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2011 Zen Fest review (Read 6230 times)
Donnie
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2011 Zen Fest review
10/09/11 at 18:32:18
 
I just wanted to get my memorys down before I forgot them. First props go out to Ma Nature, clear and warm for this time in October.
I left my fortified compound around noon and arrived in Steve's beautuful neighborhood around 1:30. I got there feeling happy because  I noticed that that my gas gulping Jeep had gotten over 23 MPG on the way up, you have to love a 25 mph tailwind.
Mike Ziegler greeted my and told me that everyone was inside.
When I went inside I felt like the village idiot, so many people that knew so much about how to reproduce sound, what could I add to the discussion? I introduced myself as Donnie and everyone already knew me as Donnie with the Red Torii. Hell I was semi-known. I started talking to the guy standing next to me and he turned out being Bob Ziegler. I asked him a few questions about how he made his different products and he replied in a manner that I could easly understand. We talked about how to make things and I felt that we both had somewhat similar outlook on life.
We went outside to swap storys with Chris, Randy, Mike and others.
Damn, what a great way to spend a nice afternoon!
Steve stopped by and talked to our little group for a while. I asked him for his ideas on why I keep breaking my ZDAC, I will do a little experiment later on today to see if it works.
A little later on in the day I wanted to listen to some ZOB's through a Torii from my Wadia- Ipod setup. We hooked up my stuff to a ZDAC Torii combo so it would be like what I have at home, that is so cool being able to do something like that.
My inital impressions of the ZOB's aren't so good for me and my music, they sounded a little flat and chesty to my ears. I'm still on the fence on the ZOB's, I will need to listen some more when my spouse gives me the go ahead on having some of my money.
Anyway, back to my story. I then ate some exelent chili and continued bullshitting for a while longer until Steve came out to announce that he was getting ready to run his video demonstration.In the immortal words of Jed Clampett, Woo Doggies! None too shabby. It sounded wonderful. After some more story telling and a long disscusion with Bob about our past cars, I had to hightail it on home. I got home about 11:10, almost as the same time as my second shift working wife. All in all, a wonderful day. Thanks Steve and DeVon, I hope to see you all next year.
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4krow
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Re: 2011 Zen Fest review
Reply #1 - 10/10/11 at 02:33:56
 
Ok guys, I know some of you must have heard the FRX  ZOB speakers,  now spill yer guts...
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Decware 34I.3 integrated amp/Forte' 3 bass amp/Velodyne SMS-1 bass mngmnt system/Decware ZOB speakers/BESL subs/Emotiva ERC3 CD player/BPT 3.0 power cond. PS Audio P500
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Donnie
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Re: 2011 Zen Fest review
Reply #2 - 10/10/11 at 03:10:50
 
4KROW,
What I heard was real good on well recorded jazzy light  music. When you throw amplified guitar, bass and drums at them, they kind of sounded flat. No sparkle on top no bass on the bottom.
Again, these impressions are from only listening to 3 songs off of my Ipod Wadia combo. From what I heard, my MG944's and a JBL sub sound better with MY music. I'm still interested in ZOB's but I think I will need a Imperial SO to pick up the bottom, then I would need to figure out the treble problem that I heard. Again this was listening to my music, yours might be perfect for them. They sure would be pretty in Koa wood, or painted red!
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Rivieraranch
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Re: 2011 Zen Fest review
Reply #3 - 10/10/11 at 03:43:25
 
Did you visit on Friday or Sunday?
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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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Donnie
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Re: 2011 Zen Fest review
Reply #4 - 10/10/11 at 03:49:21
 
Friday, 1:30 till 9:30. I just saw my big fat gut on the video feed that is playing on the Decware website right now. Bob and I start talking around 40 minutes into the feed.
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4krow
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Re: 2011 Zen Fest review
Reply #5 - 10/10/11 at 14:20:56
 
Thanks for the input, it helps me figure this all out for my system.
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Decware 34I.3 integrated amp/Forte' 3 bass amp/Velodyne SMS-1 bass mngmnt system/Decware ZOB speakers/BESL subs/Emotiva ERC3 CD player/BPT 3.0 power cond. PS Audio P500
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4krow
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Re: 2011 Zen Fest review
Reply #6 - 10/12/11 at 21:21:49
 
Donnie,

 I have built the ZOB cabinets and loaded them with Audio Nirvana drivers 'till the FRX drivers can be replaced. The AN drivers are doing better than I would have guessed, but not without help. I added a Gizmo and a short horn in the rear to make things sound better. Other than a rise in the treble, I have few complaints about the choice. I still miss the FRX drivers. In my room things worked out really well.
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Decware 34I.3 integrated amp/Forte' 3 bass amp/Velodyne SMS-1 bass mngmnt system/Decware ZOB speakers/BESL subs/Emotiva ERC3 CD player/BPT 3.0 power cond. PS Audio P500
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Donnie
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Re: 2011 Zen Fest review
Reply #7 - 10/13/11 at 00:07:08
 
