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SE84A (Read 1493 times)
Lonely Raven
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SE84A
07/19/08 at 18:17:41
 
Howdy all,

I guess my login from the old forums didn't translate to this one...it's been a long while since I've been around here.

Anywho, I'm an old skool Zen addict with an original Zen amp. I've popped by Steve's house a few times when he lived on Spring St. (I think that's what street it was), and had my first "Zen" moment there in his private listening room (wall to wall diffusers and an early Zen into a $300 Denon CD player into sand filled two ways with caps and alligator clips hanging out the back  ;D). I listened to Van Halen “Mean Streets” (odd choice, but I had it with me and WOW!), while Steve went out for lunch and left me listening...I was in such a state of trance listening to this 3d and truly holographic sound that he had to lay his hand on my shoulder and shake me to wake me up!

Anywho, I've not been listening in years...small apartment, crazy neighbors...and unfortunately severely declining hearing. I still have my old (serial #65) Zen amp, but gave my tubes to a friend (who has #79 I believe) since he was in need. Since I've recently purchased my first house, and I have some room to work with (very small rooms unfortunately) and can play as loud as I want, whenever I want...well, I'm hoping I can find my way back to that musical Zen state that I had at Steve's place (and have yet to recreate).

I have to admit...I was at Steve's shop when he was first getting it open (probably moved or improved since then), and the listening experience I had there wasn't 1/10th what I had at his house...(no offence Steve, I figured you just weren't dialed in yet). But I'd really like to get back into listening, not just to music, but truly 3d holographic Zen-state listening.

All I have to work with to get back into listening is:

An old Zen 84A (I liked the A better then the B, not sure about the C, never heard a Select). With no tubes...though I might have a rectifier from my guitar amp building.

I have an old Denon CD player...I forget the model but it's one of the big 20+lb models with solid copper chassis. I'm pretty sure it's not a bad player.

And I have some room in the basement (drywall, plaster, wood, carpet on concrete slab low ceilings...bla).

I have no interconnects or speaker cables besides your basic Monster stuff which I am fully aware is junk. I have no speakers (sold them when I was in need).

OH! I almost forgot...I've got a couple diffusers and two of the old skool (coffin shaped MDF filled with bubble wrap and acoustic insulation) bass traps. But not enough to make a big dent in the sound.

I don't have much money, but I'm very crafty. I can build diffusers, I can make my own wires, I can build my own speakers (if I have plans). I have some basic tools.

Anyone (Steve?), can you give me some suggestions on how I should build up a proper, holographic listening setup, with what I have and on a budget? I know speaker selection, caps options, wire quality has all improved. I'm sure Steve's products have been more refined over the years...but I'm just not sure where to start! I really want to get back to that aural Zen-state before my hearing gets so bad that I won't be able to hear the music anymore.  :'(


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Dirty_Dawg
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Only the music is
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Re: SE84A
Reply #1 - 07/19/08 at 20:11:03
 
Hi, Raven,

I think a clean slate can be a good thing - a great place to start. You will not have to make any decisions based on what you already have. You have some catching up to do, sure, but in some ways, you are lucky.

Congrats on the new place!

I have a degree of empathy for your hearing loss. I suffered a fairly severe head injury a couple of years ago and lost much of my hearing in one ear and some loss in the other, as well. Fortunately, over a period of a few months mine returned, mostly, although I know that my hearing is forever diminished in the ear closest to the injury. Even though it all tests out "better than normal" for my age, I know!

I honestly think that the best chance you have of finding that long remembered listening experience is "here"  at Zen Central. I was not much of a believer at first, but Steve made complete sense in what he wrote and had the eloquence to net-publish many of the same thoughts I had had over the years.
I bought my first Zen C, without ever hearing one, but I often do that when something captures my attention. No other way I can find out some types of things, except by proving it to myself, one way or the other.  I now have two and run them mono. I could not be happier, even though the suitability of the rest of my system now comes into question.

I have a long road to travel as well. Hope you enjoy your journey.

