Which Zhaolu To Get?
Dec 16, 2007 at 7:10 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 13

304290

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I can get a zhaolu 2.5a with the blackgate mod, and the occilator with TCXO for 230 shipped. I can also get a 2.5c for about 215 shipped. Whch one should I pull the trigger on? Will the 2.5a with the upgrades be significantly better than the 2.5c
 
Dec 16, 2007 at 11:17 AM Post #2 of 13

Bizzel

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I would think the upgraded 2.5a would sound better but there are people here who can tell you a lot more than I can about the internals. A lot would depend on circuit design and layout as well as the components used.
 
Dec 16, 2007 at 2:03 PM Post #4 of 13

skullguise

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I'd tend to agree with Cheesebert, if you can wait. I thought the 3.0 IS available now (may be wrong, though), but what I'd wait for are some reviews on it. It also foregoes the headphone amp, which may or may not be a good thing if it fits your needs.

If you want ot go for the 2.5, it has GENERALLY been agreed upon here that the core DAC with the CS chip may be better liked than the core DAC with the AD chip. I say "core" DAC meaning the basic DAC, with perhaps some of the upgrades you mention (caps, etc.).

If you're considering going all-out on mods, and replacing the output stage with a Zapfilter or Oritek mod, then it is GENERALLY agreed that the AD chip may be better.

I think if you look through the long series of posts, some folks have classified stock AD chip as being a little leaner and detailed sounding, while the CS chip a little warmer and fuller sounding.

Based on the comments pre- and post- output stage mods, I would think that the existing output stage may mate with the CS chip a little better for most peoples' tastes.

On a very personal level, I like the stock DAC with CS chip. I put LM4562 opamps on the stock output stage, and bypassed the DC caps, and had a very good sounding DACfor the $.

But, I moved on to two Oritek DAC's, and they are clearly superior. Cost twice as much, but worth if IMO if you can afford it.

Hope this helps....just my opinion, and my interpretation of what others have written. Still worth checking out the thread if you can get through it
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Dec 16, 2007 at 6:01 PM Post #6 of 13

ecclesand

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Quote:

Originally Posted by musicmind /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Thanks skullguise

The Zhalou 3.0 has indeed been out for a very long time, and AFAIK uses the CS chip exclusively.

Correct me please if I'm wrong, but arent the Oritek Zhalou's using the AD chip only?



Yup...Ori only uses the AD chip. The OMZ is a very, very good sounding DAC!
 
Dec 17, 2007 at 10:50 PM Post #8 of 13

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If you need a headphone amplifier as well the OriTek Zhaolu is even better value. You spend around $300 for the headamp, and it's a lot better sounding than my GS-1 (a $700 amp) as an headamp.

Chris
 
Dec 18, 2007 at 5:30 AM Post #9 of 13

304290

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Thanks guys for all of your comments, but I went a head and pulled the trigger on the ad version. Eddie told me for jazz and rock he thought the ad version sounded better. He recomended to cs version for pop and vocal music. For 35.00 he threw in the blackgate mod and change out the occilator for the TCXO. He also offered to bypass the caps at no additional charge. I passed on this because I'll do it myself lated. I want to compare how is sounds with and without the caps being bypassed. I already have a nice tube headamp, so I don't care what the built in headamp sounds like. So I was able to get the ad version with a couple of upgrades cheaper than the stock cs version.
 
Dec 18, 2007 at 7:06 AM Post #11 of 13

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The Oritek with the amplifier is $729.

The headphone amplifier inside the Oritek is custom designed by Ori and is a two stages system. Ori believes in having a clean signal path, and the circuit of the Headamp section certainly shows.

I am actually in San Jose at the moment so I visited Ori's house a few times to listen to music and his excellent system. Therefore, my comparison with the GS-1 is from memory. However, I feel that I know the GS-1 very well.

The GS-1 can make the Sennheiser HD650 sound too aggressive and a little too sharp. The Oritek headamp mode makes the 650 very natural sounding. It was very hard for me to find a flaw with it. The OMZ + Headamp + HD650 setup sounded very similar to his speaker setup - only lacking the imaging ability of the speakers. The amp even did a reasonable job driving the K1000 and only shows distortion at medium/high volume.

In my mind, $729 for the headamp alone is a fantastic price! The fact that you are getting a world class DAC as well represent real value. My DAC experience includes the Benchmark DAC1 and the Stello DA100 - both of those do not sound anywhere near as good as the Oritek OMZ.

Let me know if you have any more questions but really you should pm Ori now
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