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The proportions between treble energy, selectiveness and subjective treble level were very interesting. They are interconnected of course but not equal. Compared to the Lektor Air, the Young’s sound spectrum seemed a bit more restricted as though there was less treble. Yet with each disc I could hear more energy in this range. I think the solution to this puzzle was the completely different differentiation of shapes and localization between Young and Lektor Air. It is here where the world of difference in price and quality became visible.

The Young sounded flatter and instruments did not develop as well as over the reference player. Despite the Italian DAC’s much greater energy of the higher frequencies, if we have a clear strong cymbal beat like on Dream of Fools from the Clan of Xymox disc, the Air will present it closer with higher mass and saturation (quite as though somebody upped the color saturation when retouching a photo). Ditto for counter-phase effects like the voices of Simon and Garfunkel from Punky’s Dilemma. The Lektor Air and Soulution placed those much better around the listener . The Young showed them rather upfront to only suggest the level of density the reference players generated.

Given price all was well. Except that I now must return you to the shock I mentioned earlier when Eva Cassidy’s guitar on Autumn Leaves had the Young show how it really should sound while the recorded sibilants of Cassidy’s voice were not exaggerated in turn. This was incredible. When something sounds brighter and sharper, it usually goes over the top and often such recordings no longer are enjoyable. The treble energy of the Young was terrific, as though attempting to convey what we know from reality but what is usually tamed by recording technologies and the limitations of listening at home. At the same time there was absolutely no overemphasis of the upper frequencies wherein lies a certain paradox, a magic ability of this DAC for which we can only envy the Italians.

As I already described, this DAC isn't perfect nor does it aspire to such a costly coronation. It was lighter than the reference players and also the Wyred4Sound DAC-2. The latter had the fleshier bass and a more saturated denser midrange. On the other hand the Young controlled these ranges far better and simply sounded cleaner. Where the DAC-2 rounded off the edges and slightly washed out dynamics, the Young was ultra-precise and astonishingly accurate. Yet one cannot invoke exaggeration to suggest a lack of emotions. We shall absolutely not lack those! Even so you must know the remaining limitations of this device to have a clearer picture of the whole. There are a few  worthy DACs in the 5.000zł price range but none will be as precise, quick or dynamic as this Italian DAC. And up to  few dozen thousands zlotys none will be as resolving either.

Young as DAC with USB input and high resolution material. I tested the Young first as a classic DAC because only that way could I separate the D/A and D/D sections. In the latter role as USB/I²S converter, the USB 32/384 input is the main feature. Playing computer files resulted in a slightly different sound than from the S/PDIF input. Such files were not as brilliantly dynamic nor as clean in the upper registers yet they were better saturated and more coherent internally. The sound of high resolutions files with the Young exceeded what we usually assume to be the median for this price range. Their sound would easily convince all who regard a CD player from the 5.000 – 6.000zł price range to be very good because the Young is so much better. Of course a lot depends on the files and other elements like the software player but the general conclusion remains intact.

As I said, the sound from the USB input was denser. The treble remained quite strong but this time the bass was equally so. It still did not extend as low as with the reference player but was nicer than before, denser than what I heard via S/PDIF and a CD drive. Finally Depeche Mode from their latest single Personal Jesus 2011 was more potent and had more kick. This was helped by outstanding dynamics, a very characteristic feature of the Young. Even so it was clear that files from the computer had the better balanced timbre. In terms of resolution and staging there were slight improvements too but these changes were not big. One could further improve on those with a few setup steps in the right direction. Each one brings a change that can be demonstrated but only all of them together result in any relevant qualitative change.