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Amp/DACs item created by YoYo JoKeR, Jul 16, 2017
Pros - Smashing Value for money, Very Detailed, Well Built. Did I say it sounds amazing?
Cons - Channel imbalance at first few degrees of the volume control
Disclaimer: This review is written by me, it reflects my thoughts & honest opinion about the product.
Me: I am an avid admirer of music. I would like to call myself a music enthusiast, rather than an audiophile. I was inspired by music since childhood, and as the time passed, the passion of music grew in me, and that subsequently led me to join Head-Fi. My main listening genres include classical, vocal, instrumental, jazz and sometimes pop. With time, my sonic preferences have very much grown. I avidly admire transparency, accuracy along with neutrality, I mostly listen to full sized open back headphones and my favorite headphone is AKG K812. I prefer & admire transparent solid state headphone amplifiers simply because they provide best possible accuracy, transparency & reliability.
I will describe this review in simple words that is readable & understandable to anyone. Let’s have a look at this amp from the eyes of a music enthusiast, shall we?
Intro: Yulong Audio is well known producer of Headphone amps. I find their designs very mature, leaving no room for error. Till now they did not have a budget product to appease the masses, so they have new ‘Daart’ series under which “Canary” is the first product under affordable price but with latest design to keep up the best possible sound quality. It packs such a good performance; it left me hooked up for a long time.
As expected by the Yulong trademark build, the Canary has a robust build quality. It has a precise & accurate finishing. Feels well put together. It is a pure class A JFET transistor amplifier using critically acclaimed ESS9018 mark2 decoder & XMOS USB interface. The amplifier part is fully discrete, with FET input DC coupling class A design. There is no capacitor in the signal path between the decoder to headphone output which might reduce the transparency.
The circuitry & internals speak for themselves. Components are well laid out; most components are Surface Mount Devices (SMD) Components are placed in a neat fashion. Board is excellently soldered and has a reliable workmanship. Architecture wise, on the front we have Volume control knob, a headphone with input selector switch. On the rear side, we have Power socket & switch, along with input USB A socket. Line out is in RCA format. Daart’s circuitry was carefully tuned & finalized by taking into account many audiophiles, musicians & critics. So now we know why it sounds so good.
Technical specifications of DAART Canary:
USB Input DoP64/128, Native DSD64/128, PCM 32Bit/384KHZ
Headphone Output 100mW @ 600 Ohm, 200mW @ 300 Ohm, 400mW @ 150 Ohm, 1000mW @ 32 Ohm
Freq. Response 20Hz – 30 KHz -0.15dB
Dynamic Range 120dB
S/N Ratio -128dB
Line Out 2Vrms
Op-amp ADA4705 OPA1688
DAC ESS9018MKII XMOS U8
Sound: I was pleasantly shocked how good it sounded. I enjoyed long hours of listening through AKG K812, never feeling my ears pierce or getting fatigue.
This is where it's exciting. Though designed as a budget oriented device, by no means it is lacking sound quality. Solid Engineering & design is the answer here. Don’t be fooled by its 250$ price tag. This machine delivers wonders. Yulong said it will be very detailed & by that they mean business. It is THE most detailed unit I have heard under this price range. ‘Detailing’ is the highlight of the Canary.
Very transparent, flat and extremely detailed sound, I am hearing subtle details I’ve never heard before. Depth is amazing too. This is the device that redefines the budget listening. I should remember, a few years ago If wanted to buy an amp/dac under 300$, and I would get no choice other than schiit combo or O2 combo. And believe me those things don’t sound half as good as Canary does.
There is a slight imbalance at the very beginning of the volume range, but I guess it’s okay & is seen in most of the volume pots. This is a class A amp, hence must be warmed up for 15 minutes before listening. With time, it settles in & sound even better.
Verdict: With this device, Mr. Yulong has renewed my respect for him, he is simply brilliant. I am really proud that we now have an amazing sounding Amp/DAC & we can own it by not spending a bomb on it. Because not everybody can afford a 1000$ device. Canary is an excellent alternative, I fully stand by it.
It is a smashing value for money, well built, exceptional sounding, reliable & it is from the house of Yulong Audio!