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REVIEW: Yulong Sabre A18 Reference headphone amp - Page 2

post #16 of 174
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrcasey View Post

Clear communication is a challenging endeavour for any of us, language barrier and translations aside.  Ask your wife if you don’t believe me. J  It is especially challenging via email where you do not have the luxury of the nuances garnered from reading each other’s facial and tonal expressions.  I think it would be unfair to assume or suggest that Grant Fidelity would intentionally try and mislead their customers based on the circumstances of this particular incident alone.  We are all human.  Errors of omission are enviable.  I have no doubt Ian and Rachel will do what they need to clarify this confusion in their product description.


I am always one to give benefit of the doubt, but there are companies doing this very thing and it would be foolish to think otherwise.

post #17 of 174

I did not intent the last part of third paragraph to be in "bold".  Can't seem to fix it.

post #18 of 174
Quote:
Originally Posted by brunk View Post


I am always one to give benefit of the doubt, but there are companies doing this very thing and it would be foolish to think otherwise.

I agree with you and do not want to come across as confrontational.  I just felt it is important to share my experience with this particular company before things head in a direction that is IMHO not appropriate/accurate in this case.

post #19 of 174

I agree and don't want to misconstrue it as such either, but I would be doing fellow headfi'ers a disservice by assuming it's an honest accident, especially since other companies do this. It's good to educate and voice these things :) It's good too that the community is knowledgeable of what's going on, that way companies will stay honest.
 

 

Quote:
I agree with you and do not want to come across as confrontational.  I just felt it is important to share my experience with this particular company before things head in a direction that is IMHO not appropriate/accurate in this case.

Edited by brunk - 6/27/12 at 2:30pm
post #20 of 174
Thread Starter 

There, review edited for clarification. All mention of "balanced output" has been replaced with "XLR output", and a special note was added in the description of the design. Hope that makes it more understandable.

 

I seriously doubt that Ian or Rachel are out to deliberately confuse anyone. They sell dozens or maybe hundreds of products (I'm too lazy to count), from a wide range of manufacturers. Ian clearly has a preference for tube-based amp designs, but aside from that it seems like anything goes: they sell low priced gear and high priced gear, massive horn speakers and compact monitors, flea-powered SET amps and huge 600 wpc monoblocks, CD players and music servers... aside from a love of tubes, I don't think they are really tied to any one specific technology. Some of their gear is balanced, plenty of it is not... I doubt they are even fully aware of the HeadFi "balanced craze", much less actively trying to deceive in order to cash in on it. 

post #21 of 174

I'm sure you're right that's it's a total honest mishap, but there's nothing wrong with being an educated consumer that this is going on with other companies. However, engineers of other companies that design their own products and provide their own product descriptions (or a deliberate lack thereof) know better and don't have an excuse.

 

I am thinking of a solution to eliminate confusion amongst consumers. Including the use of any XLR connection on a non-balanced product should state in the product's description "For connection convenience only" because it's going against what XLR was designed for, hence the misleading information everywhere.

 

The "balance craze" is only craze because there's so much confusion over this very thing and it needs to get fixed. However, a balanced topology is technically superior, no denying that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post

There, review edited for clarification. All mention of "balanced output" has been replaced with "XLR output", and a special note was added in the description of the design. Hope that makes it more understandable.

 

I seriously doubt that Ian or Rachel are out to deliberately confuse anyone. They sell dozens or maybe hundreds of products (I'm too lazy to count), from a wide range of manufacturers. Ian clearly has a preference for tube-based amp designs, but aside from that it seems like anything goes: they sell low priced gear and high priced gear, massive horn speakers and compact monitors, flea-powered SET amps and huge 600 wpc monoblocks, CD players and music servers... aside from a love of tubes, I don't think they are really tied to any one specific technology. Some of their gear is balanced, plenty of it is not... I doubt they are even fully aware of the HeadFi "balanced craze", much less actively trying to deceive in order to cash in on it. 


Edited by brunk - 6/27/12 at 3:04pm
post #22 of 174
Quote:
Originally Posted by brunk View Post

 

No, it's not obvious from the casing pictures (I understand it, but general people don't, we both glanced over the SE) and the literature in the specs on Grant Fidelity's website is misleading. Now I see why Rachel from Grant Fidelity totally ignored my question about the pot...sigh. Egg on them for being so secretive about it. Glad I did my due diligence and pre-ordered the Mjolnir. I'm sure it's a great amp, but GF is on my caution list now. Now I need to crack open the D18 for closer inspection...sigh.

 

Update: D18 DAC is truly balanced and the RCA is fed off XLR, not other way around.

 

POLL:

How many people bought this under the assumption of "true balanced"?
 

 

 

To all other readers: 

D18 is a true balanced D/A converter. 

A18 is not a true balanced headphone amp. 

 

There is no secret agenda at Yulong or Grant Fidelity. This information was provided by Yulong during the review process and was passed on to the reviewer as well. If anyone read our site description and has questions, they can write to Grant Fidelity ask the question straight forward, and Grant Fidelity give a straight forward answer without hesitation. Grant Fidelity didn't build our name for misleading customers.

