I don't know if I mentioned this here or in X-Sabre thread, but I was recently "forced" to give up on my X-Sabre. Everything about it was excellent apart from one thing - RCA outputs were just too hot (too much power) for my amp to handle and that resulted in a high-pitching noise in left channel. Shop I bought it from (audiophonics.fr , great guys to deal with) offered me full refund despite the fact, that my returned X-Sabre was actually not faulty. I figured it would be useless and grabbed (with some additional funds) from them #2 on my previous DAC list - Yulong DA8. Main reason why I picked X-Sabre over DA8 was that I needed pure DAC, nothing more and nothing less. No need to pay up for features I will never use + it looks much cooler :)
I received my DA8 on Thursday, but finally assembled my rig together only 3 hours ago. I didn't plan on listening to anything until the project I am working on is handed to client, but my curiosity won once again.
So I was about to setup my HTPC (running OpenELEC) to stream to DA8 when I realized it's not registering USB audio device. I tried several reboots without luck. Then I tried plugging it to my laptop running Win7 and to my surprise, it still did not work. So I switched to my regular USB cable (from ForzaAudio) and everything clicked in instantly. So first "upset" was behind me - USB cable packed with DA8 did not actually work. But I won't use it anyway, so no harm done.
My second step was, just out of curiosity, to test HP output from DA8 - I was reluctant at first, out of fear that it might actually sound better to me than my Svetlana 2. After putting my headphones on (ATH-EW9), I experienced second surprise - it was literally unlistenable! There were huge cracks, buzzing and background noise, even when music was playing. So I grabbed W3000ANV, plugged them in - and it got even worse. So, my fear that HP out might sound better than Svetlana2 was gone. Well, it just got replaced by being worried how noisy RCA outputs will be.
So I turned Svetlana on, switched DA8 into pure DAC mode and started playing some tracks. I was relieved that there was no noise - dark background as it can get. In this regard, DA8 performed better than X-Sabre. However, after listening to few favourite songs, I realized that even despite no background noise, I am not exactly enjoying what I am hearing. Everything sounds muffled compared to X-Sabre, like I was behind some curtain or something. This is apparent especially in lower frequencies, with X-Sabre, bass was just spot on - punchy, yet controlled and not even close to being muddy.
Unfortunately I don't have time nor skills to compare them in such depth project86 can - and if I could, I didn't have X-Sabre long enough to let it actually fully break in (I had around 100 hours on it, tops). So, from my first meeting with DA8 I was left, well let's say, unimpressed. Out-of-the-box X-Sabre sounded much better (to me!) than newborn DA8. On one side - no background noise, which is the most important at this point, but yet, not as crisp and clear sounding as X-Sabre was. But I keep my hopes up, from I am reading here it seems that DA8 needs some serious burn-in time.