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New DAC from Parasound...

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

While searching for a DAC, I came across this new offering from Parasound.  Though I'll probably get something that is smaller/more portable, such as the iFi iDac, I thought others might be interested given the price.

 

Parasound Zdac ($475):

  • Premium Analog Devices AD1853 24-bit/192 kHz Digital to Analog Converter IC
  • All inputs feature jitter reduction and are re-clocked and up-sampled to 422 kHz / 24 bit
  • Asynchronous USB input for playing music from PC or Mac (driver-less for easy setup)
  • Works with any format file on your computer up to 96 kHz / 24 bit
  • Works in variable volume mode in Windows® for connecting direct to a power amp (no preamp needed)
  • Optical and Coaxial digital inputs for use with any standard digital connection
  • RCA unbalanced and XLR balanced analog outputs
  • High current headphone output with volume control can drive any headphones from 32 to 600?
  • Oversized internal toroid power transformer (not a wall wart like many competitors)
post #2 of 13

I'd also like to know if anyone tried this yet.  I don't understand why it isn't more popular yet.

post #3 of 13

I know that this is an older thread but I just saw the new Parasound Zdac in my latest Audio Advisor and as I already use their A21 and I'd LOVE to know if Parasound hit yet another one out of the park. Anyone listen to the Zdac yet? 

post #4 of 13

I know someone who absolutely loves the Zdac. He has a Krell SACD Standard 5.2 which is now used as transport because the Parasound is better. I keep trying to hear it for myself but so far haven't had time. 

post #5 of 13

I have received mine two days ago as a replacemt for a rega dac and have trialed along side a m dac.

it is amuch smoother more detailedf and open thant the rega and more natural in a good real way than the mdac

post #6 of 13

I'm using the Parasound Zdac in a system with my A21 amp and Magnepan 1.6's and I've been surprised by the performance of this under $500 DAC. The highs are nice and clean, the midrange is outstanding (spooky real sounding with the Maggies) and the bass is more powerful than I'm use to with DAC's in this price range. The Zdac gives you tons a detail without ever sounding bright. 

 

The built in headphone amp drives my Grado 3251's great but my AKG 701's prefer a stand alone amp...it'll drive the AKG's just fine but they sound fuller with a more powerful amp. I've had several DAC's in this system in the past few months and thus far the Zdac is the best DAC I've heard under $500. 

post #7 of 13

In the review of the Zdac on Inner Fidelity, John Grandberg mentions it makes a popping sound through the headphones when powering on or inserting them.  Have any of you noticed this, and if so, is it loud enough to be a concern towards damaging headphones?
 

post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by pierre123 View Post

I have received mine two days ago as a replacemt for a rega dac and have trialed along side a m dac.

it is amuch smoother more detailedf and open thant the rega and more natural in a good real way than the mdac

 

Nice, thanks for the impressions. Any updates now that you've spent more time with it?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by KLJTech View Post

I'm using the Parasound Zdac in a system with my A21 amp and Magnepan 1.6's and I've been surprised by the performance of this under $500 DAC. The highs are nice and clean, the midrange is outstanding (spooky real sounding with the Maggies) and the bass is more powerful than I'm use to with DAC's in this price range. The Zdac gives you tons a detail without ever sounding bright. 

 

The built in headphone amp drives my Grado 3251's great but my AKG 701's prefer a stand alone amp...it'll drive the AKG's just fine but they sound fuller with a more powerful amp. I've had several DAC's in this system in the past few months and thus far the Zdac is the best DAC I've heard under $500. 

Nice system - that A21 amp is killer (I use the A23 as my monitor speakers don't need much power). Also, good description of the Zdac sound - "tons of detail without ever sounding bright". 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by runswithaliens View Post

In the review of the Zdac on Inner Fidelity, John Grandberg mentions it makes a popping sound through the headphones when powering on or inserting them.  Have any of you noticed this, and if so, is it loud enough to be a concern towards damaging headphones?
 

