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New customs options available for the ZCD (Read 22183 times)
Steve Deckert
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New customs options available for the ZCD
10/31/08 at 04:28:45
 
The ZCD now comes standard with a user adjustable output from 0 to 5 volts!

We are also making available some new custom options on the ZCD, my personal favorite is the tube regulation.  

I've updated the web page with the details.  

http://www.decware.com/newsite/ZCD.htm

-Steve  :)
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Lon
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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #1 - 10/31/08 at 11:37:45
 
Figures.  Now that I don't want to take the ZCD out, he offers enticing options!  Thanks Steve! Smiley
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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #2 - 10/31/08 at 21:33:27
 
Lon, it's not that you wouldn't have something to use in it's absence. Cool

dennis
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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #3 - 10/31/08 at 22:04:54
 
You're absolutely right Dennis! Smiley

I'm holding off for a bit though.  Spent too much money lately, have to break the trend. Would like to have an IEC connector added and try out the tube regulation though. In time, in time.
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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #4 - 11/02/08 at 00:21:41
 
Are you telling me that I'm not the only one who has more wants than wallet?   Tongue

When the time comes you will have something to look forward to.  The waiting might make it better.
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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #5 - 11/02/08 at 03:05:19
 
Yeah, right. Wink
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Hotsauce
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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #6 - 11/02/08 at 12:31:58
 
Power supply and chassis damping are HUGE upgrades on a CD player.  

Also, If you're of the opinion that power cords are a worthwhile purchase, you'll see the biggest change using one on a cd player VS any other piece of gear.  

The picture looks like its part way through construction, I only see 2 leads off the regulator tube.  

John C.  

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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #7 - 11/02/08 at 16:55:54
 
Mine will be going in eventually for the P/S upgrade.
Meanwhile, if anyone has an updated player and wants to share their impressions, feel free!.
Don
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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #8 - 11/18/08 at 17:39:07
 
Steve,

I presume, you have photographed the fully assembled units with options. If so, why in the last picture with the tube regulator there is only 2 wires going to the tube (filament only?)

Mike
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zcdoptions013.jpg
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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #9 - 11/19/08 at 08:55:45
 
It is a voltage regulator tube, no filament.
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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #10 - 11/20/08 at 00:50:29
 
OK, so its like a big NE2 bulb then.  

John C.  

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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #11 - 12/05/08 at 15:13:34
 
I'm sending my ZCD back to have the variable output (that is now standard) added, the IEC connection added, and the tube regulation.  I really really need the variable output, where it is set now is way too high.

I have my Sony ES Blu-Ray as the cd source now (as well as video source) and in the place of the ZCD (on Herbie's Iso Cups, and Mapleshade maple platform on Isoblocks, with the PS Audio power cord I was using on the ZCD) it sounds fabulous.
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« Last Edit: 12/05/08 at 15:14:22 by Lon »  

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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #12 - 12/06/08 at 03:15:45
 
Lon: I'm very interested in the tube regulation option too. Be sure and let us know your impressions.
Don
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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #13 - 12/06/08 at 04:16:15
 
You know what Don. . . I'm really becoming hesitant to send the ZCD back. . .the Blu-Ray player is really shining right now, the whole system seems great right now, in a way it never quite has with the ZCD. . . . I guess I'll send it back, but I really have had a hot and cold affair with the ZCD and I'm almost ready to just keep it out of the system!

Seems odd, but again I think I miss what I had with the DEC685, great audio and video in one machine!  A less complicated, more integrated system.
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« Last Edit: 12/06/08 at 04:18:59 by Lon »  

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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #14 - 12/06/08 at 05:07:22
 
Lon: Not sure, or can't remember ( increasingly the case!) what happened to your 685, but you've no doubt seen the used on FS in the "Audiophile Talk" classifieds.
The Sony must be a great piece.
I love my ZCD, but obviously there's quite a number of great players out there. The synergy factor is huge.
Don
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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #15 - 12/06/08 at 12:27:02
 
The DEC685 started skipping on some discs, some of my favorite discs and some newly arrived discs and it started getting annoying enough that I took it out.  For a while I was using it in the bedroom as a dvd and cd source, and it didn't exhibit the same problem!  So now it sits lonely.  I could put it back in and see what is up, but the Blu-Ray player is doing such a good job that I'm not doing so.  I don't need another DEC695. . . I need to sell something more than buy somethng!  I have a DEC685 amd a very nice NAD just being stored right now.

