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REVIEW - Yulong Audio Sabre DA8 Reference DAC - Page 8

post #106 of 1394
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post

 

Optical is somewhat limited in absolute terms. But for our purposes it does well enough. The Yulong DA8 tops out at 24/96 over optical but some of my other DACs can reliably accept 24/192. Whatever the case, Toslink is generally the least respected option by audiophiles, and some DACs (Matrix X-Sabre for example) choose to leave it out altogether. 


Hello project86,

I wish I had bought Matrix X-sabre, but I changed my mind because I have been told before you wrote it that there was a problem with firmware. So I went for the Yulong but no regret since I could have tried Toslink Input and could compare to USB Input.

Besides, a friend who is a Professional Audio Engineer is working on a new DAC, to compete TOTALDAC, http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/totaldac/1.html. He was surprised on my system, when we compared Toslink and RCA digital input. He couldn't notice any differences except to tell me that perhaps Optical input was better. For his new DAC, he wanted to "forget" optical input until he listened to my system, once again. He just wanted to keep digital AES/EBU, coaxial and I2S inputs. I'm not sure about it, now. I advised him to consider USB Input since a lot of people want to use their PC as a digital source. But it's not so easy to implement a proper USB interface.

Have you ever tried the Toslink Input? I do agree with your approach concerning Optical input. I have not finished my tests yet and if I am already pleased with optical input, I'm happy. I hope USB Input finally is better. On another hand, USB interface is a marketing argument for HD tracks on computers. If we just could use CD tracks properly, depending of course on the recordings' qualities, we could live very happy IMO... I have listened so many big and very expensive systems which do not work that I understand that some people do not understand why to buy so expensive ones.

Anyway, I trust my ears and enjoyment to hear music and alive concerts. I think I have got an enough good system to evaluate the different factors and items. I have five sources, three DACS, three preamplifiers, three amplifiers, and three pairs of loudspeakers including JBL Array 1400 and Magnepan 3.7. And a lot of friends' golden ears to help me.

Best regards, to be continued...

post #107 of 1394
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by teiki arii View Post


Hello project86,

I wish I had bought Matrix X-sabre, but I changed my mind because I have been told before you wrote it that there was a problem with firmware. So I went for the Yulong but no regret since I could have tried Toslink Input and could compare to USB Input.

Besides, a friend who is a Professional Audio Engineer is working on a new DAC, to compete TOTALDAC, http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/totaldac/1.html. He was surprised on my system, when we compared Toslink and RCA digital input. He couldn't notice any differences except to tell me that perhaps Optical input was better. For his new DAC, he wanted to "forget" optical input until he listened to my system, once again. He just wanted to keep digital AES/EBU, coaxial and I2S inputs. I'm not sure about it, now. I advised him to consider USB Input since a lot of people want to use their PC as a digital source. But it's not so easy to implement a proper USB interface.

Have you ever tried the Toslink Input? I do agree with your approach concerning Optical input. I have not finished my tests yet and if I am already pleased with optical input, I'm happy. I hope USB Input finally is better. On another hand, USB interface is a marketing argument for HD tracks on computers. If we just could use CD tracks properly, depending of course on the recordings' qualities, we could live very happy IMO... I have listened so many big and very expensive systems which do not work that I understand that some people do not understand why to buy so expensive ones.

Anyway, I trust my ears and enjoyment to hear music and alive concerts. I think I have got an enough good system to evaluate the different factors and items. I have five sources, three DACS, three preamplifiers, three amplifiers, and three pairs of loudspeakers including JBL Array 1400 and Magnepan 3.7. And a lot of friends' golden ears to help me.

Best regards, to be continued...

 

I've not had problems with my X-Sabre but apparently certain people have. Comes down to their particular computer because the Matrix folks can't replicate it. Weird. But DA8 is a fantastic choice also. Glad you enjoy it! Doesn't matter if most people feel optical is inferior.... if you like it, then use it and enjoy it - that's all that matters.

post #108 of 1394
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post
if you like it, then use it and enjoy it - that's all that matters.

Yes, that's right. I am not on the forum to assert something is better than another but just to share my feelings about this DAC. I consider also interesting to know the behaviour of it as the burning is going on. Henceforth, people can imagine what to expect. My little contribution to your great forum claims nothing more. As far as I am concerned, Optical Input is a good reference point to appreciate USB Input improvement.

I'd liked to agree with your opinion on it, but goal has not been reached yet. I cross fingers and work on USB input parameters to find the good solution (with a Mac). I take time to conclude...wink_face.gif


Edited by teiki arii - 8/3/13 at 12:56am
post #109 of 1394

Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iskander71 View Post

I'm very interested in DA8.
I use asynchronous converter Nuforce U192S plus Icon HDP with linear power supply LPS-1. Icon HDP output is used with HE-400 or Marantz PM-6004 with MA Silver RX2. 

