Just bought a Zero DAC, where to go from here?
May 25, 2009 at 6:18 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 28


New Head-Fier
May 25, 2009
Hi folks! I've just purchased a Zero DAC from tian on ebay as well as a LD MKIII. Unfortunately, the transaction on the LD MKIII had to be canceled and I need some opinions/suggestions from you guys.

He said the following:
"As a vendor, we are experiencing a 100% warranty claim on 110v LD products due to various circuit board malfunction, tube socket faliure, switch problem, etc. in the last month. We suspect that the recent drop in product quality is not a series of isolated incidents from a specific batch. However, we intend to offer consistent warranty, repair and after sale services. Thus, sales of LD amps are suspended until further notice.

Please accept my aplogy for this inconvenience. To compensate your lost of time value of money, we decide to offer extra discount for any Darkvoice products (336SE/3322/337/337SE)."

The decision that I'm facing right now is if I want to purchase the Darkvoice or just stick with the Zero DAC and upgrade it with OPA627 + LT1364 as suggested by tian.

Now, I am in no way an audiophile. I'm used to listening to music on my 7.1 mirage sound system/onkyo receiver. I have absolutely no experience with headphone amps and tube rolling and anything like that. But I truly love music and I'd love to be able to listen to my favorite albums as they should be listened to, with great quality. I'm using Sennheiser HD595 headphones right now and I don't really enjoy listening to music with them when plugged into my onkyo receiver. If I'd hear a significant difference, I'd just purchase the darkvoice 336SE right now instead of down the road so I'd save on shipping fees. Is it worth it or should I just upgrade my Zero DAC and see if I find it good enough by itself?

Any other suggestions welcomed!
May 25, 2009 at 6:58 AM Post #2 of 28
You should have gone for the Compass instead

But on a more serious point - the drop on Little Dot amplifier quality should be made into a new topic. My MK IV SE is a year old and working like a charm but there seems to be a lot of problems with LD's after that time.
May 25, 2009 at 8:01 AM Post #3 of 28
That is shocking to hear of LD products. Who are you trying to buy from and have you have tried to contact David from LD directly? I bought my LD MKIVse in Feb and have had no problems with it.

As for the Zero, I have one myself and have recently purchased to a Compass. My suggestion is... if you enjoy the Zero now, don't concern yourself with the Compass... at least not yet! The money saved from not getting a Compass in the present would mean being able to purchase another set of headphones which I always find nice to have an extra pair of headphones to expand my listening options.
May 25, 2009 at 8:19 AM Post #5 of 28
Yea that does sound a little suspicious... When was your communication with Tian and when did he suspend the LD's from sales. Tian still has the LD MkIII listed on eBay and has sold 3 since May 20. According to Little Dot's webpage he's also not an authorized dealer..As Rinsin suggested I'd contact David at Little Dot. I don't think this passes the sniff test.
May 25, 2009 at 9:20 AM Post #6 of 28
@Rinshin: I'm from Canada so I chose to go with Tian instead of David. I haven't contacted David.

@Shampoo: What would you do then? Just use the Zero?

@Trapper32: My communication with Tian was yesterday the 24th.

My main grip here is that I have already commit to purchasing the Zero from him now. Perhaps I could get away with canceling it though, since he himself has canceled my order of the LD MKIII. That doesn't help me though, now I wouldn't have a DAC nor a tube amp. I guess I'm just saying that there is a chance I could still switch for the compass or just another setup. I'd prefer keeping the HD595s and find a good setup with them though, if that's possible.
May 25, 2009 at 4:50 PM Post #7 of 28
I'd do a little more searching to see what others say about tubes + HD 595. If tubes are really a bad match with these phones then I think going with the Compass would save you money from having to purchase a tube amp. I say to go with the Compass because it would have a better DAC/amp than the Zero and you save yourself from having to purchase the tube amp.
May 25, 2009 at 5:30 PM Post #8 of 28
Here's what I did: Bought the DV332, sold the HD595, bought a HD650

But in all seriousness, I think you should consider what headphones you will be using in the near future, when you decide whether and what amp you want to get, because they are quite an investment. So if you see an HD650 in your near future or some other high impedance hp that mates well with tubes, you could take advantage of the DV discount. Otherwise, you could get an SS amp.
May 25, 2009 at 10:06 PM Post #9 of 28
Cancel and buy a Compass. The Zero has a reputation for randomly dying, which will leave you out of your money if it does.
May 26, 2009 at 2:44 AM Post #12 of 28
Thanks for that link Hellenback. Okay there is a lot of info on that page and I don't want to read it all + lots of it is chinese to me. What do I do here? I send my payment (USD $258 + USD $57) to audio-gd@vip.163.com and say from which country I am to get the proper cable and that's it? No other custom things or upgrades or anything specific?
May 26, 2009 at 3:07 AM Post #13 of 28
Okay, thanks for this. I'll contact them.

EDIT: Ok, I canceled the transaction for the Zero and I'm purchasing the Compass right now. If I'm going to keep using the HD595s, I'm good with just the Compass, but if I end up selling the HD595s, I should go for an amp such as the Darkvoice, is this correct?
May 26, 2009 at 3:40 AM Post #14 of 28
What headphones would you get instead? I'd see how you feel after you get the Compass and have used it for a while.
May 26, 2009 at 3:51 AM Post #15 of 28
Cancelling the Zero DAC and getting the Compass = bad advice. How big an upgrade are you getting for the $$$? I'll tell you now that you wouldn't be able to enjoy the HD595 no matter what source you are using, cause they flat out suck. Go get the HD600 instead. For a cheap source you should consider the Xonar STX. It's not that the Compass is no good, but the HD595 is the limiting factor and the one you need to replace ASAP.

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