The New Recommendation: The Yulong U100 USB DAC

yulong_u100_08

The Audinst HUD-MX1 has been the reigning champion for a $100-$200 DAC/Amp box, but now it has gotten a new challenger. After having used the Yulong U100 for a few months, and comparing it to the Audinst, I think I have a new recommendation for people looking for an entry level DAC/Amp box, though costing a bit more ($180 for the Audinst vs $240 for the Yulong U100 USB DAC).

I received the Yulong U100 from Jeffrey at coolfungadget.com, and at that time he sent me the Yulong U100 along with the Musiland 02 DAC. Upon receiving the product, I played around with both units briefly, but the Musiland with its upsampling feature and software controls were more exciting than the plain DAC/Amp box Yulong. And so I wrote about the Musiland 02 article very soon afterwards, while the Yulong stayed pretty low under the radar.

It’s logical to not get excited about the Yulong. After all, it doesn’t offer anything new to the table. It’s just another USB desktop DAC/Amp box solution coming from China. And frankly, there are just too many of them these days. To make the case worse, I’ve also been spoiled with too many higher end solutions lately.

I tried really hard to readjust my ears. One of the things that I did was to listen to the $130 Musiland 02’s DAC section and compared it to the Yulong U100. Turns out that my enthusiasm with the Musiland 02 as a DAC/Amp box (not counting its upsampling feature) dies off pretty fast once I did the comparison. The Yulong is definitely better. I needed a stronger competitor, and so I began to compare the Audinst HUD-MX1 to the Yulong. After all those evaluation times (good think I don’t have any deadlines for this article), I’ve finally gotten the sound of the Yulong and now it’s time to write the article.

I would be lying if I say that the Yulong is the new giant-killer DAC/Amp box. But please don’t look down on it, because it just happens to give enough improvements over the Audinst HUD-MX1 that I think it’s going to be a great entry level DAC to recommend to people. For $60 more, you get a better sounding DAC/Amp box and with a prettier packaging too! It’s a bit larger than the Audinst, but on my desk, the Yulong looks like a nice piece of HiFi equipment, while the Audinst looks more like a computer accessories.

Size comparison with the Audinst HUD-MX1 (top).

 

The Yulong doesn’t have the S/PDIF digital out which can be useful for some people. However it does come with an analog line in, which the Audinst doesn’t have.

 

Based on the Cirrus Logic CS4398 D/A chip, the U100 clearly gives me a better sound when compared to the Audinst’s. The only drawback seems to be soundstage width, where the Audinst is wider. But for everything else, such as soundstage depth, center focus, ambiance, detail retrieval, midrange quality, the Yulong is better. Those gotta worth more than the $60 difference between the two products.

On the headphone amp section, the use of PZT2222A and PZT2097A transistors provides a much more potent headphone out than if I were using the Audinst’s. The level of articulation in the treble, mids, and bass, is clearly superior compared to the Audinst, both driving a Senn HD650. The Yulong also drives the same headphone to much louder volumes than what the Audinst is capable of. There is simply no competition here.

You can get a little closer to the Yulong U100 if you were using a fancy opamp like the OPA627 on the Audinst. Instrument separation, articulation and mid clarity would improve. But I still find the treble and bass separation to be a little muffled in comparison to the Yulong.

What about line out signal quality? Passing the signal to a HeadAmp Pico Slim and out to the JH16Pro, again I find the Yulong to give a clearer signal through the line out, better separation, better articulation and such. Perhaps the fact that the line out signal doesn’t get passed through the analog potentiometer (unlike on the Audinst) also adds to the superior line out quality of the U100.

In terms of tonal balance, the Audinst is slightly darker while the Yulong is slightly brighter. “Slightly” is the word to notice there, as both are still well in the realm of neutral. The only time I prefer the Audinst’s headphone out is when I’m using a relatively light-bass headphone like the HD598. But even then, the superior articulation on the U100’s bass brings me back to the Yulong time and time again.

One thing that I really enjoy is the vocal presentation on the Yulong. I am not a big vocal fan, but the vocals on the Yulong just captivates me. It matches beautifully with the HD598 and the HD650. The vocal is quite forward, giving me a good presence without being glaring. It’s very clear and with a slight touch of warmth. Definitely one of the most special vocal presentation in the price range.

Of course, the U100 is not totally superior on all aspects. For instance, I love the fact that you can use the Audinst without a separate power supply as it takes the 5V it needs out of the USB bus. The U100, on the other hand, requires a power adaptor, and that does come out as a negative for me (I love simplicity). Next, the Audinst comes with a dual output: 1/4″ and 1/8″, so that you don’t need to use an adaptor between headphones and IEMs. The U100 only comes with a 1/4″. Yes, it looks more “serious” that way, but I probably would add in the 1/8″ for the sake of convenience, if I was designing the product. If I were using an IEM, the Audinst gives me better control range on the volume, where the Yulong is more limited due to the higher gain level. Lastly, the Audinst comes with rollable opamp and optical S/PDIF out where the U100 doesn’t. This may be important to some, and less so for others.

Looking inside the enclosure reveals a very clean PCB layout, indeed a very refreshing look compared to the cramped Audinst. I’m not saying one is better than the other, but the Yulong is just nice to look at.I find a Tenor TE7022L chip that handles the USB data, and next to it is the Cirrus Logic CS4389 D/A chip. Two separate ADA4075-2 opamps serve as an output stage to the D/A chip, and finally passed on to the four 2222A amplifier chips before finally reaching the headphone out socket. The potentiometer used is a Taiwanese brand Alpha, which gives a nice stepping effect unlike the regular smooth turning pots you see normally. There is also an analog line in by the means of a tiny 3.5mm jack which gives you an option of using a different source (say an Ipod) with the U100.

Very clean layout.

 

Tenor USB receiver.

 

Cirrus Logic CS4398: 120dB, 24/192 D/A chip.

 

ADA4075-2 dual low noise opamp.

 

Output stage consists of PZT2222A and PZT2907A transistors.

 

I think the build quality of the Yulong is really worth mentioning. It’s one of the nicer looking builds I’ve seen coming out of China, and definitely better than the Audinst HUD-MX1. The chassis is anodized aluminum all around, with a thick front plate of 5mm. The anodizing quality is not quite on par with something from Ray Samuels or Burson, but for a $200 product, the finishing can be considered one of the best. The volume knob feels solid and the ribbed pattern feels very nice as well. Overall, I would get the Yulong over the Audinst just purely based on the superior build quality and pay the extra $60.

One thing that I have to mention is that the USB connectivity doesn’t seem to be as robust as the one on the Audinst, or all the other Mac-compatible DACs. Sometimes, plugging in the Yulong to my MacPro will immediately give a “bleep bleep bleep” sound on the headphones, the sound that you get when you’re hitting the volume level button on your Mac. Unplugging and plugging the USB cable back would solve the problem, so it’s not a big deal, but I am obliged to tell you about it. It also helps if you’re using a USB cable with ferrite magnet on it. I don’t know why this is, seeing that both the Audinst and the Yulong comes with the same TE7022L receiver chip. Moreover, on my Mac, the Yulong is only recognized as a 48/24 USB device, though the TE7022L receiver should be good for 24/92.

Warning to Mac Users:
I have been having issues using the U100 with Mac computers. On my MacPro I can make the problem go away by turning on the computer AFTER the U100 is connected and on.
However, I haven’t had any success with my Powerbook and a friend’s MacBook.
So, I wouldn’t recommend it to Mac Users.

All pluses and minuses considered, I think I find far more pluses than I do minuses. So, if you can handle the extra $60, and you don’t need the extra functions on the Audinst, then the Yulong U100 is the box you should get for your headphones.



Gears used for review:
Headphones: Sennheiser HD650, HD598, Audio Technica M-50, JHAudio JH16Pro
Amplifiers: HeadAmp Pico Slim
Transport: MacPro

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368 Comments

  • Reply March 1, 2011

    Andrew Prasetyo Jo

    if you have to compare this with ibasso DB1 boomslang or HRT Music Streamer, which one would be a better DAC to be specific, not looking at their Amp section as i will probably use iBasso PB2 for the amp.

    • Reply March 1, 2011

      Anonymous

      The DAC should be comparable to the HRT MS2 (not +) and the DB1. I’ve haven’t had the chance to personally compare the DAC sections though.

      • Reply March 1, 2011

        guest

        what about audio gd nfb 12 and 11? those are like in the same price range ~200$ and seem better than these no names

        • Reply March 1, 2011

          Anonymous

          I am very inexperienced when it comes to Audio Gd gears, sorry.

  • Reply March 1, 2011

    Locustfist58

    Great review Mike. I also posted a review on HeadFi recently:
    http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/540631/review-yulong-u100-compact-usb-dac-amp
    With similar conclusions. This is a great little unit!

    • Reply March 1, 2011

      Anonymous

      Yea I know, didn’t notice it was you though since it was posted by project86.

      I think you know a lot more about Yulong stuff than I do. This is my first experience with their product.

      • Reply March 1, 2011

        Project86

        I’m Project86, I don’t know why my name is showing up wrong…. can you fix that? If needed you can just delete my post and I’ll redo it.

        I’ve had good experiences with 3 different Yulong products now. That makes me excited that they are an up and coming audio company that will hopefully keep cranking out great products in the future.

        By the way, your pictures are very nice! I’m working on getting better at that and I’m inspired by how well you capture things.

        • Reply March 1, 2011

          Anonymous

          That is so weird. I have no idea why your nick came up as Locusfist58. Perhaps the login you use is linked to your twitter, yahoo, or facebook account?

          If I click on your blank avatar, then it’ll come out as project86. I think there is an error on Disqus’ servers, which handles the commenting system.

          • Reply March 1, 2011

            Project86

            Must be the error. I AM using a public computer though, perhaps someone else at some point had been signed in to one of those other accounts, and it is still on here? No big deal either way I guess.

            Back on topic: It’s strange that the U100 showed up as 24/48 on your system. Does that mean it won’t natively handle 24/96 music? Mine did fine with 24/96, no hassles.

            • Reply March 1, 2011

              Project86

              And now I’m showing up as Project86 again. Weird!

              • Reply March 1, 2011

                Anonymous

                The Disqus commenting system links to popular IDs such as Facebook, Yahoo, Gmail and such. It must’ve confused your nick with your email.

            • Reply March 1, 2011

              Anonymous

              I don’t know, this is the first time I’ve seen a DAC that works at 24/48. Normally 24-bit capable DACs run at 24/96 minimum. I think I need to update the firmware on the Yulong.

              Let me guess, you’re using Windows?

        • Reply March 1, 2011

          Anonymous

          I’ve seen the pictures of the D100 and A100. I think they look really solid, and based on my experience with the U100, I would be very confident to try out the higher end offerings.

          Thanks for the compliments on the photograph. My other job is photography, so it doesn’t take much to make the photos look good.

        • Reply March 1, 2011

          Anonymous

          Anyway, keep up the great work on the reviews.

        • Reply March 1, 2011

          Anonymous

          I saw your email address, and I think that’s probably the reason that Disqus is identifying you as Locusfist58. Perhaps it’s time to register a project86@ email address? That nick is getting famous 😉

          • Reply March 1, 2011

            Project86

            Please check your PMs on HeadFi.

  • Reply March 1, 2011

    Kreisleriana

    Great review! I, too, am interested how this compares to Yulong D100.

    • Reply March 1, 2011

      Anonymous

      I think the D100 is the higher end model, priced at about $400+. This one is the entry level model.

    • Reply March 2, 2011

      Anonymous

      Personally I haven’t listened to the D100, but I think it’s safe to assume that the D100 will be superior than the U100.

      And since I’m loving the the U100 very much, I think the D100 is going to be a great product as well.

  • Reply March 1, 2011

    Tintin

    How would the Yulong U100 compare to the combination of HRT MS2 and Audiotrak Imamp? They are both around the same price ($250) but the latest combo can be a mobile solution with a laptop. In one of your comment, you wrote that the DAC section of the D100 should be similar to HRT MS2 so I guess it boils down to how the amp section of the D100 compares with the Imamp (and also how both amps would “synergize” with the DACs).

    • Reply March 1, 2011

      Anonymous

      I think the MS2+ImAmp combo would have an edge in the DAC (MS2+), where the Yulong would have an edge in the amplifier section.

  • Reply March 1, 2011

    Ketonet

    Sir, would you please compare this to fiio combo (the e7 / e9)

    • Reply March 2, 2011

      Anonymous

      Yes, that would be a good comparison. The power adapter on my Fiio E9 died so I haven’t listened to it for quite a while. Goig to try to look for another adapter.

