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Welcome to the Mystery Amp Support Forum! (Read 2913 times)
Steve Deckert
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Welcome to the Mystery Amp Support Forum!
05/30/14 at 04:36:00
 
The Mystery Amp started out as an experiment which has been documented since the beginning in the ZEN MYSTERY AMP thread in the top of this forum.  

It's time to create a forum for it instead of a single 75 page thread, so here we go!

The mystery is the question "Why can't I stop listening to this damn thing?"
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RickVee
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Re: Welcome to the Mystery Amp Support Forum!
Reply #1 - 06/07/14 at 23:10:55
 
Hello, all!  Greetings from hot, dry New Mexico ... this is my first post.  I have been upgrading my 20 y.o. system, the better to enjoy my music collection in my retirement.  The Bose 901s are sold (I know, I know, don't say it) and replaced with GoldenEar Triton Two towers.  I have upgraded my Rega P3 beyond recognition, and bought an OPPO 105.  So, how to replace my Nakamichi A/V 8 receiver, running in stereo mode?  I was seriously considering PrimaLuna, or Mystere, or Rogue, or Cary (I was interested in tubes) when a Google search brought me to these forums, and .... here I am.  I couldn't decide between the ToriiIV and the ZMA, and after an e-mail to Steve, he provided a very informative reply regarding which amp would work best with my speakers.  So, last week I ordered a ZMA (it is still a mystery to my wife).  I was amused reading the early posts in this topic, regarding the impatient, nail biting anticipation of the early ZMA buyers watching the waiting list.  Now the shoe is on my foot, and I check the list twice every day.  There are now only three new orders ahead of me, before my parts are pulled. (I hope it doesn't hurt.) I do have one question for you all, since I live where the dust blows.  Has anyone purchased or fabricated a plexiglas or other dust cover for a Decware amp?  If so, any recommendations?  I will be here regularly ... after the ZMA, the phono pre might be next.
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beowulf
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Re: Welcome to the Mystery Amp Support Forum!
Reply #2 - 06/08/14 at 08:31:35
 
Welcome to the Decware forums Rick.  I'm jealous of your ZMA purchase and I've heard some good things about the Tritons as well, I'm sure you will love it.  

Since you have 2 sources, do you plan on switching cables or getting a preamp?
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RickVee
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Re: Welcome to the Mystery Amp Support Forum!
Reply #3 - 06/09/14 at 03:29:32
 
Thanks, Beowulf -

I ordered the ZMA with the transformer balanced XLR inputs, after Steve wrote that the upgrade would take the ZMA/OPPO 105/Triton combo to a different place.  I'm looking forward to that different place.  My tt/stage will connect to the unbalanced RCA inputs.  I understand that the balanced and unbalanced inputs are not switched and are both active when the power is on, so I can only plug in one set of cables at a time.  The OPPO will be a sort of preamp for all my digital sources (disc, tv, laptop, ipod dock).  The tt/stage will plug directly into the ZMA.  I suppose that a good tube preamp with XLR and RCA inputs might be that much better.  Any ideas?
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beowulf
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Re: Welcome to the Mystery Amp Support Forum!
Reply #4 - 06/09/14 at 23:59:26
 
Well Decware has the CSP3 which I've heard is pretty awesome, but I needed a remote and more than 2 inputs so I ended up picking up a McIntosh C220.  I was a little worried about combining the puristic approach of my Decware Taboo MK II with the complex (everything but the kitchen sink) McIntosh C220, but the gain was a perfect match as the Taboo needs about 2.5v for max output and my source was only about 2.1v ... that extra .4v seems negligible, but after putting the Mac before the Taboo it really opened up and it pounces.  I know that it may seem strange to say "pounces" within the same sentence as the 6 watt Taboo, but this thing has some serious balls when it's fed right!

Anyways the Mac was a great fit, but probably an even better fit (if you don't need the remote and extra inputs) would be the Decware CSP3, however if you're lazy like me there are some great choices out there ... from experience I know that the Mac works splendid and I have also heard great feedback on the Wyred4Sound STP-SE and Aesthetix Calypso preamps.

