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ZHAOLU Central - No Fluff, pure info thread - Page 2

post #16 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon L
Too bad the newest AKM chips aren't an option
Yeah that really is too bad. I really enjoy the sound of AKM chips...
post #17 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon L
I wouldn't necessarily think in terms of which DAC chip is "better." Modern DAC chips pretty much enjoy similar performance level, and which one will sound better to you will depend on the overall system synergy and your tastes. For example, there are plenty of people who don't like 1794, and then there are many who would pick 1852 over the other two..

Too bad the newest AKM chips aren't an option
The fact that Chesbert/Eddie hear a more full sound in the 4398 model could be partly due to the OPA2604 opamps that come with that model, which are full through the mids and warmer. Also I think a lot of people are tuned into the BB1794 because of that chips success in the VDA DAC2, which is very popular here, and so people seem to gravitate toward that one. There are people who love or hate any of these chips. Who knows.
post #18 of 104
Thread Starter 
Sean H, since you're one of the few who has an idea of what the sonic traits of the three options are, could you state the general perceptions. (for example, you said BB is like VDA-2, although some don't prefer that, what is VDA-2 like.)
post #19 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssingh0
Sean H, since you're one of the few who has an idea of what the sonic traits of the three options are, could you state the general perceptions. (for example, you said BB is like VDA-2, although some don't prefer that, what is VDA-2 like.)
I'm only going by what others have said and pure speculation is all. Eddie and Chesbert had stated that the 4398 model sounded a bit more full through the mids, maybe a warmer character overall. Chesbert said the 1852 was perhaps a bit brighter. I don't know what the JRC5532 opamps in the 1852 model sound like but I do know that the OPA 2604 opamps, used in the 4398 model, have a warmer or fuller character through mids and more tamed treble in some ways. I speculated that maybe the 2604 opamps were more the culprit for the warmer character of the 4398 compared to the 1852 rather than just the DAC chip contributing the sonic flavor. Like Jon L said, whom has a lot of experience with digital gear, that modern DAC chips have less differences in terms of their sonic signatures these days. That said you would think Zhaolu wouldn't offer three DAC chip options if there wasn't any audible difference.

My comment on the 1794 was in reference to Channel Islands latest DAC - the VDA-2. It uses a 1794 DAC chip. The VDA-2 has been fairly popular around here, people have praised it's sound highly many claiming it has a very natural perhaps more analog sound. I got the impression people in the Zhaolu threads were drumming up the 1794 chip option because of the VDA-2's popularity, just speculating. Personally I think it's the analog stage in the VDA-2 that defines that DAC's sound more than anything with their "slow roll-off" digital filter it uses and no analog filtering, that gives it a more analog sound they say. The thing is in the Zhaolu it may be a whole different beast as it has a completely different style of analog stage.

In summary: who knows?
post #20 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean H
The fact that Chesbert/Eddie hear a more full sound in the 4398 model could be partly due to the OPA2604 opamps that come with that model, which are full through the mids and warmer. Also I think a lot of people are tuned into the BB1794 because of that chips success in the VDA DAC2, which is very popular here, and so people seem to gravitate toward that one. There are people who love or hate any of these chips. Who knows.
IIRC..DAC out does not go through 2604 ...so I don't think the sound I get out of pimeta is a result of any sound modification made by op2604.

When I compared both ad1852 and cs4398 I find the former a bit edgy sounding. With that said, the ad1852 was on a demo machine/engineering sample, which may or may not be production quality.

m2c
post #21 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by chesebert
IIRC..DAC out does not go through 2604 ...so I don't think the sound I get out of pimeta is a result of any sound modification made by op2604.
The signal (any signal leaving the Zhaolu from any RCA output or headphone output) definitely goes through the 2604 opamps in the DAC's analog section. The opamps in the DAC analog section act basically as buffers. The Zhaolu DAC's do not use solely descrete circuitry in the analog section, they use integrated circuits for this and that is what these opamps do. In the D1.3 the signal of each separate channel passed through the XLR buffer/opamps first then were summed in the single opamp before driving the RCA outputs. I assume this is the same in the 2.0 based on pictures of the board. No doubt it does. It's why Eddie is already taking them out and swapping in different ones not to mention is why Zhaolu upgrades those opamps from JRC5532's in the 1852 model to OPA2604's in the 4398 model because they affect the sound (2604's are considered superior).