  • Reply March 2, 2011

    Daniel

    Mike, how would this DAC compare to the HM-601 or 602?

    • Reply March 2, 2011

      Anonymous

      The HM-601/602 is warmer and more mid-mid centric. The U100 is less warm and less mellow, more presence on upper mids, better articulation on the bass.

  • Reply March 2, 2011

    Anonymous

    I began to use the U100 with the HD800, and I enjoy the sound coming out of the set up very much. I normally had reservations about using the HD800 with entry level set ups, as the HD800 is very revealing of small distortions normally found on entry level sources and amps. Not so with the U100. I think this is the cheapest source that I’m still able to listen with the HD800 and get good sound out of it.

  • Reply March 2, 2011

    JotaIGz

    The Yulong D100 looks very promising as well, any chance you are getting to review that? I wonder how it stacks up to the Burson HA 160D

    • Reply March 2, 2011

      Anonymous

      Yes, I suppose it does look very interesting. I haven’t talk to
      coolfungadget about doing more Yulong products though.

  • Reply March 3, 2011

    Jinx

    Hi Mike,
    I was about to get myself the Audinst HUD-MX1 but after reading this review I’m not so sure about that anymore.

    The Yulong U100 just looks so nice and knowing that it has better sound quality too makes me want to get one of them instead, but the price difference adds some weight to my decision here too.

    And you even give the Audinst some advantages over the Yulong while driving the HD598 so I was wondering how would it be with my HD558. Which of them would make the HD558 sound better in your opinion and would this be a huge difference?

    • Reply March 4, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Jinx,
      Definitely go with the Yulong. The HD558 is resolving enough and you
      should be able to hear the difference.

      • Reply March 4, 2011

        Jinx

        Thanks for the advice Mike, I have ordered the Yulong.
        The better portability of the Audinst is nice but it sure is something I can live without while the sound quality is much more important to me.
        And it’s also good to know that I have a better fundament with the Yulong if I ever want to move up some day and get myself some “stronger” headphones.

        • Reply March 5, 2011

          Anonymous

          Awesome. Let me know how you like it!

  • Reply March 4, 2011

    Scott

    Thanks a lot for the review. I’ll probably pick this up over the MX1. Where can I find the Yulon U100 for $240?

    • Reply March 5, 2011

      Anonymous

      Go to coolfungadget’s store (I linked to it at the beginning of the article).

  • Reply March 5, 2011

    S-XR

    How does the Yulong compare to the M-stage?

    • Reply March 5, 2011

      Anonymous

      The M-stage is more powerful, but doesn’t come with a DAC.

      • Reply March 8, 2011

        S-XR

        Curious, how does the Yulong compare with the Matrix sound-characteristic-wise? In regards to prat, soundstage width, bass, etc..

        Essentially, what would the difference be between the Yulong, and the M-Stage with a DAC.

        • Reply March 8, 2011

          Anonymous

          The Yulong is more focused on upper mids, the Matrix more on lower mids to bottom. PRaT is roughly similar, depending on music, though the Matrix is heavier on bass. Soundstage width is more or less the same.

  • Reply March 5, 2011

    uscdeacon

    the only headphone dac/amp I’ve ever used (other than the Fiio E5) is the Nuforce uDAC (first one). I currently have my ATH-M50’s hooked up to the uDAC, listening to ALAC through iTunes. For the most part, it’s a “decent” sound, but has noticeably less bass presence than straight out of the 3.5mm jack from my 2nd get iPod Touch.

    That said, I’ve been interested in getting a different amp (trying to stay in the “budget” category, I’ve been waiting for the upcoming Fiio E11; thinking of using the uDAC as a DAC only, passthrough to the E11 which would then act as the amp). The E11 would then have the added purpose of being a portable amp + LOD with my 2nd gen iPod Touch.

    Should I look at the U100 as a new avenue of improving my sound? I would lose out on portability, but I listen to music mostly at home anyways. My main question is the U100 in a league entirely different from the uDAC? Maybe I should start to list the uDAC for sale to get a headstart? 😛

    would love your feedback :] While I’m writing here, I’ve got to say Mike, your website is one of the most interesting and constantly engaging sites (aside form the addictive monster that is the head-fi.org forums) on head-fi I’ve ever come across. Thanks for your incredible work!

    • Reply March 6, 2011

      talip bin osman

      im not mike, but here is my 2 cents…

      i have the nuforce uDAC 2 and like you, i have mated it with my M-50…

      you are right, it yields out pretty decent results specially with world music (the cuban variety), acoustic renditions, and classic rock… but if u want to graduate from that set-up, i say leave the uDAC to function as a standalone DAC and hook it up with the audiotrak imAmp or the m-stage…

      the bass that have been shy with the amp section of the uDAC will really feel liberated with the amplification of those standalone amps…

      the black crowes’ “hard to handle” and “remedy” becomes more engaging…
      fuller mids, more authority on the lower frequencies, and a little more soundstage width…

      • Reply March 7, 2011

        Anonymous

        USC, I 2nd what talip said.

        But I think the most “guaranteed” way to get more bass and punch is through the AKG K181DJ or HD25-1.

        • Reply March 7, 2011

          talip bin osman

          im sorry mike… i noticed that im starting to sound like a sales pitchman for the hd25-1 and the M-50!

          im like a broken record that keep on saying how great these two cans are to those guys who like these and those types of music…

          i really love these two…:)

          • Reply March 7, 2011

            Anonymous

            Hahahah Lol.

            I don’t even know you own those two. You should try the Z1000, it’s the
            next best thing. 🙂

        • Reply March 10, 2011

          uscdeacon

          thanks to both of you (and for the response below too Mike!). Who said the hi-fi community is full of snobs? You two disprove it with sincere and much appreciate advice. Thanks again!

          • Reply March 10, 2011

            Anonymous

            Thanks for the kind words, USC. Hope the recommendations suit you well.

          • Reply March 10, 2011

            talip bin osman

            cheers man…

            maybe we should give this yulong a try?

            if its good enough for the HD-800 like mike said, it should be good with the M-50 as well…

            but if you are going for the HD25-1 like mike suggested, you cant go wrong with it! the bass, though powerful is well behaved… its a friggin’ lightweight that punches like a middleweight! the M-50 is still the better pair overall, but the HD25-1 is unbeatable at what it does best… immensely enjoyable portrayal of hard rock, electronica, metal and hiphop…:)

            • Reply March 10, 2011

              Anonymous

              The U100 will help bring the vocal out better in the M50.

    • Reply March 7, 2011

      Anonymous

      Thanks for the compliments, USC!

      The U100 is a league entirely different from the uDAC, yes. But the signature of the U100 is not quite bass heavy, rather, you’ll notice better things like clarity, detail retrieval, and soundstage when moving up to the U100.

      If you want more bass presence, the easiest method to get that is through EQ-change. Have you read my EQ-ing article?

      If you want more punchy bass, the thing you have to do is get a punchier headphone like the AKG K181DJ or the HD25-1. Please read the Closed Cans comparison to get a sense of how they compare to the M-50.

      If you want more bass but still retain the M-50, then I suggest you get an amp like the Matrix M-Stage. I’ve also written a review under “Desktop Amplifiers”.

      Cheers.

      • Reply March 8, 2011

        gummy

        Nice review! YuLong puts out some great products. Project86 reviewed this thing on head-fi and pretty much found the same thing as you, with some differences on the Audinst, though. Now if only you could somehow acquire an Audio-GD NFB-12 or FUN to fill out the whole budget dac/amp range … :p

        • Reply March 8, 2011

          Anonymous

          Thanks, gummy.

          I’m hearing all these request to do an Audio-Gd product..

        • Reply March 8, 2011

          Anonymous

          Thanks, gummy.

          I’m hearing all these request to do an Audio-Gd product..

          I think I really’ve got to do one.

  • Reply March 9, 2011

    Stefan Schuchardt

    How is the U100 compared to the Matrix mini-i?

    • Reply March 9, 2011

      Anonymous

      It’s been a while since I heard the Mini-i, and I no longer have mine.
      But here it is:
      The U100 has a lighter tone, while the Mini-i has a darker tone. More
      body on the lower mids and lows on the Mini-i, but the upper mids and
      treble are more brilliant on the U100. Bass clarity on the U100 is also
      very good, and better than what I remembered the Mini-i to be on those
      regions.

      Roughly speaking, I would probably be recommending the U100 if you have
      a dark, Sennheiser type headphone. And I would recommend the Mini-i, if
      you have a lighter tone headphone like the Grado or the AD-series Audio
      Technica.

      Hope that helps.

      • Reply March 10, 2011

        Stefan Schuchardt

        Yes it does. Thanks.

        One more question, which receiverchip does the U100 use?

        • Reply March 10, 2011

          Anonymous

          I took a picture of the receiver chip and you can find it on the review section. I believe it’s the Tenor chip.

          • Reply March 10, 2011

            Stefan Schuchardt

            Ah yes right! USB only!

            I was searching for a DIR9001 or CS8416…

            • Reply March 10, 2011

              Anonymous

              yep it’s USB only. A bit limited, but most entry level DACs are USB only.

      • Reply April 28, 2011

        Elie Hendriks

        Which would pair better with a Senn HD598, the Yulong or the Matrix Mini-i? I’m also going to link them to M-Audio BX5a monitors with a sub. I’ve heart that the Mini-i pairs well with studio monitors because it calms the highs a little bit. Do you have any experience with that concerning the Yulong u100?

        Thx.

        • Reply April 29, 2011

          Anonymous

          Depends on the monitors, I guess. If the M-Audio is a bit sharp in the
          treble, then yes I would recommend you using the Matrix Mini-i. The
          Yulong is bright in character so it will only make the treble brighter.

  • Reply March 10, 2011

    ben

    Really liking the reviews & images! Any thoughts on this unit in comparison with the iBasso D4 Mamba?

    • Reply March 10, 2011

      Anonymous

      I really liked the mamba when I heard it last year, but it is still not comparable to the Audinst which I pitted against the U100 in this article.

      Cheers.

      • Reply March 10, 2011

        ben

        Ah, thanks – I found a used on on head-fi. Should be in the mail later today!

  • Reply March 15, 2011

    BlazingSwordofTruth

    @headphonia: i’ve been reading many of your low cost DAC reviews trying to decide on what should replace my uDAC in my current system (imac playing 16/44 320kbps AAC and ALAC files –>udAC –>little dot mkIII tube headphone amp –>senn HD600). i’ve been considering the yulong u100, the HRT MSTII, the audinst MX1 and perhaps the matrix cube. i don’t care about amp performance…just DAC performance. would the u100 be your best under $300 recommendation, or is there something else you’d recommend i investigate?

    many thanks!

    david r.

    • Reply March 15, 2011

      Anonymous

      For pure DAC, just go with the HRT II. Or move up and get the HRT II+
      for a little over $300 (I think about $350).

      • Reply March 15, 2011

        BlazingSwordofTruth

        thanks so much. with limited funds and no way to locally audition these DACS, it’s great hearing from those with more hands-on experience.

  • Reply March 15, 2011

    Anonymous

    Warning to Mac Users:
    I have been having issues using the U100 with Mac computers. On my MacPro I can make the problem go away by turning on the computer AFTER the U100 is connected and on.
    However, I haven’t had any success with my Powerbook and a friend’s MacBook.
    So, I wouldn’t recommend it to Mac Users.

  • Reply March 15, 2011

    Coolsax78

    Great review, but i couldn’t tell by it if this will play 24/96 files.. if so this might be just what i’m looking for

    • Reply March 16, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Coolsax,
      24/96 using Foobar & Wasapi is good to go in Windows 7, but not in Mac OSX. I’ve maxxed out at 24/48 with the OSX and even then there are bugs as I’ve outlined above.

      • Reply March 16, 2011

        Coolsax78

        ok great… have foobar but mostly use Media Monkey honestly on Vista.. but glad to know.. just need something decent that’s better than the laptop out for while sitting on the couch..

  • Reply March 17, 2011

    Stefan Schuchardt

    I bought the U100 some day ago and I really enjoy the sound with my Phonak Audeo with black filters. I dont have any other cans at the moment to test with.

    But the sound is just awesome.

    http://bilder.hifi-forum.de/max/423693/dsc04159_55681.jpg

    • Reply March 18, 2011

      Anonymous

      Good to hear that, Stefan!

  • Reply March 19, 2011

    Jacobsmith123

    Is the U100 fairly musical sounding?

    • Reply March 21, 2011

      Anonymous

      It is musical, yes, but more into the upper mids. If you want the weighty lows kind of musical, go for the Audinst HUD MX1.

