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The MYSTERY AMP ! (Read 103997 times)
stone_of_tone
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #375 - 12/12/13 at 05:00:33
 
http://images.craigslist.org/00505_edDPjnKjdZd_600x450.jpg
Anthony Gallo Acoustics 3.1

I bought them LR! They are in mint condition. New, they sold for $3000.00. I got them for $1500.00. Plus, I got the 4" Mapleshade platforms and Mapleshade Brass Feet for $500.00-see Link ($900.00 new from Mapleshade). So, a nice tidy $1900.00 in savings. All mint, and playing like the day they were new.

Currently, I have them mounted with their original Plinth and Feet from the factory. Josh/he, had switched out the Mapleshade Platforms to test as equipment bases. I will put the Mapleshades back on soon.

Impressions at Josh's House were nice. He had a Vincent Integrated (Tube pre/Solid State Hybrid), with Vincent CD Player. Even though it had that Solid State edge & the Room was not treated.....the 3.1's are musical. The Vincent is not to shabby. But, certainly not my Rig.

So, I get them home...frigin'  -3 degree's out....but worth the 42 miles each way!
Dont' cha know...the SE84CS can drive them. Now, within reason...I don't have the Mapleshade Plinths on yet or positioned the absolute best yet...but the imaging and soundstage and what I heard of the dynamics at Josh's....I am glad I bought them. The ZMA will deliver the goods into these guys.

Playing the 3.1's right now within reason for the SE84CS....reconfirms for me how my other two pair....that are a little more efficient....can play louder and more dynamic-with tone/truth of timbre & air only Decware can provide. Plus my Kimber Select with Decware and the Speakers-now including the 3.1's=matters.  So, I look forward to driving them with the ZMA too. However, the Gallo 3.1's, I am pretty sure, I can make them completely disappear as advertised with the juice they need from the ZMA.  

I am very pleased! Plus, to get the Mapleshade Plinths and Brass Feet!
Stone is Toned!  
PS-they came with the hardware to mount the Mapleshade Plinths, original boxes with encapsulated foam and the over top grills-mint.
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« Last Edit: 12/12/13 at 05:24:31 by stone_of_tone »  

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Lonely Raven
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #376 - 12/12/13 at 14:14:24
 

WOW! I'm super Jealous! That's a great price on great kit! I'm really hoping my MG944 bloom with the ZMA - they sound great with the SE84-A, but I'm not getting them to disappear yet!

Parts pulled on the first ZMA!! Makes me wish I hadn't hemmed and hawed and just put my order in with Steve at Decfest....but being the second ZMA owner is OK as well.   Wink
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Dave1210
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #377 - 12/12/13 at 15:21:18
 
LR…I currently have a SuperZen driving MG944’s and will soon be driving them with the ZMA.  

Multiple discussions with Steve suggest the 944’s are definitely going to bloom with the ZMA.  Steve mentioned multiple times (and maybe he can chime in here) that the 944’s sound like electrostats when driven by the Mono’s/ZMA.  He didn’t realize what the speakers were capable of until he drove them with his higher power amps.  I am certainly looking forward to assessing the combo and hope you are too.    

Not sure how much listening was done with the ZMA/944 combo at Decfest, but it would be nice to get some impressions from folks.  

I plan to post my impressions in the coming weeks/months and look forward to what you have to say.  

Cheers.
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Lonely Raven
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #378 - 12/12/13 at 15:38:29
 
Quote:
LR…I currently have a SuperZen driving MG944’s and will soon be driving them with the ZMA.  

Multiple discussions with Steve suggest the 944’s are definitely going to bloom with the ZMA.  Steve mentioned multiple times (and maybe he can chime in here) that the 944’s sound like electrostats when driven by the Mono’s/ZMA.  He didn’t realize what the speakers were capable of until he drove them with his higher power amps.  I am certainly looking forward to assessing the combo and hope you are too.    

Not sure how much listening was done with the ZMA/944 combo at Decfest, but it would be nice to get some impressions from folks.  

I plan to post my impressions in the coming weeks/months and look forward to what you have to say.  

Cheers.



I did give Steve's well broken in MG944 a listen on the ZMA at Decfest - it was only short bursts since so many other people wanted to step in and do their own thing...in fact, someone did without asking me first...but that's a story for another day.

I can't quite describe what I heard, except it was very liquid...and it had harmonic content that the MK IV didn't have. I know Steve mentioned the ZMA is *the* amp for high-def files, but I was listening to my own CD rips, and I definitely heard difference on his MG944. It wasn't night and day, but it was a step up for sure.

