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YULONG D200 Impression : ES9016 Balanced DAC + Class A Single End Headphone Amp + Balanced Pre-amp

post #1 of 304
Thread Starter 
Have planned to visited Yulong for some time already, finally confirmed the date and dropped by during the Easter holiday. It is an unexpected treat that I run into Yulong's grand product launch day. They officially launched the D8 reference DAC, A8 reference headphone amp and the long awaited D200 just hours before I arrived.

I spend about 3 hours in Yulong's Shenzhen workshop, audition all three new products, and a quick factory tour in Yulong facilities. The D200 is indeed an amazing all-in-one unit, I simply cannot resist the temptation and bought one home. This is probably the first unit arrive at customer hand even in Mainland China.

Lets look at some photo first, I'll add impression to Yulong D200 gradually - I'll be away immediately after the Easter holiday for 1 week, so I probably won't have time to listen to the D200 until I comeback from my business trip.

Open Box

Yulong pack this one up for me in person, he is definitely a hands on guy from the ground up.

Double Box packing, good for serious traveling

The actual packing box is quite tough, reinforced at both sides, so you should receive the D200 in good shape

The Box is really plain, just a serial number label on the side, with Yulong's autograph label.

Open up, well protected by foam.

Finally something interesting, ....

Nothing fancy, just the D200, a USB cable and a power cord. Yulong said the User Guide is still in printing, I'll receive that later.

Although this looks "standard" to me, but I'll keep this in the D200 packing just in case, as some DA8 users reported that not all USB cables works well with Yulong DAC.

Finally I get my hands on the D200, exciting moment.

The D200 is identical in width to DA8 and A28, but with black chassis instead of silver, which mean you can stack it up with A28 and still looks good.

The workmanship is actually better then most Mainland China gears that I have owned or tried out previously (which is quite a lot consider I am in Hong Kong), and at RMB3380 (!US$543), I think this is a steal.

The control is simple, a 6.3mm headphone jack with 80 steps volume is the bread and butter of D200 front panel. The Input button will toggle through the Coaxial, Optical, AES and USB in sequence. There are supposed to have four digital filters build in but I need the manual to explore that. There is also a jitter on/off which will help to deal with lower quality digital filter (when on).

You have all the Digital input you needed. I probably will stick with Coaxial for a while, but I have very high expectation on the USB input as Yulong has spend a lot of time to refine that part.

The D200 has a pair of RCA for single end output, and a pair of XLR for balanced output. Yulong is a firm believer in Balance audio design, so I'll advice you to use the Balance out whenever you can.

D200 has build in pre-amp function, you can use this analogue connector to line up with active speakers, or a power amp or a headphone amp., or if you want to use it as a dedicated DAC, you can a actually turn off the headphone amp and preamp function by long-press the volume button and the unit will become DAC.with fixed level output.

One of the unique feature of D200 (and DA8) is that you can use the XLR analogue output to pair with balanced headphones. You probably need to build a adapter cable for that purpose, Yulong has provided some instruction at the following link:
(will translate the pin-out for English reader later)

Not all DAC will work with balanced headphone in this manner, Yulong has purposely design the DA8/D200 with this in mind, if you read the spec. carefully, you can find the following lines:
●Balanced pre-amplifier output with buffer, which can be used as balanced headphone amplifier
Technical Specifications :
Full Balanced Output level:4.2V

This is my headphone lineup:

Yulong has given me an adapter cable on the spot after audition, I shall use this with my Alpha Dog in the future

I'll test the single end headphone out with my HD700, Sony Z1000 and various IEMs.

And finally the RCA output from the D200 will be the source to my Koss ESP950.

I'll write up more on the detail of the Yulong visit next visit, mainly on comparing the D200 with DA8 and A28, Yulong has kindly provided three headphones (HD650, HD800 and balanced modded T1) during my audition, I hope this will be a fun impression for D200 when I completed.


