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Clash of the titans: Benchmark DAC-1 vs. LeVry DA-10 vs. upgraded Zhalou DAC - Page 2

post #16 of 845
Thread Starter 

Sanity with the Zhaolu mods...

Quote:
Originally Posted by liwei
Thanks for the review! I'm in the market for a DAC currently and this will certainly help me with my decision. It's funny, my checking account has exactly $494.80 right now.
Well, we don't want to empty your account... The DY2000 opamp is not needed unless you need XLR out. The OP627 opamps are something you can do yourself cheaper and the stock OPA2604 are fine as-is. Right there you saved $90...
BTW, if you run RCA only, then pull the XLR plugs out of their sockets and remove the single opamp near the DAC_out connector. You may insert a small cap between pins 4 (ground) and 8 (V+) of this socket, to stiffen the local capacitance reservoir and perhaps cut down some supply noise.
I'd definitely remove the headphone connection and disconnect the power from the headphone amp, which shares the same regulators as the analog section of the DAC. You'll notice that the DC wires are bundled with the AC wires. Separate and twist all pairs for a cleaner DC supply.
All the above can be done without touching the soldering iron!
post #17 of 845
can one use opa637 in this application for dac rca out? (or course browndog two of them for stereo)? or must one use opa627? i just found a few opa637's in my "pile of electronic junk"
post #18 of 845
before i contact the guy trying to get it, does anyone know how this thing stacks up against the VDA-2? i think it would be an interesting comparison considering their designs, and that they are both mid priced dacs meant to compete against the high end dacs.
Edit; wait you want to compare a 450 dollar dac against a 4500 dollar CD player?
Edit: for those who have heard it, could it do well with a corda amp/sennheiser combo like i have in my sig?
post #19 of 845
Expecting to receive my Zhaolu DAC this week, so I really enjoyed the review.
post #20 of 845
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ori
The LaVry DA-10 is a brand new unit with only a few hours on it.
Hmmm... I'd like to hear some more impressions once it has broken in.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ori
The LaVry DA-10 has many switches on its front panel. One of them allows selecting a clock source between the internal oscillator and the transport clock (with two options, wide and narrow PLL filters). Trying all combinations, I was saddened to see that the cheap transport had the less jittery clock than the internal oscillator of the LaVry, yielding a better spatial precision when on the “narrow PLL” setting vs. the “crystal” setting
What was the cheap transport?

EDIT: BTW, damn you for putting my Lavry purchase on hold!
post #21 of 845
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ori
Well, we don't want to empty your account... The DY2000 opamp is not needed unless you need XLR out. The OP627 opamps are something you can do yourself cheaper and the stock OPA2604 are fine as-is. Right there you saved $90...
BTW, if you run RCA only, then pull the XLR plugs out of their sockets and remove the single opamp near the DAC_out connector. You may insert a small cap between pins 4 (ground) and 8 (V+) of this socket, to stiffen the local capacitance reservoir and perhaps cut down some supply noise.
I'd definitely remove the headphone connection and disconnect the power from the headphone amp, which shares the same regulators as the analog section of the DAC. You'll notice that the DC wires are bundled with the AC wires. Separate and twist all pairs for a cleaner DC supply.
All the above can be done without touching the soldering iron!
Thanks for your concern. I was just commenting on how my current balance was like a sign to get this DAC. It's a pretty big purchase but it won't clean me out. I do like saving money though.

I doubt I'm going to be using XLR soon (Zhaolu > Gilmore Lite > HD600+Equinox) so you've definitely saved me 40 bucks already. As for the OP627 change, can you tell me where I can get them? I think I should be able to handle it (I've taken some engineering courses during my time at UCSC as a CS student). The other things sound a little more difficult but I can bug you later when I actually get my DAC
post #22 of 845
Arrgh...sorry I didn't join in earlier, work is killing me today

I was with Ori when we did all the listening and I concur with the review; one thing I will say is the Lavry has phenomenal build quality and still sounds mighty fine, a little better to me today with more burn in. However, the Zhaolu really shines in terms of clarity, soundstage, treble extension, and overall musicality from everything I heard. I think if you need a preamp function or a fine headphone amp with a DAC that still easily bests the Benchmark DAC1, IMHO (and I've been a DAC1 evangelist forever), the Lavry is da bomb (and very flexible with multiple switchable inputs, etc). However, in terms of pure musicality, the Zhaolu as a dac really excels, even though it is a bit DIY-looking and has less functionality. So ultimately it will come down to what you need and your personal preferences.

