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New ZP3 in the house (Read 3936 times)
Lon
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New ZP3 in the house
11/16/12 at 20:09:39
 
After the predicted 12 week wait my new ZP3 has arrived.

I had been collecting tubes for this unit so I decided not to use most of the tubes provided. I kept the Raytheon (I think) 12AU7 provided, and used some 12AX7s that I bought from Mike and an RCA OA3 I've had on hand, as well as a Raytheon 5Y3GT that I like (I have another rectifier on the way from Mike to pop in and try). It shipped with a Chinese 5U4G and I just don't see the need to try that out. I think this component is designed around the 5Y3GT, though it does mention 5U4G in one point on the web page.

Initially I'm impressed with the beauty of this preamp, and how it matches my CSP2+ . . . I think these long narrow chassis models are the best looking in the line. And the sound, fresh out of the box is heavy and fast and big and dynamic. I'm going to have a lot of fun spinning LPs as this breaks in!

For now, the PS Audio GCPH is going in my second system. It's a great phono preamp, but I expect the ZP3 to better it in important ways.

Kudos to Steve and the crew. I now have an all Decware analog set up and speakers. I'm done. I'm happy.
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« Last Edit: 11/16/12 at 20:20:05 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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JD
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Re: New ZP3 in the house
Reply #1 - 11/16/12 at 20:36:42
 
Congrats Lon,

Something tells me the ZP3 will be broken in quicker in your hands than most...Really interested in hearing your opinion...
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Fireblade
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Re: New ZP3 in the house
Reply #2 - 11/16/12 at 20:54:49
 
Hey, Lon, congrats!  I know you've been eagerly waiting for this piece to incorporate to your analog rig.  I hope it fulfills all the expectations you have on it.  Have fun!
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Lon
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"Love without
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Philip K. D*ck

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Re: New ZP3 in the house
Reply #3 - 11/16/12 at 21:01:19
 
Justin, David, thanks.

Other than a hum to track down (or not, it's not at all bad) I'm really happy with the way it sounds right now, but know it will sound even better soon. I've fallen in love with records again with my setup before today, and I know the ZP3 will make me fall deeper. The sound of recordings made on disc before tape is just more accessible to me on vinyl and I love the music in those grooves. And it's interesting to compare vinyl and digital transfers of the same material. Having started back on vinyl, and being a Decware fan to the hilt, I had to try out the component that Steve calls a "flagship". . . .

You know me, I'll certainly be talking about my impressions. Wink
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tgarden
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Re: New ZP3 in the house
Reply #4 - 11/17/12 at 15:22:59
 
Hi Lon,

I'll bet you're having fun with your new ZP3.  It's a great unit, and well worth the wait.

I have no regrets with mine.

Are you getting any sleep?  Keep that vinyl spinning!

Mike

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Lon
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"Love without
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Re: New ZP3 in the house
Reply #5 - 11/17/12 at 16:09:43
 
Got a little sleep. Smiley Been experimenting with tube rolling and playing lps that I know very well. I'm very impressed with the sound.
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Lon
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"Love without
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Re: New ZP3 in the house
Reply #6 - 11/18/12 at 16:00:50
 
I'm in my third "5 on 5 off" period now. Have settled on a Telefunken 12AU7 that I found in my collection, and briefly had a Mullard 12AU7 that I had originally in my old EICO HF81 integrated, both those are excellent tubes in the ZP3. I'm using an RCA 5Y3GT from '43 now as a really nice Tungsol 5Y3GT from Mike is burning in in my second system. And I have been rolling OA3 tubes and have settled on a coke bottle shaped RCA.

Sound is great. The ZP3 lets you really hear your records. I can't wait to hear how this will sound in a few months!
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Lon
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"Love without
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Philip K. D*ck

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Re: New ZP3 in the house
Reply #7 - 11/22/12 at 03:36:11
 
The ZP3 is starting to surprise and amaze me. I completed my hunt for the best tubes on hand by popping in a Mullard 12AU7 and two Mullard 12AX7s that I used to deploy in my EICO HF 81. Though I have no idea how many hours on these tubes, they are adding just the right amount of richness and sparkle to the sound. I'm playing the recent Columbia vinyl of Bitches Brew and just reveling in the tapestry of sound. I haven't spun a cd all day. Smiley
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Lon
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"Love without
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Philip K. D*ck

Posts: 7584
Re: New ZP3 in the house
Reply #8 - 11/26/12 at 14:30:51
 
A long holiday weekend full of great vinyl playback has resulted in a more relaxed and deeper sound from the ZP3.

