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Clash of the titans: Benchmark DAC-1 vs. LeVry DA-10 vs. upgraded Zhalou DAC - Page 9

post #121 of 845
Thread Starter 

Back to basics

Quote:
Originally Posted by philodox
My point still stands about the burn in though. Makes a huge difference with every discrete design I've owned in the past.
The LaVry might improve but nothing would make a basic overtone oscillator resemble
  • a 2PPM TCXO
  • suspended on four rubber bands
  • and powered by a dedicated regulator
  • from a dedicated tap in the power transformer.
The audio section of the LaVry might improve with the more play time, but it will be still amplifying a jittery source.
Speaking of power supplies, even the standard supply from Zhaolu looks way more professional than the cheap PC power supply of the LaVry. The upgraded supply improves on that. Just no competition.
I'm talking 1+1 here, not rocket science... On these very fundamental issues, the Zhaolu wins by a first-round KO. No need to count the votes...
post #122 of 845
Quote:
Originally Posted by TigzStudio
warning on that IEC, I bought two of them like 2 months ago. They dont really fit very well into the rear of the zhalou and it annoyed me, so im still using stock power cord (it didnt feel like a secure connection).
Did you try the old electric tape trick? Stick the black electric tape around the part of adapter that goes into the chassis, however many layers it takes to secure it snugly.

Works wonders for heavy audiophile power cords that fits loosely into gear's IEC jacks.
post #123 of 845
Quote:
Originally Posted by visia
Also no confirmation for the order that I placed yesterday. I am starting to get really bad feeling in my stomach.
Hello vista

I would not worry about lawrence.Did you ever get your confirmation e-mail?
post #124 of 845
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ori
We briefly listened through the headphone jacks of these DACs and through a headphone amp with a Senn HD-650... The three DACs sounded very close through the headphones, almost to the point that it made no difference which one you pick.

......

The general consensus was that the DAC-1 sounded somewhat harsh and lacked soundstage precision and tonal accuracy, with unrefined treble and “loose” bass, when compared to the Zhaolu and the Grace amp's internal DAC. In fact, we preferred the built-in DAC in the EastSound CDP to the DAC-1.
The discrepancies between headphone and speaker impressions are suprising.
Was Grace used to power HD650?

It is true that speakers are better for reproducing the spatiality, but I wonder how other flaws in DAC1 that you pointed out, including "harshness, tonal inaccuracy, unrefined treble, and loose bass" were not detected during your headphone evaluation.
It makes me wonder if the connection between DAC1 and the amp were different in your headphone vs speaker listening. Did you use the XLR or the RCA out of DAC1?
post #125 of 845
Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerWilco
Hello vista

I would not worry about lawrence.Did you ever get your confirmation e-mail?
No, not yet. I hope he is is taking a day off or something, but certainly everything that's going on makes me very nervous.
post #126 of 845
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ferbose
The discrepancies between headphone and speaker impressions are suprising. Was Grace used to power HD650?
In the first session we used the Grace. Later zdogg used the SR-71 and liked the sound of the Zhaolu through the SR-71/HD-650.
Quote:
It makes me wonder if the connection between DAC1 and the amp were different in your headphone vs speaker listening. Did you use the XLR or the RCA out of DAC1?
I believe zdogg moved the same cables from amp to amp, because he has one set of "better" cables. Anything else would be just wrong to even consider.
He uses a modified Tara Labs XLR/RCA adapter on the DAC-1 and feeds single-ended to the other amps. His power amp (for the speaker system) accepts XLR but we found (some time ago) in a lengthy listening session that the configuration above is superior.
Nothing can be taken for granted - I mean we're talking high-end audio...
post #127 of 845
Quote:
Originally Posted by philodox
Just heard back from Eddie... no headphone amp upgrade available any more. It has been cancelled.

I think I am leaning back towards the Lavry since this review is a little suspect as the unit was not burned in. Also, the 'bad sound' that seems to be described when listening to the Lavry with the HD650 sounds strikingly similar to the HD650's sound signature. Translation: Maybe the Zhalou is compensating for the HD650's weaknesses? If that is the case it likely won't sound that great with my K340's or HF-1's as they are completley different.

Still, the price of the Zhaolu is very compelling. *sigh*
Hey man-

I think I'm going to pick up an upgraded Zhalou, so if you do go with the Lavry, then worst case scenario you'll atleast be able to try out the Zhalou pretty easily and get a feel for it yourself. Now it's only the problem of raising the funds for the Zhalou.

