Welcome, Guest. Please Login or Register
Decware Audio Forums
11/21/14 at 18:59:54


Pages: 1 2 3 4 
Send Topic Print
ZSTAGE availability & technical question (Read 13452 times)
Lon
Seasoned Member
****


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

Posts: 7797
Re: ZSTAGE availability & technical question
Reply #15 - 04/29/12 at 04:57:10
 
Fireblade wrote on 04/29/12 at 04:44:17:
Now I think I need to get familiar with the standard setup first, with the renewed conviction to get back to my upgrading plan, in time.   Smiley


I think that's the crux of the matter right there. . . . Getting familiar with the amplifier itself in its solitary and newborn state. It's quite possible that you won't need to add a ZStage at all. I've my CSP2 installed in the system for over a week now and I can play with three gain stages: the gain of the CSP2, the gain of the PerfectWave Duo, and the gain of the Torii Mk iii. I find that with or without the CSP2 the Torii sounds best to me with the volume all the way up (all gain) and that with the CSP2 in the system the sound is considerably different. Mostly for the better, at times, with solo instrumentation for example, I prefer the sound as I had it before by a hair. But I wanted to add my new SACD player and the SACD player sounds wonderful with the CSP2, it truly brings out a wonderful character to the sound, and the SACD player has a fixed output, no adjusting of gain.

If I weren't running the SACD player, I wouldn't have the CSP2 in the system. But I will note that I don't feel that the CSP2 gets in the way at all. This has been my experience with the ZBox as well. As long as excellent interconnects and power cables are used, these items don't seem to tarnish the "purity of the signal path." I used to think that simplicity and almost nihilism in the signal path was the way that made sense, but at least with Decware preamps and buffer amps this needn't be a strict policy.

Anyway, this is my experience with my amp and my system and my room and material and my ears. I'm eager to hear your impressions. Won't be too long!
Back to top
 
 

Decware:ERR,HR-1,ZP3,CSP2+,Torii Mk III,PS Audio PWT+DS,PowerBases,PPP,AC-12 pcs, Denon DVD-A1UDCI, Rega RP3 +TTPSU,white belt+Exact2, VooDoo Cable:Stradivarius, Ultra Linear+Evo ICs, Iso-Pods,Mapleshade:Double Heiix Plus,Samsonv2+v3 +4" platforms,Herbie's Iso-Cup
  IP Logged
will
Seasoned Member
****




Posts: 1264
Re: ZSTAGE availability & technical question
Reply #16 - 04/29/12 at 05:49:25
 
Quote:
Now I think I need to get familiar with the standard setup first, with the renewed conviction to get back to my upgrading plan, in time.[


Quote:
The above challenges the possible conflict between the level of D/A source information/detail, and pure musicality.


Fireblade,

Breaking in your new gear, and getting to know your system well makes good sense to me.

As to the potential conflict between information/detail and pure musicality, my feeling is this: to technically reproduce music with engaging musicality, it must convey all the necessary detail and information throughout the spectrum as naturally as possible. Over or under detail are not natural sounding, but really, if something sounds over detailed, does this not indicate that something is missing or added in the information..that something is out of balance. When I listen to a solo instrument or voice in a good room, the vast complexity of minute details can be overwhelming if attention is given to them....but it is exactly these details that make up all the things we like to hear...timbre, weight, pacing, textures, harmonics, musicallity.

This points to mine (and I expect many others) initial interest in tubes, the concept that the way we hear natural music can perhaps be best created with tubes, in part because tubes can present even order harmonics well (sorry I said 2nd order in my previous post, but meant even).

Clearly our minds and their huge capacity for minute perception can sense the truth in sound, but this does not mean that our analytical attempts to accurately convey music is that developed. It is interesting to me that old technology tubes, when well implemented, are so close to this truth.
Back to top
 
« Last Edit: 04/29/12 at 05:52:51 by will »  

Mac mini, Tranquility DAC, CSP3, TORII MkIV, Morrow SP-6, HR-1s...VHaudio DIY, Grover, MAC ICs...PSAudio P5 and Shunyata Defender, PI Audio and DIY power cables, HerbiesAudioLab isocups and tube dampers...
  IP Logged
Fireblade
Seasoned Member
****


Knowledge comes, but
wisdom lingers.
A.L.Tennyson

Posts: 706
Re: ZSTAGE availability & technical question
Reply #17 - 04/29/12 at 20:56:32
 
Lon,

Good points.  I shouldn't question Decware's ability to produce a non-invasive, transparent component, aimed at precisely enhancing the existing signal going to the amp. Absolutely agreed.

