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The MYSTERY AMP ! (Read 169335 times)
Palomino
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #500 - 01/10/14 at 14:28:18
 
+1 on the good book.  

Will Raven's monster red caps season so he can experience "liquid honesty?"  How will he overcome that treacherous L shaped room?

Will Stone proclaim the mystery amp the best Decware amp yet?  And can the ZMA maintain Zen sound while shattering the 88db speaker efficiency barrier?

And what about Brianne?  Will she continue to warm Raven's amp as the pizza boxes and Chinese food cartons begin to pile up beside his listening chair?

Inquiring minds want to know. Grin
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« Last Edit: 01/10/14 at 14:57:13 by Palomino »  

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stone_of_tone
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #501 - 01/10/14 at 15:02:15
 
I have a side stitch right now....Palomino! To good!   Grin
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #502 - 01/10/14 at 15:36:23
 
Yes, great theatre.  On the more serious side those of us still on the list (I'm way at the bottom) will be soaking in with great interest the nature of the changes as they manifest.  Because this is generation I for this amp there is not yet well documented experiences to reference other than Steve's impressions.  

I for one jumped on the ZMA as a power play only, having non-high-efficient speakers.  My MK IV has settled in nicely and I'm hoping the ZMA will not be short on that magic.

For those who will join the party soon, please continue to share what you are hearing as things burn in.  We all want to know what to expect.  I will be very focused on other MK III or MK IV owner's thoughts and comparisons.

Scott
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Lonely Raven
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #503 - 01/10/14 at 15:59:59
 
LOL - Palomino knows us all too well me thinks.

I started typing this out earlier, but got pulled away by this work thing...


----------------------------------------------------------------------------

I don't think I'll have much to report for a while. Only put 2-3 hours on the amp last night...I can't keep staying up till 1am listening, then get up at 6am for work.

I swear the amp is even louder today than yesterday. It's smoothing out, but has a long way to go. I should also mention, you guys getting a "tested" amp from Decware probably won't hear the thin reedy sound I got with the new caps, as they literally had 5 minutes of play time before I grabbed the amp and ran; whereas a tested amp I assume Decware puts several hours on it already. I'm probably at the point now where you guys would get it from Steve, with the caps starting to form and amp getting it's heft and speed.

Unfortunately I was unable to play Electric Ladyland as it turns out all my Hendrix discs purchased in the early days of CD are all shot. I'm probably going to have to replace them. (with high def versions?  :D )

I put on some random ambient electronic, dark industrial, and other kinda silky, mellow, droning electronic music and just let it play while I did other things around the house. I'm already hearing the amp closer to what it was during Decfest. As I was doing other things, it kept pulling me back into the sweetspot "just for a minute".

Probably not much to report from this point. The amp is sounding as loud and full as I was expecting now. It didn't flinch when I hit it with some loud rock (which would normally leave my 2 watt Zen amp feeling a bit anemic), and the harmonic distortion when I overdrove the amp during the Koln concert...well, the more I think about that, the more I realize how good this is going to be at reasonable levels. It's those harmonics that I felt set this amp apart from the MK IV at Decfest - and the fact that the amp still sounded good when I wasn't being very nice to it...WOW.

I just need to keep putting in my 4-5 hours a night of "background listening", and get to adjusting the room and dealing with power and RFI issues and let the amp come into it's own. I have no doubt at this point it will get to where those "just a minute in the sweet spot" will turn into whole albums in the chair, then, I'm hoping with my room addressed better, those "out of body" or "turned to stone" experiences that Steve and I have mentioned before will be the norm. The liquid honesty is coming, just not there for a while yet I think.


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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #504 - 01/10/14 at 16:12:14
 

I forgot to mention, I set my speakers to *LARGE* (no crossover) in the Oppo settings, and made sure the sub woofer was off during last nights playtime. This amp clearly has the grunt to get my MG944 popping. The cello in the Musica Nuda albums I started the night off with was startling in how present and dynamic it was. So right now, the weight of the amp is outclassing the smoothness.

Going forward, I think I'll be able to dial the big 2000 watt, 21" subwoofer down to a much lower crossover point and let the MG944 do what they are good at.