 

In nowhere on Grant Fidelity website says A18 is true balanced. 

 

Rachel @ Grant Fidelity


Edited by Grant Fidelity - 6/27/12 at 4:41pm
post #23 of 174
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grant Fidelity View Post

Brunk, 

 

I ignored your question about the pot that you sent by email to Grant Fidelity - which I read personally and asked you right away what is your order number so that we can provide support to you. You confirmed in writing that you purchased your A18 from other vendors. You are NOT a Grant Fidelity customer, but you expect Grant Fidelity to provide you technical support. My silence to your question is to tell you that please go ask your seller for free after-sale support. We only provide technical support to our paid customers - end of story and end of communication. If the message is NOT clear to you, I will get a translator to get it very clear to you in simple plain English. 

 

...

 

Rachel @ Grant Fidelity

Rachel, that is a flat out lie. I have never purchased a Yulong A18, nor stated such. You also never asked me about an order number either. I never asked for technical support either. Please entertain me some more...mad.gif The message is MUCH clearer to me now. Thank you for the very unprofessional reply that reflects my above suspicions.

 

EDIT: This seems so grossly negligent that you may possibly be talking to the wrong person. So now you have one more chance for benefit of the doubt... regardless your public reply is astoundingly unprofessional and brings discredit upon Grant Fidelity.

 

EDIT 2: I understand on the website it doesn't say "true balanced" but guess what? Within a very short time, more than one person has already thought it was. Therefore, your description can use some updates. You're welcome for the criticism...


Edited by brunk - 6/27/12 at 4:20pm
post #24 of 174
Quote:
Originally Posted by brunk View Post

Rachel, that is a flat out lie. I have never purchased a Yulong A18, nor stated such. You also never asked me about an order number either. I never asked for technical support either. Please entertain me some more...mad.gif The message is MUCH clearer to me now. Thank you for the very unprofessional reply that reflects my above suspicions.

 

EDIT: This seems so grossly negligent that you may possibly be talking to the wrong person. So now you have one more chance for benefit of the doubt... regardless your public reply is astoundingly unprofessional and brings discredit upon Grant Fidelity.

 

EDIT 2: I understand on the website it doesn't say "true balanced" but guess what? Within a very short time, one person has already thought it was. Therefore, your description can use some updates. You're welcome for the criticism...

Brunk, if you are not the same customer I am referring to, you can accept my apologies. I have removed the contents on my previous post stating you were the customer I thought you were. 

 

However, this doesn't change my opinion on how you imply Grant Fidelity being dishonest or misleading in your posts. My position stands the same on any of such implication. 

 

I looked through my emails - most people don't use their real name or email on forum - but one email sender resembles your name on the forum. if that was you  - you did asked us questions about A18 and we have responded to it within 24 hours. It is not at all related with A18 being balanced or not at all - but your posts here seem to lead others to believe that Grant Fidelity withheld information to customers or potential customers when it is comes to A18 being true balanced or not. I don't know where you get such an impression that Grant Fidelity being dishonest or needs forum policing to stay honest. 

 

I have made the information related with A18 / D18 being true balanced or not very clear in my previous post. I trust there will be no misunderstanding from anyone from now on. 

 

Our flagship tube amp has balanced input - we never said it's true balanced and always tell customers the same whenever asked. If anyone has doubt about features of a product that Grant Fidelity carries, they are more than welcome to clarify with us via email or phone at any time. One person's assumption doesn't equal to the other one is hiding information on purpose. Everyone is more than welcome to have benefit of doubt; but implying our business being dishonest is not welcomed in public forum and we will speak up on the matter without hesitation. 

 

Rachel @ Grant Fidelity 


Edited by Grant Fidelity - 6/27/12 at 4:42pm
post #25 of 174

No, my first question went something like..."Can it drive the T1 at 600ohms/300mw?" was answered after 24 hours, because you asked Yulong himself, which I appreciated. My second question about the A18 pot went unanswered/ignored. Sure enough, it turns out there has been confusion over this amp (myself included) and caused me to speak out. My intention wasn't to imply Grant Fidelity as a dishonest company, but that the potential was there. I'm not leading others to stay away from you, I am educating the community of these very real issues and confusion that is happening in the industry. Which is using XLR outside its intended design without further description. So far, one confirmed purchaser has thought it as "truly balanced" (read previous reply) therefore don't you think the description can use some clarification and not omission? Actually, In my opinion, I think you are obliged to update your description now. Don't you think that would help prevent unhappy customers?

 

EDIT FOR CLARIFICATION:

 

Dear HeadFi community,

 

Grant Fidelity is an upstanding and honest business that takes their products seriously. I DO NOT under any circumstances imply otherwise. If you are confused about Grant Fidelity's product description of balanced/differential items using XLR connectors, please inform them here so that they may see the confusion for themselves. Thank you for your input that allows Grant Fidelity a very valuable opportunity to learn through feedback.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grant Fidelity View Post

Brunk, if you are not the same customer I am referring to, you can accept my apologies. 

