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Review: ZERO 24 BIT/192KHz DAC/Headphone Amp/Pre-Amp - Page 570

post #8536 of 9361
My personal ideal matches are:

Zero (OPA Moon) > LD MKV > AKG K701
Zero (OPA Earth) > LD MKV > Senn 580, 600 (Cardas cable)

(Both OPAs are around 300 hours burned.)

What is the opa Sun v2 (in the DAC Zero section) concerned, I didnt find it a good match with any of my headphones. Maybe it is not burned enough (abour 80 hours), I do not know.
post #8537 of 9361
That's it, i got my ZERO from lawrence with upgraded volume pot HDAM and LT1364. I got it in the lapse of 10 days from the date of the purchase, it was nicely packed and it didn't sustain any damage (didn't check the soldering yet, but i cant here any hiss right now). Will let you know how it performs after some burn in, i need to apply the Franken mod now
post #8538 of 9361
Quote:
Originally Posted by seaice View Post
My personal ideal matches are:

Zero (OPA Moon) > LD MKV > AKG K701
Zero (OPA Earth) > LD MKV > Senn 580, 600 (Cardas cable)

(Both OPAs are around 300 hours burned.)

What is the opa Sun v2 (in the DAC Zero section) concerned, I didnt find it a good match with any of my headphones. Maybe it is not burned enough (abour 80 hours), I do not know.
Yeah I'm honestly thinking this is totally just a preference thing - those who may lean toward brighter music and/or headphones, or who really love upper mid "detail" and resonance would prefer the Sun - to my ears I didn't hear a huge difference between the Earth and Moon, but I'm thinking I like the Sun because of A - my "dark" headphones and B - the fact that I'm going to a tube amp with rather warm tubes - to me the Sun just brings out a little extra in the places I kinda was missing from my Grados.
post #8539 of 9361
could please someone explain the "franken-mod" to me so that i don't need to look trough the 855 pages of this thread ?
post #8540 of 9361
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowlord View Post
could please someone explain the "franken-mod" to me so that i don't need to look trough the 855 pages of this thread ?
http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f6/fra...-heart-370985/
post #8541 of 9361
Hi,
I've got some problems with the zero..Ive changed the two 330uf caps on top of the four decoupling caps with 470uf oscon, and also applied the bypass at all these caps. Now my problem is that right channel turn down on volume, not so much, but clearly noticeable. What should have happened? Bad contacts or soldering? (the one on decoupling caps are very bad, but were working before, maybe get worse) Maybe Ive lost some contacts in the upper side of the pcb?
If someone can help, Ill be very grateful!!

Ps: Ive found that the right channel have a different hiss, more loud, and if I touch the second decoupling caps on the left, I heard like an interference, a mass problem maybe.
post #8542 of 9361
Quote:
I am almost certain you are not getting a pure untouched signal and this could explain why your having trouble differentiating between bit rates/file types etc...
How bad is the Xitel, can you really notice a difference between it and a bit perfect transport?
What kind of artifacts would it be adding to the music? I have a Realtek HD Audio Soundcard built into my Gigabyte motherboard with coax and optical outputs which can KS in foobar. That should be bit-perfect if I am kernel streaming right? I verified that windows volume settings do not change the volume. I had switched to using the Xitel (from the Realtek) because every once and a while I would get "garbling" or almost static if I moved to different locations in a track that would slowly work its way out.

I will try to my system out on my dad's expensive dvd player this weekend.

I think I might be able to discern a difference when using the amp, not something that is immediately obvious but may just be more enjoyable to listen to, as if you aren't conciously perceived the difference in quality but you subconciously enjoying it.
post #8543 of 9361
Quote:
Originally Posted by helicopter34234 View Post
How bad is the Xitel, can you really notice a difference between it and a bit perfect transport?
What kind of artifacts would it be adding to the music? I have a Realtek HD Audio Soundcard built into my Gigabyte motherboard with coax and optical outputs which can KS in foobar. That should be bit-perfect if I am kernel streaming right? I verified that windows volume settings do not change the volume. I had switched to using the Xitel (from the Realtek) because every once and a while I would get "garbling" or almost static if I moved to different locations in a track that would slowly work its way out.

I will try to my system out on my dad's expensive dvd player this weekend.

