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Guangzhou LEZHIJIA Technology Co., Ltd.
Price (in Poland): 749,99 USD

Baiyun District, Guangzhai city
Guangdong, CHINA


Provided for test by: AOSHIDA AUDIO


Translation: Marek Dyba

Images: Wojciech Pacuła | Musician

No 213

February 1, 2021


The Chinese company MUSICIAN was founded in 2020 by Mr. ZHAI. As he says his R&D team is made up of a group of enthusiasts with over 20 years of audio experience. We are testing the company's latest digital-to-analog converter, the DRACO model; it is its WORLD PREMIERE.

USICAN, A BRAND BELONGING TO Guangzhou LEZHIJIA Technology, although young, has already established its distinctiveness and entered the audio world (the company uses the names Musician and Musician Audio interchangeably, although the logo says only "Musician"). This is largely due to its official representative, AOSHIDA AUDIO, but also to the solutions that the company proposed.

I think I will be right in saying that Musician is a manufacturer specializing in DACs. It offers both a very nice MONOCEROS preamplifier, an ANDROMEDA headphone amplifier and an MDP-2 file player, but it started with a DAC and most devices in their lineup are D/A Converters, as there are as many as three; DRACO, which we have reviewed for the first time, is the cheapest of the three and costs a bit less than USD 750.


IN ITS TECHNICAL PORTFOLIO, the company has gathered two most important solutions: a programmable circuit that acts as a digital receiver and digital filter, as well as a discrete D/A converter consisting of switched resistors. As we have already reviewed the PEGASUS DAC of this company and described these solutions there, let's just mention them briefly to outline the matter.

⸜ FIFO The first solution in question is the adaptation of the first-in first-out (FIFO) cache architecture, an adaptive technology of the second generation. In this configuration the audio signal first goes to the fast RAM, ie the buffer. The data is clocked in it and converted to IIS form, and then sent to the D/A conversion circuit. Thus, regardless of the jitter level generated by the signal source or transmission line and the digital audio receiving circuit, at the very end its level is determined by a crystal oscillator in the converter.

⸜ PCM/DSD The second element of the Chinese company's offer is a discrete digital-to-analog converter circuit, separate for PCM and DSD signals. Usually the same systems handle their conversion. Thanks to the "discrete" architecture, it can be done separately for each type. PCM and DSD have their own, separate "tracks" generated by the converter software. For PCM it is a multi-bit chip (24 bits), and for DSD it is a 6 bits one..

⸜ I/U COVERSION Musician has also developed its own I/U converters (current-voltage; the converter gives a current signal that needs to be converted into a voltage one, "understandable" form for a classic preamplifier or amplifier). The output filters are also their own development. Both have, says Mr. Zhai, a very low phase shift and a high signal-to-noise ratio.

| R2R

⸜ R-2R converter in the Draco DAC

THE CLASSICAL CHOICE for engineers designing DACs are integrated circuits, most often ESS Technology, Burr-Brown (Texas Instruments), Crystal, AKM, or Wolfson Microelectronics. This is a proven method and very good results can be achieved with these systems. However, there are companies that believe that only a self-prepared track, in which the resistors are not crammed into a small cube, but are "discreet" (separate) and are manually selected, guarantee the highest quality.

Among the iconic companies that prefer this vision of the world are, first of all, the British dCS - with a 5-bit chip of its own design called the RING DAC (with a sampling frequency of 3 MHz) - as well as the American MSB TECHNOLOGY with multi-bit architecture. From smaller, although equally important companies, let us mention the French company TOTALDAC. Until now, this technique was reserved for expensive designs, and Chinese companies have moved it to a previously unavailable price range.


NAME OF THE LATEST D/A CONVERTER from Musician, like its other products, comes from a name of the constellation. As we read on the website, the constellation of the Dragon is the eighth largest constellation in the night sky, and is located in the northern celestial hemisphere.

It was first cataloged by Greek astronomer Ptolemy in the 2nd century. It stretches around the Ursa Minor - starting with the constellation Cepheus and Hercules and ending with the Ursa Major. It is quite extensive and easy to find, because it is located near the Little and Big Dipper (more: NATALIA KOWALCZYK, Mity wśród gwiazd: Gwiazdozbiór Smoka,; accessed: 3.12.2022).

