Squeezebox v3 or Zhalou v2.0? Or both?
Mar 30, 2006 at 2:09 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 2


500+ Head-Fier
May 29, 2005
Right now I'm debating whether to wait and go with the Zhalou, or to just get a Squeezebox and use that as a primary source. I'm pretty sure that I'm going to get the SB regardless, and so whether to add the Zhalou is more of a secondary decision.

I've been reading a lot of stuff that would seem to indicate that the Squeezebox is good on it's own, but I'm not sure whether that's meant to be regarded in terms of using it purely as a transport, or as a primary source. Like everything in the audiophile world, there seems to be some discrepancy of opinion- and some are saying that it is a great source on it's own (and, like Sean_H pointed out when describing the benefit of the internal amp of the Zhalou, benefits from keeping the signal within it's own discrete unit), and some have said that an external DAC helps it significantly. In fact, I think a Zhalou owner in a previous thread stated that he detected a significant improvement when the SB is coupled with the Zhalou.

The predominant opinion seems to be that improvements due to the addition of an external DAC are more 'flavor changes' rather than objective improvements in SQ...which makes a very compelling case for the SB, with it's benefits just in terms of music library organization and access.

The interesting thing with the Zhalou, is that the internal amp, if its as good as the one implemented in version 1.3 according to Sean, almost makes getting the DAC in the Zhalou icing on the cake. It should be easy to rationalize the purchase because of the cost, too.

The only thing that I wonder, and I guess this is the point of my thread is the question: Would it be better to keep less things in the chain, and just spend the money that would be allocated for the Zhalou on a good amp, like the M3 or a Gilmore Lite?

Or, would it be better to add the DAC to the mix, and feed the SB into the Zhalou, and using the internal headphone amp in the Zhalou, coupled with the separate DAC?

The advantage I would see to the first option, is that you've got fewer things in the chain, and hopefully a cleaner signal path. The second option really becomes a relevant and preferable choice if it is true that the Zhalou's DAC really does improve upon the internal DAC of the Squeezebox...and if the headphone amp really is as good as one of the more conventional solutions.

The only other detail being that the system would be feeding a pair of Grado HF-1's.
Mar 30, 2006 at 4:32 PM Post #2 of 2


Member of the Trade: Norne Audio
Sep 1, 2005
Well I know for sure I am going to go with Squeezebox 3 (w/ bolder digital mod) as transport to the Zhalou 1.3 or 2.0. I have a feeling this will be quite sweet indeed!

I will also compare squeezebox alone etc when I get them.

Make sure to hunt for a proper linear pS for the squeezebox as well!

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