I'm going to keep everything setup this way for a while as I'm unsure if the 2 watt Zen has fully broken in my MG944. They probably have more in them that I've not tapped yet that will be revealed with the drive of the bigger amp.
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #505 - 01/10/14 at 21:37:13
 
Another note  for those that use the Herbie's Tube Dampers.

It's going to be a *real* tight fit with limited range on the input tubes, and may need some clever angling with the Voltage Regulator tubes.

I'm going to put my order in with Herbie's soon, and thought I'd better test this out - these are my HAL-O III-9 off my Zen amps SV83 tubes I popped on to see if I could make this work. I've not tried the one UltraSonic SS-9 I have, but will tonight and will report back.






You might have more room with EL34 or KT77, I'll see if I can pull some from one of my guitar amps and see what the spacing looks like there.

I don't have anything that currently fits the OA3 tubes, but it looks really close to the big reds.

EDIT To Add:  Yeah, the UltraSonic SS-9 fit fine. Just need to roll it down the tube a bit. And I do believe we have room for adding tube dampers to the Regulator Tubes.



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« Last Edit: 01/11/14 at 00:46:48 by Lonely Raven »  
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #506 - 01/11/14 at 15:41:26
 
Carried over from the What's Spinning thread  - I didn't want some of this ZMA discussion lost in that more quickly moving thread when it could benefit future users more here.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Quote:
Eric, the sort of difference you are describing between the mysery amp and the Zen amp are just the sort of differences I hear between the modded C amp here in Dad's system and the Toriis I have at home (and more harmonic density and detail yet due to the PS Audio power base I have). So I know how much of a disctinct difference there is and how enjoyable it is.


Thank you for that! I was starting to get worried that I was hyping up the ZMA too much. As you can tell from my first post about it, right out of the box I wasn't exactly gushing - those "fresh" caps were surely holding it back. But what you're saying makes me feel like instead, I'm on the right track.

But now this really makes me question what I thought was good on the old Zen amp! I really think I may have to plug the old Zen in and give it a listen with new perspective.

Taking a quiet morning as I'm still not 100% recovered from being sick this week. Dogs had me up at 8am after listening till 3am last night...

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Eric, I firmly believe from my own experience that there are a few things the little SET amps do better than any of the others, just as there are things the others do better than they can.

I think there's a "solidity," not sure how else to say it, to the sound with the SETs, an integrated holistic oneness that I think of as being due to the fact that the signal is not split and then amplified. And if you can work within the power limitations you can really get connected deep inside the music, it draws you IN. The larger amps though. . . they can really realistically bring the music TO YOU with scale and rock 'em sock 'em dynamic reality, and with Steve's designs he more and more gets that SET oneness out of the push-pull as well as the scale and drive. (The more I understand about the Mystery Amp the more I see how it is a step even further forward in that regard).

I would advise this: don't put the little guy in yet. Wait a month or so til the Mystery amp is that farther along to blooming. I wonder how much longer those huge caps take to seat and bloom compared to the smaller ones? Your little Zen is so seasoned I would wait until the Mystery is more of all it can be.

Question: is there ANY treble attenuation available at all on the amp? I just can't live without the treble cut circuit any longer. If I were ever to get this amp it would probably only be if there was a treble cut circuit.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
--

Quote:
(The more I understand about the Mystery Amp the more I see how it is a step even further forward in that regard).


I agree with this, and it's part of why I think I leaned more towards the ZMA than the Torii, not that the Torii is any slouch! I just thought this represented something that was familiar, but with more grunt and texture.

Quote:

I would advise this: don't put the little guy in yet. Wait a month or so til the Mystery amp is that farther along to blooming. I wonder how much longer those huge caps take to seat and bloom compared to the smaller ones? Your little Zen is so seasoned I would wait until the Mystery is more of all it can be.


I will hold off, but I'm already hearing the caps seat well. I knew it was on track when I described the amp like a horse going from a trot to a gallop. I also feel it has a long way to go!

Quote:

Question: is there ANY treble attenuation available at all on the amp? I just can't live without the treble cut circuit any longer. If I were ever to get this amp it would probably only be if there was a treble cut circuit.