There are some tradeoffs with a Preamp though and I feel that there may be a slight veiling and loss of (just a tad) micro details, however the soundstage really opened up for me and it was worth the slight trade off in my opinion.

p.s. I forgot to mention that the C220 remote (which for a preamp remote is a work of art in function) is excellent ... not only can it raise volume, but I can also set trim levels for each source, balance levels and input selection all from the sweet spot on my couch.  The mm phono stage is outstanding as well. Cool
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« Last Edit: 06/10/14 at 02:57:32 by beowulf »  
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Lonely Raven
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Re: Welcome to the Mystery Amp Support Forum!
Reply #5 - 06/11/14 at 22:20:36
 
Rick,

I too run the Oppo BDP-105 as a Preamp, and run directly to the ZMA.

The XLR inputs are a good choice - at first I had only the RCA inputs, but I wanted to try Pro-sumer level Reel to Reel and had to have the XLR added to do this - which sounded good. But then I tried the XLR from the Oppo and it was *WOW* good. The Oppo uses a proper differential XLR output like pro level gear does, and the Mystery Amp sure liked the voltage!

As for preamp - I don't have one (yet), and I honestly feel the XLR inputs got me what I was expecting from a preamp. That said, I have put a bug in Steve's ear about an XLR preamp. But Steve moves at the speed of inspiration...which means it could be years before we actually see an XLR, switchable preamp. I'd run your setup as is for now and see how you feel about it first.

So - Steve burns in the amps well before shipping them out. The big caps cause them to sound edgy and thin until the caps form property. My amp didn't have this kind of break in, and the first 25 hours were painful. After that, it played like a steam engine gathering speed. I felt the amp hit sweet spots (leveled up!) around 125 hours and again at 250 hours. You'll notice that steam engine like power, and the amp will be clear, dynamic, and just simply *seem louder*.  After that it's pretty much leveled out and is very consistent. I'm up over 500 hours (stopped keeping track after 350 or so) now, and the amp sounds great right off the bat, and amazing after 30 minutes of warm up.

I'd love to hear your thoughts when you get everything together - this amp has been a real revelation to my listening - I can't imagine anything better honestly.
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« Last Edit: 06/11/14 at 22:23:20 by Lonely Raven »  
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stone_of_tone
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Re: Welcome to the Mystery Amp Support Forum!
Reply #6 - 06/12/14 at 18:19:54
 
Okay, I now have 118 hours on my CSP3 and 481 hours on my ZMA. I love this combo...transparency is all there with musicality. What I love best about the System Alchemy I have configured now.....I can play Audiophile recordings and Pop Jazz/Smooth Jazz recordings (Euge Groove, Grover Washington, Chuck Loeb, Larry Carlton, etc...)  and my System can flesh out the music an keep you glued to your Listening spot.  Solid State can't do this for me! The ZMA just freakin' rules with my new CSP3 with bee's wax Jupiter Caps!

However, I am intrigued to add the XLR to hear if it matters in the short run/XLR cables, over my RCA IC cables? I know it is all that an a bag of chips with the Tape Steve is running...but I'm skeptical for my application when I have the CSP3 now and premium RCA IC's?

Rick, I'm going to audition the Triton's an Focal's new 926.
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Lonely Raven
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Re: Welcome to the Mystery Amp Support Forum!
Reply #7 - 06/13/14 at 02:13:55
 
Stone, what's your source, and what kind of XLR output is it? I think that makes a difference as Steve's mentioned. I was surprised that the Oppo uses a differential output, but there it is.
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stone_of_tone
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Re: Welcome to the Mystery Amp Support Forum!
Reply #8 - 06/13/14 at 05:03:17
 
I could use my Anedio DAC. Or, get a 105.
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« Last Edit: 06/13/14 at 11:25:09 by stone_of_tone »  

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RickVee
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Reply #9 - 06/13/14 at 23:48:08
 
Lots of good advice and info from Beowulf and Lonely Raven, but for now I will be using the 105 as a digital pre into the XLRs, and my phono stage into the RCAs.  I might think about a preamp down the road if I decide to hook up my old nakamichi casette deck or a tuner.  My next step is probably to retire my elderly Creek phonostage and get something more suitable for the ZMA.

Stone, I think you will like the Tritons.  I compared them to Focal and B&W, and several other floor standers in the same price range and thought the others required a separate subwoofer to have the same sonic impact.

