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NEW TO ME ZSTAGE (Read 3602 times)
Rivieraranch
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NEW TO ME ZSTAGE
05/22/12 at 03:09:23
 
I just received a mint condition, used ZSTAGE for use with my ZEN and TRAPEZIUMS in my office setup.  I have numerous kinds of 12AU7 to run through it. What would be best from these below?

12AU7 - Sylvania 1950's black long plate

12AU7 Sylvania 12AU7 black short plate 1955 date codes, green print mostly there; pulled from tone cabinet of organ, which means they were subjected to the lightest use.  

12AU7 Sylvania made for Baldwin, green print long gray plates copper rods, square getters, 1959 date codes  & round getters 1960 date.

12AU7WA/5814A JAN Sylvania gray plate, triple mica

12AU7WA/6189 BENDIX, yellow print, black plates, Sylvania manufacturer code and 1958 date codes

12AU7 NOS 1955 CBS Military contract gray short plate date, rectangular getter.

Also how sensitive is the unit to power cord and interconnects?
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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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will
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Re: NEW TO ME ZSTAGE
Reply #1 - 05/22/12 at 04:32:38
 
Rivieraranch,

Lucky to have a mint used one! Hopefully fully burned in.

I don't have any of these particular tubes, but it sounds like a really nice selection, and surely one or more will suit your system and tastes. Tube rolling with the Zstage is so easy, looks like you could get them each warmed up and get a good sense of them all in less than an hour. Sounds like fun to me.

I find the Zstage, being simple and transparent (if slightly warm), is quite sensitive to both ICs and power cables.

Have fun. I love the gain riding ability to tune a recording to tastes.
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« Last Edit: 05/22/12 at 04:33:29 by will »  

Mac mini, Tranquility DAC, modded Oppo 83, CSP3, TORII MkIV, Morrow SP-7, HR-1s...VHaudio DIY, Grover, MAC ICs...PSAudio P5, PI Audio and DIY power cables, HerbiesAudioLab feet and tube dampers
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Rivieraranch
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Posts: 1272
Re: NEW TO ME ZSTAGE
Reply #2 - 05/23/12 at 00:14:40
 
Thanks, Will. The unit was built in 2011 and is mint. Of course it stays on all the time and the tube stays barely warm to the touch. It seems to me that it sounds better today than yesterday when I first placed it in use. The difference between aggressive mode and regular is subtle, unlike the ZEN SE84C+ where the difference is night and day.
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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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will
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Posts: 1147
Re: NEW TO ME ZSTAGE
Reply #3 - 05/23/12 at 02:47:50
 
Interesting. I found the bias switch more useful for my tastes on the Zstage than the one on my Torii....more musical. Perhaps it is because it is more subtle. Sounds like yours may still be burning in. I think I recall it took quite a while for mine to get fully to the transparent stage. It is a amazing how powerfully the tube used effects the sound too, and the bias seemed to affect different tubes a little differently as well.

With my ZDAC I ended up preferring very transparent 50s and early 60s 12AT7s...more dynamic, solid and lucid. The reason I speak in past tense is that I need to get mine modded to accept my current DAC, a higher voltage Tranquility. But first impressions...the made for organ RCA 12AU7 cleartop I have sounded pretty great with it. If you have an AT7 or two around, could be worth comparing. It would depend on the source, system, the individual tube, and tastes, but possibly worth checking out eventually.

I have tried some 12BH7s too and a Tungsol blackplate I have is a great sounding tube. A little warm, great extension, and very solid sounding, yet open and alive. Less textural than some of my favs, but I like texture.

Worth playing with ICs and power cords too, especially once things get stable. I will occasionally do a little cable rolling and find it can definitely pinpoint synergy in the system.

I started with the ZDAC and Zstage using some short copper cables Steve made for me, I think using the same wire used in the Zstage, the idea being "no cable". But it was slightly too warm/dark for my tastes. I finally ended up with some braided MAC silver ICs between the ZDAC and Zstage, and some MAC Ultra Silver Zstage to Torii. Both were really reasonable at Audiogon auctions. I wonder what ICs I will like with the Tranquility.

