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Diary of a recent Zen Head #3 (Read 1381 times)
Steve Deckert
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If the 1st watt
sucks why continue?

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Diary of a recent Zen Head #3
11/10/08 at 14:46:38
 
Trickywombat writes:

09-04-2008, 03:21 PM:

Got my Zenhead. Burning it in right now, but thought I should leave a short impression for the sake of those who are sitting on the fence and wonder if this amp is worth considering.

Decware readily answered my questions on the phone and by email, entertained shipping requests and deadlines and kept their promise. My credit card was not charged until the item was shipped, and 2-day UPS tracking # was promptly provided by customer service.

Package arrived well-packed and in as-new condition. 9V battery pre-installed in battery compartment. I like user-replaceable batteries in an amp.

Build Quality: Hefty metal case with 2 plastic trim pieces. Lettering is engraved as well as painted. Picture on manufacturer website accurately depicts the amp. Jacks, switch and volume control feel solid. Toggle switches inside are a nice touch. I like the 3.5mm jack - they click and grab on tight to any 3.5mm plug (tried generic, Switchcraft and Neutrik).

Included items: Amp, Battery, Mini-Mini IC, pouch.

This is the biggest portable amp I have tried. Not-quite Lisa III-sized, but bigger than my iQube or iBasso D1. Not including the volume knob and power switch, it is the size of a Nintendo DS Lite (closed). But since it is Nintendo DS Lite-sized, it should be easy to find a storage case for it. It is heavier than a DS Lite, but the case looks like it could stop a 5.56x45mm round.

Amp is still burning in, but tried it initially with
iPod Classic -> ALO Cryo Silver X -> Zen Head -> Denon D1001
Gain: Normal, Crossfeed: On, Input Impedance: Set to 10K

It has detail and transparency, a great soundstage yet is laid back and very relaxing. Bass is deep, vocals are sweet. Right now, the most remarkable thing about this amp is the soundstage - wide and immersive - probably due to the well-implemented crossfeed. I like the Zen Head crossfeed better than the Corda 2Move's.

I like the way the amp portrays vocal music (Patricia Barber, Holly Cole, Lisa Ekdahl, Peter Cincotti) - there's a certain presence. U2 and rock tracks have a Grado-like presentation - slightly aggressive and sparkly. The soundstage makes Lounge/Ambient/House/Chill sound good - on a few tracks I was tricked into looking to the side or behind me.

I'm not good at describing amps, but right now this is really worth a try if you're sitting on the fence and if you can live with the size of the amp. I'll see how it develops with burn-in, but for now it looks like my goal of getting an amp that is warmer than my iQube with crossfeed has been met, and without sacrificing too much in terms of detail and transparency. The crossfeed of this amp is quite addictive.

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