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The MYSTERY AMP ! (Read 136521 times)
jsm71
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #650 - 02/08/14 at 13:49:30
 
Larry and Lee are two of my favorites for easy to consume jazz fusion.  They both always bring plenty of punch to the recording and make good demos when you want to show off your system.  I will need to get that album.  I wish they pressed on vinyl though.
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Decware ZMA, Cary SLP-98P preamp, JansZen zA2.1 speakers with JansZen speaker cables, Marantz TT 15S1 turntable, Lyra Delos MC with Bobs Devices SUT, Marantz SA8004 SACD/CD player, Morrow level 4 ICs, Decware and Shunyata PCs.
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Dave1210
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #651 - 02/10/14 at 19:39:28
 
Amp just moved into 'testing' status.  Wishful thinking wants me to believe that Steve secretly burned in the giant Nuclear caps while waiting on the other caps.  Ok, back to reality...  

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Lonely Raven
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #652 - 02/10/14 at 20:08:49
 
I'm about 150 hours on the ZMA, and 10-15 on the P10 Power Plant - it's starting to level-up again! I played some choral music last night, and for the first time, I could clearly hear the different sections! (rather than one amorphous blob of voices) I think I'm starting to see what the P10 is supposed to be doing! Followed up with some Beatles albums I've not listened to in years. While I didn't have the "I heard things I've never heard before" thing happen, I was clearly hearing some wonderful depth and detail that I didn't have previously.

I still have to work out the buzz issue I have. I spent more time on it last night and got nowhere - was up till 12:30am working on it and up for work at 5:05am. Oppo suggested running a cable without a ground pin - but I'm having this buzz issue even when power isn't applied to the Oppo!

I made some progress on rebuilding my garage/workshop last night as well; so I'm a little bit closer to starting to build my Big Ass Diffusers. when I get back into town, I hope to get further along on the garage and maybe be able to start cutting wood for my prototype diffuser this weekend!
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« Last Edit: 02/10/14 at 20:14:09 by Lonely Raven »  
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Lon
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #653 - 02/10/14 at 20:39:54
 
Now we're talking.

Sorry about the buzz. Hopefully it will be gone soon.
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Lonely Raven
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #654 - 02/10/14 at 20:48:44
 

This buzz is driving me nuts, Lon. I'm really good at dividing and conquering issues. Usually I can narrow it down and come up with a plan in no time, and this one issue is taking me weeks!

I'm really going to have to start swapping components to figure out the exact source, so I can find an exact solution. When I get back home later this week, I think I'm going to swap in my old copper chassis Denon CD player and see if the problem persists.
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Lon
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #655 - 02/10/14 at 21:05:31
 
I know how it can be. Sounds like a good plan.
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Steve Deckert
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #656 - 02/12/14 at 20:45:49
 
For what it's worth the best trouble shooting procedure for noise, hums, buzzes, ticks etc., is to start with the speakers and work backwards.  

Hook the amp to the speakers and plug it in with nothing hooked to it's input jacks.  Let it warm up, and see what you hear.  Whatever you hear is the base noise floor you have to work with.  You can raise or lower this base noise floor somewhat with tubes, but essentially it should be so low that you don't care.  

Then hook the source to the amp while the amp is still on, but the volume is down, and see if anything changes.  If it does, you have three possibilities.  A) cables  B) the source itself  C) ground loop.

Under A) cables - we would also include the following scenario;  Unshielded interconnects picking up a square wave being broadcast through the air from a solid state module in todays light dimmers.  This would cause a buzzing sound.
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Steve Deckert
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #657 - 02/12/14 at 22:26:03
 
Getting ready to ship number 3 today!  Since this one has the XLR option I wanted to spend a night listening to the RCA inputs and then a second night listening to the balanced inputs.  To test the balanced inputs we hooked up the Otari 1/2 track mastering machine directly to the amplifier and spent the night listening to a master tape of Robert Plant from 1974 that I happen to own.  To describe the sound in less than a few pages would be nearly impossible, but I think I can do it with two pictures... let me see if I can find what I need and put it in my next post.  Meanwhile, let's just say... wow!



I've always said this is the only way to hear how good a Decware amplifier really is.... I was right.