Anyway, my experience made playing around worth it toward that just right sound. Have fun, and I look forward to your continuing impressions!
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« Last Edit: 05/23/12 at 02:50:31 by will »  

Mac mini, Tranquility DAC, modded Oppo 83, CSP3, TORII MkIV, Morrow SP-7, HR-1s...VHaudio DIY, Grover, MAC ICs...PSAudio P5, PI Audio and DIY power cables, HerbiesAudioLab feet and tube dampers
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Rivieraranch
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Posts: 1272
Re: NEW TO ME ZSTAGE
Reply #4 - 05/31/12 at 11:50:46
 
I used a 1950's Sylvania 12AT7 black plate tube and it definitely opened up the dynamics and three dimensional sound. With this higher gain tube I can turn the amp volume up only 1/4 and hear huge dymanics using the ZSTAGE volume knob. It was a night and day difference between using the 12AU7.
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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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will
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Posts: 1147
Re: NEW TO ME ZSTAGE
Reply #5 - 05/31/12 at 15:58:22
 
Sounds like a good thing. Isn't it kind a cool how simple the Stage is, making one tube a huge tool!
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Mac mini, Tranquility DAC, modded Oppo 83, CSP3, TORII MkIV, Morrow SP-7, HR-1s...VHaudio DIY, Grover, MAC ICs...PSAudio P5, PI Audio and DIY power cables, HerbiesAudioLab feet and tube dampers
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Rivieraranch
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Posts: 1272
Re: NEW TO ME ZSTAGE
Reply #6 - 06/01/12 at 02:24:56
 
I was enjoying it again today with the 12AT7 firmly ensconced in its socket. My ZSTAGE has a handsome wood volume knob, which unfortunately does not fit in. I want to get a black chicken beak knob so it matches the ZEN.
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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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will
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Posts: 1147
Re: NEW TO ME ZSTAGE
Reply #7 - 06/01/12 at 20:49:18
 
Sounds fun. I have the chrome looking knob. Simple. I look forward to any impression as the Zstage sorts out in your system!
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Mac mini, Tranquility DAC, modded Oppo 83, CSP3, TORII MkIV, Morrow SP-7, HR-1s...VHaudio DIY, Grover, MAC ICs...PSAudio P5, PI Audio and DIY power cables, HerbiesAudioLab feet and tube dampers
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Rivieraranch
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Posts: 1272
Re: NEW TO ME ZSTAGE
Reply #8 - 06/02/12 at 18:16:32
 
Here are the members of my 12AT7 family

6829 GE red print

7062 (E180CC) Beckman (Holland)

12AT7 Sylvania 1950's black plate double mica tube, no print, tests strong.

12AT7 Sylvania black plate, green print dated 1953 in Sylvania sleeve  
        black plate white print also 1953 date codes.

12AT7 JHS Sylvania 1952 black plate, double mica spacers; strong.

12AT7 JHS Sylvania black plate, double mica faint 1954 date code still visible.

12AT7 JHS Sylvania 1955 date code, black plates, triple mica; pristine, in Collins Radio box.    

12AT7WA Sylvania JHS dated 1957 green print, gray plate triple mica, square getter, military boxes.

12AT7WA Sylvania with Tektronix labels, green Sylvania print, gray plates, triple mica, matching 1959 date codes, pristine condition, UNUSED. Tektronix hand selected and tested only the finest tubes for its scopes.

12AT7WA Sylvania USAF gold print, triple mica air force tubes which had to withstand high altitude and extreme shock; in clean military boxes turning slightly brown with age.

12AT7WA Sylvania-made for Sperry Gyroscope, packaged June 1956, triple mica, black plates; NOS and high testing.

12AT7WA Sylvania JHS triple-mica black plate military tubes in white boxes marked Philco Corp., packaged May 1956; tubes have 1955 date codes.    

12AT7WC - JAN Phillips tubes with 1987 date codes, LIGHT USE in JAN boxes.

6201 (12AT7) Mullard manufactured 12AT7 gold pin tubes, in red, white and blue boxes.  

CV4024/12AT7WA - Mullard military manufacture with white boxes, cardboard liner, tissue paper and pin protectors.
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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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will
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Posts: 1147
Re: NEW TO ME ZSTAGE
Reply #9 - 06/02/12 at 18:28:46
 
Wow, I am jealous.

Have you a favorite?

Do you mind advising on sources for these early tubes?
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Mac mini, Tranquility DAC, modded Oppo 83, CSP3, TORII MkIV, Morrow SP-7, HR-1s...VHaudio DIY, Grover, MAC ICs...PSAudio P5, PI Audio and DIY power cables, HerbiesAudioLab feet and tube dampers
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Rivieraranch
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Posts: 1272
Re: NEW TO ME ZSTAGE
Reply #10 - 06/03/12 at 01:09:58
 
Most came from either ebay, different audio forums, a tube seller in Orlando, Florida or hamfests. I have been collecting for around 7 years now.

I like the black plate Sylvanias and the Mullards.
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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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