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Yulong Sabre D-18 Reference 32 bit D/A Converter
Additional Infowww.grantfidelity.com/images/RZ/Yulong Sabre D18 manual.pdf
'I applaud Yulong, both the man himself and the company in general, for bringing the D18 to market. It would have likely been easier to make a fairly neutral device that built on the foundation set by the D100, and I bet it would have sold well enough. But instead they found what appeared to be an empty spot in the market, and filled it. I’ve long heard people complain about Sabre-based DACs sounding really great in most aspects, yet being somewhat lacking in musicality. I believe the D18 may be the perfect answer for those folks. In many ways it offers reference level quality, yet at times it departs from that in the interest of listenability.'
This 32 bit DAC is the latest design by Yulong Audio in China. If you don't know about Yulong yet, it specializes in DA converter and headphone amp and is based out of southern China. The designer, Yulong Zhang, is a young audio enthusiast always searching for better sound. His background in telecommunication hardware has given him in-depth knowledge about digital audio. He is a young father in his early 30's and has invested over $100,000 in digital research and test equipment to develop his line of audio products. He also maintain his own forum on China's largest head-fi forum (erji.net) with many followers. His workshop, design studio and production line is in relatively small scale - when I asked him if he would like to expand his factory during my visit to Yulong Audio in Sept 2011, he smiled and answered honestly: "Sound comes first, then business will come. I don't crave for large scale of production of mediocre products."
The Yulong Sabre D18 has been developed during the course of two years. It competes with world's top brand on sound quality and attention to the details goes as much as to stainless steel screws on the front plate.
Below is how Yulong describes his flagship DAC (from erji.net forum):
The DAC solution of this Asychronous SABRE D18 Digital-to-Analog converter we used is the ESS Technology 32-bit audio ES9018S DAC chip which represents the highest performace in the world (With ESS patented 32-bit Hyperstream DAC architecture and Time Domain Jitter Eliminator, the SABRE32 Reference Stereo DAC delivers an unprecedented DNR of up to 135dB and THD+N of -120dB, the industry’s highest performance level that will satisfy the most demanding audio enthusiasts.)
Although the SABRE D18 has an extremely extended high frequency response (30Khz), the sound is no where to be mistaken as harsh and dry. Instead sound is soft and delicate. Combined with it’s rich and vivid mid range, well controlld bass, the Sabre D18 playback is well-balanced, natural and silky, and it can perfectly match to very high end amplification to drive high performance speakers or top quality headphones.
- ESS Technology SABRE32 Reference DAC / Digital Filter (ES9018S) working in 32-bit Hyperstream™ to achieve unprecedented jitter immunity and low-level linearity via a patented Time Domain Jitter Eliminator
- High-performance Plitron transformer from Canada with low magnetic flux leakage
- Extremly low-noise multi-group power filtering circuit for digital signal path
- Ultra-precision servo circuit for analog signal path
- High-performance op-amp AD8620 for I/V conversion
- High-performance op-amp AD797 for LPF filtering
- DALE military grade resistors, WIMA film caps manually selected and matched
- TPC film capacitor is used for decoupling and the Panasonic FC electrolytic capacitor for power filtering
- Custom order crystals for lowest clock jitter and phase noise
- No-Over-Sampling: 16 bit or 24 bit data is processed at original bit depth. The better quality data source you use, the better performance you will have from this DAC - it will handle data resolution all the way to 32bit/500kHz
- PCB layout optimized through multiple testing procedures to ensure best digital signal transmission
- Fully balanced design - by using XLR output you will get the most benefit of the sound quality of design
- Extra thick aluminum chassis with fine polished surface
- Overall design to reach the full potential of the Sabre 32bit DAC chip
- Dual voltage - 110-115V or 220-240V wide range to use anywhere in the world
(Warning:Please make sure the voltage selector is set to proper position that can match the actual power supply voltage. Otherwise this DAC might be permanently damaged! Under such circumstance, the warranty is void.)
Manufacturer's Special Notes:
This Sabre D18 is designed for high quality digital input signal only. The coaxial digital input will only lock on with standard high quality SPDIF signal then the DAC chip can sample it at 192kHz properly. Many household digital players on the market such as DVD players do not provide a standard SPDIF signal so the coaxial input on Sabre D18 will show non-locking from time to time. This is not a defect of Sabre D18. We suggest users to upgrade input signal quality to fully benefit from the high end decoding in the Sabre D18.
- Inputs: Optical, Coaxial,, AES/EBU
- Input Digital Signal Format: 32-500KHz, 16/24/32 Bit auto detection
- SNR: -130dB.
- Dynamic Range: 130dB.
- THD+N: <0.0003%
- Frequency Response: Unbalanced: 20-30KHz-0.1dB Balance: 20-20KHz -1db
- Output voltage: RCA 2V; XLR 4.2V
- Power Consumption: <20W.
- Dimensions: 250*180*55mm (10" W x 7" D x 2 1/2" H)
- Net Weight: 2.3Kg / 5 lbs
- Color option: silver or black - silver in stock now. Black available after Dec.
Grant Fidelity is proud to present this Yulong flagship model and other Yulong products from Nov 2011 to our website customers. Click on Yulong Audio under 'shop by Brand' at left side menu to see other Yulong products. Same as all our other products, Grant Fidelity offers customer in-home audition on Yulong products for 30 days - you may return the product to Canada in 30 days if you are not completely satisfied.
Head-Fi review on Yulong Sabre D-18 DAC:
Conclusion by reviewer John- "Can you find something which has the resolution, dynamics, soundstage precision, and sheer grace of the D18, for anywhere close to the $699 asking price? In my experience the answer is no."
Read full review here.