Hey, we had to do it, didn't we?
I'll update the OP with Impressions as they come.
From SoulSyde's original ZO thread (Click to show)
Update (10/21/11 - pre-orders start today):
The ZO.2 has landed!
Digital Volume Control
You asked, we listened. ZO2 comes fully-equipped with a balanced digital volume control, featuring 32 selectable levels. This addition gives you the ability to use ZO safely with a Line-Out Dock.
Dual Amp Configuration
ZO employs a 2-stage amplification system to minimize noise, control EMI/RFI, and deliver high output power. Therefore, using ZO with another amplifier is unnecessary, as it will drive high impedance headphones without breaking a sweat.
Power & Battery
Update (10/18/11 - digiZoid's Facebook page):
I'm in the process of putting together the ZO pre-order webpage, and it should be ready to launch within the next day or two! Then beginning next week, we'll be starting production! ;-)
Update (10/8/11) by MizMoxie (Head-Fi sponsor from digiZoid):
Update (9/20/11 - digiZoid's Facebook page):
"What will the texture of the external case be like with the new design? Some people like to use rubber bands to connect the ZO to their device, but with touchscreen devices (iPhone/Touch/Etc.) Velcro works better. I heard a rumor that the new case would be rubberized."
"The ZO.2 will have a matte "soft-touch" coating that will make it feel smooth, but not rubberized. I stuck on some velcro to a sample we have, and it seems as though it will work just fine."
Update (9/15/11 - digiZoid's Facebook page):
digiZoid added a schematic for the new ZO.2 logic board.
Soulsyde's early Impressions (Click to show)
My ZO2 just arrived. I've only been listening to it for the past 30 minutes and I can say that I am very pleased.
I'll tease you with photos for now. I will be tied up for a while this afternoon, but I promise to get back to everyone with some impressions.
Shown in bass-adjustment mode (red-ish glow):
Shown in volume adjustment mode (blue LED):
Notice I am using a 75 Ohm impedance adapter. The only negative so far is that there is a fair amount of hiss. Noticeable with my Phiaton PS 210 and especially my Shure SE535 (which I expected anyway since they are so sensitive).
Dannyboi's impressions (Click to show)
Quick impressions using an iPhone 4 with ZO and ZO2.
When switching back and forth from ZO and ZO2 at lowest setting, I cannot really hear any difference in sound. With the ZO, when I click the vector switch a notch or two, there's a nice bump in bass. When using the ZO2, just a single click on the vector switch and the bass distorts. Neither the ZO or the ZO2 is a good match for the HE-300. Moving on to the next headphone.
I've been listening to the Pro-900 and ZO for a couple of weeks and they pair nicely at the lowest setting. When switching back and forth, I can tell the ZO2 just has more of an oomph. The bass seems a tad bit tighter, but I had to keep switching back and forth to really notice.
The ZO and EX1000 were meant for each other. I've been loving this combination for months. Now to test the two. With an iem, I notice with the ZO2 there's more of an hiss than the original, but no static interference yet. During the testing, I would occasionally hear the ZO interfere but never with the ZO2. With the EX1000, I can notice the difference a bit more than the headphones. Everything is a little bigger, bass is tighter, more punchy, the soundstage opens up slightly more. I get the sense that ZO2 has more power than the original.
I really like the new coating they use and the LED is much brighter then the original. For owning both the ZO and ZO2, I cannot justify having both since the difference in sound really isn't a big jump. Now when I try it out with the ipod and lod, then I'm sure the ZO2 will be more to my liking.
Dannybai's second impressions. (Click to show)
A quick impression with ZO2 + EX1000 + iPod + Lod.
The sound is cleaner than line out. The hiss is still there but less. Can't notice it when music is playing. I'm really enjoying with the Lod. I have the volume down to the lowest level and it's still quite loud so I'm thinking this is a flaw. Just one click of the volume and it's almost too loud. I tested the vector switch and I'm favoring it the most with one or two clicks. At this level, it sounds fantastic. I turn the vector switch all the way up and the bass is too thick. Another flaw I've noticed is that when powering the ZO2 off, there's a two or three second delay and it doesn't pop like the original ZO but it distorts and the music goes back to normal. When powering it back on, same thing happens, but the music not only distorts, but fades away and goes back to the set volume. I thought this was fixed but doesn't seem so. The pop went away but this distortion isn't a fix in my opinion. What counts is the sound though and I'm impressed. The EX1000 and the LOD, brings the whole sound up a notch and that's a nice improvement from the original.
TheSatteliteGuy's Impressions (Click to show)
OK, my two ZO2 showed up today. It took me 7 hours to get alone with them and take a listen. I first really like the toggle switch that controls both volume and contour. It works real well. I am using two of them because I have a hearing imbalance of 21% between my ears. I know because of my digital readout on my computer. One eardrum is a transplant from a surfing accident 30 years ago. So I am using one ZO2 for the right ear and one for the left. I am probably the only person with portable mono block but I have been doing this for many years. My collection of dual amps is impressive. About 1 hour ago I grabbed one of my iMods loaded with WAV from heavily modified Cd's, 650s heavily modded with all ALO cyco matched cables from source to cans. I have to say I way very impressed. I had Corky Siegles Chamber blues on and it was on par with any of my grip. That includes iQube, 71A, Xin SM4 maxed, TTVJ tube and SS. They run with the pack for a unbelievable $200. I then grabbed my LCD2 and they drove those with no problem, but could not push them to their limits. However they did drive them with enough authority to make me want to play with the contour and volume. This is alot of fun. Then I pulled out the HE6 and sound became much softer but very pretty. Even at full volume they are not powerful enough for the HE6. So what, I am just so impressed with how they play 650s and LCD2s. I just went back to the LCD2 from HE6 and was able to drop the volume about 40% off max. Very impressive. I still have not tried IEM but I know they will drive any IEM with eaze.
