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do i need a preamp to run a zen? (Read 6483 times)
Harlequin
Ex Member



do i need a preamp to run a zen?
01/23/06 at 20:45:21
 
hi,
i'm a new member but have been checking out steve's site since he first built the original zen.  (back then he had cool pics of a lifesize horn he built in one of his rooms, can't seem to find those on the site now...)

now i'm ready to get a SE84CS and am wondering whether i am required to run a preamp as well (i'm aware of steve's offerings) or can i hook it up directly to the source?

thanks,
  dave.
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MAC -SteveH
Ex Member



Re: do i need a preamp to run a zen?
Reply #1 - 01/23/06 at 21:07:49
 
What is your source?

BTW: Yes it will work without a preamp with most sources.
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Harlequin
Ex Member



Re: do i need a preamp to run a zen?
Reply #2 - 01/24/06 at 02:19:03
 
I'm using a Marantz CD6000OSE.

maybe i'm missing some sonic theory but what benefit would a preamp provide in a simple cd-->zen-->speakers system especially if the zen was designed to work without one?

also, can someone explain to me the difference between a cd player and a cd transport?  

sorry for the noob questions.  thanks.

dave.

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Jason_S
Ex Member



Re: do i need a preamp to run a zen?
Reply #3 - 01/24/06 at 02:29:00
 
A CD player has the transport plus D/A Convertor.  A Transport, or player being used as a transport feeds it's digital signal into a seperate D/A convertor (DAC).

In the case of the Select / CSP combo, I think the CSP adds more dynamics and more of the 'Zen magic'

J
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teepeeworks
Ex Member



Re: do i need a preamp to run a zen?
Reply #4 - 01/24/06 at 04:11:44
 
Harley,

You can read this paper to help address your preamp questions:

http://www.decware.com/paper50.htm


Concerning your question about a cd player vs. a transport?
A cd player is one unit. One box. It contains both the transport and the DAC.

Now you may not know what a transport or a DAC are:  

- Transport: This is basically the mechanism that spins the cd and reads the information off the cd. Unfortunately the information read off the cd is in the wrong language so to speak. It must be "translated" into the correct language so the amp can understand it. Here is where the DAC comes in.

- DAC: The DAC is the translator. It takes the information read by the transport and converts into a form that can be used by an amplifier. Much like a person can be spoken Spanish, then translate that into English, the DAC takes the Spanish(digital) info. and converts it to English(analog)

Take care,

Corey
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Harlequin
Ex Member



Re: do i need a preamp to run a zen?
Reply #5 - 01/24/06 at 14:33:39
 
thanks guys, that was very helpful.
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veryoldcat
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Re: do i need a preamp to run a zen?
Reply #6 - 01/24/06 at 20:27:08
 
The select is a different animal with the CSP in front of it, in my system. Timbral naturalness, dynamics and "slam" are greatly improved. The upper register of a cd source is also far more tolerable, besides being much more natural.

Additionally, I find that with a preamp with gain, the volume pot on the select can be backed off to around 80% or so, where the select hits its most musical sweet spot, to my ear.

Every now and then I bypass the CSP as a reminder, and it's always the same answer. Smiley

If you were to hook up an SE84CS directly to a source, I'd recommend vinyl (course then you'd need a phono pre).

Karl
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« Last Edit: 01/24/06 at 20:29:08 by veryoldcat »  
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teepeeworks
Ex Member



Re: do i need a preamp to run a zen?
Reply #7 - 01/24/06 at 21:18:05
 
Karl,

Have you thought abought replacing the Tracon .47 uf caps in your DEC685 to Jensen paper/oil like Dr. Sleep did? Those are the little dark green "chicklet" size caps coming off the board.


Take care,

Corey
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rmt
Ex Member



Re: do i need a preamp to run a zen?
Reply #8 - 01/24/06 at 23:41:19
 
[quote author=teepeeworks  link=1138052721/0#7 date=1138137485]replacing the Tracon .47 uf caps in your DEC685 to Jensen paper/oil like Dr. Sleep did? Those are the little dark green "chicklet" size caps coming off the board.
[/quote]

Do those caps run to the stock output or are they in the path of the modded output?
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teepeeworks
Ex Member



Re: do i need a preamp to run a zen?
Reply #9 - 01/25/06 at 00:00:32
 
RMT,

Those caps are what Steve uses to feed the tube stage.

