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A modification worthy of the Zen (Read 4539 times)
davedutill
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A modification worthy of the Zen
02/17/07 at 04:54:54
 
Hi all

Just thought I'd share what will most likely be the last mod of many to my Lil Zen amp.

I have done more than a few mods to this jewel,  this latest mod indeed makes the biggest improvement.  I am certain many have read about the V Caps.  Well, I have had them playing in the amp for a couple of weeks now.  Words are hard to come by when trying to describe the listening experience.  

The caps bring out the last little bit of information that the Zens are so well known for.  The caps also,  for lack of a better term, get out of the way.  The previous bypass caps were Relcaps.  Very highly regarded at the time.  After direct comparison to the new Vcaps, well, there is in fact no comparison.  The V Caps just do everything "right",  warmth, weight, speed, liquid.....whereas the Rels could have a tendency to get a bit on the shrill side with some material.  

The Caps are on the pricey side, but then again the gains in listening pleasure are worth much more than what the caps cost.  

These take the Already incredible amps to an even more incredible level of realism.

Definately worth getting out the soldering iron for!!

Dave
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Brett
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #1 - 02/17/07 at 09:36:35
 
I've also upgraded to the v-caps and totally agree. These caps are amazing and completely worth the price.

Here's a good review of all the major caps including the super pricey AN Silver cap. (Spoiler.. the V-Caps win)

http://www.vhaudio.com/21capacitorshootout.pdf

Dave, I've been listening through your parkers for four years now and want to take this time to thank you for building them. I had no problem hearing the difference between coupling caps among many more subtle tweaks. They're terrific speakers.

-Brett

PS. What would happen if I replaced the Hovland with V-Caps for the tweeter high pass.
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« Last Edit: 02/17/07 at 09:43:36 by Brett »  
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #2 - 02/17/07 at 17:59:22
 
Brett wrote on 02/17/07 at 09:36:35:
PS. What would happen if I replaced the Hovland with V-Caps for the tweeter high pass.


You may wish to price a 2mf v-cap before getting excited about changing out the Hovlands in your Parkers.

I think you'll be out around $600 bucks for the pleasure of a pair of those babies Smiley

Karl
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Brett
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #3 - 02/17/07 at 19:43:25
 
I've got the 95MK2, which have a much smaller value. Still the price is crazy. I haven't read much about using v-caps in the crossover, other than that the manufacturer claims they work well.
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« Last Edit: 02/17/07 at 19:45:13 by Brett »  
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Steve Deckert
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #4 - 02/19/07 at 04:12:36
 
Dave,

Can you be more specific about the caps?  Are we talking about coupling caps or the cathode resistor bypass cap?  

Got a picture?

Steve
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davedutill
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #5 - 02/19/07 at 05:35:10
 
Hi all

Yep, i am sure you could use some of the Vcaps in the speakers.  The price would most definately put a massive hurt on ya.
(95's need 4uf)

Steve,

The V caps under discussion were put to use in the coupling cap circuit.  

To burn them in I have been racking up mass hours through a Denon POJ (piece of junk) 5 disc dvd changer on repeat, coming Digital out into my DAC.  Running some junk russian tubes labeled RCA.  I sat down after about 350 hours or so, with this setup....and was amazed!!!!  I am really looking forward to getting the main transport and fav tube compliment back in "THE" machine.  This may very well be a depends moment in the making!!!  Gonna give it a lil more time so as the caps can get their mojo going.

Steve, I have said it before and am once again in the same boat, I cant say enough good things about the amazing Zen.

An awesome amp!!!
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #6 - 02/20/07 at 15:28:26
 
Dave,

I like your tag line!   Smiley
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Randy in Caintuck
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #7 - 02/23/07 at 18:14:57
 
I have been using the Mundorf Silver PIO coupling caps in my Select for quite a while now ..... they sound very good.

