|Review Update 4/15/15: See Review of New zdac v.2|
The Parasound Zdac is a best buy D/A converter that offers surprisingly good audio via its line outputs, considering its price. As a result, it gets an Everything Audio Network Stellar Sound Award.
|Parasound offers balanced and unbalanced outputs|
The Zdac’s factory specs are quite good with a 110-dB signal-to-noise ratio, and low distortion throughout the audio band of the various sample rates. The analog outputs, via unbalanced or balanced, have plenty of oomph — with 2.1 volts and 4.2 volts respectively. No jitter reduction numbers are listed in the specs.
Compared to DACs in older CD and universal DVD-A players, a perfect upgrade path for the Zdac, the improvements were quite noticeable.
|Nice and tidy inside the Zdac|
During the casual listening sessions, quite a few hi-fi buffs said they were hard pressed to hear significant differences between the Z-dac and other, more costly D/As. Some said they did hear the slightly forward treble, in direct comparison to the Mytek and Benchmark, but also noted that the Z-dac, by itself, sounded like an audiophile DAC, especially for its price class.
The Zdac does offer high-res sonic delivery, especially through its line outputs, that comes close to more expensive DACs. Yes, in A-B comparisons with levels perfectly matched, there are subtle sonic differences, but not as much as you would think.
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