Steve and I discussed the controls. I think he and I are of the same mind here - the point of the amp, is very K.I.S.S. - I told him I didn't want to futz with settings, I just wanted to connect an amp to a source, and let it do it's job. If it wasn't good straight up, then it probably wasn't the amp I wanted. I like that I can set/check the idle (bias) and just go listen all night. Check it again the next morning and it's still right there, or needs a 5 second tweak. I'm tired of messing/tweaking gear, I want to spend my time listening.

I wouldn't discount or dismiss the ZMA due to not having the treble tweak, if it's not there, it probably simply doesn't need it.
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« Last Edit: 01/11/14 at 15:42:26 by Lonely Raven »  
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #507 - 01/11/14 at 16:51:05
 
Eric, every one of Steve's amps has needed a treble control for me. I'm very susceptible to treble grain that is on almost every recording I listen to, and I've had my ears checked every few years and I still have very good high frequency hearing and every one of the amps I've owned has needed a treble control for me and my system and room and listening material. So I would need it in order to order the amp. If I can do so in the future I'll check with Steve to see if it can be added. A few years ago he told me he could add it to any of the amps.
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« Last Edit: 01/11/14 at 16:51:49 by Lon »  

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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #508 - 01/11/14 at 17:05:19
 
Lon,  In regards to treble...I think I have the same syndrome as you...my ears/hearing seems to be very good and very sensitive to treble that is too Hot, Edgy or Bright...not sure of the right terms to use...thus all the posts about how to warm things up with various things.  The HD 800s are the biggest problem in this regard and although I'm not a DIY guy I think I'll have to do the MOD on them described in the link I provided elsewhere previously.

The Torii MK IV has treble controls but I haven't played with them much.  When I did they didn't seem to make any dramatic change.  I think I read somewhere here that the controls...Treble and Bass...made larger changes  on the MK III than the MK IV Amps.

I'm hoping when the HR-1s arrive all will be well in terms of treble and warmth...at least for non-headphone listening.  Mark.
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"The man that hath no music in himself, nor is not moved with the concord of sweet sounds, is fit for treasons, deceptions, and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night and his affections dark as Hell. Let no such man be trusted." William Shakespeare
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #509 - 01/11/14 at 17:44:36
 
mark58 wrote on 01/11/14 at 17:05:19:
Lon,  In regards to treble...I think I have the same syndrome as you...my ears/hearing seems to be very good and very sensitive to treble that is too Hot, Edgy or Bright...not sure of the right terms to use...thus all the posts about how to warm things up with various things.  The HD 800s are the biggest problem in this regard and although I'm not a DIY guy I think I'll have to do the MOD on them described in the link I provided elsewhere previously.

The Torii MK IV has treble controls but I haven't played with them much.  When I did they didn't seem to make any dramatic change.  I think I read somewhere here that the controls...Treble and Bass...made larger changes  on the MK III than the MK IV Amps.

I'm hoping when the HR-1s arrive all will be well in terms of treble and warmth...at least for non-headphone listening.  Mark.


I think when the bass comes in on the HR-1s you'll be very happy.Takes about a month to really get the tonal balance what it will be.

Yes on the Mk III one can turn the treble way way down. I have it about a third of the way up most of the time. Vary it with material.

I have treble turned down on my guitar amps and my guitars as well. Just the way I (we?) are.
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #510 - 01/12/14 at 04:44:18
 
Hi everyone!

Sorry for being gone so long, but it's been insanely busy around here and highly focused so I've been short on time.

LR - I almost feel bad about what you have experienced with your new amp... indeed, these caps are brutal until fully formed and burned in.  Try this.  Remove the power tubes in the amp AND the OA3's.  This will basically remove all load from the power supply.  Then while you are home, let the amp set ON for 24 hours.  Then turn it off, re-tube it, and turn it back on.  let it warm up slowly for the next few hours and then turn it off for an hour.   Then turn it on and let is slowly warm up for another hour, and I think it will all snap together almost as if it were a magic act.  