UPS delivered a pair of .1 uf V-Caps to my home yesterday and I popped them into the Select last night.  Despite the inevitable trace of "break in harshness", I was not able to leave my listening seat until 2:30 AM and was late for work this morning .....  :-?

The Mundorfs are well broken in (several hundred hours) ..... but, IMHO, there is NO comparison between these caps as to detail, focus and air.  Vocals and instruments with the V-Caps are absolutely locked in space ..... the lead vocals noticeably so.  While the Mundorfs are excellent sounding caps, I am forced to use the well worn phrase that it was like pulling a blanket off of my speakers when the V-Caps were installed.

It is quite possible that a harsh sounding front end would be a bit painful through these caps (especially during break-in) but I am hearing none of it.  If the word on the street about the 400 hour break-in is true, I can only imagine how good these puppies will sound at that time.  The detail is scary good with none of the downsides that normally come with extremely revealing components.

In addition to the fine qualities described above, the bass is easily the most articulate I have heard in my system.  No "wooliness" here.  Dave Dutill tells me that the bass gets even better and more powerful with break-in.

Chris VenHaus at VH Audio is a pleasure to deal with and I received a UPS tracking number the same day I placed the order .....  8-)

I have spent $100.00 on a lot of audio related items that can't sniff at the goodness that the V-Caps add to my system.  

Highly recommended ....

Randy
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« Last Edit: 02/23/07 at 22:00:20 by Randy in Caintuck »  

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Joel
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #8 - 02/23/07 at 19:57:32
 
Randy -
Sent a message to Dave about specifics and maybe making a "semi" group buy. Haven't heard from him. Guess I should have sent it to you.
Always looking to save a buck  [smiley=grngreedy.gif]
Joel
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #9 - 02/24/07 at 02:52:55
 
I enjoyed reading the asian magazines capacitor shootout, thanks.
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MikeW
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #10 - 02/24/07 at 03:17:59
 
Corey wrote on 02/24/07 at 02:52:55:
I enjoyed reading the asian magazines capacitor shootout, thanks.


???????????????????????
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Brett
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #11 - 02/24/07 at 03:24:05
 
Randy,

It was Eddie that first turned me on to these caps, and the way he described them I thought it would be unlistenable at first. Of course this is not the case, and amazingly they do get better and smoother without any loss of the goods. I'm pleased to hear that you prefer the v-caps over the mundorfs as I haven't had a chance to compare them myself. Detail and neutrality is definitely my bag, and these caps fit the bill nicely.
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« Last Edit: 02/24/07 at 07:12:01 by Brett »  
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Brett
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #12 - 02/24/07 at 03:25:33
 
MikeW wrote on 02/24/07 at 03:17:59:
???????????????????????


Corey is referring to the link I posted above. It's a cap review from a Chinese rag.
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« Last Edit: 02/24/07 at 03:26:34 by Brett »  
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Randy in Caintuck
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #13 - 02/24/07 at 06:02:37
 
Brett wrote on 02/24/07 at 03:24:05:
Randy,

It was Eddie that first turned me on to these caps, and the way he described them I thought it would unlistenable at first. Of course this is not the case, and amazingly they do get better and smoother without any loss of the goods. I'm pleased to hear that you prefer the v-caps over the mundorfs as I haven't had a chance to compare them myself. Detail and neutrality is definitely my bag, and these caps fit the bill nicely.


Howdy Brett,

I have had many discussions with Eddie about the Mundorfs and V-Caps.  Eddie would probably be the first to admit that personal preference is everything in audio.  He makes no secret about liking his sound "with some meat on the bones", having a special place in his heart for DH-SET amplifiers such as 2A3s and 300Bs.  So, it's not too surprising that Eddie cautions folks about anything that has a potential for a thin or bright sound.  He knows that most of the front ends in use are digital ..... and of less than world class quality ..... so the Mundorfs are probably a safer recommendation for the majority.  I would guess that if there was anything nasty upstream, the V-Caps would make it painfully obvious.  From our conversations, Eddie has no problem recommending the V-Caps to someone who has an analog or "civilized" digital front end.

