EQUIPMENT FORUMS >> ZH1 >> Any recent Zen Head owners?

Message started by piezoman on 01/03/21 at 20:58:05

Title: Any recent Zen Head owners?
Post by piezoman on 01/03/21 at 20:58:05

I noticed no new posts since 2018.....

Just very recently purchased a used unit for $300, mint. I wanted something from Steve that affords mobility, so I have it married up with my Shanling M5S player, connected with a 3.5mm ALO SXC-8 cable. Meze 99 Classic wood cup headphones.

I listen before falling asleep at night. The soundstage is dramatically improved from already very decent staging from the Shanling by itself. Very noticeably flatter frequency range [with no EQ used]. VERY easy to listen, never any fatigue. Very detailed, yet very slightly euphonic. Perfect for night time, before you snore away :-)

Very much worth the extra $$ to augment any good player!

Title: Re: Any recent Zen Head owners?
Post by JohnnyB on 01/08/21 at 19:20:52

Hi Piezoman,  I procured one of these little beauties earlier this week from a  forum member.  I have it tethered to my iPad headphone jack then out to B&W P3 headphones as they are all I currently own.  Like you these are on the nightstand for pre snoozing listening.  The improvement is ok but not mind blowing which speaks to my source and the cans.  I was looking into one of the AQ Dragonfly in line DACS to add to the improvement then move onto better cans.  I run Roon through the iPad and access all my FLAC files from my server and watch TV on the iPad sometimes as well which is why an external DAC makes more sense for me than a dedicated player with a better DAC than the iPad.  The more I read on the Dragonfly the more it looks like I will also need to get an Apple camera kit to get digital out of the iPad from the lightning connector.  Nothing ever easy!!!  LOL.  Do you find the ALO SXC-8 cable makes a difference?  Any experience with a small external DACs like the AQ Dragonfly?   :)    

Title: Re: Any recent Zen Head owners?
Post by GroovySauce on 01/08/21 at 20:28:19

I have a AQ Dragonfly Red, collecting dust. It's better than the 3.5mm jack from my computer. Using with a phone/tablet you will need an adapter. Is it worth it? meh, I was disappointed. I used a 3.5mm to RCA and played through my stereo. With the Zen Head it might work really well. If you would like to try it, live in the US, shoot me a PM, I'll send it to you for a demo.

Title: Re: Any recent Zen Head owners?
Post by JohnnyB on 01/19/21 at 18:38:37

Hi Groovy,  Thank you for sending the DragonFly for me to demo!!  I started playing around with different combinations of my iPad lightening connector and headphone out, Apple camera adapter, DragonFly, ZenHead and B&W P5 headphones.  Using the DragonFly attached to the Apple adapter definitely makes an improvement in overall sound quality.  Listening to FLAC files through Roon on the iPad is what I would call thin compared to when the DragonFly is added.  The DragonFly has added weight, depth and detail to the music and has taken the shrillness out of the music.  The bass with the DragonFly employed has gone from non existent to controlled and listenable.  After I added the Zenhead to the equation following the DragonFly it mellowed everything out and made the bass better and makes the Dragonfly sound hot if you take the Zenhead out.  There's a lot of moving parts here on top of the volume needs to be lowered when the DragonFly is in the mix.  Very hard to go back and forth between gear and adjust the volume(s)on iPad and Zenhead as well as change input locations on the iPad for different combinations.  The best combo is obviously the iPad lightening output > Apple adapter > DragonFly > Zenhead > Headphones.  But there's a lot of cables and connectors and stuff to fit on the nightstand and not get caught up in for relaxing bedtime tunes.  I would say the most convenient with the best sound is the Apple adapter to the DragonFly to Headphones.  If just watching TV or YouTube on iPad this is the no brainer set up.  If I want to do some real listening I would incorporate the Zenhead and deal with the cables.  Like you, not sure the DragonFly is worth the coin to get better sound quality while watching the First 48 but if you want to get the best possible sound from an iDevice then an external DAC is a must (I haven't tried yet on a Windows machine). You can get a Schiit Modi for 1/2 the cost of the Red and a Moduis for the same cost just to name a few.  Not sure how those would compare to the Red but for convenience I would say the Red takes it as it's an in-line add on.  I will keep demoing everything for the next few days and report back if I find other details.  I know I didn't help anyone here as far as recommendations go but the DragonFly does serve a purpose of enhancing the sound quality over the most internal DAC's in those mobile devices.  It's up to the individual if it's worth it or not.                

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