Parasound Z DAC

Just picked one up and I'm loving it! It sounds freakin great for the money. I'm using the balanced outputs. It sounds far better than the v-dac Mk 2 with Pangea power supply, which in it's own right sounded great. Two thumbs way up. If you are in the market for a $500 or less dac, give the z dac a look.
Hey B limo,

Thanks for your "thumbs up" on my system. I just went through a radical change in two ways: 1) Replaced all my Stealth wires with MG Cables because they out performed the Stealth loom to a very great degree. 2)I'm using an intergrated Melody 300b amp right now because it is out performing on all parameters my Pass Labs XA-60.5's and CF reference preamp! Go figure.

So far I find no significant difference between XLR or RCA outputs on the ZDAC. I'm not a headphone guy, so I really won't address that in my review. Yes, you get a hell of a lot of your bang for a buck these days with rather inexpensive SS and tube based DACS.
Nice to see some feedback on this DAC, should I need one it'll be on my radar.
I've been using the Parasound Zdac for about 3 weeks now and I'm very impressed. I'm using it in my office and in my system it holds it own with the very nice Benchmark DAC1...the Zdac has a warmer midrange which I prefer to the sometimes "just a tad" sterile sounding DAC1. I like the analog like sound of the Zdac and in my room it throws a deep and wide soundstage and male and female voices sound extremely lifelike. The Zdac has a very detailed yet never sterile/cold sound. In my opinion, you'd never guess that the Zdac is a $500 DAC.

Unlike most inexpensive DAC's the Zdac has powerful, deep bass that is punchy and never least in my system. I've used the Zdac with my Parasound A21 and A23 (depending on the room) and three different pairs of speakers, the Magnepan 1.6's, B&W CDM 1NT's and NHT Classic Threes and the sub used is the Velodyne DD-10.

I've used the headphone amp that's built into the Zdac a few times with my AKG K701's and Grado SR 325i's and it sounds pretty good and had no problem controlling the K701's. I really enjoyed it with my Grado's. Overall, I prefer the sound of my standalone Little Dot MKIII (opinions will vary) but I'm glad that the built in HP amp of the Zdac was not an afterthought and is in fact a very nice feature. If you're using any of the newer planar headphones I'm pretty sure that you'll need to find a more powerful standalone amp to drive them.
I like what I have heard regarding the zdac. But, how is it most often being used, as an outboard dac to a cd transport, or for computer based systems and ipods and the like?
Hey, Hawk, sorry for the delayed response. I'm using my z dac as an outboard dac for a musical fidelity a3.2 cd player and as a dac connected a wadia 170i streaming spotify on an iphone. I must say initially I couldn't hear a difference between the mf a3.2 dac, the zdac streaming spotify or the z dac as an outboard dac to the mf a3.2. I can now hear a difference. The mf with the z dac sounds the best, followed by the wadia streaming spotify, followed by the dac in the mf. I don't know if the z dac broke in or if I just couldn't pick up on the differences initially, or both, but now my system is really sounding good. If I ever get my mf vdac ii with pangea p100 back from getting fixed, I'll compare those two dacs as well. I don't like how the v dac has no switch on it to change inputs so sometimes you have to disconnect a cable for it to pick up the signsl you want it to (LAME) and the z dac has a headphone amp, balanced outputs and a power supply that you don't have to upgrade. That new dac by teac looks interesting also...
I am happy with the z dac though. Good detail, good bass, and a nice natural organic sound. I''m getting pretty darn close to being finished compiling my system as I'm starting to finally get the sound that I was looking for :-)