Now, all that said, my MG944 are not like anyone else's. Mine have trapezium sides....and a crossover. Mine were a modified version Bob built for himself that I happened to get because they were there and I had cash in hand. My issues - I'm hearing some distortion at a very specific frequency, and I can't decide if it's the speakers, or my Zen amp...and my speakers aren't disappearing - which could totally be a room issue; I know that better than most. Personally, I feel the crossover, no matter how good, is adding distortion at this specific frequency. Bob assured me it's not the drivers, that they are pretty bulletproof in this setup, and I am running only 2 watts after all.

So, why don't I open up the speakers and tweak or bypass the crossover and see? Yeah, well, Bob installed the crossover, *before* assembling the speakers. So I can not access the crossover at all. I can kinda see one cap if I take the jack plate off and that's it. LOL So yeah, I could bypass the crossover still, but I don't want to go through the hassle (and expense - I'd need new caps and breakin time!) - and I'm giving the speakers the benefit of the doubt. The distortion could still be me driving the Zen amp a little too hard, and I want to give the speakers a couple thousand hours of break in.

Edit to add: I got my Zen amp modified and back the same day I got the MG944 speakers, and my Zen Amp is a one off as well, so the distortion could be a small side effect of the modification I guess. I think Steve would have caught it, but I don't know how much listen time he gave to it. It's a very, very small amount of distortion, at a certain frequency...but others have heard it as well when critical listening.

So, the short version is, I'm waiting on the ZMA to show up. If I still have the distortion, I'll either work something out with Bob or Steve to get different speakers, or I'll try bypassing the crossover by wiring directly to the drivers, and adding a capacitor to each tweeter.
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« Last Edit: 12/12/13 at 15:43:23 by Lonely Raven »  
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stone_of_tone
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #379 - 12/12/13 at 16:04:29
 
Yes LR.  Parts are pulled! Nice to have a cup of coffee in hand and see that email.  -S
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Kimber Select 3033
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Tri-config/TipToes & Vibropods underneath Speakers
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Dave1210
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #380 - 12/12/13 at 19:29:25
 
Stone…congrats on the speakers and parts being pulled.  95% of the waiting seemed to go by quickly for me (In fact, I almost missed the window to change my order from a Torii to the Mystery), but I am positive the last 5% will seem like forever.  

LR…thanks for the update and description of your gear.  I am a new contributor to the forum, so hopefully most of the information wasn’t common knowledge.  Sounds like you have a couple cool custom pieces.  

Nice to know you were at Decfest to hear the ZMA in person.  

Out of curiosity, what was your favorite speaker pairing with the ZMA?  

In your post above, when you said “definitely heard the difference on his MG944”, do you mean the difference in hi res vs. CD rips?  

I’m still not sure what to make of Steve’s comment regarding *the* amp for high def files yet.  I think I need to make my own assessment.  Not sure if this factors in or not, but I may be one of the few people that purchased a Decware product and returned it--the Zen CD player.  I felt it added a slight distortion and compression to the music that didn’t sound right to me.  We did some troubleshooting before I returned it and it turns out there wasn’t anything wrong with the player.  

So, if the comparison of hi res vs. standard res digital is a digital download played on a computer vs. Redbook CD on the Zen CD player, I am not convinced.  My preference, and maybe this is what was done, would be a comparison of files Steve recorded himself at a high bit depth and sampling rate (e.g. 24/192) versus the same file downsampled to 16/44.  Both files would be played back through the same software on the computer and without any up-sampling.  

Does this sound right to you guys?  Do you have additional insight into HD vs. SD?
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Lonely Raven
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #381 - 12/12/13 at 19:51:59
 
Quote:
Out of curiosity, what was your favorite speaker pairing with the ZMA?  


Honestly, there was a lot people bustling about and wanting to do their own thing, so I didn't have time to play as much as I wanted to. Plus, I had just purchased the MG944, so I didn't want to covet another speaker just yet. All the Radial speakers sounded pretty amazing.

Quote:
In your post above, when you said “definitely heard the difference on his MG944”, do you mean the difference in hi res vs. CD rips?  

I’m still not sure what to make of Steve’s comment regarding *the* amp for high def files yet.


I meant the difference between MK IV and ZMA - lots of people were saying the two amps were very, very close (the Mk IV is that good), but didn't feel the ZMA was worth the difference *unless you were listening to high def audio files*.  I guess Steve said somewhere along the line that the ZMA really bring high def files to life.