I'm going to have these modifications done to the ZCD and if it doesn't thrash the Blu-Ray after those are added, I'll probably put it up for sale. . . . I've just got too much of a "love/hate" thing going.  Partly it's there's a bit of warmth with the Blu-Ray I haven't yet gotten from the ZCD, partly the ZCD is just so unforgiving that only handfuls of discs sound exceptional, and I'm not a "listen to handfuls of discs" sort of guy; I listen to about fifty different discs a week. The Blu-Ray is a great machine, its' no longer the flagship (Sony released a new one this year that looks amazing) but it's quite a feat of engineering, a computer with transports really.
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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #16 - 12/06/08 at 16:58:15
 
I retired a Jolida 603 cdp that skips occasionally, I then bought the ZCD.
The synergy with the rest of my stuff is the best I've had.
--there's a dilemma with failed components though, can't sell 'em, hate to throw them out,  so instead we store them. ( my wife casts a very skeptical eye on my growing collection!)
Don
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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #17 - 12/06/08 at 18:35:20
 
Indeed. . . I have a collection of that, even stuff that works that I just can't seem to part with.

Maybe one day I'll clean house!
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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #18 - 01/09/09 at 12:38:49
 
On CD players that skip, often removing the cover, and giving the lens a blast of canned air will cure the problem.  

John C.
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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #19 - 01/09/09 at 20:20:41
 
Thanks, John.I've had the cover off, but didn't try to clean the lens. Roll Eyes
Don
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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #20 - 01/10/09 at 15:04:23
 
I received my ZCD back with all options installed.  The saving grace in this is the ability to dial back the output of the player. . . this is really making the frequency balance better for my system.  I think the tube rectification is making a significant improvement as well.

It's hard to be categorical because I've also changed from 2" to 4" Mapleshade maple platforms while the ZCD was away, but I think I have a handle on the improvements (yes, quite) made by the new platforms through their effects on the Sony ES Blu-Ray player.  It's been four or five days now that the ZCD is back and I'm enjoying it.  I also really enjoy the Blu-Ray player, it has a certain naturalness that makes the ZCD sound a bit more "hifi". . . . I can easily live with either of these players.  I am lucky, I get to live with both! Smiley
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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #21 - 01/21/09 at 16:19:36
 
Further listening notes:  yes, this ability to vary the output of the player has transformed it in my system.  I can now dial it in just right, and it's clearly a giant-killer. Undoubtedly the tube regulation is a big factor in this, hard for me to tell as I was never able to get the right output for my system from the player before the tube regulation option was added.

I say order this player with all the options and expect to be very pleased.
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« Last Edit: 01/22/09 at 03:24:31 by Lon »  

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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #22 - 02/22/09 at 16:17:47
 
Okay, the ZCD is just driving me insane.  I don't get the sound I think I should out of it, so I've taken it out of the system again, and simplified the system by using the Sony ES Blu-Ray player as the source. I lack some of the dimensionality of the ZCD but the tonal balance is right and I relax into the sound.

I know one day I'll stick the ZCD back in, or use it in another system in another house.  I want to love it so much, and have a lot invested in it!  But. . . it just makes me crazy.
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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #23 - 04/02/09 at 15:21:08
 
I was looking at your posts on the ZCD. i HAVE AN IDEA THAT i'M SURE WOULD HELP OUT THE PLAYER. Purchase some Deflex panels
and glue them into every open space in the chassis of the ZCD.
I am sure this would bring the ZCD to another level of playback
and would relax its sound and give it more weight and transparency as well.
Just a thought I had tried it on my Toshiba dvd and in every way
it improved the player. I eventually will use this stuff inside a ZCD after I get all the mods done on one first.

I bought a factory new Tascam 160 mk2 this week and should be getting it end of next week to burn in for a month and then I'll send it out in May for all the mods to be done on the player. So I was watching your postings with interest and will be taking the plunge in May for all the mods done.
Ill get the detachable IEC, CLASS A OUTPUT, AND TUBE POWER SUPPLY WITH DUAL ATTENTUATORS.
But I need to wait and have this done begoinning May and will report my findings from my system has to how it sounds then.
Don C Cheesy
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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #24 - 04/02/09 at 17:17:06
 
