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digiZoid ZO2.3 Impression & Discussion Thread

post #1 of 1009
Thread Starter 

The digiZoid ZO2.3 Impression & Discussion Thread

 

 

Since the version has been updated I thought it would be great with a fresh start as those early impressions in ZO2 Impression Thread doesn't reflect the current product anymore. This thread is to discuss and write about your ZO2 impressions and feel free to to discuss suggestions for future improvements. 

 

 

Here's two simple demos of the SmartVektor sound

 

(Please note there's 32 different bass contour level adjustments in ZO2!)

 

 

The early version of ZO2 had some issues with hissing with sensitive IEMs and loud volume if used with LOD (Line-out Device), the latest version now offers:

 

Quote:
1. A significant reduction in background hiss. You should not be able to detect any background noise if using in-ear monitors that have a sensitivity less than 113 dB/mW.
 
2. Lower volume levels to accommodate line-level signals when ZO is used with in-ear monitors.
 
3. An adjustment to the EMI/RFI filtering circuitry to prevent potential loss of higher frequencies.
 
4. Disabled bypass/standby functionality to protect the listener/equipment from excessive volume levels when ZO is coupled to line-out and in bypass mode.
 
5. (new feature as of Nov 30th) Adding an additional high-gain mode for driving higher impedance/lower sensitivity headphones.

 

Also the quick start guide can be downloaded from here ZO2.3 Quick Start Guide

 

 


 

Alright I start off with my own impressions:

 

RPGWiZaRD's impressions (Click to show)

 

img0762mr.jpg img0763dz.jpg
img0764tw.jpg img0765e.jpg
 
ALL YOUR ZO ARE BELONG TO ME :D
 
What I can tell quickly is that the contour levels have definitely been altered, in a good way. Now it sounds balanced at the lowest setting with nothing exaggerated and the following low levels are also providing less bass boost than previously so now you can add a more fine level of bass boost! (there's at least 2-3 more finer levels of bass boost than on ZO2.1) I find myself using about 3 - 4 levels higher with this non-burnt in ZO2.3 than I used with the burnt-in ZO2.1 so seems the contour levels are much better balanced now. Should be nice for all those non-bass heads out there, you can add just a very tiny bit of boost or none at all. Thanks digiZoid for taking our feedback so seriously!
 
I don't think either it really sounds that bad using the low gain mode while using headphone-out jack. No increased distortion noted despite having to up the volume a little (in my case to 53% for my 64 ohm headphones compared to 16% with high gain). The bass boost will be giving less of a drastic change in low gain but it doesn't sound that bad at all but yea the bass is definitely stronger with high gain. I see it like an alternative bass contour shape in case the high gain doesn't work nicely for you, it's more smooth and definitely provides a huge boost also in low gain mode at the higher levels. Sound signature wise from very intial testing, reminds me slightly more of ZO1 than ZO2 but it's not sounding exactly like either of them. But more on that later but at least I seem to enjoy this ZO2.3 more on the first listen than I did with ZO2.1.
 
Also now it switches on/off MUCH faster and is almost completely distortion/noise free for me (well as good as it gets anyway). But the bypass feature is removed as I already knew so no suprises there. The hiss is reduced in ZO2.3 on high gain level compared to ZO2.1, testing with XB500 headphones which are among the most hiss-prone headphones around provided quite noticable hiss in ZO2.1 while it's very faint/almost inaudible on ZO2.3 and switching to low gain level which fits this very sensitive/easy driven headphone (probably IEMs too) and it becomes as good as silent, nice. This headphone brings normal listening volume levels with 12% in high gain and about 38~40% on the max level in low gain so it's probably wiser to use that as I notice this sensitive headphone also responds better to the contour levels in low gain compared to the M-Audio Q40 for example.
 
I don't use portable devices so can't test with LOD but that's my above experiences so far using headphone out. Quite positive impressions so far, the high/low gain certainly helped. I will use it for a while before going more in depth regarding sound quality aspects.
 

 

Already starting to hear burn-in improvements after around 4 hrs. :) I hear quite different kind of changes with ZO2v3 compared to ZO2v1 when burning in.
 
