Yulong Sabre D18

General Information

Frequency Response: 20 Hz - 30 KHz at 0.1dB (Unbalanced), 20 Hz - 20 KHz at 0.1dB
SNR: -130dB
Dynamic Range: 130dB
THD+N: <0.0003%
Weight: 2.3KG
Dimensions: 25 x 18 x 5.5 (L x W x H cm)
PLITRON high-performance transformer

Latest reviews

Pros: Crisp and Clear
Cons: None yet
I had an entry level Arcam rPac and was impressed with how it made my music listenable again :wink: Needless to say within the month I was looking at the next level of performance but set a $1000 threshold for my next Dac.
From what I could tell, coax S/PDIF & Balanced outputs delivered the best sound in most setups. I researched similar Dacs for several months and considered the more mainstream units but eventually leaned toward vendors that had less features, accessories and marketing and more investment in the sound of the unit. For instance, do I really need a remote control for the Dac at my desk? A Led readout that never changes?
In the end I was sold by the direct simplicity of the Yulong for my needs and its capability especially with the Sabre chip running in 32 bit. The user reviews iced the cake and total cost was less than $1000.
I received the unit and it is still impressing me. I heard more depth in the music and a wider sound stage. The unit seems to work well with a wide variety of music types and genres. 
Yulong is easy to deal with and responsive to the variety of emails sent their way.
All in all a great acquisition! If I do ever upgrade I will look at Yulong first.
Pros: read below
Cons: to discover
Thanks to Rachael for a fast intervention for a minor shipping problem. Thanks to Yulong for fast shipping and use of DHL.
I have a high end audio system wich can reveal the quality and the weakness of an audio component. I received the Yulong Sabre D18 and hurried in connecting it with balanced interconnects to the audio system.  Alas, the sound was poor, thin, and had nothing in common with a good DAC.  Was it the false analog copy or lack of presence some people wrote about saying it is not a revealing DAC, and surely not a usable DAC for studio?  I was terribly disapointed of what looks like another weak electronic design.
Then I changed the cheap power cable for a Nordost top of the brand cable.  Wow, what a change it made!  Even if the unit was not burned in, the sound was suddently terribly good.  Lots of details, large sound picture, presence, impressive dynamics, resolves complex music with ease, no hearing fatigue, no aggressive sound when the volume is pushed up.  This DAC is definitely a high end component.
I tweaked a little bit with power source and cables and the D18 reacted promptly showing important differences, which is the signature of a high quality and high end component.
I will go on trying many alternatives like rca outputs, power sources, preamp, amp and speakers adjustments (which are possible on my system), and so on...
The audio system I use is the following:
. Computer powered by shunyata filter + Nordost QRT (people forget that it is the first component of the audio system)
. Windows 7 set up for audio
. Solid state disks (Sata connected)
. USB 3.0 from the computer (useless)
. Top of the brand Audioquest USB cable (Diamond)
. Hiface Evo with its external clock (much better than the Hiface USB key)
. The Evo and DAC are powered by an Advent Filter with teflon capacitors
. Nordost top the brand digital cable (1k$) to an Audio Research preamp
. Siltech interconnects between the pream and the amp
. MIT balanced cables to the amp
. VTL monoblocks MB450 amplifiers
. Shunyta Orion loudspeaker cables
. Vandersteen Model 5 speakers
  I will go on listening to this exceptional DAC and I will be back
If this dac absolutely needs a very expensive power cable to function well, it seems for all practical purposes much more expensive than its price suggests. It should be compared to dacs of cost (D18+expensive power cable) used with their factory provided power cable.
Pros: Neutral with a slight warmth, and musical, good build quality
Cons: No usb port
Yulong D18 is the third DAC that I’ve owned and so far I’m very happy with it. My first DAC is Audinst HUD MX-1, after reading review on Headfonia and Head-fi (project86), I decided to go with the Audinst, then a few months later I bought the Dacport LX + Graham Slee Solo SRG II + HD650. It was a bundle and also my first step into the headphone world, before I was in IEM, after looking around in head-fi (seriously this website is bad for my wallet), I decided to give headphone a try.
My first set up is the Dacport LX + Graham Slee Solo SRG II + HD 650. It sounds good, really good, especially coming from IEM, at that time I thought I would be set for a while, then out of curiosity I try to pair the Audinst with the SRG II + HD 650, and from there, my trouble starts.
To my ears, the MX-1 sounds better than the LX, there are some parts of the LX that’s better than the MX-1 but for me, overall the MX-1 still sounds better. This might have to do with my set-up, as I’ve heard other set up and the LX definitely sounds great.
How does the D18 compare with LX and MX1? I’d say it’s better, it’s more “real” if it’s a way to express it, I can hear the instruments better it shows me where it is and let me focus on any aspect if I am to pick one, if not it’s detailed but not harsh, and not overly smooth either, it’s neutral. What comes in, comes out.
Oh and an extra bonus, bass is really good, it goes low, and has a nice punch to it. Really well done.
It wows me at first, but after spending more time with it, it WOWs you even more.
One way of expressing it is like this, remember the first time you finally get to watch an HD movie? And then get yourself a super nice monitor? It’s like that, still depends on the movie but makes it better, everything, colors get better, definition gets better, even for fast paced action.I know this is an audio review but I’m still pretty new in doing review, and this is the best way I can describe it.
Overall I’m very happy with it, and how it performs.
For those who are wondering, since the D18 does not have USB port, I use a USB to S/PDIF converter, by matrix audio. And I know that this converter based on some reviews from other similar products (Stello U3, Kingrex,etc) does add something to the sound (food for thought).
Build quality of the D18 is good, I’m actually surprised on how good it is(built like a tank), definitely no problem, design wise can use some improvement but, that’s a matter of preference.
I’d definitely suggest to give the D18 a try, it might just be the one you’re looking for.
Now if only I can stop lurking around from head-fi…
thanks lehmanhill How does the D18 plays with Squeezebox Touch? I'm thinking of getting that sometime in the future for speakers (once i have a better speakers)
It's great. The Squeezebox Touch has a quite good DAC inside, but the D18 is sweeter and more detailed. I am using an SPDIF digital cable (RCA connectors) and had no problems with integration.
By the way, you better get a Squeezebox Touch while you can. In October, Logitech stopped building the Squeezebox Touch and will move on to a new software and hardware platform. It sound like they will mainly build internet radios with integrated speakers, not the wifi server concept like the Touch. The Touch is still available, but only existing stock.
Thanks for the tip!


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