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Zhaolu 2.5 - Page 9

post #121 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mher6 View Post
To clarify, what I really wanted to know is what are the benefits to using the zhaolu as a preamp (phone out vs analog out). Should it/will it sound better if I use the zhaolu as a preamp? Or would you suggest using only my H5 to control the volume.
I seriously don't know since I don't have a Corda Headfive nor Sennheiser headphones, nor your ears and mind . The best way to know is to try it out yourself. You can then spread the good (or bad) news around. All it will cost you is 2 very small RCA cables.

Using the Zhaolu as a preamp will simply send a stronger signal to your Corda Headfive to work with.
post #122 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mher6 View Post
To clarify, what I really wanted to know is what are the benefits to using the zhaolu as a preamp (phone out vs analog out). Should it/will it sound better if I use the zhaolu as a preamp? Or would you suggest using only my H5 to control the volume.
Use your Headfive, when the Zhaolou operates as a preamp your signal is attenuated via the headphone amp which degrades the signal. I would think the Headfive amp is better than the Zhaolu amp and putting the zhaolu's headamp in the signal path will just introduce unnecessary distortion.
post #123 of 150
Well I did a little comparison. It seems that without going through the zhaolu's amp, and rather through the H5, highs aren't as harsh, and everything seems a bit clearer. There isn't a clear night and day difference, but ya, everything seems to improve if the zhaolu's amp doesn't play with the signal. Guess my speakers are going through the preamp
post #124 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmkap View Post
Yes. While you're at it, swap the 2 analog board opamps for OPA2107AP for resolution and extention with a small bit of warmth, or a LM4562NA from National Semiconductor for the even better resolution and extention without that scootch of warmth.
Thanks for the tip, I'm enjoying the LM4562NAs on the analog board. I've got an extra one, should I use it on the power supply board? I think an AD-08 is there currently.
post #125 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by jagstyle View Post
Thanks for the tip, I'm enjoying the LM4562NAs on the analog board. I've got an extra one, should I use it on the power supply board? I think an AD-08 is there currently.
Jagstyle - Dunno, as my Z 2.0 doesn't use monolythic opamps in its power supply. I assume its being used in the feedback loop for regulation of the voltages and wouldn't think swapping in the National chip would cause any permenant damage, even if not ideal.... Its modest bandwidth and speed are not likely to cause oscillation problems. All I could suggest is trying it.
From technical parameters, I'd think a chip like the AD823 might be ideal, but then again, technical parameters do not account for my subjective preferences of the OPA2107 over the OPA2134/2604 in the signal path.

FWIW,
Paul
post #126 of 150

D2.5C photo's

Hello,

Where can I find hires photo's (one would do) of the DAC board in the Zhaolu D2.5C? I am interested in the area around teh DAC chip and the cable connection to the analog board.
Anyone?

Kind regards,
Udo
post #127 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmkap View Post
Jagstyle - Dunno, as my Z 2.0 doesn't use monolythic opamps in its power supply. I assume its being used in the feedback loop for regulation of the voltages and wouldn't think swapping in the National chip would cause any permenant damage, even if not ideal.... Its modest bandwidth and speed are not likely to cause oscillation problems. All I could suggest is trying it.
From technical parameters, I'd think a chip like the AD823 might be ideal, but then again, technical parameters do not account for my subjective preferences of the OPA2107 over the OPA2134/2604 in the signal path.
l
Paul- Specifically, what is it about the AD823's technical parameters that might make it an ideal chip to use in the 2.5 power supply and how is it better than the OPA's you mentioned? I'm not technically inclined enough with this stuff to know. I have an AD823 on hand that I could put in the opamp position in the power supply. I have an OPA2107 in there now. Just curious, sounds intriguing. Thanks!
post #128 of 150
Hi all,
just received my Zhaolu 2.5C with blackgate upgrade. My question is, do I need to cut off the coupling caps to get better sound?

Thanks
post #129 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by apple_tree View Post
Hi all,
just received my Zhaolu 2.5C with blackgate upgrade. My question is, do I need to cut off the coupling caps to get better sound?
I would seriously consider it regardless of what upgrades you have. Basically you are going to hear an increase in resolution, bit better bass and an overall cleaner treble. It's not night and day but very appreciable. I'd say if you end up loving the way your DAC is now and don't feel any need to tinker like that then just enjoy the music. If you get the urge and are handy with doing a mod like that then go for it.
post #130 of 150
Hi everyone. Posted this in a neighbouring topic, but maybe this is a better place... anyway: I'm planning on getting a Zhaolu D2.5 from Eddie Wu with the discrete amp upgrade. Now, there are two versions - the AD1852 and CS4398 chips, the latter costing $66 more. I listen mostly to electronic stuff through Senn HD555 (planning to upgrade to HD595, HD650 or some beyers in the future). Which will create a better synergy with my musical tastes and phones, and is the upgrade worth getting for the price, especially given that the C version also replaces the opamps in stock headamp, which I won't use anyways? Thanks for feedback in advance.
post #131 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean H View Post
I would seriously consider it regardless of what upgrades you have. Basically you are going to hear an increase in resolution, bit better bass and an overall cleaner treble. It's not night and day but very appreciable. I'd say if you end up loving the way your DAC is now and don't feel any need to tinker like that then just enjoy the music. If you get the urge and are handy with doing a mod like that then go for it.
Maybe I'll try the DIY stuff in the future for upgrading. Which one is better: cut off all the coupling caps or solder to short-circuit it? I know the result is same. Just want to know, which method is better.
post #132 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by apple_tree View Post
Maybe I'll try the DIY stuff in the future for upgrading. Which one is better: cut off all the coupling caps or solder to short-circuit it? I know the result is same. Just want to know, which method is better.
I wanted to know the same thing back before I did it and a couple people said there should be no audible difference at all either by removing them completely and then soldering in bridge wires through the holes or if you just solder a wire across their legs to short them. I soldered a small solid copper wire across their legs, that seemed easiest to me.
post #133 of 150
Sorry, posting fool today I guess. I haven't heard back from pmkap yet about my question above where he said he thought based on techincal parameters the AD823 could be a good candidate for the opamp position in the 2.5's power supply so I went ahead and tried this today. I have two OPA2107's in the two opamps positions in the analog stage and then an AD823 in the power stage. Sounds awesome. Not a huge difference but seems to be working quite well indeed. I noticed more of an improvement in the bass range where it's tighter now and perhaps more defined and detailed. I was using an OPA2107 there before. The OPA2107 is classic burr brown sound with very warm bass in high quantity and in hindsight, especially with my HF-1 and tube amp, the bass seemed a touch ill-defined at times but with the AD823 in the power supply things have tightened up (punch clarity, definition, tautness). The AD823 in the analog stage to me isn't stellar but not bad at all. A bit dry for me and little closed in sounding up top but a quicker sounding opamp with tighter bass. Anyway, thought I might share.

