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ZEN ZCD INITIAL REVIEW (Read 3431 times)
76doublebass
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ZEN ZCD INITIAL REVIEW
05/27/09 at 04:17:23
 
I receied the ZEN ZCD today and have been playing disk after disk for almost 5 straight hours and the player is opening up and sounding wonderful after first day of play. Out of the box it wasn't up to its duties,But I was sure it neede alot of time to settle in and at the 5 hour mark I alreay can hear what this special player is all about.
Detail galore extnded highs very,very transparent.Ahuge soundstage presentation when the material is recorded as such.
A very faithful player to the music it encodes.
I would be curious how it would stack up against an ARC CD-8 Tube cd player that I think cost 10k.
But it does somewhat remind me of the sonics from that player several months ago when I listened to it.
I only have 5 hours on the player and have heard a reproduction of a small triangle in a group with acostic guitars as well.But what impressed me was I could hear all the inner timbre of the triangle for the first time from a cd. This has never happened to me before.
Yes live in my symphony, But not from a cd. I am truly amazed at what this player may be capable of doing. My wife is in the living room much more as well listening to the music. I think I fell asleep 3 times to Dinan Krall. I'm not sure if it was her puttinhg me to sleep or the player.LOL. I mean that in a good way. I was so relaxed listening to everything.
I may listen some more late night when things quiet down.
Ill keep u all posted.
Don C.
Happy Listening Cheesy
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Lon
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Re: ZEN ZCD INITIAL REVIEW
Reply #1 - 05/27/09 at 09:48:34
 
Glad it's working out so well for you Don!
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Rivieraranch
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Re: ZEN ZCD INITIAL REVIEW
Reply #2 - 05/30/09 at 20:06:29
 
My Ah! CD player has a standard 2.5 volt output, half a volt more than most CD players. When I use the CSP2 in the chain between my player and the Taboo it raises the voltage high enough that the Taboo's full potential comes out.  The Taboo needs 3 volts to come to full power.  While the Ah! gets the Taboo almost there, the CSP2 opens it up and it blooms.

As I read it, the ZCD now has variable output voltage that allows for "dialing in" the desired voltage. If I were running the ZCD through the Taboo, the CSP2 would become optional.

What are the differences between the Ah! Njoe Tjoeb player (with upsampler) and the ZCD?
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« Last Edit: 05/30/09 at 20:07:21 by Rivieraranch »  

DECWARE CSP2+, TABOO MK III; SE84CKC; HR1; TRAPEZIUM DESKTOP SPEAKERS; TECHNICS SL1200MK5 turntable; Ah! Njoe Tjoeb CD player; MARANTZ 2226B, 2216B receivers; SENNHEISER HD-580 headphones
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76doublebass
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Re: ZEN ZCD INITIAL REVIEW
Reply #3 - 06/01/09 at 09:44:33
 
I'm running my ZCD thru my 84C ZEN Amp without Steves Preamp
and I have a huge amount of gain with the dual variable outputs on my cd player. I can really dial it in perfectly now. It just takes some getting use to. My wife sometimes when in the kitchen says to me turn it down its to much volume and shes not even in my living room listening area. So with my set up I really don't feel the need to turn things up to much since so much transparency is coming thru t lower volume settings as well. I have so much more to write about this wonderful cd player more to come. I have about 50 hours on the player. I am running it now on continuous repeat with The Beatles Love Song CD TO BURN THIS BABY IN.
dON c. Cheesy
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Lon
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Re: ZEN ZCD INITIAL REVIEW
Reply #4 - 06/01/09 at 13:29:27
 
Your experience is very different from mine, but I'm very happy for that!

