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Parasound zdac reviews? - Page 4

post #46 of 56

I'm in the market for a desktop Dac/amp combo, so now that the price has dropped to $299, do you guys think that the headphone amp on the zdac is legit? Or should I look elsewhere for a DAC with a better amp built in?

post #47 of 56
There's certainly nothing wrong or weak with the amp. I'm listening now to a woo audio wa3 tube amp and I like it better than the sound I was getting from the zdac but this is purely from a sound flavor perspective and nothing else.
post #48 of 56
Originally Posted by JediGhostdog View Post

I'm in the market for a desktop Dac/amp combo, so now that the price has dropped to $299, do you guys think that the headphone amp on the zdac is legit? Or should I look elsewhere for a DAC with a better amp built in?

Depends on what cans you have.  I did not feel the amp was anything special.  I would take the HRT Microstreamer over the zdac for dedicated can use if the headphones were a match for it.  Otherwise I might save up for a better stand alone amp to use with the zdac.

post #49 of 56

The amp is just average, but then again most of the amps included with dacs are just average. So it is no worse than a lot of other combo units. You could probably pair it with a Magni or Vali and get substantially better sound for not a lot more money. I listened to one in the store and it wasn't terrible, for a quick listen it was certainly acceptable.

post #50 of 56

I have two Zdac's between home and my office and I agree that either of those amps from Schiit would be my preference (added to the DAC)...I really do like the DAC itself though. Its hard to find a sweet headphone amp built into a nice DAC at that price. 

post #51 of 56

I've read this post a few times searching around about the Zdac -- and/or a viable alternative under$1000. I see you own two of them, and I was curious what made you decide to get two. 


That's the tl;dr.

Below turned out to be a long ramble. ;-)



I have the Zdac at work > Beyer A20 Amp > Beyer T70 headphones. I've been through various setups trying to get the right sound (I need isolation badly at work). I've had the baby Schiit stack (which is now 7 layers, but that's another story), Dragonfly 1.2 as amp/dac and as a dedicated dac into my A20 amp. I even tried the Modi to the A20. All were "ok". Different closed back headphones... previous to the T70 was the DT-770, but the T70 is way more refined. (And despite what certain reviewers say, has outstanding bass.)


Finally I ended up with the Zdac. I am finally satisfied with that setup. Closed back, good clear mids, the Beyer hosue sound I love, and lots of "space" -- it's just right to my ears.


I don't have to explain the appeal of the Zdac to you obviously.


For me there are a few non negotiable things: One is I have an almost pathological aversion to wall warts. I also *prefer* driverless USB.


I have been around computers (for a living as a sysadmin and personally) to never trust that a driver will be made available for something in the future. Lots of cheaper products have a certain shelf life, as do windows releases, and things may not get future support, and that's just how it is. No biggie (and I don't do Mac). But a good DAC will be around a while, and I don't want to be stuck with a brick. People argue with my logic, but that's ok. 24/96 is way more than fine. Any source material I have higher than 96k is handled by the "Sox resampler mod" Foobar DSP plugin (it will completely pass 44100;48000;88200;96000 unmolested, or anything else specified -- highly recommended). Honestly, 320k MP3 is fine, but since I have the flacs on disk, I will just listen to those. 


So that brings me to the point (finally). I have another spot where I listen a lot at home. A laptop (same portable Foobar install and music library) currently using that Dragonfly to another Beyer A20 amp > Beyer T90 headphones. It's fine, but I bought the Dragonfly to be an on the go thing... and want another dedicated DAC.


So I have been searching for something that meets the same criteria that made me give the Zdac a try. Something in me wants something different, not because I am unsatisfied -- far from it. I guess for amps, I have two of the same, because I like how they act with my headphones. There isn't any good reason not to get a second Zdac -- since I know it's going to do exactly what I want and do it well. I have looked and looked, and nothing else seems to touch it, while meeting my good power supply, high build quality and driverless criteria. the built in amp is passable, but nothing even remotely close to the A20s. 


The Zdac just seems to punch so far above its weight, price wise. I am very likely just going to get another one for home. I don't know why these aren't flying off the shelves. Seriously. Especially at the new going rate of $300. Even $450 was a bargain.


So after all this rambling, I return to the opening question: Why did you get two? Have you seen any other DACs that even compare with my two non-negotiables?



post #52 of 56

I have two because I have a couple systems set up at home (office and den) and another at work. I love the sound of the Zdac and I like that it has the built in headphone amp though I prefer to use it with a stand alone amp. It sounds great with the Schiit Audio Asgard 2 or Lyr depending on which headphones/IEM's I'm using. Currently, I have a couple too many DAC's on hand and I plan on selling one of the Zdac's that was used at the office.

post #53 of 56

Thanks for the reply. I guess that's sort of the path I am finding myself heading down. The Zdac just seems to work too well for me, and now i think I need a second one. I can't find anything else that covers my bases the way I want at the price.


A local hifi shop carries Parasound, and I know they opened a second Zdac for an demo offsite. I think I can get a deal from them. I don't know how many hours are on it, but I think I'll let it gas off at work, and bring my well used one home. Mine had a really weird (but not bad) smell to it for a couple of weeks. ;-)

Edited by BalzacO - 9/7/14 at 3:56pm
post #54 of 56

They have a new version coming out with allegedly improved headphone amp section.


"The Zdac's headphone amplifier circuit is revised too. It has greater gain and lower distortion to aid transparency and make listening a less tiring experience. There are two headphone outputs in order to cater for both portable and home designs; one 3.5mm and the other 6.3mm"



post #55 of 56

Great info Greeni!  It seems that the dac keeps the same, I prefer black over silver, however I hate the holes for rack mounting, the one in the pic does not have these holes! 


I see improvements in the headphone amp, well I like the headphone amp of my zdac, but I prefer to use an external headphone amp (Musical Fidelity entry level V-Can), that means that I need more cables and sáce, so maybe with zdac2 I can have only ne device!.

post #56 of 56
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