Steve Smiley

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Lonely Raven
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #658 - 02/12/14 at 22:38:25
 

Steve, I sent this to you in E-mail, but wasn't sure if you got it -

Here is the shop that rents reel to reel tapes - they also have upgrades for Otari and some other machines.

http://www.tapeproject.com/

There was another group renting out masters, or 1 generation away from masters, but I can't find them anymore, I think they dried up.

Also, Stone of Tone says he's having what sounds like the same buzzing issue I am with the ZMA - I'm going to do more testing tonight if I get out of work at a reasonable hour...
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Steve Deckert
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #659 - 02/12/14 at 22:40:01
 
Yes, I found a picture that accurately communicates what the master tape sounds like in a side by side comparison with the DAC.



Not only are all the leaves missing on the digital copy, but the ambient environment is much drier and much cooler and it's not even the same frikin tree!  That's because digital copies are always manipulated by the mastering engineer.  To resist manipulating it would be like taking a crap without wiping your ass...  Very few people could pull that off without side effects.  

Steve  :)
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« Last Edit: 02/12/14 at 22:52:48 by Steve Deckert »  
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Lon
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #660 - 02/12/14 at 23:18:48
 
Those are cool trees.

And I just discovered why an engineer I know smells so bad.
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Decware:HR-1,ZP3,ZTPRE,Torii MkIII,ZBIT,Taboo MkIV;PS Audio:DMP+DS,P10,PowerBases,AC-12 pcs,Mapleshade:Dbl Helix+,V2+V3;CambridgeAudio CXU;Rega RP3,TTPSU,wh belt,all Groovetracer upgrades,Exact2;VooDoo Cremona +Amati,Iso-Pods;MD90-T SE tuner,Oppo PM-1,Audeze LCD-2
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stone_of_tone
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #661 - 02/12/14 at 23:35:51
 
Steve, that is so cool!  XLR and a 1974 Master you own of Robert Plant.  Wow. Where is my Star Trek Transporter!

Well, I did what you said and all is well. I disconnected the IC's this time with all of the front end off. Just the Amp on, connected to the Speaker's...the ZMA is quiet. Add the IC's back into it...and I have an antenna... . So, I moved the power supplies of my DTI-Pro32 & DAC...and that lowered the buzz! Definitely, not a ground loop/obviously. The little buzz that it does do...is not effecting the fidelity of the Amp and my music running through it.

Now, I could go to a more shielded IC. Hell no, my Kimber 1030 with Kimber 3035 is to musical with the ZMA, SE84CS & CKC and Loud Speakers I like to use...for me to do that. With the SE84CS & CKC all is dead quiet.

Well gents, the Listening Room is all TUBE, with three Decware Amps & two pair of Speakers I like with all three Amps.

The Gallo 3.1's, have been moved to the bedroom system with my Anedio D2 DAC and Solid State Amp. They do better service in that capacity...and worth keeping.   -S
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lLance
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #662 - 02/13/14 at 00:02:13
 
Steve, I ordered my ZMA with the balanced option. What do you think between the RCA and the XLR? Any sound difference?
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Lon
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #663 - 02/13/14 at 00:04:19
 
Great news stone.
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DBC
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #664 - 02/13/14 at 01:11:40
 
Quote:
stone_of_tone wrote:  So, I moved the power supplies of my DTI-Pro32 & DAC...and that lowered the buzz! Definitely, not a ground loop/obviously. The little buzz that it does do...is not effecting the fidelity of the Amp and my music running through it.


Just a little food for thought based on what happened to me. In my case the "little buzz" was in the 60 Hz region due to a grounding problem. For almost a year I put up with it thinking it might just be normal.

During this time frame I was using an HSU Mid Bass Module and it produced very good bass through the 50 to 150 Hz range it was designed for. I had the MBM volume knob set at about the 10 O'clock position. Any higher and the Bass would start to get a bit boomy.

Finally one night I decided once again to try and root out the source of the "little buzz". Turns out I found the problem and the "little buzz" was completely gone, my system was dead silent. On top of that I was able to increase the MBM volume knob from 10 O'clock to 1 O'clock and it was wonderful, closest thing to live bass I have ever had in a living space. No boomy tendency at all.

In retrospect I think the actual noise floor of the amp is below what is audible. Only the 60 Hz "little buzz" was audible, an abrupt peak on the noise floor. Then when amplifying a music signal anything in that 60 Hz region rides on top of that peak creating a boomy effect to the ear (similar to a room induced peak) if the Mid Bass Module volume setting were too high.