Let's say if with ZO2v1 with burn in I experienced:
 
- Bass changed from being overhelming to more controlled 
- Transparency was lacking at first which greatly improved later on, was quite a mess with complex passages with lots of instruments floating into each other
- Slight soundstage improvements
 
With ZO2v3 I'm experiencing:
 
- From being somewhat more neutral sounding (by ZO standards) to get more SmartVektor colorisation: more body / "full" sounding, more dynamic, forward 
- Bass getting stronger(?), I have had to lower the contour level since initial listen, more like 0 - 1 level set higher than compared to ZO2v1 now
- Mids coming more forward & clear
- Imaging/positioning getting clearer (better "3D" positional sound)
 

 

I think I actually prefer low gain with these M-Audio Q40 headphones even if it means I have to go from 18% to 53~54% volume or so. I think it sounds a little better. I know digiZoid recommends high gain with HO use but I'm just going with my ears. :P So don't think you necessarily have to use high gain with all easier driven IEMs/headphones, especially IEMs it's probably nice so you don't have to set the volume so low on the source and also provides you smoother vol lvl adjustment and avoid accidentaly exposing yourself to high volume in case moving the slider up when it would get really loud in high gain. Besides it won't pick up any HDD activity noise whatsoever from the Realtek HD chip which is common for the onboard chips which at times drove me nuts especially with the Panasonic HTF600 headphones.
 
I also don't hear any distortion whatsoever even at max contour level despite being at 54% volume (which is about the max "casual-listening vol" what I find comfortable with loud mixed trance/pop songs etc but the bass gets a bit uncomfortably loud though at max contour level) on the source with low gain despite the boosted bass response so that might be an improvement I think. It sounds similarly bassy to me as in high gain at least and the contour levels work just as good but the microdetails come out more in the rest of the range and soundstage sounds a little better (better imaging, bigger stage) and possibly slightly better dynamic range and slightly more forward mid- & highrange when using low gain compared to high gain => more SmartVektor sound effect.
 
Time to let it burn in over the night soon.
 

 

Alright it's probably been in use for around 20 hrs now. 
 
One thing's confusing me really, why high and low gain have a little different sound, it's not a night and day difference but it's there when focusing closely on the sound.
 
The low gain seems to offer more SmartVektor effect, dynamic, more spacious soundstage with better imaging/positioning and slightly more forward/in-your-face mids & highs and transparency is slightly improved, it's for example easier to pick out a subtle hi-hat in the background in a complex recording. The bass packs just very slightly less omph on the same contour level as high gain. I think it's even slightly better sounding than ZO2.1.
 
In high gain seems to sound quite similar to ZO1 (well more closer than ZO2.1 at least), it's very slightly less punchy in the bass compared to ZO2.1, soundstage is slightly less spacious than low gain, similar to ZO2.1 now. It's a bit more neutral sounding and everything isn't as "expanded" / "forward" sounding as when using low gain and upping the source volume or using ZO2.1. I would say I enjoy it about equally much as ZO2.1.
 
I'm really enjoying ZO2.3 in low gain mode for some reason. Is it because the the source volume has been increased what could be giving this increased SmartVektor sound effect? I dunno but perhaps they are related. For those who want an idea what "SmartVektor" sounds like can listen to this demo example (yes it probably uses a little higher contour level as bass is increased quite a bit but try also listening to the instruments and vocals and notice the differences in soundstage, dynamicness etc)
 
 
Cons & Pros regarding ZO2.3
 
+ High/low gain; Works now with LOD + IEMs + can be used with a bit higher impedance headphones
+ Neutral sounding at lowest contour level (doesn't force the listener to an increased bass response like on ZO2.1)
+ Smaller bass boost capabilities if the user wants just a very fine amount of boosted bass
+ Much faster on/off switching and is now almost completely noise/distortion free
+ Low gain seems to offer even more "SmartVektor" sound effect than previously when used with HO
+ Hiss levels lowered and doesn't pick up as muJust got my ZO2.3 and hooked it up to my Zune. High gain mode (pink), and one increment up from the lowest contour (green), and 
ch noise from a noisy sound device
 
- Bypass function removed (no longer possible to listen to music when ZO has been turned off => needs unplugging) but I personally didn't have much use of it anyway, mostly for comparision
- Unable to adjust volume on ZO in high gain (again questionable if this really matters as this mode is meant for HO-use so you can control the volume on the source and it probably even sounds best with the volume level maxed on ZO when using HO anyway)
 
Other notes: Burn-in doesn't seem as important as it is with ZO2.1. 

 

pasan's impressions (Click to show)

Just got my ZO2.3 and hooked it up to my Zune. High gain mode (pink), and one increment up from the lowest contour (green), and I put on some Orbital. The results were better than what I was expecting. To me, the improvement in warmth and bass is simply brilliant on my JVC FXT90s, but I believe the ZO2.3 will really shine with those cool analytical sounding phones like the RE272. I can't wait to use it with the DT880/250 I have on order.

 


 

digiZoid can be contacted at the following email addresses:

 

Feedback and suggestions

feedback@digizoid.com  

 

General Inquiries 

info@digizoid.com

 

Product Support

(including return & warranty requests) 

support@digizoid.com

 

Shipping/Billing Quesions

orders@digizoid.com

 

Sales Inquiries 

info@digizoid.com

 

For more info visit http://www.digizoid.com

 

You can also follow digiZoid at http://www.facebook.com/digizoid and http://twitter.com/digizoid


Edited by RPGWiZaRD - 5/3/12 at 3:47pm
post #2 of 1009

popcorn.gif

post #3 of 1009

^x2

post #4 of 1009

...