I just finished another 3 hour listening session and am even more amazed than I was last night.  Nothing can hide from these capacitors.  Dave isn't just woofin' about how good they are.  They give you everything that is on the CD or LP and yet do it with liquidity and refinement ..... there is so much "going on" in the music that it makes listening an adventure .....  8-)

Honestly ..... the "400 hour break-in thing" has me drooling with anticipation .....  :)

Best wishes,

Randy
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« Last Edit: 02/24/07 at 06:14:25 by Randy in Caintuck »  

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MikeW
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #14 - 02/24/07 at 09:46:53
 
Brett wrote on 02/24/07 at 03:25:33:
Corey is referring to the link I posted above. It's a cap review from a Chinese rag.

Thanks Smiley
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davedutill
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #15 - 02/24/07 at 18:28:20
 
Randy!!  

Step away from the amplifier!!!  Its Saturday afternoon...you have been listening for two days straight.  The Mighty Zen/Vcap combo has pulled you into its vortex.

Well, on second thought, I suppose you could be doing worse things.  The I T community can live without ya for a few days, just remember to shave that Rumplstiltskin beard off when ya finally go back to work.

Yep, the Vcaps are truly something one has to hear to believe.  The difference, as has been stated previously in the thread are all positive from top to bottom.  A cap worthy of being inside the Zen chassis!

Joel, I do believe I replied to the mail...was just too busy listening to respond immediately.   Smiley

As for me...Back to the system

Dave



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lightmaster
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #16 - 02/27/07 at 19:30:25
 
allright guys upgraditis is back
i have mundorf silver gold and love them, but you know things have to be changed every now and then
anyone interested in a group buy, price drops significantly if we reach a certain number Smiley


f
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #17 - 02/27/07 at 20:06:47
 
.1 uf V-Caps
Randy & Dave.....this is the Cap correct?   I suppose I need a qualified Soder Slinger to get them in?

Stone of Tone
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #18 - 02/27/07 at 21:04:13
 
lightmaster wrote on 02/27/07 at 19:30:25:
allright guys upgraditis is back
i have mundorf silver gold and love them, but you know things have to be changed every now and then
anyone interested in a group buy, price drops significantly if we reach a certain number Smiley


f


Sure, I need 4 for my 2 selects Smiley
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Mr Content
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #19 - 02/27/07 at 22:26:23
 
I'm in, and I dont even have any selects yet, but I'm working on it.  :) I'll take 4

Mr C  :)
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lightmaster
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #20 - 02/27/07 at 22:32:24
 
gooooood
if tone is in we are at 12 pieces!
if we get 12 more they will cost 35 dollars each, quite reasonable in my book.

so c'mon don't be shy my friends Smiley i know you want it Smiley

and yes the value is 0.1uf

f
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lightmaster
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #21 - 02/27/07 at 22:36:13
 
i suspect that eddie uses thjose in his carina for the voicing 2???
that's what he says about the voicing, sure is not the same amp, BUT you know Smiley certainly the same sound school Smiley

quote:
"Voicing 2 achieves maximum resolution and slam with less tube warmth and coloration, for those who love absolute microdetail and transparency. Regardless of it's near unbelievable resolution, it is still creamy and fluid, with zero harshness or glare in the high or mid frequencies.

...

