my Mjolnir can be paired with a balanced dac which is something I preferred since I wanted a balanced dac to go with the balanced amp.

post #840 of 1009
rawrster, I had a feeling it was you that bought that D18. I was literally ready to send PayPal about three hours after you did. It's all good though. I am glad to see you are enjoying it. Your right though the yulong units have less resale value. The last two that sold that I saw went for $525. That's a little steeper resale discount than you would normally see which seems to be norm for Chinese Hifi regardless of quality. I ended up picking up a Schiit Gungnir since they are universally heralded and I didn't feel like having no DAC for three weeks. I'm also done buying new and selling used. I have been getting killed doing that.

EraserXIV, I had the Yulong D18 for six months and paired with HD 650 and a tube amp Woo Audio WA22 and it was marvelous in my opinion. I needed to consider my tubes and cables for synergy, but was able to really enjoy it. The D18 has an energetic snappy pace to it and good detail retrieval, both things that HD 650 can really benefit from. I agree with TheGrumpyOldMan though, the description that D18 gets of being so warm and smooth has a tendency to create exaggerated impressions if you have not heard it. To me, D18 is more about getting the great pace and micro detail of a Sabre implementation without being a little on the analytical side. However it clearly is warm relative to analytical DACs so I can't fault the descriptions either. That's the challenge we face describing audio with words at this level.
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