Initial Impression (with HD700)

Headphone out vs XLR (with HD700)

D200 vs DA8 (with Yulong explanation)
Edited by Andykong - 5/26/14 at 2:35am
post #2 of 304
Thread Starter 
Specification and Highlights of D200 DSD 32bit 384KHZ DAC/Headphone Amp/Preamp All-in-one

This ultra high performance to cost ratio, 32bit 384KHZ DSD DAC is developed based on our highly acclaimed Sabre DA8. It comes with simplified operation, compact yet detailed construction, and a full set of interfaces: USB, TOSLINK, SPDIF and AES for digital inputs, and XLR, RCA plus 6.35mm headphone out for its application flexibility.
Further to its first class measurement performance, our sound optimizing team, which is formed by senior hifiers and professional music industry experts, has spent enough time to fine tune the sound. The result is a perfect balance between dynamic, resolution, and fullness. It is optimized for all kinds of musics.

D200 utilized ESS9016 as its heart, accompanying OP275 as LPF, OPA1632*2 as buffer and preamp. Headphone output is high current class A design constructed with MJD243/253 transistor with a output short circuit protection. High quality power supply includes Canadian Plitron toroidal transformer and 10 ways independent regulations. All Components are decided by extensive listening test.
There is a unique digital shaping and buffer design to improve the digital signal quality. Furthermore, an ultra low phase noise oscillator combined with DPLL automatic frequency switch make a very reliable clock.

There is a jitter filter which is can be set on (for lower quality digital signals) or off (for high quality digital signals) to best fit your equipments.

The LCD display, together with LED indication light make the operation easy and intuitive. The LCD dims 80% after 5 seconds idle. User settings are auto saved. And you can choose from 4 filter modes and 2 jitter eliminator modes to mix match a sound character you like!

There is a 80 step volume control, which is a perfect simple set up for studio monitor users. You can turn the pure DAC mode on, which will bypass volume control and shut down headphone amplifier, for a ultimate DAC performance.

The USB solution is based on Xmos U, featured 3 low phase noise oscillators in asynchronous mode. It supports DSD and PCM 32bit 384KHz, and compatible with Mac OSX, Linux and Windows.

●THD+N less than 0.0005%, idle noise 2uV
●USB supports 32bit, 384KHz PCM signal
●DSD native / Dop support
●4 different filter modes
●Jitter eliminator switch
●Filter mode, jitter control switch can bring different sound characters with different combinations
●High precision clock-auto-set DPLL
●80 steps volume control
●Single ended/Balanced pre-amplifier output
●Balanced pre-amplifier output with buffer, which can be used as balanced headphone amplifier
●Work as pure DAC when headphone amplifier and pre-amplifier circuit turned off
●Class A single ended headphone amplifier
●LCD/LED display. Easy operation. 80% dim after 5 seconds idle
●Auto-save configuration
●Solid aluminum case. Button, volume knob and feet are made from aluminum blocks.
●100V-240V global voltage.

Technical Specifications :
●USB Input format support: PCM 16-32bit 44.1Khz 48Khz 88.2Khz 96Khz 176.4Khz 192Khz 352.8Khz 384Khz 。DSD64, DSD128
●Operating system support: Mac OSX, Linux with UAC2 compliant, Kernel.KS/Wasapi/WDM/ASIO Drivers for MS Windows from XP to Win8 32-64bit.
●Inputs: Optical, Coaxial, AES/EBU: 16-24Bit, 44.1-192KHZ
●SNR: -125dB.
●Dynamic Range: >122dB.
●THD+N: 0.0005% (This is our test equipment's lowest resolution)
●Frequency Response: 20-30KHz-0.2dB
●Crosstalk -130dB
●Full Balanced Output level:4.2V
●Headphone amplifier output power: 600Ω:70mw 300Ω:150mw 150Ω:280mw 32Ω:1W
●Power consumption: <30W.
●size: 250*180*45mm.
●Net Weight: 1.6Kg

Edited by Andykong - 4/22/14 at 6:27am
post #3 of 304

Take your time and enjoy that new gear. Looking forward to impressions.

post #4 of 304

Great thread and I look forward to your review. Did you take any photos of the Yulong facility while you were there that you might post? 

post #5 of 304

Nice. I also look forward to your impression.

Depending on how neutral this device is, I may found the dac I will purchase in the next two months. If the integrated amp is also as great as some say/guess, I will have a Yulong A100 amp to sell as well.

