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ZCD impressions (Read 45298 times)
Lon
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Re: ZCD impressions
Reply #90 - 10/11/08 at 15:12:45
 
Steve, thanks again for your attention.  In the last few days I have been tampering with the gain on the CSP2 and I find that with very little gain the ZBox sounds very rich and warm on most well-recorded material and most of my archive.  It has also been breaking in over the last few weeks and getting nicer overall.

A wonderful machine (I've really been saying this all along) that is fast becoming irreplaceable in the system.  If only it played SACDs! Smiley

Thanks for your guidance and insight.  Here's hoping it's this good or better when I have the modded ZBox back from you.
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ZYGI
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Re: ZCD impressions
Reply #91 - 10/11/08 at 21:52:00
 
Lon,

I came home from Decfest this year with a seasoned ZCD  ;D and after having some problems with it, which were do, in part, to me throwing my suitcase on top of it ( who says UPS is the only one that can damage electronics) I installed a N.O.S RCA 12AU7A tube, which I didn't want to change for fear of the unit not working again, only to find it was much more laid back than what I had heard at Steve's place, or to my liking. This combo when combined with the CSP2 using 6N2P tubes was so laid back and over the top sweet, I couldn't take it. If you haven't tried this set up yet, you might consider it.

Just a thought,
BobZ
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Lon
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"Love without
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worthless!"
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Re: ZCD impressions
Reply #92 - 10/11/08 at 22:40:05
 
Bob, thanks.  I have 6N2Ps in all the appropriate sockets on my CSP2 and my SE34L Monoblocks. . . and cryo'd RCA 12BH7A in the ZCD, very close to what you have.  I have so so many tubes I don't want to buy another N.O.S. or two but if I see reasonable ones I'll look for RCA 12AU7As.
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Lon
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"Love without
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Re: ZCD impressions
Reply #93 - 10/15/08 at 20:04:10
 
Okay by now I'm sure everyone is sick of my "impressions" and I'll just have one more after this most likely, when the ZBox (on the way back to me from Steve) is put back into the system (I had it modded with a selector switch so that I can use both the ZCD and the Blu-Ray player with the ZBox).

I wanted to note that I spliced in an IEC connector to the captive cord and am now using one of my PS Audio Prelude XStream power cords, a cord I am very fond of for components and that is not ridiculously expensive.  The difference with this player is quite noticable, the bass is richer and yet still very fluent, there is weight and body to instruments such as the piano if well-recorded.  I'd advise anyone ordering the player to spring for the IEC connector option and use their favorite power cord, it really makes a difference.

I've made some real changes to speaker orientation for this player, firing the tweeters on the RL2s quite radically towards the side walls, and with the speakers closer to the back wall than I have ever had them before, and with the lower woofers "activated" with wire round porcelain resistors.  But with these adjustments this player portrays a very dimensional and involving sound.  I expect that the ZBox reintroduced will add depth and richness.  It's taken a while but "I've got it where I want it!"
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« Last Edit: 10/15/08 at 20:05:29 by Lon »  

Decware:ERR,HR-1,ZP3,CSP2+,Torii Mk III,PS Audio PWT+DS,PowerBases,PPP,AC-12 pcs, Denon DVD-A1UDCI, Rega RP3 +TTPSU,white belt+Exact2, VooDoo Cable:Stradivarius, Ultra Linear+Evo ICs, Iso-Pods,Mapleshade:Double Heiix Plus,Samsonv2+v3 +4" platforms,Herbie's Iso-Cup
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Randy in Caintuck
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Re: ZCD impressions
Reply #94 - 10/16/08 at 03:47:54
 
Quote:
It's taken a while but "I've got it where I want it!"


Well ..... it's about time .....

I know that we don't always hear things exactly the same, but the sound you were describing was not at all what I was hearing ..... I have to wonder how much of it was due to the power cord  ?

Whatever the reason, I am extremely happy to hear that the ZCD is working for you ..... goodness knows that you have paid your dues to get it where it needs to be .....

The fact that you were not ecstatic about the sound initially does nothing but enhance the respect that your opinions deserve ..... it proves that you are not a "homer" for everything that has the Decware name plate ..... the stamp of approval has to be earned.

Tim Adams paid me a visit last week and was very complimentary about the sound I am getting from the ZCD ..... and Tim is not easily impressed these days.

Having owned some pretty respectable digital front end equipment as a basis for comparison, I am extremely pleased with the sound I'm getting from the ZCD ..... it is a screaming bargain and I can't imagine it being the weak link in any high end audio system .....

I think we have "chosen well" ......

