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ZBOX or ZSTAGE? (Read 2113 times)
Steve Deckert

If the 1st watt
sucks why continue?

Posts: 3607
05/17/11 at 18:47:35
Dear Mr. Deckert - I have been reviewing your website information on the ZBOX Triode Output Stage and that ZSTAGE Tube Gain Stage. Both look quite interesting. I am currently playing music via a Wadia Ipod dock and external DAC or a CD player and external DAC, into a (transistor) NAD receiver. I was wondering whether the ZBOX or the ZSTAGE would be the most appropriate add-on to my current system. The descriptions of the two units were sufficiently similar - and my technical expertise is sufficiently poor, that I was having difficulty determining the essential differences (or intended applications) of the ZBOX versus the ZSTAGE.

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Most of the time the ZBOX is going to be the recommended between the two.  The reason is this; A) It has no gain and your NAD - like most amps - has an input sensitivity of 1 volt or less.  Your DAC has an output level of 2 volts or more so gain is not needed.  B)  The ZBOX increases even order harmonics making music more natural, less dry, less fatiguing.

The ZSTAGE is the polar opposite.  It has gain, up to 5 volts with a 2 volt source so it can really deliver a kick in the pants signal to an amplifier.  Ideal for tube amps with lower input sensitivity, or situations when you want super transparency with added attack and dynamics.  It would be just the ticked for a dead sounding system to liven things up.

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