It is also possible, as you say, I may end up not needing the ZStage, after all.  For example, I think I still could improve my source side a bit, with a higher relative improvement potential.  I need to choose the best path when I become familiar with the gear.

In the end, though, the ZStage is a very appealing concept.  Whether it will work in my particular case is something I may be willing to gamble, in time.

Will,

You're absolutely right.  What I meant was precisely the excessive detailing in the signal that in our brains translate to an unnatural, clinical sound, as you put it.  Voicing the device for musicality is an art form I guess, and sometimes designers get carried away or maybe try to compensate their voicing limitations with extra specs.  

Too much of a good thing is not always better. Enough specs are required to arrive to that apparent threshold of a minimum required level of detail to make the product credible to our ears 'once it is voiced properly.'  Voicing the circuit to convert that detailed-enough processed signal into credible music is not an easy task, I suppose.  The market should be rewarding the voicing skill rather than the spec overkill, IMO.  Also, the higher the level of detail specd, the harder to voice it properly, I suppose.

Tubes create significantly more even order distortion than odd order ones.  This is supposed to explain our tendency to accept tubed sound more than SS sound, as the latter minimizes the absolute amount of distortion but is unfortunately relatively much higher in odd order distortion, for which we have very little tolerance.

The fact we call it 'THD' probably obbeys to an arbitrary technical measurement standard, that maybe does not reflect the qualitative differences involved.  Our ears can tell the difference naturally, and we have not maybe found the formula to capture how this translates to meaningful distortion specs.

Anyway, maybe I just wanted to justify the ZStage also on grounds of its predominantly even-order harmonic distortion patterns (triode warmth), in addition to the 'gain riding' benefit.  But in your case, the Tranquility is voiced with plenty of detail and musicality, as I can derive from your impressions.  Assuming it does not have a tube output stage, the question is whether this is good enough (absolutely minimum jitter included) by itself, so as not to improve (rather worsen) with the additional amount of even-order harmonics contributed by the ZStage.

I'm sure once the gain issue is resolved, you'll be able to answer this using your highly sensitive ears.  :)
Back to top
 
« Last Edit: 04/29/12 at 21:08:22 by Fireblade »  

Laptop-Foobar2K-ASIO Direct//WD 2.0Tb HDD//Audio Gd USB cable//Audio Gd NFB 3 (2014) DAC//Decware Silver Ref IC's//Decware Mini Torii SE//Kimber Kable spkr cbls//Decware DM945's//Velodyne DLS 3500//BJC SUB Cbls//Tripp Lite 500 Isolation Trnsf.//Jellyfish Pwr Cord
  IP Logged
will
Seasoned Member
****




Posts: 1264
Re: ZSTAGE availability & technical question
Reply #18 - 04/29/12 at 22:42:58
 
I'm not actually sure what all makes a signature in technical terms, but it is pretty clear that even order harmonics can be our friends if we are tube lovers. And it does effect the sound experience. Then there are the other parts...Even in this minimalist design, it still uses parts. And as we know, different wires, wire insulation, and wire twists effect sound...not to mention caps, resistors, transformers, jacks, and so on. For me the question becomes not "is is totally transparent," but more, "do I like the Zstage voicing and what it does for me?" In regard to its effect on a source, this is what I meant to refer to... I think the combination of the parts, tube, and functions make the "voice" or signature of the Zstage.

With my gear, I really don't know if I can overdo even order harmonics. I do know though that the signature of the Zstage exists by my ears. So I was imaging that it may be possible to have a source so complete, that putting in the Zstage could take away depending on tastes. I was imagining this less because of how well the Zstage does what it does, and more because the sound of the source could potentially be so good to one's taste, that adding a tube stage might not be chosen. Theoretical imaginings in my attempt to answer your questions as accurately as I can......
Back to top
 
« Last Edit: 04/29/12 at 22:48:25 by will »  

Mac mini, Tranquility DAC, CSP3, TORII MkIV, Morrow SP-6, HR-1s...VHaudio DIY, Grover, MAC ICs...PSAudio P5 and Shunyata Defender, PI Audio and DIY power cables, HerbiesAudioLab isocups and tube dampers...
  IP Logged
Fireblade
Seasoned Member
****


Knowledge comes, but
wisdom lingers.
A.L.Tennyson

Posts: 706
Re: ZSTAGE availability & technical question
Reply #19 - 04/30/12 at 04:26:38
 
Well put and an interesting imaging challenge. Yet, I think there's another aspect to the ZStage we have not considered in trying to solve our dilemma:

Signature impact aside, this stage is supposed to amplify and put into context portions of the imbedded information map in the source signal which tend to be unnoticed or marginally evident. So, the better the source (i.e., richer data mapping), the more ...

