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Superzen 4ohm with gallo, snell, radial 1.5 (Read 1552 times)
roncagg
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Superzen 4ohm with gallo, snell, radial 1.5
03/30/13 at 14:58:11
 
Just received my Superzen on Friday and I know it's still breaking in - but the way it handles less efficient speakers is impressive. I bought used radial 1.5s for it, but in fact I am not a fan of their imaging though they are a better match on paper.

Switched over to my gallo 3.1s (88db) and was quite surprised how well they were driven (albeit with volume at 3pm). I listen to jazz instrumental and vocals and there was no clipping at that volume (bias switch to the front mostly). Very nice. I have the CSP2 as well but have not yet tried that with the Zen because the sound is so engaging as-is.

For fun I removed my Snell EIIIs (1991!) from my HT rig. They are 91DB and also sound pretty phenomenal with the zen, better than I've heard them in years. Both the Gallo and Snell are 8 ohm for the most part, so that is one reason I was surprised as my Zen has the 4 ohm transformer, and with those speakers' lower sensitivity I was expecting something anemic (with a 2W amp!).

For context, on the other end of the spectrum I have a Spectron musician III SE (600w!) to drive the gallos at volumes I like when I have the house to myself.

In a few hours I will be picking up nearly-new Parker sig95 mkIIs (4 ohm, 95db), specifically made with the Zen in mind apparently. I'll report back on those once I've had a listen.

All this and the zen isn't even close to being broken in. Bodes well!

Would love to hear others' impressions of supposed "mismatches" sounding good.

Ron
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Lon
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Re: Superzen 4ohm with gallo, snell, radial 1.5
Reply #1 - 03/30/13 at 15:40:34
 
Ron,

Congrats! You have lots to experiment with and I'm sure you'll find one combination (wouldn't be surprised if it's the Zen and Parkers) that will outshine the others. And the am will keep getting better and better sounding. Great times ahead!
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ski bum
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Re: Superzen 4ohm with gallo, snell, radial 1.5
Reply #2 - 03/31/13 at 02:02:15
 
Aren't your Gallos sans passive networks?  I've always been curious how a zen amp would do with those for that very reason.  Thanks for sharing your impressions.

Here are some "mismatches" I know of first hand...select Sandy Gross creations: Def Tech super towers and Golden Ear Triton IIs.  Complex LR4 networks with power-robbing zobels?  Check.  Multiple drivers?  Check.  Doesn't matter.  They work fantastically well with the little 2 watt zens.



     

 

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roncagg
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Re: Superzen 4ohm with gallo, snell, radial 1.5
Reply #3 - 03/31/13 at 03:36:39
 
Yes, my understanding is that they are crossover-less. Also if you look at their impedance curve they are easy to drive. Tomorrow I'll try adding the CSP2 to the mix to boost the gain for the gallos and see how much more I can get out of the combo.

I've been listening to the Parker 95 Signatures this evening, really nice imaging and wonderful especially for voices and small combo jazz. With the zen however they sound a little small when I'm blasting Brecker Brothers through them - but it's a function of the amp not the speakers, because when I swapped out the zen for my spectron their sound really belied their size, very big and punchy! I guess not a surprise that there is a limit in large dynamics from the zen's low power output.

Thanks for your contribution to the "mismatches"! Though I love reading about this stuff these experiences make you realize that you need to get stuff in and listen! Buying well cared for gear on audiogon, audiocircle and this forum provides a chance to listen at low risk, given most stuff keeps its resale value after it has been through a couple of owners. But it's hard to part with it to make room for the next! (I now have a stash of 4 pairs of speakers, 3 preamps and 2 amps...)
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ski bum
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Re: Superzen 4ohm with gallo, snell, radial 1.5
Reply #4 - 03/31/13 at 18:26:11
 
I find the essential character of Decware amps is apparent on every speaker I've tried them with.  The only possible issue is the lack of headroom when using speakers like Gallos, and in that case the little zen amps are just the gateway drugs to something like a Torii.  Steve intentionally designed the "entry level" zens to work with a wide variety of mainstream 4-8 ohm type speakers.  Pretty good business plan.  I'm hooked, dammit!  I don't typically prefer using a pre, but in your case I think the CSP2 will pay real dividends for your ear's pleasure.

The DTs I'm most familiar with have a very zen friendly impedance, 4-6 ohms from the mid bass across the critical midrange, and the built in powered woofers help tremendously.  I get as much spl from them in a larger room as a pair of more sensitive Klipsch in a smaller room.  Pretty neat trick.  
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« Last Edit: 03/31/13 at 18:48:53 by ski bum »  
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beowulf
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Re: Superzen 4ohm with gallo, snell, radial 1.5
Reply #5 - 03/31/13 at 22:24:01
 
Quote:
ski bum,
and in that case the little zen amps are just the gateway drugs to something like a Torii.


LOL!!! Smiley
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roncagg
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Re: Superzen 4ohm with gallo, snell, radial 1.5
Reply #6 - 04/01/13 at 03:07:27
 
Listening to Herbie Hancock's The River, wonderfully intimate through the Parkers at relatively low volume, a real treat with great imaging, these monitors really disappear with a well defined center image. This is my late night listening setup!

Tried the csp2 with the zen and Gallos, decided I was forcing the issue - more gain but still clipping, and it doesn't seem right to use the preamp in that way, juicing the gain so much... so your "gateway drug" observation is fitting - if I want to use decware with the gallos I need to go up the chain to do them both justice. I went with the zen to try Steve's SET in it's purest, base form to see what the SET fuss is about. If it's true that the sonic character carries through to all models, then it's a no-brainer to go higher.

Is it too much to ask to have it all in one system? I love the zen and parkers for some stuff, the spectron and gallos for other situations... I shouldn't complain I guess, spoiled for choice!

FYI to make amp comparisons easier I am using a niteshade audio passive preamp to feed the sources (metrum octave DAC and rega p3-24 through simaudio moon lp3) into the zen and spectron- handy and doesn't add any color itself.
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ski bum
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Re: Superzen 4ohm with gallo, snell, radial 1.5
Reply #7 - 04/01/13 at 18:24:05
 
Don't underestimate the "entry level" amps.  That description is in quotes for a reason.  They perform some tricks that their more powerful brethren have a tough time matching.  Specifically, they do the depth-of-field soundstage/holographic thing the best of all Decware amps.    

Face it, Ron, this is an addiction, so get to the gear collection and hoarding like the rest of us!
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SteveC
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Re: Superzen 4ohm with gallo, snell, radial 1.5
Reply #8 - 04/01/13 at 19:29:29
 
I can confirm that sentiment through my experience.  See: the 1st post in http://www.decware.com/cgi-bin/yabb22/YaBB.pl?num=1318641551/0#0.   The se84 zens do some things better than the Torii, and the other way around.
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roncagg
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Re: Superzen 4ohm with gallo, snell, radial 1.5
Reply #9 - 04/01/13 at 21:59:36
 
Steve thanks for referencing the other post, I hadn't read it but it makes sense. Ski bum I'm definitely addicted! I would like 3 listening rooms or an audiophile multiplexer to easily swap in and out different combinations. I'm too antsy to give each setup the time required for it to settle in and me to record observations. So I'm up and out of my chair a lot swapping cables, skipping tracks. But it's a process so I just have to go with it, and it's always fun (except for the part where I neglect the family...)

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