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New customs options available for the ZCD (Read 23085 times)
ZENCDUSER
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Posts: 67
Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #30 - 10/10/09 at 03:04:26
 
Lon,
I'm sure as a long term Decware fan you have a zillion tubes!  But if I can suggest a RCA 12AV7 tube for the ZCD (6-8 dollars). Everything is so system dependant, but this tubes present a richness and clarity without harshness.  To my ears, the edginess is gone. Granted, harshness is relative!  Antique Electronic Supply and The Tube Store offer them as, I'm sure, a host of other outlets.  I cant say it will take you exactly where you want to go, but if it doesnt take you a good distance I'll buy it from you!
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Chris K
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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #31 - 10/10/09 at 13:33:35
 
I can confirm this! I discovered this by rolling in all the 12A**7 types.
12AV7 and even 12AT7 are really good in this player.
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Lon
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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #32 - 10/10/09 at 15:48:27
 
Thanks guys. 12AT7s don't do it, I have several types, including a cryo'd Mullard.

I've tried literally more than half a dozen 12AU7s.  I'll try a 12AV7.  I've got a block against buying tubes these days. . . I've tried so many in this machine and this machine has been such a disappointment to me since I bought it to be honest. It's always almost great.

Thanks.
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Chris K
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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #33 - 10/10/09 at 16:55:27
 
Lon is there a volume control option on your ZCD? What seems to be the audible issues? Please describe if you wish.

I read the thread nevermind.
I'll ponder this though.

Only issue I've had is distortion with some overly "hot"  mastered CD's. Just too much "peak" in the recordings and for some reason the ZCD has distortion with those but I feel that is the CD/player relationship. I wish there were another way to fix this but what I do is reburn the CD at a lower peak db and the burned disc plays fine. Not sure why this happens but am certain it is the tube stage that it is happening in. These overly "hot" CD's sound decent off of the stock outputs of the TASCAM/ZCD. Most CD's are fine and with a CSP 2 in with the ZCD the weight and control is so good it is quite astounding. I have not had the opportunity to compare many digital sources especially not a wide variety of CD players.
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« Last Edit: 10/10/09 at 17:07:40 by Chris K »  

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Lon
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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #34 - 10/10/09 at 17:03:48
 
Yes, variable output.  I have to use it turned almost all the way down.

I have to have the treble cut circuit on my Torii amp turned ALL THE WAY down for the balance to be listenable and even so I want more warmth. That treble circuit is usually taking out a lot of treble in my room, but with the ZCD I have to have it all the way down and if I could I'd reduce it more.

I'll probably ultimately be putting the Sony ES back in, I like that machine much more, though I did order a 12AV7 from tubeman.com  We'll see.  I'm very sensitive to treble output and this one has way too much.  I'll probably put it in a second system one day if it doesn't make it through the test round this week.
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ZENCDUSER
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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #35 - 10/11/09 at 00:23:11
 

Chris and Lon,
I've never tried a 12AT7, but have been through a number of 12AU7's (Mullard CV4003, RCA Clear Top, Siemens) over the 16 or so months I've had the ZCD.
Lon, did you order a RCA? I've read there's a marked difference between RCA and GE/Sylvania.  I've watched your valiant struggle with the ZCD in the context of your system and preferences, and admire your tenacity. I would have long sold mine had it not meshed with me! But your postings highlight an invaluable point I wish I'd learned many years ago: amps, sources, cables, tubes, speakers, tweaks, design strategies, reviewer opinions, etc...nothing matters till one like it in ones own system, room and music collection!  Steve makes a point about everything starts with the source.  But in my experience amps, preamps, integrated amps, and speakers (before you even begin to factor in tube combinations and cables) make an equal impact...before you EVEN begin to factor in room dynamics and sound preferences!  Not to mention those pesty things sound engineers sometimes do with recordings.  Thanks for your honesty and consistency with your postings!
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Lon
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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #36 - 10/11/09 at 13:46:09
 
I ordered from my most trusted tube source, www.tubeman.com and he lists it only as a US tube.  I will at least know if the tube TYPE is a significant improvement and then I can look into tube brand, I'll look for an RCA if it isn't.