[b']Flush out the detail ... improve imaging' [/b](from the ZStage literature).

Granted, overdoing even order harmonics is a possible negative outcome, but it may well be worth it if the process can incidentally further exploit the inner treasures of a good source. There could be some level of detail imbedded in the Tranquility signal that may have been ignored even by your trained ears, simply because voicing a sourcing device like the Tranquility is not so simple, and it may bring even more stuff than it is able to present tangibly (distribution tails).

In other words, this additional dimension of the ZStage impact on the signal is potentially more important to your Tranquility than, say, to my HRT MSII+, simply because of the theoretically richer amount of detail imbedded by design.

Of course, I'm taking the cited quote remarks on the ZStage literature verbatim.  Now, let's imagine the possible outcomes ...
Back to top
 
« Last Edit: 04/30/12 at 04:29:14 by Fireblade »  

Laptop-Foobar2K-ASIO Direct//WD 2.0Tb HDD//Audio Gd USB cable//Audio Gd NFB 3 (2014) DAC//Decware Silver Ref IC's//Decware Mini Torii SE//Kimber Kable spkr cbls//Decware DM945's//Velodyne DLS 3500//BJC SUB Cbls//Tripp Lite 500 Isolation Trnsf.//Jellyfish Pwr Cord
  IP Logged
meraklya
Verified Member
**




Posts: 29
Re: ZSTAGE availability & technical question
Reply #20 - 04/30/12 at 17:12:41
 
Quite a discussion!

I'd like to thank everyone again for their comments.

So far, the following question has been answered for me:

Will ZSTAGE act as a regular tube buffer and add "tube warmth / pleasant distortion" to the music? The answer seems to be "yes".

As far as availability, I just figure I'll have the ZSTAGE sometime before the winter holiday season. Until then, I guess I will become really familiar with the YUCKIN CD-3 tube buffer so I'll have something to compare the ZSTAGE with.
Back to top
 
 

Decware SE84ZS, Yamaha AS2000 as phonostage/pre, Rega RP6, Teac UD-501 DSD DAC, MacBook Pro/Audirvana Plus, Yamaha CD-S1000 for SACD, Focal 806v
  IP Logged
will
Seasoned Member
****




Posts: 1264
Re: ZSTAGE availability & technical question
Reply #21 - 04/30/12 at 19:13:35
 
meraklya,

I hope you get the Zsage before the holiday season! I look forward to your impressions of the newer Yakin buffer and your eventual comparison to the Zstage. Not having a Zbox, I can't directly answer your question about the similarity to the Zstage, but I hope this discussion has illustrated that the bias and gain of the Zstage do contribute to fine tuning your sound, including warmth, but also a whole lot of other aspects of the sound as well. If you feel like you need better clarity though, you could call Steve Deckart. He can describe quite articulately the differences for you.


Fireblade,

As I said, I personally am not sure I can overdue even order harmonics. Maybe, but I have not experienced it yet with my setup. This and other tube attributes that can smooth, richen, define, and give spaciousness...these are all things I like.

With my Torii and Zstage/ZDAC (my main setup for a long time), or with my modded Oppo, or Rega Apollo, I have not discerned this to be an issue for me. Nor have I found the Zstage to improve one source more than another. Each source starts differently, and the Zstage works with that particular complexity. It has improved all the sources I have used it with, but I like ZDAC over the others without the Zstage, and I like it better comparing all three with the Zstage also.

"Signature impact aside", once in use, I can say I have found the Zstage "unnoticed or marginally evident" in the sense of problems with the sound. I have found improvements evident.

I suspect it is mostly the tube and caps that causes the Zstage to "Flush out the detail ... improve imaging" with the the bias and gain adjusting this base sound, and the rest being as transparent/musical a signal path as possible. Since the tube is so powerful in the equation, the individual tube makes a mark.