As for me, I'm thinking of returning the Lavry unless anyone on head-fi wants to buy it from me (PM me if so...I'd sell it for a little less than I got it for).

I'll probably pick up a Zhaolu and let Ori manhandle it into submission with various mods consisting of wrigley's gum jammed here and there or whatever other madness he has in mind
post #23 of 845
How big the difference between modded and non-modded Zhaolu?
post #24 of 845
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikechai
How big the difference between modded and non-modded Zhaolu?
that seems to be hard to determine. i've yet to here of someone AB testing a fully-modded next to a basic. the general concensus seems to be that the upgrades are "significant", while the basic dac is certainly excellent on its own, especially for the price. if someone is listening to a modded and on-modded side by side, i've not heard it

i don't think your decision would be terrribly easy. i doubt you'd regret the upgrades, but if you don't want to pay that much, you can get a monster of a dac for so little. go china!
post #25 of 845
i got a reply from him:I quote for your consideration : in US dollars
-DAC is $180.
-op amp upgrade ( 1 pc ) metal DY2000 is $40 ( it improve the rnage of upper and lower frequency response ) .
-clock upgrade is $70 ( Mark Levinson parts , Mark use 2ppm clock and my
top clock is 1ppm . It is provide a more frequency accuracy )
-power supply up grade is $80. ( produce stable sound stage , improve the
punch of the bass )
-2 pins to IEC AC adaptor is $15 ( can use HI End power cord )
Speedpost ( 2 days , USA and Europe ) is $58.
TOTAL for FULL upgrade is $443.

I thought it was 493, am i missing something, he also added that i can choose any type of upgrade myself. i am not a DIY person and have no clue what wany of this means....other than according to you guys the fully upgraded one is awsome. can someone enlighten me on what i should do- i'm just looking for a good dac with two outputs.
post #26 of 845
check out the zhaolu thread itself

http://www6.head-fi.org/forums/showthread.php?t=139545


if you have your own opamps, can get your own iec adapter (assuming you want to use a higher quality power cord AND already have good power conditioning for it) and don't need rushed shipping, your really only looking at $320 for the dac with clock and psu upgrade. now that is the REAL DEAL!!!
post #27 of 845
great now i cant decide between lavry and this as i am just waiting on grover ic's LOL

would the rca out or xlr out be better for unbalanced system (hd650 & mpx3)?
post #28 of 845
That was a great review, Ori! Excellent comparison. I've got a stock unit and I think even stock it sounds fantastic! I also have the headphone amp upgrade and it too is really good - at least with my Grado HF-1. My Mapletree Purist hasn't seen much action lately - it's that good. It's too bad there is not enough room for the upgraded headphone amp and the other mods. I may do some power supply mods myself one day. I do have a DY2000 and OPA627, as well as a IEC adapter, coming from Lawrence this week. Lawrence suggested that the opamp upgrade and adding a nice power cord into the mix are your biggest bang for the buck and that the other mods are the icing on the cake. Honestly I could live happily with with the way it sounds right now, it's just a damn good DAC, IMO. Thanks again for the review.
post #29 of 845
Quote:
Originally Posted by philodox
Hmmm... I'd like to hear some more impressions once it has broken in. What was the cheap transport?

EDIT: BTW, damn you for putting my Lavry purchase on hold!
Me too would like more impression after the Lavry fully broken in. While the situation might change signicantly, but the fact still remain that this modded Zhaolu at half the price seems to provide unbeatable value.
post #30 of 845
okay, assume that i'm using a powerstrip and dont' hvae powercords or opamps, what is my best option?
I'm not a diy person, i don't need express shipping though. um...
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