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My Zbox Evolution. (Read 10727 times)
grobinso
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My Zbox Evolution.
02/09/09 at 03:29:48
 
Well it's been a few years since I have sang the praises of my Zbox and it has come time again to re-consider how it's working out for me and to solicit some opinions / thoughts.

My current system consists of one of Eddie's amps, HDT's with the DFR-8's and a Peter Danials Audiosector USB Dac.   These days I'm finding the Zbox to be an as needed component but I'v grown slightly disatisfied with it.  Between in and out of the chain, the zbox loses some detail and speed (understandable) but also changes the tone to be less faithful to the music.  This of all things has bothered me and while it still does great things with the fullness and seperation, I'v made contemplations of moving it out of the system.

I wonder if others might share thoughts on tweaking their Zbox???

Cheers
Grant
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veryoldcat
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Re: My Zbox Evolution.
Reply #1 - 02/09/09 at 03:59:31
 
So, Grant,

Just for fun, what tubes have you rolled? My zbox is still workin for me, incidentally...

Karl


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SE84CS (vcapped), CSP, zbox, Dec685, ZP 1.0, Sota tt/Well-Tempered Arm/V15XMR, Parker 98's, Parker Audio *Power Chords*, cat 6 wires, OSX; a garage sale of other stuff...
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grobinso
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Re: My Zbox Evolution.
Reply #2 - 02/10/09 at 00:49:39
 
Thanks for the response.

I'v got Brimar 1960's 12au7 and a 12ax7
Rca 5751 cleartop
Mullard 12at7 cryo
valvo 12ax7  1970's i believe.

I like the brimar 12au7 the most (although gives through the most hum) the zbox in my current system is changing the sonics, in some ways very good and some ways it's taking away.  

Cheers!
Grant
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veryoldcat
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Re: My Zbox Evolution.
Reply #3 - 02/10/09 at 04:16:29
 
Hi Grant,

Well, currently I get the best results with 12BH7's. They have a tendency to sound slightly grainy right at first, but that goes away after they are burning for a while. They have the most spacious sound to my ear.

I have some pretty cool; well, better than pretty cool 12au7's (BB's), which beat out all the higher gain 12..'s I tried.

When comparing a good 12AU7 to a good 12BH7, the 12AU7 sounds kind of one dimensional by comparison.

Karl
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SE84CS (vcapped), CSP, zbox, Dec685, ZP 1.0, Sota tt/Well-Tempered Arm/V15XMR, Parker 98's, Parker Audio *Power Chords*, cat 6 wires, OSX; a garage sale of other stuff...
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Lon
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Re: My Zbox Evolution.
Reply #4 - 02/10/09 at 16:49:02
 
As soon as Karl first mentioned using a 12BH7, I started using them and can't now do without them; they give me the best sound.

I can't say that the ZBox is doing anything harmful in my system. . . I sue it between both my source components (ZCD and Sony ES Series Blu-Ray player) because I had Steve add a second set of inputs, switchable.  This did not harm the sonics and allows me to get the most of it.
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Lon
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Re: My Zbox Evolution.
Reply #5 - 02/14/09 at 14:46:21
 
Grant,

There is definitely something to what you say about the ZBox affecting the tonal balance of the system.

I rerouted my ZCD to go directly into the CSP2 this morning and have been listening.  There is a slight increase in dynamics (I guess the signal not having to go through another set of cables may be the reason?) and the presentation is a bit more vivid and a bit less 'warm' across the board.  This is all possible for me because the ZCD now has a variable output and I don't need the ZBox to "buffer" that output (impedance?) the way I did before.  I am going to listen for a while this way and see if I will let it remain.  This allows me to use my ZBox for my ES Series Blu-Ray player, and my TV stereo output (thanks to the extra input and switch that Steve added) and the TV is going to sound much better with the ZBox.
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grobinso
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Re: My Zbox Evolution.
Reply #6 - 02/16/09 at 00:13:28
 
Some interesting comments...  Lon nailed my feelings exactly and like him, I'm having to think about my system a bit.  the use of the 12bh7 is an interesting idea and may try one.  Any recomendations??

I'v also thought of unloading the Zbox and maybe trying some of the MAC Palladium cables to try to get some compensating warmth back into the system,  I'v got silver cables currently for both runs of IC's.

Cheers
Grant
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Lon
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Re: My Zbox Evolution.
Reply #7 - 02/16/09 at 02:35:31
 
I've used cryo'd RCAs from www.tubeman.com  He has three or four options, NOS, new production, cryo'd, non-cryo'd. . . . I  have never had anything but wonderful transactions from this site.
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Lon
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Re: My Zbox Evolution.
Reply #8 - 02/21/09 at 16:32:11
 
Grant,

I put the ZBox back in between the ZCD and the CSP2.

