Zorloo ZuperDAC Quick Review
Thanks to Zorloo for the sample.
Brief: Itty bity party time.
Price: US$79 or about £52 shipped anywhere in the world.
Specifications: AudoDAC ES9018K2M, Amplifier ES9601, USB Audio Class 2, Max Sampling Freq 192kHz, Max Bit Depth 24 bit, Output Level 1Vrms, Max Output Power 2SmW+2SmW, SNR 115dB, THD 0.003%, Channel Specification 60dB.
Accessories: None. Unless you want to count the guide booklet.
Aesthetics: Apple esq aluminium minimalism. Clean, elegant and functional.
Build: Nice, very neat.
Power: It was happy to power anything, especially when running off a computer. Off the phone I felt it lacked a bit but other than the bass losing a sliver it did impressively well. It even ran the big HD600’s pretty well. Though be warned it just eats battery, your phone just gets demolished.
Sound: WWWWWWWWWWW. There is an overall pretty level sound but it’s a highly dynamic one. Its loves exuberance and agility. Flying back and forth like lightning it’s a joyful, playful sound. So much energy and enthusiasm comes forth that while super engaging, it’s a little exhausting. Grown up me knows that this is a styling choice, neither a good thing nor a bad thing in the way crisps are not “better” than chocolate, they are different things. The ZuperDAC is a an excitable little beast, it’s so dynamic and enthusiastic about everything. It’s wonderful, it truly is a joyous little box of wonder and it’s just so much fun to play with. The inverse of this however means that it finds it hard to sit still and playback the slow, lingering or melancholic music you may ask of it. It’s too cheerful and filled with sprightly joy. Detail wise it’s excellent, with its very open and air nature everything is clearly put before you, very open, very clear, over clear. As I listen the Tori Amos’s “Winter” I can tell the Zuper wants to pull ahead and drive the song faster. It should be lingering, slightly sad with a darkness overhanging it and its just not. The Zuper is a beautifully joyous little monster but it struggles a bit to do slow and sad. It really is just so much fun, packed with joy, detail, and enthusiasm in a teeny little package. Oh and in comparison to what your phone HP out can do, it’ll blow them away. Squeeeeee, so much fun!!!
Value: Its got an ESS Sabre ES9018K2M in it as the DAC chip. I believe that the same chip that gets used in the HM-901, DX-90 and HA-2. They are all VERY considerably more expensive things. It great that you can happily use it from your phone or computer and get as high res audio out as you like. Its maybe not so well suited to slow, soft and warm music but it a big step up from your phone or laptops HP out.
Pro’s: Looks nice. Sounds fabulously dynamic. Great detail retrieval.
Con’s: Phone battery destroying. Can’t do sedate melancholic convincingly.