Buying a Zhalou DAC from Hong Kong
Jun 3, 2007 at 1:42 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 52

Progenitor

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My family will be going on holiday to Hong Kong at June 11th. I unfortunately will not be going, but they've offered to help me buy stuff
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Having heard a lot of good things about the Zhalou in this forum, I would love to buy one. At the moment, I have a pair of ATH-A900, and I am unhappy with the sounds coming from my Audigy 2 (mainly it's lacking bass and can be far too sharp at the treble).

So I have three questions:
  1. I need to give some very simple instruction to my family on how to buy one. We are native born Hong Kong, so street names will not be a problem, but they are not familiar with Audio shops and I don't see them spending a day hunting for a shop in the corner. Is there any suggestion for a biggish shop that would sell the Zhalou that's easy to find?
  2. I heard that the zhalou would need to be modded to sound decent. Is it easy for someone who have very basic electronics knowledge to do? (I only soldered a 555 for an electronics project at High School).
  3. If my aim is to connect this to my PC, what other bits of component do I need?

Thanks very much for the help!
 
Jun 3, 2007 at 1:48 PM Post #2 of 52

d-cee

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Quote:

I need to give some very simple instruction to my family on how to buy one. We are native born Hong Kong, so street names will not be a problem, but they are not familiar with Audio shops and I don't see them spending a day hunting for a shop in the corner. Is there any suggestion for a biggish shop that would sell the Zhalou that's easy to find?


http://www.diykits.com.hk/ - if you click on location it says they're located at: WAI WAI VALVE CO.
Adderss : 154 APLUI ST.1/F SHUM SHUI PO.KOWLOON Hong Kong.
Tel : 852-27837612

i don't know how large or easy to find that would be

Quote:

I heard that the zhalou would need to be modded to sound decent. Is it easy for someone who have very basic electronics knowledge to do? (I only soldered a 555 for an electronics project at High School).


depends, removing by blocking caps shouldnt be a problem if you can solder, changing opamps is pretty easy too. mods might be a bit more difficult though

Quote:

If my aim is to connect this to my PC, what other bits of component do I need?


if your PC has a soundcard with optical/coaxial SPDIF output, then just a Toslink/optical cable or coaxial cable

otherwise, a USB > spdif convertor of some sort or a new soundcard + the accompanying cable
 
Jun 3, 2007 at 2:02 PM Post #3 of 52

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Thanks for the quick reply d-cee.

That shop you've pointed out looks like a good place. I will email him now to inquire more, and whether he can do more modification himself to save me from touching the soldering iron.
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Since it's on Aplui Street, I think my family can find the shop.

As to the USB/Spdif vs soundcard question, which would be more suitable if I mainly listen to music but sometime play games as well if the soundcard is the x-fi extrememusic.

*edit* One last thing...do I need a headphone amp as well if I buy the zhalou?

Thanks!
 
Jun 3, 2007 at 2:13 PM Post #4 of 52

d-cee

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Progenitor /img/forum/go_quote.gif
As to the USB/Spdif vs soundcard question, which would be more suitable if I mainly listen to music but sometime play games as well if the soundcard is the x-fi extrememusic.

*edit* One last thing...do I need a headphone amp as well if I buy the zhalou?

Thanks!



if you have the x-fi, you'll need a 3.5mm mini to RCA cable as i believe the x-fi has a multi port that can output SPDIF so that would probably be a good all round solution for music and games

the zhaolu has an internal headphone amp, so it doesnt NEED another one, but you can get an upgraded discrete headphone amp for the zhaolu for in my opinion is quite an improvement, for a little bit more money.

further down the line if you wish you can also hook up an external dedicated headphone amp, but if you get the upgraded discrete headphone amp it should be sufficient for now and is excellent value for the price. of course a better headphone amp will bring even more improvements

also, eddie wu does do mods. but extensive mods like zapfilter/ori mod he doesn.t
 
Jun 3, 2007 at 2:27 PM Post #5 of 52

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Quote:

Originally Posted by d-cee /img/forum/go_quote.gif
also, eddie wu does do mods. but extensive mods like zapfilter/ori mod he doesn.t


Well, I don't exactly have the best pair of ears in the planet (ruined from too much loud musics and server rooms), so I think I will hold off the more fancy mods
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I've asked Eddie what kind of updates would help me. When I get an reply from him, I will no doubt bug you again.

Thanks so much for the help - this seems like it's turning out easier than I've thought.
 
Jun 3, 2007 at 2:56 PM Post #6 of 52

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It would be better to check with Eddie, @ diykits.com.hk, what time he will be at his shop. I stopped by his place at the evenning last year, but he was going out to the post office. There were many DIYers gathering in the evening too.