Point being the "little buzz" may prevent you from getting the most out of your Sub and or Mid Bass Module as it did in my case?

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Main System: Oppo BDP-105D, SE84UFO amp, Omega Super Alnico Monitors, Twin Custom SLAB 15's (Low Frequency Open Baffle).
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stone_of_tone
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #665 - 02/13/14 at 14:31:22
 
I have my MBM 12 out in my Living Room System. I could not be without it, out there. I thank you DBC, for turning me on to this great device...Mid Bass Sub!

My Listening Room is only 9' x 11' and I get enough low end & mid bass from my main Speakers. Of course, my Room Treatment makes the Room sound like a much bigger space.

The strange thing is; my SE84CS & Super Zen CKC run dead quiet. I have so minimized the slight hum with the ZMA...it no longer concerns me. I can hear a mouse piddle on a cotton ball in the back of the Studio & all is extremely musically maintained (thanks Steve for a great AMP/ZMA).

My next move is bringing a pair of LSiM707 Speakers in for audition (the ZMA should be able to pull them off/if not, I will ship them back):

http://www.tonepublications.com/review/polk-audio-lsim707-loudspeaker/




My System for ZMA:

Dedicated Listening Room is 9' x 11'

Acoustically treated/Michael Green Room Tunes
http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/

& Home Brew 20" x 30" open filter panels = 18 of them.
System Tri-configured on floor (no rack) on flat shelves/on full carpeted room/floor underneath-concrete ...Townsend CD Seismic Sync under digital Audio Alchemy components ...Pangea AC-9SE Power Cord to ZMA ...Adcom AC-enhancer 515 ...all four components plugged into it...has sequential on off start & shut down~

Sony DVD Player as Transport
Illuminati D-60 Digital Coax/BNC
Audio Alchemy DTI-Pro32 (Set at 20 bit dither & sometimes 22 bit)
i2s Prophecy Cryo Digital (sends jitter reduced music 20 bit dither signal separate from clock signal in which it also sends to DAC)
Audio Alchemy v3.0 DAC (dual ladder DACS-w/remote wand volume/adjustable voltage output/driving directly into ZMA)
Kimber Select 1030 Interconnect RCA
ZEN MYSTERY AMPLIFIER (3lb Brass Weight on each inside Transformer)
Kimber Select 3035 Speaker Cable
Polk LS90 Speakers (Resonance Control Megafeet Brass on Top & Spikes/Large Tiptoe's with Vibrapods on Bottom)

-Stone (I just added the Pangea....Stone Like!)

*PS-ALL components in the Listening Room, including my Decware Torii III/sold, SE84CS & CKC = were purchased new.

Yes, I have owned the Audio Alchemy Digital new, since 1995 & the LS 90's new since 1993. NO Redbook front end under 6K has beat my Audio Alchemy front end (I have had in-quite a few/and recently). The only thing I have found that can....is a 6K Esoteric Player.
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« Last Edit: 02/13/14 at 17:23:22 by stone_of_tone »  

Sony as Transport
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Audio Alchemy DTI-Pro
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Kimber Select 1030
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Tri-config/TipToes & Vibropods underneath Speakers
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stellablues
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #666 - 02/14/14 at 02:56:09
 
my ZMA is now 'on the bench' ... woohoo!
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #667 - 02/14/14 at 04:39:13
 
We have been spending a great deal of time dialing in our digital system using my highly modified Acoustat Monitor's - which are direct-coupled full-range electrostatics with a 20Hz to 20kHz response and the effective cone area of eight 15 inch woofers per side but with only the total mass of a single 1 inch soft dome tweeter per side ...to get some impressive sound.  Each speaker has a bias voltage of 5000 volts.  There is no hum. 

So far, the only real competitor is the Torii Mono's or the Mystery Amp using either the DM945's in the companion cabinets or the HR-1's. Despite the overwhelmingly impossible odds, the Mystery amp has now on more than 6 occasions kicked the Acoustat's ass using the DM945's. in the companion cabinets. [u]Impossibly the density of sound in the room on the Mystery amp / 945 combo which is one 8 inch driver per side sounded like 5 speakers per channel vs., the electrostatics with their own amps and some 30 times the cone area which sounded like half as much speaker.

