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The MYSTERY AMP ! (Read 154487 times)
Lonely Raven
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #555 - 01/21/14 at 00:29:22
 


Lon, you pretty much described how I see the show Doomsday Preppers. LOL


Had a meet up with Palomino today at his place. Put the ZMA in it's magic box and rolled it into his lair for what I guess is the second meeting of the Chicago Decware Appreciation Society (CDAPS).  ;D  

I mixed up some whiskey old fashioned cocktails  and he played some of his demo tunes to show off his speakers and the sound treatment he's done to his room. I have to say, his room just kills mine - and his DIY speakers sound *fantastic*!

After playing his Rachel we spent the rest of the day listening to my ZMA #000. Without me prompting him, he confirmed just about everything I think about the amp. It's got balls - it's accurate and has nice harmonics - and it's still a bit dry and needs more burning in. The ZMA really made the soundstage/image snap into focus. Really made me feel like this was money well spent!

Also, played half the day without tube dampers, then popped them on for the second half. Palomino felt there was a clear improvement with the dampers - again, pretty much had the same notes I did after a listen. I lent him the HAL-O III dampers off my old Zen amp to see how they work with his Rachel - I hope to hear back about those later this week. So far everyone that has listened to the dampers has herd the sharpening effect they have...and at this point I think they have solidly proved themselves as *not* snake oil.   Grin

A very enjoyable day for the Chicago Decware Appreciation Society (CDAPS) overall!   Cool

Now to work out why my room doesn't sound half as good as his....
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Lon
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #556 - 01/21/14 at 01:17:05
 
Sounds like a nice get together.

In fact, it's playing now on Access Channel 12. Smiley
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stone_of_tone
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #557 - 01/21/14 at 06:17:14
 
We can skip Cable Access Lon. Grin

http://www.theconlincompany.com/
Lets take it big time to my girlfriends sister's company!!  8-)    If we test out/she will run by the Exec's at FOX.... .  We were out in LA last May and this was all pretty cool fun.

The GF surprised me with Plane Tic's to Vegas for my birthday coming up. We will go to Gordon Ramsey's Vegas Pub & Grill. I am a bit of foody.

Anyway, the journey continues.
I have had quite a few audio experiences through my Listening Room this past year: Primaluna Dialogue Five Amp, PWT & PWDII, Zu Audio Union, Klipsch (2 pr), NAD M51 DAC, Moon W5.3 SE Amplifier Solid State. Of course, two years ago....I had the Torii III as well, for 3 months. From my experience with the Primaluna & the Moon W5.3 Amp...I think I will like the virtues of the ZMA. However, instead of just 3 months.....it will need a good year of experiences with burn in, to fully grasp...as will my Torii IV.

I look forward to this years chapter's with the ZMA coming Wednesday & Torii IV coming in April... . For Speakers this year? I am considering Omega's, Audio Nirvana or Steve's new ERRx. I first need to enjoy my Anthony Gallo 3.1's that are begging for the ZMA.    Cheers, Stone of Tone
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« Last Edit: 01/21/14 at 16:30:47 by stone_of_tone »  

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Palomino
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #558 - 01/21/14 at 18:21:44
 
Yes, great CDAPS meeting yesterday.  A firsthand experience with the ZMA in my room with my speakers and my interconnects.  Pretty cool.

Pretty easy setting up the ZMA.  As Raven has said in the past, the biasing seemed pretty easy.  He did adjust once during the 2.5 hour session once the amp had warmed up.

Straight out of the Pelican box, I was feeling pretty good about the sound out of my Rachael.    But once the ZMA warmed up, it pulled away steadily and quite frankly, never looked back.

Yes, more grunt, but I think that is too simplistic a word to describe the ZMA.  The ZMA has more power through the range of frequencies, but its not just louder.  In fact, I was somewhat surprised that it wasn't that much louder than the Rachael.  Instead, I felt that notes were fuller and had more attack and decay because the additional power pushes out that detail.  But the detail from one instrument did not get in the way of the others.  Instead, I felt it had better focus and imaging.  It seems to have "well applied power" that makes for a fuller, more satisfying listening experience.  I can say I felt I was getting everything with the ZMA.  Nothing not presented or held back.