  • Reply March 27, 2011

    Elie Hendriks

    Nice review! I’m in the market for a new dac atm. I would use it with a Sennheiser HD598. I also have M-Audio AV-40 monitor speakers. Would this give superior sound quality over an Asus Xonar STX soundcard?

    • Reply March 28, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Elie,
      I have not compared the Yulong to the Asus STX, so I think I better not
      say anything in this case. Sorry.

  • Reply March 27, 2011

    Anonymous

    Hi i couldnt locate the page for the mx1 so I’m asking this here:

    So how was the Tiny Tube?

    • Reply March 28, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Daniel,
      Sorry I’ve just received the Tiny Tube yesterday and I still haven’t had
      the time to listen to it. Please give me a few days?

      • Reply March 28, 2011

        Anonymous

        oh no problem, take your time. No apologies. 🙂

      • Reply March 30, 2011

        Anonymous

        so what’s the verdict? I’ve been reading your other reviews and I think you’re doing a great job especially with the DAC section. And I liked your comparison of Beats against the M50. >:D

        • Reply March 30, 2011

          Anonymous

          Hi Dan,
          I’m liking the Tiny Tube very much and I’m already working on the
          official article.

          Bottom line is that the Tiny Tube sounds great and especially for $200.
          The question probably becomes, as with everything in this hobby, what
          music are you listening to, and what kind of a sound are you looking for.

          The Tiny Tube excel in midrange. So if you put midrange as the most
          important thing in the frequency reproduction, then the Tiny Tube is
          better than the Audinst and the Yulong in the mids. Clear, grain free
          mids, smooth, almost faultless, and certainly very good for $200.

          The overall frequency balance is slightly prominent in the mids, and
          while I find the treble sparkle to still be very good, the bass is a bit
          lacking. The solid state Yulong and Audinst are probably better here,
          but I haven’t compared directly.

          Soundstage is great. Width is okay, but awesome depth, especially on
          this price bracket.

          I think if you’re listening mostly to medium paced music, vocals, jazz,
          acoustics, then the Tiny Tube can be a strong recommendation.
          If you listen to more aggressive music with strong beats and demand good
          low bass impact, then I’d probably recommend the Yulong or the Audinst
          over the Tiny Tube.

          Like the majority of tube gears, the Tiny Tube is not about presenting a
          full, linear, frequency response (solid states do that). Rather, tubes
          excel at presenting a sweet musical presentation with strong coherence
          and almost unrivaled midrange compared to solid states.

          • Reply March 30, 2011

            Anonymous

            Wow that was fast and nice. Yes I listen to a lot of electronic music but I’m not as concerned about the bass. I’m more concerned about the setup being able to catch up with the pace of the songs.

            I guess another thing to consider about tubes is how long they last and how costly it would be in the long run, and whether or not it’s meant to be a keeper.

            If the midrange is really that good i suppose i should recommend this to my friend who’s all for mids. In any case, thanks for the impression and all the best with the official review. I’m looking forward to it.

            • Reply March 30, 2011

              Anonymous

              The pace is not that slow, but hearing your comments about how long the tubes last, I think you should just go with the Audinst and get some opamp change like the AD797 which i think would work great with Electronic music.

      • Reply April 13, 2011

        Daniel1703

        Hi Mike,

        I opted for the Yulong U100 instead and I’ve just set it up with my A5s. I was previously using a cheap Creative Live! 24-bit.

        Listening to the U100 for 2 hours, my initial impressions of it is that in comparison with my old card, I find that the musical details (and also details in bad recordings such as crackling) are more present now.

        The mids are slightly more recessed in comparison with the creative but this is not a bad thing as this makes the music sound richer instead of having the mids overpowering the details. The musical presentation of the U100 is definitely more complex than the creative card.

        The bass has also become punchier; it has a touch and go feel to it as in once the bass note it hit, it dies away fast enough, giving it a more solid feel. I don’t have subwoofers so I can’t say much about how deep the bass can go on the U100. In fact, all I can actually say about the bass is that it is punchy. I haven’t tested it with my Phonak Audeo PFE 112 which is capable of going pretty deep.

        Along with the above, the stereo imaging is also better than the U100. Although some people say you don’t have to speak about soundstage on speakers because you have infinite space, the U100 can be said to give you a more immersive soundstage, one that feels more natural.

        In a more general picture, the above comparison may not be a fair one as the creative is just a consumer product while the U100 is a prosumer piece of equipment. But one thing that this comparison reveals is that the 250% extra in price that you pay to get a U100 is not as worth the money compared to the 150% extra in price that I paid to get the PFE with my ety ER6i as a reference.

        This basically means that before you settle for a DAC, if you already have a proper soundcard (at least something better than onboard sound), get better headphones or speakers first. The DAC can come later, but make sure it does come. 😉

        • Reply April 13, 2011

          Anonymous

          Thanks for the in depth comparison, Daniel.

          There are some sentences that I find a bit confusing, like “the stereo
          imaging is also better than the U100”, but overall I understand what you
          are trying to say.

          Ultimately, yes, the right speakers/headphones are the most important
          part, since they are responsible for creating the actual sound waves.

          • Reply April 13, 2011

            Daniel1703

            It basically means that you can feel more accurately where the sound sources are. You could say it’s better instrument separation but that just tells you that you can listen to the individual instruments used better. Picture a band performing, you record it, and you play it. By better stereo imaging, what I mean to say is that while listening to the song, you can feel and picture better where each band member is. So with better stereo imaging, the soundstage feels more realistic.

            • Reply April 13, 2011

              Anonymous

              No what I mean is, you typed “the stereo imaging is also better *than*
              the U100” — what were you comparing the U100 to at this point?

              • Reply April 13, 2011

                Daniel1703

                LOL. That’s a mistake. Better ‘on’. 😛

                • Reply April 13, 2011

                  Anonymous

                  Exactly. 🙂

  • Reply April 4, 2011

    Stef

    Hi ! Could you tell me (and us) if the Yulong is powerfull enough to feed your AKG K340.

    If not, which headphone amp would you advise for a short budget ? I think the M-stage would do the trick, but it’s rather expensive.

    • Reply April 4, 2011

      Stef

      Or maybe a Matrix mini-i, which seems to be a very decent DAC / AMP

    • Reply April 5, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Stef,
      I don’t have the the K340 here, but the Yulong is powerful enough for
      the HE-6 orthodynamic, which I believe is harder to drive than the K340.

      The M-Stage will have plenty of power for the K340.

      • Reply May 1, 2011

        red_joe

        mike..i’m curious about your statement here.. i’m also thinking of whether i should buy a dac/amp for my hd598.. but you said this yulong could drive he-6???? aren’t those one of the most difficult orthos to drive?? if so, then i definitely going to buy it.. because i thought before i would need an expensive and powerful amp for orthos..

        • Reply May 1, 2011

          Anonymous

          Yes, the amplifier section is quite powerful, so it’ll probably take
          care of any orthodynamics you have.

          • Reply May 2, 2011

            red_joe

            ok..btw, do you mean that the yulong could drive the he-6 to a ‘listenable’ volume level, or do you mean that it actually drive them to a pleasant listening experience?? how about the e9/e7 compared to the yulong in terms of power??

            • Reply May 2, 2011

              Anonymous

              Ah,
              No normal headphone amplifier can drive the HE-6 properly. You need to
              connect the HE-6 to ~30w – 50w speaker amps to make it sing.

              • Reply May 2, 2011

                red_joe

                really?? so even with the hifiman ef-5 or the schiit lyr which are specially designed for orthos cannot drive orthos properly?? i’m confused now..

                • Reply May 2, 2011

                  Ivan

                  They can. In fact, the Lyr does the job wonderfully. It’s just that speaker amps does an even better job.

                  • Reply May 2, 2011

                    Anonymous

                    Well said, Ivan.

                    • May 3, 2011

                      red_joe

                      mike, how would you compare it with e7/e9 combo?? in terms of power… i heard the e9 could drive anything but the orthos…

                    • May 3, 2011

                      Anonymous

                      I am still waiting for a new power adapter to arrive from Fiio (should
                      be anyday this week), so in the meantime I haven’t been able to do the
                      comparison yet.

                      But the point is, what are you trying to drive? Either the E7/E9 and the
                      U100 can drive just about every dynamic headphone out there. And for the
                      orthos, it’s best that you look at beefier desktop amps, instead of
                      these entry level units.

                    • May 3, 2011

                      red_joe

                      sorry mike if i’m kinda confusing.. basically i’m looking for an amp for my current hd598 and soon-to-be-mine dt880 (my uncle decided to give them to me coz he said he never touch them anymore).. and since i’m sort of low on cash right now, i’m restricted to entry level dac and amp.. so which one do you think would power the beyers better? i heard dt880 is quite demanding about amps??

                    • May 4, 2011

                      Anonymous

                      In the old days, yes it was not easy to find an amplifier that can drive
                      the DT880 (250 and 600 ohms) to sufficiently loud levels. Not anymore,
                      these days amplifiers come with very big voltage swings, and just about
                      any offering in the market should be able to drive them to really loud
                      levels, including both the Yulong or the Fiio.

                  • Reply May 2, 2011

                    red_joe

                    thanks..so what i’m curious about is whether the yulong could do the job with ortos at least near the level of the lyr or ef5??

  • Reply April 5, 2011

    Anonymous

    Hi Mike,
    Do you think they will fix the mac issue? and what exactly is the issue?

    tnx
    22diabolo

    • Reply April 6, 2011

      Anonymous

      Copy and pasted from the article:

      ———————————————————————————————————-

      One thing that I have to mention is that the USB connectivity doesn’t seem to be as robust as the one on the Audinst, or all the other Mac-compatible DACs. Sometimes, plugging in the Yulong to my MacPro will immediately give a “bleep bleep bleep” sound on the headphones, the sound that you get when you’re hitting the volume level button on your Mac. Unplugging and plugging the USB cable back would solve the problem, so it’s not a big deal, but I am obliged to tell you about it. It also helps if you’re using a USB cable with ferrite magnet on it. I don’t know why this is, seeing that both the Audinst and the Yulong comes with the same TE7022L receiver chip. Moreover, on my Mac, the Yulong is only recognized as a 48/24 USB device, though the TE7022L receiver should be good for 24/92.

      Warning to Mac Users:
      I have been having issues using the U100 with Mac computers. On my MacPro I can make the problem go away by turning on the computer AFTER the U100 is connected and on.
      However, I haven’t had any success with my Powerbook and a friend’s MacBook.
      So, I wouldn’t recommend it to Mac Users.

      ———————————————————————————————————-

      I have asked about this driver problem, but I don’t think they can give a guarantee if they will release a newer driver to solve the problem. A shame really.

  • Reply April 12, 2011

    George Vichev

    Do you think it will sound better paired with an M-Stage? Or the M-Stage is unnecessary attachment = minor sound improvement?

    • Reply April 13, 2011

      Anonymous

      If you are only driving an average pair of dynamic headphones, up to the 300 Ohm stuff, then the Yulong shouldbemore than enough.

      If you are using the Orthodynamics, then the Matrix will give you the current you need for those. Additionally the Matrix will also give a warm coloration, extra body on the lower mids and bass, and some people may prefer that sound too.

  • Reply April 21, 2011

    Barun432

    Hey Mike,
    What do you think about the Maverick Tube Magic D1? You should do a review about that DAC.

    • Reply April 21, 2011

      Anonymous

      Yea, I should do a review on that one…

      I’ve heard good things about it, but haven’t listened to it personally.

  • Reply April 22, 2011

    Curiousususus

    So the U100 is better than the Audinist as both a DAC and an amp? Is the DAC more musical sounding than the MSII, because I find it a bit sterile. . .

    Also, there is a head-fier who posted a review saying the U100 is dark and actually less detailed as a DAC than the Audinist (but better in other ways). Is he just nuts?

    • Reply April 23, 2011

      Brian Fu

      That’s bollocks. The U100 (when used to drive headphones straight) is to the bright side. Warm is a stock M-Stage.

      BTW thanks for the loaner, Mike. Some amazing stuff here. 🙂

    • Reply April 25, 2011

      Anonymous

      I don’t know about the headfier, but the audinst is brighter than the audinst, and the technicalities are better too.

      • Reply April 25, 2011

        CccC

        Whatcha saying there Mike, audinst brighter than the audinst? 😛 😛

        • Reply April 25, 2011

          Anonymous

          I must be drunk. Yulong is brighter than the Audinst.

          • Reply April 25, 2011

            Pie

            OK, well thanks for the reply. I’ll probably give the Yulong a try. . .