It just. . . sounds better.  It's probably not "flat" -- it is probably changing the tonal balance, but it's in a good way. Even though there's a hum I can't get rid of, if I have the ZBox all the way up it's manageable. With my two sources (other than the TV, that runs directly into the CSP2 now) connected to it, I get better sound than when not connected to it. And that is stellar sound (the system now sounds great without it but it goes up a notch when in the chain).  Just my ears and room and brain.
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Lon
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Re: My Zbox Evolution.
Reply #9 - 03/05/09 at 15:00:16
 
An update. . . my ZBox is still in my system but it's a different system!

I swapped out the amplification between my main and bedroom system.  I put the ZBox, CSP2 and SE34 Monoblocks into my bedroom system (with a Wadia iTransport, a Sony Blu-Ray player and tv as sources) and put the Peachtree Audio Decco integrated amp that I had bought for the bedroom into the living room system, driving the RL2s.

I wanted a change.  I'm using the Scott Nixon designed DAC in the Decco to decode the signal from my Sony ES Blu-Ray player.  The sound is not quite up to the Decware amplification, but not far from it. I've ordered a Decware SE34I.2 integrated amp to be the real heart of this system. Needed, wanted a change.

I'm very happy with the Sony Blu-Ray player, and ultimately decided that it works better for me than the ZCD even with all the options, so I'll probably be selling that soon.  And I decided to order the new Sony SACD player, the SCD-XA5400ES, which is purported to be a really topnotch redbook cd player for the dollars.  That should be here Friday.  I'll also sell my NAD T585 SACD/DVD player, thinning the ranks. When I have the SE34I.2 in place then it will be a shootout between the Decware amplfication in the bedroom and the Peachtree Audio. . . if I were to do the shootout today, I think the Peachtree would win, because the DAC really upgrades the sound of those sources.  

I'm enjoying the change right now.  The hybrid tube/solid state Decco is sounding nice with the RL2s.
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« Last Edit: 03/05/09 at 17:30:25 by Lon »  

Decware:ERR,HR-1,ZP3,CSP2+,Torii Mk III,PS Audio PWT+DS,PowerBases,PPP,AC-12 pcs, Denon DBP-A100, Denon DCD-A100,Rega RP3 +TTPSU,white belt+Exact2, VooDoo Cable:Evo,Ultra Linear, Iso-PodMapleshade:Double Heiix Plus.Samsonv2+v3 +4" platforms,Herbie's Iso-Cup
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Doorman
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Re: My Zbox Evolution.
Reply #10 - 03/05/09 at 23:12:20
 
Lon:  Glad your doing your bit for the economy! I've been very curious about the 34-I myself .Let us know how it goes.
Smiley Don
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« Last Edit: 03/05/09 at 23:14:09 by Doorman »  

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Lon
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Re: My Zbox Evolution.
Reply #11 - 03/06/09 at 02:52:54
 
Yes, doing my part. Wink
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grobinso
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Re: My Zbox Evolution.
Reply #12 - 03/10/09 at 01:12:45
 
I'v been playing around lately myself.  Picked up a Kingrex T20U for my room-mates system for when he moves out.   This little guy is a Tripath based amp with USB Dac built into a very small case.  Hooked up to a Mac mini, this setup has virtually no footprint,  the two boxes are like 6" x 7" x 4" high stacked....   A wildly detailed little setup which works best sofar on fleshing out Voices but man.....  It's been a long time since I'v listened to a non tube amplifer...  

I plan on ordering the Cryod RCA 12bh7 from the tubeman in a few weeks and see how that works with the zbox..  maybe that will lay some of my whining to rest... Grin!

Grant
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Lon
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Re: My Zbox Evolution.
Reply #13 - 03/10/09 at 21:53:16
 
Cool Grant.  There are lots of options now for using a computer as a transport. . . .I just don't want to do that. . . .
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grobinso
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Re: My Zbox Evolution.
Reply #14 - 03/13/09 at 05:34:35
 
Funnily enough I get that.  A friend of mine converted to computer based audio some 8 years ago.  There was nothing funnier than lugging a dell whitebox up to the cottage to listen to tunes...

Also as someone who doesn't have the patience for a turntable, computer based audio makes sense, otherwise I'd be eschewing it as well..

I confess though that computer based audio has been a wonderful journey in my case....  

Cheers
Grant
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