It happened again tonight... but the real discovery turns out to be the balanced input transformer.   Using the balanced outputs from the tape machine into a Mystery amp without balanced inputs just didn't have the same magic.  It sounded perhaps half as good.  This of course would not be the case with single ended sources like your typical DAC or CD player, but from this balanced tape machine there was no comparison between the two ZMA's, one balanced, one not.   We created a magic the other night with the balanced Mystery amp and the 945's that we can not re-create with anything else.   It's so good, we had no idea.

So unbalanced the Mystery Amp / DM945 combo is equal to the Acoustats but balanced the Mystery Amp was perhaps twice as good...  Could the shimmer of a great input transformer make this much difference?  Apparently so...
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« Last Edit: 02/14/14 at 04:47:30 by Steve Deckert »  
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stellablues
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #668 - 02/14/14 at 04:53:04
 
Steve.... I asked the question months ago if I should get the balanced option.. and everyone said no, don't do it, just a waste.

and then today my mystery is 'on the bench' and you come out with this..

anyway to add the balanced output option at this point? will this find the same improvement with my balanced xlr dac output...

need advice asap.
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Lon
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #669 - 02/14/14 at 11:06:10
 
Amigo, if you need advice ASAP: give Steve or Sarah a call. Whether he'll see a post in time is risky. . . .
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Dave1210
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #670 - 02/14/14 at 13:06:41
 
Sarah said my amp hasn't shipped yet because they are still waiting on Pelican cases.  I think it's REALLY because Steve and team are still listening to master tapes on the ZMA/R2R combo.   Smiley
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Dave1210
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #671 - 02/14/14 at 14:50:42
 
In general, I am not a huge fan of blanket statements.  Unfortunately, there are a lot of them tossed around in the audio world.  Single ended is better, balanced is better.  Better on what gear?  Did they experiment with my gear?  

Also, I don’t know what my listening room setup will be 5 years from now.  Maybe I’ll have the ZMA sitting between the two speakers and my front end in a different room.  Would I want to have a long run of RCA or XLR?  

I don’t currently have a pre-amp (I guess you could argue the PW DAC is a pre-amp/DAC), but I may get one in the future.  There are plenty of pre’s that are truly balanced designs.  Would the XLR outputs/inputs sound better?  Maybe, maybe not, but at least you would have the option to try both.  

So, my thinking on the balanced option was--I’ll try both and decide for myself.  Plus, experimentation is half the fun with this hobby.  

StellaBlues…I agree with Lon.  Best thing to do is call Steve first thing this morning if you want to discuss further or make a change.

Cheers.  
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« Last Edit: 02/14/14 at 14:55:38 by Dave1210 »  
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Lon
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #672 - 02/14/14 at 16:12:45
 
So, is both balanced and single-ended outputs available for this amp both on one amp?  I thought not. . . .
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stone_of_tone
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #673 - 02/14/14 at 17:04:11
 
The ZMA is blowing my mind this morning! At the 124 hour mark here now...and I'm at 86db with 93db SPL peaks....and just loving the density, speed & power of this AMP!  No hyperbole, just LIQUID MUSIC!

I am going to need a can opener to pry myself out of my chair, hit the shower and go get Steaks & Salmon for my Sue Marie on the grill tonight. The steaks & salmon on the grill/not her....hehe.

Cheers, Stone
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Audio Alchemy DDE 3.0
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Zen Select #76
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Tri-config/TipToes & Vibropods underneath Speakers
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #674 - 02/14/14 at 17:06:19
 

Yeah, I noticed the ZMA really warming up and wowing me around the 100-125 mark as well.

I'm still putting on about 25 hours a week with mixed music and TV/Movie watching. So I'm at about 150 now, give or take a little.