After playing my short selection of demo tunes, I had several people that listened in with me ask if they were high def files...(since it was rumored ZMA was *the* amp for high def). I said, "no, these are just CDs I ripped really quickly before heading down here". I think we were all a bit surprised by how good Redbook level audio sounded on such a detailed amp. I had totally forgotten what Steve said about the high def files, and it made me think "if it sounds this good with Redbook, WOW, what will high def do!" That fact, and the fantastic harmonic content were what sold me on the amp. Even if it was only 10% better than the Mk IV, it is *the* amp for me.

I don't know if I explained that well enough - my poor memory makes it difficult to relay stuff if you weren't there.   Grin


During our demos, and I'm assuming during Steve's voicing of the amps, and his own listening pleasure, Steve streams digital music via a Teac DAC. He has access to tons of music, both SD and HD, and I believe that DAC can even upsample and downsample and all that on the fly.

Either way, my point is that I felt the ZMA was a noticeable step up from the Mk IV, more than others did apparently, and this was on SD audio files. Since ordering my ZMA, I've started ripping  my whole CD collection to FLAC, and downloading HD files from HDTracks and other sources. With my Oppo universal player and the ZMA, I think I'm pushing into the leading edge of digital playback. I think I'd have to go with a high dollar (PS Audio) DAC to really go further at this point.

I can't speak to the Zen CD player - IMHO (and this is only my opinion), it's kind of outdated with all these very fine DACs available at all sorts of price ranges. That tube output stage can only do so much to enhance a "decent" player.  
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« Last Edit: 12/12/13 at 19:54:11 by Lonely Raven »  
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Lon
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #382 - 12/12/13 at 20:10:14
 
Dave1210 wrote on 12/12/13 at 19:29:25:
 Not sure if this factors in or not, but I may be one of the few people that purchased a Decware product and returned it--the Zen CD player.  I felt it added a slight distortion and compression to the music that didn’t sound right to me.  We did some troubleshooting before I returned it and it turns out there wasn’t anything wrong with the player.


I never returned my Zen CD player, but I ultimately didn't keep it and it sent me on a search for a great front end that really ended with the PS Audion Duo.  I returned the Zen CD for all the options when I was sure it was broken in and still didn't like the sound. . . After tht I kept it far too long, hopng I'd learn to like it and I just never warmed to it. Just wasn't right for me, especially tonally. I sold it very cheap. . . .
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« Last Edit: 12/12/13 at 20:27:40 by Lon »  

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Dave1210
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #383 - 12/13/13 at 02:27:53
 
LR…very much appreciate your perspective from Decfest.  You definitely explained it well.  Sounds like you are having fun prepping for arrival of the ZMA.  

I have heard good things about the TEAC DAC, but haven't had an opportunity to audition it.  Enough good things have already been said about Oppo.  Can those guys win anymore awards?  

LR & Lon…My digital front end is the PS Audio PW Trans/DAC.  I am currently running direct to the SuperZen and will do all of my initial listening direct to ZMA.  I hope the PS Audio/ZMA/944 combo turns out to be a good one.  I will definitely report back.

I have a few HD files and at the moment I am burning them to DVD and playing them back on the Transport.  Not ideal from a work process, but I don't own the PS Audio bridge, and I hear differences between different software players, so for reference listening I am playing discs.

I would appreciate your opinion on any great sounding HD tracks you pick up (or any HD tracks that sounded particularly good at Decfest).  I am a bit skeptical of the current HD market, but that's a different topic.    

Cheers!  

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Lon
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #384 - 12/13/13 at 02:36:52
 
Dave, I can't imagine that the ZMA and 944 won't be a great fit with the 944s.

One day you should try a CSP2+ or CSP3 in between. I mean I really like the PS Audio into the amp, but the preamp really seals the deal for me, makes me not hunger for any other front end (other than my SACD player). My preferenxce for hi-res is the SACD format, I've run some hi-res files via DVD-R into the PWD Mk II and they sound great, but SACD is so convenient and is a disc format, sue me I like discs, I don't like files, I don't like mixing music and computers. I know you'll dig the hi-res files on DVD-R into the ZMA, it's going to be awesome, just as SACDs are da bomb for me, and Redbook to be honest (98 percent of my digital collection) sounds amazing to me and I'm sure does and will for you.

