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Review: ZERO 24 BIT/192KHz DAC/Headphone Amp/Pre-Amp - Page 398

post #5956 of 9361
dario, moving from the 595 to the 650 is a wonderful move...expensive but your gonna love those cans. I love mine and I'm really picky about SQ.

Peete.
post #5957 of 9361
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pricklely Peete View Post
dario, moving from the 595 to the 650 is a wonderful move...expensive but your gonna love those cans. I love mine and I'm really picky about SQ.

Peete.
I still think mine 650 is a littler harsh on treble.... I don't know how many hours it has... maybe 100... 120 hours as I never burned it in again since my distortion problem (which never showed up again btw).....
I'll try moving back from stock zero optical cable to my DIY RCA (75 ohms antenna cable)....
Maybe this harsh thing could be cause by my supposed dirty energy line....
post #5958 of 9361
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pricklely Peete View Post
dario, moving from the 595 to the 650 is a wonderful move...expensive but your gonna love those cans. I love mine and I'm really picky about SQ.

Peete.
Right Peete, I know that, I found a good opportunity to take the 650 at a good price and sell my 595 to a boy who wants try quality headphone (and I think are very good starting headphone) than the purchase become possible with the opa and (next) zero purchase...

Now I hope that is possible to resolve the energy supply problem...would be a waste not use a full audio-gd opa configuration that I have ordererd from some days...also becouse I don't see much alternatives to the zero out there with same quality\price ratio...or I am wrong?

And absolutely I will cannot buy a step up (over modded zero) separate amp for much time with all those purchases...but in your opinion how compare the amp section of the modded zero with other dedicated amp?

Thanks Peete for the costant updates
post #5959 of 9361
Quote:
Originally Posted by dario View Post
Right Peete, I know that, I found a good opportunity to take the 650 at a good price and sell my 595 to a boy who wants try quality headphone (and I think are very good starting headphone) than the purchase become possible with the opa and (next) zero purchase...

Now I hope that is possible to resolve the energy supply problem...would be a waste not use a full audio-gd opa configuration that I have ordererd from some days...also becouse I don't see much alternatives to the zero out there with same quality\price ratio...or I am wrong?

And absolutely I will cannot buy a step up (over modded zero) separate amp for much time with all those purchases...but in your opinion how compare the amp section of the modded zero with other dedicated amp?

Thanks Peete for the costant updates
The price vs performance ratio of the Zero can't be duplicated. With the mod Pench and I have done the SQ is outstanding with a single HDAM and the LT1364's. I too hope an all HDAM Zero is possible ...but we have been lucky up till now with no major issues...problems always crop up sooner or later the further away from original design spec you get without making very costly and complicated upgrades...when it comes to that your better off buying a better base DAC/AMP at that point to tweak...I would say the current Zero is the best bang for buck budget DAC/Amp there is ...

Your welcome dario (about the updates). I feel responsible to you guys for getting things right....

Peete.
post #5960 of 9361
Quote:
Originally Posted by dacavalcante View Post
I still think mine 650 is a littler harsh on treble.... I don't know how many hours it has... maybe 100... 120 hours as I never burned it in again since my distortion problem (which never showed up again btw).....
I'll try moving back from stock zero optical cable to my DIY RCA (75 ohms antenna cable)....
Maybe this harsh thing could be cause by my supposed dirty energy line....
Once you hit 350 hours they relax and open up, that treble harshness disappears entirely....just keep giving them a quality signal Diego...they will change for the better..

Peete.
post #5961 of 9361
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pricklely Peete View Post
The price vs performance ratio of the Zero can't be duplicated. With the mod Pench and I have done the SQ is outstanding with a single HDAM and the LT1364's. I too hope an all HDAM Zero is possible ...but we have been lucky up till now with no major issues...problems always crop up sooner or later the further away from original design spec you get without making very costly and complicated upgrades...when it comes to that your better off buying a better base DAC/AMP at that point to tweak...I would say the current Zero is the best bang for buck budget DAC/Amp there is ...

Your welcome dario (about the updates). I feel responsible to you guys for getting things right....

Peete.
As I think...

Ok, thanks for all
post #5962 of 9361
The more my SUN (in the DAC) burns in, the better it sounds. I'm still hearing new details I never noticed before. Few more days and I'll see what the Earth has to offer...
post #5963 of 9361
Quote:
Originally Posted by Penchum View Post
Please everyone, understand something before passing judgment on the "Sun". It is supposed to be a "fun" sounding module that will enhance most listening situations, and it may indeed do this for some users. That would be great! For me however, it took my quest for a flatter frequency response and messed with it. The overall sound was colorized and did sound this way through my HD-650s. A quick swap out to the LT1364's made for a much better sounding output, with far less colorization.
This is exactly my findings, too. I initially loved the forward nature of the Sun, but once I got my Stax rig, I found myself growing tired of the pronounced treble.