Also, you need to hang a heavy comforter on the wall over the screen during serious listening, until such a time that you can install a curtain rod and install heavy movie curtains that can be closed when not watching movies.   It's absolutely essential.  Room acoustics are pressure relative.  The 2 watt amp couldn't develop enough energy to piss off your room.  Now things are different.

I am shipping the ZMA's with rare and expensive selected 6N23P-EV gold grid tubes which are highly resolute, focused and silky smooth.  However during the initial burn in process, it is no doubt that  the standard 6N1P-EV would sound better in it's place.

Keep us posted as things progress, and try to get some rest Wink

Steve
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #511 - 01/12/14 at 06:23:13
 
Quote:
LR - I almost feel bad about what you have experienced with your new amp... indeed, these caps are brutal until fully formed and burned in.  Try this.  Remove the power tubes in the amp AND the OA3's.  This will basically remove all load from the power supply.  Then while you are home, let the amp set ON for 24 hours.  Then turn it off, re-tube it, and turn it back on.  let it warm up slowly for the next few hours and then turn it off for an hour.   Then turn it on and let is slowly warm up for another hour, and I think it will all snap together almost as if it were a magic act.  


No worries Steve, I figured the caps would need forming. I think I'm already past that part with 20+ hours on the amp. It's got some heft and harmonics, I'm just needing to burn it in to get it into that liquid honesty - right now it's a bit dry, but sounding really good.

Quote:
I am shipping the ZMA's with rare and expensive selected 6N23P-EV gold grid tubes which are highly resolute, focused and silky smooth.  However during the initial burn in process, it is no doubt that  the standard 6N1P-EV would sound better in it's place.


I'm still tempted to get some cryo'd 6N23P-EV, but I don't know if they are gold grid ones...

Quote:
Also, you need to hang a heavy comforter on the wall over the screen during serious listening, until such a time that you can install a curtain rod and install heavy movie curtains that can be closed when not watching movies.   It's absolutely essential.  Room acoustics are pressure relative.  The 2 watt amp couldn't develop enough energy to piss off your room.  Now things are different.


Yeah, I was supposed to have my diffusers built by now - I have plans to have some stackable, 1' deep QRD diffusers in the front and on the sides (damn L-shaped room), but work and a bit of laziness has kept me from making any progress in the woodshop. The bigger amp is for sure "exciting the room". The amp sounds good at this point, but the room...not so much, even with all the absorbers and diffusers I have everywhere. I'm listening "off axis" right now while eating dinner, and I see how *not* being in front of the speakers gives you a great perspective as to how things are sounding.


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« Last Edit: 01/12/14 at 23:45:53 by Lonely Raven »  
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #512 - 01/12/14 at 17:11:52
 
Another trick is to angle the screen so the reflection hits the diffusers on the ceiling.

6N23P-EV are gold grid, yes as are 6N1P-EV.
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #513 - 01/12/14 at 23:51:31
 
I was thinking about making the screen swing upwards a bit, but I'd have to move the french cleat to the top to make that happen. Not an impossibility, just difficult.

I think an easier solution that I'm considering now is is some more sound absorber panels with hangers at the top of them. When I shut the projector down and go to two channel only mode, I would just hang the absorber panels from the screens wood frame - would take about 90 seconds to hang 3-4 panels covering a good portion of the screen.

That will work till I get the time to work on the diffusers.

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« Last Edit: 01/13/14 at 16:25:59 by Lonely Raven »  
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #514 - 01/13/14 at 07:10:22
 
Glad to hear Eric, the ZMA has some heft and harmonics...and headed in the right direction.  I have a small and treated room. I will add more treatment and turn the room damn near in to a anechoic chamber...if I need to.   Grin

Looks like 10 hours a day/every day......for a month, is going to be needed with my ZMA.    -S
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #515 - 01/13/14 at 16:24:40
 
Quote:
I will add more treatment and turn the room damn near in to a anechoic chamber...if I need to.   Grin


I know your (half) joking, but, IMHO,  rooms like that sound creepy and unmusical. Unless your measuring speakers and really *need* a dead room, some reflection really helps the 3D image resolve in your room.