Now back to ripping more cd's as flac...

post #6 of 304

I am also eager for some impressions, although I listen to bookshelf speakers, not headphones, and would use it only as a USB DAC.It will be a few months before I raise the money, and the D200 is still not listed at the PC HI FI SHOP website.I have just e-mailed Yulong with a complaint about the amateur, un-serious and insaulting way they treat customers.I remember sending them 2 e-mails when the D100 was available, and never received an answer.I did the same a month later...still no answer.Official European agent...this is laughable.

  I wonder if the D200 is somewhat based on the Audiolab M-DAC, as there are so many similarities between the two ?

post #7 of 304
Originally Posted by Andykong View Post

The workmanship is actually better then most Mainland China gears that I have owned or tried out previously (which is quite a lot consider I am in Hong Kong), and at RMB3380 (!US$543), I think this is a steal.


Nice. Who is sellng it for that price?





 I spend about 3 hours in Yulong's Shenzhen workshop, audition all three new products, and a quick factory tour in Yulong facilities. The D200 is indeed an amazing all-in-one unit, I simply cannot resist the temptation and bought one home. This is probably the first unit arrive at customer hand even in Mainland China.


Thanks for taking one for the team.:smile:.  Are Yulong aware that you are doing this review? 

post #8 of 304
Originally Posted by BrainFood View Post


Nice. Who is sellng it for that price?



The prices in China are often lower than export prices. Since he was at Yulong factory he may have been given a special price. I live in Asia so I occasionally order directly from shops in the mainland not from export resellers and the prices are always better. I admit with some items I have been forced to order online just like you would. Depends on the item. Sometimes I have to purchase though a local dealer and I get killed on the price. Local prices for high end gear here are very high with  import duty and taxes.  

post #9 of 304
Thread Starter 
I have taken some photo indeed, but I need to clear that with Yulong before I release that, I can cover the tour in report form but maybe after the initial impression of the DAC.
post #10 of 304
Thread Starter 
I can confirm in short that the D200 is neutral sounding, The headphone amp is in par with DA8 headphone amp. but with different presentation. Yulong has never hide that the headphone can be considered as a cut-corner implementation as it share the same power supply with the DAC, so it is single ended and will not be very powerful. Having said that, I owned the NuForce HDP previously, and Yulong's cut-corner bundle is more powerful and capable then the HDP for sure.

In addition to that, using the XLR out for balanced headphone is a big surprised, and I'll come to that in more detail later.
post #11 of 304
Thread Starter 
I have wrote my first part impression already, but that is in Chinese and have published in the "home" forum where Yulong is based,

I'll rewrite that in English later, and hopefully in the next few days, in between odd hours in my business trip in Mainland China.

The D200 is re-work from the DA8, I don't think it has anything to do with the Audiolab M-DAC,
post #12 of 304
Thread Starter 
The price I quoted is actually the official price in mainland China, you can check out the Yulong Taobao shop for detail:

Yulong is a regular in audiophile/headfi forum, he'll show up answer to questions and interact with forum members frequently, I'll give him this link for reference when the time is right, but I didn't get his consent or anything before I write anything that is supposed to be public information and opinion.
post #13 of 304

A comparison with Audio-gd NFB-28 should be interesting. I have set my eye on that but this D200 can be another option.

post #14 of 304

would plugging in headphones mute the preamp?

post #15 of 304
Thread Starter 
Just before I dash off for my business trip to mainland China, I had spend two hours to check out the D200 briefly. I used my DAP (iBasso DX100) as source, and using the bundled 6 inches coaxial cable to connect into the D200. I use HD700, factory headphone cable to the single end PO of D200.

I have a small collections of around 40 songs across different genres and used them to check out HiFi system and hardware in past years, these songs are more or less my "measurement tools", aka ruler. I must have heard these song/recordings over hundred times already, so while these might not be the latest "state-of-the-art" recording, I am very familiar with them, and they serve the purpose to develop a decent impression quickly. Being rooted in Hong Kong, my choice of album might not be something familiar to others here, so I'll try to describe the choice of music in slightly more detail.

