Yulong Sabre D-18 Reference 32 bit D/A Converter

Back to List
MSRP: $699.00
Eligible for FREE Shipping

Note: this model is the very first Yulong Sabre DAC launched. Smooth silky sound but it it a bit picky on digital source quality. We suggest you use high quality digital files as source. Occassional signal dis-locking during playback due to signal quality and chip processing ability is not defect of the product.

For sale items are open box demo units. Like new condition - sold "As-is Clearance"  with all functions tested already. It is a great opportunity to own a very high quality DAC at a fraction price. 



Head-Fi.org Review:

'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.' 

Read Full Review here




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. 

Technical Specifications: 


  • 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



Customer Reviews

Reviewed by forum member - BlindBoyGrnt, 02/05/2013

"I compared the Yulong with the CD player in the McIntosh MXA60. This is essentially McIntosh's MCD301, pretty high-end component. I'm driving Totem Signature Ones.


This should tell you that the Yulong is in the same league as the McIntosh products, but doesn't quite tailor the analog out quite as much. Of course, the sound is really great with all this gear. You can be confident that the Yulong won't be a weak link in the sound chain. Also, if you want a slightly brighter sound, use the RCA outs from the Yulong. I prefer the slightly mellow sound from the XLRs."

Original post is here: http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/showthread.php?p=6465909#post6465909

Reviewed by Rajesh, 04/02/2012

Feedback received via email from India:
"Rachel .. Received the DAC in perfect condition. Have installed it the system; Jolida 502 B Amp., an ordinary Sony DVD player , PRO Ac Tablet signature speakers. Works perfectly. Is currently playing Allman Brothers, At Filmore east Live. Smooth ,smooth , with deep soundstage and lows. Guitar sounds as it should -perfect. Thanks for a wonderful purchase.



Reviewed by zomble, 02/21/2012

First I would like to say how graet and fast the srevice was fromGrant Fidelity. I purchased the dac a week ago replacing a cambridge 840C because I have gone to a server with built in cd. I did not need the volume control or the usb input and at the price in Canada it was much cheaper than w4s or eastern electric. Having listened to the dac for a week I am very impresses. I have bought and sold many good items over the last 25 years. To my ears the staging is wonderful but 2 things really feel right1) the lack of compression in the music2) the 3d effect on the voices and instruments. There also seems more information especially in the bass. Listening to Kin of Blue was like a brand new listening experience. I am glad I kept my 840Av2 amp with balanced inputs. I must admit at the same time I purchased this item I did upgrade the power cord and the coaxial digital.

Reviewed by Ricardo C., 01/18/2012

"I have been breaking it in for the last 4-5 days, and tonight I was in "music heaven". Yesterday I almost returned it and said I would be keeping the Tubedac11. I am so happy I waited. It magically hit some state tonight, and I have the sound I waited. It is truly an amazing DAC, and this is from someone coming from a Raysonic CD128 tube player, not a louch and much more expensive than this DAC."

"I had one friend last night over to listen to the D18 and he could not believe what he was hearing. He said it was comparable to the vinyl setup he has where he spent nearly $3000 on a turntable and arm alone."

"I cannot believe how good the Yulong D18 is!!!!!!! It just keeps getting better and better. Last night I was listening to Diana Krall and the best I can explain is I could have sworn she was in the room with me. Simply amazing! It is been one of the best audio purchases I have made in years."

Reviewed by Robert Elliott, 01/01/2012

Two days after taking delivery of a Wyred4Sound dac2, I saw the Yulong D18 and put in an order. The dac2 has been getting great reviews and has been recommended as the best dac under $2500. It is a wonderful product but, if you don't need the preamp feature or the usb intput save youself $800. and order the Yulong D18 before Ian an Rachel realise its' priced too low. This is an outstanding product. I rarely use my cd player anymore, except for SACD playback. My imac handles 95% of my music listening, all my cds are in AIFF format and are sent (wireless) to the D18, GF W30 Integrated amp. I am absolutely amazed at what this system is doing. The other night I was listening Jimi Hendix (Electric Ladyland) and heard details that had previously been subsonic, every piece of music took on a new life, be it Rock, Blues, Soul, to Classical. I've been into audio for about forty years, and owned some equipment that was far more expensive than my present system, yet I can't remember any previous system being as musically pleasing. Ian & Rachel you've hit another home run. You people are the Babe Ruths of audio!

Reviewed by Head-Fi member, 12/31/2011

Posted by Head-Fi member Slackman: "The D18 is an extremely high quality minimalistic pure high value for money great sounding DAC in my opinion.

I've done my research before getting the D18, and I can't see any other DAC of this quality for near this price.
For instance the EE minimax (sabre chip), Soundlab M-DAC (sabre chip) and Onkyo DAC-1000 (burr brown chip) do not seem as the same quality as the D18 to me.
Their parts are cheaper, and they don't measure nearly as good as the D18. (much much more distortion and noise)
They do offer added functionality each in their own ways, so that may count.
But for pure soundquality bang for buck I don't see anything beating the D18.
The cheapest next step up from the D18 seems to me to be the Anedio D1 and it's about twice the price."

original post here: http://www.head-fi.org/t/586153/yulong-sabre-d18-thread-reviews-impressions-discussion/120

Reviewed by Head-Fi member, 12/31/2011

Posted by Head-fi member Hificrazy: "With nearly 3 weeks' listening, I'd go a little further. I'd draw your attention to the 3D effect. It may sound a bit cliche. But I swear D18 does create a sutble but quite discernable 3D sound image. It's quite palpable in comparison with Yulong D100. And I find this effect is more prominant with speakers than with headphones. This is a little bit difficult to describe. I just give it a try. For example, with D100 for an orchestra work, the bass of the drums is punchy, the treble of the strings is clear and bright,and the details are there. However, all these details seem to be presented to you from a same plane. But with D18, things are different. I can feel the bass of drums are behind the trebles of strings. So an instrument or performer's position is not just on the left, right or middle, but also on the front, middle or back. I find this is really amazing."
original post here:http://www.head-fi.org/t/586153/yulong-sabre-d18-thread-reviews-impressions-discussion/135

Related Products