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Message started by Imkhawx on 09/21/10 at 13:15:10

Title: Phono Stage
Post by Imkhawx on 09/21/10 at 13:15:10

I've just ordered a new phonostage from Steve and was wondering if current owners would mind posting up their impressions.

I currently run a Dynavector P75 Mk II with a Karat 17D3 cartridge which sounds great but can get a little cold.

I am planning on running the new phonostage of a second arm (Jelco SA750D) I've just installed ..... with a Soundsmith SMMC2 moving iron cartridge.

Would be interested to hear your views/advice etc.



Title: Re: ZP3 update
Post by Imkhawx on 12/22/10 at 13:00:51

Well... I've been running my ZP3 (custom with built in step-up transformer and switchable between MM and MC for the 2 arms on my deck) for less than a week but I feel compelled to give a quick review.

When I first got them and hooked everything up, I encountered an almighty hum which I never had with my old Dynavector P75.... Fortunately, with Steve's help, we managed to isolate the issue to a ground loop problem which got sorted out by running a heavy gauge ground cable from the ZP3's ground terminal to a ground on my mains conditioner. Once I got all that sorted out..... (4 days ago!) I settled in to become acquainted with it.

It beats the Dynavector hands-down.... no contest.
There's a warmth and weight that I absolutely adore. Wide open soundstage and airy..... but what really got my juices going was how silent this thing is with the quiet sections of music.... best way I can describe it is that it has a kind of "blackness of sound" that I've seldom found at any price level.

Just so natural and real.

I've since relegated my Dynavector to the bedroom set-up and placed the ZP3 into my main listening room and it's not even run-in yet... in fact, I'd have no reservations in saying that this thing is superb fresh out of the oven. I can't wait to see how good it gets once it's fully broken in.

It does like to run when fully warmed up though..... Takes a good half-hour from cold for it to show it's true colours.... so now I leave it on standby mode at all times it's not playing.

I've used a lot of phono stages over the years..... never ever quite found precisely what I was looking for...... I must say that as far as favourites go, the best one I've ever had was an old 6922 unit built by a friend many, many years ago which is now long gone (both phono stage and friend now grace a different plane of existence   :'( )....

But the ZP3 is fast climbing the charts and with a little experimentation rolling tubes, I have a feeling that I may just be able to surpass the much loved and missed 6922......

Simply superb phono stage.... love it to bits.

Do you yourselves a favour and give it a go if you need a phono stage. I seriously doubt you will be anything less than fully satisfied.... you may even fall in love!  ;D

Title: Re: Phono Stage
Post by Imkhawx on 12/28/10 at 13:56:52

I just can't get over how good this thing is.

I've been listening to music tonight for hours and hours..... something I've not done in a long time. Generally I'd relax with a cup of coffee and good music for about an hour just before bed..... but the last couple of days, I've found myself trawling through my collection for long forgotten goodies and found myself in raptures!

Cat Stevens, Bob Dylan (Sara from the Desire album is particularly entrancing), Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Jethro Tull, SRV, Gary Moore, Keb 'Mo, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Ella, Lena and quite a few of the local artists here (in my language) have all passed through my deck.

The most amazing thing is that you forget about the equipment and just enjoy the music being offered up by each and every artist..... and I can give no higher accolade than that.... Steve challenged us to find a USD2500 phono stage to rival his ZP3. Forget that! You'd be hard pressed to find something better under 10 grand IMHO.

As it was running in, I found myself thinking about rolling tubes to maybe an NOS Mullard 12AX7 and the like. Now, I'd say forget it..... this thing is beyond superb.

I'm telling you man.... if you love vinyl, get the ZP3. I'm using a Dynavector Karat 17D3 MC on an Origin Live Encounter arm and a Soundsmith SMMC2 MM on a Jelco SA750D arm with the ZP3 and you'll never believe how good either of these combos sound.

It is ludicrously good.

Kudos steve..... from a VERY, VERY satisfied customer.

Title: Re: Phono Stage
Post by marky on 07/14/12 at 22:09:52

Day four with my new ZP3 & ZMC-1. One very happy customer ! Out of the box it sounded thin and a bit quiet. Thanks to Steve for fielding my concerns. Perhaps the coils and magnets needed a good charging, I dont know.  I`ve never had bass like this, it`s so responsive. Those little extra pressure notes the bassists sometimes play low in the register  sound like subtle mini slams, really moving air. Guitars played through Plexiglass amps and the like  are rendered so piercingly. I wont go and on  about the overall sound and musicality, but I could easily.  :) After months of researching the net for a new phono to be the last link in a long upgrade I`m so glad to have made the right choice. What it will be like after the power chord upgrade, silver teflon i/c, some nos tubes, and other stuff in my system have all burned in around 50 hours down the road I cant imagine. Did I mention the looks of the ZP3 ?............ 8-) - Syd

Title: Re: Phono Stage
Post by Lon on 07/14/12 at 23:44:03

Congrats Syd! Glad it is sounding so good. I may try this out one of these days as I'm surprising myself by how much vinyl I'm listening to these days.

Title: Re: Phono Stage
Post by tom collins on 01/01/13 at 00:23:15

looking forward to getting mine soon, already a happy zen torii camper.

Title: Re: Phono Stage
Post by Raymond on 03/12/14 at 20:11:47

I suggest you put a couple of hundred hours on it and you will be amazed at how it likes to be tube rolled. Its a fine piece well worth the money and the wait .

Title: Re: Phono Stage
Post by KP on 10/05/15 at 16:52:45

Looking forward to getting one even more.

Title: Re: Phono Stage
Post by Bill on 04/15/16 at 16:40:45

You've got me thinking now...

Title: Re: Phono Stage
Post by hdrider on 04/18/16 at 21:14:28

I have had our ZMC-1 >ZP3 for about one and a half years, ab-so -lute-ly FANTASTIC. I an using an old Shinon Red LOMC and it's still in great shape but needs to be retired. Just have not pulled the plug on a new cart. Get your phonostage, rack up some hours and start buying records!! Happy listening, Chris.

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