I just put on Dave Matthews Best of whats around and I had to adjust the volume and contour to tweak out the sound. Splendid. At this point all I am saying is this the ZO fans do not have any disappointments to fear with the ZO2. It appears that the other amp makers have a bit of a dilemma. Adopt the ZO technology to make their amps to compete with the ZO or just buy a aftermarket ZO and apply it to whatever amp of your choice. I will be comparing the ZO2 to my other grip, solo and as a add on. This will be a lot of fun. I do not believe that the ZO alone will not out perform all features of amps 5X more expensive, but with the exquisite contour ability there is a place the sound goes to, that a amp that isn't ZO-a-fied cannot approach. Well there is a first impression and now after 3 hours of listening I believe I am hearing a small amount of break in roughness. Just a little rippling. I bet these burn in real quick. Like 20 to 30 hours. Like I said before, the ZO only changes one thing, everything. Enjoy.
Il Montro's impressions (Click to show)
Mine came in yesterday, I fully charged it and fired it up today. iPod Classic with Soloz Audio Silver LOD to the Zo, with the Zo providing all of the gain. I got it specifically to use with my ER4s's. It definitely does add adjustable LF extension, but at the cost of a great deal of the ER4's transparency which is where all the magic is. OK for casual listening, but nothing more. I much prefer going with a better, albeit larger, amp (i.e. SR 71-A) and forgoing the boosted and bloated bass.
RPGWizard's impressions (Click to show)
I got the package today and been listening now for about an hour or so. No hiss here but I'm not using IEMs so that's to be expected.
I'm still in the process trying to validate whether I'm liking ZO1's or ZO2's signature better. There's a little difference in sound. I may think that ZO1 even sounds a bit more transparent at the lowest 3 or so levels. ZO2 packs perhaps a bit more punch but it sounds almost even more colored than ZO1 though.
EDIT: What I do notice is that the ZO2 sounds better if ZO2's volume levels is put a bit higher say at lvl 20~25 or so perhaps and turning down on the source instead and it starts sounding more transparent, more like ZO1. The coating feels really nice and LEDs are very bright. I still need to do more listening to know for sure.
EDIT2: Now I'm starting to realize the ZO1's non-linear contour level adjustments worked very well like they were, I had thought it would be perfect with just one more level in-between the very lowest level which resulted in a bit less bass than not using ZO1 and the first boosted level which provided quite a significant boost. Ideally ZO1's contour levels with one more lvl added in-between the lowest and and first boosted lvl would be perfect. With ZO2 you get roughly the same bass quantity with the very lowest lvl as not using ZO2 and at first level it brings less of a boost than ZO1 does at first level which I had thought would be optimal but I dunno, there's something about the ZO1's contour lvl adjustment I can't put the finger on.
EDIT3: So far it sounds like ZO2's bass is a bit less tight than on ZO1, I really loved the bass response of ZO1 cuz of that. And unfortunately I do have to say ZO1 do seem to sound a little more transparent in my ears so in my ears ZO1 might even be a bit better sounding. :s
ulnevrgit's impressions (Click to show)
11/9 @ 12:30: Quite a loud hiss with W4s imo, really disappointing.
11/9 @ 2:00: Adjusting the source volume has no effect on the hiss, at least when using the hp out...no real surprise. I'll try other IEMs/headphones when I get home but I'm not very hopefully, especially for the other IEMs. No matter really since the W4 are what I primarily use. I'm not sure why Digizoid didn’t test these more thoroughly with IEMs, as the hissing is clearly noticeable. Maybe worse, they did notice and still shipped the product out. Either way, quite disappointing. Too bad though, I had high hopes but as of now it looks like the ZO2 might be returned...we'll see.
One more thing I don’t understand is why the included headphone cord (the short one) doesn’t have a 90 degree plug on at least one side. I saw on another ZO2 thread Digizoid reps inquiring as to what kind of plug the user base would prefer, 90 degree or straight plugs, and it was clear that the majority if not all users requested 90 degree on at least one side.
11/9 @ 9:00: Tried with other IEMs (TF10 and Image X5) and hiss is still clearly there, no surprise. Not so with the SR80i headphones though :). Regarding SQ, my initial impression while listing with the W4s earlier today was that there was a little loss of clarity as the contour setting is increase and the bass was a bit muddy. However, it has seem to clear up ever so slightly, although that might just be the change in listing environments (I was at work earlier, now at home). I am not a big believer in burn-in but have heard it happen with static hardware before, specifically DAC that are know to have some warm-up/burn-in changes. Since I have no idea what is actually in this little thing I am not going to assume that it doesnt contain anything that would possibly be impacted over time.
I will say that the ZO2 does add a bit of soundstage and dynamics, especially to the SR80i, in addition to the increase bass presence. I hear the potential, even on the W4s but its hard to get past the hiss whenever the track settles and the hissing rears its ugly head. I truly value a low sound floor which the ZO2 currently struggles to produce on IEMs, which I use 90% of the time.
On a more possitive note, it is clear that Digizoid reps are monitoring the forums and I am hoping they will try and address some of the concerns. Considering that Digizoid did at least attempt to address a number of concern/issues raised with the ZO1 I think there is a chance they will try and address some of the issues noted thus far for the ZO2 (specifically, the hissing and volume issues)...we'll see.
MelonColy's impressions (Click to show)
Edited by SkinnyPuppy - 11/17/11 at 5:25pm