I think I might be able to discern a difference when using the amp, not something that is immediately obvious but may just be more enjoyable to listen to, as if you aren't conciously perceived the difference in quality but you subconciously enjoying it.
I think once you try your Dad's DVD player the difference will be immediately noticeable. Once the signal is subjected to noisy EMI/RFI bombarded environment the level of hash introduced to the base signal (the static pops you noticed while Kernel Streaming is a prime example) really obscures a lot of detail...resolution drops ...you loose info. It's the same as comparing a mp3 to a full resolution wav on a DVD player capable of playing pack both formats...it's noticeable right away or at least it should be. The way XP handles audio isn't the greatest either...one reason why ASIO is so popular. Vista has corrected this shortcoming but that's no reason IMO to switch to that bloated bugware....(OK OK I know at least 5 of you actually like Vista...no offence OK )

You could also try that type of test on your Dad's DVDP if it will play MP3's back...simply compare a full resolution CDA file to a copy of the same track in mp3 format at 128 kb/s data rate.

Until I bought my Auzen Prelude, my mobo's SC digital coax out was not up to the job....that's on a Asus Maximus Formula deluxe (2007 X38 Intel) with the latest so called HD Sound card (a separate one to boot...the SupremeFX II) It's a POS compared to the Auzen in every respect you care to name...that surprised me somewhat. I used the PCI slot furthest away from the SB chip to install the Auzen SC in and added a aluminum shield around it for further protection from the computers noisy environment....the signal I get is noise and hiss free...pure velvety blackness.never a pop tick,static noise of any kind. Although it's relegated to transport duties it does that job well (equal fidelity at the very least to any DVD/CDP I own)...I would imagine a Lynx card may best the Auzen but not by much.

USB is problematic for trying to get the best fidelity from a PC because of the obvious limitations presented by that method. Add in a cheap converter and you are no better off than before with the pops and ticks and hash....all IMHO of course Others mileage may vary.

I still think your not getting what is possible from your combo...try out the DVD player over the weekend...have a great holiday visit with family and friends and report back your findings on Monday or Tuesday next week. If you still don't notice a difference in SQ then I will eat my shorts. Just kidding.....cotton gives me hives !

Have a Merry Christmas BTW

Peete.
post #8544 of 9361
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emanuel View Post
Hi,
I've got some problems with the zero..Ive changed the two 330uf caps on top of the four decoupling caps with 470uf oscon, and also applied the bypass at all these caps. Now my problem is that right channel turn down on volume, not so much, but clearly noticeable. What should have happened? Bad contacts or soldering? (the one on decoupling caps are very bad, but were working before, maybe get worse) Maybe Ive lost some contacts in the upper side of the pcb?
If someone can help, Ill be very grateful!!

Ps: Ive found that the right channel have a different hiss, more loud, and if I touch the second decoupling caps on the left, I heard like an interference, a mass problem maybe.
Are you sure you have the polarity correct on the caps you installed ? Double check that and the solder points of those on both sides of the pcb.

Peete.
post #8545 of 9361
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottieB View Post
Actually no it's the original one. I tried it first (got the Earth and Sun at same time during the original deal) and liked it a lot. Then moved to the Earth and liked that. And then moon and liked that. I had been meaning to try the Sun again but it meant re-soldering the lead - my old job held but the other contacts came apart - I just re-did them all. Maybe I just like variety and in a few weeks I'll be compelled to switch again but for now I'm really having fun with this.
It's like tube rolling...keeps things interesting.

Peete.
post #8546 of 9361
Wow, been awhile since checking on this thread - great to see it's still strong!

Quick Q's:
1. Before I take out the snippers and cut off the 2 caps around the output RCA jacks to improve the highs (as per Lampizator site) - other than complaints about Grados (which I don't have), anyone else complain about this mod? Definately want to try this if it doesn't accentuate highs abnormally...


2. Is it consensus that HDAM-Earth is superior to dual OPA627's?

Thanks and Merry Christmas all...
post #8547 of 9361
Quote:
Originally Posted by Archimago View Post
Wow, been awhile since checking on this thread - great to see it's still strong!

Quick Q's:
1. Before I take out the snippers and cut off the 2 caps around the output RCA jacks to improve the highs (as per Lampizator site) - other than complaints about Grados (which I don't have), anyone else complain about this mod? Definately want to try this if it doesn't accentuate highs abnormally...