I can't say at this point if the effect on the Tranquility will be more important but I doubt it. I really do love the nuance of the Tranquility, the nuance being made up of very subtle and compelling micro and macro detail, micro dynamics, pleasing balance, and so on. Being a NOS DAC, no doubt subtle harmonics play a roll in this nuance, and whether I find the Zstage to improve the sound remains to be seen, but considering all I love about the Zstage sound and functions, I would be surprised if I did not like it once I dial it in to my tastes and system. Until I can experiment though, I am just not in a position to say.

I wonder Fireblade...you have given a lot of thought and research to the Zstage, liking the concept quite a lot from the onset, and it seems to me that it is possible that you have made your decision conceptually. I suspect that after you get your Decware experience under your skin, the answers will be clearer!

Wink
Back to top
 
« Last Edit: 04/30/12 at 19:16:19 by will »  

Mac mini, Tranquility DAC, CSP3, TORII MkIV, Morrow SP-6, HR-1s...VHaudio DIY, Grover, MAC ICs...PSAudio P5 and Shunyata Defender, PI Audio and DIY power cables, HerbiesAudioLab isocups and tube dampers...
  IP Logged
Fireblade
Seasoned Member
****


Knowledge comes, but
wisdom lingers.
A.L.Tennyson

Posts: 706
Re: ZSTAGE availability & technical question
Reply #22 - 04/30/12 at 20:59:26
 
meraklya,

Sorry for taking up your thread (I bet you didn't realize you were opening a 'can of worms' with it  :) ) I hope you enjoy your ZStage.  I'll probably follow suit!  Keep us posted.

Will,

To me, the ZStage makes conceptually all the sense in the world (and Steve is very good at writing those appealing descriptions!).  I just wanted to learn if it was applicable to my particular setting and whether it would be advisable to try it.  I cannot return these things, so I need to make sure I nail it the first time around, you know.

Thanks so much for your excellent contributions.  I'll let you know if I decide to get it, and eventually how it goes.  In the meantime, I have enough information as I wait to experience the Decware magic, first hand.  As you said, it may be a no-brainer after that.
Back to top
 
 

Laptop-Foobar2K-ASIO Direct//WD 2.0Tb HDD//Audio Gd USB cable//Audio Gd NFB 3 (2014) DAC//Decware Silver Ref IC's//Decware Mini Torii SE//Kimber Kable spkr cbls//Decware DM945's//Velodyne DLS 3500//BJC SUB Cbls//Tripp Lite 500 Isolation Trnsf.//Jellyfish Pwr Cord
  IP Logged
meraklya
Verified Member
**




Posts: 29
Re: ZSTAGE availability & technical question
Reply #23 - 05/23/12 at 18:27:14
 
Hi Will,

"hope you get the Zsage before the holiday season! I look forward to your impressions of the newer Yakin buffer and your eventual comparison to the Zstage."

I've used the Yaqin CD-3 buffer for a while now. I started with the stock tubes, and then purchased a factory matched pair of Psvane Black Bottle from Grant Fidelity. With the latter tubes, I feel that the overall sound improvement is tremendous, to the point that I lost the desire to experiment with gear. All I want to do now is listen to music and re-discover familiar albums, it's that good.

So when the ZSTAGE arrives at some point in the future, it will be compared against an "all-chinese" part... Curious to see if the sound can be bettered by an "all-american" product, and by how much.
Back to top
 
 

Decware SE84ZS, Yamaha AS2000 as phonostage/pre, Rega RP6, Teac UD-501 DSD DAC, MacBook Pro/Audirvana Plus, Yamaha CD-S1000 for SACD, Focal 806v
  IP Logged
Rivieraranch
Seasoned Member
****




Posts: 1274
Re: ZSTAGE availability & technical question
Reply #24 - 05/24/12 at 13:18:18
 
I have no doubt. It may be that the two units sound different. My money is on the ZSTAGE whipping the Yaquin.
Back to top
 
 

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
  IP Logged
Lon
Seasoned Member
****


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

Posts: 7797
Re: ZSTAGE availability & technical question
Reply #25 - 05/24/12 at 13:55:38
 
That's where my money is too. Might not even be close. Wink
Back to top
 
 

Decware:ERR,HR-1,ZP3,CSP2+,Torii Mk III,PS Audio PWT+DS,PowerBases,PPP,AC-12 pcs, Denon DVD-A1UDCI, Rega RP3 +TTPSU,white belt+Exact2, VooDoo Cable:Stradivarius, Ultra Linear+Evo ICs, Iso-Pods,Mapleshade:Double Heiix Plus,Samsonv2+v3 +4" platforms,Herbie's Iso-Cup
  IP Logged
will
Seasoned Member
****




Posts: 1264
Re: ZSTAGE availability & technical question
Reply #26 - 05/24/12 at 14:31:29
 
Thanks for your impressions of the Yaqin CD-3 meraklya.

