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ZHAOLOOSER 101 impressions and pic - Page 3

post #31 of 65
Hmm very interesting. My Zhaolu uses the AD185x chip (not sure) so it looks like I'd have to do some other soldering. Looks like a great deal for $215, except of course my wallet will be crying.

Just a question, how difficult was it to disconnect the analog stage of the Zhaolu?
post #32 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by daggerlee
Hmm very interesting. My Zhaolu uses the AD185x chip (not sure) so it looks like I'd have to do some other soldering. Looks like a great deal for $215, except of course my wallet will be crying.
I think it's the same as the CS chip, but I did not mod one of those.
Quote:
Originally Posted by daggerlee
Just a question, how difficult was it to disconnect the analog stage of the Zhaolu?
It was easy.

I would ask that people that are interested in performing this mod to ask their questions in the Mod Your Zhaolu thread, so that everyone may benefit. I will be glad to answer all your questions there.

-R-
post #33 of 65
Thanks for the reply. I guess amps come and go, but one's source is the one thing that never varies. Still trying to convince myself to pull the trigger on this one. Time to break out the soldering iron..
post #34 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by daggerlee
Thanks for the reply. I guess amps come and go, but one's source is the one thing that never varies. Still trying to convince myself to pull the trigger on this one. Time to break out the soldering iron..
I think sources vary as much as any other component in the system, if not more!
post #35 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by akwok
I think sources vary as much as any other component in the system, if not more!
True. I guess I was just thinking to myself, thinking that if through this mod I could put my Zhaolu at the same 'level' as sources in the $1k+ range, then I would never change my source ever again... not unless I won the lottery

sorry for not being clear
post #36 of 65
So Steve, now that you've had a chance to do some more listening, are there any more revelations/impressions you would like to share.

-R-
post #37 of 65
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by looser101
So Steve, now that you've had a chance to do some more listening, are there any more revelations/impressions you would like to share.

-R-
Hey that would take away from my listening time . I want to do a lot more listening before I get too detailed, but I just can't get over how smooth and refined the sound is, and the bass is incredible! I have been trying to trip it up with the most complex passages I have, but it doesn't even stumble. While I listen a bit more why not share more of your impressions of it with us.
post #38 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by swt61
I just can't get over how smooth and refined the sound is, and the bass is incredible!
How are the micro-details (Are you the analytical type?)?
post #39 of 65
Well, it's been a week, and perhaps the "honeymoon period" has died down by now. What are your impressions now?
post #40 of 65
Thread Starter 
Yes it's been a week now, but the honeymoon isn't over! This DAC just continues to amaze me. The 3 things that really stand out are the bass (tons of it, but tight and well controlled), the soundstage (extremely large and airy) and the almost vinyl like warmth and refinement. There just isn't any of that digital edge that I assumed you'd have to spend really large dollar amounts to alleviate. I know that it's very easy to overhype a new toy though, and I'm trying to be carefull not to do that, but at the same time I'd like to spread the word. I think the best thing to do is to let others give their impressions after the Austin meet Oct. 7th. That will avoid any bias by the owner (me). There will be several well respected members there, AK[Zip], pabbi1, Thaddy, Bahamaman (hopefully) and I'm sure others who can give an unbiased impression. If you have any specific questions I'll try to answer them to the best of my ability.
post #41 of 65
I guess I can add a bit to Steve's impressions.

The stock CS4396/OPA2604 Zhaolu was nothing to write home about, to my ears. It was bass shy and lacked dynamics. Layed back, easy going tracks sounded fine, but when asked to groove, it was dull, boring, and lifeless.

The Zapfilter 2 brought it to a level I did not expect, based on my stock impressions. The bass was all there, tight and incredibly well controlled. My HF-1's have plenty of bass but it can be a bit flabby and uncontrolled. Not so with this DAC. It gave them a tightness to the bass I did not expect. Another thing it does really well is in the dynamics department. When asked to, it can really rock. The soundstage also improved dramaticly. Grados are not known for a large soundstage. With the Zapfilter the soundstage was wider, deeper, and more open, which was a nice surprise.

That's all for today,

Renato
post #42 of 65
I'm definitely looking forward to hearing this DAC on the 7th
post #43 of 65
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thaddy
I'm definitely looking forward to hearing this DAC on the 7th
Seeing it is almost as nice an experience. I'll bring a screwdriver for that purpose, the layout and connections are art in itself. Renato does exemplary work!
post #44 of 65
Thanks for the impressions renato. Sounds like the zapfilter is just what is needed to cure my current setup of lifelessness. Just wish the zapfilter folks would hurry up and restock partsconnexion
post #45 of 65
After a little research about the Zapfilter mod I realized that it takes over the whole analog output section from the Zhaolu. To my understanding this is totally different from the previous mods such as removing bypass caps and switching opamps. I wonder how much of the characteristics of Zhaolu would be preserved and does it really matter if it's Zhaolu or any other budget DAC to which you add the zapfilter board? It looks to me the only things shared by modded and unmodded DAC are the casing and the DAC chip...
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