Happy listening,

Randy
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« Last Edit: 10/16/08 at 03:51:04 by Randy in Caintuck »  

CEC TL-2 belt drive CD transport
Camelot Uther / Anagram DAC
Decware Model SE84C+ amplifier
Greenvalve Audio Type 10 amplifier
Parker Audio Troll Magnus speakers
"Mini Me" OBs - with Hawthorne Augies, Wild Burro Betsy drivers and Heil AMTs
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Lon
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"Love without
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Philip K. D*ck

Posts: 7900
Re: ZCD impressions
Reply #95 - 10/16/08 at 13:20:30
 
Randy, I don't think a whole lot is really due to the power cord.  The cord is like the final decoration on a cake, it reinforces the strengths already there and sets them off.

This machine is brutally honest and I've had to alter my system to accommodate it, which is probably the correct thing for it to evoke, as it is not like other players with a signature.  I didn't think I'd have to do so so radically.  If I were to restore the system to the way it was previous to all these adjustments I don't think I could get through a cd, the sound is so bright and forward.  Now with some months of seasoning and the speakers in positions I never thought they would be I can relax into the sound in the way I used to with my DEC685 and my NAD T585, and have that extra tubed Decware sound that is about ten percent more dimensional and deep than the NAD.  Luckily with the CSP2 I can lower the input gain quite a bit, that was the final trick I needed to learn to tame the sound.

First class sound at less than a grand, a bargain yes, one that may not be "plug and play" for everyone and demand some attention and effort to integrate.  Hopefully I'm done.  I'll investigate the tube that Bob recommends, I notice that Cryoset carries one or two. . . .I hope I don't have to do much more fiddling because it was a bit worrisome.
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Randy in Caintuck
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Re: ZCD impressions
Reply #96 - 10/16/08 at 14:15:09
 
Lon,

There may be one more factor that is affecting the overall sound I am hearing from the ZCD ..... for the past few months, I have been treating my CDs with a product I heard at the last HornFest at Ed Schilling's place ..... Ultra Bit Platinum CD Treatment.

I have no idea what this product does, but one of the claims is that it makes CDs sound "more analog" and based on my experience I feel that it's a fair claim.

As you correctly observe, the ZCD adds none of the coloration that many players do (especially tubed units) and is very honest in its presentation.  It's possible that the ZCD is "honestly" portraying whatever the beneficial effect is on the treated CD.

Everyone who attended the HornFest heard a dramatic difference (read improvement) in the treated CDs and it seems reasonable to me that the more accurate and resolving the player, the more obvious the difference would be.

Whatever the case ..... I am very happy with the results .....

As far as I know, Ed is still a distributor for this product and it can be ordered from his website.

Randy
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CEC TL-2 belt drive CD transport
Camelot Uther / Anagram DAC
Decware Model SE84C+ amplifier
Greenvalve Audio Type 10 amplifier
Parker Audio Troll Magnus speakers
"Mini Me" OBs - with Hawthorne Augies, Wild Burro Betsy drivers and Heil AMTs
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Lon
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"Love without
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worthless!"
Philip K. D*ck

Posts: 7900
Re: ZCD impressions
Reply #97 - 10/16/08 at 15:50:14
 
Randy, I have no doubt that product really works and works really well.

But. . . I play at least fifty cds a week and a different fifty the next week and probably a different fifty the week after that, and I have in excess of 10,000 discs, probably more like 13.000 and I play them eventually. . . .

I couldn't afford the mass quantities of that material I would need, and I don't want to get listening and feel I have to have it on every disc, as I'm afraid I would.

I just can't justify the expense; I'd rather buy new discs, new clothes, organic food, etc.

When those lottery numbers finally favor me, I'll buy a truckload.  Or at least a pickup truck load. Wink  Right now though the "more going out than coming in" has to stop, I'm down to one income and it's 3/4 of my income a year ago (my retirement check) and it's not going up. (What saves me is a house that's paid for and zero debt.)
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« Last Edit: 10/17/08 at 11:43:38 by Lon »  

Decware:ERR,HR-1,ZP3,CSP2+,Torii Mk III,PS Audio PWT+DS,PowerBases,PPP,AC-12 pcs, Denon DVD-A1UDCI, Rega RP3 +TTPSU,white belt+Exact2, VooDoo Cable:Stradivarius, Ultra Linear+Evo ICs, Iso-Pods,Mapleshade:Double Heiix Plus,Samsonv2+v3 +4" platforms,Herbie's Iso-Cup
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Randy in Caintuck
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Tube be ... or not
tube be ... it's a
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Posts: 410
Re: ZCD impressions
Reply #98 - 10/16/08 at 16:44:55
 
Quote:
But. . . I play at least fifty cds a week and a different fifty the next week and probably a different fifty the week after that, and I have in excess of 10,000 discs, probably more like 13,000 and I play them eventually. . . .


What a nice "problem" to have ..... I hope to have the same problem some day .....

I can appreciate why you don't want to get started with this.  Truthfully, it not only involves a financial investment to treat the disks but the time to do it.  To treat 10,000 CDs ..... I would probably be old and gray long before the job was finished .....

