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SUPPORT FORUMS FOR CURRENT DECWARE GEAR >> ZP3 / ZMC1,2,3 >> ZP3 for Grado Statement Series MCs
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Message started by beowulf on 05/22/12 at 10:42:12

Title: ZP3 for Grado Statement Series MCs
Post by beowulf on 05/22/12 at 10:42:12

Hey guys, I'm finally about to order a bunch of Decware goodies and putting a system together.  I will be using a Turntable in my setup and I already happen to have a have a Grado Statement Reference 1 MC cartridge that I will be using in a VPI Traveler Turntable.  The cartridge is described as an MC (they call it an MC cartridge, however I don't think it is a true MC, it just has the specs of an MC) because it is a low output cartridge of 0.5mV and resistance of 2 Ohms.

I contacted Grado Labs and asked their tech if they were familiar with the Decware ZP3 and they weren't.  But their tech said that a Phono Preamp needs to have a minimum of 52dB of gain to work with their MC and that the ZP3 specs are only stating 42dB of gain.

Steve says to use a step up ZMC and it looks like the ZMC2 would be the one according to its specs ... However, the Grado Labs Tech then went on to say "why would I want to use a step up?" As the Grado MC design has already removed coils and using a step up would be adding back anything that Grado already took out.  Their MM uses 6,000 turns on the coils, while their MC have only 380 turns thus reducing the resistance 470 ohms to 2 ohms! There is more on their website here: http://gradolabs.com/page_cartridges.php?item=bda52645f0d1d3f7bf93795cd69af41e

Since I'm kind of new to Turntables in general ...

1. Firstly I'm wondering what they meant about using a step up will be adding back to the Grado MC design?

2. Secondly, I'm wondering if the the ZP3 would even be a good  choice for the Grado Labs MC?

3. Lastly, I was wondering what your opinions were in regard to using an all tube setup? (i.e. Integrated Tube Amp and Phono Amp)  Would this be too sweet sounding or slow?

I plan on either the Decware Mini Torii or SE34I.3 (option 5) with the ZP3 as the phono preamp (as long as it can handle the Grado MC).

Thanks in advance for your input guys!

Title: Re: ZP3 for Grado Statement Series MCs
Post by Lon on 05/22/12 at 13:30:07

Wow, congrats on this upcoming system!

I don't know enough about MC cartridges, but I would think that even if there IS a small bit of degradation the ZP3 would be SO worth it. And I say this not having heard it, just knowing from reading about it and the fact that Steve designed and built it that it's an amazing machine.

I guess discussing this with Steve may be the best thing, and someone here may be able to give you good advice. Hoping it all comes together as you wish!

Title: Re: ZP3 for Grado Statement Series MCs
Post by sberger on 05/22/12 at 18:25:25

The ZP3 should be fine with the proper step up. Have no idea why the person at Grado is questioning the use of one other than he didn't get that you wouldn't have enough gain without it. Go ahead and speak with Steve before ordering to make sure you get the right SUT for your situation but you'll be fine with the ZP3.

Title: Re: ZP3 for Grado Statement Series MCs
Post by beowulf on 05/23/12 at 00:58:52

Thanks for the feedback already guys!


Quote:
I guess discussing this with Steve may be the best thing, and someone here may be able to give you good advice. Hoping it all comes together as you wish!



Quote:
Go ahead and speak with Steve before ordering to make sure you get the right SUT for your situation but you'll be fine with the ZP3.


Hi Lon and sberger, I sent an email to Decware customer service for their recommendations as well.

I've been plaaning this for a while, but just getting the funds together now.  I'm starting from absolute scratch and have a few different systems planned within my budget (which is around $9000 for everything - even down to the cables).

The Grado cartridge is something that I already have, so I need to work around that.  I got it for a Godfather price, but it retails for more than the actual VPI turntable that it's going into and it also retails for more than the ZP3 [smiley=57.gif] and  I only paid about of 5th of retail price so it was an offer I just couldn't refuse.

My sleepless nights are agonizing over which integrated to get. - the Mini Torii or SE34I.3 ... and which speakers to get - the ERR's or the Zen Ziegler's [smiley=tongue.gif]

I'm going to post a few different systems of the General Discussion and Support Forum for some feedback.

