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How good is the ZDAC ..... (Read 10875 times)
Randy in Caintuck
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Tube be ... or not
tube be ... it's a
no-brainer.

Posts: 406
Re: How good is the ZDAC .....
Reply #15 - 10/20/10 at 19:35:53
 
Hi Darth,

I have heard a lot of DACs over the years and it has been my experience that many of the up and over sampling DACs have amazing detail but are tough on the ears over the long haul.  It amazes me how many "well regarded" DACs are found in great numbers for sale on AudioGon.  Some of this may be due to associated equipment and poorly recorded CDs (goodness knows that there are plenty of those) ..... but I get a distinct impression that what might impress a listener at first quickly turns into serious listener fatigue .....

In my initial post, I stated that "The amazing thing to me is that the ZDAC sounds as fabulous as it does with no tube buffer and is as easy on the ears as an NOS design" and extended listening provided no reason to change that view.  With all but the most "raw sounding" CDs in my collection, the ZDAC provided a civilized and non-fatiguing sound.  

I still preferred the Havana with the best tubes in my collection in the buffer stage, which just proves to me how important the quality of a tube can be in a system ..... but the addition of a ZBOX or Steve's new tube stage with a high quality tube could very well produce similar results.  Having said that, the ZDAC sounds very good on its own and offered a nice balance between detail and musicality.

There were a couple of attendees at the recent DecFest who were blown away by the ZDAC and ordered one before the 'Fest was over. There was a very pricey CD player at the 'Fest which spent some time in the system, so the attendees got to hear the ZDAC compared to some pretty stiff competition.   I have no problem recommending this piece and doubt that you will see many of them on AudioGon due to the original owner having "bloody ear syndrome" .....

Best wishes,

Randy
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Chris K
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My owner only hears
to 16K WELL I can
hear to 60K!

Posts: 273
Re: How good is the ZDAC .....
Reply #16 - 10/20/10 at 23:13:26
 
To take this one step past Randy's comments, I ordered the ZDAC-1 a week after the fest. I was one of the ones blown away by the ZDAC's smoothness and soundstage, not to mention the neutral tone of the whole unit. Playing streaming files and hi-res files on the hard drive of a MAC Mini, everything is simply stunning in detail yet I heard not a hint of harshness imparted by the system. As far as making CD's sound better I think that is really up to the mix on the CD itself and I know many CD transfers that have a hard sound to the mix either by a change in the re-master or just crappy production in the first place. I believe when you play on the teetering edge of detail with digital no single DAC is a total solution. Read Steve's post here http://www.decware.com/cgi-bin/yabb22/YaBB.pl?num=1281666277/5#5on the new ZSTAGE Line Stage. I'm not suggesting you get the line stage though it is not a bad idea. I'd rather refer you to Steve's description of diferent gain stages in the front end with separate volume trimming of each one allowing a superior command and control of tone and weight with differing volume settings on each stage in the loop. That exactly describes the control I have with my CSP2 pre and my particular Decware Integrated which has a gain stage built in. Trimming the amp and Preamp dials in nicely the weight and tone.

FWIW the high end CD player Randy mentioned is a Wadia that retailed for $15,000. This player has been at my house twice and I am not exaggerating when I say it is almost faultless in its handling of CD's. I was amazed by the Wadia player and I was equally amazed by the ZDAC-1 at DecFest. At $875 it is a great deal. I'm not sure it beats the Wadia player with CD's, however streaming high-res files off the computer through the ZDAC at DecFest were as good as the Wadia to my ears. CD's are on the way out. I can't wait till music recording companies and artist embrace the concept fully. I really wish all the great music from the 70's and 80's that sucks on CD gets into the right hands and is remastered from the original mixes to high resolution downloads. That will be a milestone IMHO.
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« Last Edit: 10/20/10 at 23:14:23 by Chris K »  

Hi-Fi Gear: More than I need! Not as much as I want!
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pann56
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Re: How good is the ZDAC .....
Reply #17 - 10/25/10 at 14:37:51
 
Just received my ZDAC over the weekend and right out of the box was blown away by the detail , clarity and richness of the vocals in particular. I have been through 3 dacs and a few cdp's and just sat and enjoyed for a few hours. Totally non defatiguing. Cant wait for the gain stage !!
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will
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Re: How good is the ZDAC .....
Reply #18 - 10/31/10 at 19:34:04
 
I have been listening to ZSTAGE #002 for five weeks now and finally was able to write a review. I really like it! If you are interested check out: http://www.decware.com/cgi-bin/yabb22/YaBB.pl?num=1288548883/0#0

Cool
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rmt
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NIbbelin NFX

Posts: 231
Re: How good is the ZDAC .....
Reply #19 - 11/09/10 at 01:36:18
 
Well I finally hooked up my #002 Zdac and have been listening for a couple weeks.  RIght out of the box it sounded better than the Dec 685 which is amazing.  It just sounded more musical to me.
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