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Review: ZERO 24 BIT/192KHz DAC/Headphone Amp/Pre-Amp - Page 615

post #9211 of 9362

DAC stands for "digital to analog converter" and that's what it does, by converting an optical/coaxial/USB input to an analog signal output to the amplifier.  By running USB, optical, or coax into a DAC, you bypass any internal amplification or the like (as my understanding of it is) from your computer's sound card; it's basically nothing but a raw signal output into the DAC.  Conversely, if you ran a 1/8" to RCA converter from a headphone jack to a discrete amp, you'd be sending the internally-amplified signal out to the amplifier, instead of a raw signal; this is typically a bad thing.

 

The Zero can act as a stand-alone DAC for an amp daisy-chained to it, or it can function as a DAC and an amp.  For the price, it's not a bad all-in-one combo, but I couldn't comment on it against the Headroom or uDAC2, since I haven't heard either of those.  I'm not sure what type of outputs a Macbook has, but you wouldn't be ill-served to buy a DAC/amp combo like the Zero, or a discrete DAC and amplifier combo, like the uDAC and the Little Dot, for the reasons given above.

 

tl;dr version (was a bit verbose above): a DAC converts a digital output signal from a computer into an analog signal that an amplifier can use.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sebmtl1 View Post

i dont mean to hijack, but im new to this dac/amp thingy. Im willing to buy a new headset (hd650) but i am very confused what to do next. I have a macbook pro and im confused weither i have to get a DAC or an amp or something that can do both. Is the ZERO a dac and an amp at the same time, meaning that i only have to buy one piece instead of 2 (dac + amp)? Also, whats the better thing to do, get a zero or get a udac2 +little dot mk or get a headroom micro amp?? Sorry but i am SO confused lol!

 



 

post #9212 of 9362

Thanks man thats really appreciated. Can i ask you what dac and amp or dac/amp combo would really be my best buy for a 400$ budget? I have a 2011 macbook pro and senns hd650

 

post #9213 of 9362

Tough question...do you have any preference for a tube vs solid state amp?
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sebmtl1 View Post

Thanks man thats really appreciated. Can i ask you what dac and amp or dac/amp combo would really be my best buy for a 400$ budget? I have a 2011 macbook pro and senns hd650

 



 

post #9214 of 9362

to be honest, it will be my first amp, so no no preferences, lemme know what you think


 

post #9215 of 9362

The Zero seems to be a safe bet...but, a personal favorite of mine are the Travagans amps.  I have a White and love it (especially the size, it makes a great work desk setup).  May be something to look into.  Skylab's review is a bit old now, but he quite liked them for the price point.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sebmtl1 View Post

to be honest, it will be my first amp, so no no preferences, lemme know what you think


 



 

post #9216 of 9362

ok thanks man peace


 

post #9217 of 9362
Should I get this ZERO amp or pay $50 more for the XS DAC 01A ?
post #9218 of 9362

Does anyone know how this compares to the Audio GD Sparrow?  It also seems as though Audio gd is selling what I assume to be pre orders of the NFB-12 at a price of 200 which I also assume to be a real bargain.  I'm not sure 100% considering that the Audio gd site isn't the best translated site around.  

post #9219 of 9362

Just got this thing.  Burned it in for about 100 hours.  It was very harsh at first, almost shrill. Bass?  Forget about it.  It warmed up a bit throughout the break in.  I actually prefer my 300 dollar netbooks headphone input with stock earbuds over this Zero.  I have beyer 880s 250ohm.  The bass is fuller and hits harder and the highs arent harsh on the laptop.  I know that beyers are best served with a tube and maybe ill look into that.  The zero is my first piece of head fi equipment ive owned and im highly dissapointed. 

post #9220 of 9362

I'm considering the zero for my 1st full sized amp. I currently use my total bithead which is good - but I think I'd like more inputs.

