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Are there any really BAD/Terrible DACs?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I accidently cooked my entech 205.2 So I'm in the market again.

Curious, are there any really BAD sounding outboard DAC units?... Harsh, lacking depth or detail resolution, noisy, hissy...etc...

thanks,
Garrett
post #2 of 21
That'd be the zhaolu 2.5 for me, but in fairness I only had a short audition.

*puts on asbestos underpants*
post #3 of 21
a badly made storm digital
post #4 of 21

the frying cookbook

Dude, how did you fry up your entech?

Hope it's not the same way the guy out there (don't remember which forum he posted his story on, though) did some french fries with the oil he was using to do some liquid cooling on his computer

Anyway, I'm interested since I use my 203.2 daily and I don't want to fry it.
post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by papomaster View Post
Dude, how did you fry up your entech?

Hope it's not the same way the guy out there (don't remember which forum he posted his story on, though) did some french fries with the oil he was using to do some liquid cooling on his computer

Anyway, I'm interested since I use my 203.2 daily and I don't want to fry it.
LOL... my own stupidity basically. I mucked something up on the output stage and it sent my opamp (now socketed) into oscillation.... it messed something up so now the left channel is toast.

You should be OK... the entech DACs are well made. just leave well enough alone, and dont get into mods and it'll be OK.
post #6 of 21
Unless you were planning on upgrading, I'd say rebuy the Entech. Of course there's better out there, but not for the price from what I've read...

I'd also have to recommend you buy a fairly neutral DAC. The Entech is known to be fairly neutral source and you seemed to have been liking the synergy you were getting with all your amps/headphones. I wouldn't go messing with DAC's that bring an entire new sound signature to the table.

Good luck.
post #7 of 21
M-audio Audiophile... Yucck!!
post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tachikoma View Post
That'd be the zhaolu 2.5 for me, but in fairness I only had a short audition.

*puts on asbestos underpants*
I am working on an upgrade for my Zhaolu 2.D2 and so I will explain that for the price I think it is very nice. I know there is always better and most always for more money. I understand the criticism I think. If you get a Zhaolu I think you have to do a few things to have it be a really nice source.
1. Let it burn in a bit. {as with most dacs}
2. Use the appropriate, to your ears, dac board. {1852 for me now, at first the 4398}
3. Get better op-amps and ones that you like the sound of. 4562's are good, and a non grainy center opamp} I think the 2.5 uses fewer opamps.
4. Unplug everthing possible. I unplugged my led and headamp and run the signal out the back to a receiver. If you use optical don't have the digital cable plugged in and vise versa. If you unplug the front led you will only get optical which is what I use. I unplugged the headphone amp lines from the mainboard too. I found that there was a little distortion in the signal using the basic onboard headphone amp.
With these changes I think is is very nice, but again that is considering the cost. If I had not done the above changes I would have made some of the criticisms Tachikoma has, but not to the same degree. I still found it to be pretty decent stock. Even stock it clearly beat my Audigy 2.
post #9 of 21
DAC-in-the-Box from Eddie Wu. I know there are a lot of Wu-fan boys on here, sorry if I offend you. It is only an opinion.
post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick63 View Post
I am working on an upgrade for my Zhaolu 2.D2 and so I will explain that for the price I think it is very nice. I know there is always better and most always for more money. I understand the criticism I think. If you get a Zhaolu I think you have to do a few things to have it be a really nice source.
1. Let it burn in a bit. {as with most dacs}
2. Use the appropriate, to your ears, dac board. {1852 for me now, at first the 4398}
3. Get better op-amps and ones that you like the sound of. 4562's are good, and a non grainy center opamp} I think the 2.5 uses fewer opamps.
4. Unplug everthing possible. I unplugged my led and headamp and run the signal out the back to a receiver. If you use optical don't have the digital cable plugged in and vise versa. If you unplug the front led you will only get optical which is what I use. I unplugged the headphone amp lines from the mainboard too. I found that there was a little distortion in the signal using the basic onboard headphone amp.
With these changes I think is is very nice, but again that is considering the cost. If I had not done the above changes I would have made some of the criticisms Tachikoma has, but not to the same degree. I still found it to be pretty decent stock. Even stock it clearly beat my Audigy 2.
Well... at the audition I compared it with my DAC (which is cheaper, you can see it in my profile) and it beat the pants off the zhaolu :x but as usual, this is only to my own ears and not without a fair amount of bias >_>
post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tachikoma View Post
Well... at the audition I compared it with my DAC (which is cheaper, you can see it in my profile) and it beat the pants off the zhaolu :x but as usual, this is only to my own ears and not without a fair amount of bias >_>
Ok, I just didn't think my Zhaolu with my setup sounded bad at all stock. It had some areas as you mentioned that needed addressing and I did. Your M-Audio may be better even to me, but I have not heard it. But, I would not say the Zhaolu is "Harsh, lacking depth or detail resolution, noisy, hissy" as you found. It was a little noisy as I describe, but I remedied that. Most people seem to like it. I imagine which speakers used, among other things, can make quite a bit of difference in how one perceives a dac's quality. I would recommend the Zhaolu and you apparently would not, that is all.
post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by kramer5150 View Post
my entech 205.2
Garrett-

Sounds like you liked the sound of the 205.2. How would you characterize the sound? Done any comparisons to other DACs of more recent vintage?

Thanks,
John
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick63 View Post
1. Let it burn in a bit. {as with most dacs}
No, not 'as with most dacs'. I have never burnt in a DAC. They don't change in quality over time, and if they did, it would certainly not be for the better.
post #14 of 21
where's the best place to buy an entech?
post #15 of 21
The worst DACs are apparently those that the designer wants to keep his designs to themselves and not share them with the world. The interpretation is that the designer must be hiding something that is wrong with it when all they want to do it protect their designs from cloners.
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