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Review: ZERO 24 BIT/192KHz DAC/Headphone Amp/Pre-Amp - Page 620

post #9286 of 9372

Unclean noise profile isn't really problem of DAC but the S/PDIF reciever (for some reason it gets much worse when using stock USB input).

The output is super clean when the DAC is fed directly by I2S.


But I'm also not aware of anything this great at such price (especially after some improvements) so there's really nothing to complaint.

post #9287 of 9372

Does anyone have reason to believe that any of the parts in the DAC are fake? like JRC4558 with 627 etched on them and fake Elna/Silmic caps or are they reputable to be genuine parts?


My standard shipped OPA2134 * (correction 2604) one sounded ok out of the box but no where near as good as when I popped the 4562's in the headphone board.

Edited by opampswitcher - 1/28/13 at 1:57am
post #9288 of 9372

Amarok you are 100pct correct using SP/DIF coax the HP amp is absolutely quiet and clean. This is a very serious piece of equipment for the money.


I correct the original chip was a 2604.


One possibility is if the original chips are not genuine parts putting a known genuine part in really takes the DAC/HP amp to a completely new level of quality.

Edited by opampswitcher - 1/28/13 at 1:58am
post #9289 of 9372

OPA627 seems to be genuine in mine ZERO: offset voltage is in tolerance and resistance between  pin1 and pin5 is 55kOhm. So it's either genuine or very good counterfeit (unlikely).

Opamp in HP amp is cheap universal opamp (NJM082), so there's space for improvements.

post #9290 of 9372

nice , any upgrade you guys recomend for my zero dac ? 

i have it paired to my Shure SRH-1840 and i am loving it so far. 

But when i heard my SRH-1840 with balanced cables and the yamamoto amp at Jaben Singapore...

it feels like its got alot more to improve , and i heard certain opa's can give the zero dac a tube sound !,

i really want "DETAIL !!!"  

post #9291 of 9372

Do you want tube or detail??

If tube, just switch OPA. If detail, then throw away the head-amp, build new one a upgrade DAC (se my signature) ... it's real step forward towards detail and neutrality.

post #9292 of 9372

was looking for more detail and transparancy 

so how do i build the head-amp ? 

but not sure i have the skill to dwell into soldering the board.if i can just swap the opamps which is the best for clarity ( without increasing the treble i have enough , or to make it more natural/transparent sounding ) 

post #9293 of 9372

If you're using stock opamps in head-amp (NJM082) try swapping them for something better (see first page), but it's quite minor change compared to new head-amp.

post #9294 of 9372

OK , i dont really follow text instructions well do you know off any video tht can guide me visually ? And thanks !!! 

post #9295 of 9372

I'm thinking of getting one of theses because the Musiland us2 doesn't quite power the Sure SRH-940, will i have any problems with the 42 Ohms impedance of the headphones? hiss?


thanks for your time

post #9296 of 9372
post #9297 of 9372


Edited by John Grady - 5/21/13 at 11:46am
post #9298 of 9372

Hello everyone. My first post on this forum. 

I am looking for a DAC at about 100-200$ max and I read some on the Zero DAC. I do own a set of low level Sony headphones and they work for my needs but I am looking for a DAC for my main system. Right now I have a modded ta2020 amp that sounds superb on my Fostex FE206E (haven't manage to put the enclosures together but all it's needed is the time to glue them).

Also I have a sherwood s-5000 tube amp in restoration process that I might finish as a winter project. Sound source is my iMac to a M-Audio FastTrack Pro soundcard. I'm looking to replace the DAC from my system and don't have much to spend. Zero seems to fit the bill and I sure do love to mod :) In fact I couldn't be completely satisfied with a piece of audio gear without getting my hands dirty.

So I'd like to know how would this fit in place of my M-Audio DAC. Is it worth it? Should I wait, gather more money and spend it on something else? Another option (a bit over the $ limit) would be an es9018 dac made by someone named Weiliang and is about 230$ without the transformer (absolutely no affiliation with the seller, in fact I don't really like the fact that there's no schematic for his products so modding should be more complicated, IF I might go that route). Also there's no info on that DAC as it's barely been out.

Anyway I'd love some input regarding the Zero DAC vs my M-Audio one. This DAC is very tempting as there's so much info on it. Haven't had the time to read all 600 pages but I've scanned this and some other threads on this subject and seems tempting. Also, how does it compare to the newer ones out there? Seems like this unit has been on the market for some time now and technology moves fast these days. Of course it's been good a few years ago, it's also good now but for the same price I'd do a bit of research first. Cheapest version I found for the Zero on ebay is 156$ and I'll replace the op-amp and so on. What would you spend your money on considering all the DAC out there for max 200-220$ that can (should!) be modded? Also I like something cased as I don't want to spend time on drilling and more money on case+shipping :)

post #9299 of 9372

In my experience there's not much that can beat modded ZERO in the ~500$ price range. Old headamp and USB is nothing special, but DAC is great.

Great DAC is also HRT Music Streamer II (no modding potential here), or a heavily modded AK4396 DAC - just search eBay for "24BIT 192KHZ CS8416 + AK4396 + NE5532P" (no enclosure and PSU for this one).

So I think that ZERO is best option for complete DAC when you want to do some modding. :)


About the older versions: two weeks ago I modded the original (not 09 version) and before modding it sounded much worse than the unmodded 09 version.

post #9300 of 9372

Another reason for considering other options than the Zero is that I will never use the headamp. I'd like a zero without one, and cheaper :)

The 24BIT 192KHZ CS8416 + AK4396 + NE5532P  looks nice and I found some info on it but I'd like to use USB as an option. I could use the M-Audio spdif out and that would be 24/96.

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