Originally Posted by Iskander71
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?
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.
Originally Posted by Iskander71
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.
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