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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #675 - 02/14/14 at 17:28:28
 
Lon...you can get both balanced and unbalanced inputs on the ZMA, you just can't use them both at the same time.  Not sure if that is what you are asking...
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #676 - 02/14/14 at 18:54:40
 
Cool! I thought you could only get one or the other.
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Decware:HR-1,ZP3,ZTPRE,Torii MkIII,ZBIT,Taboo MkIV;PS Audio:DMP+DS,P10,PowerBases,AC-12 pcs,Mapleshade:Dbl Helix+,V2+V3;CambridgeAudio CXU;Rega RP3,TTPSU,wh belt,all Groovetracer upgrades,Exact2;VooDoo Cremona +Amati,Iso-Pods;MD90-T SE tuner,Oppo PM-1,Audeze LCD-2
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stone_of_tone
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #677 - 02/14/14 at 19:26:36
 
LR, I am going to use restraint and not put in KT120's until my ZMA has 300 hours on it. I also have ...23p Cryoset pre's & NOS RCA 0A3's. All in good time...all in good time.
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Sony as Transport
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Audio Alchemy DTI-Pro
Audio Magic Mystic Reference I2S
Audio Alchemy DDE 3.0
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Zen Select #76
Kimber Select 3033
Polk Audio LS-90
Tri-config/TipToes & Vibropods underneath Speakers
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #678 - 02/14/14 at 20:06:11
 

I'm looking forward to your thoughts on all those tubes. I'm just going to keep trucking with what I have.

Speaking of which, I don't see the Super Cryo 23P on the page anymore.


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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #679 - 02/14/14 at 20:30:55
 
the 23p is currently available only on the "regular" cryo preamp tubes page... not available in "Super" cryo version at the moment. (I shared this info with you a few days ago LR)  
here is the regular cryo version --> http://www.cryoset.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=21_24&products_id=243&osCs...
But given my understanding from Ron at cryoset about what makes his "super" cryo'd tubes "super", I bet he can make you some - if you ask.......
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Decware Torii MK3, Wyred4Sound DAC2, Theta Digital Miles, Emotiva XMC-1, Emotiva XPA-5, Aesthetix Calypso, Wyred STP-SE, Martin Logan Vista, Audio Nirvana 12" Alnico's, PS Audio PW P5, Goertz, Kimber, Nordost and DIY wires, PSA pwr cords, Cary SLI-80, DM945's.....
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #680 - 02/14/14 at 20:51:25
 

I thought I remembered someone bringing them up recently.  :)
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #681 - 02/17/14 at 15:31:18
 
Stuck home this morning, so why not make the most of it.

The ZMA is Blooming its Brains out! I truly love this Amp!

The Pangea AC-9SE is a worth while upgrade. Music is more relaxed without loss of speed or detail. It replaced a very good XLO Pro Power Cord, which provides more than a subtle difference from the stock cord that comes with and I have used for years. I also took the brass weights off the two inside tranny's...not needed.

Well, some work and then time to Snow Blow.....I really need to downsize and find an affordable inlet beach house in the St. James Florida area.    -S
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« Last Edit: 02/17/14 at 15:40:31 by stone_of_tone »  

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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #682 - 02/17/14 at 16:02:44
 
I guess I should do a small update as well.

~175 hours on the ZMA

Brought it over to Palomino's house for the 3rd meeting of the Chicago Decware Audio Enthusiasts (or whatever the hell he called us LOL).

Last time I brought the amp over to Palomino's listening room, it only had 25 hours on it and Palomino's Rachel sounded scary good - the ZMA sounded better after an hour of warming up, and as he said "never looked back" from that point.

This time, the ZMA smoked his really excellent sounding Rachel right from the get go, no contest, not even in the same league. Listening to the Rachel by itself is awesome, but having an amp like the Mystery amp in the same room simply made the Rachel sound anemic.

We did a lot of A/B testing with the limited gear we have, and our notes were exactly the same all throughout - here are some highlights:

#1 My MG944 are *way better* than I realized. The room treatments that Palomino is constantly adding and adjusting in his room, plus his excellent sounding Rachel proved that. I'd say their only drawback is that they are a bit beamy and very room dependent - if the room isn't balanced, and your head isn't in a vice at the sweet spot, your imaging will be off. His room sounds so good, we were hearing imaging off by inches due to something in the room. (the room was that good and the sound that detailed!)

#2 I knew this already, but it still shocks me when you listen to a well treated room - the quality of sound in his his room, before/after room treatment, is on the same level as the difference between the Rachel and the Mystery amp - his room treatments were as big of an improvement to his *existing* gear, as dropping $4600 on the ZMA! Keep in mind, he's got less invested in his *whole setup* room treatments and all, than I paid for the ZMA alone! The room and room treatments are that good, and that important.

