Well you got a couple different competing reviews on those two (and the Yulong is 60 dollars more), and its hard to gauge them since most of their comparisons are with using headphones not powered speakers. So you have to look for parts where they use it as ONLY a DAC and not to power headphones....
Originally Posted by coolsax
Headphonia quotes: http://www.headfonia.com/the-new-rec...-u100-usb-dac/
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.Head-Fi quotes: http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/...ct-usb-dac-amp
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.
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.
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.
The obvious competition here is the Audinst HUD-mx1. If I had not heard those two I would probably be a lot more excited with the level of performance being attained by the U100. Still, just because a few others have achieved it, doesn?t mean it is less of an accomplishment for a small company like Yulong to join them. The good part is that they are different enough to warrant individual recommendations in different circumstances.
The Audinst mx1 is still going strong as the most neutral DAC of the bunch. In comparison the U100 has slightly more authority in the lower regions and a bit of extra fullness and snap in the mids, followed by more gently defined highs. The U100 ends up being simultaneously more laid back and engaging, concerned more with the pacing of the performance rather than the minute details. The Audinst is more focused and has a more intimate presentation, with a nice balance across the whole spectrum. Overall I think the DAC sections are somewhat different but equally good. The amp sections couldn?t really be more different though, and it would be a matter of taste which you would prefer. For many headphones the U100 is better in my opinion.
There?s no real loser in this comparison. Each has a valid application where I would recommend it over the others. For those who just want a solid foundation that is neutral and evenhanded, the Audinst is the way to go. The U100 is my top choice for someone who will likely not be upgrading soon, who simply wants a nice low profile unit that will make anything you pair with it sound good.