I think you have a lot of great musical fun ahead of you!
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #385 - 12/13/13 at 03:09:04
 
Quote:
LR & Lon…My digital front end is the PS Audio PW Trans/DAC.  I am currently running direct to the SuperZen and will do all of my initial listening direct to ZMA.  I hope the PS Audio/ZMA/944 combo turns out to be a good one.  I will definitely report back.


Oh wow, that's my dream setup!

I was very, very close to doing 12 months same as cash at Music Direct for that Tras/DAC

Quote:
but SACD is so convenient and is a disc format, sue me I like discs, I don't like files,


Lon, until very recently, I was the same way. Getting all my files on this hard drive really made the difference for me. It also helps that the digital files sound so much better than the discs *in this player*.

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« Last Edit: 12/13/13 at 03:11:37 by Lonely Raven »  
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #386 - 12/13/13 at 03:15:13
 
Lon…Sounds like I should arrange for some pre-amp demos in the future.  I appreciate your level of enthusiasm.  This may just be the push I need to investigate further.  Thanks for the advice.

I suppose I like discs too.  I certainly have a lot of them (98% of my music collection is Rebook CD too) and while I have incorporated the computer into the mix on occasion, it appears there are more factors influencing sound than I expected.  Maybe I shouldn't be surprised.  As an example, if cd players sound different, I should have expected software players to sound different.

I am looking forward to the road ahead.  I am not in a bad place with my current system, but I know there is room for improvement.  For example, there are some discs I just can't play loud enough with the SuperZen (these are the discs I am looking forward to playing loud b/c they aren't overly compressed).  

Also, I need to improve soundstage depth at some point.  I have heard better than my current system and room treatments really aren't an option for me (I have tried a few and took a lot of heat, so not sure I want to go there).  The ZMA should take care of the former.  The latter is likely the next step.  

Sounds like the radials were well received at Decfest.  What are your thoughts?  If you already covered this elsewhere…just point me in the direction.

Cheers,
Dave
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #387 - 12/13/13 at 04:07:33
 
LR…sorry I missed your post.  I must have been typing.  

Based on my experience, I think you are onto something with ripped files sounding better than discs played on a typical CD player.

In my experience, a MacBook running on battery (computer power supplies are less than ideal) w/Audirvana software connected to the PS Audio DAC via USB sounds similar to using the PW Transport into the PW  DAC.   Most CD players cannot compete with either of these scenarios.

Thinking about the product design of the PS Audio Transport, it was designed to play audio like a computer (e.g. plays from memory), but without the issues of a typical computer (e.g. bad power supply).  

Can a computer be a great sounding source?  Yes.  In fact, I think with the right setup it will be better than most CD players.  

Not sure if any of that made sense.
 
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #388 - 12/13/13 at 10:50:09
 
Well LR, I've heard a MAC Mini set up for audio through my system, a friend who is a digital engineer and was at that time stayting with me set it up, he knows what he's doing and he loves computer audio.

Did nothing for me. Didn't sound better than the PWT/PWD Mk II, and I just don't like the process. And I could spend the rest of my life trying to rip and file all my discs. I have zero interest in doing that. I get why so many dig the whole hting, and if I were dong mobile music of any kind (I don't, partly being a motorcycle only rider for a few decades and also having been unable to do so at work for a long time, never developed the habit) maybe that would lead me to it. But I'm very happy with all my discs and players and am not at all drawn to computer audio. In fact the opposite, it seems strongly the wrong direction for me.
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Lon
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #389 - 12/13/13 at 10:56:10
 
Dave1210 wrote on 12/13/13 at 03:15:13:
Sounds like the radials were well received at Decfest.  What are your thoughts?  If you already covered this elsewhere…just point me in the direction.

Cheers,
Dave


Dave, I've never been to and don't plan on being to a Decfest so can't answer as to how they've been received there. My speakers have been Decware/Zeigler Radials in one form or another for over a dozen years, and I really can't imagine not owning a pair. With the right room placement (alas I can't quite achieve this in my current situation) there IS a LOT of depth to the music. I think what I like moste about them are a) they are not as forward as most other speaker designs, I prefer a natural, laid back presentation to a forward one and b) tonally thwy seem to be richer and sweeter, leading to a more forgiving than analytical sound, my preferrence and what works best for my thousands of discs, moste of which are far from great recordings.

I understand why many DISLIKE them as well, so I know they are not for everyone, probably best to try listening before buying. . . . But I'm set probably for life now, and just don't see myself with another speaker design. Steve and Bob hooked me.
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