zhaolu or zapfilter?
I am ignorant of the technical aspects of either one but the Zhaolu appears to be a dac, and the zapfilter appears to work with a dac? In any case I need to upgrade the sound comming from my cd's (the main priority: smoother and more articulate) and I like the idea of using one machine to do both (I have enough equipment as it is). Is there any bang for the buck recommendations short of getting a new DVD or CD player? Thanks
I have a Zhaolu 2.5A dac that I bought last year, and I really am quite pleased with the sound quality. I had thought about adding a zapfilter (sophisticated analog amplifier and filter circuitry - it replaces the existing analog circuitry) to my Zhaolu, but it costs a lot more than the dac so I ended up just installing a set of National LM4562 op-amps in place of the ones installed by the reseller in Hong Kong.
Here is the link to the outfit that sells these:
I have no affiliation with them, but based on my buying experience and that of a number of friends who followed suit I can strongly recommend them.
Note that despite the lack of mention on the site the 2.5A was still available as of a week or so ago. Including shipping this cost me well under $200 and I had the thing in about 5 days.
I was working on a discrete output stage for this dac, but have not had the time so far to pursue it further.
Thanks kevin for your input. I am not knowledgable on digital and value your opinion. The quandry was mostly due to my understanding that the zapfilter could be used with any dac (version 3 zhaolu is just out) and the difference in price did not seem that much (version 2.5 Z $200 vs version 2 zap $275). If you and your friends are happy with your purchase I'll take that as a good recommendation.
Re: zhaolu or zapfilter?
I am using my DVD- Pioneer DV37 for both. I have had no problems with it and it seems to be a decent transport. It has been used more for cd's than dvd's and is superior to my previous budget cd player. It was recommended by a rebuilder for its build quality and good dac's (I of course would not know- vinyl turntables are much simpler, easier to build or determine build quality). As vinyl is often impossible to obtain for current music, cd's, and their digital artifacts are of increasing concern. I have an excellent transistor pre-amp and a nicely upgraded vintage tube amp pushing KEF 104/2s with diy interconnects. Sorry I did not give more info.
It's not a case of either/or with the Zhaolu or Zapfilter, they are two different devices.. The Zhaolu is a dac, the Zapfilter is not - it is a modification for the analog section of a dac or cd/dvd player, just to be clear the choice is:
Zhaolu 2.5C or 3 at $200 or more
Zhaolu 3.0 + Zapfilter at > $475 plus installation of the Zapfilter
Zapfilter + Suitable player
Not sure whether I was totally clear about that.
The zap filter can be used in many standalone dacs and some players, to complicate matters further I believe the Zapfilter will produce the best results when used in a dac or player with current output dac chips. The Zhaolu uses voltage output type dacs.
Most low end players probably don't justify the installation of a Zapfilter, but I could be mistaken. Certainly some of the older Adcom might benefit but you have to check what kind of dac is used and whether or not the quality of the rest of the player would justify this upgrade.
Since you mention vinyl I recommend you check out Elusivedisc as a source of current pressings at http://www.elusivedisc.com
Again, thanks Kevin for your input. I get it. I will order the zhaolu 2.5 as the zap results will be questionable if any for my first upgrade- I'll be sure to post for you how it works out.
The elusivedisc site is a good source for vinyl. Spent over an hour going over their catalog, only to confirm the growing esoteric nature of the medium. Remove the jazz and re-issue offerings and not much is available in recordings since 1990. Hard to fight supply/demand. The Japanese have always had the best albeit somewhat haphazard supply of quality vinyl (limited pressing runs with short if any notice). Europe/Britain keep up with best sellers.
I think I am finally willing to make a serious transition into digital. The convenience at least is hard to ignore and great strides have obviously been made in affordable sound quality. And it's nice not having to search and wait for what I want.
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