Open your player up and look at the top board. You will see a mass of grey wires and one white wire going to a plug which fits onto the board. Here you will see 2 tiny wires soldered off the board traces, these wires are the leads of the green caps. The other end of the cap wires go to a red and white wires which go straight to the tube stage.

Basically Steve has "tapped into" the signal and "stole" it so to speak but doesn't interupt the signal going to the stock outputs in the process.
Kind of like sticking a tube into a gas tank and syphoning some gas out of the tank. The gas tank you are stealing out of is the DAC. Your mouth is the capacitor(green chicklet) which has the ability to suck the gas out and spit it into another hose directly into another engine(tube stage) The red and white wires are the hose you spit the gas into to feed the hot rod engine(tube)

Take care,

Corey
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veryoldcat
Ex Member



Re: do i need a preamp to run a zen?
Reply #10 - 01/25/06 at 03:07:30
 
[quote author=teepeeworks  link=1138052721/0#7 date=1138137485]Karl,

Have you thought abought replacing the Tracon .47 uf caps in your DEC685 to Jensen paper/oil like Dr. Sleep did? Those are the little dark green "chicklet" size caps coming off the board.


Take care,

Corey [/quote]

I guess we're off topic here, but who isn't these days?

Yes, I've considered it. Dr Sleep's comments about the result intrigued me, even tho' I don't have the "mod bug" big time at the moment. Please report if you do...

Karl
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« Last Edit: 01/25/06 at 03:07:52 by veryoldcat »  
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dr._sleep
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Re: do i need a preamp to run a zen?
Reply #11 - 01/28/06 at 20:20:50
 
Mouth-wateringly delicious




Tri-gone
dr_sleep
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« Last Edit: 01/28/06 at 20:31:24 by dr._sleep »  
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rmt
Ex Member



Re: do i need a preamp to run a zen?
Reply #12 - 01/28/06 at 22:39:26
 
[quote author=teepeeworks  link=1138052721/0#9 date=1138147232]Open your player up and look at the top board. You will see a mass of grey wires [/quote]

Thank you for the very good explanantion. However, if I open up my player that would be the first time I opened up anything that had electricity running through it.
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teepeeworks
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Re: do i need a preamp to run a zen?
Reply #13 - 01/28/06 at 23:48:55
 
RMT,

I just talked to the good Doc. via PM and he informed me of the exact value cap used to do this mod.

I will proceed with this mod myself and document the entire process.

Take care,

Corey
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Rap
Ex Member



Re: do i need a preamp to run a zen?
Reply #14 - 01/29/06 at 00:41:29
 
[quote author=rmt  link=1138052721/0#12 date=1138487966]

Thank you for the very good explanantion. However, if I open up my player that would be the first time I opened up anything that had electricity running through it. [/quote]

Hopefully it won´t be if you remeber to un-plug it from the mains  :) oh and remeber to wait for the caps to drain Undecided
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teepeeworks
Ex Member



Re: do i need a preamp to run a zen?
Reply #15 - 01/29/06 at 00:58:52
 
Does a person have to discharge the filter caps(pin 1,6) if you are just replacing the signal caps?(pin 2,7)

Take care,

Corey
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Rap
Ex Member



Re: do i need a preamp to run a zen?
Reply #16 - 01/29/06 at 03:03:26
 
is that a trick question Roll Eyes Smiley
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dr._sleep
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Re: do i need a preamp to run a zen?
Reply #17 - 01/29/06 at 21:55:03
 
Theoretically and in an interest of safety the answer is sure.  There should not be high voltages on these input signal caps.  The power supply caps can sting quite a bit, though.

Go Corey, Go....
dr._sleep
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teepeeworks
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Re: do i need a preamp to run a zen?
Reply #18 - 01/29/06 at 22:41:25
 
Thanks Doc.!  :)

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erimille
Ex Member



Re: do i need a preamp to run a zen?
Reply #19 - 01/29/06 at 23:20:16
 
[quote author=veryoldcat  link=1138052721/0#6 date=1138134428]The select is a different animal with the CSP in front of it, in my system. Timbral naturalness, c are greatly improved. The upper register of a cd source is also far more tolerable, besides being much more natural.