This voicing is mercilessly revealing of your source component, preamp, interconnects, and recording. It will completely unmask and reveal everything upstream from it, good or bad, warts and all. Although the Carina in this form is most definitely still very smooth and flowing, it will not make a poor digital source or bad digital recording sound better the way a warmer sounding, lower resolution amplifier will. On the other hand, good recordings played on a good source are simply magical sounding. If you have a hi-end digital source or a good turntable and phono stage, Voicing 2 will allow them to shine through in all their glory."

never talked with eddie about this but i am almost certain that those must be the caps that he uses for that voicing.


f

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« Last Edit: 02/27/07 at 22:42:44 by lightmaster »  

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Joel
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #22 - 02/27/07 at 23:42:30
 
I'm in for 4. Who knows, images of my 34I are dancing through my head also.
Joel
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lightmaster
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #23 - 02/28/07 at 00:32:11
 
ok i did a quick calculation, if we get to 26 caps we will spend around 73 dollars (for 2 caps) including the shipping to one "host" against the 106 called for two caps bought individually.

now!
the problem is who is going to be the "host"? i would be happy to do it but i live in denmark that might create a problem to send the caps back and forth accross the atlantic. shipment to denmark is marginally higher from the company to here, but shippment - redistribution might be a problem because post here is really expensive.

anyone there in the US willing to be the initial host? if not the other option would be me being the host and to wait until the end of march when i will be in italy for a week.  shipping stuff from italy is cheaper, much cheaper then from denmark. but needless to say a US based host might be the ideal thing to do.

let's investigate options guys, any idea, i started this idea and i am willing to invest in it if necessary, not only for the caps, but also for the fun Smiley of it.


we are now at 16 caps, 10 more caps are looking for new owners Smiley

f

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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #24 - 02/28/07 at 00:57:04
 
lightmaster wrote on 02/27/07 at 19:30:25:
anyone interested in a group buy, price drops significantly if we reach a certain number Smiley


I'd be interested in 2 for my select.

--e
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #25 - 02/28/07 at 02:44:37
 
I have an idea, give me a day to research it, I'll try to post tomorrow night with viability. Must have patience...must have patience....must have patience Smiley
Joel
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Randy in Caintuck
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #26 - 02/28/07 at 03:11:29
 
lightmaster wrote on 02/27/07 at 22:36:13:
i suspect that eddie uses thjose in his carina for the voicing 2???

never talked with eddie about this but i am almost certain that those must be the caps that he uses for that voicing.



You would be correct ..... and every word he says about these caps is exactly what I'm hearing .....  :)

Randy
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #27 - 02/28/07 at 03:51:12
 
I'd also be interested in a pair for my Select
                                                            Don
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #28 - 02/28/07 at 04:43:54
 
I'll take a pair for my Zen C. I'm assuming these will work in a C as well as a Select. If incorrect, I hope someone will let me know.

Thanks, Miles
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #29 - 02/28/07 at 05:31:33
 
I'd also be in for a pair, if the particulars can work out Smiley

and yes, the signal coupling caps are the same in the C and the Select.


Karl
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lightmaster
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #30 - 02/28/07 at 10:24:50
 
All right guys, that's where we are:

Francesco 2 caps
stone_of_tone 2 caps? Please confirm tone.
Rap 4 caps
Mr Content 4
Joel 4
Erimille 2
Doorman 2
Miles 2
Veryoldcat 2

Total so far 24! We need one more person! Only

I am going to do something I am going to contact chris at v-cap.com and see if we can get an arrangement for shipping individually. I know he charges 10 dollars for US shipping and 15 for overseas, that’s a lot! A regular jiffy bag rolled is safe enough for shipping those are not tubes, and they are extremely small and light. Posting and bag should be no more then few dollars both nationally and internationally. I suppose companies like to charge a premium for handling and shipment. If you a regular on e-bay you know that many make their money on that rather the the product (look at anything sent from china  for example) not v-cap.com case, but we can save something there i guess. let's see


Anyway lets see what Joel has in mind, any more ideas?

One thing that might be possible is to pay individually to the company and have all the caps sent to one person that then would redistribute???

I’ll see what chris  says and report back

f
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« Last Edit: 02/28/07 at 10:27:12 by lightmaster »  

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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #31 - 02/28/07 at 16:12:23
 
im down for 2 caps!
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #32 - 02/28/07 at 16:46:50
 
lightmaster wrote on 02/28/07 at 10:24:50:
I am going to do something I am going to contact chris at v-cap.com and see if we can get an arrangement for shipping individually.