  • Reply April 26, 2011

    gogon

    Hello Mike, excellent website you have here.
    I need a recommendation for choosing a DAC/AMP that costs less than $ 400 locally (Indonesia) to power my Aego M speaker and ath m50 headphone, and maybe HD650 / K701 in the future.. My source will be windows pc via usb.
    Which “best bang for buck” DAC/AMP will you recommend between the yulong, mavaudio D1, or cambridge dacmagic, or maybe other than those?

    thank you Mike

    • Reply April 26, 2011

      Anonymous

      The Yulong is a good choice. If I am not mistaken the Aego is warm sounding and the Yulong should be a good pairing for it, and also the HD650 that you plan to acquire in the future.

      I have never listened to the D1 and the Dacmagic doesnt come with headphone out.

  • Reply April 26, 2011

    Ken

    Hi Mike,

    I am split between the Audinst and Yulong as the Yulong doesnt have a 1/8″ headphone jack. I currently only have IEM’s at the moment and I’m considering purchasing a pair of HD650’s or ESW9 in the future. Would it be wise to use the U100 for my IEM’s before I make the switch to full size headphones and bear with the 1/4″ with adapter?

    Thanks,
    Ken

    • Reply April 26, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Ken,
      The Yulong’s gain will be too big for your IEMs, but it would be a better choice for your ESW9 and HD650. I personally use 1/8-1/4 adapters all the time and they don’t bother me much.

      I think the Yulong will be a good match for the 650 and ESW9 sonically. As for the gain issue I mentioned earlier, just set the Volume at Itunes at 50%.

      • Reply April 27, 2011

        Daniel1703

        yes i’ve been suspecting something’s out of the normal with my IEMs which are at 32ohms. Do you think there’s a remedy for this? maybe a resistance adapter?

        • Reply April 27, 2011

          Anonymous

          Since you will be playing from a computer source, just lower the volume output on your Foobar/Itunes. It is a software based volume control and even Benchmark Media (The DAC maker) says the quality drop is below noticeable levels. That will be a less destructive method than altering the analog signal with a resistor.

          A resistor at the output will also make your IEM bassier soundingand more muffled. Not recommended.

          • Reply April 27, 2011

            Daniel1703

            So what you mean is to lower foobar’s volume and increase the u100’s volume?

            Cool. I’ll try that out and see if the sound improves. I’m thinking of getting good headphones when I go to the states for training. I’ll probably have to find something that’s harder to drive. Heh.

            • Reply April 27, 2011

              Anonymous

              Yep. Run the foobar volume at 50%. that should make it usable for IEMs.

              • Reply April 30, 2011

                Daniel1703

                very noticeable improvement in SQ with your advice. Everything sounds more full now and the bass extension has improved too.

                • Reply May 1, 2011

                  Anonymous

                  Awesome!

  • Reply April 30, 2011

    gogon

    Mike, how does u100 compared to audiotrak dr dac2? because in my country the u100 is not yet available. I will be pairing it with ath m-50 atm, and hd 650/K701 in the future. I’m using my pc usb as source..

    • Reply May 1, 2011

      Anonymous

      The Dr. DAC2 is a better DAC, and sounds warmer. The U100 has a punchier
      amplifier, and brighter tone.

  • Reply May 2, 2011

    Elie Hendriks

    If you would have the time, it would be awesome to also have a review of the Matrix Cube, and maybe a comparison to the Mini-i. I think CoolFunGadget also has these on his webshop.

    • Reply May 2, 2011

      Elie Hendriks

      Sorry.. I meant to post this in your Mini-i review..
      But a comparison between the Cube and the u100 would also be nice 🙂

  • Reply May 3, 2011

    Arjun Jamil

    How do these fair against the Fiio E7? Not the same price range, but does it make a HUGE difference?

    Oh, and pls check that HD558 vs HD 595 vs HD 555. I had some last questions left.

    • Reply May 3, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Jamil,
      Didn’t I answered your question on the other article?

      I think you’d be best wait until you get your headphones. Then see if
      you see any obvious problems with the sound. That’s much better than
      blindly buying gears.

  • Reply May 4, 2011

    mathu

    I’m looking for an upgrade for my Audinst. Looks like it’s the weakest link of my current setup (laptop -> MX1 -> upgraded Lovely Cube Lehmann clone -> HD650). I’m looking for a DAC-only box, no headamp section since I already have powerful separate amp. I need the USB and optical inputs (optical output is not required). Price: $200, maybe $300 so the same league as Yulong, but I don’t want to pay for the headphone amp section. What can you recommend? I’m thinking about Musical Fidelity V-DAC.

  • Reply May 4, 2011

    Mike11

    Hi Mike, I just purchased one of these U100 from coolfungadget, at the moment i have my ATH-M50 and have always generally liked them, im looking to upgrade to a new headphone that would match well with the Yulong, can spend around 300-400$ and would appreciate your input.

    Thanks

    • Reply May 4, 2011

      Mike11

      Sorry I forgot to mention my music preferences, I like Rock / Metal and some dance, trance music

      • Reply May 5, 2011

        Anonymous

        • Reply May 5, 2011

          Daniel

          Regarding the dance/trance stuff, TMA-1 and Mk2 seem to be bass heavy phones. I generally don’t agree that it’s all about the bass in these musical genres. I’m all for moderate bass with good extension, with a slightly bright tone to highlight the ‘effects’ added into the music. Then again, I don’t have a recommendation in terms of headphones. I use an IEM and I’m pretty happy with it. Also, I prefer to listen to trance/dance on studio monitors, without subwoofers unless you’re throwing a party and you want to hump someone on the subwoofers.

          • Reply May 5, 2011

            Anonymous

            The TMA-1 is not that bass heavy when you are playing dance/trance music
            through them. You really need to give it a try. Dance music have
            different recording and voicings, and they just respond differently.

            The Pro700Mk2 is bass heavy.

            • Reply May 6, 2011

              Daniel

              cool. I’m actually looking for headphones that have a signature somewhat like the Phonak Audeo PFE to go with my U100. I generally need a balanced sound with details. I should try the TMA-1. Any idea who carries them in Singapore?

              • Reply May 6, 2011

                Anonymous

                Daniel,
                Sorry but neither the TMA-1 or the Pro700 sounds like a Phonak. 🙂

                A phonak sounding headphone? The closest I can think of is Sony ZX700 or
                Z1000. Not quite the same though.

                • Reply May 6, 2011

                  Daniel

                  Basically I’d just like something balanced and detailed. And fast. Anything in mind?

                  • Reply May 6, 2011

                    Anonymous

                    Try the Z1000 Sony. It’s balanced and detailed.

    • Reply May 5, 2011

      Anonymous

      The M-50 should be good with the Yulong.

      But as for the new headphone, what music, what design? (full size?
      closed/open?)

      • Reply May 5, 2011

        Mike11

        Looking for something for some metal, and dance i know its hard to cover those genres in one can, but i like air and seperation between instruments a lot. Was maybe thinking the HD650 since you seem to enjoy it very much with the Yulong, although our musical tastes may vary

        • Reply May 5, 2011

          Anonymous

          I don’t know, I don’t listen to metal at all, so I wouldn’t know. Can
          you give me some names/bands?

          How is the M-50 for metal?

        • Reply May 5, 2011

          Anonymous

          I tried playing some tunes just now..
          Linkin Park, Porcupine Tree, Korn, Dream Theater, Incubus, Led Zeppelin

          I think for most of them, except on Dream Theater’s Black Clouds and
          Silver linings, the HD650, though delivering a good impact on the bass,
          won’t be able to keep up with the pace of the complex bass passages —
          hence the HD25-1. A HD600 would be a good middle ground between the
          HD650 and the HD25-1 though.

          • Reply May 6, 2011

            Windsor

            Mike recently asked me on Twitter about how the HD 600 was for heavy rock/metal music, and my reply was a bit long, so I’ll share some of my thoughts about that here along with some of my general findings with the HD 600.

            Mike’s HD 600 / 650 / 598 review is a great comparison of those models, and I’ll mainly focus on the HD 600 here.

            Firstly, the HD600 has changed the way I hear music, wonderfully so.

            I find the HD 600 quite neutral and with them, I hear the details on a recording with plenty of pace and clarity and nothing seems to be overemphasized; the HD600 clearly portrays the whole picture of the recordings I hear. It’s a great all-round headphone that can work really well with most types of music, including rock music.

            — Rocking out with the HD 600 —

            With the HD600, if I listen to music such as heavy rock and metal, I can certainly rock out, and the ‘rock out factor’ is largely determined by the quality and sonic balance of the recording I’m listening to. Using the HD 600 and flat EQ, I’m probably more likely to rock out and move to recordings that have more low-end weight which moves the HD 600 diaphragms more.

            ‘Freedom’ by Rage Against The Machine is an example of a heavy rock recording that has quite a bit of low-end weight to it. I just listened to it with the HD 600 in the process of writing this and found myself rocking and moving my body, quite enjoyably. ☺

            The HD 600 provides a subtler experience of rock music than with headphones such as the Sennheiser HD 25-1 or Grado PS-1, which are more ‘forward,’ sounding, and the HD 600 and could be described as a bit thin or light for some tastes, but if the recording is of good quality then the HD 600 will reflect that and reveal the vibe of the music with clarity.

            With the HD 600, the sonic detail and quality of well-recorded music is a treat. Music with relatively complex parts e.g. Lateralus’ by Tool is great to hear. With the HD 600, the drums on ‘Lateralus’ have plenty of PRaT, though at the end of the song, I’ve sometimes wanted to feel more sub bass, but I enjoy hearing the bass relative to the other parts of the recording. It seems that when I use the HD 600, I constantly listen to the overall picture of the music as my default perspective.

            With fast-paced music, such as songs by the heavy metal band Slayer, the HD 600 isn’t as ‘forward’ and ‘aggressive’ as headphones like the Grado PS-I can make music sound, but the HD600 is a relatively softer listen and easier on the ears which still provides plenty of pace and clarity.

            If you intend to listen to faster-paced rock music with the HD 600, I’d also recommend using a DAC/Amp to enhance clarity and impact. When I used the HD 600 via my laptop’s headphone out, the details in fast rock music were rather difficult to hear, but the DAC/Amp I used was quite inexpensive and made the computer noise disappear and the music sound clearer with more visceral impact, which I found satisfying.

            — Some overall impressions of the HD 600 —

            The HD 600 is a great all-round, neutral sounding headphone that facilitates hearing the whole picture of a recording. Listening with the HD 600 is what I imagine it would be like to listen to music via high-quality neutral-sounding monitor speakers with a thin sheet of fabric between the speakers and my ears (to illustrate how the HD 600 seems to soften the treble slightly).

            I really enjoy the HD 600, and rank it among the ‘best’ headphones on the planet at this (‘best’ being totally subjective, of course). I’d like to say that someone I know who owns a Sennheiser Orpheus said that ‘you can’t go wrong with the HD 600,’ and I think that says a lot.

            But at the end of the day, it’s the music that matters. Since I got the HD 600, I stopped listening to headphones and started listening to music more. The HD 600 really get out of the way and put the music on display. I like that. ☺

            • Reply May 6, 2011

              Mike11

              Thanks for the extremely detailed reply from both you and Mike, I think I may get the HD600, and HD25-1 and keep whichever I like best. My musical tastes match a lot of what you mentioned in the reply Windsor, Tool is always a treat to listen too, then for my trance selection of music I’ll probably have to get a second can for the more impact of the bass, that will be between the HD25-1 / Pro700Mk2.

              Thanks a lot guys

              • Reply May 7, 2011

                Anonymous

                Awesome.

  • Reply May 5, 2011

    rickymaru

    great review! how about maverick tube magic dac, have you heard it before?

    • Reply May 5, 2011

      Anonymous

      Have heard about it, but nevr listened to it.

  • Reply May 10, 2011

    Nelson

    A New Offical U100 Driver just released in http://u.115.com/file/clgljs68 , It made a better sound than just with Windows build-in driver. It’s worth a try!

    • Reply May 10, 2011

      Anonymous

      Awesome. Thanks for the info.

      But they haven’t released a Macintosh driver?

      • Reply May 11, 2011

        Nelsonts

        Yes! They haven’t released a Machintosh Driver, and
        they seem to have no such planing.

        • Reply May 11, 2011

          Anonymous

          Ah that’s too bad.

  • Reply May 11, 2011

    Mike11

    My Yulong arrived today, and I can say paired with the HD600 it’s a very awesome combo. Been listening to a lot of my music. I will say with good recorded music this is an eye opener to what great music sounds like. I have had quite a bit of gears so far, and this is definately my favorite set up yet. I really like how pop sounds on them, alternative is quite good too if its recorded well. Metal is also good if the recording is good. I will be getting a second pair for my more hard core metal / trance stuff and I think I’ll be leaning toward the HD-25. The Pro700 mk2 tempt me but if the vocals are much better on the HD-25’s thats where I’ll go.