The ZP3 began to show me that my Mullard tubes were a bit too worn and weary as the dynamics weren't there as I knew they would be, so I put the Raytheon 12AX7s I got from Mike back in, and rolled in a Philips 12AU7 that was a nice rich and neutral sounding buffer tube. (I've got the Raytheon 12AU7 that Steve sent me warming up for a few days in my DEC685, I think it may be a good match but it sounded as if it needed some breakin.)  I also changed the interconnect from the ZP3 to the CSP2+ to my trusty old TARA Labs RSC Reference, which added a bit of body to the sound. Overall, though I know the ZP3 will sound better and better with time, I can say I'm very happy with this component, it is contributing mightily to my growing enjoyment of vinyl. My cds are starting to get jealous.
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« Last Edit: 11/26/12 at 14:32:26 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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Lon
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"Love without
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Posts: 7584
Re: New ZP3 in the house
Reply #9 - 11/29/12 at 13:37:45
 
There is a bit of further seasoning happening and the sound is deepening. I've settled on a tube complement:

RCA 5Y3GT:  The seller says this is from '43, it IS old and operating flawlessly. Manual says not to substitute another tube type and I haven't.
RCA OA3: I've bounced back and forth with a bottle-shaped and a straight-shouldered and the latter works best with the buffer tube I have in now
Raytheon 12AX7: I bought these from Mike B. and after a bit they've bloomed into dynamic and very neutral tubes. Quiet as all get out too. I have spent a lot of time matching them up with 12AU7 buffer tubes, which seems to be the "anchor," or "lynchpin" to the sound if I choose these Raytheon 12AX7s in the system.
Telefunken 12AU7:  I bought this years ago for use in my ZCD and didn't like it there but so far it seems to be the best fit for the other tubes in the complement. Others that are close are a Mullard and the Raytheon that Steve sent with the amp (which may still be the final contender, I have it going in my DEC685 to burn in some more). I have a lot of 12AU7s and will likely roll some more as the amp is more seasoned in.

I'm getting excellent sound now, detailed, dynamic and I'm just drawn in to the music as if by a magnet. Stereo and mono, imaging is clear as a bell and the music breathes. This phono preamp is a real monster.
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« Last Edit: 11/29/12 at 14:02:32 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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marky
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Re: New ZP3 in the house
Reply #10 - 11/29/12 at 18:03:17
 
Ok !
I won  a couple of philips miniwat slanted `D` 12au7`s almost giveaway price and put them in my pre amp. I dont want to roll them in the ZP3 until I get my new amps as they have added a new dimension.
I`ve still got the sylvania tr mica 12ax7`s in as stock. Must get some more next year. I havent tried many Oa3`s, seems to be down on my want list, but as you say...
Switching between a military Brimar a Mullard (oldish `o`get) and a TFK for 12au7`s  all good.
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Lon
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"Love without
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Philip K. D*ck

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Re: New ZP3 in the house
Reply #11 - 11/29/12 at 18:21:33
 
Sounds like you have some good tube options too. It's interesting how each tube operates in this circuit, I hear even more distinctiveness than in any other of the Decware components I've tube rolled. But perhaps that will change once the ZP3 is fully burned in.

So glad I have the ZP3 to increase my growing vinyl enjoyment!
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Frimpy
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Re: New ZP3 in the house
Reply #12 - 12/06/12 at 12:16:42
 
Lon,
thank you for the updates on the ZP3, great reading for me.

Received my SE34i.5 last month and will hopefully be seeing DNA's later this month. Going to try and hold off on a better phono pre until I can save for the ZP3. Not sure I can wait that long we'll see.
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Lon
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"Love without
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worthless!"
Philip K. D*ck

Posts: 7584
Re: New ZP3 in the house
Reply #13 - 12/06/12 at 14:11:51
 
Frimpy, it's really worth saving up for the ZP3 and if it looks like you can swing it, order it as early as you can so the wait is minimized.

Steve says he set out to design a flagship product, and he got there, this is a wonderful machine.

I'm sure glad you've gotten your Integrated and are enjoying it! I sure enjoyed mine (the earlier .2 model). Another great Decware product!
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Lon
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"Love without
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worthless!"
Philip K. D*ck

Posts: 7584
Re: New ZP3 in the house
Reply #14 - 01/23/13 at 23:19:48
 
Really enjoying the ZP3 in my new rack. I've gone back to the regulator tube and 12AU7 that came with the amp. Now that it's broken in they're pretty nice choices.
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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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