I helped setup a home theater and two channel system in a guys basement back in the day (I used to install home theaters here in Chicagoland a loooong time ago). He had exposed pink insulation all around, and super plush carpeting and padding on the floor. While I was envious of the ultra-low noise floor, and how clear the speakers were, it was really unnerving to be in that room without any reflections. Some people who entered actually felt vertigo due to the ears not having a sense of space to relate to the body.

Again, I know you're kidding, just relaying a tid-bit since it was brought up.

I have a calibrated measurement mic showing up this week - I'm going to give my room a good look over, and see what I can do to correct frequency response and better time the reflections. I know Steve is right about the screen between the speakers, and I've played with absorbers leaning in front of it, but it doesn't seem to help much. So my whole room is getting reevaluated. I can't let Palomino have the best imaging in our area!
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« Last Edit: 01/13/14 at 16:27:25 by Lonely Raven »  
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #516 - 01/13/14 at 18:52:04
 
14 weeks ago today....I ordered mine. Oct 7th the day after Decfest. The first one........ .   Roll Eyes  So, yeah, I hope to get it this week.  -S
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #517 - 01/13/14 at 19:59:07
 
I hope so my friend...I *almost* feel guilty.

Almost.
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #518 - 01/13/14 at 23:47:35
 
Does anyone know the maximum current draw for the ZMA?  I thought I read it somewhere but I can't find it.
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #519 - 01/13/14 at 23:51:46
 
I'm looking good LR. I'm in Testing on the Build Sheet. Looks like it should go out in a day or two.  No complaints.    -S
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #520 - 01/13/14 at 23:54:38
 
LonelyRaven,
   
      Just think you'll probably be wanting to ad some larger woofers into the system to deliver the goods that this amp will have to offer. The larger woofers will add some looseness to your set up maybe 10"s but probably no larger than 12"s. I am really happy for you to have received the first Mystery amp. I know we will be hearing a lot about it from you over the next few months. Good luck in working out all of the details and getting it tuned into your room.

     Enjoy, This doesn't happen often enough in life to find something so special to be excited about!



Cool
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« Last Edit: 01/14/14 at 00:00:00 by Digger »  
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #521 - 01/14/14 at 00:12:39
 

Stone,
They ship on Tuesdays. Smiley
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« Last Edit: 01/14/14 at 00:13:36 by Lon »  

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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #522 - 01/14/14 at 00:23:19
 

Lon,
    You messing with Stone!


Wink


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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #523 - 01/14/14 at 00:27:18
 
Maybe just a little bit. Wink

I'd rather mess with this Stone.

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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #524 - 01/14/14 at 00:30:44
 
Oh Ya!

I get your point.



    Shocked


Cool


 
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #525 - 01/14/14 at 00:34:54
 
Ditto on that Stone.

Cool
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #526 - 01/14/14 at 17:40:56
 
I was looking at the build sheet to see if my Torii was on it yet (1/07), not yet.

However, I noticed the two "Cryo Treatment" Mystery Amps...pretty cool. ....parts cryo'd or tubes....or both?  Steve send them (parts-tubes) out to do this or done in-house?

Inquiring minds, want to know.  :)    -S
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #527 - 01/14/14 at 18:10:25
 
I noticed that last night as well - since the previous state was "Winding Transformers", I can only assume part of the custom manufacture of those transformers is Cryo treating them to make them play smoother, and with less distortion.

I don't recall Steve saying anything about this anywhere, but seeing as how these are a "cost no object" design it would make sense.



On a completely different topic - I'm curious about the OA3 tubes - aren't there some that glow blue? Or was that a completely different regulator tube?



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« Last Edit: 01/14/14 at 18:13:19 by Lonely Raven »  
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #528 - 01/14/14 at 19:11:37
 
LR - blue glowing tubes....

OB3's -

http://web.archive.org/web/20130218185403/http://www.decware.com/newsite/TORII.h...

way down the page on the old Torii MK.III webpage.
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #529 - 01/14/14 at 20:39:59
 
Thanks for that!

