This thread is meant to be a place where we can share our experiences with the Zishan dsd player. It starts with some useful basic information and thoughts about it. Feel free to participate and enjoy it!
A LITTLE BACKGROUND
After being, due to different reasons, a little bit disappointed with some deal breakers as the xduoos or the ibasso dx90, and being unable to spend the required cash for the players I liked –Onkyo, AKs, etc- I found myself surfing the aliexpress app in order to find the best sounding player no matter how ugly appeared externally or the user interface, or how unknown it was. The minimum requirements were, at least, to be powerful and to be able to play FLAC files.
I found some good players but they only played wav and/or mp3 files. During my search, I clicked some related links where I found some DIY audio kits. One of this links caught my attention, and when I clicked it I saw the pictures of two separate boards. Nothing exceptional at this point. But when I read the word “player” my interest increased. I thought it could be a kind of DIY player: it could be interesting. It was when I saw more pictures when I realized it was an all-ensemble player. So the first surprise was the "marketing" (if this player has something that can be called like that…): showing the internal circuits as the main picture in the selling web page. I´ve never seen anything like that. “The beauty is inside” could be a good slogan in this case!
After some time trying to decode the crappy Chinese translation of the description, I understood that I found what I was looking for. But I was suspicious, due to the cost of all the hardware related at that low price point.
But thinking of the lack of professional marketing here, and probably being made for a very small unknown Chinese company –or maybe just an individual- It could make sense.
My initial requirements were vastly shifter by the specs of this player: Very good price, able to play almost all the hi-res formats by hardware -32bit and Native DSD256...-, precise and neutral sound, as well as customizable. Switchable oamp and DAC function, line-out and coaxial output, etc,etc.
I was certainly sure to pull the trigger when I asked for some advice in the "Obscure Chinese DAPs" thread to just confirm that my initial thoughts were right: the player, a priori, was a real deal break .
So I clicked the buy button and there started the usually long waiting time. Until I received the magical generic brown carton box from the postal guy with the player wrapped in bubble plastic inside… not a fancy apple-style presentation here …
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE TO TURN IT ON THE 1ST TIME
- Don´t turn it on with the ear/headphones in your ears. Dial volume has no marks of min/max and you don´t know at what level is set right out of the box. This player is really powerful and can damage your ears and/or equipment if you don´t have this basic initial precaution. Be advised.
- Sometimes you will hear a unpleasant crispy sound, not too ofter but it´s there. Probably some random decoding glitch. To me, this is the major minus point of this player, as well as the lack of gapless support.
THE BASIC STAFF
- You could be a bit disappoint with the sound, quite metallic. Don´t panic, it will improve with the time. Start the burning process as soon as possible: it will require several hundreds of hours to get a nicer sound. Think that for the iBasso dx90 is recommended 400 hours,and compare the boards of this and of the Zishan… Just be patient.
- Firmware updates: The player is currently in his 3rd FU. The first thing to know: in order to load songs etc to the micro sd card you´ll need an external card reader (there´s no USB chip onboard to transfer music via USB). To upgrade the firmware follow this simple steps: (1) decompress the two files of the zip file and copy them to the root of the microSD card. (2) Insert the card in the player and long press the central button -3 sec.- (3) –Wait until the screen turns off –no more than 1 min.- (4) Delete from the micro sd card the two files loaded in step 1. (5) In order to change the Chinese language that is loaded by default do the next: Insert the card and long press the central button.Navigate through the menu –long press the left button- until you reach the blue icon with a cogwheel. Press the right button to enter in the submenu. Press the upper button twice and press the right button several times until you find "English", and then press the central button.
- Operation: long press central button to turn on-off the player. Long press the left button to enter in the menu. Long press the right button to fast forward. Long press the central and left button to lock-unlock. Short press the upper button to enter in the quick menu. Short press the down button to enter in the explorer. Short press the central button to pause-play. Short press the right button to next track, and the left button the previous one.
- EQ: copy the 180EQ carpet in the root of the micro sd card. To change the EQ just do it in the same way as you do to change songs. There´re 180 different EQ: you can delete the stuff you don´t like, change the names, etc (all of this out of the player).
Something I find interesting about the EQ files is that if you open then with the text processor i.e., the parametrization was based on Rockbox EQ, which I find one of the best EQ systems. So by modifying these parameters in the text editor you can probably make your own EQ. This is very useful in order to have personalized EQ for your different cans, and probably you can modify the treble zone –notice that all of this 180 eq only modify the first 5th bars of the 10. This is a subject to investigate more, and made me think as well if external Rockbox playlists can be adapted to this player loaded in the same way that the eq.
- Delete song: navigate through the explorer until you find the sound to delete. Press central button, select DEL and press the central button again. Rockbox users: this feature can´t be done while you are playing the sound you want to delete.
- “Turbo” mode: This the usually called high-gain. Deactivate it for sensitive iems.
- DAC function: activate it in order to use it as a DAC. No proprietary ASIO drivers here, just the usual 16bit playback. It works well on android and PC. Not tested on other systems.
- Digital filters: it has 5 different digital filters. Notice that when you change the filter the EQ changes to the eq setting you set last time you used that filter.
- Improvements: the main improvement you can make by yourself to this player in his stock configuration is to change the oamp, in spite of the stock one is not bad at all. As just an example, I changed it for a muses02 and it was a clear step up (or two) in sound terms. It´s really worth and now I really feel that I´m enjoying a real low-cost true hi-fi sound on the go.
- Firmware downloads: https://pan.baidu.com/share/link?uk=2586845035&shareid=3186436996&third=0#list/path=%2F
- Taobao seller shop and technical information: https://shop72826291.world.taobao.com/
- Videoreview of the UI: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIB6yyL6mao&feature=youtu.be
Edited by neog007 - 1/15/17 at 2:43am