Unlike the constellation it is named after, the new Chinese DAC is small - it measures 250 x 265 x 55 mm (W x L x H) and weighs 4.25 kg. This is because it has a simple audio circuit assembled in the SMD technique, i.e. with the use of miniature components. The device has a fully balanced design, balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA outputs, and offers five digital inputs. These are: IIS (on the HDMI socket), coaxial, optical, AES / EBU and USB.

It is a 24-bit system, accepting PCM signals through USB and IIS inputs to ... well - it is not known to what values, I did not find this information in the manual or on the manufacturer's website. If it is similar to the Pegasus model, it would be 1536kHz for PCM signal and DSD1024 signal for DSD. Probably the other inputs support lower values.

Due to the used converters and the output circuit, the voltage of the output signal is much lower than that of typical converters and CD players, for which the standard is 2 V on RCA sockets and 4 V on XLR. Draco's are, respectively, 1.4 and 2.8 V for PCM signal and even lower, because 1 and 2 V, for DSD. this should be taken into account when making comparisons. As you have noticed, there is an IIS input on the HDMI socket. As there is no standard for this type of connection, the user can select them from among the four available using a combination of buttons.

IIS signal transmission is much better than S/PDIF or AES/EBU, but the number of related solutions is so large that larger companies tend to bypass it. The advantage of the Musician solution is that if we have a transport with this type of output (for example OPPO Blu-ray player) we can use any high-class HDMI cable, and there are many of them on the market. And when we send the signal to the DAC, we can oversampling it, as in the classic D/A converter, or leave it unchanged (NOS = Non OverSampling), as in the old Philips DACs. You can choose between these modes with a button on the front panel.


⸤ HOW WE LISTENED The Draco DAC was tested in the HIGH FIDELITY reference system and compared to the D/A section of the Ayon Audio CD-35 HF Edition SACD player, which also worked as a transport. I was most interested in how the Chinese DAC handles CDs, because in their case, like in a lens, the advantages and disadvantages of digital devices are concentrated.

The Ayon’s digital output with the DAC input was connected with the RCA → RCA Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6100 II cable, and the DAC was powered with the Harmonix X-DC350M2R Improved-Version cable. The converter was placed on the top shelf of the Finite Elemente Master Reference Pagode Edition Mk II rack on its own feet. To keep it from moving, I put Acoustic Revive CP-4 pads under it.

The listening session was conducted in the NOS mode, i.e. without oversampling. Turning it on stiffens the sound a bit and disciplines it. At the same time, however, some of the smoothness and fluidity that are the most important in Draco's sound disappear somewhere. Equally important, however, was my choice of outputs - in my system I use RCA cables and this is how the Draco was tested. The manufacturer recommends using XLR outputs, and also gives better parameters for them, so I recommend you to test both outputs.

Recordings used for the test | a selection

⸜ JOACHIM MENCEL, Brooklyn Eye, Origin Records 82806, Master CD-R (2020);
⸜ ART BLAKEY & THE JAZZ MESSENGERS, A Night in Tunisia, Blue Note/Audio Wave AWMXR-0021, XRCD24 (1961/2013).
⸜ DEREK & THE DOMINOS, Layla, Polydor/Universal Music LLC UICY-40004, Platinum SHM-CD (1970/2013).
⸜ TEARS FOR FEARS, Songs From The Big Chair, Mercury Records/Universal Music LLC (Japan) UICY-40071, Platinum SHM-CD (1985/2014).
⸜ DIANA KRALL, The Look Of Love,Verve/Universal Music LTD 983 018-4, XRCD24 (2001/2005).

IT IS NOT DIFFICULT to point to the elements in the sound of the DRACO converter that would speak about its sound, mainly about how the company constitutes its "own sound". Take, for example, the JOACHIM MENCEL’s Brooklyn Eye album. Its mixing and mastering was done in the digital domain "in-the-box", that is entirely in the digital workstation (DAW). It is an example of how a very good result can be achieved with a limited range of accompanying devices.

On the other hand, it brings with it everything that limits the sound when we mix the signal "in-the-box", that is, in the computer, and not in an external mixing console. It is about two things: lower dynamics and not fully preserved image clarity. The Draco converter showed it quite well, but on the one hand it slightly aggravated the lack of clarity, and on the other hand it smoothed out the sound.

It is an unequivocally "warm" sound, I have no doubts about it. The cymbals with the Chinese DAC were slightly withdrawn, and the guitar came to the fore. The hurdy-gurdy, an instrument very characteristic for this album, was also withdrawn in the mix. Importantly, the converter did not extinguish it, it did not muffle it, but only shifted it along the axis. So it changed the perspective from which I "saw" it without changing the timbre too much.

