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post #31 of 7724
Something like this would be perfect for me. As someone who's relatively new to high-end phones, I don't yet have a stable of high-end dedicated amps to place at my various listening stations.

The Zero is very attractive to me, as well as to a lot of other newbies, because it's an inexpensive platform that can serve adequately now as an all-in-one solution, and later (with upgrades) as a very solid dedicated DAC.

However, I'm loath to launch into a game of Zero roulette, and source/solder all of the updrades suggested. Currawong's idea would be an ideal solution for me, where I am now in my way up the gear ladder.

Gear mentioned in this thread:

post #32 of 7724
Well, this would be wonderful if it all came in one smart-looking box, with USB-in for the DAC, a decent quality amp and a reasonable price tag for a first-time buyer. And please, for the love of all that is holy, can you try to make it readily available in the UK?

When I say smart-looking, by the way, I don't necessarily mean a beautiful lump of brushed titanium, I just mean decent-looking. None of that 'orrible bumpy dull silver plastic, or plain black-painted metal; that would be nice.

Cheers.
post #33 of 7724
I would skip the headamp section. The Zero's is just ok and I would have traded it for a better dac stage in a heartbeat.

USB, Optical, and Coax inputs. Personally I could live without USB but thats just me.

Knobs, no buttons.

Keep the Zero's ability to switch out opamps and discrete opamps. I'd like to see how my discrete opamps perform in a dac with better components. Also a tall enough case to accommodate discrete opamps.

I also like the idea of dual DAC that was discussed earlier.
OR...
What about a dual stage output? Transistors and tubes. No switch needed just two sets of RCA outs. Maybe I am being greedy with this one.
post #34 of 7724
What I'd like:-

Same design philosophy as the Zero - good components, nicely implemented, at a good price for the sound quality generated.
A proper dual-mono design - maybe a pair of PCM1794s? Though there are probably better options around these days, it's a good while since I looked into DAC ICs...
XLR outputs as well as standard RCAs.
Option to not have integrated headphone amplifier - it's a waste for those of us who'll never use it, even if it only adds USD10 to the overall price... though it'll likely cost more if it is built around HDAMs, with an expensive volume potentiometer to boot...
A target price of USD300 or under without the headphone amplifier stage.

~Phewl.
post #35 of 7724
I'm new but I will throw in my 2cents anyways. I would love a different option than the Zero. I think the Amp/DAC combo is good for a beginner. This is suppose to be a competitor with the Zero, not simply a better DAC, but with better QC and Customer Service. So for all those who are trying to make a fantastic DAC and throw out the Amp, I think you are missing the point. In looking for a good budget/beginner Amp/DAC the Zero always comes up, but I don't want to order from China just to get a dead item, then what to wait weeks to get it replaced. If this happens put me on the list for one, it's just what I have been waiting for.
post #36 of 7724
There are loads of dacs that occupy the $150.00 - $400.00 price segment but there are far fewer dac/headphone amp combos in one box in this price range. To me the smart way to go is to at least have the option and capability to add a headphone amp to the dac.

Phill
post #37 of 7724
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ccschua View Post
the advocate is in the no of options to end users, how to rank them and cut them off.
I'm waiting to see what he'll come up with, and how much he'll consider it necessary to sell for. If the price is too high, then we can look at asking questions such as, how much if X or Y was not there?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tumbleweed View Post
Something like this would be perfect for me. As someone who's relatively new to high-end phones, I don't yet have a stable of high-end dedicated amps to place at my various listening stations.

The Zero is very attractive to me, as well as to a lot of other newbies, because it's an inexpensive platform that can serve adequately now as an all-in-one solution, and later (with upgrades) as a very solid dedicated DAC.

However, I'm loath to launch into a game of Zero roulette, and source/solder all of the updrades suggested. Currawong's idea would be an ideal solution for me, where I am now in my way up the gear ladder.
You are exactly the kind of person this is aimed at. Also, down the track, if you buy a new HP amp, you'll have a good DAC to use it with.

ciphercomplete and AudioPhewl: Kingwa already makes DACs that suit your needs, or can customise one of his products to suit your needs I'm sure.
post #38 of 7724
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
ciphercomplete and AudioPhewl: Kingwa already makes DACs that suit your needs, or can customise one of his products to suit your needs I'm sure.
Who is this Kingwa and how can I get my hands on one of his DACs?
post #39 of 7724
Currawong are you trying to set a little business here? If so that is probably more important. You see, I don't have faith in the Chinese makers regarding warranty etc. Their products might be good but I ain't getting something from some Chinese without decent customer service.

