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NEW ZCD REVIEW (Read 3779 times)
76doublebass
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Posts: 47
NEW ZCD REVIEW
06/02/09 at 15:42:08
 
ZCD Decware CD Player.
Review notes
First hour needed break in. Highs were closed in etched and sound to forward. On my system it was very clear that the system preferred the 84C in Triode mode with the ZCD in the mix . It was very clearly heard.
The sound was much more balanced and relax in triode mode.(A FOOTNOTE): I talked to Steve per phone conversation and he stated that my amp needed to stay in the lay back mode and not put in the hot mode due to the large variable voltage swings of the  pots on the ZCD from 5 volts to 20 volts.
Even in the 5th hour of listening I heard some incredible transparency and realism from a Diana Krall
Cd Love Scenes . The immediacy of her voice felt like she was in person in the living room.
I was hearing at times A REAL PERSON in my acoustic space. The system has gone beyond a sound reproducer to a real event  transporter. I had never heard anything close to this before.
The ARC CD-8 has some of this transparency, But not anywhere to this level of involvement, and inner detailing of instrumental details. I was enjoying listening to all the wind instruments in an orchestra weaving in and out of cd after cd I was playing. I was happy to be able to hear the bass trombone part throughout one particular piece of music with the Boston Pops playing Glenn Miller tunes. All instrumental lines became so well defined and easily heard without any blurring of parts together.
On about the 10th hour of playback when I put on a copy of  Harry Belafonte Live at the Carnegie
I was transported to the hall. I thought I was really in the hall. I could hear the acoustic space so clearly
And could hear the sound bounce off the walls of the hall and could hear depth of field and clear decay of sounds as they occur in real space. I also  was  able to hear coughing from the audience in various locations
So the player could really carve out cues of the width, depth and height of the sound stage.
But the cd player can be unforgiving at times. If you have a cd with a tipped up top end you may not like what you hear. The player just does not mask anything on the disk. . So the ZCD is very accurate as a tool for a serious producer of music on a pro level in my opinion.
  From a standpoint of musical accuracy as recreated live from the symphony hall my system will recreate this from the midbass on up very accurately and can be heard with a upright bass reproduction that is very outstanding. I was able to hear the different timbres of this instrument and its fullness hearing its wood body and string plucking and bowing at the same time along with the speed of the playing as well.
The ZCD can really strut its stuff in the bass reproduction area; although I need to clarify my speakers specs are from 40Hz to 40Khz so bass drum whacks or 20 Hz organ notes in that region would need augmentation
With a really fast subwoofer.
The designer of the ZCD I’m sure knows what the cd player can reproduce in this area since he has the speakers and amps that can reproduce this area effectively.
I am on my 20th hour of playback on the ZCD and have been dialing in by ear a perfect setting on the ZCD Pots with reference to my amp. The pots on the cd player are a little pass half way up, and my volume level on my amp is up about ¾. With ¼  left before full output on my 1.8 watt amp.
The ZCD is really sounding very magical and special in so many ways. Incredible realism and a transparency I have never heard from any stereo system. I just shake my head every day I listen to the ZCD
And wonder how much better can playback get. I may know more when I reach 100 hours of playback or after 1 more month of playing 5 hours a day music on the ZCD CD player.
I have also been working hard on diy power cords for my system and fine tuning my speaker cable which may be contributing to this incredible playback as well. But Hay this is a fun hobby and it can be done experimenting without breaking the bank.
Of course I pulled the cover off the top of the player to see what was inside and noticed the class A Output stage with the G.E. 5mfd caps and the familiar looking .1 green caps on the small square pc board. Makes me want to
Change those out for V Caps. But not in any hurry soon.; Still need to break in this machine.
I put in a marathon session today running the cd player for almost 10 hours. The highs has settled in nicely.
I was amazed on Diana Krall CD Quiet Nights I was able to hear on the Samba Song A CLEARLY DEFINED BRUSH ROLL on the Snare Drum. I have never heard a clean brush roll on anything recorded, ONLY LIVE. WOW did that absolutely floor me. Talk about inner detail WOW.. I also heard on the previous track a roll on a tom tom drum and I could tell the drummer used a soft cushion mallet from the identifying sounds reproduced.The ZCD Takes inner detail to an entire level I never though was possible.
  At the 50 hour mark of burn in on the ZCD  HERE ARE MY COMMENTS  :  On Diana Krall Love Scene CD on tracks 4 and 7 I can clearly hear for the first time what the recording engineer is trying to
Create. To my ears I hear a tap echo with the pretaps increased in level and then by track 12 they are reduced so Dianas voice can be heard more naturally by then.
A FOOTNOTE : I have made several live amateur recordings over the years and know a lot of the tricks
Recording engineers use to “enhance” recordings so its nice to hear a cd player this transparent.
I don‘t think ANY CD PLAYER that I have auditioned comes anywhere near to be able to identify this.
The ZCD is probably the most accurate player made PERIOD.  Of course I have not heard every player “out there“, But I have heard one from Minnesota costing 10k not be able to reproduce this at all on this level.
Well I am at 60 hours and the sound stage is really starting to open up in a huge way. The walls are doing a disappearing act. On one track Spanish Jazz on Chesky I was able to clearly hear 2 different people snapping their fingers to the beat on the recording from wide stage left and wide stage right. I had never heard this before. Again I am speechless with the resolution of the player.
  I was playing my Beatles Love CD and I was thinking that this track “GET BACK” sounded better on the 100K system I was hearing a few months back. What should I do? And then the thought occurred to me I had forgotten
To do a tweak I had implemented with my dvd player that worked wonders. Well I put my couch pillow underneath the cd player and now I have huge bass slam and tight room shaking midbass . Steve says your room is important  and he is very correct in acknowledging this. The sound stage has expanded further from the tweak and the highs are smoother, as well as an increase in dynamic range..
  I should be at 100 hours end of the week with constant burn in and then I will submit my findings then.
I should expect major improvements after Wednesday when I will be implementing further tweaks on the system as well. Stay Tuned!
Cheesy
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76doublebass
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Re: NEW ZCD REVIEW
Reply #1 - 06/07/09 at 20:48:39
 
