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REVIEW - Yulong Audio Sabre DA8 Reference DAC - Page 40

post #586 of 1596

One further update: the DA8 definitely needs to be broken in.

 

In my case I can be pretty specific about what changes over the break in period, which for me took well over a week.

 

As mentioned in my first note, my primary input  for this DAC is going to be a sampled digital piano program (Ivory II). When I first hooked it up in this way the DA8 was exceeding bright (read LOUD) in the octave C5-C6 (523-1046 Hz) and somewhat bright up higher. Now this is entirely gone for that octave, with perhaps a bit of excess brightness above that. 

 

The bass appears to be a bit stronger, but listening tests evidently show that this is a common misperception resulting from decreasing treble a bit; I'd therefore discount this.

post #587 of 1596

Hello buchignani,

according to my experiment/experience, I had to wait for about 350 hours to get better...

I owe the Head-fi readers some further surprises about DA8..

Best regards..:wink_face:

post #588 of 1596

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.

post #589 of 1596
Quote:
Originally Posted by filuS View Post
But I keep my hopes up, from I am reading here it seems that DA8 needs some serious burn-in time.

Yes filuS, let it 350 burn-in hours et come back later...:atsmile: 

post #590 of 1596
Quote:
Originally Posted by filuS View Post
 

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.

thats really weird that you found the x-sabre rca to be too hot. the x-sabre's rca is at the pretty-typical 2.2Vrms (da8 and many other dacs are at 2Vrms which is very close), and it's the xlr output that is hotter than usual (6.8Vrms vs the more typical 4-5Vrms). i think your x-sabre might actually been defective as i doubt the extra 0.2Vrms is causing problems, though im not sure. did you ever try lowering the volume on your computer with the x-sabre, to see if it fixes the humming (digital attenuation in software)? if it did then its due to output being too hot, but if it didn't it might be something else that was wrong.

post #591 of 1596
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jd007 View Post
 

thats really weird that you found the x-sabre rca to be too hot. the x-sabre's rca is at the pretty-typical 2.2Vrms (da8 and many other dacs are at 2Vrms which is very close), and it's the xlr output that is hotter than usual (6.8Vrms vs the more typical 4-5Vrms). i think your x-sabre might actually been defective as i doubt the extra 0.2Vrms is causing problems, though im not sure. did you ever try lowering the volume on your computer with the x-sabre, to see if it fixes the humming (digital attenuation in software)? if it did then its due to output being too hot, but if it didn't it might be something else that was wrong.

 

First of all - my playback is set to bitperfect streaming, I won't ruin that by playing with software volume. Secondly - I didn't say it was humming, it was high-pitch noise (much like buzzing transformers from cheap wall adapters). Thirdly - you probably didn't read my earlier posts on this - this problem was present even when no input was connected to X-Sabre, it just had to be turned on (without USB cable plugged in). As soon as X-Sabre was turned off, buzzing stopped. Fourthly (heh :P ) - when trying my old amp with much lower sensitivity, this buzzing was not there, so the problem was only with Svetlana 2 + X-Sabre combination. Lastly - I may have been overstating myself - It didn't necessarily have to be problem with X-Sabres RCA being too hot, I just assumed that. But, when I sent it for diagnosis to audiophonics.fr guys, they said they didn't find anything wrong with my unit. So the most logical explanation is that Svetlana 2 is simply too sensitive and is picking up something coming from X-Sabre. And even if I am wrong (which is very possible) and it's something else, well, it does not matter since it does not change the fact my Svetlana 2 did not work well with X-Sabre.

post #592 of 1596
Quote:
Originally Posted by filuS View Post
 

 

First of all - my playback is set to bitperfect streaming, I won't ruin that by playing with software volume. Secondly - I didn't say it was humming, it was high-pitch noise (much like buzzing transformers from cheap wall adapters). Thirdly - you probably didn't read my earlier posts on this - this problem was present even when no input was connected to X-Sabre, it just had to be turned on (without USB cable plugged in). As soon as X-Sabre was turned off, buzzing stopped. Fourthly (heh :P ) - when trying my old amp with much lower sensitivity, this buzzing was not there, so the problem was only with Svetlana 2 + X-Sabre combination. Lastly - I may have been overstating myself - It didn't necessarily have to be problem with X-Sabres RCA being too hot, I just assumed that. But, when I sent it for diagnosis to audiophonics.fr guys, they said they didn't find anything wrong with my unit. So the most logical explanation is that Svetlana 2 is simply too sensitive and is picking up something coming from X-Sabre. And even if I am wrong (which is very possible) and it's something else, well, it does not matter since it does not change the fact my Svetlana 2 did not work well with X-Sabre.

i didn't say that you should run without bit perfect playback, i just thought that trying the dac with digital volume lowered could've helped you confirm/diagnose whether it is an output-level-too-high issue or some other issue. anyway too late now but glad the da8 worked for you

post #593 of 1596

@filuS First, have you installed the DA8 USB driver? Second, have you double checked the DA8's voltage switch to ensure your operating at your country's voltage setting? Third, you should have zero noise coming out the internal amp, otherwise i would suspect it to be defective.

