Zayin Audio Stargate audiophile switch : a Steal of 2023!

CKKeung

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Jun 17, 2011
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The story began several months ago when I visited the showroom of Volent HK, I noticed an unassuming component placed near the wall ethernet socket.

Both the top-plate & front-plate are made of thin & transparent acrylics, quite likes a diy project.
IMG_20230418_082804.jpg

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I was told that it was a near-final prototype of an audiophile switch.
I listened to it at the showroom and borrowed it home to compare with several well-known switches and it performed brilliantly.
However I was asked not to mention it openly until the official launch.

Now it's the time!
It's the Stargate Switch of Zayin Audio of Taiwan.

Zayin Audio is a new Taiwan brand but it is not completely a newcomer in the CAS market.
The boss/designer is Funjoe who owns also the Clones Audio of Taiwan.

Clones Audio is famous for their small-sized amplifiers but many years ago they also made a HOST II server and several mods for audiophile switches.
Zayin Audio is their new side-brand/company into the CAS arena.

The finalized Stargate Switch has a thick real wood frontplate and a more beautiful acrylic top-plate.
The software & sonic performance have been finetuned.
Here are several photos of the finalized Stargate :

IMG_20230515_143106.jpg

IMG_20230515_142853.jpg

IMG_20230518_180237.jpg

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To cut to the points, here are my comments on the Stargate after careful audition :
1. It's not cheap at usd2499, but it's the only audiophile switch in the market which contains internal linear powersupply, ocxo clock module, four 2.5G ethernet ports and two 10G SFP sockets for optical ethernet connection!
No other choice available in the market at this moment!

2. More importantly, its sonic performance is superb and can fight with switches from other more well-known brands which are 3-4 times more expensive!
Stargate has great agility & resolution yet is both elegant and natural.

3. The above two factors make Stargate the switch with the best C/P ratio in the market currently.
It's so good that I myself have ordered one!

4. Many WBF members and I are Extreme Server users.
The Stargate may be excellent for other servers/streamers, but how is it performing when paired with Extreme Server?
This is the question I asked the dealer too so I carefully paired it with the demo Extreme Server in the Volent HK showroom, compared it with the Extreme Switch AND last but not least, auditioned Stargate & Extreme Switch working in a dual-switch configuration for the Extreme Server.

IMG_20230518_185003.jpg
IMG_20230518_185046.jpg

The followings are my views and YMMV :
i) If being used alone, the Extreme Switch is better than Stargate, but not by a large margin. The former is quieter & more dynamical and the latter more musical & elegant.
ii) If being used together, the mix&match of Yin/Yang is perfect :1+1=3! This was the best Extreme Server performance I had ever auditioned!

I remember that Emile had said in the WBF Extreme Server thread : he tried many dual-switch configurations on the Extreme Switch but they were inferior to the Extreme Switch working alone. And that the best config was Extreme Router+Extreme Switch.

Hi Emile :
Sorry, this time I don't agree with you completely, because you have not tested the Stargate! :p
Its synergistic effect with the Extreme Switch is mind-blowing!
How much can the Extreme Router+Switch combo better the Stargate+Extreme Switch? I want to know too!

IMHO and in simple words, if a CAS audiophile who is not using Extreme Server and is willing to spend usd2500 on a switch, Stargate is the best choice.
For a lower budget, the two models of Ediscreation switches are my best recommendations.

For Extreme Server owners, you may wait for the Extreme Router which is 2x the price.
But if you prefer a lower budget like me, Stargate again must be the best choice in the market.
 
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2ndLiner

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Dec 16, 2015
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Hi CK! Have you ever try a Nenon-modded Buffalo with top-of-the-line Pink Faun clock with the Taiko switch?
 
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CKKeung

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Jun 17, 2011
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Hi CK! Have you ever try a Nenon-modded Buffalo with top-of-the-line Pink Faun clock with the Taiko switch?
Hi 2ndLiner,
Sorry, I haven't.
And there isn't any Pink Faun dealer in Hong Kong.

I own the two generations of Japan Buffalo switches and had submitted them for mods by the various local mod shops in HK.
IMHO the Ediscreation switches with internal linear psu, ocxo & proprietary circuit boards better all my modded Buffalo.

Now this newer, more expensive but more versatile Stargate Switch get my highest accolade.
 
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gwoolfolk

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May 19, 2015
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Hi CK,

Did you try the Stargate between router and DCS Vivaldi One or Upsampler? Any thoughts or experience adding an uptone er after a high-end switch like the Stargate? Given the cost of a 2nd switch and lps, like an Uptone er and good lps, does it the 2nd switch still add a significant lift in SQ without compromising the characteristics of the upstream switch, like the Stargate, Melco, etc. Did you compare the Stargate to other switches using good external LPS and still preferred the Stargate?

I currently dont have a switch but using a section of fiber between two media converters, essential in my system for SQ, and ethernet into an DCS Upsampler. How would you recommend incorporating fiber with the Stargate, or the Stargate /Uptone er combination? Any other or recommendations given a 3 - 4k budget

Thanks in advance
 

vert

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Oct 26, 2015
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I think the switch looks better with the acrylic face plate.

I contacted Clones audio several times in the past, they never responded.

Probably because they had discontinued the product I was inquiring about.
 

matthias

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Mar 14, 2019
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I contacted Clones audio several times in the past, they never responded.
Probably because they had discontinued the product I was inquiring about.
I liked the approach of Clones Audio very much in the beginning. Later on they released products which had been discontinued after a short production life. Why? I didn't understand that policy and do not find it trustworthy.
I really hope that they get back on the right track with Zayin Audio.

