YULONG DA-ART Aquila II, an Affordable 768kHz 4Watt All-in-One Performer
Oct 29, 2020 at 7:28 AM Post #46 of 67

icefalkon

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I'm interested in reviewing the unit.
 
Oct 30, 2020 at 9:18 PM Post #47 of 67
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We look forward to hearing more about this multifunctional Aquila II! :)
 
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Nov 1, 2020 at 7:59 AM Post #48 of 67
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A quick update on MAS (Mobile As Source), a new direction that we think we should develop as early as possible.

To use mobile devices such as phone or tablets as music source to high-end DAC, there are two problems we need to solve: compatibility and signal quality.

Compatibilities is a technical issues as well as a practical constraints, there is nothing much we can do if the mobile appliance vendors makes life difficult to audiophile users, this is not a mainstream user group that they really targeted at, and even when a mobile product promote themselves as "audiophile phone" or "audiophile tablet", that doesn't necessarily mean we are trying to achieve the same goal, so we can just do whatever we can, provide decent experience, and hopeful created a norm that will finally influence the mobile vendors.

Aquila II setup 02.jpg



Android mobile devices

Theoretically, any mobile device that supports OTG USB Audio can output digital audio bit stream for outboard DAC. Earlier products occasionally only implemented OTG USB Storage but neglected OTG USB Audio, it’s pretty safe to assume all USB OTG device will provide OTG USB Audio.

One of the advantage to use Android device as source to your high quality DAC is the standardization of USB-C as interface, so you only a USB-C to USB-B cable to connect the device to your DAC (e.g., HERE and HERE)

While the hardware side of Android solution is standardized and straightforward, the software part is … very mixed feeling. To start with you need a music playback application that support USB Audio output, please don’t assume all applications will do that and the bitstream are all the same, it’s far from that.

The biggest bottleneck is built-in SRC (Sample Rate Conversion) in Android system. In order to eliminate the pop noise generated when audio signal changes its sampling frequency, Android OS will resample everything to 44.1kHz, 48kHz, or 192kHz, depends on the system capability and vendor’s choice of technologies. This is definitely something not desirable to audiophile users. Among the music app that I have come across, I strongly recommend USB Audio Player Pro (UAPP), this is the only that I know of can bypass the SRC in Android system and integrate gateways to popular streaming service at the same time, details explanation are available HERE and HERE.

For the record, we’ll include a USB-C to USB-B cable in the Aquila II tour package, this is NOT a standard accessory of Aquila II, and we simply provide this for efficiency consideration for tour purpose.

1604235451907.png


iOS Mobile Device

iOS device are high quality audio source, they are well build and don't have the diversified hardware implementation issues (some of the low cost Android device are functional but hardly enjoyable for high fidelity purpose). Unfortunately iOS is not Hi-Res friendly. To start with, you need a Camera Connection Kit or Camera adapter in order to output digital bitstream from the iOS device, there are third party lightning to USB cables or adapters that claim to serve the purpose but IMHO they are not reliable. iOS has very straight license policy and any unauthorized product or accessories can be out of the game after a firmware update.

High Quality Digital Playback from Mobile Devices

Mobile devices are highly integrated solution with loads of electronic components that interference one another in a very compact environment, this is not a desire situation from audiophile perspective, so even we can get it work technically, the outcome might not be very pleasing. Some of the high quality DAC are very sensitive to the quality of digital signal upstream and they probably will have a hard time to deal with the high jitter, unclean digital signal from mobile devices.

Fortunately, YULONG is in a better position to work with MAS concept, our JIC (Jitter and Interface control) will clean up the signal and reduce the jitter to a very low level. There has been reviews reported that our JIC equipped DAC “sounds just as good with a standard Surface Pro or off-the-shelf Dell workstation as it does with excellent music servers and disc transports”. (cf. DA10 review by project86) and another review has also confirmed that using Samsung and Huawei smartphones as well as an Asus Chromebook as source to Aquila II work smoothly. (Aquila II review by Headfonics)

Aquila II is our ice-breaking product on MAS, we believe we are one of the few DAC vendors that can explore this service effectively and we’ll devote more resource to enhance our service under this new norm. Observations and inputs from Aquila II users and reviewers are most appreciated because we can’t test all the mobile device combination in-house.

Aquila II Functional Diagram.jpg
 
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Nov 4, 2020 at 3:20 AM Post #49 of 67

riverground

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I've never really done a source review before, but I'd be honoured to have you guys be my first!