Additionally, I find that with a preamp with gain, the volume pot on the select can be backed off to around 80% or so, where the select hits its most musical sweet spot, to my ear.

Every now and then I bypass the CSP as a reminder, and it's always the same answer. Smiley

If you were to hook up an SE84CS directly to a source, I'd recommend vinyl (course then you'd need a phono pre).

Karl [/quote]

Karl,

Do you have multiple inputs (cd, vinyl, ipod)?  If so, how do you deal with more than 3 with your CSP?  I'm looking to replace my home-made switchbox with something that would pair up with my Select and offer the dynamics and slam you describe.

The CSP with at least >2 inputs would be something I'd be all over.  Anyone know if a kit version is in the future?

Just curious ...

--eric
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rmt
Ex Member



Re: do i need a preamp to run a zen?
Reply #20 - 01/30/06 at 01:51:59
 
[quote author=erimille  link=1138052721/15#19 date=1138576816]I'm looking to replace my home-made switchbox with something that would pair up with my Select and offer the dynamics and slam you describe. [/quote]

I use one of these to get multiple signals to my CS for now.   When it arrives (CSP), one input directly from a preferred  source to CSP and one input from the selector into the CSP.

The rotary switchbox from Decware. Very useful tool.
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erimille
Ex Member



Re: do i need a preamp to run a zen?
Reply #21 - 01/30/06 at 18:34:41
 
[quote author=rmt  link=1138052721/15#20 date=1138585919]

I use one of these to get multiple signals to my CS for now.   When it arrives (CSP), one input directly from a preferred  source to CSP and one input from the selector into the CSP.
[/quote]

Thanks rmt, yep - i'm familiar with the input selector... I guess I'm looking for fewer components between my input and amp, not more Smiley

--e

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veryoldcat
Ex Member



Re: do i need a preamp to run a zen?
Reply #22 - 01/30/06 at 22:38:58
 
Fortunately, it's not very often I need more than the two switchable sources provided. Just vinyl and cd's here.

Once in a blue moon (really not very often) another input is needed, so I just unplug and replug.

Karl
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erimille
Ex Member



Re: do i need a preamp to run a zen?
Reply #23 - 01/31/06 at 01:34:51
 
[quote author=veryoldcat  link=1138052721/15#22 date=1138660738]Fortunately, it's not very often I need more than the two switchable sources provided. Just vinyl and cd's here.

Once in a blue moon (really not very often) another input is needed, so I just unplug and replug.

Karl [/quote]

Ah! you've teased me with your Mac OSX / Ipod reference in your sig.  I have my latop / ipod (along with a tuner) i'd like to include as inputs along side with CD and analog gear.

Perhaps I can do without... not sure yet Smiley  

--e (thinking Select, CSP + various inputs, Horns ... happy)
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« Last Edit: 01/31/06 at 02:53:52 by erimille »  
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veryoldcat
Ex Member



Re: do i need a preamp to run a zen?
Reply #24 - 01/31/06 at 03:25:36
 
By the way, Eric,

I was surprised at how credible the ipod sounds through my system, (especially using the Apple Lossless Compression scheme). It's mostly a walkabout companion, and for a small secondary system in my studio that doesn't exist, yet.

Won't very often need it in my main system, though.

When listening to the radio, I have a couple old table top tube radios from the "dawn of fm" that are very forgiving regarding fm broadcast quality, (so I don't even use a tuner).

Sorry to bait you with my signature!:)

Karl
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erimille
Ex Member



Re: do i need a preamp to run a zen?
Reply #25 - 02/01/06 at 00:35:17
 
[quote author=veryoldcat  link=1138052721/15#24 date=1138677936]By the way, Eric,

I was surprised at how credible the ipod sounds through my system, (especially using the Apple Lossless Compression scheme).
[/quote]

Agreed!

Quote:
It's mostly a walkabout companion, and for a small secondary system in my studio that doesn't exist, yet.

Won't very often need it in my main system, though.


Im in the process of moving my 2 channel gear into my office. This has been opening up the possibility for experimenting with ipod and / or itunes via laptop as input. Sounds silly, but then Hagerman comes out with the Chime with USB input... sigh Smiley

Quote:
Sorry to bait you with my signature!:)

Karl


heh, no worries Smiley

--e
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