Title: Re: ZP3 for Grado Statement Series MCs
Post by Lon on 05/23/12 at 01:14:10

Well, I think whichever speaker you choose (I love my ERRs with a passion) and whichever amp you choose (I loved my .2 Integrated so much that I would choose the .3) I know you've a great system ahead of you!

Title: Re: ZP3 for Grado Statement Series MCs
Post by beowulf on 05/23/12 at 01:48:55


Quote:
Well, I think whichever speaker you choose (I love my ERRs with a passion) and whichever amp you choose (I loved my .2 Integrated so much that I would choose the .3) I know you've a great system ahead of you!


LOL!!! I think there are some subliminal messages in that last post ;-), but that's the kind of feedback I'm looking for!

Title: Re: ZP3 for Grado Statement Series MCs
Post by Lon on 05/23/12 at 01:59:38

:)

Title: Re: ZP3 for Grado Statement Series MCs
Post by SteveC on 05/24/12 at 22:51:06

My ZP3 just went to "On Bench" status.  wuuhoo.

I too have had lots of questions about stylus and phono stages.  I bought a Grado Reference Sonata (4.5mv) because I didn't want to get a zp3 AND a transformer.  I read that MC low voltage is slightly better, but with my untreated room, it's all past diminishing returns.  

I found it interesting that the Grado tech said, "why add back what we took out?".  I wonder if he was trying to sell you Grado's phono stage which has a switch to handle low and high voltage cartridges.    

I am an electronics noob, but as I understand it to raise the voltage of a signal, you can either run it through a step up transformer, or run it through an extra stage of amplification.  So if that phono stage has a switched-in transformer, the tech is blowing smoke.  

If it's switching in an extra stage of amplification, that's just more stuff to get in the way or muddy the signal.

I just thought of a third option that might make it attractive.  If it's basically a 52db amp, with a switched in resistor that "turns the volume down" to 42db,  then the tech's argument about keeping out the step up transformer might hold water.

again, I'm an electronics noob.  So prefix all my thoughts with "I'm probably wrong but..".


I know you already have your cartridge... but when it came time for me to make these choices, I chose the ZP3 because I love my Decware amps, and I chose the high voltage grado cartridge because I wanted once less 'thing' in the path.

I'm currently using a $16 Pyle Pro phono stage.  This is the cheapest piece of junk I could find for the short term.  It seems to only have db gain in the 30's, as I really have to turn the volume up.   I expect a different world when the zp3 arrives.

Title: Re: ZP3 for Grado Statement Series MCs
Post by Steve Deckert on 05/24/12 at 23:54:08


Quote:
Since I'm kind of new to Turntables in general ...

1. Firstly I'm wondering what they meant about using a step up will be adding back to the Grado MC design?

2. Secondly, I'm wondering if the the ZP3 would even be a good  choice for the Grado Labs MC?

3. Lastly, I was wondering what your opinions were in regard to using an all tube setup? (i.e. Integrated Tube Amp and Phono Amp)  Would this be too sweet sounding or slow?

I plan on either the Decware Mini Torii or SE34I.3 (option 5) with the ZP3 as the phono preamp (as long as it can handle the Grado MC).

Thanks in advance for your input guys!


1. The statement is making the assumption that larger coils sound worse than smaller coils... not always the case.  

A good step up transformer mated with a good MC cartridge will add shimmer to the top end.  Of course the gain you get from the step up transformer is totally noiseless too.

The ZP3 has 42 dB of gain because it only has two stages of gain - hence it's transparency.  To reach 52dB of gain an additional stage (one tube and one capacitor and 2 resistors) would have to be added into the signal path.  I seriously doubt that the additional stage required to achieve 52dB is the lessor of the two evils... and that's assuming that a coil of wire is even evil, which I don't believe it is.

2. Only if you want to hear how good the cartridge actually is.

3. Possibly too transparent and too fast if you use Decware gear... be prepared to hear what's on the record.

Steve

Title: Re: ZP3 for Grado Statement Series MCs
Post by beowulf on 05/25/12 at 01:59:10


Quote:
I found it interesting that the Grado tech said, "why add back what we took out?".  I wonder if he was trying to sell you Grado's phono stage which has a switch to handle low and high voltage cartridges.


Hi SteveC, no he wasn't trying to sell me their own Grado, he actually mentioned that they were going to be out of stock for some time and recommended the PS Audio GCPH as a reasonably priced phono stage with the flexibility to handle the MC cart.