#3  The Mystery amp in a well treated room, is truly amazing. We both agreed, this was the first amp we've ever heard, that truly gets Piano right. We also heard guitars in recordings, that sounded *live*, like they were right there in the room with us. I've said this in almost every post about the ZMA, the dynamics and harmonics - this amp makes the music truly come alive.

#4 The PS Audio P10 power plant easily added 25% quality improvement to Palomino's setup. I completely agree with Steve now, that with the big caps on the ZMA, a Power Regenerator is *less* necessary, but on the Rachel it brought it up to another level. I still firmly believe the Power Regenerator makes an improvement to the ZMA, just not as drastic as what we heard with the Rachel. I can now see why you guys say these things are game changers. While we agreed that it was a 25% (huge!) improvement on the Rachel, I think it was more like a 5% improvement on the ZMA. But at this level of quality, every percent counts!

Side note: when I got home I put my little 2 watt Zen amp on the P10, and *wow*, that was like buying a new amp! It even sounded louder! Zero regrets on the expenditure of the P10 now - I'm very happy with it!

Lastly, the negative - part of our audio play date was to help me suss out the buzz issue I'm having between the Oppo and the ZMA - we easily recreated the issue, and basically ran through all the elimination tests I did at my house - I do have *two* different buzzes - #1 being the ICs picking up noise like antenna, which with proper equipment and cabling layout is minor and almost inaudible at the listening position (even in Palomino's small room). #2 The buzz between the Oppo and ZMA, it's there, no doubt about it - as soon as you plug in the ICs, BZZZZZZ, goes up and down with the volume control.

But, as soon as we plugged in the Rachel, it's *dead quiet*. All things being equal, only change was the Rachel, dead quiet. In fact, it was so quiet, I actually said "is it on?".

I'm in Peoria today for work, but there is a big storm rolling in - I'm going to call Steve and see if I can swing by tonight with the ZMA and Oppo and see if we can figure out what's going on. I *really* like the Oppo, it does just about everything I need it to, and I really can't afford to replace it. So I'm going to see what Steve can do to help out. Right now my worst fear is that there is something off about the Oppo's design that will be inherent in any Oppo I get - I don't want to get rid of it, so I'm hoping we find a solution. I *need* to get the dead quiet I heard coming from the Rachel.

Calling Steve now to setup an appointment.   Smiley
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« Last Edit: 02/17/14 at 16:08:18 by Lonely Raven »  
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #683 - 02/17/14 at 16:12:07
 
Well, you're closer to getting the buzz gone! I hope that you can get some insight and cure from Steve.

As for the P10, I'm so glad you got to hear what it can do. Even if it is only improving the ZMA 5%, it is doing more than that for your other components.

It's nice that you and Palamino have someone to share these experiences and to help with tests.
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #684 - 02/17/14 at 16:26:47
 

Just spoke with Devon and Steve - Devon said roads are pretty impassable right now - so I'm hoping to drop off the Amp and Oppo with Steve tomorrow if the roads clear up. Being without the amp for a week makes me sad, but I know it's in good hands. Wish me luck and cross your fingers!
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #685 - 02/17/14 at 16:35:29
 
+1 on all Ravens comments.  I put my system back together after he left and felt petty good about my system/room but side by side with the ZMA Rachael felt, well, a little violated.

I learned a huge amount in just 4 hours. We could have gone on the rest of the day easily. See my comments on the regenerated power thread but the P10 is a game changer.

My only add would be my cheapo DAC faired well versus the oppo.  I bought it because of the giant killer claims to use in a second system and it's become my primary DAC.  In fairness to the oppo we did not test this much.

Finally my horns did not play well with the ZMA.  I had different drivers in and the ZMA just overpowered them.  It's interesting because they were the first speakers we listened to with Rachael and the P10 and they sounded good.  With the ZMA they sounded unlistenable.
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #686 - 02/17/14 at 16:51:16
 
Quote:
LR Wrote:  But, as soon as we plugged in the Rachel, it's *dead quiet*. All things being equal, only change was the Rachel, dead quiet. In fact, it was so quiet, I actually said "is it on?".


LR:  Is it also true that you can connect your Oppo to your Super Zen at home and there is no "Buzz #2" ???