 

I have two questions:

1. Is power supply in DA8 linear or not? I'm a bit confused as external linear power supply for Icon HDP is quite big and heavy. It makes huge difference in sound quality when Icon HDP is coupled with HE-400. I'm not sure if DA8 built-in power supply is efficient enough for headphone amplification circuitry. Please correct me if my assumption is wrong.

2. Seems that DA8 DAC USB input is synchronous. My understanding that asynchronous USB input gives quite noticeable gain in sound quality. I would be grateful if someone could share his experience about how DA8 performs when USB input is used? Will I gain in SQ if I switch from Icon HDP to DA8? 

Thanks.

 

Reply by Project86: 

 

The DA8 does indeed have a linear power supply with a large toroidal transformer and fairly extensive voltage regulation, etc. I've also got the LPS-1 and if you open it up you'll see the guts look very similar to what's found in the DA8. It's just that the DA8 has it all in one enclosure rather than a separate section. 

 

The DA8 uses an asynchronous USB implementation. It's quite good - USB input sounds better than SPDIF to my ears, unless I use a super-duper transport like the Audiophilleo AP1 with PurePower. I'd say the built-in USB is probably better than your NuForce 192S. 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iskander71 View Post


Thanks for the answer, Project86.
I'm surprised to hear that USB sounds better than SPDIF as a general rule SPDIF is always better that USB. Or maybe in DA8 SPDIF input just very average and not on a par with USB? 

 

Reply by Project86:

 

That was the case until a few years ago, but is generally no longer true. A well done asynchronous USB input can have lower jitter and be less transport dependent than even the best SPDIF implementations.

 

The DA8 uses a proprietary input buffer for SPDIF signals, combined with the integrated digital audio receiver function in the ESS Sabre DAC chip itself. So it's quite well thought out.

 

 

 

Project86,

 

Thanks a lot for your excellent review! I'm now happy owner of Yulong DA8. You were absolutely right when suggested that Yulong DA8 should sound better than my old setup - U192S converter coupled with Nuforce Icon HDP. I must say that even straight from the box Yulong sounded much much better than Nuforce. 

 

Till now Nuforce doesn't have working drivers for U192S for Windows 8. On my laptop with Windows 8 with USB3 extensible controller which supports both USB2 and USB3 ports I had to install nuforce driver for Win 7 in compatibility mode. I had even worse experience with HiFaceTwo, their Win 8 driver never worked with above mentioned USB controller. I managed to make it working in Win 8 in compatibility mode only and by setting buffer value at maximum. Sound wise it was even worse than U192S.

For playing WAV files I use JPlay and with U192S for files with sampling rates above 88.2kHz I had to increase Jplay buffer settings for preventing hickups and even spurious JPlay hang-ups.

With Yulong my experience was absolutely opposite and very pleasant. I downloaded two drivers from their website, one is a main package and the other – ASIO driver, installed them without any hassle on both Asus i7 laptop with Windows 8 x64 and Intel NUC i3 with Windows Server 2012 Standard. After that connected Yulong and vuala, it was correctly recognized by both OS’s on both computers straight forward. Moreover, it works perfectly on either USB ports: 2.0 and 3.0! This is very impressive as on various audiophile forums there are a lot of posts reporting multiple problems with various DAC’s having problem with USB drivers for Windows 8.

 

In JRiver and JPlay two types of output are available: Yulong Kernel Streaming driver and Yulong ASIO. In JPlay I set output device to Yulong KS and I would like to highlight that now JPlay is capable to play all PCM files with sampling rate up to 192kHz with buffer setting set to direct link i.e. no buffer  which means that latency wise Yulong DA8 is very efficient! Same is applicable to JRiver buffer setting, which I also set to minimum, i.e. 0.02 sec!

I tested Yulong DA8 in two modes: with built-in headphone amplifier driving HE-400 and as a pure DAC with headphone amplifier switched off. In the latter case it was connected to Marantz PM6004 amplifier which was driving Monitor Audio Silver RX2 speakers. Yulong was connected to headless Intel NUC with Windows Server 2012 via USB with JPlay in streamer mode. JRiver+JPlay are installed on control PC with WS2012. Streaming was done via WLAN 802.11N.  

 

I should also mention that I’m using highly optimized audiophile version of Windows Server 2012 Standard. For details please see relevant topic in JPlay  forum: http://jplay.eu/forum/computer-audio/release-of-new-windows-server-2012-audiophile-core-edition-this-weekend/

The developer of WS 2012 audiophile optimizer is the same person who was behind well known audiophile Windows 8 – original thread is on CAD forum.

 

Now regarding my impressions from Yulong DA8 sound. It’s very difficult to describe but there are so many pleasant nuances in the sound which are audible even on the monitors: nice reproduction of vocals, bass has a lot of timbre in it, so drums sound very accurate and lifelike, trebles are also very collected, a lot of air around instruments, sound stage and scene reproduction are also very impressive. I would even dare to say that overall sound is very analogue and highly enjoyable. 

