Yulong Audio is a privately owned Chinese boutique audio manufacturer specialized in head-fi products. Founded in 2009, Yulong Audio is located in Shenzhen city, right next to Hong Kong. The company name is from the chief designer’s name – Yulong Zhang. He is only in his early 30′s but has education background and rich hands-on experience in telecommunication hardware industry. Digital audio has always been his hobby since high school – in the beginning he made audio products for audiophile friends at his spare time. Later on the demand became bigger and bigger then in 2009 he decided to quit his daytime job and pursue his audio hobby as a full time career.
Yulong Audio is very proud of its devotion to the best possible technical specs on their products. Yulong has basically invested every cent of profit they have earned in the past few years back to lab equipment. The total investment according to Yulong himself is well over $50,000 US funds – this is substantial investment for a 2-year-old company in China.
For every Yulong designed product, Yulong Audio provides a test chart to show how the product is evaluated in scientific terms. Of course sound matters at the end, but not all their competition can produce the same quality specs as Yulong have. Their confidence in quality has translated to healthy sale growth in the past two years.
Yulong Audio mostly conduct business and connect with Chinese audiophiles through their online forum (a vendor section on www.erji.net – which is the largest Chinese head-fi website worldwide). All products information including a brief English introduction is included there.
Same as most other Chinese manufacturers, Yulong Audio emphasizes on team work – the chief designer has a small team of audio engineers to design / tweak and produce high quality products.
Yulong Audio products have been available on eBay for the past few years to the western world. Grant Fidelity had the opportunity to visit Yulong Audio in late 2011 after contracting them to make our tubeDAC-11.
The Yulong facility is an 3000 sqft industrial condo at bottom of a residential high-rise. It includes a front reception area, a testing room with both sides walls full of test equipment where Yulong himself spent lots of time design and test prototype models, and a back production area. It’s not a fancy production place as some Grant Fidelity have visited in China – but you can tell this is an upcoming place full of creativity in audio.
Above: The young gentleman at left is Yulong, the chief designer. He is a bit shine of foreign visitors although I communicate with him in Chinese. The fellow on the right in light blue shirt is Ian from Grant Fidelity listening to our made-by-Yulong Grant Fidelity TubeDAC-11. Below the TubeDAC-11, it is the Yulong flagship Sabre D-18 32 bit reference DAC, which will be launched later in Dec 2011.
Yulong is demonstrating his new flagship A-18 headphone amp matching Sabre D-18.
While we were visiting Yulong, our first batch Grant Fidelity TubeDAC-11 are getting ready to be packaged. Yulong burn-in all new units for 48 hours before packing and every single unit was run with music signal during the burn-in process.
All Yulong products have circuit board printed by his associated business. Yulong himself explained that for head-fi products, hand wire isn’t the ideal way to make consistent good quality products. Human error and soldering quality could result in final product quality discrepancy. He prefers to spend more to have his product circuit board made by high end suppliers and maintain consistent good quality.
During our visit, he proudly showed me an older model USB DAC and explained:” I kept this one in my office because this is the one and only failed unit from the hundreds and hundreds we sold since our company opened door for business. It reminds me of keeping up with good quality on all our later models.”
Yulong showed us how DAC specs are tested on his computer software and test equipment.
Ian is listening to a Grant Fidelity TubeDAC-11 on the production line and test out the input selector and volume control.
Overall from the visit, we feel that Yulong himself is very down to earth. He enjoys technology and audio tremendously and feel very happy to have his own products sold all over the world through internet. He keeps saying “I don’t care much about making quick money. If your product is good, business will come. So I don’t go everywhere to brag and market our products. Our customers speak for us all over the world.”
Since our Grant Fidelity DAC-11 launched in Aug 2011, we have experienced hugely improved quality and reliability on the DAC product from our previous model. We are extremely pleased with what Yulong has to offer, and we have decided to take on other Yulong models such as the Sabre-18 for resell in North America.