Zhaolu the same as my freaking CD changer? What is going on?
Dec 3, 2006 at 5:46 PM Post #31 of 90

PhilS

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Leporello /img/forum/go_quote.gif
It is possible. Just think about the amount of people believing in astrology, paranormal phenomena, UFOs, "holistic" medicine to name but a few examples.



It's apples and oranges. Belief in UFO's by a segment of the population can hardly be equated with a substantial number of people claiming that they hear audible differences between sources. Nevertheless, it is certainly true that mere numbers, in and of itself, should not necessarily convince one that a phenomenon exists.
 
Dec 3, 2006 at 8:10 PM Post #32 of 90

J-Pak

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When it's too good to be true it usually is...

Look at the Zhalou hype threads and see who the majority of the members praising its strengths are.

It is not too difficult to pick up differences (to me) from sub $1000 sources and mutli thousand dollar sources on speaker setups I've heard in demo rooms. These sources might or might not have significantly different signatures but the differences were there.

I only have one source to compare against my Lavry DA10, but the difference between it and the Audiophile USB (treating the Audiophile USB as preamp using the volume sliders as variable out, the differences are large to me. $850 difference? Probably not, but then again 98% of everything in this hobby is overpriced)
 
Dec 3, 2006 at 8:14 PM Post #33 of 90

kool bubba ice

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Meyvn /img/forum/go_quote.gif
All right, so I posted this in my source upgrade thread, but that one wasn't really focused around the Zhaolu originally, so I think this warrants a separate thread to hear from fellow Zhaolu owners. I've recently hooked up my Sony 400 disc mega changer through both its analog outputs and its optical output into my Zhaolu D2C with the blocking caps mod, and discrete headamp/preamp. Here's the thing: I hear NO DIFFERENCE when I'm using the Zhaolu as the DAC and when I'm using the DAC in the 400 disc megachanger. So there's a few possibilities here.
1. The Zhaolu's DAC is complete crap, and I've just been deluded this entire time.
2. The 400 disc changer's DAC is somehow very good for the price, and an extreme sleeper value.
3. The discrete upgrade preamp is so bad that it makes them sound the same.
4. The optical output on the changer is so bad it makes them sound the same.

Any thoughts? Comments? For the record, I can hear the difference easily between the Zhaolu's DAC and the analog outputs of my laptop, as well as the Zhaolu and my turntable. So my ears aren't completely clogged.



Maybe you should gret a better DAC?
 
Dec 3, 2006 at 8:34 PM Post #34 of 90

Meyvn

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Quote:

Originally Posted by kool bubba ice /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Maybe you should gret a better DAC?


So Head-Fi. When I'm questioning the difference between sources at all, whether or not anything is better than anything, 'so blow some more money, why don't cha?' I'm actually going to listen to some higher end CD players (principally, the Rega Apollo) fairly soon to see if I hear any difference between them and the Zhaolu. So we'll see.
 
Dec 3, 2006 at 8:38 PM Post #35 of 90

aznsensazian

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Chris, i know what you mean. I compared my zhaolu with my dac in the box and didnt noticed much of difference. The zhaolu had maybe 5 percent better detail, but it wasn't enough for me to warrent keeping it. So i just stuck with the cheaper dac. I think source is important no doubt about that, but the higher you go imo, you just end up in the land of diminishing returns. Just my two cents.
 
Dec 3, 2006 at 9:22 PM Post #36 of 90

rincewind

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I can see why it may be a shock that your multi-changer DAC sounds pretty much the same to you as your Zhaolu, if you've only been using one configuration or the other for a good while and hadn't tried the other. It may just be that they use similar topology, which I think, after general construction and power quality is the biggest deciding factor in a DACs sound signature and quality (two different things!).

The cause could be the issues discussed before. I really just think that the DACs in neither of these are anywhere near the 'definitive word'. Nothing any of us are likely to buy in the next decade or so IS (not because of funds or our choices, but because I expect they will develop better and better DACs until the D>A process as we think of it becomes obselete).

Instantly deciding to spend a bucketload more money of course ISN'T the solution, but if you want better sound (as I reckon u thought the zhaolu was an upgrade from the multi-changer), then yeah just go listen to more gear... Which can (/will!) lead to
spending more hehehe

IMO, and as someone else has already said it, the Zhaolu in your rig is most definitely the bottleneck, especially if it is close to stock!

edit: Argh! When I see a comment about diminishing returns etc used in reference to the Zhaolu it really annoys me. I've said this before and I have to say it again. Zhaolu (and pretty much any other DAC below 300USD, regardless of manufacturer) doesn't even get close to the level where there are diminishing returns, if you have a rig that passes on the changes in quality without coloring the sound. I would say once you've spent about 1K on a DAC, THEN you are getting into diminishing returns territory, as it will come down much more to your preferred sound signature. The Zhaolu and any of these other sub-300 DACs yes they are a mighty jump ahead of (change in sound sig from) half the sources out there, but I maintain that they ara still just "beginners" DACs. I guess that will annoy some people, but I see so people spending TONS on amps and cans and then putting pittance into an external DAC and then talk about diminishing returns or whatever. *sigh*
 
Dec 3, 2006 at 9:25 PM Post #37 of 90

Sean H

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Quote:

Originally Posted by chesebert /img/forum/go_quote.gif
zhaolu as preamp sucks. My NAD C320BEE preamp section was better IIRC, and NAD is not that good IMO, so there you have it.