I've since moved over to the Earth. It's taking some time for my ears to adjust to it's laid-back nature. The Sun is far more lively, but it can grow tiring with the wrong gear...

~Phewl.
post #5964 of 9361
Quote:
Originally Posted by AudioPhewl View Post
This is exactly my findings, too. I initially loved the forward nature of the Sun, but once I got my Stax rig, I found myself growing tired of the pronounced treble.

I've since moved over to the Earth. It's taking some time for my ears to adjust to it's laid-back nature. The Sun is far more lively, but it can grow tiring with the wrong gear...

~Phewl.
This makes a lot of sense. I really really like the Sun with my Senns (in DAC only, going out to my LD MKIII), which are "dark" cans to begin with. My Grados, though don't sound nearly as fun with it. I may just be "growing out" of them, or maybe they will pair better with the Earth. I really don't want to part with them, as they were the first headphones that opened my ears to the possibilities of good headphones, but I could use the $$ from a nice sale. Guess I'll give them until I try out the Earth, but the Senns just seem so much more "refined" to my ear. The Sun really brought out a lot of details they had been lacking, and made them a touch brighter and more forward (although not NEARLY as bright and forward as the Grados are with just about any source).
post #5965 of 9361
so i guess the general consensus is that opa-sun is 'brighter'; then the opa-earth (which makes cosmological sense i suppose... ) if so, using the earth would make better sense with AKG k701 as they are bright as is..

my modules came today but unfortunately my campus mail service is closed now... cant wait for tomorrow to try them outt
post #5966 of 9361
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AudioPhewl View Post
This is exactly my findings, too. I initially loved the forward nature of the Sun, but once I got my Stax rig, I found myself growing tired of the pronounced treble.

I've since moved over to the Earth. It's taking some time for my ears to adjust to it's laid-back nature. The Sun is far more lively, but it can grow tiring with the wrong gear...

~Phewl.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottieB View Post
This makes a lot of sense. I really really like the Sun with my Senns (in DAC only, going out to my LD MKIII), which are "dark" cans to begin with. My Grados, though don't sound nearly as fun with it. I may just be "growing out" of them, or maybe they will pair better with the Earth. I really don't want to part with them, as they were the first headphones that opened my ears to the possibilities of good headphones, but I could use the $$ from a nice sale. Guess I'll give them until I try out the Earth, but the Senns just seem so much more "refined" to my ear. The Sun really brought out a lot of details they had been lacking, and made them a touch brighter and more forward (although not NEARLY as bright and forward as the Grados are with just about any source).
This info may help you guys a little.

The "Earth" module does change for the better, with a good (long) burn-in. The "Sun" module changes only slightly with a good (long) burn-in. With both of these, I would say "don't do any critical listening until you reach 250 hours minimum." Both types became very stable after hitting that 250(ish) hour mark.

Since the "earth" changes the most, it doesn't sound so hot right away, like the "sun" does. Its really nothing to worry about, just do the time and have fun listening. Since you both are using the Zero to drive another amp, I feel confident that the "earth" module will impress you after it has matured. I drove my MKV SS headphone amp, and my MKIVse Tube headphone amp last night with the "earth" in the DAC, and it was fantastic with both amps!
post #5967 of 9361
Peete but how do you rate in comparison to standalone amp the head amp section of a modded zero?
post #5968 of 9361
Quote:
Originally Posted by Penchum View Post
Hey PP,

I've been testing the "Sun's" in the headphone amp section, driven by the "Earth" in the DAC section. But, I should explain why the "Earth" in the DAC section first. The "Earth" is very dynamic and very neutral, maintaining a flat frequency response over the entire spectrum. You couldn't ask for a better DAC amp solution, for so little money. I have over 350 hours on my "Earth" and it is stable and sounding great.

The "Sun's" have about 200 hours on them, and they appear stable and mature. I did have to re-solder most of the leads; They were dropping off like crazy.

To test the whole setup, I took my stock #2 Zero and installed all 3 modules. "Earth" in the DAC, "Sun's" in the headphone amp. I used my Creative X-FI (Desktop PC) coaxial output to the Zero and plugged in my HD-650's to the Zero's headphone amp.

The results were not what I expected and caused me to spend another 3 hours cross checking everything to determine exactly what was going on. The "Suns" have 3 distinct humps in their frequency response, when compared to a flat frequency response. One at your typical sub-woofer crossover point, another at lower to mid voice frequencies, and another at high frequencies, near cymbal ride frequencies. Without the ability to measure these with test equipment, I have to generalize their locations and guess at their intensity, which I would say is under 6-8db. I'd have to hook it up directly to my 32 band equalizer to get any closer on this, but didn't have time.