Quote:
Steve Deckert Wrote:  The earth ground at the IEC connector is bonded to the metal chassis and the audio ground of the amplifier is also connected to earth ground.  This can be verified by taking an ohm meter and testing between the ground lug of the IEC connector and the metal chassis and then again from the earth ground at the IEC connector to the outside part of any RCA jack.  And finally, from the outside part of the RCA jack to the metal chassis.  All three points will read as far below 1 ohm as your meter's cables are capable of reading (usually 0.4 ohms +/- 0.3 ohms)


If you only get "Buzz #2" with the ZMA (not other amps) then I would suspect the Earth Ground on the ZMA. If the ZMA has a higher resistance to Earth Ground than it should then the path of least resistance will be through the interconnects to the Earth Ground of the Oppo.

I'm sure if you get to Steve's he will sort it out in short order. I'm South of you in Springfield, IL and the ice is bad here. Be careful on the roads.
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #687 - 02/17/14 at 17:00:35
 
Also, when we changed out the DAC - everything else the same, there was still a buzz, but it was much quieter.  Maybe it was a different frequency tone too.  Hard to tell because it was maybe only a quarter of the volume.

My DAC is on a 12v battery.
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #688 - 02/17/14 at 18:16:51
 
Very cool & constructive LR, Palomino & DBC. I look forward to Steve's further insight.
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #689 - 02/18/14 at 07:05:05
 
I gotta say, this is a great thread,  Learning a lot and quietly listening to the buzz saga.  I know LR, Palomino, DBC and Steve will get it worked out.

On a side note, interesting to know that the Rachel is overcome by the ZMA ... I was always thinking that nothing could touch the SET experience.  The ZMA must really be special. Cool
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« Last Edit: 02/18/14 at 07:07:44 by beowulf »  
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #690 - 02/18/14 at 12:57:57
 
I'm still forming my opinion but I feel the ZMA is SET on steroids. All the imaging plus more detail pushed out by those massive caps. This is not just raw grunt or low end.  It's across the frequency range.

Maybe Raven can chime in on the "cymbal" experience we had.  That cymbal has always been heard in that song and Rachael plays it crisply and clearly. But the ZMA plays it more fully and you can hear the full cymbal resonating and as the sound wave expands to the full circumference of the cymbal it gets deeper.  We just looked at each other and said "now that sounds like a real cymbal."

Same thing for the dsd violin music we listened to.  You didn't just hear the strings, you heard the bow rubbing against the strings *making* the sound.

So when Steve says liquid honesty I think he's saying all the lifelike detail and none of the "edge."

Note: I'd like to hear some comparisons to the Torii.  Maybe it is too big a jump from a Zen or Rachael and you can get some of this with a Torii III or IV.
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« Last Edit: 02/18/14 at 14:20:09 by Palomino »  

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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #691 - 02/18/14 at 14:43:24
 
Quote:
On a side note, interesting to know that the Rachel is overcome by the ZMA ... I was always thinking that nothing could touch the SET experience.  The ZMA must really be special. Cool


Seriously, after the first 150 hours of break-in, the ZMA is on a whole different level. I really feel I've got my moneys worth out of the ZMA and the PS Audio P10 now - and I expect the ZMA at least will get even better with age! I wish I had a MKIII or MKIV to demo in Palomino's room, up against the ZMA - where we can really take our time and ferret out all the nuances between the amps.

Oh, a couple photos from our mini-event.   Wink
(please forgive the cell phone photos)

















A side note about why Palomino's crawling on the floor:

Since my source is an Oppo Universal Disc Player, I really needed a screen to utilize it for anything other than shiny disc - and we were going back and forth between his DAC and my Oppo. We could *hear* the addition of that little screen in the room, as well as a small table we put drinks on next to the chair. So we had to move these two small items out of the way, otherwise they shifted and/or distorted the image!

Edit to Add: which reminds me of another detail about the setup - I brought a small green laser pointer I got off eBay for $8-$12, and we used it to setup the speakers as accurately as possible. Using the tape marks on the floor as a starting point, I placed the laser pointer on the inside-side panel of the speakers, right at tweeter height, then pointed them to about the same 1" square at the listening position. This little detail further sharpened the image on top of everything else we were doing. Of course, you could always adjust in and out from there, but it's a quick and easy starting point to try and find some balance in the room.
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« Last Edit: 02/18/14 at 14:48:30 by Lonely Raven »  
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #692 - 02/18/14 at 14:48:08
 
I was bowing and paying homage to the ZMA/P10 combo Grin
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #693 - 02/18/14 at 14:49:12
 
Quote:
I was bowing and paying homage to the ZMA/P10 combo Grin


I just laughed so hard I snorted.