Before I made the descision I wanted to find out more about the ZP3 because I have read about the extensive research that Steve D put into it and it sounded like the best way to go.  Not only that, but I figured a ZP3 and either the Mini Torii or SE34I.3 would be a more cohesive arrangement knowing that Steve D obviously used his own amps when designing them.

The thing about the cartridge is that I already have it and I doubt I can find the MM version for what I paid for the MC version.  It's brand new and retails for about $1500 and I got it for $300 so as long as I find a phono stage that can work with it I don't think I'll be selling it anytime soon.

Title: Re: ZP3 for Grado Statement Series MCs
Post by beowulf on 05/25/12 at 02:12:56


Quote:
1. The statement is making the assumption that larger coils sound worse than smaller coils... not always the case.  

A good step up transformer mated with a good MC cartridge will add shimmer to the top end.  Of course the gain you get from the step up transformer is totally noiseless too.

The ZP3 has 42 dB of gain because it only has two stages of gain - hence it's transparency.  To reach 52dB of gain an additional stage (one tube and one capacitor and 2 resistors) would have to be added into the signal path.  I seriously doubt that the additional stage required to achieve 52dB is the lessor of the two evils... and that's assuming that a coil of wire is even evil, which I don't believe it is.

2. Only if you want to hear how good the cartridge actually is.

3. Possibly too transparent and too fast if you use Decware gear... be prepared to hear what's on the record.

Steve


Hi Steve D, thanks for the quick reply and straight forward answers, also great to have this in the forums as I think it is a good technical question to raise.

So, my only two other questions are ...

1. Are you recommending a SUT with the ZP3 for this particular cartridge?

2. And if so, which SUT would be the best match?

Here is the Statement 1 specs:

Frequency Response: 5Hz - 75kHz
Principal: MI
Channel Separation at 1KHz: 45dB
Input Load: 47K
Output: 0.5mV
Recommended Tracking Force: 1.5Gms
Stylus Type: Elliptical
Inductance: 2mH
Resistance: 2Ω
Compliance CUs: 20
Stylus Replacement: Factory
Mounting: Standard
Weight: 7Gms

Thanks!

Title: Re: ZP3 for Grado Statement Series MCs
Post by marky on 06/16/12 at 19:45:33

Hi Beowolf, I see most mm`s have around 5-7 mv output, so doing a quick calculation for your Grados` .5mv output you would need the 10x or 12x sut. My Dynavector gives out .28mv so I opted for the 20x. Also, the ZMC`s have an adjustable gain, allowing for  different settings for the sut and your preamp. Keeping the sut seperate has many benefits.

Title: Re: ZP3 for Grado Statement Series MCs
Post by beowulf on 10/04/12 at 00:31:56

Hi, I am just going back re-reading this and (sorry if this is a dumb question by the way) ...

I am just wondering why the SUT's overlap each other on the specs rather then take off where the other left off?

For example ZMC2 1:10 ratio is for 3~100 ohm and covers the ratios from the other two SUTs (ZM1 3 ~ 25) and (ZM3 25 ~ 100) ...

Am I missing something in my thinking ... why doesn't everybody just get a ZMC2 since it covers all the specs ...

However I don't think I have a clear understanding about the 1:10, 1:12 and 1:20 parts to this equation ... can anybody expand and clarify for me?

Thanks!!!

Title: Re: ZP3 for Grado Statement Series MCs
Post by marky on 10/04/12 at 17:29:03

The ratios are what you are multiplying the ouput voltage of your mc cart by, to bring it up to around what the ZP1 would usually see from a mm output. As for matching the output impedance of your cart to the ZP1 which has the standard 47 ohm, I`m not sure as their are no adjustments on the ZP1, but would guess that the spreads cover most mc`s output ohmages. The adjustable knob on my ZMC3 doesn`t actually increase gain as I had imagined but is some kind of damper - I think. When fully off there is a loud hum which goes when  turned c/wise. It`s all settled in nicely now, and I`ve added 2 more pairs of silver ref i/c`s, making 3, so I have the silver refs right through the chain. What a charming, involving, and sensitive sound !  Now I`m stocking up on a few tubes. I think Beo, that if you just add you cart and model No. to any order they will match you to the correct ZMC. - Syd.  :)

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