The DAC chip is only a few bucks expensive at most, versus the few times more you'd be spending on capacitors and such other components, the op-amp can easily out-cost the DAC by a few times alone.
So why didn't the manufacturors just plug in a better chip, since it's so cheap? Reason because a better DAC chip also requires better implementation to bring out its performance, and not all chips will work in all circuits. For example, with a LM4562 in the CS4398 Zhaolu D2.5C, users have complained of a wierd treble that's somewhat harsh. Even though both the LM4562 and CS4398 are good chips themselves. And with the LM4562 in the Zero, a fellow forum member feels that the sound is too dark, way contrary to the bright and dynamic sound I experienced with the Zhaolu as well as Mini3. (I have some possible reasons to explain this, that may turn-off Zero owners)
Anyway, the bottom line is that the DAC chip doesn't solely decide the sound quality. Hence it irks me when I see advertisements or supporters basing their facts solely on the DAC chip used. For example, "something uses the something chip, which is the upgraded version of a something something used in a something hi-end CDP". C'mon, like I said, it's only a few bucks at most, how would spending a few bucks more make something high-end? If that few bucks can make your something match up against a hi-end something, then I'd rather make my own something which will even be higher end, since it would cost only another few bucks extra.
If you're still not convinced, Creative's sound cards use the CS4398 which is also used in the hi-end somethings. Yet they sound like... Creative sound cards. (Please come up with the conclusion yourself)
W A R N I N G !
W A R N I N G !
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