Due to the nature of Zombie’s tuning, it benefits from a source which embodies the proud notions of detail, clarity, and transparency. Zombie does not need MORE warmth. So here are my findings from a few pertinent pairings.
Pinky’s new reference player, and the DAP which I used to breakdown Zombie’s signature, is the DX200 with AMP4 Module, by iBasso ($899, Review HERE). This brought out as much resolution and micro detail as Zombie is capable of. It allowed Zombie to be as bold and powerful as it’s meant to, while also highlighting the subtler aspects of its quality. The stage opens up to its fullest, and you learn the depths and capacity of the IEM.
The Cayin N5ii ($369, Review HERE) is a brilliant option for those shopping for mid-tier DAPs. With its smooth, clear audio, the N5ii feeds Zombie what it needs most, without trying to change it too much. It has a splendidly large soundstage and a proper sense of dynamism. For things like depth and dimensionality, I have yet to find a better player in this price-range.
theBit’s Opus#1S ($399) has strangely forward mids for a source. Ordinarily, this creates thick, warm vocals. But since Zombie’s vocals are recessed, Opus helps to bring them up a little, resulting in a more balanced sound. This pairing is a great blend of power and smoothness, detail and lushness. Soundstage suffers some, though not by much. Generally, it’s a pleasant combo.
Alright, I’ll say this one more time, to close this motherf**ker out: The Rhapsodio Zombie is V-Shaped! It’s not for everyone! If, in the privacy of your desire, you crave that sort of sound, Zombie is among the best. It executes that dastardly ambition with curious aplomb. There’s technical expertise interwoven with savage extravagance. It’s fun. It’s easy to listen to. But it won’t please everybody. It lacks refinement, control, and balance. Nonetheless, Zombie is an enjoyable listen.