It will be interesting when you get a chance to compare. They would appear to be potentially quite different, the Yaqin having two tubes of a different type, and a lot of caps and circuitry...might make for a more influential signature than the Zstage. And since the sound is so good now for your needs and tastes, seems pretty good. But with no gain and bias, not nearly as flexible.

I look forward to further impressions, especially after burning the Zstage.
Back to top
 
« Last Edit: 05/24/12 at 14:32:32 by will »  

Mac mini, Tranquility DAC, CSP3, TORII MkIV, Morrow SP-6, HR-1s...VHaudio DIY, Grover, MAC ICs...PSAudio P5 and Shunyata Defender, PI Audio and DIY power cables, HerbiesAudioLab isocups and tube dampers...
  IP Logged
meraklya
Verified Member
**




Posts: 29
Re: ZSTAGE availability & technical question
Reply #27 - 05/24/12 at 22:12:06
 
Hi all,

Yes, I realize they're two very different units.

The comparsion will of course be strictly subjective, based on which unit sounds better to my ears, everything else being equal.

Right now, the music flows smoothly, and instruments / voices hang in the air like ripe fruits. The rhythm and timing draw me in every time.

I don't want to think about what's inside the Yaqin buffer. I am sure it will be a snake nest adorned with second rate wires and capacitors.
But the transparency, the detail... they must have done, or copied, something right when designing this unit.

Looking forward to giving the ZSTAGE a try, which theoretically should be much better due to its simplicity and high quality parts.
Back to top
 
 

Decware SE84ZS, Yamaha AS2000 as phonostage/pre, Rega RP6, Teac UD-501 DSD DAC, MacBook Pro/Audirvana Plus, Yamaha CD-S1000 for SACD, Focal 806v
  IP Logged
will
Seasoned Member
****




Posts: 1264
Re: ZSTAGE availability & technical question
Reply #28 - 05/24/12 at 22:33:14
 
Relative to subjectivity and base system needs, depends what we call theoretically better doesn't it. I had 2 Jolida CD players for a little while (both defective so I bailed) and your description reminds me a little of what I remember from them. Sweet, rich, and cozy, with good sense of detail and time...elaborated sound that felt really quite realistic and felt good! I really missed them when I went to an Apollo.

I think of Decware as more purist in electronic theory, but also purist with real music in good rooms as reference. This is something I personally prefer in the end, but sometimes I wonder why. That cozy sound done really well is pretty seductive.

But also, I reference the Zstage with a Decware tube amp, a NOS DAC, and very good neutral speakers. So harmonic richness is a part of my reference.

Thanks for keeping us informed and i look forward to more!
Back to top
 
 

Mac mini, Tranquility DAC, CSP3, TORII MkIV, Morrow SP-6, HR-1s...VHaudio DIY, Grover, MAC ICs...PSAudio P5 and Shunyata Defender, PI Audio and DIY power cables, HerbiesAudioLab isocups and tube dampers...
  IP Logged
Fireblade
Seasoned Member
****


Knowledge comes, but
wisdom lingers.
A.L.Tennyson

Posts: 706
Re: ZSTAGE availability & technical question
Reply #29 - 05/25/12 at 12:41:43
 
Will,

I apologize for the intrusion, guys, but I'm curious: How do you compare the Apollo with your Mac Mini streaming?  Which is better, the latter with the Tranquility or the Apollo by itself (great reviews on that CD player)?  

Also, in the context of this thread, which of those two alternative front ends you think would be better enhanced by the ZStage (I know you cannot use the Tranquility with the ZStage yet, but any clues)?  Thanks.
Back to top
 
« Last Edit: 05/25/12 at 12:47:36 by Fireblade »  

Laptop-Foobar2K-ASIO Direct//WD 2.0Tb HDD//Audio Gd USB cable//Audio Gd NFB 3 (2014) DAC//Decware Silver Ref IC's//Decware Mini Torii SE//Kimber Kable spkr cbls//Decware DM945's//Velodyne DLS 3500//BJC SUB Cbls//Tripp Lite 500 Isolation Trnsf.//Jellyfish Pwr Cord
  IP Logged
Pages: 1 2 3 4 
Send Topic Print