The Brooklyn Eye has a very well captured tonal balance, and its character is shaped by the technique. On the other hand, Layla by the DEREK & THE DOMINOS has a dark character deriving from the way the recording was made, to which a fairly clearly guided tambourine sound was added. This opposite quest for darkness and lightness was conveyed surprisingly nicely by Draco. The sound was soft with it, not too soft, dark, but not too dark. A very long reverb, with which Clapton's voice is shown, had a really long "tail", which also showed that the Chinese DAC has a really good resolution.

Of course, this does not change the fact that it is a converter that modifies the sound in its own way. It adds an element of warmth and softness to it. The former can be heard in the upper frequencies of the instruments, and the latter in the lower parts. So let's not expect precise cymbals or clear bass sequences. This is an "inborn" feature of the R-2R converters. But we should also expect smoothness of the presentation, its timbre coordination, smoothness and inner peace, which is also a feature of this type of circuits.

Draco is also extremely spacious. It does not focus on precisely delineating the location of recording elements on the sound stage. Rather, it arranges them over a large space, more widely, of course, but also on the axis. Therefore, the vocal from the TEARS FOR FEARS album entitled Songs From The Big Chair was shown exactly on the axis, quite far away from me, and the electronic sounds of percussion were spread widely across the channels. Interestingly, the sound was not too warm, and the bass was not emphasized. It is quite a "light" recording, characteristic of the 1980s, and this is also how Draco showed it.

It was similar with DIANA KRALL's album The Look Of Love, in the XRCD24 version from 2005. It is an extremely elegant recording produced by the unfortunately now deceased Tony LiPuma, and recorded and mixed by a veteran of the audio studio world, Al Schmitt. This particular version was mastered in the JVC studio using the 24-bit K2 system, but it was not an analog tape that was used, but a hi-res file - hence the XRCD24 logo contains the note "24-bit Refined Digital".

The disc in question sounded very nice with Draco. Dense, warm, low, but also with an open midrange. It is not a DAC that would sink everything in the warmth of amber. Yes, the warmth is there. But also, if the upper parts of the midrange are stronger, as on the previously mentioned Tears for Fears album, the DAC will show them this way, it will not hide them. On the other hand, if the sound is as pleasant as on the Krall disc, it will slightly tweak it, deepen it. It happens both by the already mentioned withdrawal of the upper treble, and by raising the level of the middle bass, and thus the lower midrange. So all the elements of the presentation that have more energy there will be strengthened.

It is not the obviously, a crude volume up. No, the Musician DAC is an elegant device that doesn't do these tasteless things. It does it differently. The sound seems bigger and deeper with it. The modification of the timbre and the general emphasis on coherence, on what connects the sounds and not what separates them, leads to the coherence of the presentation and its internal reconciliation.


THIS IS WHAT I BELIEVE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT FEATURE of the Draco DAC. It is a very pleasant device that does not give the precision and resolution, or even the selectivity of other devices in this price range. It gives depth, nice colors, density and fluidity, which we associate with analog rather than digital media.

Album with no problems with a bright midrange and which are not blurred internally will sound best with it. Simply - good projects. You can play any music with it, because it is a universal device. And after some time you will realize that you start reaching for albums with vocals in the lead role more often. As if some part of you found a balance between what is real and what is nice in it. This is exactly this type of DAC: warm, extremely pleasant and absolutely not a "hi-fi" one. It is a guarantee of long evening and night sessions with favorite music - it will be a perfect partner for those who like to spend their time this way.


⸜ FRONT AND REAR Musican Draco is a balanced digital-to-analog converter. It has a small body, 250 mm wide, placed on quite high, aluminum feet.

Its housing is made of thick sheets, and the front is made of a milled sheet of aluminum. There are thin holes drilled in it for red LEDs indicating the selected input, the sampling frequency of the input signal, the NOS filter turned on and the power supply. We control these three parameters with the help of aluminum buttons.

The rear panel is fully used. There are analog outputs on the left, digital inputs in the center, and an IEC power socket with a mechanical switch on the right. The analog outputs are available in a balanced (XLR) and unbalanced (RCA) form; all these sockets are gold plated. Let me add that the RCA sockets are of a very high quality. The XLR outputs are the main ones because the RCA sockets take the signal from their positive pin.

⸜ INSIDE The electronic circuit is assembled on one printed circuit board, occupying almost the entire interior. Half of it is taken up by an advance dual-mono linear power supply.

