I guess this is overdue.
Understand that I'm biased.
The weakest attribute of the stock Zhaolu D2C IMO was the dynamics. It was a bit like music was being pulled from it instead of pushed. This is one of the greatest improvements over stock. Everything is sharper and clearer like jumping from standard broadcast TV to HDTV. This DAC is on the other side of the universe from planet lackluster now! It's so engaging and snappy. Like it took vitamins. Some of my old recordings seem almost like half mastered albums now, it's that big of a leap. I'm listening to some old pre-disco BeeGees "New York Mining Disaster" and though it doesn't mask the albums flaws, it's so much more listenable now. Fatigue is nonexistent.
The next area of greatest improvement is bass. Impact and weight, it's all there. Before it had a bit of the 400 lb. woman wiggling out of her girdle syndrome. Now it's got that tight, deep quality that the early Velodyne servo controlled subs of the 80's did so well. Not the flabby Cerwin Vega boom boom muddy mess that I can't endure. This is a quality that will indear me to this DAC forever, being a K340 owner.
The biggest surprise was the improvement in soundstage and imaging. I thought the stock unit performed pretty well here. It's cranked up several notches now. My K340's are imaging superstars, and to pair them with a DAC with a similar virtuoso type quality in that respect is nothing short of amazing.
If I could only use one word to describe the Zhaolooser101 it would be effortless. It just takes whatever I throw at it and knocks me on my butt. I swear it's giggling at me saying "you gotta do better than that pilgrim". If I had spent $1,500.00 dollars on this DAC I'd be quite pleased, because I truely feel it's at least 50% better than my old Lavry. At the price of admission, It's an insane bargain!
I could talk all day, but until I give this DAC what it really begs for, A shootout with the town bully, it's just words. I just haven't been givin' that opportunity yet.