Edited by hartphoto - 1/17/12 at 4:52pm
post #5 of 1009

Nice work RPG!!

post #6 of 1009

Hoho. Can't wait to get my replacement product then. If they fixed that slight hiss and revised the problems I had in the past I'll send it back right away.

post #7 of 1009
Thread Starter 

Seems like battery life has decreased since ZO2.1... don't know exactly how much but ZO2.1 had a very impressive battery life of up to around 25 hrs, we might be looking at 17~18hrs (but don't take that as an exact figure at all) for ZO2.3 but yea I haven't timed it. This is with low gain, haven't tried with high.


Edited by RPGWiZaRD - 1/7/12 at 12:56pm
post #8 of 1009

Was on the fence about RMA'ing in my Z02.1 but the improvements in ver 3 definitely seem worthy.  Going to send mine in and will post some impressions when I get it back.  

post #9 of 1009

Just got my ZO2.3 and hooked it up to my Zune. High gain mode (pink), and one increment up from the lowest contour (green), and I put on some Orbital. The results were better than what I was expecting. To me, the improvement in warmth and bass is simply brilliant on my JVC FXT90s, but I believe the ZO2.3 will really shine with those cool analytical sounding phones like the RE272. I can't wait to use it with the DT880/250 I have on order.

post #10 of 1009

Really looking forward to seeing more impressions as they come in!

post #11 of 1009
Thread Starter 

I'm testing with high gain after having used low gain for a while, I can't definitely say if there's that much of noteworthy differences as I initially thought between them, at least I don't think there's any huge differences when going back and forth now at least (high gain may still sound ever so slightly more V-shaped so that the highs are tiny bit more prominent besides bass as well compared to low gain but the differences are minimal), sounds great in both. What hasn't obviously changed is that the bass response is more powerful in high gain but what I believe is what has changed with burn in is that the bass response is less overhelming and more controlled like happened with ZO2.1 after burn-in which allowed the rest of the range to come more forward instead so probably similar things have happened here now too.

 

Soundstage wise it still seems it's a little more spacious sounding using low gain for some reason why I still prefer using it. Soundstage difference is greater than differences in percieved frequency balance at least.


Edited by RPGWiZaRD - 1/10/12 at 9:41am
post #12 of 1009

When they ships, do they email you a notification?

 

I have ordered it since December 24th last year, but until now (Jan 11), I didn't receive any news. They said they're backordered until Jan 9?

post #13 of 1009

Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicHolic View Post

When they ships, do they email you a notification?

 

I have ordered it since December 24th last year, but until now (Jan 11), I didn't receive any news. They said they're backordered until Jan 9?


You've received no mail? I got one a week or so ago saying they were backordered until the 9th. I do hope they send out a tracking number too.

post #14 of 1009
Quote:
Originally Posted by RPGWiZaRD View Post

I'm testing with high gain after having used low gain for a while, I can't definitely say if there's that much of noteworthy differences as I initially thought between them, at least I don't think there's any huge differences when going back and forth now at least (high gain may still sound ever so slightly more V-shaped so that the highs are tiny bit more prominent besides bass as well compared to low gain but the differences are minimal), sounds great in both. What hasn't obviously changed is that the bass response is more powerful in high gain but what I believe is what has changed with burn in is that the bass response is less overhelming and more controlled like happened with ZO2.1 after burn-in which allowed the rest of the range to come more forward instead so probably similar things have happened here now too.

 

Soundstage wise it still seems it's a little more spacious sounding using low gain for some reason why I still prefer using it. Soundstage difference is greater than differences in percieved frequency balance at least.


I agree in that the difference is less obvious, I use high gain mode by default because I find myself pushing the volume of both my Zune 120 and RoxClip+ to 18 and -3db respectively on max volume (purple) with my FXT90s. However, my ears believe that high-gain mode actually has less of a V curve compared to normal-gain mode. The difference was clear when I listened to MOS The Sound of Dubstep 3 last night. I found I had to use 4 increments of the EQ curve in high-gain vs 2 increments in normal-gain, to get the same sound.

 

Another observation is that while the bass improvement is something akin to magic ( I used a variety of crappy earphones using the RoxClip+ as a source to see what kind of improvement there is), the unit does not enhance sub-bass.

 

post #15 of 1009
Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicHolic View Post

When they ships, do they email you a notification?

 

I have ordered it since December 24th last year, but until now (Jan 11), I didn't receive any news. They said they're backordered until Jan 9?



Send them an email and they will reply to it. I got no mail from them either until i emailed them asking. They told me it would be sent out the next week (and it was) and i've had it for a week now.

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