    Mike if you could rate on a 1-5 scale for me for the HD-25, and Pro700 Mk2 the bass impact of both cans, and the vocals that would help me in ordering my complimentary can.

    Thanks

    • Reply May 11, 2011

      Anonymous

      I think you should go with the HD25-1 as the Pro700 Mk2 won’t have enough pace to handle hard core metal stuff.

      • Reply May 12, 2011

        Mike11

        Thanks Mike, so glad you have this site im really happy with my HD600/U100 combo. 🙂

        • Reply May 12, 2011

          Anonymous

          Thanks man!

  • Reply May 18, 2011

    Tetris

     Hey! Nice review. Damn Tempted to get one. Any idea where i can get them in singapore? And would it go well with Beyerdynamics Dt770 Pro?

    Thanksss

    • Reply May 18, 2011

      Anonymous

      Tetris,
      I’d recommend the warmer and darker sounding Audinst HUD-MX1 for the
      DT770 pro. It’ll do a better job matching the DT770’s treble and filling
      the mids. The Yulong is brighter than the Audinst, better fit for
      Sennheiser than Beyer.

      http://www.headfonia.com/audinst-hud-mx1-dac/

      I think you’ve got to go to eBay for both the Audinst and the Yulong.

  • Reply May 20, 2011

    Anonymous

    I currently have Sennheiser HD555 (modded to remove the internal padding, ala 595), and listen to a range of music, lately Clapton, Cloud Cult, Prince, Cassandra Wilson. 

    My budget is pretty open, and I could spend a little more that the $225 for the u100. Would you recommend, the u100 with the 555’s — or do I get more elsewhere by spending a little extra?

    • Reply May 21, 2011

      Anonymous

      What source/amp are you using right now?

      I think upgrading to the HD598 would provide the biggest improvement
      than getting the Yulong. You’ll get a sweeter vocal and a more
      holographic, three dimensional soundstage compared to the HD555.

      • Reply May 21, 2011

        Anonymous

        Source is primarily flac direct from motherboard sound processor (GA-MA78GM-S2H) — no amp. Does that change your approach?

        Interesting perspective on the 598, thanks. I recently brought the 555’s though, so replacing them is an option, but I think I’d rather go the DAC/amp route, and then headphone upgrade after. But I will look into the 598 — maybe I can sell the 555’s.

        • Reply May 23, 2011

          Anonymous

          The Yulong will provide an improvement over the current motherboard
          sound output, but the HD598 will give you more upgrade still.

          • Reply May 24, 2011

            Anonymous

            Well I decided to give the 598’s a try — should arrive in a few days. Will be interesting to see the difference over the 555’s. 

            Next after that will be DAC — still leaning towards the Yulong, but part of me wants a more ‘recognized’ brand for possible resale when/if I upgrade later.

            • Reply May 24, 2011

              Anonymous

              Nice.

              If you go with the HD598s, the Audinst should make a better pairing than
              the Yulong. It’s a Korean brand, but the Audinst has gained quite a wide
              spread reputation on the net. It’s currently our #7 most popular article
              on Headfonia, far above all the other DACs I’ve reviewed.

          • Reply May 25, 2011

            Anonymous

            598’s came in, and from a quick listen, not a major difference from the modded 555’s. I’ll add a more detailed assessment in the 555 thread, but so far the 555’s have a more solid bass, and a more expansive sound stage.

            I’ll let the 598’s break in a little before a real assessment though.

            • Reply May 26, 2011

              Anonymous

              The HD598’s soundstage is far deeper and livelier than the 555. Try
              playing a good live recording.

          • Reply June 4, 2011

            Anonymous

            Interesting you say the Audinst would be a better pairing with the 598. In the Yulong review you appear to indicate it’s a better pairing with the Sennheiser than the Audinst. 

            “I prefer the Audinst’s headphone out is when I’m using a relatively light-bass headphone like the HD598. But even then, the superior articulation on the U100′s bass brings me back to the Yulong time and time again.”

            The headphone/RCA switch on the Audinst is attractive, as is the upgrade potential. But the look of the Yulong, and it’s better build quality, and sound signature has me. Would the addition of an op-amp upgrade (http://coolfungadget.com/store/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=91) push the Audinst past the Yulong in terms of vocal signature?

            • Reply June 6, 2011

              Anonymous

              You got me there.

              The Audinst will give more bass body and its overall warmer sound will
              be a better match for the HD598’s upper mid-skewed tonal balance.
              However, I suppose I was just digging the superior articulation on the
              U100’s bass when I did the review hence that statement you quoted. Sorry
              if that sounds confusing, but none of these things are set in stone, and
              when you hear a statement like Headphone A matches well with Amplifier
              B, it doesn’t mean that Headphone A won’t match well with Amplifier C,
              D, or E. For instance the HD800 works great with the Zana Deux, but it
              also works great out of the Manley or the Beta22, all of which are
              amplifiers with totally different sound characteristics.

              I did try the Audinst with the OPA627 biased class A, which is one of
              the fanciest opamp you can get (and the one sold by coolfungadget as
              well, though I didn’t buy mine from him), and still while the resolution
              improves it still can’t match the Yulong’s. In terms of vocal signature,
              the two are vastly different, the Audinst is warmer and heavier while
              the Yulong is more present and is richer. An opamp probably would not be
              able to bridge the difference.

  • Reply May 26, 2011

    Red_joe

    mike..how would the hrt ms2 compares with it?? you said the hrt beats audinst, but how about it against the yulong??

    • Reply May 27, 2011

      Anonymous

      The HRT MS2 overall is still the better DAC, overlooking differences of sound signatures. It doesn’t come with an amp though.

      • Reply May 27, 2011

        Red_joe

        hmm..interesting.. so which one is more neutral to your ears?

        • Reply May 27, 2011

          Anonymous

          The U100 is more colorless, if that’s what you’re looking for. The MS2
          is more natural sounding though.

  • Reply May 26, 2011

    Buta_bros

    hello mike..i’m looking for a great low impedance amp..is this have a great synergy with ath-esw9??

  • Reply May 27, 2011

    Thehundo

    This website has been incredibly helpful, so thank you.  I just purchased the U100 today. Two quick questions:
    1. I’m in search of a pair of headphones, strongly leaning towards the HD650s (musical taste is across the board, so an all-arounder is important…also like open headphones).  I know they are power hungry…is the U100 enough ‘oomph’ to do them justice?
    2. If I get the upgrade itch (reasonably plausible), what would be the next step?  I assume it would be adding a dedicated amp to pump some needed juice to the HD650s (matrix? hifiman? burson?).

    • Reply May 27, 2011

      Anonymous

      Thanks!

      The HD650 is actually one of my favorite pairing with the U100, and yes
      the amplifier section of the U100 can handle the HD650 just fine, oomph
      and impact factor very good.

      In case of upgrade itch, if you like the character of the U100, the
      Burson would be the logical upgrade. But if you decide to pursue other
      sound signatures, then you’ve got to look at other choices.

  • Reply June 2, 2011

    Spiiicy Chips

    I’m looking to getting an amp/dac combo and this is looking really good.  How does this compare to the Matrix m-stage on the amps alone?  Although it seems pretty obvious the m-stage would outlclass the  yulong for good reasons lol.

    Now if I were to purchase the yulong and need a stand alone dac, what are some good suggestions to pair with?

    • Reply June 2, 2011

      Anonymous

      The amplifier section is not as powerful as the M-Stage, but if you’re
      only powering dynamic headphones (and not big modern Orthodynamics), the
      Yulong’s amplifier stage is quite powerful (they’re discrete, transistor
      based) and is actually cleaner sounding than the Matrix.

      The Yulong is a DAC, why would you need a stand alone dac again?

      • Reply June 3, 2011

        Spiiicy Chips

        I meant to say purchasing the Matrix and which stand alone would suffice with it.  I’m not sure if there is dyslexia when it comes to typing but I think I qualify for it bahahaha.

        • Reply June 6, 2011

          Anonymous

          What headphone will you be using?

          If you are using a dynamic headphone, then the Yulong’s amp is most
          probably enough. If you use another amp next to the Yulong, what you
          will hear is the coloration you get from that amplifier, which can be
          nice coloration, but I don’t think you will really feel that power level
          has gone up significantly.

  • Reply June 5, 2011

    newbie

    Mike,

    I’m looking for a headphone to pair with the u100. I basically listen to everything and would like something versatile. Nowadays, however, i’ve been listening to a lot of electronica. But I’m not a basshead and I am leaning towards something which has accurate, punchy bass with moderate quantity as I don’t want to overpower the mids. Details are important to me too. Generally I like something quite neutral but slightly bright, which is why I bought the U100.

    I’ve read through the comments section and saw that you liked HD650 with u100 the most. However, I’m a bit concerned about the general perception of the HD650 being ‘dark’. I should be able to audition quite some headphones here so feel free to throw me anything that comes to mind. Thanks.

    newbie

    • Reply June 6, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Daniel,
      I think you should try two headphones. The HD650 and the HD25-1. After
      you tried those two, let me know what you think of them and I’ll have a
      better idea of the headphone you should go after.

      Personally for electronica I think the HD25-1 is going to be a perfect
      match.

  • Reply June 5, 2011

    newbie

    I’m currently running foobar -> WASAPI -> SB Audigy ZS2 -> D2000s on a desktop and was thinking of getting an Audinst or now a Yulong?  What would your recommendation be?

    • Reply June 5, 2011

      newbie

      *to clarify: Denon D2000s. And I was looking for more midrange clarity/forwardness and maybe a more tame bass

      • Reply June 6, 2011

        Anonymous

        Definitely go with the Yulong on that one.

  • […] Via: http://www.headfonia.com/the-new-recommendation-the-yulong-u100-usb-dac/ […]

  • Reply June 14, 2011

    sam

    any chance that the yulong u100 has a chance of driving an akg 702 to satisfactory results?

    • Reply June 14, 2011

      Anonymous

      It drives the HD650 with very good results, so although I didn’t try it
      directly with the K702, I think the amplifier section should be powerful
      enough.

  • Reply June 19, 2011

    Bert

    Hi Mike,

    I’m considering pairing the Yulong U100 with the Superlux 668B as a budget setup. Any opinions or recommendations for this, or would a different combination be more suitable?

    • Reply June 20, 2011

      Anonymous

      I think it would be rather bright since the U100 is a leaning to bright
      and the HD668B as well. I would pair the HD668B with the Audinst
      HUD-MX1, or the U100 with a Senn headphone.

      • Reply June 20, 2011

        Bert

        Thanks for the advice. Couldn’t find an Audinst locally, but now have the Uber Muzik Tiny Tube DAC as an option. =)

        • Reply June 21, 2011

          Anonymous

          Yes, the Tiny Tube should be great with the HD668B. 🙂

  • Reply June 20, 2011

    Zenturio

    Hi headfonia,

    I’m from Germany, can u helf me? I’m considering pairing the Yulong U100 with my Beyerdynamic DT-880 Pro. This headphone is one of the most neutral headphones. Below u have said that u recommend the Audinst hd-mx1 for the Beyer DT-770 pro. But now, there it’s another compilation. Please help me! Thanks. Personally I would prefer the Yulong because I can use my Ipod nano as the source.

    • Reply June 21, 2011

      Anonymous

      I think it would not be a good match, and I’d still recommend the
      Audinst over the Yulong for the Dt880. I realize that the Audinst
      doesn’t take analog input but one way to do it is to hook up the Nano to
      your computer and play the music from Itunes. The computer will then
      send the signal out to the USB to the Audinst.

      • Reply June 21, 2011

        Zenturio

        Can u explain something. Did u ever have or test the Dt-880 Pro? It’s a very neutral Headphone unlike the 770 Pro which has a great bass.
        If I pair the 880 Pro and the Yulong what will happen in the worst case?

        • Reply June 21, 2011

          Anonymous

          Hi Zenturio,
          The DT880 is a very precise monitoring headphone. That means, if your
          recording is good then you’re going to hear it. If your recording is
          bad, you’re probably not going to enjoy the sound very much.

          Now the next sentence is debatable, but even with good recordings, I
          still believe that music listening needs headphones that doesn’t push
          out the treble as much as on the DT880s. They would be great for
          monitoring, where you need to be able to pick up the slightest noise
          that the microphone picks up, but for music listening, you need
          something more relaxed while still giving you the detail in the sound.