I sure wish the ZCD handled SACD. I'm loving SACD these last few months.
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76doublebass
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Re: ZEN ZCD INITIAL REVIEW
Reply #5 - 06/01/09 at 17:00:05
 
Hi Lon the ZCD can play hybrid SACD disks. Actually the way to get around this may be a bit involving but worth a try. The website
HD Recordings feature several SACD'S on jazz hi rez from the CHESKY cATALOG that u can download at 96k 24 bit flac and convert to PCM Wave for some outstanding music. Just a thought worth investigating. I read from your posts that u have a huge collection of CDs so maybe you don't want to explore this option.
Take Care
Don C. Cheesy
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Lon
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Re: ZEN ZCD INITIAL REVIEW
Reply #6 - 06/01/09 at 17:14:11
 
Oh yeah, it will play hybrids, but it's the SACD layer I want.  I've begun to really like the 'ease' in the sound of SACD.

I have had a really disappointing long run with the ZCD, it ust doesn't sound "easy" and "natural" to me in my system, it sounds edgy and "hifi."  I've given it a number of chances and to be honest I should have sent it back in thirty days, but I didn't. When I have the Torii in the system I'll try it again, it may make a difference then (though I'd be surprised.)  I'm glad you're having such a great time with yours.  Maybe I got a lemon and I couldn't make lemonade out of it!  :)

Anyway, I don't like mixing computers and music too much, and I have over 13,000 cds these days so. . . I won't be doing the FLAC conversion etc. For the most part I'm happy with Redbook, but SACD and the uncompressed PCM sound of Blu-Ray are clearly exciting mediums for music.
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Steve Deckert
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Re: ZEN ZCD INITIAL REVIEW
Reply #7 - 06/04/09 at 14:40:51
 
Lon, I've been following your ZCD impressions since you got it last year.  You are the only one who has ever got one who thinks it's edgy.  In fact you're the only one who hasn't been thrilled.  Since there are probably close to 100 units out there it does make me wonder if something is wrong it... like a bad solder joint that we didn't catch.  

Since you aren't using it, perhaps you should send it back to me and let me spend more time with it.  If I can't find anything wrong, I'll re voice it to sound more relaxed.  On the other hand, perhaps you should wait to try it as is with some different speakers to see if the the comparison with your other players remains the same.

What do you think?
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Lon
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"Love without
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Philip K. D*ck

Posts: 7186
Re: ZEN ZCD INITIAL REVIEW
Reply #8 - 06/04/09 at 14:53:00
 
Steve, yes I know, my opinion of the player has really been at odds with others, and as I told 76db in a private email it's the audio component that has been most disappointing to me, I was so looking forward to it shining and it hasn't.

I've now have the Torii in the system and it is making the RL-2s sing in a way that netiher the Select, the SE-34 Monoblocks or the Integrated has (you know that of course) and it's an all new ballpark.  Here's what I propose doing:  soon I'll get the IT Radials from Bob (well, "soon" is relative, but it looks as if they'll be the first of the two sets of Radials I bought to arrive, the ERRs will follow) and when I have them in place and broken in and have a handle on them, I'll pop the ZCD in and do comparisons.  If it still seems edgy and doesn't hold up to the EXCELLENT Sony SACD player I'm enjoying listening to right now, I'll send it back for you to examine and/or tweak.  I appreciate that offer as it's not doing me any good right now though it may be the heart of another system in the future (I expect to marry and move into a larger house in about a year or so. . . I'm a happy and lucky man again in that regards, I'm not meant to live alone and I've found incredible romance and companionship; she loves music as much as I do and she'll have a crafts/sewing room for her quilting and other work and she'll have to have a wonderful system there).

You know the ZCD was most driving me crazy when I had it in the system wtih the ZBox, the CSP2 and the Monoblocks, and despite changing tube after tube and addressing all ground concerns there was just hum and noise in that system that compounded and made me feel uneasy.  I don't have that sort of hum with those components out of the system.  The ZCD then seemed like the final straw, and may have been the ringleader of the noise?  So after that I got this ES Series SACD player and it's a phenomenal machine, a real bargain flagship from Sony. (And I've fallen in love with SACD again). Anyway, I'll follow the plan above and see what I think.  Thanks.
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« Last Edit: 06/04/09 at 14:58:24 by Lon »  

Decware:ERR,HR-1,ZP3,CSP2+,Torii Mk III,PS Audio PWT+PWD MkII,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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