Today I look at my third “modern” Yulong DAC, their latest offering, the D200. Taking the place of D100mk2, this is aimed at a lower price pointthan DA8 I looked at previously. Based on the ESS Sabre chipset family, D200 uses a slightly lower end 9016 chip, compared to 9018 used by the DA8.
Similarly to the DA8, the Yulong D200 DSD is an integrated DAC/preamp/headphone amp solution, with high quality USB, coaxial and optical inputs. Operating in either balanced and single ended mode, it puts out choice of pre-amplified signal and pure DAC signal.
The D200 offers the following main features:
– THD+N less than 0.0005%, idle noise 2uV
– SNR: -125dB.
– Dynamic Range: >122dB.
– USB supports 16-32bit, 44.1-384KHz PCM signal, and DSD (DSD64, DSD128).
– DSD over PCM is supported
– 80 steps volume control
– Class A single ended headphone amplifier
I have been testing the D200 with Adam A5x and Neumann KH-120A monitors (directly, with no-name 16 feet XLR cables), Sennheiser HD650 and two Stax headphones (Omega 2 and Lambda Nova Signature), driven by SRM-007t and Headamp KGSS amplifiers. I used Lindy Black/Red and JCAT usb cables, and Silver-fi Samarkand interconnects for the electrostatic headphone amplifiers.
We can imagine the Yulong D18, DA8 and D200 at three different corners of an ideal triangle. Although they all use Sabre-chips, their signatures are pretty different. The D18 has the most saturated midrange, and is probably the ‘warmest’ albeit the one with the smallest soundstage, and a bit less detailed than the others.
The DA8 and the D200 are slightly colder, more detail oriented, with a wider soundstage and clearer imaging. The DA8 is slightly U shaped, with very powerful, thumpy bass and extended treble.
The D200 has a leaner bass rendition, thus sounding a bit more linear and a bit less warm than the bigger sibling.
The D200 adapts very easily in small rooms for speaker listening, because its bass linearity helps strongly in producing a clean sound in the room, without being overpowering.
The D200 is a better match for a system using warm / bassy transducers, like the Audeze series, any Sennheiser apart from the HD800 and HD700 (which I found excessively bright) and, by memory, the midrange-forward Audio Technica AD2000 and Grado RS1. In general, it pairs well with most “non-treble-heavy” headphones, otherwise it could sound could be a bit analytical.
Using my Stax rig, it matches very well with both the Lambda Nova Signature and Omega 2; the former is a darker headphone, while the latter has the maximum transparency of any headphone I tried, but it still sounds very involving and not bright, only losing a bit of analogueness compared to the best sources I tried.
The Adam and Neumann monitors are a very good pairing for the D200, given their energic presentation, and make for a very good combo in a computer room.
The D200 offers a custom implementation of the Amanero board for its USB input. As usual with Yulong’s Sabre offerings, such USB input is very high quality and doesn’t need very expensive cables to give its best. This is a combination of the high quality Amanero technology, and the presence of the Sabre D/A chipset, and its inherent high jitter rejection capability.
The headphone out, in my opinion, should be considered as a plus and not the main part when purchasing the D200: it’s clean but I would only use it for casual listening, and for easier loads (like Sennheiser HD598), while leaving the higher end and most demanding headphones to dedicated amplifiers. It could be a good alternative when has an electrostatic system or a tube amp and doesn’t want to turn it on all the time when wanting to listen to music.
The Yulong D200 is a very high value, because it packs several desirable features in its price range: like the DA8, offers a very good USB implementation, compatibility to all music protocols (low/high resolution PCM, DSD), balanced and single ended operation in a package, as well as volume control. It’s a safe choice in a speaker system which has already enough bass output and warmth in the room, as well as headphone rigs with a tube amplifier, in order to not add up to the existing tonality.
Offering a balanced solution (as well as preamplifier) for this cheap, the D200 is an ideal solution especially for a small listening room, specifically with Neumann KH-120A, which I consider one of the best active monitors in their price range, and can only take balanced signal. The combo is great and can be obtained for a very reasonable amount of money.