          Add that to the fact that the majority of mainstream recordings tend to
          be quite bright in the treble area, and so I think a darker sounding
          source like the Audinst would be a better pairing for the DT880, rather
          than the Yulong. Of course at the end of the day, the choice is yours,
          and you’re free to choose whichever looks good to you.

          • Reply June 21, 2011

            Zenturio

            Thank you for your advice, it was very helpful!!! So long!

            zenturio from Germany

  • Reply June 22, 2011

    Eyal

    how is it compared to hifiman ef-2 ?

    Eyal.

    • Reply June 23, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi eyal, cant say as Ive only listened to the ef2 very briefly.

  • Reply June 23, 2011

    Eyal

    ok, ef-2 is probably too small.

    How is the yulong when compared to DR.Dac2 ?Eyal.

  • Reply July 6, 2011

    Arjun Jamil

    I think im ready for buying an amp/dac, if u remember, few weeks ago i was confused b/w the HD558 and the M50, i went ahead and bought the M50, now i am thinking of upgrading my source, or getting a Pro700 Mk2, which doesnt respond well to unamped sources. I have the options of the Maverick D1 and the A1, or others that you would propose. Budget ends at 200$.
    Will be using the phone or a computer as a source.

    • Reply July 7, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Arjun,
      What do you think about the Audinst HUD-MX1? I find the problems with
      the U100’s drivers are getting in a way from me making a wide
      recommendations of it, and so I’m now back to the Audinst.
      http://www.headfonia.com/audinst-hud-mx1-dac/

      I’ve never listened to the Maverick DACs, so I can’t say.

      • Reply July 7, 2011

        Arjun Jamil

        So, this will be the best course of upgrade for me?
        M50 then a dac and not a Head phone amp?
        Also, idk about the MX1, everyone says the are good, so i’ll prolly go for them once ive decided b/w an amp and a DAC.
        Oh, and what about the Headdirect Twin Tube Amplifier EF2A?

        • Reply July 7, 2011

          Anonymous

          Yes at the moment I haven’t quite have anything else to recommend at
          that price.
          I’ve never auditioned the EF2.

  • Reply July 11, 2011

    Michael

    Bought the U100 to go with my Sennheiser HD598. I can’t recommend that combination. Treble is much too harsh, bass too low, and there is, I think, a metallic sound to it all.

    • Reply July 11, 2011

      Anonymous

      Sorry to hear that. Yes the Yulong is bright and the HD598 tends to push the lower treble out. Both are not big on bass either. Metallic sound, I think the Yulong also has a tendency to do that, but I tend to overlook accurate timbre on entry level DACs such as these. 

      Anyway sorry it didn’t work out. Is the HD598 the only headphone you got? 

      • Reply July 13, 2011

        Michael

        Thank you for taking the time to answer 🙂 Yes, the HD598 is the only headphone I have, and I really like it, so I think I will start looking for a new dac/amp. Could you recommend anything to go with the HD598? I guess what I’m looking for is still entry-level ($4-500), a wider soundstage, a smoother treble, and a calmer, more controlled and natural sound. Quite a lot to expect from an entry-level amp, I guess 🙂

        • Reply July 13, 2011

          Anonymous

          The Schiit Asgard ($250) and a HRT MS2 ($150)? That will be quite a superb set up for the HD598. Both are more laid back, smoother and calmer than the Yulong.
           

  • Reply July 15, 2011

    Eyal

    i’m confused.. when compared to “pico USB DAC/Amp” (~500$), who has better SQ ?
    i’m also interested in U100 against asgard (250$)

    -Eyal

    • Reply July 16, 2011

      Anonymous

      Eyal,
      I haven’t listened to the Pico DAC/Amp for a long time, but if you’re looking for fast speed, detail, articulation, the U100 should be above the Pico. The Pico has a thicker, more tube-like sound.

      Asgard is a stand alone amp. The amplifier section is better than the U100, but it doesn’t come with a DAC.
       

  • Reply July 16, 2011

    Eyal

    thanks… what about when compared to “NUForce HDP” ?

    -Eyal

  • Reply July 17, 2011

    Syakir Zainol

    What a wonderful site you have here Mike! Great resource for a newbie like myself.
    I started with a Shure SRH840 and went along with your recommendation on the JDS Labs amp and I like it very well. Now I am looking at a possible DAC/amp combination for my desktop setup.

    I listen too a wide genre of music but very seldom on the techno/dance kind of music. I really apreciate good vocal reproductions and precise details of musical instruments. Lately I have and still am replacing my low bit mp3s to FLAC.

    So with these objectives in mind, what DAC/amp can you recommend to me, possibly in the range of lesser than 300 usd. Really apreciate your advise here.

    • Reply July 18, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Syakir,
      Thanks for the compliments.

      The Fostex HP-A3 is actually a very strong candidate, but it’s going to
      be priced at over $400. Likewise the CEntrance DACport, but it’s at $399.

      I really don’t have anything particularly strong to recommend at $300.
      What you can do is either get the Audinst HUD-MX1 for $190. Or get an
      HRT MS2 (~$150) or MS2+ (~$350) and pair it to your JDSLabs.

      • Reply July 18, 2011

        Syakir Zainol

        Thanks for that recommendation. What about the Yulong in your opinion?

        • Reply July 18, 2011

          Anonymous

          The Yulng is nice, but since it doesn’t work reliably (driver problem),
          I’ve been kind of hesitant to recommend it.

          • Reply July 19, 2011

            Syakir Zainol

            what do u think about the maverick d1?

            • Reply July 19, 2011

              Anonymous

              Hi Syakir,
              I’ve never listened to it. Sorry.

  • Reply July 20, 2011

    joe

    mike..which combo do you think would be better for my office set up? this, or hrt music streamer ii + fiio e9?? i can get either combination for roughly the same price.. oh, and i don’t mind about simplicity or portability or whatever..i simply care for the sound, lol..

    btw you’ve done a great job with this site recently..i can almost find a new article at the start of the week, haha.. and that latest fostex you reviewed looks like a great product..but unfortunately it’s above my budget for now..

    • Reply July 21, 2011

      Anonymous

      Thanks, Joe.
      I don’t know, both works quite well actually. What headphones? And
      you’re not using a Mac right?

      • Reply July 21, 2011

        joe

        no..i’m using my windows laptop.. headphones are hd 598, ath-m50, and hd25-1 ii.. but i think the hrt and e9 will give me a better DAC and a more powerful amp here, am i correct??

  • Reply July 29, 2011

    bob sponge

    given the driver issues, would there be a similar alternative available? also i’ve seen your ms2+asgard recommendation and wonder how that would fit.  headphones are d2000s

  • Reply August 5, 2011

    Nicol

    Hi Mike,

    I bought the U100 Dac/Amp to achieve even higher sound quality in my ATH-A2000X headphones.I have the volume dial pretty low, so it has huge volume potential, it also worked nicely with the RE0 IEM’s, however I sense the sound quality is completely equal – or even less – on the U100 compared to my sound-card when using A2000X.
    When I connected my Teclast T51 to the line-input the sound quality decreased as well, compared to directly out of the T51.
    I’m thinking I have to find something else, perhaps just an Amp and not a Dac/Amp?What can you recommend to me of equal value or up to $400 if necessary, that would suit a high-end Audio Technica that’s easy to drive? (sounds great out of T51 DAP, or my laptop sound-card, on max volume…).

    Thanks in advance,

    • Reply August 6, 2011

      Anonymous

      Ummm… sounds pretty disappointing there with the U100.

      Well, an amp for the A2000X? I really don’t know how they sound though. I guess you can give the Schiit Asgard a try, since that seems to be a good buy for the price. It would match well with say the W1000X or the AD2000, but I’m quite unsure about the A2000X.

  • Reply August 6, 2011

    Jake Fischer

    What is better for the HD650, this or the E7/E9?

    • Reply August 8, 2011

      Anonymous

      I think the Yulong has a better synergy with the HD650. It would liven up the HD650’s sound.

  • Reply August 9, 2011

    Niklas

    Hey There! What a great site this is! 🙂

    Trying to find a good dac/amp or separate dac and amp for my Fischer Audio Fa-011, link to a good review/explanation of the sound signature here: http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/545368/review-fischer-audio-fa-011-off-the-deep-end

    Listen to pretty much everything from indie/ sing n songwriter/punk/rock/metal. No electronica nor any trance or techno.

    Have been going back and forth between Yulong U100, Audinst Hud mx1, Audio gd – nfb12 or perhaps Asgard+ a DAC

    Budget is max 400$.

    Any suggestion?

    / Niklas, Sweden.

    • Reply August 10, 2011

      Anonymous

      I think the Yulong will fit the music well.. but the driver is a bit buggy.

  • Reply August 11, 2011

    Nicol

    While my previous critique of the U100 still holds true (completely hopeless with the A2000X, a standard sound-card was better), I want to commend it for sounding very very nice with with the HiFiMAN RE252 IEM with an extra 75 ohm impedance adaptor cable, I’m going to miss this experience.

    For anyone reading these comments considering the U100, if you have high impedance IEM’s, it should sound very good (imho). If you have a delicate low impedance easy-to-drive HP, proceed with caution.

    /Nicol

  • Reply September 9, 2011

    Jeff

    Hi Mike,
    I’m using the Alessandro Ms1’s right now, and their pretty easy to run, and sound alright already. but would buying the Yulong improve my sound quality drastically? I don’t have a dedicated source or an amp right now. Just using my crappy laptop as a source.

    Thanks in advance.

  • Reply October 23, 2011

    DodgersKings323

    Found a couple type-o’s headfonia
    (good think = thing
    Those gotta worth = gotta be ?
    I’ve got some decisions to make, but to me they both look like slick Hi-Fi products and from i read they are Giant Killers 😛
    We also need Audio-GD added to the mix.

    • Reply October 24, 2011

      Anonymous

      Thanks, DodgersKings.

      The Yulong is awesome, I’m just a bit hesitant to recommend it due to the driver issues.

  • Reply October 27, 2011

    Larry

    I know it’s called Heafonia, but it would have been nice if  the reviewer could have given us some comments on the sound quality of  the Yulong U100 using the RCA jacks into speakers.

    • Reply October 27, 2011

      Anonymous

      Yes, Larry I agree. Sorry we’re a bit limited in that sense.

  • Reply November 5, 2011

    Hancu Catalin

    Hi, what would you recommend for Sennheiser HD 598 ?

    Option 1 : AMP – JDS Labs Cmoy (~70$ ) + DAC – HRT Music Streamer II (~150$ )
    Option 2 : Yulong U100 (~240 )

    Both options are about the same price.

    Thx .

    • Reply November 5, 2011

      Anonymous

      Hi Hancu,
      Option one would be better for the HD598.

  • Reply November 13, 2011

    HuKuTo

    Hi Headphonia,

    Thanks for the great review (once again). I was determined to buy the u100, but these lines in your review make me wonder, if I am making the right decision:
    “The only time I prefer the Audinst’s headphone out is when I’m using a relatively light-bass headphone like the HD598”
    Could you please give me a little bit more details/info about why would you prefer the HUD-MX1 with the 598?
    Many people (including you too) describe the u100 as just a little bit on the bright side. As the hd 598 is on the bright side too, do you think that pairing them will make the sound too bright and hard to listen?
    Your opinion on this is highly appreciated!

    • Reply November 14, 2011

      Anonymous

      You’re welcome!

      I think just based on the tonal balance, the Audinst will be a better match sonically with the HD598. The Yulong indeed is a bit on the bright side and I’d prefer the pairing with Audinst for the HD598.

  • Reply November 17, 2011

    Matt Draluck

    Long time reader and advice-taker here, first time poster.

    I know you haven’t gotten around to a review of the Dt990 250 ohm but how do you think it would do with one of these?

    Or with a possible HE-300?

    • Reply November 17, 2011

      Anonymous

      Matt,
      From what I understand the DT990 is even brighter than the DT880, and so I don’t think it’ll be a good match with the Yulong. I suggest you go with something like the Audinst HUD-MX1 instead.
      http://www.headfonia.com/audinst-hud-mx1-dac/

      If you still want to go with the Yulong, then the HE-300 would be a better pairing.

      • Reply November 17, 2011

        Matt Draluck

        I have some Dt990’s on the way already… I have an iBasso D6 currently, but a line in for an iPod or Xbox is pretty important. Any other suggestions? 24/96 is preferred too but not a necessity.

        Hifiman EF2?

  • Reply December 7, 2011

    Steven M. Prego

    Hi Mike – appreicate all the work you’ve put in here.