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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #694 - 02/19/14 at 02:20:29
 
What power cord was used on the Rachael, Mystery Amp and P10? Did you use any tube damper items on the Rachael? Just curious. Thanks
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #695 - 02/19/14 at 02:43:19
 
Does the output power change if one were to use the other compatible tubes (KT77, EL34, 7027, 5881)?
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #696 - 02/19/14 at 03:14:20
 
Eric can comment on the p10 power cord.  I simply called it "the python."  

Rachael had the DIY audiophile power cord recipe from DIY audio.  Basic shielded power cord.  We had herbies tube dampers on the input tubes.
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #697 - 02/19/14 at 03:59:29
 

This is the power cord used on the P10

http://www.amazon.com/Pangea-Audio-AC-9SE-Signature-Power/dp/B005AXJRUG/ref=sr_1...

The Mystery Amp and Oppo used DIY power cables using Zen Styx type cable in 10AWG.
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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #698 - 02/19/14 at 05:24:36
 
Hi,

I am the owner of 4th ZMA which someone mention before. (Mr. Veerachai from Vietnam). I would like to share my experience of ZMA. I am new in tubed audio amp. The ZMA is my first tubed audio amp and first Decware amp. My objective to buy ZMA is to replace my Pass Labs X150 SS amp. I want to try tubed audio amp. However my worry is that
1) Short of Watt power to drive Avalon Avatar speakers which have 85 dB sensitivity. Tubed audio need to match with >90 dB sensitivity speakers.
2) Short of dynamics or bass to play hard rock musics.
The result of 50 hours played with ZMA is
1) It can drive Avalon Avatar loud enough for my listening level ~83-93 dB. Wife does not allow > 93 dB. Once I can get 96 dB for music and movie or home theater system.
The different of ZMA to Pass labs is that ZMA can still keep holographic sound image and layers of music instrument while Pass labs cannot when play at 93-96 dB level with complex instrument musics. For Pass labs, the louder you play, the noisier you feel. It is less musical and messy or fighting between music instruments. But ZMA keep all music instruments in line.
2) Bass, now I hear bass different. It is much more articulate and details, details and details. With ZMA, I can hear drum skin resonant and bass string resonant.  This feature is one of my happiness to buy ZMA. I can play without sub. Normally I must use sub with Avalon Avatar speaker.  
Dynamics, No dynamic problem at all with ZMA. It is very liquid transition from quiet level to loud level, no delay and no over shoot, no canny sound.  

I am very happy with ZMA now. It is worth every dollar for buying ZMA.

I will use V-Cap capacitor sound characterizing from Clive Meakins for sound characterizing of ZMA as following.

My immediate and lasting impressions were of dry tight bass, clear treble and very broad stage width. Bass is strong, laying a carpet of bass in the room. Treble very clear at the top-end (of my hearing), vocals are meaty. Famous Blue Raincoat / Jennifer Warnes; not only does this reference recording sound impressive, the V-Caps deliver a strong bass foundation, excellent treble extension and impressive vocals.

I provide my system information because different system provide different sound.

Player is SACD player DP77 Accuphase.
MIT Oracle RCA.
Decware switch box.
MIT Oracle RCA.
ZMA
MIT Oracle speaker cable.
Avalon Avatar speakers.
Shunayata Hydra 8.
Power cord to Hydra 8 is Kubala Sosna Emotion.
Power cord to ZMA is Synergistic research Tesla precision reference.
Power cord to Accuphase DP77 is Siltech.

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Re: The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #699 - 02/19/14 at 05:52:31
 
Hi vyokyong, welcome to the forums and Decware family!  Thanks for that great detailed review of the ZMA as well (I can't wait to hear one myself someday).  Anything made by Pass is no slouch as you can attest to, but I think the magic of Decware tubes is rather seductive in comparison to any solid state that I have heard thus far.  Congratulations on your ZMA purchase!
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« Last Edit: 02/19/14 at 05:53:25 by beowulf »  
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