What I'd like to see fully knowing it's not a Zero replacement: A nice DAC without the thrills. 110-230 volt switch. And do you think balanced out is feasible?
post #40 of 7724
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ciphercomplete View Post
Who is this Kingwa and how can I get my hands on one of his DACs?
Go here: http://audio-gd.com

Quote:
Originally Posted by apatN View Post
Currawong are you trying to set a little business here? If so that is probably more important. You see, I don't have faith in the Chinese makers regarding warranty etc. Their products might be good but I ain't getting something from some Chinese without decent customer service.

What I'd like to see fully knowing it's not a Zero replacement: A nice DAC without the thrills. 110-230 volt switch. And do you think balanced out is feasible?
It's as simple as: I'm tired of recommending the Zero, because of the same concerns you have buying from Chinese makers. Kingwa, the owner (?) of Audio-gd (the actual name is Reiz Audio) is only interested in quality, as far as I can see, so I'd rather he gets people's business, if it means people get good gear and good customer service.

As for balanced output, his other DACs have balanced out, but other the DAC100 which doesn't, they start at about $430 or something like that. In a cheap DAC, there's no need, IMO, for balanced output and not necessarily any benefit.
post #41 of 7724
Well I'm intrigued by the whole balanced thing so I might get a cheap balanced DAC now when I'm in the market for a DAC. Maybe the DacMagic is a better choice.

I'll check the DACs out but they'll have a hard time convincing me to get one. I've really had it with those Chinese.
post #42 of 7724
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by apatN View Post
Well I'm intrigued by the whole balanced thing so I might get a cheap balanced DAC now when I'm in the market for a DAC. Maybe the DacMagic is a better choice.

I'll check the DACs out but they'll have a hard time convincing me to get one. I've really had it with those Chinese.
I'm part of a group that has a lot of Vietnamese and Chinese and I've worked with a warehouse staffed mainly by people from India. I've seen it all. I also had to help organise a conference of sorts with 20,000 people in Thailand. Let me say, after the latter, the odd bad solder joint in a Chinese amp or DAC is nothing compared to what I've seen. (I feel nothing bad towards any of them by the way, though they are all crazy in different ways.)

As for balanced connections, it only gets interesting with balanced headphones. I doubt there'd be any useful benefit unless you're buying gear that's well into 4 figures. The friend of mine who knows hi-fi and music inside-out reckons there's no benefit. The well-respected hi-fi store he's a manager of, in their 30 years, I've never seen any of their high-end systems use balanced connections between components.

Ok, back to the important stuff, the latest details from Kingwa of Audio-gd:

Input choices will be:
USB
COAX
OPT
RCA input for the headphone amp (bypassing the DAC).
The on/off switch will allow choosing just the DAC or the DAC+headphone amp.

The price will still be around US$250, though hopefully a bit lower. This is with no profit! He's going to have to make it well as he'll make a complete loss if anything is faulty.
post #43 of 7724
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
Ok, back to the important stuff, the latest details from Kingwa of Audio-gd:

Input choices will be:
USB
COAX
OPT
RCA input for the headphone amp (bypassing the DAC).
The on/off switch will allow choosing just the DAC or the DAC+headphone amp.

The price will still be around US$250, though hopefully a bit lower. This is with no profit! He's going to have to make it well as he'll make a complete loss if anything is faulty.

post #44 of 7724
To summarise, the budget dac will fit the diy dream and to satisfy first timer with simple setup, no fats and expensive stuff but pure good sound.
post #45 of 7724
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
I'm part of a group that has a lot of Vietnamese and Chinese and I've worked with a warehouse staffed mainly by people from India. I've seen it all. I also had to help organise a conference of sorts with 20,000 people in Thailand. Let me say, after the latter, the odd bad solder joint in a Chinese amp or DAC is nothing compared to what I've seen. (I feel nothing bad towards any of them by the way, though they are all crazy in different ways.)

As for balanced connections, it only gets interesting with balanced headphones. I doubt there'd be any useful benefit unless you're buying gear that's well into 4 figures. The friend of mine who knows hi-fi and music inside-out reckons there's no benefit. The well-respected hi-fi store he's a manager of, in their 30 years, I've never seen any of their high-end systems use balanced connections between components.
Haha I can figure.
That balanced is a good thing as I'd only use it for headphones.
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