    Would you recommend this goes well with the Beyerdynamic DT770s? (80Ohm)

    Kind of stuck between a rock and hard place with prices of the D2000 so high right now… only option at this point are the A900 and DT770.

    • Reply December 7, 2011

      Mike

      Hi Steven,
      The DT770 80 ohms.. I don’t know, I feel that headphone to have a loose bass and overall just average sound quality not like the higher impedance DT770s.

      • Reply December 8, 2011

        Steven M. Prego

        Ah… Do you recommend the 250Ohm version then? I’ve got about 500-700 for a decent PC Headphone set-up and I’m really frustrated. Can’t decide whether or not to get the u100 and pair it with a DT770, or build up a set-up with an HRT Music Streamer II and Matrix M-Stage. (DT770 again) I’m up for suggestions, but it seems it’s almost impossible to get a solid recommendation from most people.  Aside from that, if I could find cheap D2000s, I’d be a bit more confidant in my future headphone purchase!

        • Reply December 8, 2011

          Mike

          So this is for gaming right?

          I would just get an Audinst HUD MX-1 and plug the DT770 directly into that. No need to go all the way out with the budget.
          Also for the DT770, you don’t need something with the M-Stage’s power level.

          • Reply December 8, 2011

            Steven M. Prego

            I play games, but my focus is on audio quality and music. Music always comes first. I just can’t get a solid headphone recommendation so I figured I’d stick with the DT770 since most people don’t have TOO many bad things to say about it. I’d like to future-proof a bit so I’m thinking about picking up a Matrix Cube along with the DT770 250ohm version (I hear this is slightly more neutral with a bit more clarity). Thoughts? Really appreciate the help!

          • Reply December 9, 2011

            Mike

            Hi Steven,
            The DT770 250 ohm is indeed more neutral and clearer than the 80 ohms. I don’t know anything about the Matrix Cube, so I would just go back to my first recommendation which is the Audinst.

  • Reply December 10, 2011

    Biergourmet

    The Audinst RCA out is volume controlled and the Yulong is not?

    • Reply December 10, 2011

      Mike

      Audinst yes, but the Yulong, I don’t remember to be honest.

      • Reply December 10, 2011

        Biergourmet

        Thanks for the info. I need an unctrolled output to connect to my HiFi amp.

        • Reply December 10, 2011

          Mike

          Yes, sorry can’t remember.

    • Reply February 21, 2012

      Biergourmet

      I can answer myself now: the RCA output is not volume controlled.

  • Reply December 15, 2011

    Heyjupiter84

    Hi Mike,
    Looking at either this or the Audinst to replace sound card on a laptop. My phones are Beyer DT440, SM PL50 and Brainwavz M3. If portablity wasn’t a problem and this was going to be a one off purchase with no upgrades what would you buy? Seems on pure SQ/amp the U100 is the way to go.
    Cheers

    • Reply December 15, 2011

      Heyjupiter84

      Should add that i prefer a more laid back, warmer sound and soft spot for great vocals. After reading more comments it might be that the U100 is brighter than i’d generally like. Have a broad range of music but given a taste for a lot of acoustic and chill out music is the U100 the better way to go?

      • Reply December 16, 2011

        Mike

        If you are into laid back and warmer sound then the U100 definitely is not it. 

        Should go with something warm like the HRT MS2 + Schiit Asgard.  

        • Reply December 16, 2011

          Heyjupiter84

          Thanks. To keep things simple how would the Matrix Cube or mini i compare to that combo?

          • Reply December 16, 2011

            Mike

            The Matrix would be simpler, but the combo should sound better.

            Sorry for the spelling mistakes, not very good with typing from the Ipad’s screen.

        • Reply December 18, 2011

          Heyjupiter84

          Really appreciate this Mike. How would the HRT MS2 sound with the Fiio E9 until i could upgrade to the Asgard?

          • Reply December 19, 2011

            Mike

            Sure it should be good. The E9 is a good amp, it’s just that the Asgard will give you a better sound. 

  • Reply December 21, 2011

    Chris

    Okay, so you recommend it more then the Audinst.  My question is, is the DAC a good one enough for the Schiit Asgard?  Also, is the two amps considerably different?  I know its a dumb question to ask but I kinda want to make sure I get my money’s worth on these two.  I’d have Yulong U100>Schiit Asgard>HD598.

    Thanks and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    Chris

    • Reply December 21, 2011

      Mike

      Chris, 
      What DAC are you asking about? 

      Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you too!

      • Reply December 22, 2011

        Chris

        Sorry about that, I meant the Yulong.

        • Reply December 22, 2011

          Mike

          Hi Chris, 
          The DAC is definitely good enough and likewise the amplifier. My question is, if you are going to go with a separate amplifier then it’s probably better to go with a pure DAC since you won’t be using the Yulong’s built in amplifier. 

          • Reply December 22, 2011

            Chris

            Thanks Mike, would the HRT MS2 work perfectly fine?

            • Reply December 22, 2011

              Mike

              Yes it would be good.

  • Reply January 4, 2012

    Stas Ka

    Hi Mike,
    I’m trying to decide between Yulong U100 & DR DAC2 DX. Is the performance improvement in the DR DAC2 DX worth the cost different ($225 vs $298) ?

  • Reply January 4, 2012

    Stas Ka

    Hi Mike,
    I’m trying to decide between Yulong U100 & DR DAC2 DX. Is the performance improvement in the DR DAC2 DX worth the cost different ($225 vs $298) ?

    • Reply January 5, 2012

      Mike

      Stas,
      It’s more of a different sound signature, I wouldn’t say one is better than the other.

      • Reply January 5, 2012

        Stas Ka

        Ok! Thanks for your response.

  • Reply January 7, 2012

    Sammy Bravo

    What dac/amp under $300 would you recommend for the closed Audio Technica A700s? I was looking between the Yulong and the Audinst but I am open to other suggestions.  

    • Reply January 7, 2012

      Mike

      Sammy,
      Something warm and full sounding would be good I suppose. Definitely not the Yulong. The Audinst is more like it.

  • Reply January 11, 2012

    C.H.

    Dear Mike,
    I have HD25-I, AKG K240S and a JBS Lab CMOY ampfilier. I am thinking about yulong u100, Audinst HUD-mx1 USB DAC and HRT MS2 for my desktop setup, any suggestion? I am win7 user.

    • Reply January 12, 2012

      Mike

      C.H,
      DAC wise, the HRT is best among those three. The U100 comes second and the Audinst last. Do you need built in amps?

      • Reply January 12, 2012

        C.H.

        I see. For the desktop setup, I prefer to have a all-in-one solution, to minimize the number of cables….. Thank you for your advice.

        • Reply January 12, 2012

          Mike

          The U100 or the Audinst should work then.

  • Reply January 12, 2012

    Biergourmet

    Now I’ve ordered a Yulong U100 for 165 €. I could buy it with shipping from Germany. The Audinst is only available in Asia, so there would be long shipping time and I would have to pay customs.
    Finally I’ve thought the other two alternatives (Matrix Cube and M-Stage are to expensive).
    The DAC will replace my Pro-Ject USB Box connected to a modded Bravo/Indeed style tube amp. I hope it will be an improvement.
    The Pro-Ject DAC obviously has a problem with my Linux system as there sometimes appears very loud noise. I have to reconnect the DAC then. I didn’t have this problem with a cheap 5 € USB soundcard.
    The main problem with the tube amp is a ticking noise avery second, which I guess is caused by the cheap power supply. Otherwise it is a nice amp.

    • Reply May 26, 2012

      Johan Steenhoven

      Mind to share the shop URL? Thanks.

      • Reply May 26, 2012

        Biergourmet

        It was a eBay shop, but it seems they don’t sell anymore. Only available in Asia now (+customs).

        • Reply May 26, 2012

          Johan Steenhoven

          Ok, thanks.

  • Reply January 19, 2012

    Richard Crepy

    Hi Mike and first of all thanks for your in depth review !

    My question is simple as i intend to buy a Grado sr225i, i would like to know if the combination with the Yulong U100 would be satisfying, in your opinion ?

    thanks !

  • Reply February 13, 2012

    manicmindtrick

    How would you recon this thing to be driving a pair of HE-500?
    Any better dac/amp combo or a seperate dac amps option under 300 that will be better suited for this headphone? 

    • Reply February 13, 2012

      Mike

      I didn’t try the Yulong with the HE-500, sorry. I think when I did the Yulong review, the HE-500 was not out yet.
      I did try the Fiio E11 amp and to my surprise it drove the HE-500 very well. You can take a look at that amp, and add a good DAC on top of it. Please don’t be fooled by its tiny little build.
      http://www.headfonia.com/fiio-e11-portable-amplifier/

  • Reply April 5, 2012

    Biergourmet

    I’ll probably sell my Yulong U100 next week. It’s in mint condition, I’ve bought it at the end of 2011. Location: Germany. Perhaps someone is interested.

    • Reply May 26, 2012

      Johan Steenhoven

      Hi, I live next door (Netherlands). It it still for sale?

      One question though: does it work with an iPod/iPad > USB > Yulong?

      • Reply May 26, 2012

        Biergourmet

        I’ve replied here, too. But it seems the reply did not show up. I still have the Yulong, I’ve bought it for 175 € (including shipping) and I would sell it for 135 € (+ 10 € shipping I guess). No idea about the i devices, I don’t have any.

  • Reply May 26, 2012

    Johan Steenhoven

    Thanks for the nice review. I’m gonna buy it 🙂

    One question remains though; does it work with an iPod/iPad USB connector > Yulong like the Audinst does?

  • Reply June 13, 2012

    DoorlessPlastic Di

    Would u recommend Yulong U100 for K701??

  • Reply June 16, 2012

    Biergourmet

    Selling my black Yulong U100, mint condition, 130 € plus shipping from Germany: http://img836.imageshack.us/img836/9832/rimg0001g.jpg

    • Reply June 18, 2012

      Biergourmet

      Sold.

      • Reply June 18, 2012

        L.

        To one of our readers?

        • Reply June 18, 2012

          Biergourmet

          Yes, maybe a market section would be a nice idea here 😉

          • Reply June 21, 2012

            L.

            and a 10% share for us?

            • Reply June 21, 2012

              Biergourmet

              LOL, 10% share is the reason why I don’t sell on eBay anymore 😉

              • Reply June 21, 2012

                L.

                OK but you still owe us the 10% of this sale 😉

  • Reply September 29, 2012

    Isaiah Mackler

    Has the Yulong U100 aged well since it came out? Anything else I should be considering for this budget in a desktop dac/amp package?

    • Reply September 29, 2012

      Mike

      I think the U100 is still a good product, Isaiah. But there are a lot of newer DACs being released, and last time I check the U100 still has driver issues (though they may have solved it by now).

      Something I recently review is the Matrix Portable. Also good DAC/Amp package, much darker sound than the Yulong, fuller bass and mids.

      http://www.headfonia.com/the-320-portable-dacamp-matrix-mini-portable/

  • Reply October 13, 2012

    breizh

    hi Mike,
    I already own the yulong U100 (thanks to your review) which i like a lot, and i’m currently looking for another dac/amp combo, to drive both AKG K550 and Beyer DT880 (+ Senn PX100-2)
    I was wondering if the Fostex HP-A3 would be a good choice ? how does it compare to the Yulong and does the amp provide as much power ?
    Would you think of any other combo in the price range of the Fostex ? (300€ in France)
    Thanks a lot for your great reviews !
    richard (from France)

    • Reply October 13, 2012

      Mike

      The Fostex DAC is much better than the U100. The amplifier should be powerful enough for the K550 and the PX100, but not sure about the DT880.

    • Reply October 13, 2012

      Mike

      Personally I feel I still need an external amp if I use the Fostex HP-A3.

  • Reply October 13, 2012

    breizh

    ok Mike,

    so, do you identify something else than the Fostex in this price range ?
    a dac/amp with a little more juice, and similar sound quality ?

    thanks again

    • Reply October 13, 2012

      Nick Tam

      As already mentioned in the Fostex article, the Dacport and the Dacmagic are the competitors in the price range. There’s also a whole bunch of Chinese products and Audio-Gd products but you’re diving into the unknown there.

      • Reply October 13, 2012

        Trent_D

        If you don’t need a dac/amp combo, you could mix and match to better results.

        • Reply October 14, 2012

          breizh

          yes i could mix but i think the price would hit my budget 😉

          • Reply October 15, 2012

            Trent_D

            What is your budget, if I can ask?