NO reply?
Well its Don c. replying to myself I guess. I have over 100 hours on ZCD and the player is  in Steve words Phenomenal.
I have also done some more Deflex pading throughout the system
and on my monsterous speaker cables and to the bottom of my Monster Power Strip an hts 2000. The last tweak really smoothed out and refined the top end even more. I honestly have never heard a more acurrate and true to life reproducer the the ZCD.I AM UTTERLY
AMAZED.
Don C.
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Lon
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Posts: 7687
Re: NEW ZCD REVIEW
Reply #2 - 06/07/09 at 20:57:15
 
I'm very happy for you! Smiley
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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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Lon
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"Love without
guts is
worthless!"
Philip K. D*ck

Posts: 7687
Re: NEW ZCD REVIEW
Reply #3 - 06/07/09 at 21:32:26
 
Just out of curiosity, what other CDPs have you heard?
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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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76doublebass
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Posts: 47
Re: NEW ZCD REVIEW
Reply #4 - 06/08/09 at 04:38:21
 
I was to tell u the truth a long time into Analog, and its only the past few years have I statrted spinning cd's on my dvd player and even bought a while back those hi res. dvd audio disks when they started coming out.I was using a Denon DVD 2500 it had nice play back and nice video, and had usedthe coax out wit a special Kimber coax, but the player died on me , so I ended up getting a Toshiba second hand and that kicked the bucket as well.Thats when I started to look at Steves web site on his tube cd player. I always liked the sound of tubes and was curious just for reference sake what a real high end tube cd player sounds like. So the people at Definate Audio in Seattle the day after an Audio show they put on let me listen the following day for 2 to 3 straight hours uninterrputed the 10K ARC CD-8 Reference cd player. So i memory and ear has a good reference as to what the best sound like. I played all my favorite disks and cuts and the ZCD is simply more real and more transparent then the ARC CD-8. By a little at that. The ARC may have better low bass definition
and drive.But the midband and upper highs is much much better IMO then the ARC CD-8. I think with all the tweaking I have done to my system I am hearing so far into each recording that it is like a breath of fresh air. Honestly as I said before I am Utterly amazed.
I am going to the Audiogons Rocky Mountain Audiofest this year and will bring with me my favoite cd's to play around with their high end players to get a fix as to where I am at on my system.
I seem to have this perfect synergy with everything now.
Lon I am retired disabled so I have alot of time on my hands.
I do alot of research on the net and have alot of ideas floating in my head for optimising ones system.And this is what I have done I beleive.
If your sound is to hifi or forward this can be changed by using a different internal hook up wire I.E. the older MIT 330 Interconnect would definately take care of that problem in the amp. My 84C is not stock I put it together by kit and that is the interconnect I used for my output cable going tro my volume control and I used a shielded Akai wire for my short input.Dueland also makes a special hook up wire that may help out your system considerably.
A high quailty diy ic  that is cyro treated would also give u a more laiback organic sound . Also internally rewiring ones speakers with cyro treated wire gives u abetter more realistic sound then CAT Wire IMO.
Just thought I would throw some of these ideas out to you.
Take Care
Don C.
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Lon
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"Love without
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Posts: 7687
Re: NEW ZCD REVIEW
Reply #5 - 06/08/09 at 11:19:22
 
Well thanks for letting me know about the cd players.