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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #530 - 01/14/14 at 20:48:46
 
I'd be very surprised if the transformers are cryo'd.
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #531 - 01/14/14 at 21:17:35
 
Quote:
I'd be very surprised if the transformers are cryo'd.


so would I... custom wound and potted - yep, but taken to at least -238 degrees Fahrenheit or colder for an extended period - I doubt it.  Possible I suppose, but not likely.
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #532 - 01/15/14 at 03:20:13
 
I'll ask Steve when I talk to him next, what exactly gets Cryo'd


So, another minor update - well, not really, just something that made me smile.

So I come home, and Brianne has the amp powered up for a couple hours already; yeah, still a keeper.

I put on Patricia Barber - Blue Cafe (no subwoofer, just enjoying the grunt of the ZMA) and I check mail and packages and I'm pleasantly surprised to see my Pangea AC 9 SE that was recommended previously.



Nice, fat, garden hose of a cable...kinda intimidating honestly, especially since I thought the 10AWG cable I made was already overkill - but I get the new cable unboxed and ready to install, I go behind the amp and unplug my power cable while the amp is still playing, casually plug in the 1.5M Pangia garden snake into my Isolation transformer, then into the ZMA.

The music never stopped! The caps hold so much power that the music kept going for the 3-4 seconds it took me to seat the new cable! It maybe dimmed a little, but just kept going! Amazing.

So, part two - I'm a real skeptic of power cords. Sure I can typically hear the difference between shielded and unshielded cable, but I've always felt that as long as a power cable does no damage, they will all sound the same. Patricia Barber is still playing while I eat and check up on E-mail and such...and...I'll...be...damned. All the drums sound sharper - from Bass all the way up to Cymbals. The music kept distracting me from what I was doing (usually a really good sign).

It could just be "a good night" for the amp or for my hearing or mood or whatever. So I'll give it a proper A/B test with a friend who's ears I trust, but my initial impression with the Pangea is this has changed for the better! I'm almost a believer!

P.S. Bri said now that I've drank the Kool-Aid, I need to start buying little magic sound bowls and hang crystals in the room to make things sound better. LOL
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #533 - 01/15/14 at 06:50:33
 




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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #534 - 01/15/14 at 11:36:52
 
I'm very glad you went for the cord Eric and so glad that results have been favorable. It will get better, too. I'm confident you'll be converted.
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #535 - 01/15/14 at 12:29:06
 
Lonely Raven,

Glad you are enjoying the mystery amp.  It looks like quite the beast.

JD
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #536 - 01/15/14 at 13:10:04
 

Thanks Guys!

I'm really glad to have found my way back here after a 12 year hiatus. Things turned out very well; but then, that's how it seems to work in the world of Zen, doesn't it?

Iso-Balls and Tube Dampers due in later this week. Lets see if they bump it up a notch as well.
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #537 - 01/15/14 at 14:11:28
 
Prepare to be impressed. Oddly enough, DO what I didn't do for far too long: play around with placment of the Iso-Cups, even in locations that wouldn't seem to work at first. They really change in sound according to placement!
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« Last Edit: 01/15/14 at 14:14:35 by Lon »  

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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #538 - 01/15/14 at 14:34:36
 
Quote:
Prepare to be impressed. Oddly enough, DO what I didn't do for far too long: play around with placment of the Iso-Cups, even in locations that wouldn't seem to work at first. They really change in sound according to placement!


That kinda boggles me - I mean, the science makes sense. The iso-cups are acting like a vibration sink/damper, so if you can get the devices in a location of most resonance, you'd get the most improvement. Got that part. But the fact that our gear is this sensitive and that these problems have been plaguing us since...well, since the gear was first invented, and we're only now really addressing this correctly? That's part of what makes me want to cry SNAKE OIL! But the tube dampers on the little Zen amp had such a surprising *sharpening* of the music; I have to at least try to go all out on the ZMA and see what happens.

And I kinda did go all out: Besides the current gen of Iso-Cup/Ball, I also got Tenderfeet for the Oppo player, and a full set of Tube Dampers for the ZMA, even including the Regulator Tubes (which, IMHO I really don't see how this will improve anything, but I'm fine with being wrong), plus I got two Super Sonic Stabilizers that I'm going to try on both the Oppo, and testing on the Transformers or Caps of the ZMA. Again, another device I'm skeptical of, but that's why Steve H has such a great return policy.