BTW, that's a nice looking Fender rig you have there!
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« Last Edit: 07/19/08 at 20:18:20 by Dirty_Dawg »  

Anxiously watching as the whirling wind scoops up and hurls into oblivion the chalky white dust that was once the rank bones of my final oppressor, I relax finally, as I have survived again.
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Lonely Raven
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Re: SE84A
Reply #2 - 07/19/08 at 20:35:37
 

Thanks for the kind words.

When I visited Steve, he seemed impressed with my being able to hear and notice detail. I can (or at least could) hear changes in stereo imaging and bass detail depending on where people stand in the room (people in the listening room are nothing more than big water filled bass traps, right!  ;)  Not so much anymore, and the audiologist can't exactly explain why...they just lump it in with "getting older" or "loud motorcycles and music" when I was younger. I think I need to find a better ear doctor.  :-/

The fender rigs are all mostly sold off. About 4 years ago I decided to get back into playing guitar again (another long story) and decided I'd teach myself a little about electronics and building tube amps. I bought and serviced dozens of Fender amps, read through some books, and built a couple with nothing but photos and/or layout as a guide. At one time I had several Champs, Princeton’s, and Super Reverbs (last being my favorite), but sold them all to buy my fiancé her engagement ring.

Unfortunately, the only things I seem to have learned from all that is that I'm really good at copying designs, replacing parts, and "paint by number" (e.g. following someone else’s layout). I still don't fully understand what I'm doing, but I know enough that every amp I've built fires up first try, and every amp I serviced is still working loud and proud. Right now I have a few "Trainwreck" amps that I've built from info found on the net, and I have a Super Reverb I hope to bring back from the dead (basket case).

If you're curious, my gallery can be found at www.LonelyRaven.Zenfolio.com  

It's a very eclectic collection of hobbies found there, and not all encompassing of my photos or exploits...but a lot of fun stuff is up there, photography being my strongest hobby as of late.

Anywho, back to my main point; it sounds like you’re saying I should scrap what I have and start with other listening gear? Or is what I have an acceptable jumping off point? Being on a super tight budget with the house and all, I have to carefully plan my build path and expenditures. I can’t just jump in try stuff out like I did 10 years ago. Speaking of which, I realized my Zen has a build date of 9-89.  
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4krow
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Re: SE84A
Reply #3 - 07/19/08 at 21:54:56
 
HEY L.R.,

i bet we are in adjacent camps when it comes to hearing/hi fidelity. many are with us here, but hope to regain audio nirvana by using a different power cable. all you can really do is satify yourself with what you hear, and forget the audio crowd with it's ongoing product of the day. good luck.....greg
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Decware 34I.3 integrated amp/Forte' 3 bass amp/Velodyne SMS-1 bass mngmnt system/Decware ZOB speakers/BESL subs/Emotiva ERC3 CD player/BPT 3.0 power cond. PS Audio P500
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Dirty_Dawg
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Only the music is
real.

Posts: 120
Re: SE84A
Reply #4 - 07/19/08 at 22:12:38
 
Not at all saying, "... scrap what you have."  I regret if it came out that way. I got the sense from your posting that you were beginning to toy with the idea of building your "final" system and looking forward to it.

I just meant that you are lucky not to be sitting on thousands of dollars in gear (and "married to it" or something) that can NEVER satisfy you. With your existing experience you can make wise choices.

I think your talent with electronics is an enviable trait. I have much to re-learn and so much of my energy goes in other directions these days, that there is hardly anything left for fun stuff.

You mentioned the Fender Champ and, coincidentally, the last tube thing I built was a clone of my dad's old Champ amp.

I'll have a chance to check out your site a little later.
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Anxiously watching as the whirling wind scoops up and hurls into oblivion the chalky white dust that was once the rank bones of my final oppressor, I relax finally, as I have survived again.
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Eli Duttman
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Music Loving Geezer

Posts: 364
Re: SE84A
Reply #5 - 07/21/08 at 23:31:35
 
Quote:
I guess my login from the old forums didn't translate to this one...it's been a long while since I've been around here.



Hi guy!  :)  It's been quite some time.

Be sure and register over on Audiophile Talk too.  Make sure you check the Tube DIY "board" out.
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Eli D.
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