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E-Mu 0404 USB or Zhaolu D2.5

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
So I'm looking for a good external DAC for the SR225 that's on its way, I'll temporarily be using the DAC as an headphone amp as well until I get a real amp. I've basically narrowed the choices down to the E-Mu 0404 USB (I might also pick up an Onkyo SE-U55X the next time I'm in Japan) or the Zhaolu D2.5.

I'm really torn between the two right now. I've heard that the E-Mu sounds better stock for stock, but the Zhaolu has tons of upgrade possibilities like socketed OPAMPs and zap filter mods, not to mention I'll be able to get a little more use out of my beloved X-Meridian.

So what do you guys have to say about all this? Try to sway me in one direction or the other. Eventually I'll most likely have both, but that's probably not for a while down the road.
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post #2 of 9
I'd get the Zhalou and run an optical cable from the optical output on your Meridian. Ultimately this DAC gives you the most potential for under $500.

The 0404 is very good, but I doubt it can compete with a fully-modded Zhalou. Then again, you could argue that those mods cost extra and thus the 0404 still retains more value.
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post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
how does the Zhaolu's sound signature compare to the E-Mu's?
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post #4 of 9
Honestly, I don't have the appropriate experience to be comparing the sound characteristics between the two DAC's - I haven't personally listened to a Zhalou. I can only speak on behalf of what I've read, which is that overall quality is roughly the same when both are at stock configuration. Perhaps someone else can assist? We have several members that have owned/own the E-MU and a couple for the Zhalou, but I don't believe anyone has owned or heard both yet.

Head-Fi will probably be your best bet, as impersonal as it may be.
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post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
I hope some one here with experience with the Zhaolu replies, I like the community here much better. I'll give Head-fi a go though, the only problem with Head-fi is that people there pretty much think what they own is the best. Not the best place for an unbiased comparison.
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post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by triggerc View Post
I hope some one here with experience with the Zhaolu replies, I like the community here much better. I'll give Head-fi a go though, the only problem with Head-fi is that people there pretty much think what they own is the best. Not the best place for an unbiased comparison.
Being in the hobby for half a year now, I will say that remaining unbiased in my suggestions can be extremely difficult sometimes (especially with Grado, where I tend to become very enthusiastic).

Head-Fi can be elitist and impersonal at times, but if you are looking to attend meets and really get active in the community (which I highly recommend), you'll get a lot more out of it. The difference between talking to someone on a forum and in a real life is quite extraordinary as I have come to understand.
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post #7 of 9
I have a Zhalou D3 DAC, a very good DAC in my opinion, very accurate, clear sound, although the version I got was slightly upgraded.
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post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Duckydude View Post
I have a Zhalou D3 DAC, a very good DAC in my opinion, very accurate, clear sound, although the version I got was slightly upgraded.
Depending on the vesion of the D2.5 I get, is the only difference between the D2.5 and D3 essentially the additional TG-link?
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post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
So now I'm considering the E-Mu 1212M as well now. People are just raving about them on head-fi. TOO MANY CHOICES!
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