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SUPERZEN AND Z-STAGE (Read 2125 times)
Rivieraranch
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SUPERZEN AND Z-STAGE
02/03/13 at 01:46:08
 
I have just begun exploiting the potential of my new (12/12) SE84CKC a/k/a SUPERZEN I have at my office. The former amplifier in this position was a white SE84C+ that was connected to a Z-STAGE. With this former setup I found I could push the SE84C+ harder without going into clipping.

I used the SUPERZEN briefly with the Z-STAGE. Now the SUPERZEN is being used without the Z-STAGE. I find that the amp can fend for itself.  I can turn this amp all the way up without the sound going into clipping around 3/4 volume like the SE84C+ did. I am unsure what benefit the Z-STAGE lends to this setup. The SUPERZEN plays louder than the SE84C+ did and it has some nice characteristics in the overall sound that its predecessor did not have. The re-working of this design was a master stroke, freeing up the amp, which climbs to the top without the crutch of basically a separate gain stage.

It is hard to say how many hours I have run the amp. It arrived the second week of December, 2012. However I was not in the office very much before I went out from 12/14/12 - 1/7/13. During this time I did not use the amp. Since 1/7 I have used it anywhere from 4-8 hours per day. I sense that it is beginning to break in nicely.

My sources there are CD and AM/FM radio. They come through sweet and clear. The holographic presentation is all there. I hope that with time it will "sweeten" like its predecessors.      
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« Last Edit: 02/03/13 at 01:47:04 by Rivieraranch »  

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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Fireblade
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Re: SUPERZEN AND Z-STAGE
Reply #1 - 02/03/13 at 05:55:09
 
Of course, you have the user experience with both models, and you'll certainly reach a final conclusion soon.  Although I can understand the new little amp has a more vivid and liquid presentation than its predecessor, I would suggest once you get used to these better traits, you'll want again the thrill of riding the gain through the ZStage with it.

IMO, there must be a difference between more apparent power, faster response and even higher volume limits achieved with the new amp, with what the ZStage potential contribution should bring to the end sound, especially considering sub-optimal sourcing (radio) & recording sound quality variability.

Just give it some time before you decide to dismiss the ZStage in this new context, as I suspect it may still be able to enhance the already improved sonic characteristics of the new amp.

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« Last Edit: 02/03/13 at 14:57:23 by Fireblade »  

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DBC
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Re: SUPERZEN AND Z-STAGE
Reply #2 - 02/03/13 at 16:43:11
 
Rivieraranch,

I have had my Super Zen for about the same length of time as you. I have at least a couple hundred hours on mine and it seems to have settled in nicely. My CKC replaced a 12 year old Zen Select with no mods (no hazen grid mod).

I have been running my Oppo BDP-83SE player directly into the CKC and from there directly to my Klipsch RF-7's and Stereo HSU subwoofer setup. The subs are connected to the CKC via speaker level connection. Since I have stereo 15" subs any changes in the low frequency range are readily audible.

One thing I noticed was that the volume settings on my subs are now much lower with the CKC then compared to the Select while achieving the same perceived output. Bass with the CKC seems much cleaner as does the entire frequency range. Just seems like there is a lot more separation between bass, vocals and other instruments.

Some recordings where the bass sounded a little muddy at times with the Select are clean with the CKC. In the past I thought these were problems with specific recordings. Seems like the CKC just has more resolution and dynamics.

I have a SE84CSP preamp that I used on and off with my Select over the years. It gave the Select a bit more punch but I always thought it caused mid and upper clarity to suffer just a tad. This being the case I really did not consider using it with the CKC until I reviewed Steve's White Paper below.

PRE AMPLIFIERS - do they help or hurt the sound? http://www.decware.com/paper50.htm

My impressions of the CSP with the Super Zen is completely different now that I have been playing the two together for a week. I have not found any negatives, in fact it seems to enhance everything just a tad. In particular it seems to help resolve the low end even further.

I'm not sure how your Z-stage compares to my CSP ?? but I am enjoying the CSP / CKC combo right now.
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Oppo BDP-83SE, SE84CKC amp, Klipsch RF-7 mains, HSU MBM-12 MK2 mid bass module, HSU ULS-15 sub
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Rivieraranch
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Re: SUPERZEN AND Z-STAGE
Reply #3 - 02/03/13 at 17:07:02
 
I am grateful for your observations. I will indeed ponder whether to place the Z-STAGE back into the chain.
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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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DBC
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Re: SUPERZEN AND Z-STAGE
Reply #4 - 02/03/13 at 18:39:26
 
I suggest you listen without the Z-stage for a couple weeks to get very familiar with that sound. One day in the middle of your listening install the Z-stage and let us know what your impressions are.
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Oppo BDP-83SE, SE84CKC amp, Klipsch RF-7 mains, HSU MBM-12 MK2 mid bass module, HSU ULS-15 sub
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stone_of_tone
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Listen Often/Listen
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Re: SUPERZEN AND Z-STAGE
Reply #5 - 02/08/13 at 18:39:14
 
DBC, thanks for your impressions. I to find that the CKC just has more resolution and dynamic's. ....like you I had a SE84CS (stock) for 11 years (still have it in Bedroom) and thought that it could not be bettered...until I put the CKC in my Listening Room System (after 60 hours of burn in....in my Bedroom System).

I came into this thread by searching HSU Subs. I am interested getting this one: http://www.hsuresearch.com/products/vtf-3mk4.html  .....after
my Zu Union's have been with me for awhile. Do you have the Q function on yours and the adjustable ports?  -Stone
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DBC
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Posts: 134
Re: SUPERZEN AND Z-STAGE
Reply #6 - 02/09/13 at 16:48:18
 
Stone,

You might have seen my post in the "General Discussion" section where I provided my impressions / experience with the HSU MBM-12 MK2 (Mid Bass Module) I will try to post some additional thoughts on that thread that may be helpful to you.

I am really looking forward to your evaluation of the CKC / Union combination.

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Oppo BDP-83SE, SE84CKC amp, Klipsch RF-7 mains, HSU MBM-12 MK2 mid bass module, HSU ULS-15 sub
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stone_of_tone
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Listen Often/Listen
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Re: SUPERZEN AND Z-STAGE
Reply #7 - 02/12/13 at 12:39:26
 
Thanks DBC for your insightful detailed info on the other thread. I will indeed post my impressions about the CKC / Zu Union combination.
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Sony as Transport
Illuminati D-60
Audio Alchemy DTI-Pro
Audio Magic Mystic Reference I2S
Audio Alchemy DDE 3.0
Kimber Select 1030
Zen Select #76
Kimber Select 3033
Polk Audio LS-90
Tri-config/TipToes & Vibropods underneath Speakers
360 degree Rm Treats
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Rivieraranch
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Posts: 1274
Re: SUPERZEN AND Z-STAGE
Reply #8 - 02/20/13 at 22:54:34
 
I connected my ZSTAGE to my SUPERZEN again. This time I placed a Dutch Phillips 7062 (E180CC) tube in the STAGE. I did not get the chance to listen to it a lot but I will in the coming days.
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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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Rivieraranch
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Posts: 1274
Re: SUPERZEN AND Z-STAGE
Reply #9 - 03/02/13 at 02:32:25
 
The 7062 tube in the STAGE has loosened things up a bit. I placed a JJ 6922 input tube in the ZENCKC and the combination was regal. It seemed to me that the soundstage got a little wider than it had been with the 6N1P-EV in that position.  Then today I placed a JAN Sylvania 6BQ7A in the input position. It sounds good but not as nice as I recall with the JJ 6922.
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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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