So, is that in reference to the stock headphone amp acting as a preamp or the upgraded discrete amp acting as the preamp? I am assuming you mean the stock headphone amp as I have never seen you comment about the discrete amp. Being a little more specific may help as the discrete amp as a preamp does not suck.
 
Dec 3, 2006 at 9:53 PM Post #38 of 90

Sean H

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.
 
Dec 3, 2006 at 10:05 PM Post #39 of 90

Sean H

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Sorry, double post.
 
Dec 3, 2006 at 10:15 PM Post #41 of 90

aznsensazian

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Quote:

Originally Posted by rincewind /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I can see why it may be a shock that your multi-changer DAC sounds pretty much the same to you as your Zhaolu, if you've only been using one configuration or the other for a good while and hadn't tried the other. It may just be that they use similar topology, which I think, after general construction and power quality is the biggest deciding factor in a DACs sound signature and quality (two different things!).

The cause could be the issues discussed before. I really just think that the DACs in neither of these are anywhere near the 'definitive word'. Nothing any of us are likely to buy in the next decade or so IS (not because of funds or our choices, but because I expect they will develop better and better DACs until the D>A process as we think of it becomes obselete).

Instantly deciding to spend a bucketload more money of course ISN'T the solution, but if you want better sound (as I reckon u thought the zhaolu was an upgrade from the multi-changer), then yeah just go listen to more gear... Which can (/will!) lead to
spending more hehehe

IMO, and as someone else has already said it, the Zhaolu in your rig is most definitely the bottleneck, especially if it is close to stock!

edit: Argh! When I see a comment about diminishing returns etc used in reference to the Zhaolu it really annoys me. I've said this before and I have to say it again. Zhaolu (and pretty much any other DAC below 300USD, regardless of manufacturer) doesn't even get close to the level where there are diminishing returns, if you have a rig that passes on the changes in quality without coloring the sound. I would say once you've spent about 1K on a DAC, THEN you are getting into diminishing returns territory, as it will come down much more to your preferred sound signature. The Zhaolu and any of these other sub-300 DACs yes they are a mighty jump ahead of (change in sound sig from) half the sources out there, but I maintain that they ara still just "beginners" DACs. I guess that will annoy some people, but I see so people spending TONS on amps and cans and then putting pittance into an external DAC and then talk about diminishing returns or whatever. *sigh*



Oh there is no doubt that a $1000 dac will sound better than a $60 dac. My argument was with dacs in similar price ranges such as my previous zhaolu and dac in the box. A $200 zhaolu to me didnt sound any better than a $60 dac in the box. Im sure a $1000 would make a difference. For that price, it better
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Dec 3, 2006 at 11:06 PM Post #42 of 90

chesebert

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Sean H /img/forum/go_quote.gif
So, is that in reference to the stock headphone amp acting as a preamp or the upgraded discrete amp acting as the preamp? I am assuming you mean the stock headphone amp as I have never seen you comment about the discrete amp. Being a little more specific may help as the discrete amp as a preamp does not suck.


yes stock headphone out. never had discrete. I doubt its any better than the NAD integrate. Zhaolu DAC is great on initial listen, very hi-fi, which probably accounts to some of my comment on my initial zhaolu post. The longer I had in my system the more I realized, that its not that musical. Hi-Fi quality vs Musical, the eternal struggle.

To OP, please use a real pre-amp
biggrin.gif
 
Dec 4, 2006 at 12:55 AM Post #43 of 90

Meyvn

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Quote:

Originally Posted by chesebert /img/forum/go_quote.gif
yes stock headphone out. never had discrete. I doubt its any better than the NAD integrate. Zhaolu DAC is great on initial listen, very hi-fi, which probably accounts to some of my comment on my initial zhaolu post. The longer I had in my system the more I realized, that its not that musical. Hi-Fi quality vs Musical, the eternal struggle.

To OP, please use a real pre-amp
biggrin.gif



I intend to try the Zhaolu out comparing with other sources on a higher end amp and preamp, but are you really in a position to say it's not a "real" preamp when you've never heard it?
 
Dec 4, 2006 at 1:24 AM Post #44 of 90

Azure

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Meyvn /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Quote:

Originally Posted by kool bubba ice /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Maybe you should gret a better DAC?


So Head-Fi. When I'm questioning the difference between sources at all, whether or not anything is better than anything, 'so blow some more money, why don't cha?'



Truer words were never spoken
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Dec 4, 2006 at 1:28 AM Post #45 of 90

rincewind

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OK aznsensazian, agreed.

Meyvn: What I'm saying is that the headphone out/preamp section of the Zhaolu may well not be a problem. What I AM saying is the DAC part of it IS. The rest of your system is big industrial strength plumbing, but the DAC section of the Zhaolu is a plastic soft drink straw
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