I'm going to try to get an order through once it is confirmed that the upgrades are indeed identical to the ones that Lawrence has been providing (pretty sure they are).
post #128 of 845
Hey dudes,
I'm chillin' out of town in San Diego right now but I have a Zhaolu on the way from Lawrence (all the mods except stock opamps, pretty much the same as the sample unit Ori and I and LaMark listened to). I still have the Lavry. When the Zhaolu comes, I'll listen again to the burnt in Lavry versus the my new Zhaolu and we'll see if anything in our previous assessment changes. Like Ori though, I'm not sure there will be enough difference to eliminate the large discrepancy in clarity we heard between the two (but you never know ).

To further clarify our prior listening tests: with the Dac1, I pretty much always use the Tara labs adapters from the XLR->RCA with either speakers or headamps. I've found the XLR outs sound better (treble extension, soundstage, overall clarity) when volume matched against the RCA outs. I use the same adapters with the Lavry. With the Zhaolu, however, we used the direct RCA outputs rather than the XLR outs. We always used the same pair of RCA interconnects. Digital interconnects varied between toslink and coax, but we made sure to switch them to make sure we weren't being influenced too much by potential differences between these.
post #129 of 845

Zhalou DAC Upgraded model

Hi Fellow Audiophile Obsessives,

I started much of this fun, finding Lawrence through one of his eBay offerings for transformers and chassis boxes many months ago. I ordered the stock unit on his suggestion and later the fully upgraded model, and have had sonic bliss thereafter as have several of my local friends. Ori used my DAC for his review and he discovered what I've known and enjoyed for some time now. I hear gorgeous tone, detail and imaging like nothing that has been in my room previously, including units such as the Benchmark DAC1, Sony XA-777ES and a friend's ACK DAC, among many (no none of the super priced wonders, but expensive enough that I hear the bargain here). I have purchased three DACs (one stock and two fully modified), two preamps and a set of speakers from Lawrence and never been disappointed. Top quality products at great prices (maybe not the cheapest) but try and buy a quality DAC here for $360 + shipping. These are my thoughts and experience on the little DAC with its' thin sheet metal box and cheap AC connector.

BillA
post #130 of 845
how long does it usually take for Ed Wu to reply?
post #131 of 845
Think someone said before he responds quickly.So does lawrence for that matter.He seems to answer best during the late night to early mornings.
post #132 of 845
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ori
On these very fundamental issues, the Zhaolu wins by a first-round KO.
These fundamental issues? You've just listed one thing over and over. So [according to you] th clock is better on the Zhaolu. I still haven't seen anything that leads me to believe that the Lavry is a poor design as you have been saying. As for the switching power supply... that is used for a reason. I'll see if I can find Dan's explination on that.

Just curious, but would you count the Zhalou blowing up as a fundamental issue?
post #133 of 845
Quote:
Originally Posted by philodox
These fundamental issues? You've just listed one thing over and over. So [according to you] th clock is better on the Zhaolu. I still haven't seen anything that leads me to believe that the Lavry is a poor design as you have been saying. As for the switching power supply... that is used for a reason. I'll see if I can find Dan's explination on that.

Just curious, but would you count the Zhalou blowing up as a fundamental issue?
I never put too much stock in reviews from unknown sources, and from people who've not EXTENSIVELY listened to the reviewed equipment for at least 100+ hours.

I suggest that others do the same.
post #134 of 845
As someone said earlier, it's unbeliveable that it even stands out in comparsion with $1000USD DACs. In this case, reviewers ranked it easily better than DAC1 and slightly better than Lavry. That tells me that at least it can't be a bad product and I think that's enough for me to spend $240USD and try it out. Yes I may lose few dollars if I don't like it and end up selling it but I'm willing to take that risk.

I couldn't care less if Lavry wasn't properly burned in. Its sound may change but still burn in won't do miracles. I believe in burn in but with the amps I've owned it's effect has been minor/non-existent compared to its effect with headphones.
post #135 of 845
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patu
reviewers ranked it easily better than DAC1 and slightly better than Lavry. That tells me that at least it can't be a bad product

More reviews would certainly quash some skepticism. I personally don't consider a panel of a few people to be enough to convince me that the product "can't be a bad product," but it could very well be the giant killer that a few claim.
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