4krow
I've been following your build with some interest. ZOB's have been on the top of my list for what to buy when I decide to move up from my MG944's. I'm now also thinking about some Turning Point Audio HR-1's. Either way I'm pretty sure that I would be happy. To tell the truth, my MG's are pretty friggin' good as it is. I guess that sometimes I just have to spend some money on myself as a reward for all of the mind eating hours that I spend at work.
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« Last Edit: 10/13/11 at 00:12:24 by Donnie »  

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Lon
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Re: 2011 Zen Fest review
Reply #8 - 10/13/11 at 00:52:43
 
Donnie . . . Did you get to hear the ERRs?  I've both ERRs and HR-1s and I love both but the ERRs have the magic that puts them in my main system. . . they just have more presence and "space" to them in my room. They're cheaper than the HR-1s too (I think?)
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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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Chris K
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Re: 2011 Zen Fest review
Reply #9 - 10/13/11 at 02:21:28
 
I'm going to go out on a limb here. ERR sounds different in some major ways in the Decware listening room. The most pronounced difference is the one that stands out the most though and that is this: that the ERR has much less forward midrange due to the fact that there is no hard ceiling 8 to 9 feet above the speaker. The vaulted ceiling of the room and very absorptive paper barrier insulation that is up in the the rafters give very little downward reflection to the listener in comparison to the average living room. My contention is that of all the speakers at DecFest ERR's are short changed the most by this condition. Overall Steve's room layout sounds great but the ERR need some more reflective surface above if not behind to really "shine". I wish I would have taken a pair and demoed them to most people there in one of the other rooms in the back. Many impromptu set ups were cobbled together in the back rooms of the shop all weekend long. I really have to get these in my house. I believe the full potential is being heard by Lon and others who have these in a normal room with ceilings of average height. That said I have the HR-1's pictured in the DecFest photos. They are tremendous sounding speakers but to be fair they have a full spectrum driver compliment firing forward in addition to the radial driver. Do not make the mistake of selling the ERR short. Especially those of you who heard it at the Fest. I stake my entire experience with HR-1 and the prototypes before on the fact that in house ERR's will sound bigger and better in every way.
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Chris K
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Re: 2011 Zen Fest review
Reply #10 - 10/13/11 at 03:12:37
 
Well, another DecFest gone by and I wish there was enough time to do much more and to have talked much more to so many of you that attended.

First as always a big thanks to Steve, DeVon, Sarah, and all the Decware crew for a home style yet professional feeling of camaraderie and family. Special thanks to Bob and Mike: you guys build speakers like no other...The best! Steve and Bob make a team that is so fun to be around. God bless you DeVon for feeding us like royalty. ZUPA!!! Wow.

Second to all the folks I met for the first time it was really great to meet all of you. Very heartening to see the NYC contingent. Peter and Martha what fun. And Rivieraranch was a treat to see you and your wife come up from FLA. Had lots of fun watching you hear the Trapeziums grow a chest with some choice electronics in front of them.
Donnie wish I'd have taken more time to chat on Fri. A pleasure nevertheless. Ryan (whom I've met before) Henry and the girls its great to see younger audiophiles who "get it". The MTV generation does have some of those after all. John B and his wife. And Rich you are too cool. Thanks for all the exotic ale tastings. Without mentioning everyone I really enjoyed seeing new faces.

Jason G glad you came again good late night listening experimenting and conversation.

Special thanks to Doug and Mary.
Surprise treat of the weekend was Doug offering me to drive him to breakfast in his brand new 40th anniversary 370Z. I won't even go into detail about SantaFe Rd. when he drove back. Twisty and fast elevation changes. What a blast!
Always good to see friends like Randy. Wouldn't be the same without you. Dan and Deb as always great to be there with you. Dan's FrankenampII pictured in the Flickr photo was a like a Zen C on steroids. I'll let him describe the thing if he wishes. The power of 2 watts never had guts like that. Wish I'd have met (shook hands and talked a bit) and talked to the Star Wars and movie buff guys more (neon yellow shirt). Come back next year fellas! Lin (opnlybafld) Nice to see you again. Dennis DPC popped in shortly. If I left anyone out I just rattling this off the top of my head so... Smiley

