ZERO holding back my system? any ideas on a source upgrade?
Nov 18, 2008 at 7:50 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 14

themanbeast

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 14, 2008
Posts
271
Likes
10
Hey all,

I'm thinking of upgrading my source from the ZERO I am using. I feel like its probably holding back my setup. Problem is I don't really know where to go from there.

right now my setup:

CD/FLAC/WMA lossless -> X-Fi Prelude optical out -> Zero -> Darkvoice 336i -> K240s/SR-80/SR-325i/AD700

I'm leaning towards one of the headroom micro DACs, but I dont know if it would even be an upgrade in this situation. I really want to upgrade the source before I get another pair of headphones, next on my list for headphones is the HD650. My budget? lets say around $700, but I'd like to keep it as low as possible.
 
Nov 18, 2008 at 10:19 AM Post #2 of 14

StanleyB1

Banned - Shares IP addresses with DC Lee Herandu
Joined
Jul 11, 2008
Posts
265
Likes
10
Can you put into words what the problem is? Such as: is the headphone out not loud enough? Is the DAC not giving you good dynamics and frequency response?
Just changing the DAC and asking for suggestions without a clear idea of what is not right, is only going to lead all of us on a wild goose chase. You need to identify the problem in order to find a specific solution.

STan
 
Nov 18, 2008 at 11:13 AM Post #3 of 14
Joined
Jan 4, 2008
Posts
17,319
Likes
10,839
Location
Fukuoka, Japan
Which Zero are you using? The original $99 one? One of the upgrade models? Do you have a HDAM in it?
 
Nov 18, 2008 at 12:02 PM Post #5 of 14

themanbeast

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 14, 2008
Posts
271
Likes
10
Quote:

Originally Posted by Currawong /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Which Zero are you using? The original $99 one? One of the upgrade models? Do you have a HDAM in it?



its just a standard version, no upgrades of any kind.

as far as whats lacking... I am looking to squeeze a little more detail out of my sound. The overall signature is good, I just want more of it I guess
smily_headphones1.gif
It is hard for me to put into word s what I am looking for, but mainly something that can bring out the clarity and detail without losing any of the attack and speed of my grados, or possibly even enhance that as well.
 
Nov 18, 2008 at 3:01 PM Post #6 of 14

apatN

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Mar 28, 2007
Posts
5,774
Likes
19
I'm reading some into the Headroom DACs as well and the word transparent pops up a lot. BTW, I subscribed as I'm curious as well. Although my budget will be a little lower.
 
Nov 18, 2008 at 4:12 PM Post #7 of 14

Ben Diss

Head-Fier
Joined
May 22, 2006
Posts
83
Likes
0
Quote:

Originally Posted by themanbeast /img/forum/go_quote.gif
its just a standard version, no upgrades of any kind.

as far as whats lacking... I am looking to squeeze a little more detail out of my sound. The overall signature is good, I just want more of it I guess
smily_headphones1.gif
It is hard for me to put into word s what I am looking for, but mainly something that can bring out the clarity and detail without losing any of the attack and speed of my grados, or possibly even enhance that as well.



With what you've said so far, I'd love to hear what you'd think of one that's been modded. Have you thought about doing anything to the one you have? That might be your cheapest option.
 
Nov 18, 2008 at 4:54 PM Post #8 of 14

DaMnEd

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 19, 2008
Posts
494
Likes
0
If the Budget is for the DAC alone, then the Stello DA100 fits the bill.
 
Nov 19, 2008 at 4:48 AM Post #9 of 14

indianbraker

Head-Fier
Joined
May 26, 2008
Posts
67
Likes
0
i have the zero with opa 627b in it and i think it sounds decent...i bet it could sound amazing with upgraded dac havent heard hdam but i hear its not WAYYY better than the one with opa 627....o ya i have some ad2000s
 
Nov 19, 2008 at 5:46 AM Post #10 of 14

Gollie

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 30, 2007
Posts
355
Likes
10
I had a beresford with my 336i before I upgraded to the Singlepower last month. After I changed out my source to a MHDT Paradisea+, everything changed. In fact, the difference was much greater than when I changed out my amps (the Singlepower is still burning in). From day one, the upgraded DAC made a huge difference. For $600 shipped from Taiwan, it fits your budget.
 
Nov 19, 2008 at 6:51 AM Post #11 of 14

Uncle Erik

Uncle Exotic
Joined
Mar 18, 2006
Posts
22,596
Likes
502
Do you have to go digital? $700 will get you into a pretty decent used vinyl rig. There are a number of excellent used CD players in that neighborhood, too.

I used to run the rig from a DAC and a computer until curiosity got the better of me with vinyl. After picking up a turntable, use of the DAC tapered off until it was gathering dust. Sold it awhile back and haven't had the itch to get another.
 
Nov 19, 2008 at 7:54 AM Post #12 of 14

StanleyB1

Banned - Shares IP addresses with DC Lee Herandu
Joined
Jul 11, 2008
Posts
265
Likes
10
Quote:

Originally Posted by Gollie /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I had a beresford with my 336i before I upgraded to the Singlepower last month.


You missed out on the improvements of the MOD21 then. Since I started fitting that mod to the Beresford last month it has become a hot topic of recommendation. A far cheaper way to get a huge improvement.
 
Nov 19, 2008 at 9:52 AM Post #13 of 14
Joined
Jan 4, 2008
Posts
17,319
Likes
10,839
Location
Fukuoka, Japan
If your budget isn't big, then the Moon HDAM upgrade (it's better than the original "Earth" model IMO) is worth it. However, if you've got serious money to spend, get one of the better discrete DACs.

Uncle Erik: That's a nice thought. I wish I could make use of my turntable back in Australia, a old Thorens with an SME arm, but living in Japan is not practical for that, unfortunately.
 
Nov 19, 2008 at 10:41 AM Post #14 of 14

Henmyr

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 17, 2006
Posts
1,148
Likes
11
I agree that you should at least try OPA-Earth (or moon but I haven't heard it) in the Zero before you give it up. The difference between Earth and all the other common op-amps I tried really is <------THAT------> big. It's probably nowhere near a DA100 though (haven't heard it).
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top