Originally Posted by not_sure
You have to choose carefully in this price range! No old Esoteric but world class dacs. I hardly think that some owner of Meitner MA1 for example would like to change it for this Yulong DAC after listening on quality speakers. And from second hand it goes for $4000..still expensive but..
I've had an MA-1 in house and while I do think it has a certain charm to it (definitely superior to his EMM Labs gear which always sounded a bit weird to me), I'd say the average user would actually do better with the Yulong DA8. Yes, you read that right.
Why? The DA8 has a superior USB solution. While the MA-1 USB section is powered by the Vbus of your computer (and has no galvanic isolation), the Yulong's well-regarded Amanerro USB board has been modified to draw power from the linear supply of the DA8. So for the average user who just wants to plug in a MacBook Pro or whatever, the DA8 will completely decouple itself from all that noise - especially with an easy tape mod to their USB cable. The MA-1? It will sound mediocre through that same USB connection. Yes, I've tried it myself so I know, the MA-1 sounds inferior over USB unless used with a fancy music server using a dedicated USB solution such as a SOtM card.
Would a Meitner owner ever condescend to switch to a lesser known brand like Yulong? I dunno. I tend to approach these things with very little preconceived notions regarding price point - some cheaper DACs are excellent, and some expensive DACs use odd design choices, or just plain suck altogether. Not always, but sometimes.