So in terms of "liquid honesty," the honesty part is already there.  You get the whole satisfying truth and nothing but that truth.  But it has a  that new amp sound right now.  If that turns liquid (which I suspect it will in a few months) then it is truly a refined music producing machine.

Again, my frame of reference is a Rachael, so a MKIII or MKIV listener may note more subtle differences.  I can't make the leap to a ZMA anytime soon, but the audition does leave me trying to figure out a way to get closer to that sound.  Running my Rachaels as monos?  A used MkIII?

P.S. we switched power cords without turning the amp off and it barely noticed.  Those caps are monsters.

P.S.S Raven makes a great old fashioned.


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Lonely Raven
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #559 - 01/22/14 at 19:22:00
 
Yeah, you said it so much better than I did, but that's my feelings exactly.


I had my friend Jason over - he's got an original SE84C-A like mine, but completely stock except for new tubes I bought him as a birthday gift 6-7 years ago. He's been my listening buddy for 15+ years and the guy I go to in order to double-check what I think I'm hearing. (though we are in a very subjective field, the scientific method requires that all results get checked by your peers - LOL)

He was pretty harsh on the ZMA, much more than I was. I was expecting him to be blown away, but he really made the ZMA work for it's space on the rack. He confirmed everything Palomino said above, but kept saying how he hopes the high end smooths out as it burns in. I think he's spoiled by the smoothness of our well burned in Zen amps and probably has a sensitivity to treble like some of you here have mentioned. So what I've been calling "dry high end" he just flat out thought was harsh. He was thoroughly impressed with everything else the ZMA did, but said he wanted to hear it again in a few months after I get a few hundred hours on it. Great recordings sounded great, recordings with rough high-end sounded rough to him.

This album is getting a lot of playtime as an excellent and dynamic demo disc by the way.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZoQSThtD6s&list=PLC47C58748772D11B




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« Last Edit: 01/22/14 at 20:34:01 by Lonely Raven »  
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Lon
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #560 - 01/22/14 at 20:20:58
 
Interesting.

That's exactly the fear I have of moving to an amp without a treble cut circuit. I heard back from Steve about the treble cut circuit on the ZMA:

I'm not positive I can pull off a treble cut on the Mystery Amp, but if I spent enough time on it, I am 95% sure of success.  It might be better to implement it in a preamp or switchbox, that way you would have one no matter what amps you used.

So that's another expense for that and cables, etc. And I need more inputs on the amp as well.  

I'm listening to the clear and dynamic sound of my Torii Mk III right now and remarking "Don't worry my friend, you're not going anywhere."

PS: Your pal has been using the same tubes for six years?
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« Last Edit: 01/22/14 at 20:21:28 by Lon »  

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Lonely Raven
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #561 - 01/22/14 at 20:38:46
 
Quote:
PS: Your pal has been using the same tubes for six years?


Yeah, and the previous set for probably 8 years before that!

I gave him a fresh input tube to try out recently, but I think he just really likes the sounds he's getting so he doesn't want to change anything. His setup is still running well enough that when I gave him a box of my DIY cables, plus Decware Silver Reference, and a Monster...I don't know, something expensive - his notes upon returning the cables were 95% the same as mine on the same cables. So apparently his system is working well enough!

I guess these military tubes have a long life than we give them credit for!


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Lonely Raven
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #562 - 01/22/14 at 20:41:11
 

Lon, doesn't the MK IV has the treble cut, so maybe that's the amp for you rather than the Mystery amp.

Unless you want to buy a ZMA and let me break it in for you till the treble blossoms.   I figure it should only take about 5 years or so.   Grin
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Lon
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #563 - 01/22/14 at 20:52:38
 
Well, I bet he'd get better extension of the frequencies with new tubes at this point. I never really know when it's time for new tubes unless there's distortion or I compare with new tubes.

I see no reason to move to the Mk IV. From reports it's similar, not radically different, and doesn't have the same bass controls as one of my Mk IIIs. . . not worth the money to upgrade and re-season an amp all over again.

If I were unhappy with the Mk III or needed more power I'd have to consider the ZMA or the Monos as only Decware will do. . . . Neither is the case.  I don't have the money that I should spend anyway, and now I don't need to try to sell a lot of things. If the amp were dramatically more amazing I'd be more tempted, but it sounds to me as if the Mk III fits my needs best, and is a bird in hand.