See, I have two other  Sony ES players (SACD and Blu-Ray, that sound better to me in my system than the ZCD, and an NAD that sounds at least as good and also plays DVD  and SACD, so I'm not going to alter the connecting wire in my amps to possibly suit the ZCD.  Just as clearly as you prefer the ZCD, I don't. Smiley   And, I'm not that impressed with the basic player as player, it's build quality is a bit shabby.

I'm going to wait until I get the Retail Radial speakers from Bob (or the ERR Radials if those are done first, but I think the Retail version will ship to me first), get them all broken in, and then I'm going to put the ZCD back in.  If it doesn't best these players, I'm going to send it back for Steve to examine as he offered.  I hate sending things back, I don't have a car (just a motorcycle) to take things to the UPS center etc, it's all a bit PIA for me. . . but since I seem to be the only one who doesn't worship this machine, I'll do that then.

I am very glad you are enjoying your player, I'm really enjoying my system too.
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« Last Edit: 06/08/09 at 16:39:27 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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Jeff
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Re: NEW ZCD REVIEW
Reply #6 - 06/08/09 at 16:29:40
 
Lon, nice to hear your thoughts.

doublebass, i may have asked this before...do you play double bass?
glad you're enjoying the zcd.


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Lon
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"Love without
guts is
worthless!"
Philip K. D*ck

Posts: 7687
Re: NEW ZCD REVIEW
Reply #7 - 06/08/09 at 16:40:14
 
Good question!  I've owned one for a year now.  Playing it is like dancing with a lovely large woman!
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Decware:ERR,HR-1,ZP3,CSP2+,Torii Mk III,PS Audio PWT+DS,
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Doorman
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Re: NEW ZCD REVIEW
Reply #8 - 06/08/09 at 17:02:04
 
Lon: Some do seem to "worship" the ZCD, but others, myself included, see it as a competent player, but certainly not the "ne plus ultra", by any means. I guess it partly boils down to where you've been in terms of past equipment, what one's reference point is.
I've not heard either of the players you've mentioned, but I don't doubt they're excellent.
Some will buy the ZCD because it has the Decware badge, and that will be enough. For others, the search goes on!
Happy listening!
Don
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Decware SE34I w/ CCE mod, ZCD, Heybrook/Linn/Clearaudio, Hagerman,
Goertz/Wireworld/cat-5/MarkAudio Alpair 10.2 drivers
(eN) in DIY Mar-Ken cabs
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Lon
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"Love without
guts is
worthless!"
Philip K. D*ck

Posts: 7687
Re: NEW ZCD REVIEW
Reply #9 - 06/08/09 at 17:34:55
 
Hey Don,

My tongue was firmly in my cheek when I said that.

I really WANT to love the ZCD.  Maybe I will one day.

I have to stop talking about it because I want others to have the type of experience you and 76 have.

Lon out.
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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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76doublebass
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Posts: 47
Re: NEW ZCD REVIEW
Reply #10 - 06/08/09 at 18:12:08
 
Jeff Its nice to see others finally chime in I was wondering where everyone went.Yes I confess I'm in love with the ZCD.
AND to answer your question I have played a doublebass bass trombone in The Skagit Symphony for the past 20 years and regular trtenor trombone 20 years prior to that. So I have alot of exposure listening to live music 8 months out of each year the symphony is playing, and I have also played in a semi pro jazz band The Wind Machine and have done live recordings with them as well.
Don C. Cheesy
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Jeff
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Re: NEW ZCD REVIEW
Reply #11 - 06/08/09 at 22:14:02
 
glad to chime in here. the more active the forum is the more i'll drop by to read and perhaps post  :)

oh so, bass trombone...i was thinking contrabass, the stringed instrument...i've got one. one of my friends in college played bass trombone.

i like to read all the reviews everyone posts.
i just got a DEC343 from zygi and i'm enjoying it pretty well. i had an old old NAD cd player (which sounded alot smoother and richer than the previous cheap dvd players that would die every 6 months) and i just kinda got the itch to upgrade and thought the player from zygi was a deal.
well it does sound real nice. nicely balanced, good top end extension but it still real smooth. midrange is alot nice on the new player, bass response is similar. i think the 343 might be a bit more dynamic too.
it does have better presence and imaging.

also, Bob opened it up after it got returned to him and the box was a little beat looking. (to tell you hte truth i don't think his PO even shipped it). turns out it has jupiter beeswax and also russian caps in it.
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Lon
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"Love without
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worthless!"
Philip K. D*ck

Posts: 7687
Re: NEW ZCD REVIEW
Reply #12 - 06/08/09 at 22:19:54
 
I've always read good things about the 343.

I think there's a certain "smoothness" to dvd players reproducing cd playback.  Every one that I had was "smoother" than the strictly dedicated CD players I've had.  Sometimes. . . too smooth!
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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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