 

However, this doesn't change my opinion on how you imply Grant Fidelity being dishonest or misleading in your posts. My position stands the same on any of such implication. 

 

I looked through my emails - most people don't use their real name or email on forum - but one email sender resembles your name on the forum. if that was you  - you did asked us questions about A18 and we have responded to it within 24 hours. It is not at all related with A18 being balanced or not at all - but your posts here seem to lead others to believe that Grant Fidelity withheld information to customers or potential customers when it is comes to A18 being true balanced or not. I don't know where you get such an impression that Grant Fidelity being dishonest or needs forum policing to stay honest. 

 

I have made the information related with A18 / D18 being true balanced or not very clear in my previous post. I trust there will be no misunderstanding from anyone from now on. 

 

Our flagship tube amp has balanced input - we never said it's true balanced and always tell customers the same whenever asked. If anyone has doubt about features of a product that Grant Fidelity carries, they are more than welcome to clarify with us via email or phone at any time. One person's assumption doesn't equal to the other one is hiding information on purpose. Everyone is more than welcome to have benefit of doubt; but implying our business being dishonest is not welcomed in public forum and we will speak up on the matter without hesitation. 

 

Rachel @ Grant Fidelity 


Edited by brunk - 6/27/12 at 5:22pm
post #26 of 174

project86 - First of all, thanks for the review. The Yulong A18 is one of the amps I am considering at the moment. One area of concern for me is what you described as "Class A hum" driving certain low impedance/high sensitivity cans. Have you discussed this potential issue with Yulong/Grant Fidelity? Is this something that can or will be corrected in the future?

 

This is probably getting a bit off topic however, with respect to Grant Fidelity. I doubt they were intentionally trying to deceive anyone into thinking this was a balanced headphone amp. Most likely some of the technical details (Balanced vs XLR input/output) were lost in the translation. Both Rachel and Ian are honest business individuals from my experience.
 

post #27 of 174
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2000impreza View Post

project86 - First of all, thanks for the review. The Yulong A18 is one of the amps I am considering at the moment. One area of concern for me is what you described as "Class A hum" driving certain low impedance/high sensitivity cans. Have you discussed this potential issue with Yulong/Grant Fidelity? Is this something that can or will be corrected in the future?

 

This is probably getting a bit off topic however, with respect to Grant Fidelity. I doubt they were intentionally trying to deceive anyone into thinking this was a balanced headphone amp. Most likely some of the technical details (Balanced vs XLR input/output) were lost in the translation. Both Rachel and Ian are honest business individuals from my experience.
 

Hi, thanks for the comment. I have not asked Yulong about the noise yet - but I will. The thing is, the noise isn't really something that is clearly anomalous. It takes a really sensitive headphone to notice - in fact, I've gone through some others and nothing else does it except for my Utrasone Signature Pro. Grados don't do it, nor does my Edition 8. IEMs are more of an issue but that's the case with plenty of other amps too - I just don't think it was designed with those in mind. 

 

But I'll check with Yulong and report back. 

post #28 of 174

I just purchased some Shure 535’s to make due until I get my custom IEM’s from Heir.  I find the A18 background noise level quite acceptable with these.  There is definitely a noticeable hiss (as compared with my LDC 2’s) when no music is playing and the amp is at full volume.  At normal listening levels I do not notice any issues.  Even with Ravel’s “Bolero”, where the first parts are quiet relative to the background, the noise is barely perceptible and does not seem to impact negatively on the listening experience.  I have a number of recordings where the master tape hiss is more prominent.  As projrect86 noted, this is going to vary among IEM’s used.  I just thought I would post this to hopefully assist people with compatibility questions. 

 

Project86:  Thanks for making me look up the definition of "anomalous".  I never hurst to expand one's vocabulary. :)


Edited by mrcasey - 7/6/12 at 12:41am
post #29 of 174
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrcasey View Post

I just purchased some Shure 535’s to make due until I get my custom IEM’s from Heir.  I find the A18 background noise level quite acceptable with these.  There is definitely a noticeable hiss (as compared with my LDC 2’s) when no music is playing and the amp is at full volume.  At normal listening levels I do not notice any issues.  Even with Ravel’s “Bolero”, where the first parts are quiet relative to the background, the noise is barely perceptible and does not seem to impact negatively on the listening experience.  I have a number of recordings where the master tape hiss is more prominent.  As projrect86 noted, this is going to vary among IEM’s used.  I just thought I would post this to hopefully assist people with compatibility questions. 

 

Project86:  Thanks for making me look up the definition of "anomalous".  I never hurst to expand one's vocabulary. :)

 

Thanks for posting your experience. It would probably help if I had more of the popular universal IEMs, so I could give people a better reference. But I mostly use custom IEMs these days. Of those, my Earproof Atom, Heir 8.A, and 1964 Ear 1964-T all sound great through the A18. This amp sounds excellent with all of them - dynamic and punchy but also smooth and detailed. 

post #30 of 174

I am looking forward to hearing the Heir 8.A's on the A18.


Edited by mrcasey - 7/6/12 at 1:59pm
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