With that many disks, you have no doubt chosen the best course by making changes in your system to get the desired sound ..... and healthy food and clothing are always a wise investment .....

Randy
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« Last Edit: 10/16/08 at 16:45:29 by Randy in Caintuck »  

CEC TL-2 belt drive CD transport
Camelot Uther / Anagram DAC
Decware Model SE84C+ amplifier
Greenvalve Audio Type 10 amplifier
Parker Audio Troll Magnus speakers
"Mini Me" OBs - with Hawthorne Augies, Wild Burro Betsy drivers and Heil AMTs
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Lon
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"Love without
guts is
worthless!"
Philip K. D*ck

Posts: 7900
Re: ZCD impressions
Reply #99 - 10/20/08 at 21:49:53
 
Glad you see my dilemna about the "treatment."  I think I'm wise to steer clear!

Got my modified ZBox back today.  Steve did a wonderful job adding an input and a toggle selector switch.  I can now use the ZBox with my ZCD and my Sony ES Blu-Ray, and use the other input on the CSP2 for my tv sound.  Now all the sources in my living room sound GREAT!
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Doorman
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Re: ZCD impressions
Reply #100 - 10/20/08 at 22:51:11
 
Glad you've got everything dialed-in, Lon!
Now, back to the 10k +/- cd collection--- !
(green with envy) Don Smiley
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Lon
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"Love without
guts is
worthless!"
Philip K. D*ck

Posts: 7900
Re: ZCD impressions
Reply #101 - 10/21/08 at 11:02:00
 
Don't be so green with envy Don!  ;)  It's a constant battle to organize and store this stuff!  And it was a great expense of several decades to acquire!

I put in two cryo'd RCA 12AU7s (one in ZBox one in ZCD) and am now listening with these in place. . . interesting. . .not sure yet that I prefer them to the cryo'd RCA 12EH7As. . . .
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Randy in Caintuck
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Tube be ... or not
tube be ... it's a
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Posts: 410
Re: ZCD impressions
Reply #102 - 10/22/08 at 18:38:52
 
Well ..... last night, my ZCD player attained a higher level of excellence (for the second time) .....

I was pleasantly surprised to hear the following :
Greater depth of soundstage (beyond the already very fine depth)
More space between the instruments and vocalists
A greater sense of the 'recorded space"
An increased sense of "clarity" and resolution.

Without having my previous digital front ends to compare side by side, it would not be prudent on my part to rate the ZCD against them in terms of absolute performance ..... but I can safely say that this player will not have to hang its head in the best of company ..... it's that good.

To anyone looking for a very musical and resolving digital front end and who has been sitting on the fence concerning which way to jump, the ZCD should be on your very short list.  With some break in time and judicious system setup, this player will give many hours of enjoyment .....

Highly recommended,

Randy
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« Last Edit: 10/23/08 at 16:56:28 by Randy in Caintuck »  

CEC TL-2 belt drive CD transport
Camelot Uther / Anagram DAC
Decware Model SE84C+ amplifier
Greenvalve Audio Type 10 amplifier
Parker Audio Troll Magnus speakers
"Mini Me" OBs - with Hawthorne Augies, Wild Burro Betsy drivers and Heil AMTs
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Doorman
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Re: ZCD impressions
Reply #103 - 10/23/08 at 23:38:07
 
Thanks for the update, Randy. Being as you've had some pretty respectable digital gear in your system, your impressions of the ZCD are interesting.
I've had a fair number of players, but nothing really high-dollar.
My ZCD is by far the most satisfying I've ever had, I'd be interested in hearing a good computer based system sometime, just to compare, but I plan on keeping mine for a long time--
Happy listening, Don
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Decware SE34I w/ CCE mod, ZCD, Heybrook/Linn/Clearaudio, Hagerman,
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Re: ZCD impressions
Reply #104 - 08/02/09 at 02:47:28
 
Long time since posting.    I've long settled on a power cord for the ZCD: the IEGO L70530 cable with the silver-plated 8065 connectors.  After 10 months of use and comparison with the MAC HC during that time, it has all the jump, clarity, and tone of the MAC, with a smoothness and chime thats hard to describe.  The MAC sounds better with my Carina.

I've since moved away from the Mullard CV4003 tube which, along with a Siemens 12AU7 I've had for several years, were the flavors I've prefered.  In experimenting, I've puchased a RCA 12AU7 Cleartop, an RCA 12AV7, and an Amperex 7062.  The 7062 expands the depth and width of the soundstage, with great tone and a "dynamic smooothness" (hard to describe).  Its both comfortable and spunky.  The 12AV7 seems to do the same thing, on a slightly smaller scale.  The Cleartop seems more detailed, but slightly tipped up to me.  None of the tubes sound are bad...just different flavorings. The CV4003 has the richest, warmest midrange, although a touch veiled in longterm listening..  The Siemens is the clearest and most detailed, and really exposes average to poor recordings.
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