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The Digizoid ZO2 is (almost) released

zo2 The Digizoid ZO2 is (almost) releasedPutting it subtly, one could say I’m a rabid fanboy of the Digizoid ZO ‘portable subwoofer’. It is basically the best bass boosting headphone amp available.

The first version of the ZO wasn’t without some flaws, though, as I wrote in the review linked above. Being very good listeners, Digizoid took many improvement suggestions by users into account for their freshly updated model.

On the audio side of things, the new ZO2 should have less background hiss, should be better EMI/RFI shielded, the 32 processing steps should be more evenly spaced, and there should be no more clicks and pops at turning the amp on or off. The new housing is rubberized instead of glossy plastic, and the ZO2 now has a volume control, so it can be used with line-level outputs as well. Battery life is slightly improved, and a low battery indicator as well as improved shutdown handling have been added.

The ZO2 can be preordered from Digizoid – expect my review of it soon-ish.

Digizoid ZO Portable Subwoofer Review

dzzomain Digizoid ZO Portable Subwoofer ReviewDigizoid – or, digiZoid, as they write it – is a relatively young company from Arizona that specializes in sound enhancing techniques. Their patent-pending technology called Smartvector promises to improve several aspects of an audio signal originating from any source – be it from a portable MP3 player, be it in a recording studio used during mixing/mastering, be it while watching a movie on a home cinema setup, be it in a live DJ setup.

Since Digizoid are very secretive about their technology, it is easier to say what Smartvector is not: it is not a run-off-the-mill bass booster, it is not an EQ, it is not some psychoacoustic algorithm, it is not digital. Smartvector operates in the analog domain; it recovers the signal’s dynamic range, expands the spatiality (soundstage), and extends the low-frequency cutoff of a speaker/driver, making it deliver lower note extension than generally possible. I don’t know how they do it, but it doesn’t affect the THD (total harmonic distortion) of the signal, so they certainly don’t go the cheap route of harmonics enhancers/exciters.

Digizoid’s first commercial product utilizing Smartvector technology is the ZO, a portable amp, or “personal subwoofer”, as they call it. The ZO uses only a portion of Smartvector, named Lofreq. Unlike a still-theoretical Fullspec variant, affecting the whole audible frequency range, the ZO only operates on frequencies up to about 1 kHz.

Being a fan of natural sound reproduction – contrary to ‘neutral’ – I have to say that the ZO is the best thing I’ve heard so far in portable sound enhancements. Until now Cowon’s BBE and Mach3Bass have been the cream of the crop to my ears, as far as putting some excitement in ‘polite’ phones is concerned. The ZO however is the new king of crisp, precise, yet bassy sound, if you ask me.

Don’t be put off by the “personal subwoofer” slogan. The ZO is not some cheap boombox replacement for trunk rattlers. It is a very refined sounding tool to make audio more enjoyable – without damaging any part of it. Read on if it’s the thing for you.

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