 

I typically listen to my grado sr60's or 225i's - and my audio technica m50's. For tunes I listen to rock, alternative, metal, but lately I've been on the mellow kick - stuff like Jack Johnson.

 

In the future - I see some higher end grado's, maybe a some other various flavors of phones.

 

Would this amp be a good fit for me? I know all my existing head phones are easy to drive and probably won't see much of an improvement over the bithead, as it does a good job of bringing the grado's to life.

 

post #9221 of 9362

Hi sebMTL1- I have a Macbook pro as my source. I just ordered a Little Dot MkIII and a Beresford 7520 DAC so I can bypass the soundcard in my Mac for better sound. I listen to speakers as well, so I got  the LD MkIII because I can use it as a tube preamp for my stereo as well- a cost effective way to learn about tube sound, I hope! I can let you know how it goes if you wish. Good luck! I also hope to try using the Beresford as a CD decoder in the future as well.

post #9222 of 9362
Quote:
Originally Posted by sebmtl1 View Post

i dont mean to hijack, but im new to this dac/amp thingy. Im willing to buy a new headset (hd650) but i am very confused what to do next. I have a macbook pro and im confused weither i have to get a DAC or an amp or something that can do both. Is the ZERO a dac and an amp at the same time, meaning that i only have to buy one piece instead of 2 (dac + amp)? Also, whats the better thing to do, get a zero or get a udac2 +little dot mk or get a headroom micro amp?? Sorry but i am SO confused lol!

 

 Also new- please see my post of 5-7-2011. Thanks! I forgot to click on "reply to message".
 

 

post #9223 of 9362

can someone give me a link to where i can buy an authentic one?? :D

 

 

i found 2, but if you know a better place feel free to tell me :D

 

1. http://www.audiophilechina.com/cp-show.asp?C_id=50&S_id2=37&s_id=40

2. http://www.ebay.com/itm/09-NEW-VERSION-ZERO-24-192KHZ-DAC-HEAD-AMP-USB-OPA2604-/110606551605?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item19c0aa0a35#ht_10050wt_698

 

post #9224 of 9362

Hello everyone.

 

I currently have a HD 598 and i would like to know i it's a good idea to buy the zero dac to go with.

 

It would be for music (classical, rock, a bit of everything) and games.

 

Thx in advance.

post #9225 of 9362

I just grabbed one of these from another member on the forum, primarily for use with a pair of loudspeakers and subs. Like ripleydog, I usually use a Macbook pro as my source, and my cd player's optical if not. There are a couple of things I'd like to note just in case there's anyone out there wondering how this will run on a 2.1 stereo setup, rather than just on phones.

 

Firstly, I am quite impressed with the detail that this DAC achieves across the low-band. Bass lines sound much clearer and crisper than with a cheaper ipod/cd-p/computer preamp, which really brings an instantaneous, headphone-sounding immediacy to music. It's as if the kick drum is sitting 5 feet in front of me, and you can tell if it is tuned well or not! 

 

I'd also say that the DAC does seem to have a very level frequency response, as the british loudspeakers in combination with the luxman serve to bring out alot of mid-highs, as would be expected. This wasn't always the case when using cheaper preamps. For me, this means I need to use the loudness filter on the lux to even the playing field, obviously but the DAC is not to blame, unless for its transparency. 

 

The detail across the entire spectrum is quite enjoyable, and every album I listen to I am finding new sounds here and there - the layers are just so much easier to pull apart. Regular lossless cd rips have taken on a larger sound stage, and old vinyl rips of Pink Floyd seems to stretch even wider and deeper.

 

Headphones are obviously a world of difference from a cheap preamp, but I don't do enough phone listening to comment heavily on that. 

I should also note that I'm running with the 627 opamps

 

On the whole, I'm quite pleased with the Zero, and interested to hear back from anyone else - especially those running the zero through subwoofers


Edited by onelivewire - 2/13/12 at 11:33am
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