In my mind, even if this stuff gives me a 2% improvement, it was worth the cost, and can be transferred to other devices down the line. I still believe that digital audio will explode in the next year or two, so I don't see me sticking with the Oppo forever, but the ZMA is here for the long stretch...or until Steve D comes up with an OTL Amp for me!   Grin
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« Last Edit: 01/15/14 at 14:37:45 by Lonely Raven »  
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #539 - 01/15/14 at 15:08:06
 
I just noticed something in LR's photos, all of the screwheads are pointing in the same direction! That warms my heart.
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #540 - 01/15/14 at 15:56:43
 
The way I look at is that the transparency and accuracy of the Decware amps and preamps and sources allow one to hear these types of improvements with more clarity and certainty. I was the biggest skeptic several decades ago but really have found some fascinating results with stands and footers etc.

I think you'll be really impressed with the changes that these Herbie's products will bring.
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #541 - 01/15/14 at 16:43:54
 
Nice pic's LR.  I think Lon is right, Decware ships on Tuesday's. So, I am hoping next Thursday or Friday...I get my ZMA. It is only a 2 or 3 day UPS ground trip to 23 miles north of Minneapolis from Peoria.

Anyway, I agree with Lon...you will become a convert. You just need a good front end (you do have)....good Amps (you do have)....which have the Transparency resolution to hear the improvements (DECWARE). Yup, a lot of them don't make sense. I just trust my ears.

I purposely used the stock power cord for 8 months on my CKC. Then, put in my 2nd XLO Pro Power Cord (I have the 1st one purchased on my Select). Just one variable at a time....just putting this cord in....the difference is more than subtle.

Oh, I wanted to acknowledge when you swapped cords and the ZMA kept playing. Steve said it stores CLEAN juice like a battery. I think this backs up that statement.    -Stone
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #542 - 01/16/14 at 16:49:54
 

I got my Herbie's shipment last night (along with stuff from my other hobbies that I need to work on as well).

I didn't get any real listening time in last night, just more background listening. I threw all the Herbie's stuff on the ZMA at once, I figured I'd use it all for a few days, then remove it - as that usually gives me a better picture of what it was actually doing - *then* I'll add items one at a time and see what does what.








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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #543 - 01/16/14 at 17:21:51
 
Glad you got it. As Steve is in Houston and I was in Austin, I used to get stuff the day after I ordered it more often than not. Really neat!

I think you're going to hear the difference and appreciate it.
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #544 - 01/16/14 at 17:45:20
 
How did you choose which dampers you wanted on each tube type?

cheers,
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #545 - 01/16/14 at 18:24:19
 

I asked Steve H for recommendations and went with what he suggested.


To save money, I put the Ultrasonic SS on the regulator tubes...I honestly find it hard to believe that vibrations in the regulation tube would affect anything, but I'll give it a try and see.

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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #546 - 01/16/14 at 19:14:29
 
Very nice LR, I will revisit this when I'm ready for some Herbie's. Thanks for posting this... .

Good news, I spoke with Sarah about some business and she checked on my ZMA....and Josh should be able to get it out today or tomorrow!
I like her!

My Torii IV has also made the build sheet...with my ZMA in Shipping.
What's not to like?!  Good people and good service.

-S
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« Last Edit: 01/16/14 at 19:19:33 by stone_of_tone »  

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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #547 - 01/17/14 at 20:06:59
 


Just got off the phone with Steve - I had some questions of my own, and remembered to ask him about the Cryo status on the Amp Build Sheet.

You guys were right, he doesn't have the transformers cryo'd, it's the caps. He says they are specially made, just for this amp! So it's the Jupiter caps that are out for Cryo.

I still think it would be cool to try cryo vs non-cryo output transformers through. Smiley

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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #548 - 01/18/14 at 01:27:02
 
In case anyone else is wondering, Steve told me that the ZMA draws about 150 watts max.
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #549 - 01/18/14 at 04:26:32
 
Damnit, that was the other question I forgot to ask! LOL  I'm so forgetful and I don't like wasting Steve's time, so I'm on and off the phone with him quickly so he can get on to all the other ZMA in the queue.

Thanks for that info.
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