I wonder if this groupbuy could include a pair of .47uF caps at a discounted price. If so I'm in for a pair of those. I've been meaning to upgrade the caps in my DAC.

-Brett
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« Last Edit: 02/28/07 at 17:04:31 by Brett »  
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #33 - 02/28/07 at 18:30:39
 
Brett wrote on 02/28/07 at 16:46:50:
I wonder if this groupbuy could include a pair of .47uF caps at a discounted price. If so I'm in for a pair of those. I've been meaning to upgrade the caps in my DAC.

-Brett

get some panasonics or EVOX Rifa polyprops I think you´ll be just as happy in the dac department at a fraction of the price. After all the location of were you spend the most $ is key to successfull frugophilia Smiley
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #34 - 02/28/07 at 18:38:20
 
Hi all,  I'd like 4 caps for my pair of selects!  Thanks,Tish        P.S.  Does anyone know what size caps my SE34I.2 would use?
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #35 - 02/28/07 at 19:36:29
 
I'm down for 2.
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lightmaster
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #36 - 02/28/07 at 21:22:38
 
Francesco 2 caps
stone_of_tone 2 caps? Please confirm tone.
Rap 4 caps
Mr Content 4
Joel 4
Erimille 2
Doorman 2
Miles 2
Veryoldcat 2
tsingle999    2 cAPS
TISH 4
rock4016   4 Caps

that makes it: 34 caps total! Wow, we might be able to get an even better price, might be.

I'll be back with more info, also regarding brett 0.47uf. By the way in what position do you want to use those?
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #37 - 03/01/07 at 00:08:50
 
I'll go in for 4 for my pair of selects...

Matt
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Joel
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #38 - 03/01/07 at 00:37:35
 
Never mind my thought, checked it out and it's not such a great idea. Make sure Chris knows what we are doing, I know it is straight forward pricing on the website, but a $12 differential on this number of caps adds up. That said I'm still in for 4.
Joel
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lightmaster
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #39 - 03/01/07 at 09:23:26
 
all right guys
talked with crhis and asked if price was lowest he could offer and if we could might be pay individually to him at the 25+ discounted price and have all the caps sent to one person.

answers: yes, price is the lowest he can offer
no, he cannot get individual payments.

little disappointed must say, nothing else was suggested if not the fact that prices are soon going up for the caps!

so ... i think we should move differently. as i said the best option would be if one seasoned decware member would take the lead in the states. we could send him the money (paypal, bank transfer i assume would be preferred methods) payment should include prices of the caps at a discounted price. + share of the postal expences + amount for re shipping the items

basically we are talking according to my calculation of around 77-78 dollars ( a little more if paying with paypal to include paypal charges, i am going to be more specific a little later today with calculations) for a couple of caps.

i am willing to do it, but as i said i am in denmark and things get a little more complicated if we have to get the caps here and then send them back to the states, i also condidered the problem that for such an amount custum taxes might be an issue.

so is there any body in the US willing to be the "home base" of the deal?

if not i will think of another solution and report back.

f
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Randy in Caintuck
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #40 - 03/01/07 at 16:16:34
 
Greetings all,

Just a thought.  I enjoy saving a few bucks as much as the next guy, but I ran the math on this and I'm not sure this group buy thing is all that cost effective .....  :-?

Two .1uf caps cost 96.00 + shipping
Two .1uf caps at the +25 price cost 72.00 + shipping

So ..... you are saving 24.00 ..... less the extra shipping costs to reship from the "contact buyer".