 

That guy doesn't know what he's talking about. biggrin.gif

 

Seriously though, the pop doesn't seem major enough to cause damage, either to headphone or even to hearing. It's just a minor annoyance. 

post #9 of 13

By the way thanks for another fine review Project86. I am curious though; disregarding cost and other features, how does it compare to your reference Anedio D2, as a DAC, and as a Headphone amp?
 


Edited by runswithaliens - 4/22/13 at 9:04am
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by runswithaliens View Post

By the way thanks for another fine review Project86. I am curious though; disregarding cost and other features, how does it compare to your reference Anedio D2, as a DAC, and as a Headphone amp?
 

 

D2 is clearly in another league - better amp that's more suited for a wide variety of headphones due to lower output impedance, and a DAC section that is more resolving and realistic sounding. That said, I can imagine a scenario where someone might actually prefer the Parasound in their particular system - it's got the whole "smooth, analog" thing going for it, and if you had a system leaning towards the bright side it might be a better match. 

post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by sawdin View Post

While searching for a DAC, I came across this new offering from Parasound.  Though I'll probably get something that is smaller/more portable, such as the iFi iDac, I thought others might be interested given the price.

 

Parasound Zdac ($475):

  • Oversized internal toroid power transformer (not a wall wart like many competitors)

Any idea on the ripple current from that oversized transformer?

post #12 of 13

I'm going to upgrade my mix of Cambridge DacMagic / Pangea Audio P-100 (power suply).  Bass in DacMagic has improved thanks to Pangea P-100, and so I Listen to more details.

 

I have basically 2 options on my budget to upgrade: Parasound Zdac and Schiit Bifrost. 

 

For Zdac Terry London (Home Theater) gives 5 stars for all aspects (Performance/Value/Overall) and they say that prefer zDac over SimAudio Moon 100D DAC, valued at $650 and the Musical Fidelity M1DAC, valued at $799. Both these:

http://hometheaterreview.com/parasound-zdac-192khz-digital-to-analog-converter

 

John Grandberg from InnerFidelity says that “…Steve Guttenberg offered his opinion on the Emotiva XPA-2 and Schiit Bifrost units as being superior to the Zdac ..."  then "... I came away from the comparison with a contrary result. I felt the Zdac was by far the better DAC …”

Look at: http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/parasound-zdac

 

To take into account, Schiit recenctly has introduced two improvements for the Bifrost: Bifrost Uber (improved analog stage) and a new version of their USB:

http://schiit.com/cart/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=0&products_id=7

 

So I’d like to know your impression and/or if there are other Dac to compete in the $650 budget.  ¿Have any one an idea on how to compare these two Dacs (Zdac-Bifrost)?  ¿Any of these would be better than my DacMagic/Pangea P-100?

 

So I've read about Nuforce dac-80, it is more expensive ($775), I think this is the same as dac-100 without the headphone amp.  This is out of my budget (same situatio for Schiit Gungnir), however I’d like to know if DAC-80 is much better thatn Zdac and/or Bifrost, …, ¿any idea, information, explanations, ...?

 

I have an headphone amp by Musical Fidelity, I use Windows 8 Pro, Parasound amp/pre, Towers by Energy, Marantz CD player (used as transport), DH-Labs and Kimber cables.  So I have a Nuforce u192S sb async converter but it does not works on my Windows 8 (¡so I can't use it!).

 

Thank you for your Help!


Edited by RelayerCR - 7/4/13 at 7:01am
post #13 of 13

HPiper, let put it simple, I have a headphone Grado 225:

http://gradolabs.com/page_headphones.php?item=c56e04009f99e060f4c39dfdadb98549

 

so I have earphones Nuforce NE-700X:

https://www.nuforce.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&layout=item&id=27&Itemid=384

 

The Parasound Zdac is an excellent amp for both, I could live happy many years with this headphone amp. However, I have a Musical Fidelity entry level headphone amp, a 3 years old V-Can, original price was about $175. V-Can is just a better amp over zDac, I can hear more bass and a full bodied sound, more clear details. So is just a matter of budget, you can be happy with zdac, but you can improve the amp section adding a better amp.

 

As a DAC the Zdac would be very difficult to surpass at this price.

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