Please everyone, understand something before passing judgment on the "Sun". It is supposed to be a "fun" sounding module that will enhance most listening situations, and it may indeed do this for some users. That would be great! For me however, it took my quest for a flatter frequency response and messed with it. The overall sound was colorized and did sound this way through my HD-650s. A quick swap out to the LT1364's made for a much better sounding output, with far less colorization.

With the "Sun's" still in the headphone amp section, I went ahead and tested what I could. The overall output was down by at least 20%. I could actually turn up the volume high enough to drive the headphone amp section into audible distortion! I hadn't expected this, but it makes sense when you consider the lower output. This could also be a symptom of your earlier observations on voltages within the headphone amp section. I hope your testing can determine what is actually happening. For right now, I'd have to say there is a "drain" on resources within the headphone amp section, when running two "Sun" modules.

I did test the "Sun" in the DAC section, outputting to my MKV headphone amplifier. The same 3 frequency humps were present, verifying my earlier findings.

So, to summarize my findings so far; The "Earth" works extremely well in the DAC section, and it has great synergy with the LT1364's in the headphone amp section. The "Sun" modules produce a "colorized" presentation that is not an improvement for me, in my stock Zero. IMHO of course, and YMMV.

Time permitting, I'm going to test the "Earth" modules in the headphone amp section, and use my first generation HDAM with "cap" mod in the DAC section. I want to determine if the frequency response stays flat and the dynamics carry forward. There will be much to look for, with this setup. This may be days away though.
Wow, good work, Penchum. This is very valuable to me, as my HDAMs still haven't turned up and so I have been playing around with the 627s/1364s/OPA2604 to find a balance I am happy with, using the Senn 555s mostly. These cans are very open and a bit forward in the mids (no doubt many would love this!) but using the 627s in the DAC is simply too much of a good thing with the 1364s in KHA; too forward, too bright, extremely clean while losing weight in the bass. So, I've gone back to the stock op-amps in the Zero with a 1364 in KHA and it really is rather good. That 2604 truly is a nicely balanced op-amp. I'm now warming up the second 1364 in the DAC - head amp is stock to see if I can pass a crisper signal into it.
I tried the 627/1364 combo in the Zero for a while but the outcome was not good (actually, I was most surprised, after all the good reports on this combo!) and simply didn't work with the Senn 555s. Both the 627s and the 1364s have about 70 hours on them, is this part of my problem that they simply don't have enough burn-in hours yet? I know the Senn 600/650s are smoother and warmer cans, maybe I just haven't found the best match yet and the Earth HDAM may be the linchpin, eventually.
One thing I do know now, those 2604s are pretty fine and the 1364 (in KHA) is quite wonderful! Such precision and 3D openness.
Thoughts please, Sir Pench, your wisdom and experience is appreciated.
post #5969 of 9361
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sennsay View Post
Wow, good work, Penchum. This is very valuable to me, as my HDAMs still haven't turned up and so I have been playing around with the 627s/1364s/OPA2604 to find a balance I am happy with, using the Senn 555s mostly. These cans are very open and a bit forward in the mids (no doubt many would love this!) but using the 627s in the DAC is simply too much of a good thing with the 1364s in KHA; too forward, too bright, extremely clean while losing weight in the bass. So, I've gone back to the stock op-amps in the Zero with a 1364 in KHA and it really is rather good. That 2604 truly is a nicely balanced op-amp. I'm now warming up the second 1364 in the DAC - head amp is stock to see if I can pass a crisper signal into it.
I tried the 627/1364 combo in the Zero for a while but the outcome was not good (actually, I was most surprised, after all the good reports on this combo!) and simply didn't work with the Senn 555s. Both the 627s and the 1364s have about 70 hours on them, is this part of my problem that they simply don't have enough burn-in hours yet? I know the Senn 600/650s are smoother and warmer cans, maybe I just haven't found the best match yet and the Earth HDAM may be the linchpin, eventually.
One thing I do know now, those 2604s are pretty fine and the 1364 (in KHA) is quite wonderful! Such precision and 3D openness.
Thoughts please, Sir Pench, your wisdom and experience is appreciated.

It is most likely the model headphones you have. Also, if your Zero hasn't hit the 100 hour mark yet, it is still maturing. Once you get the "Earth" on board and matured, you'll know if a change in headphones is in your future. Many of us swear by our HD-650's and their excellent sound. I think PP even sleeps with his on! He is so dedicated!! I just take naps with mine!!
post #5970 of 9361
I am thinking of getting some 650s, i have 595s right now, I read that the 650s need to be balanced and they get a lot better. I really prefer the headphones to be neutral and transparent which is why I picked 595s. But sorry that's a bit off topic.

What I'm really posting about is Lawrence's hdam module, I saw where pete said they sound the same, but has anyone else have experience with Lawrence's and opa-earth that can expound at all?

edit: does this zero amp with the earth/1364 do anything to balance the 650s out?
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