The big news for me is that my amp is at the testing stage, after construction began earlier in the week.  Now I am getting anxious - how long is the testing and burn in, 70-80 hours?  If so, my ZMA might ship next week?
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stone_of_tone
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Reply #10 - 06/14/14 at 14:29:33
 
Cool Rick, I look forward to getting out to Stereoland (finally-my retail shack, here in MN that carries them) to hear the whole Triton line. Sandy Gross uses them personally, with Tubes by design. Also, why my Vintage Polk SDA-1's (Xover's rebuilt & Spider's) can be used with 2 watts (within reason) or 38 of course with the ZMA....because of Sandy's long tenure at Polk. I have a pair of Anthony Gallo Reference 3.1's too...that I rotate thru my Listening Room.

Hey question? Maybe you know LR or Steve will see this an respond. I could call him too....but it is Saturday. Steve either purposefully omitted or by accident forgot mention of the use of KT120's in the ZMA (ZMA Manual)? Before I order a matched quad of 120's....I want to make sure the green light is still open on them.  

I have to hear KT120's Signature within Steve's design. All other designer's just max the 120 Tubes out with some negative feedback applied for bass slam.  If I get some creepy bass Jones' for bass...I'll get JL Audio's new 2K Sub and use my CSP3 (provided) output into it.... . I look forward to hearing the bass integration of the Triton's. Even under crappy showroom conditions with Solid State...I should be able to discern if I want to bring a pair home for Trial..... .

I have 500 hours on my ZMA an 125 on my CSP3....now ready to hear the KT120's!   Cool  

I'm sticking with RCA IC's...as Steve has stated the playing field is leveled by my adding the CSP3 with Jup' Caps...transparency is maintained or the CSP3 would be gone.  Incredible combo (CSP3 & ZMA).

Rick another note, I had Primaluna in and a lot of other equipment in last year.....you won't be disappointed in the ZMA...it kicks Prima to the curb.


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« Last Edit: 06/14/14 at 15:01:58 by stone_of_tone »  

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Lonely Raven
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Re: Welcome to the Mystery Amp Support Forum!
Reply #11 - 06/15/14 at 03:04:38
 
I think Steve backed off on the KT120 because the current draw is so much for the power supply. I think he originally said as long as you keep it under 60ma you can use any tubes you want.

It's funny you brought this up though, during the Tape Fest I saw a Post-It with the math drawn up for KT120, and it looked like the numbers didn't jibe if I was reading it correctly. Which I guess explains why KT120 isn't included in the manual.

I'd still run it past Steve and see what he says - what I've said above is my bad memory and speculation.  :)
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« Last Edit: 06/15/14 at 03:05:01 by Lonely Raven »  
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stone_of_tone
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Reply #12 - 06/15/14 at 15:43:31
 
Thanks for the info LR. I'm fine with not using them from what you mentioned. Maybe Steve will chime in. The Amp sounds so damn good voiced with the Tung-Sol KT66's...= no worries. But, inquiring minds want to know. Some time this year I'm ordering a matched quad of the Genelex Gold Lion KT66's to compare to the Tung-Sol's. One of the Quads will then sit as backup or replacement which ever comes first.  
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« Last Edit: 06/15/14 at 15:44:33 by stone_of_tone »  

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Re: Welcome to the Mystery Amp Support Forum!
Reply #13 - 06/15/14 at 15:49:09
 
I LOVE the sound of the Torii Mk III with the cryo'd Tung-Sol (reissue) KT-66 tubes. I bought this set from Mike here on the board, they only had about a thousand hours on them. He prefers the Genalex, and I decided to order a cryo'd quad of these and should have them tomorrow. This way I'll have a quad of one or the other brand to try in the Torii Mk II that sounds so great in my system at my parents' place.
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« Last Edit: 06/15/14 at 15:49:28 by Lon »  

Decware:ERR,HR-1,ZP3,CSP2+,Torii Mk III,PS Audio PWT+DS,PowerBases,PPP,AC-12 pcs, Denon DBP-A100, Denon DCD-A100,Rega RP3 +TTPSU,white belt+Exact2, VooDoo Cable:Evo,Ultra Linear, Iso-PodMapleshade:Double Heiix Plus.Samsonv2+v3 +4" platforms,Herbie's Iso-Cup
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stone_of_tone
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Reply #14 - 06/15/14 at 16:45:28
 
Cool Lon, it will be nice to hear your impressions thru the III an II. I look forward to comparing an enjoying these two top reissues in the ZMA.

Here's hoping everyone has a great summer outside an happy Listening with Decware inside.....before the Snow flies again... .   Cool
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