 

In my opinion Yulong Sabre DA8 in the right setup is worth every penny spent on it. I really like it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Edited by Iskander71 - 8/3/13 at 2:14pm
post #110 of 1394
Thread Starter 

Iskander71 - thanks for your impressions! I completely agree. 

post #111 of 1394
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post

Iskander71 - thanks for your impressions! I completely agree. 

+1 - I also couldnt be happier with the DA8, especially for the price. What more can one ask for? Well, i guess my only one and minor gripe would be to have the option to disable the filter, but that usually does alot more harm than good. biggrin.gif


Edited by brunk - 8/3/13 at 12:00pm
post #112 of 1394
Thread Starter 

I forget to mention - a few pages back we had been discussing galvanic isolation. I confirmed with Yulong that the DA8 does not have that feature. Since USB is powered via the precision low noise power supply rather than the USB line, Yulong apparently felt it was good enough (my words, not his) and didn't require anything else. Make of that what you will. 

post #113 of 1394
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post

I forget to mention - a few pages back we had been discussing galvanic isolation. I confirmed with Yulong that the DA8 does not have that feature. Since USB is powered via the precision low noise power supply rather than the USB line, Yulong apparently felt it was good enough (my words, not his) and didn't require anything else. Make of that what you will. 

 

I also discussed with Yulong about the topic of galvanic isolation before. Basically since Amanero doesn't come with galvanic isolation, Yulong has tested adding isolation at the USB input or the I2S output, but both of which would degrade the sound quality. A good solution would require adding opto-coupler isolator chip within the Amanero, but basically that's almost re-engineering the whole Amanero board and the effort require is too huge.

post #114 of 1394

I wrote to Amanero (Italian company). They said: It's simple for the "designer of the DAC" add galvanic isolation. 


Edited by Esprit - 8/4/13 at 4:13am
post #115 of 1394
Quote:
Originally Posted by Esprit View Post

I wrote to Amanero (Italian company). They said: It's simple for the "designer of the DAC" add galvanic isolation. 

 

It's simple to add galvanic isolation to any DDC, you can either isolate the USB input by usb isolators or the I2S output by a transformer (the required circuits are easily found in, e.g., diyAudio), but whether such isolation do more good than bad depends on the rest of the design.

 

Following is a quote from a DDC designer that I know: "If you choose to use usb isolators, then sample rate will become limited. If you choose to isolate the output, you are adding significant amounts of jitter to the signal."


Edited by cwtim01 - 8/4/13 at 7:09am
post #116 of 1394
Quote:
Originally Posted by cwtim01 View Post

 

It's simple to add galvanic isolation to any DDC, you can either isolate the USB input by usb isolators or the I2S output by a transformer (the required circuits are easily found in, e.g., diyAudio), but whether such isolation do more good than bad depends on the rest of the design.

 

Following is a quote from a DDC designer that I know: "If you choose to use usb isolators, then sample rate will become limited. If you choose to isolate the output, you are adding significant amounts of jitter to the signal."

Regardless the circumstances, I for one appreciate Yulong implementing it the way he did (which makes galvanic isolation Audio Nervosa IMO). Most companies don't bother even adding it, let alone measuring AND listening to it like Yulong does. 


Edited by brunk - 8/4/13 at 7:22am
post #117 of 1394

Hello everybody,

here we are! Yes, it is! After 150 hours of burning, USB Yulong DAC is doing what I have been waiting for: Music. It's very precise and texture has come very closed to Optic Input. It is still a bit "dry" for me, but it's getting better and better. Accuracy is very good now, nearly excellent, effectively better than Optic Input. 

But where it is a very good DAC, it is on HD tracks. It seems that the DAC (for the time being ?) is at his best when he has not to convert. I would say, the less he converts, better it is.

Upsampling before attacking DAC is still better than letting DAC doing it, but DAC Upsampling has become "hearable".

I would say after this 150 hours burning, that the Yulong DA8 DAC passed from "dustbin" to "stardust".. As the time goes, perhaps DAC Upsampling should be better than Computer Upsampling, who knows? I have to wait to assert it.

 

So, after 150 hours burning, my parameters changed:

Audirvana+ on Macbook Pro late 2011:

- "DSD over PCM standard 1.0" to play DSD,

- "Mode Integer" ON with "Mode 1",

- "upsampling 2x"

 

Best regards.

To be continued...

post #118 of 1394

This leads me to a question for non DSD play.

 

Would this DAC benefit from a high end USB Converter?

 

In the case of a high end converter would the Coax or AES / EBU inputs sound any better than the USB input?

post #119 of 1394
Quote:
Originally Posted by preproman View Post

This leads me to a question for non DSD play.

 

Would this DAC benefit from a high end USB Converter?

 

In the case of a high end converter would the Coax or AES / EBU inputs sound any better than the USB input?

Project86 said he found improvements with a DDC. I'm waiting on mine to return back from loan, so i'll be able to provide my feedback sometime soon.

post #120 of 1394
Thread Starter 
USB is already very good, but my AP1+PP is better by a reasonable degree. Aside from extreme cases though, I don't think most disc based transports will beat the native USB. And lower to mid range DDCs won't either.
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