ZiShan U1 HiFi USB DAC+AMP Thread

Would you buy the ZiShan U1?


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Feb 13, 2021 at 4:48 AM Post #151 of 154

dsoares

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To revive this thread, here a happy user of 4493 version. But it wasn't perfect from the beginning. All through trial and error. Devise is somewhat picky about sources. Windows 7 without updates and older android phones are especially prone to this. Some software tuning is needed wherever you have problems. For me it easier to use DAP as a transport. Both AP60-II and Fiio M3 Pro works flawlessly with Zishan. Sound quality wise, I think it's on the level of Xduoo XD-01, with nice warm tonality, contrary to Xduoo's neutral one.
Still thinking of 43198 version, maybe someone will post impressions to this thread? Will be much appreciated.
It probably won't be better. The dac chip was not replaced by a research and development decision. There was a fire at the akm factory and the ak4493 chip is out of stock.
 
Mar 4, 2021 at 12:39 PM Post #153 of 154

XTF1

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The last thing I needed was another one of these thingies, so… :)) I just bought the CS43198 version of the U1. My idea was to compare it with the U1-AK4493 I already had… and my Topping NX4-DSD, my Fiio BTR5, others USB-DAC+Amp… I definitely have way too many of these things!!!

Straight to the sound quality comparison, U1 CS43198 vs. AK4493: well… I need to do more testing… but I doubt my ears are up to the challenge! My first take after trying various headphones: no difference that I can hear... If anything, the U1 amp section is where there might be audible differences--as compared to other amps-- but it does not appear it has changed between U1-AK4493 and U1-CS43198 (though with Zishan, you never know what they actually changed!)

One thing that has definitely not changed is the externals, and the counterclock volume control. I still don’t like it: It makes sense on my DSD AK4495 when you operate it with one hand, looking at the screen. But the U1 is ‘transportable’ more than ‘portable’ and I always use it laying onto something, usually facing me. To me, a traditional clockwise volume pot would make more sense…

The auto-off timer has changed… It was (very) confusing on the U1-AK4493, it is still confusing on the U1-CS43198... but different! On the U1-AK4493, the auto-off feature was triggered by either stopping/pausing a track on your player, or setting the volume pot to zero (or close to zero). The actual timer sequence is variable depending on the host you connect U1 to, in the case of a PC, the player you use, whether U1 is configured as the main sound card or not, etc. I still haven’t figured it out and that feature is very confusing! I noticed either 5+4 mn, 5+9 mn, or 5+5+9 mn sequences until U1 goes in standby (you can hear the relay click at each step of the sequence). What happens after U1 goes to sleep is also confusing: you need a power cycle on the USB DAC port for U1 to wake up. So, if I connect U1 to a DAP or a laptop regular USB port, after the source goes in standby and resume, U1 restarts accordingly (the +5V on the USB-DAC port was turned off & on). But if I connect U1 on the ‘charging’ port of my laptop, or through a powered USB hub, U1 never wakes up, since the +5V is always present. I need to physically disconnect and reconnect U1 to create the power cycle needed to restart the STM8 internal MCU (I believe the STM8 MCU is managing the U1 internals, including the auto-off feature, and is powered from the USB DAC port +5V through a dedicated LDO; the others IC’s are powered by the internal battery via various DC-converter/regulators/LDO’s… Not completely sure though).
What is different on the U1-CS43198? The auto-off timer is only triggered by the volume pot when it is set to zero. Whether a track is playing or not is no longer taken into account. I found that out after a couple of occurrences where U1 was completely discharged overnight as I left it connected to my powered USB hub with the volume pot >0. So, you only have tow ways to turn U1-CS43198 off: disconnect the USB-DAC cable (immediate), or set the volume pot to zero and wait 5+4 mn, or 5+5+9 mn (this confusing part of the auto-off sequence has not changed!). Is it better? I don’t know… but a simple power switch would certainly be simpler.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the U1 in either version. To me, it compares well with the Topping NX4 DSD at a 1/4 or 1/3 of the price. The power bank and line out are bonuses, although I almost never use them.

Last thing: I also tested the U1 with my iPhone + ddHIFI TC28i: works like a charm!
 
Apr 25, 2021 at 4:48 PM Post #154 of 154

XTF1

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Following Z3, DSDs, MD1, and MD2, there is new U1-ES9038q2m version available on AE. Not sure if it is in addition or to replace the CS43198 version. I have not seen a picture of the PCB, but I assume it reinstates the OP275 LPF used on the AK4493 version (not needed for CS43198).
 
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