  1. I'm from Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  2. All my audio equipment details are on my signature and on my profile.
  3. You can find all the details on my profile! I'm pretty thorough when it comes to my profile :grin:
  4. I have 4 more IEM reviews currently on the backlog, but gonna be working on them ASAP. As for reviews I've already made. you can find them here
 
Nov 13, 2020 at 12:04 AM Post #50 of 67
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Nov 13, 2020 at 12:17 AM Post #51 of 67

szore

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Thank you!!!!
 
Nov 13, 2020 at 12:44 AM Post #52 of 67

Slim1970

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Looking forward to my turn on the tour!
 
Dec 10, 2020 at 7:36 PM Post #54 of 67

Wiljen

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Dec 12, 2020 at 7:21 AM Post #55 of 67
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Got my review posted today here and on my blog. https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/yulong-aquila-ii.24815/reviews#item-review-24897

I sent a PM for address info to Mshenay and will get it on its way to him as soon as I have info.

Thanks again for including me, I thoroughly enjoyed the Aquila II - very much a little brother to the Da10.

Will

Your reviews is always informative and straight to the point, and I like the acronyms you set for Aquila II, maybe I'll stick with Aq2 in later reference.

I didn't know you have HE6. This is one of my most frequently used headphones with Aq2 and I use Sync mode most of the time (the other is Empyrean in ASRC mode). The Sync mode tame the brightness but keep the authoritative presentation of HE6, not as good as my reference setup for this headphone (YULONG D8 + Ragnarok) but kind of compact and convenient at work. :beerchug:

Aquila II with HE6.jpg
 
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Dec 12, 2020 at 8:10 AM Post #56 of 67

Wiljen

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Your reviews is always informative and straight to the point, and I like the acronyms you set for Aquila II, maybe I'll stick with Aq2 in later reference.

I didn't know you have HE6. This is one of my most frequently used headphones with Aq2 and I use Sync mode most of the time (the other is Empyrean in ASRC mode). The Sync mode tame the brightness but keep the authoritative presentation of HE6, not as good as my reference setup for this headphone (YULONG D8 + Ragnarok) but kind of compact and convenient at work. :beerchug:

Aquila II with HE6.jpg

If you are like me, you find when amplified correctly there are still very few headphones that can compete with, let alone best the He6. In my mind it is still a top 5 headphone despite all the recent challengers.
 
Dec 12, 2020 at 8:11 AM Post #57 of 67

Wiljen

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Aq2 on way to Mshenay - tracking is 9410 8036 9930 0130 4669 76
 
Dec 12, 2020 at 8:28 AM Post #58 of 67
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If you are like me, you find when amplified correctly there are still very few headphones that can compete with, let alone best the He6. In my mind it is still a top 5 headphone despite all the recent challengers.

Definitely, the only thing that I really don't like about HE6 is the connectors, so I mod it to external female mXLR with Furutech Triple-C, love it ever since, and I skipped the HE1000 family completely and stick with my HE6. I like the Aq2 and HE6 pairing. The DA10 has slightly more handling power for HE6, but Aq2 sync mode makes it more enjoyable for long hours.
 
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Dec 19, 2020 at 1:02 PM Post #59 of 67
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"Those hard to drive headphones will not suffer from that lack of “character” the Aquila II may have. In fact, it may benefit allowing you to really focus on the headphone listening pleasure instead. The Yulong DA-Art Aquila II just gets out of the way allowing the listener to experience the music and the headphone you are using."

@ngoshawk concludes his Aquila II review with this very practical advice and this brings a very important observation regarding YULONG Aquila II: its a very neutral DAC/Amp.

Maybe this is not everybody's cup of tea, but from I noticed, as you build up your headphone collections, you'll appreciate a neutral front-end so that the characteristic of the headphone speaks right into your ears, aren't you?
 
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Dec 19, 2020 at 1:44 PM Post #60 of 67

ngoshawk

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@ngoshawk concludes his Aquila II review with this very practical advice and this brings a very important observation regarding YULONG Aquila II: its a very neutral DAC/Amp.

Maybe this is not everybody's cup of tea, but from I noticed, as you build up your headphone collections, you'll appreciate a neutral front-end so that the characteristic of the headphone speaks right into your ears, aren't you?

I would agree. Having a baseline judgement is always good to have, even for someone like me who prefers the warmer side of sound.

Thanks again!
 

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