I know that the thought of paying 50.00 for a capacitor rubs many folks the wrong way ..... but these things really are worth the money.  After hearing them in my Select, I would have gladly paid 3 times the price to get the same results .....  :)

When you hold one in your hand and feel the "heft" compared to other caps, it gives you a pretty good idea that there is something special here.  The folks at VH Audio put a lot of effort into developing these beauties and I don't begrudge them a decent profit ..... especially considering the results .....  8-)

I would hate to see my friends here on the forum "fart around" and end up paying a higher price in the near future .....  :P

Randy
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Joel
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #41 - 03/01/07 at 17:20:04
 
I don't want to mess up a group buy or anything, but I have an offer to make. Since I have a need for 4 caps I will be willing to buy 6 and send 2 to someone on this forum that I trust, in other words, been around awhile. All I will charge is the cap price plus my shipping to you. That will be a $12 difference to the partner vs. a very large group buy. First person to PM me that meets the above criteria will get the deal.
Joel
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lightmaster
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #42 - 03/01/07 at 18:15:18
 
you might be right randy but here is the math

we are buying 38 caps at 36 each dollars instead of 48 dollars each

1824 +130(post) ---1954 dollars this is the total of all the caps at full price plus shipping


1368 +25 (post to base) = 1393 +60 (post to individuals circa)=1453 this is the total of the caps at reduced price plus shipping to base and re-shipping to individuals.


501 dollars saving total 38 dollars for each couple of caps. you might be right.

what do you guys think

the smaller group alternative is an option to simplify things, i am in for that too... if people prefers Smiley


and by the way is true, Steve did not consider that but the grading system based on number of posts was a certain guarantee as to commitment to the decware spirit Smiley trustworthiness i mean Smiley
the new 3 stars systems completely kills that comfort factor, at least with the less well know members.
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« Last Edit: 03/01/07 at 18:26:33 by lightmaster »  

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Rap
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #43 - 03/01/07 at 19:22:21
 
I think Dave and Randy should handle the group-buy and re-packing, They are after all responsible for this thread and for every-one wanting the caps  :D Tongue Smiley Smiley Smiley
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« Last Edit: 03/01/07 at 19:23:20 by Rap »  
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Randy in Caintuck
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #44 - 03/01/07 at 19:51:43
 
Rap wrote on 03/01/07 at 19:22:21:
I think Dave and Randy should handle the group-buy and re-packing, They are after all responsible for this thread and for every-one wanting the caps  :D Tongue Smiley Smiley Smiley


Howdy Rap,

Dave and I would like to thank you for the excellent suggestion ..... but think we will pass at this time .....

Randy
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tsingle999
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #45 - 03/03/07 at 19:49:33
 
i would be willing to accept shipment of the caps, repack and ship them to people,  if someone else handled the administrative and financial details (the address and money collection end of things). i have a bunch of padded envelopes left over from selling cd's that i think would fit the caps. shipping charges would have to include insurance charges too. i am in the us and visiti canada once in awhile...
on another note what about a group cryo of the caps? before shipping?
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #46 - 03/03/07 at 20:43:21
 
tsingle999 wrote on 03/03/07 at 19:49:33:
i would be willing to accept shipment of the caps, repack and ship them to people,  if someone else handled the administrative and financial details (the address and money collection end of things). i have a bunch of padded envelopes left over from selling cd's that i think would fit the caps. shipping charges would have to include insurance charges too. i am in the us and visiti canada once in awhile...
on another note what about a group cryo of the caps? before shipping?


I'm afraid cryoing caps is not a good idea, they tend to explode Roll Eyes
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #47 - 03/03/07 at 22:32:20
 
hehe well lets skip the cryoed caps then!
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #48 - 03/04/07 at 22:14:21
 
I took Joel up on his offer and we created our own 'mini' group buy. Matt
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lightmaster
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Re: A modification worthy of the Zen
Reply #49 - 03/05/07 at 00:15:42
 
good for you man, i was interested in the "mini-group" too, or whatever option, if not much moves soon enough i'll just follow suite  :-)

anybody there Smiley

f
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