            • Reply October 15, 2012

              breizh

              my budget is quite thin: 300- 350 € (let’s say 350 – 400 $)

              • Reply October 15, 2012

                Nick Tam

                im thinking HRT MS2 and Crack lol…

                • Reply October 15, 2012

                  Trent_D

                  That would put him slightly over his budget of 400. MS2 and and Asgard would be right there. Or, if he can deal with the dark, the Matrix Mini Portable for 320.

                  • Reply October 16, 2012

                    breizh

                    Thanks guys
                    Oh that’s exactly what i was thinking about after reading the asgard reviews: the asgard + hrt ms2 seems to be a very appealing combination ! and i’m also eying the Yulong D100, or even the hrt ms2 with little dot 3…actually i’m completely lost ! 😉 would you give a preference to one of these 3 options ? are they better than the Fostex ?

                    • October 16, 2012

                      Trent_D

                      Well, from what I have read, the Fostex is the best DAC of the group, however the Fostex amp isn’t suppose to be that good. I just know that the MS2/Asgrad seems to be the tired and true $400 combo. Also, where do you live? I haven’t seen the Fostex for less than $500 in the USA. Although I haven’t looked that hard.

                    • October 16, 2012

                      breizh

                      I live in France but the Fostex is priced 300€ on a german site

                    • October 16, 2012

                      Trent_D

                      The Fostex amp isn’t suppose to be very punchy. What headphones do you use? Music types?

                    • October 16, 2012

                      Nick Tam

                      I think it was mentioned before that the Fostex is better off as a all in one solution as the DacPort LX and MS2+ are somewhat better.

                    • October 16, 2012

                      Trent_D

                      it was, but if he wants punch, better off going with a separate amp, don’t you think?

                    • October 16, 2012

                      Nick Tam

                      Yea which is why I wouldn’t recommend the Fostex to him, Asgard + MS2 is the way to go for his tight tight tight budget. Probably a good idea not to recommend the Crack since you won’t be able to stop yourself from “upgrading” it with mods too so… not a good option if you’re on a budget in the first place.

                    • October 16, 2012

                      Trent_D

                      Ok Breizh, Nick and I have decided. You are to buy the Music Streamer 2 and the Schiit Asgard. NO NO NO, don’t argue, just do as you are told. hehehe

                      But you are right about the Crack Nick, that’s why I just ordered a MS2+ and an Asgard for myself. I realized that the tweaked, tubed and boutiqued out Crack, with the Kingrex and HD650 are a pipe dream for the time being. So I went with a good, all around budget setup till that day I can make the pipe dream a reality.

                    • October 16, 2012

                      Nick Tam

                      I swore I got my Crack and a month later it already has the value of the Burson Soloist with all that rare tubes and capacitors I threw into it… not that I regret those upgrades but as Mike says… it’s hard not to get addicted to Crack…

                    • October 17, 2012

                      Ken Stuart

                      My amp only has one tube, and yet I have already spent more on vintage tubes than the amp cost, lol ! So be careful, or your wallet will suffer.

                    • October 17, 2012

                      Mike

                      @facebook-692862021:disqus I still enjoy the stock sound of my Crack.. although two months ago I broke the stock Tung-Sol 6080 and now I can’t get a good replacement for it. Got another identical tube (Tung-Sol 6080), but somehow with a better build quality than the stock one yet the sound is much brighter and lacks bass body. ARRRGGHH

                      I think L told me a while ago that after all that tube rolling he still like the stock 6080 best, too. 😉

                    • October 17, 2012

                      Nick Tam

                      Sadly I couldn’t. I had been using the Tung-Sol 5998 ever since because there’s that extra layer of music that’s just so evident compared to a standard RCA 6AS7G and the straight bottle 6080s. Although I’m hunting for a rare graphite plate 6080 at the moment… it seems that I could understand your preference for the 6080s as the bass is in general more punchy than the relaxed 5998.

                    • October 17, 2012

                      Mike

                      Bass is very important, Nick. More important than that extra layer of music. 😉

                      To me at least. 😉

                    • October 17, 2012

                      Nick Tam

                      I was hoping to find a 6080 tube that has more bass but seems like there really isn’t a tube that combines both punchy bass and good layering… and then I started to go with combinations of the input tubes…

                      I know you guys aren’t much of tube rollers but you might want to try a E80CC in place of the 12AU7, gives the Crack quite a fair bit more air and clarity if you’re bored with the thick warm sound of the stock ones.

                      @headfonia_lieven:disqus I can’t seem to find 6080WAs by Tung Sol for sale anywhere strangely, only left with the 6080WBs

                    • October 17, 2012

                      L.

                      Ebay? Tabao?

                      I actually like the 12AU7 clear top, I find the sound to be clear enough. I do have some E80CC and others at home, will try once I finished moving.

                    • October 17, 2012

                      Nick Tam

                      Heck no to Taobao. I just don’t trust them… none on eBay either. The only Tung Sol 6080s that I could get off ebay are those 6080WBs which are graphite plates (which happen to be praised to be one of the best around), should probably give those a try.

                    • October 17, 2012

                      Mike

                      Thanks, Nick.

                      I never find the stock 12AU7 to lack air and clarity, dunno maybe I need to hear the E80CC first.

                    • October 17, 2012

                      L.

                      Yeah I still use it over the RCA 6AS7G, Tung Sol 5998, Chatham 2399 and even the GEC 6AS7G!!

                      Mike are you sure you got a 6080WA and not a regular 6080?

                      I also have 6 great NOS 2399/5998 tubes for sale guys 😉

                    • October 17, 2012

                      Nick Tam

                      !!!!!!

                      Put them up for auction xP

                    • October 17, 2012

                      L.

                      They were on ebay, nobody was interested…

                    • October 17, 2012

                      Mike

                      It says JAN-CTL-6080

                    • October 17, 2012

                      L.

                    • October 17, 2012

                      Mike

                      Nope mine doesn’t have the WA writing.

                    • October 17, 2012

                      Mike

                      I will take a picture of the 6080 tubes, old and new and show you later.

                    • October 17, 2012

                      Nick Tam

                      You sure it’s not because you haven’t broken in the new tubes yet?

                    • October 17, 2012

                      Mike

                      No.. I don’t remember the stock tubes needing burn in anyway.. perhaps the first 2-3 hours but that may’ve been the whole amplifier needing an initial burn-in.

                    • October 16, 2012

                      breizh

                      ok, so i think i will finally go with MS2+ (available at 249€) in combination with Asgard (249€ also), unless someone tells me the Yulong D100 would be a better value for my AKG K550 and DT880 (32 ohms) – it raises my initial budget but i don’t often invest in such a piece of equipment, so…;-)
                      Can’t wait listening to my favorite albums through this !

                      Many thanks to you (Nick, Trent-D, Mike…)

                    • October 16, 2012

                      Trent_D

                      I will be using that same combo with the K550 myself. I do believe that we were assuming you would go with the lower priced MS2, not the MS2+. Both are suppose to be great values for their price.

                    • October 17, 2012

                      breizh

                      you were right but i’ve changed my mind since my budget has increased a little bit 😉

                    • October 17, 2012

                      Ken Stuart

                      I have both the MS2 and the MS2+ and although I don’t have any way to audition many different amps (as Mike and L do), I would say that the difference between the MS2 and the MS2+ is more than the difference between different amps that are in the price range of the Asgard.
                      And, while I have no proof of it, I suspect that the difference between Mike’s early version of the MS2+ and the recent version with the oval end, is significant (I think that HRT may have lost some sales by not swapping his unit for a recent one).

                    • October 17, 2012

                      Nick Tam

                      Unfortunately HRT is not an official sponsor so can’t expect them to be so generous… although they should :

                    • October 17, 2012

                      Mike

                      You’re welcome, Breizh.

                    • October 17, 2012

                      Mike

                      @Trent_D:disqus Actually if you’ve gotten the MS2+, that’s already a really good solution combined with the Crack. May not have to upgrade to KingRex. Of course the KingRex is still better, but the MS2+ is good enough for me.

                    • October 17, 2012

                      Trent_D

                      That was my reasoning for going with that over the MS2 model. That when, on that glorious day when my pipe dream becomes a reality, I can worry about the dac last, as I will already have one that can step up and not embarrass itself.

                      The reason I went with the Asgard over the Crack for the time being is that, not being able to justify adding more headphones into the mix right now, is I needed a good all arounder. One that would add some punch to my K550. Plus, I can’t imagine that the MS2+/Asgard combo won’t be a huge step forward over the Headstage dac cable/cMoy.

                    • October 16, 2012

                      Mike

                      Yes, need a separate amp. The Fostex DAC is brilliant though — I’d rate it as being better than the HRT 2+

                    • October 16, 2012

                      Trent_D

                      Really? I thought you rated the MS2+ and the DACport lx about equal and above the Fostex.

                    • October 16, 2012

                      Nick Tam

                      I second that. It was also the reason I got the HRT MS2+ to begin with… unfortunately the HRT MS2+ was unavailable for auditioning so I just went with Mike’s DAC hitlist and went with it

                    • October 16, 2012

                      Trent_D

                      Well, being as I just ordered a MS2+ and an Asgard, I think you will get there before I. You seem to speak highly of the MS2+, so if it is good enough for you, it is good enough for me.

                    • October 17, 2012

                      Nick Tam

                      Well, reason I took it over the Dacport LX and the Fostex was because the LX had the annoying 1/4″ signal out which means running an adapter and the Fostex was bouncing around $500 and was not worth it if I was running a separate amp… speaking of which the UD384 is priced exactly at $500 without the UPower

                    • October 17, 2012

                      Mike

                      I’m pretty sure I’ve always rated the Fostex DAC above the Dacport and MS2+. Please let me know if I said otherwise, may have been a typo.

                    • October 17, 2012

                      Nick Tam

                      Well… it wasn’t clear because you didn’t actually “rank” these 3 DACs, but I remember asking for a recommendation and you mentioned that the Dacport LX would be a better option if running line out straight from DAC stage only over the Fostex.

                    • October 17, 2012

                      Trent_D

                      On the Dacport LX thread, someone asks if you think the MS2+ is better than the Fostex and you say yes. Then they ranked them like this
                      1. HRT MSII +/ DAC Port LX
                      2. Hp-A3
                      3. DacPort

                      With which you agreed.

                      In the review of the dacport lx, you also say that the LX has a similar sound to the Fostex except with better instrument body and separation and leaner, less punchy bass. And you call the LX and MS2+ roughly equivalent.
                      I have poured over these reviews and boards so many times trying to make my decisions that I can recite some of them from memory (you guys must be doing something right)

                    • October 17, 2012

                      Mike

                      Is that right? Then I just have to apologize for the wrong information there.

                    • October 17, 2012

                      Trent_D

                      It has happened to me several times while cleaning that I stumble upon a paper I wrote in college a few years back, and I have to sit down and read it because I don’t remember what I had said. If I had a website of this size, I would need to make a cheat sheet with all of my opinions written down or I would never remember what I had said

                    • October 17, 2012

                      Mike

                      Thanks for understanding 😉

                    • October 17, 2012

                      Nick Tam

                      I was probably the one that asked and even I don’t remember that well…

                    • October 17, 2012

                      Trent_D

                      There is a word for what I am. That word is “geek”.

          • Reply October 15, 2012

            Nick Tam

            so much for getting HD800s…

  • […] […]

  • Reply January 16, 2014

    Eyal Sade

    How is it compared to the Leckerton UHA-62-mk-II as dac/amp combined ?

  • Reply November 26, 2014

    Maestro

    These suckers are on sale for $110 right now…would you recommend them for HE-400s?

  • Reply March 30, 2015

    Travis Gibson

    How do these units fare as a standalone DAC for a dedicated amp? And or what is a logical upgrade over this unit? Thanks,

    • Reply March 30, 2015

      dalethorn

      You’re using it with a computer, yes? If so, I would recommend something like the Dragonfly v2 or HRT Microstreamer etc., as long as you don’t require a ton of power.

      • Reply March 31, 2015

        Travis Gibson

        You believe those little units to have better DAC performance than the u100? Do either one have fixed output (dedicated) line outs?

        • Reply March 31, 2015

          dalethorn

          The Microstreamer has a true line out – a separate jack from the headphone jack. I can tell you it sounds different with a different amp connected to the line out, but which is better depends on the amp. I haven’t compared the DAC-only performance to other DACs, but my feeling is if you want better performance with separate amps and DACs, something like Schiit components is probably a better bet, at a higher price. The Microstreamer (and probably the Dragonfly v1.2, and probably the Geekout 450) are ideal for best sound in their form factor, and definitely better than the FiiO E17k for example. I’d guess the U100 would compare to the E17k, but I haven’t heard it.

          • Reply March 31, 2015

            Travis Gibson

            Thanks for the input Dale!

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