Don, thanks for the suggestion.  I have the ZCD parked.  It really causes me such a tizzy.  I think I listen to too many "bad recordings" to really use the ZCD. It's pretty damned revealing and it reveals them in their "badness."  I'm really happy with the new Sony SACD player and will probably stick with that. . . When I get my new Radials later in the month or so I'll probably use all my source components and decide on one.  I'll probably be selling the ZCD unless it really shines when I do put it in again.  It really was driving me crazy, and I look at it now and wince!
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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #25 - 08/04/09 at 23:06:01
 
Does anyone else have any impressions or reviews of the ZCD that they've sent back for the variable voltage and/or tube regulation option?  I bought mine almost a year go with only the IEC option (only one available at the time)
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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #26 - 08/08/09 at 03:07:43
 
Hmmm.. Anyone? Smiley
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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #27 - 08/08/09 at 16:03:00
 
I've had all the mods done to my ZCD. The modifications do make a differrence. A positive difference.  Using a very good power cord also is a plus that mod allows.

Ultimately I prefer another player, my Sony ES Series SACD player.
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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #28 - 08/09/09 at 01:16:15
 
Thanks Lon!  I knew you had the modifications performed, and was aware of your efforts to make the ZCD integrate to your liking.  I had the iec option from purchase, having found out about the differences power cords can make to a component.  I took my ZCD out of the system while contemplating sending in back for the regualtion and voltage output mods and, after putting my 10 year Jolida 601 in the system, realized that I needed the mods more than I thought!  While I was leaning more to the tube regulation, the "ease" I felt with the Jolida (albeit with some veiling and less pronounced soundtaging) probably is more a result of the standard 2 volt output, as opposed to the original ZCD's fixed 5 volt output.
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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #29 - 10/09/09 at 16:27:56
 
Well, after nearly six months of just burning in in another room, I put the ZCD back in the system last night.

The "seasoning" certainly helped.

It now has the dynamism that I love about the Sony player and the tonal balance (if I back the output of this player way down) is pretty good. . . but still bright and forward for my tastes.

I'd say it is nearly the equal of the Sony player in all ways but the treble and the forwardness of the presentation.  The Sony is the best machine I've ever had, and cost more than the fully-modified ZCD, so it's no shame. I'm going to try to keep it in for a while and see if I can get used to it. . . I miss the Sony a little bit.  Especially because it plays SACD and sounds so wonderful with that format.
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« Last Edit: 10/09/09 at 16:28:49 by Lon »  

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #45 - 10/15/09 at 12:12:54
 
It's kind of a curse for me. . . . Plus two discs skipped on the ZCD yesterday that don't skip on the Sony machines. ARGH.  

The 12AU7s work for me. Still don't have any 12AV7s in the house, there's hope.  

Audio is so subjective.  Everyone is so excited about the ZCD and I wish I were as excited.  But we all have different rooms, ears and brains, and recording collecdtions, etc.
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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #46 - 10/15/09 at 15:44:15
 
Too bad you're having trouble with your ZCD, Lon. No one can say you haven't tried to make it work for you.
Don
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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #47 - 10/15/09 at 16:30:25
 
That's true.  Knock on wood no skipping yet today (been playing cds since 5:30 a.m.)!
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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #48 - 10/20/09 at 00:00:13
 
RCA 12AV7 in the ZCD now, since Saturday.

I have to say. . . not fundamentally different from the 12BH7 I had in previously.

Ah well, I'll keep it in, fresh NOS tubes are nice to have.  I've been listening to the ZCD since I put it back in.  I'm getting used to it.  I still prefer the laid back sound of the SACD player a bit more.  But the ZCD is okay for less long listening sessions.
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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #49 - 11/24/09 at 14:48:20
 
Hey lon, chris etc...  you should try a 5963.  I've got some RCA 5963's that seems to work for me.   I think they are industrial equivient to 12AV7???   I can't really remember, I'll have to research that again...

Jason
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Re: New customs options available for the ZCD
Reply #50 - 11/24/09 at 16:30:24
 
Yeah, haven't tried one of those.

I've put the ZCD away again.  Put the SONY SCDXA5400ES CD/SACD PLAYER back in and wow, I missed it, it has the ease and tonal balance that the ZCD doesn't seem to for me.  And it plays SACDs which puts things into another level.  So the ZCD is going to sit out for a while, I just prefer the Sony.  The machine weighs 26 pounds, the case and the transport are really something. You really get your money's worth.

Edit to say output from this player with the CSP2 turned up to full gain and into the Torii is the best sound I've ever had in my system.



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« Last Edit: 11/29/09 at 20:09:49 by Lon »  

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