I had been using the metal DY2000 with an OPA2107 in the analog stage as of late which is an excellent pairing as well but in time and at times it seemed that it's extremely open and sparkly quality could seem just a bit cool and fatiguing. I have some of those LM4562's coming to me soon that are all the rage right now and will report on how those do in the 2.5C.
post #134 of 150
Hi All,

Set up: Eastsound CDE5>zhaolu2.5C(amp upgrade)>audioinnovations valve amp>quad ESL57. I connected the coax out of the E5 to the 2.5C and the analogue outs of the 2.5C to my amp. I also connected the rca outs of the CDP directly to the amp so I could compare easily.

My initial impressions after maybe 24hrs run in:

Almost impossible to tell the difference between the CD-E5 and the 2.5C. Maybe the bass is a little lighter on the 2.5C, but only its something that was maybe noticeable in some tracks but not in others. Spatial info was just the same, depth just the same and tonal presentation is also just the same. In short, if you own a E5 then this DAC will give you the same sound signature. Please bear in mind taht this is only after 24hrs, also I leave my CD-E5 on all the time as it makes quite a difference to the sound, so I am going to try the same with the 2.5C. Also note that the E5 also has a CS dac in it (CS4390) - not the same number exactly as the 2.5C, but fairly close. The DAC probably needs more burn in time and more power on time to really assess it, but right now, I'm really glad I bought the C version because I am very fond of the E5 sound.

The headphone amp: My point of reference is the LD2 with HD650s. I would say that the amp is not quite as good as the LD2, but again, its a close run thing, and could easily be described as a valve vs. SS affair. I would say bass is not as copious, but is tighter. The overall sound is probably a little more hard, but maybe if you're used to listening to SS all the time then its normal - bear in mind I'm listening through valves all the time, although I would have said that the LD2 is pretty neutral. It has plenty of kick to drive the HD650s, and on relection I might say that the little bit of brightness/harshness might just work to your advantage if you think the senns are a bit veiled. Again, I reckon it probably does need more burn in/power on time, so again, I will listen again critically in a few days and see what happens.

Now on to a question for those of you with the 2.5 - Do any of you leave it powered on all the time?

Oh yeah another thing, I am using my own power cords on everything, which lend quite a bit of clarity to each component I've tried them on, but didn't listen to the 2.5 with a normal cord so don't know the benefit there. I also use my own silver interconnects, some with standard rca plugs, some with eichmann bullets.

Fran
post #135 of 150
Fran- Glad to see you got your Zhaolu! I didn't realize you had an Eastsound. Amazing they are about on the same level right now, I know the Eastsound is well regarded it seems. I'd say yes, the Zhaolu will sound a bit better with some break in and using better power cords with it is great. I use a SignalCable Digital AC myself. No problem with keeping the DAC on all the time. You have the upgraded discrete amp and so it will likely get a little warm of course so keep that in mind. Kind of a pain but I leave my Zhaolu's top lid unscrewed and I actually unplug the upgraded headphone amp from the power via a easily removeable plug so I can leave the DAC on without the heat issue and then of course there is a subtle audible improvement when the amp is unplugged. I then plug it in when I use it but like you I use a tube amp (Mapletree EAR+ Purist HD) most of the time. I agree with your assessments of the amp. It will likely sound better with break in but I agree it's very good (and a steal) but it's a solid state design and there's no fooling that it isn't solid state. Like you I like my tube amp better of course but the discrete amp is not embarrassed by it and mostly comes down to sound signature characteristics. Swapping out that single dual channel opamp on the discrete amp's board does help improve the sound some (an OPA2604 in there yields more bass and slightly fuller sound).

Try out different opamps in the analog and power stage. I really like the OPA2107's myself. They will greatly affect the sound. The 2604's in there now are not bad but they aren't top line. They aren't very highly favored here. So you could play with the two opamps in the analog stage and then the opamp in the power supply as well - which also makes a difference as I talked about before. Make sure you install opamps properly. Another thing you can do is disconnect the power to the digital switching panel by again unplugging it from the power supply. Very simple, takes two seconds. The unit defaults to coaxial which it sounds like you are using. Again another slight benefit in sound. If you have read about shorting the DC blocking caps on the analog board that is something I would definitely do if you are handy with simple soldering. Definite improvement there.
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