 

Please check those things before dismissing the DA8.

post #594 of 1596
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by filuS View Post
 

-snip-

 

Man, bad luck on this project of yours. Noise on the DA8 headphone jack should definitely not be like that.... sounds like a defective unit. As for first impressions, I'd wait for burn in, and wait until you have some time to really spend listening. But still - I'd be worried that if one part (the hp amp) isn't functioning properly, then the rest may be compromised too. 

 

But definitely do all the usual steps like extensive burn in, swap power cable, etc. 

post #595 of 1596
Quote:
Originally Posted by filuS View Post
 

And even if I am wrong (which is very possible) and it's something else, well, it does not matter since it does not change the fact my Svetlana 2 did not work well with X-Sabre.

It's not the first time I can read a valve item does not get on with a solid state item, although they both are excellent. I hope you find an answer..

post #596 of 1596
Quote:
Originally Posted by brunk View Post
 

@filuS First, have you installed the DA8 USB driver? Second, have you double checked the DA8's voltage switch to ensure your operating at your country's voltage setting? Third, you should have zero noise coming out the internal amp, otherwise i would suspect it to be defective.

 

Please check those things before dismissing the DA8.

I said I am using OpenELEC, Linux based OS - no need for drivers. And not picking up any signal (as I mentioned) was actually problem with USB cable that came with DA8, cable that I normally used works fine.

Second: of course I checked it, I would not risk damaging the unit by incorrect voltage. It shows 230V on back of my DA8 - looks same as on picture #3 http://www.yulongaudio.com/en/product_detail.asp?pid=30 (this should be correct setting for EU). 

Third: well, I don't know what I should think of this - out of RCA it sounds fine (in both, pure DAC and pre-amp mode), just that headphone out is so noisy. Unfortunately we are kind of family of Audio-Technicas and we don't have anything with higher impedance at home (I own W3000ANV, EW9 and CKW1000ANV, and adviced my father into buying M50 :) ).

 

For now I will try to ignore the fact DA8 might not be 100% fine and let it burn in, HP amp is feature I don't care about anyway.

post #597 of 1596
Quote:
Originally Posted by brunk View Post
 

@filuS  have you double checked the DA8's voltage switch to ensure your operating at your country's voltage setting? 

With the wrong voltage the fuse or the dac should be burned...

post #598 of 1596
Quote:
Originally Posted by filuS View Post
 

I said I am using OpenELEC, Linux based OS - no need for drivers. And not picking up any signal (as I mentioned) was actually problem with USB cable that came with DA8, cable that I normally used works fine.

Second: of course I checked it, I would not risk damaging the unit by incorrect voltage. It shows 230V on back of my DA8 - looks same as on picture #3 http://www.yulongaudio.com/en/product_detail.asp?pid=30 (this should be correct setting for EU). 

Third: well, I don't know what I should think of this - out of RCA it sounds fine (in both, pure DAC and pre-amp mode), just that headphone out is so noisy. Unfortunately we are kind of family of Audio-Technicas and we don't have anything with higher impedance at home (I own W3000ANV, EW9 and CKW1000ANV, and adviced my father into buying M50 :) ).

 

For now I will try to ignore the fact DA8 might not be 100% fine and let it burn in, HP amp is feature I don't care about anyway.

maybe its a ground loop issue. try using the optical out of your computer and see if the headphone noise goes away?

post #599 of 1596
There are no optical nor coax outputs on my HTPC, it's small platform PC based on Intel NUC motherboard. I actually do not want other digital outputs, USB is the way to go for me. But I might try using my laptop as a source. Or I could check our set-top-box, I think it has optical out (not sure if i have opt. cabel around here though).

EDIT: It actually could have been the ground loop issue - I hooked DA8 with my laptop and there was no sign of previously encountered noise (from HP out). Oddly enough, I switched back to my HTPC, using same USB port and noise was gone as well. I don't know what it was, but it certainly is not happening now.
Edited by filuS - 11/17/13 at 3:10am
post #600 of 1596

I think the unit is defective and hope you can change it. It seems to me very different, from the other owners, your review about the sound.

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