Vocal is always the most important part of my daily listening, so I started off my listening with 13 songs from 10 different singers (4 male, and 6 female). I can really enjoy the D200/HD700 pair on these songs as this combo are fairly involving and lively. Billy Jean (Winterplay) is awfully sweet, and The Sky is Blue (Sonny Boy Williamson) is thick and solid. Vocal is not the strong suit of HD700 but D200 indeed has put up a good fight for this combo. The vocal and instrument balance are very good, so if you are looking for extreme emphasis on vocal, you probably need to check out other headphone with D200. The lively presentation of the combo sometimes make you feel the singer are slightly younger: When I dream (Carol Kidd), A Taste of Honey (Patricia Barber). If I must pick a issue, the ambience is kind of marginal and it makes live recording at Carnegie Hall (Jamaica Farewell, Harry Belafonte) sounds a little smaller than other combo that excel in this area.

I switched to Acoustic Instruments immediately after I finished my Vocal folder. For this round, I have picked music pieced from guitar, saxophone, harmonica, violin and erhu. Among the instruments, I like guitar more than other and are more familiar with the sound of it , so I have picked three guitar tracks. As usual, my FIM Audiophile samplers are my reference album on this area. I must say the HD700 sounds very good with D200 on instruments. The tonal balance is excellent and D200 has improved the speed and transient of HD700, making the guitar particularly enjoyable. The harmonic and decay is slightly on the lean side, but the D200 is still fresh from box, lets hope it will get better after 150 hours as suggested by Yulong.

Here come the "Fun" tracks. Bass and dynamic is always the fun part for audiophile/HeadFier. while I am not a basshead, I do enjoy the atmosphere and heart-beating attack of these fun tracks and will put them on occasionally even when I am testing or tweaking my system. HD700 is not a bass-heavy can, but its bass presentation is more enjoyable then Hd600/HD650 to my personal taste, so that probably set the background straight before I comment on the combo. In addition to the frequently quoted Hotel California (Eagles) and Matsuri (Kitaro, Kojiki), I have also included Poinciana (Fi/Analogue Sampler) and Insaf (Zainal Abidin). When compare to my previous experience with HD700, D200 indeed has explored the speed and dynamic of HD700 to an exciting and passioning level. Senn phones are normally not excel on excitement elements, but the D200/HD700 combo does feel refreshing and in a good mood to swing your fist. I personally would like to have a bit more energy and momentum, maybe that will come by after the burn in recommended by Yulong, or when I run the HD700 in balanced, but I believe most users will feel more than happy with the current price performance offer.

The final tracks are Classical music. I must confess I am not a classical fan and I only listen to them at rare occasion, but to test the balance, control and soundstage of a system, I find no better option so far.

if I must pick one and only one, Naum Starkman (Chopin - Scherzo No. 2 in B flat minor, Op. 31) is definitely my favorite test track of all. Naum almost hit all the key on the Boaendorfer in the first minute, so if you are familiar with the track, you can immediately whether a system is balanced in sound, or whether a tweak is working as intended. The D200 and HD700 pair certainly pass this track with flying color, it is neutral with a slight bright/clear presentation, and you can feel as the keys bounced, the "hammer" is striking on a string hard and you are actually listening to a percussion Instrument. I like the piano of this combo, showing a lot of potential, and is looking forward to its full strength after proper setup (the 6 inches coaxial cable introduced a lot of constraint on this).

I have also tried a couple of large scale symphonic pieces on this combo, namely Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 The Bartered Bride Overture (Leopold Stokowski) and Pictures at an Exhibition No. 10 The Bogatyr Gates. It is not the best I heard, but demonstrated decent control and separation even when soundstage is not wide enough. It is not a grand playback, but I can finish both tracks without drifting away, and that is uncommon already.

I have heard the Yulong D200 paired with Beyer T1 with Balanced mod at Yulong's factory setup, straight from the balance line out of the D200 and was completely amazed. The plan to give up HD700 with a T1 immediately come to my mind. I am glad that I had spend these two hours with the combo before I dash off to my business trip, I think the D200 and HD700 combo has a lot of potential, so the Senn will stay, and I have actually ordered a balanced cable from a DIY shop on my way out.

while I have highlighted some "issues" in D200, I must remind everyone that consider that price (at least for what I paid), I think I am being nitpicking. I understand you probably will pay more than I had, but if you are coming from a price performance perspective, I doubt if you can fault it in anywhere anytime.

Will go back and start to run-in the D200, by the time I come back, I'll have a standard length digital cable, a custom make XLR to 4-pin balance adapter, and a balanced headphone cable for the HD700, hopefully I can do the D200 justify by that time.
Edited by Andykong - 4/26/14 at 3:26am
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