W A R N I N G !

W A R N I N G !

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Small Zhaolu D2.5 mods... removed

I removed the jumper wires on the output caps because I found that they make the sound too harsh and overpowering. Sure it seems more dynamic and the highs are much more clear, but it's hurting my ears and I don't want that. Furthermore I didn't like the sound signature.

Removing it I confirmed and missed the much tighter bass and more realistic instruments it gave, but it's a tradeoff.

Apparently I'm not the only one that hates the sound of the DAC with the output caps jumpered:

Well, my LM4562 are going to arrive, that should solve the problem with the highs, although I don't know if it will give the punchiness that jumpering the caps give. Well, at least the LM4562 should give it more air and soundstage instead of destroying it. And it is a highly recommended upgrade by many so...

Plus, the reason I chose LM4562 instead of AD or BB is because of the price - $6.90 each, $13.80 for 2. If I bought $12 or $18 chips I'd be spending ~$30 or more on this DAC, which is stupid considering the price I paid for this. Even though OPA2107 with jumpered output caps would've been the best combination.

Another reason for removing the wires (along with mod 4) was to leave the product as professional as it was instead of being defiled by me. But there's always still the feeling that I've left some cosmetic imperfections, like specks of Blu-Tack, a bit of burn marks (from poor wire contact), rounded the screws a little trying to remove the PCB... I'm just me, a perfectionist at the wrong time and places.

Because of the above, I'm definitely not going for the electrical destruction by the pro in the link above. Seems like if I carried it out it would do more harm than good. Plus the LM4562 seems to make the most significant improvement anyway.

So, the only mod I'm going to give it is the LM4562. Not a very nice "mod" although it does give significant sonic change, but still not good to pass it off as a "modded" product at the next DAC shoot-out. Especially when it's going to go against it's modded cousin, a Zero. Maybe I should give them the option to hear it with or without the jumper cables (although Lm4562 + jumping would give horrible results).

But... it does sound really dark and lifeless now... Like when you adjust the tonal control... wait... doesn't jumpering the capacitors remove the capacitance, and doesn't capacitance affect the tone? Now it all makes sense now. Except jumpering the caps have the advantage of cleaner sound, but the designers definitely put it there for a reason, and that reason is not DC offset, else they would've skipped it and get better sound at the same time.
The highs are also softer, disappearing, and slightly distorted now, as it originally was. Stupid Burr-Brown, stupid lousy cables and system.

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