I will refrain from posting equipment impressions since my critical listening and evaluation was much less this year. There was no agenda for me to figure out anything really this year I just had fun with it much like last year. I'm more than willing to render opinions on equipment that I know the sound of fairly well.
Just one goosebump moment.
Want to know the most impressive imaging of the show?
Bob put a pair of Trapeziums in the general position most listened in at the corners of the rug. They were on the small stands running with Bobs original TORII MkI and his DAC. You look at the speakers and just shake your head in disbelief. Orchestral rendition of Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack were so stunningly huge in scale it was the performance rendered in full size from the little speakers. That the last octave of bass was missing did not matter one lick. The bass that was there was so convincing that I could only imagine that a sub would have put galactic size on that presentation that would have been surreal. Maybe the stars aligned or something to do with many beers. But I think I know what I heard. GOOSEBUMPS!! It was stupefying.
Good times ahead.
Thank you!
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« Last Edit: 10/13/11 at 03:28:48 by Chris K »  

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Lon
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Re: 2011 Zen Fest review
Reply #11 - 10/13/11 at 13:38:02
 
Chris, that's an interesting suggestion about the ERRs. I would imagine a considerably taller ceiling WOULD limit that midrange forwardness. In my room (8.5" ceilings) the ERRs have plenty, and the HR-1s may have a bit too much (for my tastes, I'm a "less forward is best" sort of guy in the main).

All I can say is that they're both fantastic speakers (the designs by Bob and Steve are awesome and Bob's construction is just amazing) and they love the control and power the Torii gives them.
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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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stevef
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Re: 2011 Zen Fest review
Reply #12 - 10/13/11 at 19:11:27
 
Chris,

The ceiling really shouldn't have much of an impact.  Most of the speaker output is supposed to be in the horizontal plane.  From a seated to a standing window.  There tends to be some "image rise" with omni speakers, but they are all designed to avoid ceiling reflections. By image rise, a term I just made up, omnis tend to sound like they are taller than they actually are. (Disclaimer: no experience with the Decware radial line at home.  I do have extended listening with the Linkwitz Pluto, Shahinian, and the grand daddy of all omni designs the Hegeman model 1) Here is an experiment for you to try.  Play a well recorded cut of music that you feel real comfortable with in the repeat mode. First listen to it from your usual seated position.  That will be your reference.  Next play the cut while laying on the floor, then while sitting on the floor. Also while standing, and from a ladder a foot above your head, and again near the ceiling. You may check from your seated reference any time you wish.  Here's what should happen.  From the floor all volumes except the bass vent should sound diminished.  Most of the sound will arrive from reflected surfaces. You may note a time smear if the room is very live.  As you transition to a seated position, the speaker should sound normal and remain pretty much the same standing.  That's the anticipated listening window.  The tweeter has limited vertical dispersion, and should be in it's near maximum.  When you stand on the ladder the tweeter response will fall off.  As you go higher the sound will diminish similar to the floor position but not as dramatically.  So besides getting some exercise, what happened?  you just demoed that the typical omni directional pattern is a rising circle in predominately the horizontal plane. Think donuts with the bottom cut off.  If you hear strong output near the ceiling, then the speaker has a design flaw. The cone is too curvilinear, and needs to be made more vertical. At home, a 3-4 foot circle of absorbent material would be the cure. The typical radial is on the short side to take full advantage of this rising circle pattern.  One design I know of is only about 14-16 inches tall, and it's still a floor stander.  To make a very long story short, the from the ceiling sounds are most likely secondary reflections off the wall created by the rising circular dispersion pattern.

Steve
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Chris K
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Re: 2011 Zen Fest review
Reply #13 - 10/13/11 at 22:22:52
 
Steve your points are well taken and you have certainly done more experimental listening than me. I don't yet have a pair of ERR so cant do the things you describe with them. My main reason for posting the comments about ERR's were to posit that the speakers will sound better in every respect in a room with average height ceilings. I prove this every year with the HR-1 radial. YMMV. DecFest is a great fun event. Steve's room images like crazy. However nothing takes the place of having the speakers in your house to hear what they will ultimately sound like for you. My feeling is that the ERR of all the speakers will have a thicker tonal balance in the bass and midrange in a persons home more so than any of the other speakers at DecFest. That means IMHO if you really want to hear the ERR you have to get a pair home. That is not a critique of the Decware listening space either. All listening spaces are just different. And most of use live in and listen in rooms with ceilings of average height of 8-9 feet. If it is not the ceiling reflection then it is something to do with room boundaries in general. No arguing science or measurement with you. I leave that up to others to do.
The speakers will sound more full and fleshed out at home than at Decware.
Just sayin! Smiley
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« Last Edit: 10/13/11 at 22:27:15 by Chris K »  

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Donnie
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Re: 2011 Zen Fest review
Reply #14 - 10/13/11 at 23:11:52
 
I once listened to my MG's from floor level. I tripped over my big feet and fell down. Yes they sounded different, I just figured that it was the concussion!
All of you are so hardcore, I just like to listen to music. I love the passion that I see in everyone on this forum. I have learned so much reading all of this information.
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