Enjoy your trip.
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Jun 3, 2007 at 2:59 PM Post #7 of 52

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Just do what I did when my folks were in Hong Kong last month (and I had asked them to pick me up a pair of W5000's): Give them a note with the name of the store and the address, then all they have to do is jump in a cab and give the cabbie the note. Worked for my folks. =)
 
Jun 3, 2007 at 7:12 PM Post #8 of 52

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bordins: Unfortunately I will not be going
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. What kind of shop is it? is it big or is it a small corner shop within a shopping center?

wovenhand: did you found anything else worth picking up apart from the W5000. Bear in mind that I live in the UK so everything is even more expensive than the US by around x1.5 (If I knew that they were going to hong kong last month I would not have ordered the A900 and would have went for something more upmarket instead).
 
Jun 3, 2007 at 11:22 PM Post #9 of 52

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I just been reading a lot more today on this sub-forum, and it seems there's a *huge* amount of experts of the zhalou in here who's bought from Eddie.

I would be very grateful if you can give a suggestion as to what mod performed by Eddie would greatly improve the sound, and not cost too much. I am hoping the unit would cost less than $200 (although I am flexible).

It will only be used to drive a headphone (ATH-A900 atm although I have aspire to upgrade to a better can if I get a pay rise), and I will also use the input for the xbox 360 (although sound quality for the 360 is not so important). I really like listening to classical music, jazz, and quite a bit of Japanese pop. (A good deep bass would be great as well).

Thanks for bearing with me for all my questions.
 
Jun 4, 2007 at 5:35 AM Post #10 of 52

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I have orderd from Eddie in HK and yes he is great to deal with just very busy. Have you thought of having him do the mods you want and just have it picked up when your family arrives ? Try his email again if he does not give a fast reply (he usually responds in a about 6 hours) ask him to suggest something within your price range (200 USD or so) and if you speak his native tongue even so much the better.

Your are speaking of the D2.5 with the A.D. chip correct ? they are 129.00 USD so that leaves you with about 70.00 USD or so to mod. When I got my D2.0 the 50.00 USD mod for the blackgate capacitors was very nice he also put quite a few panasonic FM and FC seriers caps in other positions wich are very high quality 105c low ESR caps. That would be my suggestions for the money. You do know the Zhalou is a DAC first and a headphone amp second ? you will not get the full benefit from it without a good amp and the stock one really does not do it justice. Eddie used to have a very nice dedicated headphone amp available for the D2.0 might want to ask about that while your at it. Hope some of this helps it's a a great DAC.
 
Jun 4, 2007 at 7:48 AM Post #11 of 52

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The following is Eddie's reply.

Hi!
I have a mod with TCXO and Black gate caps version .
It cost $45 USD more only.
I can pepare one for your to pick up.

The black gate sounds like what you've suggested. I will email him to ask whether he can put in the dedicated headphone amp.
 
Jun 4, 2007 at 9:07 PM Post #12 of 52

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Progenitor /img/forum/go_quote.gif
wovenhand: did you found anything else worth picking up apart from the W5000. Bear in mind that I live in the UK so everything is even more expensive than the US by around x1.5 (If I knew that they were going to hong kong last month I would not have ordered the A900 and would have went for something more upmarket instead).


It wasn't me personally who was in HK, it was my folks. If I had been with them I would probably have gone bankrupt. ^^
 
Jun 4, 2007 at 9:26 PM Post #13 of 52

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wovenhand: what I meant was that did you asked for anything else to be picked up due to price differences in Hong Kong. I don't think my parents will go back for quite some time after this trip so I want to make the most of this.
 
Jun 5, 2007 at 8:00 AM Post #14 of 52

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Pricing for headphones and some amps are attractive in HK.

An AD2000 would be an excellent choice.
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Besides the Zhaolu, you might consider a headphone amp such as a Darkvoice or maybe a G&W AT-F100 for your A900.
 
Jun 5, 2007 at 9:18 AM Post #15 of 52

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Progenitor /img/forum/go_quote.gif
wovenhand: what I meant was that did you asked for anything else to be picked up due to price differences in Hong Kong. I don't think my parents will go back for quite some time after this trip so I want to make the most of this.


Ah okay.
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I gave 'em a list of 4 cans to look for (W5000 being #1), and actually the price was higher than PriceJapan.com, but they decided to buy 'em anyway to give me a nice surprise when they arrived home.
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It wasn't by much though, maybe like $20-$30 or so more, but come to think of it, since I would probably have been slapped with custom fees on importing those babies, it probably was a good thing they bought 'em in HK.

The other 3 were Denon D5000, AKG K701 and Grado SR325i's, but I dunno about price on those babies since they found the W5000 and went with it straight away.

I also asked them to look for a Zu Mobius cable (though I knew it wasn't going to be optimum price since it's a US manufacturer - same with AKG (Austria) and Grado (US), but still.. you never know.
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The W5000 were bought at a shop recommended to me by Elephas (if I remember correctly) called Kingsound.
 

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