The basis is a medium-sized toroidal transformer with separate secondary windings for the left and right channels and for the digital section. The manufacturer informs that it was wound with monocrystalline wire. They are accompanied by integrated voltage stabilizers, many smaller and larger capacitors and additional filtering circuits based on integrated circuits. Care was taken to make the transformer vibrate as little as possible because its center was filled with epoxy resin and placed on a rubber pad and on what looks like a bitumen mat.

There is a small note related to the power supply - underneath the device there is a "window" in which you can see the switch used to set the supply voltage - 110 or 230 V. It seems to me not a completely safe solution and it would be better if such a switch was inside the device.

The audio circuit has been divided into two parts: digital inputs and filters and the D/A converter. The first one is based on the large, programmable Altera Cyclone IV circuit. Its algorithms were written by the manufacturer. There is both an input receiver circuit, digital filters, and a D/A converter resistor switching control circuit; a USB input features separate DSP chip. It seems that the program was written for it, too.

The actual converter layout is located on the side. There are three rows per channel of surface soldered resistors, with integrated switches next to them. The output uses transistors, also of the SMD type. The capacitors used here are really nice, because they are polypropylene Wima and electrolytic Nichicon Silmic II, i.e. with silk coatings.

The layout is very clean, and tidy. The assembly is almost entirely of a surface type, except for the capacitors.

Technical specifications (according to the manufacturer)

Output voltage:
• XLR ⸜ 2.8 V (PCM), 2 V (DSD)
• RCA ⸜ 1.4 V (PCM), 1 V (DSD)
Frequency range (+1/-3 dB): 10 Hz – 85 kHz
THD: 0.0016% (XLR), 0.007 (RCA)
S/N: 125 dB (XLR), 111 dB (RCA)
Power consumption: 5.6 W
Dimensions (W x L x H): 250 x 265 x 55 mm
Weight: 4.25 kg


Reference system 2021

1) Loudspeakers: HARBETH M40.1 |REVIEW|
2) Line preamplifier: AYON AUDIO Spheris III Linestage |REVIEW|
3) Super Audio CD Player: AYON AUDIO CD-35 HF Edition No. 01/50 |REVIEW|
4) Stands (loudspeakers): ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom) |ABOUT|
5) Power amplifier: SOULUTION 710
6) Loudspeaker filter: SPEC REAL-SOUND PROCESSOR RSP-AZ9EX (prototype) |REVIEW|
7) Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|


Analog interconnect SACD Player - Line preamplifier: SILTECH Triple Crown (1 m) |ABOUT|
Analog interconnect Line preamplifier - Power amplifier: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RCA-1.0 Absolute-FM (1 m) |REVIEW|
Speaker cable: SILTECH Triple Crown (2.5 m) |ABOUT|

AC Power

Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - SACD Player: SILTECH Triple Crown
Power (2 m) |ARTICLE|
Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - Line preamplifier - ACOUSTIC REVIVE
Power Reference Triple-C (2 m) |REVIEW|
Power cable | Mains Power Distribution Block - Power amplifier - ACROLINK Mexcel 7N-PC9500 |ARTICLE|
Power cable | Power Receptacle - Mains Power Distribution Block: ACROLINK Mexcel 7N-PC9500 (2 m) |ARTICLE|
Power Receptacle: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE |REVIEW|
Anti-vibration platform under Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu ULTIMATE: Asura QUALITY RECOVERY SYSTEM Level 1 |REVIEW|
Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RPC-1 |REVIEW|
Power Supply Conditioner: Acoustic Revive RAS-14 Triple-C |REVIEW|
Passive filter EMI/RFI: VERICTUM Block |REVIEW|


Speaker stands: ACOUSTIC REVIVE (custom)
Hi-Fi rack: FINITE ELEMENTE Pagode Edition |ABOUT|
Anti-vibration platforms: ACOUSTIC REVIVE RAF-48H |ARTICLE|

  • HARMONIX TU-666M "BeauTone" MILLION MAESTRO 20th Anniversary Edition |REVIEW|


Phono preamplifier: Phono cartridges: Tonearm (12"): Reed 3P |REVIEW|

Clamp: PATHE WINGS Titanium PW-Ti 770 | Limited Edition

Record mats:


Headphone amplifier: AYON AUDIO HA-3 |REVIEW|

Headphones: Headphone Cables: Forza AudioWorks NOIR HYBRID HPC