The stock headphone amp of course has it's own opamps but we're talking about the opamps in the DAC's analog output stage.
post #22 of 104

Further Update From US Distributor

From Wei at ifiaudio: "I was just told the units will be here around the 26th (25th?) of May and the headphone upgrade will be available around the 10th of June. The price on the headphone upgrade has not been set still."
post #23 of 104
My 1852 Zhalou 2 came with 2 LT1057 and 1 DY2000 and eddie supplied the 3 stock opa2604 that were put in at the factory -> I dont think the 3 OPA2604 are only used in the CS4398 model.

I put 2 of the OPA2604 in the headphone amp replacing the JRC5532 which helped bass a little bit and gave a little better highs, but thats very subtle effect.

Using the K701 and the headphone out i get no harsh treble whatsoever. The Zhalou's treble is like a clear blue summer sky, the aureon is like a grey stormy rainy ugly crappy day

However i do get sibliance sometimes, mostly at louder volumes but that's the amp. I dont get that sibliance using the XLR outs to my RP5 active monitors, which already have a little stronger and very revealing treble.
post #24 of 104
Thread Starter 
PRICES

US Dealer has warranty coverage
Model DAC Chip OP Amps Price
D2A AD1852 JRC5532 $178* ETA 05/26
D2C CS4398 OPA2604 $225* ETA 05/26

What are the prices from Eddie/chinese dealers?
post #25 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by bizkid
My 1852 Zhalou 2 came with 2 LT1057 and 1 DY2000 and eddie supplied the 3 stock opa2604 that were put in at the factory -> I dont think the 3 OPA2604 are only used in the CS4398 model.

I put 2 of the OPA2604 in the headphone amp replacing the JRC5532 which helped bass a little bit and gave a little better highs, but thats very subtle effect.

Using the K701 and the headphone out i get no harsh treble whatsoever. The Zhalou's treble is like a clear blue summer sky, the aureon is like a grey stormy rainy ugly crappy day

However i do get sibliance sometimes, mostly at louder volumes but that's the amp. I dont get that sibliance using the XLR outs to my RP5 active monitors, which already have a little stronger and very revealing treble.
FYI OPA2604 is pin compatiable with JRC5532, which you already know..and it is also pin compatiable with AD8620, and OP627 on brown dog ....some one with 4pcs of OP627 can give it a try..replacing all OP2604 with OP627 on Brown dog ....
post #26 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssingh0
PRICES

US Dealer has warranty coverage
Model DAC Chip OP Amps Price
D2A AD1852 JRC5532 $178* ETA 05/26
D2C CS4398 OPA2604 $225* ETA 05/26
Apparently it says shipping is included in those prices as well.
post #27 of 104

black gate upgrade?

I am planning to order a zhaolu from Eddie and was wondering whether anyone could advise me whether to spend $55 on the blackgate upgrade. What does it do and how does it affect the sound?

Thanks.
post #28 of 104
The results of any parts changes depends on the circuit, where they are put, and which parts. There are different series/models of Blackgates. Since we don't know any of these and nobody's heard both versions it's hard to say.
post #29 of 104
I upgraded to blackgates. He advise me its a well worth upgrade, and it makes the sound warmer/tubier type of sound. I say go for it.
post #30 of 104
I can't help but think that I will be let down once I try this source, given my inflated expectations, but for a little over $200, it's worth a shot.

I've been looking for a nice transportable DAC like this for a while and this seems to fit the bill...

It doesn't have to sound like a Meridian G08 (and yes, I know what that sounds like...perhaps these "reviewers" don't), but if it sounds like a nice NAD or something similar, I will be satisfied.

-Matt
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