I'm jumping off the temptation wagon. Wink
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« Last Edit: 01/22/14 at 21:17:47 by Lon »  

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stone_of_tone
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #564 - 01/22/14 at 23:53:07
 
Well, the Eagle has landed!  -ZMA-

Anyway, I spoke with Steve today and complemented him on the beauty of this Amp!  The pictures on the web site and LR's pic's, don't do it justice. Very nice. Furthermore, all screws, fit and finish...are all there. Everything secure and tight.

I called him about the Taps...usually, you have a 4ohm, 8ohm pos. and one neg. I just wanted to make sure they "paired". The inner pair, when standing over the Amp is the 4ohm....outer pair near the RCA input is 8ohm=this is correct. Not to get hung up on....I'll be trying both. The nature of the winding of the Tranny's Steve spoke of... . So, 2 & 2....not 2pos. & 1neg.

Anyway, just two minor quibbles.  I did not get my Stepped Attenuator!
Anywho, I told Steve, I am not sending it back to have it done. I will call Sarah tomorrow and have her credit me. Granted, Steve admits, he likes it, can make things a little warmer with the resistor used in the 20 increment Step Attenuation...but I am fine with the killer transparency of the carbon pot!

However, as we discussed, I want the Stepped Attenuator on my Torii IV coming in April...for the best comparison I can discern...being two different Amplifiers. The 2nd quibble is a little plastic gramut out of the bunch of three that was missing-located between the Left RCA input and the positive 8 ohm Speaker input. Other than that, as I mentioned above....beautiful, beautiful Amplifier. I will square up with Sarah tomorrow about the Attenuator and have her send one of the gramuts too. The ZMA is to sweet...not to be perfect. The Pelican case was killer too. I will seriously use it as a piece of checked Luggage.

Now the sound! Well, let me start by saying, after I hung up the phone with Steve...he is busy I did not want to keep him...I forgot to ask about the biasing?  No online manual yet, but I remembered LR's (Eric's) post about it being set at 60...and how to bias & balance. I reviewed that and got it all dialed in.

I did call back though before I remembered Eric's post...and Sarah misunderstood me a little. I am glad Steve did not call me back. I did blow the fuse when I first turned it on....plugged in the Spare that came with it...and was good to go. I thought it was one of the 0A3's at first or worse, in the way it flashed...but it was fine. Always, check the fuse first before jumping to conclusions.

Anyway, the sound, with all of 3 hours on it! Dynamic, detailed and so not Solid State. However, with 300 hours to go...till it is really there...but right now, I concur with LR & his buddy Jason's assessment.

Cheers, back to the Listening Room...with a Summit Pale Ale.   -Stone


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Lon
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #565 - 01/23/14 at 01:12:39
 
Congrats Stone! Enjoy!
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stone_of_tone
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #566 - 01/23/14 at 02:01:17
 
You bet Lon. This Amp is pure fun. But, it needs a long, long burn in for sure... .

Harmonics are there...but overall dry presentation right now. I know, I said in a previous post...I would put 30 hours on it before I would comment.....you know that was not going to happen  ::).

Anyway, .....I will now go for the 30 - 40 hours before I return. LR, I wish Steve kept the blue lights in the Bias/Balance Meter's. I did not see them in yours and I don't have them. He must have decided not to go with....obviously....but he had to go do it/we saw it....when showing us the build/design process....now I want them.  ;D  ....he can't be doing that!   -Stone
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« Last Edit: 01/23/14 at 02:03:25 by stone_of_tone »  

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Lonely Raven
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #567 - 01/23/14 at 03:25:33
 
I officially disavow any knowledge of blue LEDs in or around any such devices known heretofore as ZMA, AKA Zen Mystery Amp, AKA the Mystery Amp.


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« Last Edit: 01/23/14 at 03:27:01 by Lonely Raven »  
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lLance
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #568 - 01/23/14 at 18:55:08
 
I just ordered my mystery amp, upgrading from but not getting rid of a Torii MK3. Anyone else taken this path? I would like hear your thoughts.
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SteveC
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #569 - 01/23/14 at 19:51:10
 
I'll be comparing my torii3 to the ZMA when it arrives.

Lately, my Torii is sounding so very good.  It sounds fantastic.  

It's as if the Torii knows the ZMA is coming...and it's on it's best behavior  :)
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