Matt
 

CKKeung

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Jun 17, 2011
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I liked the approach of Clones Audio very much in the beginning. Later on they released products which had been discontinued after a short production life. Why? I didn't understand that policy and do not find it trustworthy.
I really hope that they get back on the right track with Zayin Audio.

Matt
I mentioned on #1 that Zayin Audio is a subsidiary of Clones Audio.
They emigrated from Hong Kong to Taiwan a few years ago.
Establishing the new manufacturing facility is not easy. They have to initially concentrate on OEM business and discontinuing many of the Clones Audio products.

I think they have settled down now and ready to rejuvenate their own brands.
 
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CKKeung

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Jun 17, 2011
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I think the switch looks better with the acrylic face plate.

I contacted Clones audio several times in the past, they never responded.

Probably because they had discontinued the product I was inquiring about.
According to Funjoe, owner & designer of Zayin Audio, they wanted to make a wood top-cover for the Stargate Switch initially but found that it's tedious & costly.
Therefore they finally decided to make a wood frontplate.

The purpose is not aesthetic but for fine-tuning of the sonic performance.
That's why I personally think that the finalized version launched has got better sonics than the prototype.
 

CKKeung

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Jun 17, 2011
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Hi CK,

Did you try the Stargate between router and DCS Vivaldi One or Upsampler? Any thoughts or experience adding an uptone er after a high-end switch like the Stargate? Given the cost of a 2nd switch and lps, like an Uptone er and good lps, does it the 2nd switch still add a significant lift in SQ without compromising the characteristics of the upstream switch, like the Stargate, Melco, etc. Did you compare the Stargate to other switches using good external LPS and still preferred the Stargate?

I currently dont have a switch but using a section of fiber between two media converters, essential in my system for SQ, and ethernet into an DCS Upsampler. How would you recommend incorporating fiber with the Stargate, or the Stargate /Uptone er combination? Any other or recommendations given a 3 - 4k budget

Thanks in advance
Sorry, I didn't have chance to pair the Stargate Switch with dCS frontends.
I borrowed the prototype and tested it on MSB Select only.
I have placed order for the finalized version and will receive it soon. Maybe I can bring it to friends who own dCS.

Concerning using Stargate for a dual-switch configuration, I have 100% confidence.
It's because despite that the Extreme Switch which according to Emile is so good that adding most other switches won't give any additional benefit, the Stargate Switch was found by me to be an beneficial & effective partner of it.
 

matthias

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I think they have settled down now and ready to rejuvenate their own brands.
Thanks for clarification.

BTW, on your picture the Taiko switch seems to be sitting on a Daiza. Most certainly you know that Emile doesn't recommend for his devices made from CNC copper to be combined with Daiza for SQ reasons.

Matt
 

CKKeung

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Jun 17, 2011
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BTW, on your picture the Taiko switch seems to be sitting on a Daiza. Most certainly you know that Emile doesn't recommend for his devices made from CNC copper to be combined with Daiza for SQ reasons.

Matt
Yes, I understand that but I respected the setup in Volent Audio HK.
In fact there wasn't any other audiophile support/boards there.

BTW I think the sonic result of placing the Extreme Switch directly on the rather thin rack boards of Quadraspire racks there is likely to be inferior to adding a Diaza board.
 

matthias

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Mar 14, 2019
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Yes, I understand that but I respected the setup in Volent Audio HK.
OK, but if you use a switch sitting on a device not recommended by the manufacturer the conclusions when combined with a switch from another manufacturer might not be correct.

Matt
 

CKKeung

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Jun 17, 2011
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Please share with us some better choices of support for the Extreme Switch.

BTW I myself don't have any Diaza at home. :D
 

matthias

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Mar 14, 2019
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Please share with us some better choices of support for the Extreme Switch.
Emile mentioned Plexiglass:


He used Plexiglass racks at HE Munich this year.

Matt
 
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Taiko Audio

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Feb 10, 2017
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Yes, I understand that but I respected the setup in Volent Audio HK.
In fact there wasn't any other audiophile support/boards there.

BTW I think the sonic result of placing the Extreme Switch directly on the rather thin rack boards of Quadraspire racks there is likely to be inferior to adding a Diaza board.

Yeah unfortunately it does not combine well, I would definitely try removing it. I would actually expect it do much better on the thin Quadraspire shelf or just on the floor (assuming its uncarpeted). For some reason the Daiza/Switch combination is rather cold, thin and clinical sounding, robbed of bass/lower midrange and musical life.

Obviously that does not mean you won’t still prefer the Zayin with it. :)
 
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CKKeung

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Jun 17, 2011
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I have got my Stargate Switch two days ago.
It's now paired up with my Extreme Switch and they are sitting on a MYSTJ audiophile rack from Taiwan.
The boards of the rack are made with Scandinavian thick birch boards.
I will try some audiophile footers on the Stargate Switch soon.
:D

IMG_20230713_081829.jpg
 

Audire

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Jan 18, 2019
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I have got my Stargate Switch two days ago.
It's now paired up with my Extreme Switch and they are sitting on a MYSTJ audiophile rack from Taiwan.
The boards of the rack are made with Scandinavian thick birch boards.
I will try some audiophile footers on the Stargate Switch soon.
:D

View attachment 113242

I don‘t understand why you need two (2) Switches?
 
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CKKeung

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rgmd11

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Mar 30, 2017
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How do you think this switch is compared to PP Quad !
Thanks
 

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