You're right about compatibility.  It's a fact that there is only one non Decware component in my system (besides isolation control products) that the ZCD is running through, and that's a PS Audio Xstream Statement power cord on the Torii Mark II; all other components, cables and cords are Decware. I also feel I must add that the Sony ES player that I prefer is built like a tank, it makes the ZCD seem like a toy; from the start I was disappointed in the base machine that Steve used as a platform, it's dinky.  I do believe that influences the "sound."

I'll let you know what I hear when the tube arrives. Thanks.
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Doorman
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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #37 - 10/11/09 at 15:33:47
 
It's interesting that my first impression when my Select arrived, a good 7 years ago now, was 'this thing can't possibly sound like much, it looks thrown together"!
(it replaced an amp that was built like a tank, but sounded like one too!)
It's not always about the perceived "quality" Smiley
Don











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Lon
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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #38 - 10/11/09 at 21:28:38
 
I know that Don and agree. But sometimes the build quality means a much more stable transport mechanism, better vibration control, and in the case of this machine a better thought out power supply and DACs, indeed.

The Sony player weighs about 23 pounds and is unflappable. The ZCD just is not "elevated standard."  And again, the base unit was about one third the cost of the Sony, a different price point.

So in this case it's relevant.
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« Last Edit: 10/11/09 at 21:43:18 by Lon »  

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Chris K
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My owner only hears
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hear to 60K!

Posts: 273
Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #39 - 10/11/09 at 21:47:43
 
In the interest of clarity I do indeed think the ZCD is a great sounding player and I have enjoyed it a lot. That said I think the "forward" presentation Lon describes is accurate and I can see where that could be a bit much for someone that finds their hearing a bit sensitive to treble. If tube rolling won't solve it then the circuit itself would probably need to be "tweaked" for a different tonal balance. Lon has always liked the original style 2 driver (tweeter & 8" radial) Decware radial speakers I have found these speakers to be a bit "relaxed" for my taste. I like a more forward but not too forward presentation. To much of a good thing is almost always bad and if the system you have put together tips the scales toward more of a particular thing then you have an imbalance. This is a tough one to cover without being in front of the system in question.
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Doorman
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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #40 - 10/11/09 at 22:47:06
 
I have to agree that any Sony product I've owned over the years, and there's been a few,  has been very well put together!
Don
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Lon
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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #41 - 10/11/09 at 23:15:34
 
Yes, especially the ES "Elevated Standard" series.  Truly a nice machine. i personally believe it's "loss leader" priced.

It's no shame to the ZCD that I prefer the build on this machine and think that it makes a sonic difference.

Here's some info on this machine:

http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=1055...

http://www.sonyinsider.com/2008/08/27/sony-unexpectedly-releases-super-audio-cd-...

http://www.techradar.com/reviews/audio-visual/hi-fi-and-audio/cd-players-and-rec...

Slide show of someone receiving machine:
http://s632.photobucket.com/albums/uu43/ghtoz/XA5400ES-Arrives/?albumview=slides...

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Doorman
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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #42 - 10/12/09 at 04:43:16
 
Looks like a killer machine, mind you, it's also quite a bit more $$
Damn, life's like that, no? Smiley
Don
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« Last Edit: 10/12/09 at 04:43:32 by Doorman »  

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Lon
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"Love without
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Philip K. D*ck

Posts: 7912
Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #43 - 10/12/09 at 11:50:21
 
Yes it is.  I paid less for it, 1200 dollars, which was a great deal.

It's a great machine, and I've really become fond of SACDs; SACD has helped me to explore classical music, and the sound can be considerably better than cd can provide.
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ZENCDUSER
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Posts: 67
Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #44 - 10/15/09 at 00:38:59
 
I have to admit I teetered between the Jolida JD100 and the ZCD.  The build of the Jolida is quite good..and it was a fourth generation tube unit that went through growing pains through the 601, 602, and 603 models.  I still have the Jolida 601) I purchased as a demo a decade ago.  It has started skipping, but still plays when I need it to...and its build quality is atrocious!  Yet, it has survived

As far as tubes..I have to say I like the 12AU7 tube the least in the ZCD!  I used a varierty of them (luckily, I had a few I obtained over the years).  I mentioned the RCA 12AV7, but also have a cryo'd EH 12BH7 (11.95 from Cryoset).  The 12AV7 is a little sweeter in my system...the EH a little stronger and clearer.  Both, to me, sound better then any of the 12AU7's I've tried and lend themselves to better longterm listening.  The forwards presentation of the ZCD can be a blessing or a curse.
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