2. Is it consensus that HDAM-Earth is superior to dual OPA627's?

Thanks and Merry Christmas all...
1 - Not that I've heard

2 - Seems to be, yeah.
post #8548 of 9361
Thanks Pricklely Peete for the thorough response. Unfortunately I won't be seeing my parents again for a couple of weeks. We had an early Christmas there last week (that's how I got the MKII) because I am going to my girlfriends parents for Christmas. Also, I have already sold the MKII so it looks like I won't be able to do the test. I just don't think I have the ears for this sport. I had my non-audiophile friend over tonight so I had him tell me which sounded better while I switched back and forth between amps without him seeing which was plugged in. He said the MKII just sounded clearer than the Zero HP out but it was very subtle. I have tried switching back and forth myself for several hours tonight on many many different songs and still can't really notice any difference. I tried this with the mobo soundcard coax and the Xitel optical. The mobo soundcard sounds fine (not really any popping hissing) unless you try to jump somewhere midsong, otherwise it sounded pretty good. I honestly don't really even hear much of a SQ improvement on going from my soundcard jack to the Zero, and others have definitely attested that they hear a big difference on this jump, even with the cheap Xitel. I guess some people (including myself) just aren't capable of appreciating SQ improvement beyond a certain level. I definitely noticed improvements on upgrading my headphones, but beyond that, not so much.

Sorry I couldn't do the test, I'm sure it would have benefited other members considering buying an amp. If you are considering getting an amp, don't let my experience change your mind, test for yourself.

Besides, if the test did show that I could hear a difference coming out of a good transport, then I would have to buy a good transport another >$150. I think I will just go through with the sale of the amp and maybe some day consider getting one again. Besides the Zero HP amp is no slouch, it sounds pretty darn good as is. Definitely enough for me to enjoy my music, which I will be doing instead of worrying about hearing upgrades. My next purchase might be a better transport though. So basically the problem with the Xitel is that it resamples and that it might have bad jitter (even though I don't really hear anything wrong with it). Would any card that supports ASIO with coax output work, even really cheepo cards? I saw some good deals on refurbished creative audio cards including the emu 0404 for $60. Would the emu be a good transport (even though its usb). Are any of these other cards good?
Creative Labs Refurb Sale - SlickDeals.net Forums
post #8549 of 9361
My take on the HDAMs was that the main difference appeared to be the soundstage (whether that is a function of a slightly different EQ or not I'm not entirely sure, but is quite possible) with smallest to largest going Sun < Earth < Moon. My reference tune was Jeff Buckley singing live, with him being more up-front with the Sun, and least so with the Moon.

With the HDAMs, give them 350 hours to burn in. The caps and transistors need it.

Another thing, I see a lot of people asking repeatedly about opamps already tested in the very first post of this thread! I can understand though it takes a while to get used to all the different names of them. I started learning about them from this thread, just like many other people are.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowlord View Post
could please someone explain the "franken-mod" to me so that i don't need to look trough the 855 pages of this thread ?
Try here:

http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f6/fra...-heart-370985/
post #8550 of 9361
Quote:
Originally Posted by helicopter34234 View Post
Besides, if the test did show that I could hear a difference coming out of a good transport, then I would have to buy a good transport another >$150. I think I will just go through with the sale of the amp and maybe some day consider getting one again. Besides the Zero HP amp is no slouch, it sounds pretty darn good as is. Definitely enough for me to enjoy my music, which I will be doing instead of worrying about hearing upgrades. My next purchase might be a better transport though. So basically the problem with the Xitel is that it resamples and that it might have bad jitter (even though I don't really hear anything wrong with it). Would any card that supports ASIO with coax output work, even really cheepo cards? I saw some good deals on refurbished creative audio cards including the emu 0404 for $60. Would the emu be a good transport (even though its usb). Are any of these other cards good?
Creative Labs Refurb Sale - SlickDeals.net Forums
I thought, and still think, the HP amp is in the Zero is very listen-able, even with a lot of other expensive gear around. 0404s are quite popular here as a transport.

The whole "what sounds better" issue is a funny one. If you put the average joe in front of a hi-fi system, he might get a shock hearing music he knows well so clearly. It's rather like this Stax rig I just got -- it's so clear and detailed, yet that kind of delivery just doesn't suit a lot of music. For the average joe, more bass might sound better, so between a cheap and expensive system, he'd pick the cheap one, because it was more what he is used to. I can say in my case the only reason I changed DACs was because of choral and orchestral music, which simply sounds awesome through expensive gear. Some of the pop music I like in comparison is so awfully recorded that it only gets played through the car radio, where I don't have to be frustrated at how the recording engineers mixed in some poorly recorded instruments or samples. I've always maintained that if I'd bought the Zero before everything else, I'd probably still be happy with the headphones I've had for 15+ years and I wouldn't have bothered with the rest.
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