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New- Zishan Z1 DSD player thread

Discussion in 'Portable Source Gear' started by musicday, Apr 15, 2017.
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  1. silverfishla
    IMG_0785.jpg Okay, so here are my thoughts on the Op-Amp rolling that I did...
    The Op-Amps that I tried were: NE5532N, NE5532P, BB OPA2640P, BB OPA627AU (Audio Jade 2 Mono to Dual), MUSES02, Burson V5i-D.
    I'll go from least favorite to favorite...

    NE5532N NE5532P: I forgot which one of these came with the Zishan. In any case, they sound very similar. Initially, I thought the original Op-Amp that came with the Zishan sounded good (and it does). Out of all, these sound the most "flat". Even keel throughout the sound spectrum but still pretty detailed and pretty good sound stage. I can see why they put it in there, it is the most neutral and uncolored (and probably inexpensive).
    BB OPA2604P: I think that this is the one that is soldered into the "transitional" Walnut V2. Everything gets more energetic here than the previous amp. Bass has more punch, highs get tinglier and vocals are more upfront and clear. Soundstage gets improved as a result of better separation of sounds. I could stop at this Op-Amp and be fine with it being in a $30 player.
    BB OPA627AU (Audio Jade 2 Mono to Dual): This Op-Amp was something like $9. Three times as much as the previous Op-Amps. This one sounded better than the OPA2604P. While having a similar sound signature (punchy, energetic, separated), it's vocals were a step forward and a bit clearer. I like this, good vocals and good punchy bass presence. I could definitely stop here and be fine with it in the Zishan.
    MUSES02 and Burson V5i: Let's just pause a moment and gain some perspective. The MUSES02 I ordered from Mouser Electronics (I didn't want to risk getting a fake on ebay) was $45. The Burson V5-i was $65 shipped from Burson from Australia.
    The Muses02 has the best clarity of all the Op-Amps. It's vocal and mid forward while losing a bit of that "Bass Pillow" that the Zishan naturally provides. It has great separation and is muscular, especially in the mid-bass region (the BB Op-Amps are more so in a lower part of the bass region). It gives more emphasis in the bass attack than the bloom. If you like James Jamerson and Motown, you will like where the emphasis is, or bass-as-counterpoint (ie- vocal Jazz). Because it's thick in the mids anything from the late 80's and earlier sound good.
    This is probably not for EDM...unless you like it clear and punchy and want it to sound like The Thompson Twins.
    The Burson V5-i is kind of a different animal from all the rest of these. You can follow the lineage upwards from the rest and then there is the V5i. The sound is sweet. The vocals are so sweet. It has great separation. It has a wonderful Bass. It can have great clarity. I say it CAN because it doesn't really in the Zishan. It's sounds good in there, but it's not being utilized properly and although I say it sounds good, I can't recommend it in there because...well, it's wasteful...and you might not like it because...well, it's different.

    I have added a picture of a small portable tube amp (Little Bear B4) because the Burson V5i actually sounds really good in here. It's being utilized where you can actually hear all the wonderful little things that Burson can offer. I'm sure this is not the best utilization of this OP-amp, but at least you can really "get it" when you listen to it in here. By the way, this amp is a really good companion to the Zishan Z1 and is only $65. And now since you have all of these Op-amps laying around, you might as well use them in something right? Haha. :)
  2. silverfishla
    I wanted to add a caveat to my previous post. I used a pair of Rose Mojito and a pair of Toneking TP16 earbuds to make my assessments on the Op-Amps. The Mojito is a dual driver earbud and has great separtion and clarity. The Tonekings are an energetic bud that has great clarity and punch. To be honest, the Zishan (although powerful enough to drive big fat headphones and expensive IEMs) doesn't sound good with either. Too boomy, too boxy. The closest to sounding good is the Muses02 because it negates some of that boominess. Something like the Massdrop Hi-FiMan Re-00 sounds good as does my Ibasso IT-03 (for the most part). Although I have some good over ear phones (Sennheiser HD650, Sony Z7, Beyerdynamic), these don't sound right with the Zishan. A lower level, but competent headphone without a LOT of bass competence actually sounds better. Like the Sony MDR-7506 studio phones. But, in my opinion, best for earbuds...actually incredibly good for earbuds.
    noknok23 likes this.
  3. DBaldock9
    I've just been experimenting with the ADA4627-1BRZ (dual-mono to stereo) in my Z1, and it sounds really good with m Dzat DF-10 earphones.

    A pair of the Jade Audio (dual-mono to stereo) opamps is on the way, along with some vintage NE5532 opamps.
    silverfishla likes this.
  4. Dark Helmet
    My guess is that the output impedance of the Zishan Z1 is too high for low impedance iem's. Thanks for the update that is good to know.
    nick n and silverfishla like this.
  5. macky112
    Thank you for the detailed comparo

    Off topic question, for that $65 price range, and in terms of purely SQ, is Bravo V2 better than B4? I know bravo V2 is not portable
  6. silverfishla
    Honestly, I don't know. I have never tried the Bravo, but it uses a more common tube and is replaceable. B4, the tubes are soldered in. I know from my guitar amps, that you can get all sorts of NOS tubes and new ones that will have many variations for finding a "sound". That one might be fun to play with.
  7. Dark Helmet
    What DAP's have you guys compared the Z1 to, and what was your take on the comparison?
  8. Dark Helmet
    Did you ever get an answer to this question? What are your impressions of this DAP?
  9. DBaldock9
    One interesting thing about the vendor of this ADA4627-1BRZ opamp, "mindofyou" (Taipei City, Taiwan), is that they poke the opamp into a piece of ESD foam, and then place it in a 35mm film canister, for shipping... :)
    groucho69 likes this.
  10. groucho69

  11. macky112
    Love Groucho's images
  12. silverfishla
    How does the ADA4627 sound?
  13. DBaldock9
    See Post #349. :ksc75smile:
  14. Dark Helmet
    Does the Z1 have digital volume control?
  15. Holypal
    No. A cheap digital volume control (which uses the SoC or DAC chip) will harm the sound. A good one like PGA2311 (in Fiio X5 3rd) is too much for a $30 player.

    I think stick to ALPS is a good choice.
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