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Signature Monos (ZSM) (Read 587 times)
Rivieraranch
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Signature Monos (ZSM)
06/09/14 at 13:45:34
 
I note that the ZEN ZSM Signature Monoblocks are not on the product pages, but they are still listed in the catalog. Are they officially discontinued or an exotic product produced only once in a while?
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DECWARE CSP2+, TABOO MK III; SE84CKC; HR1; TRAPEZIUM DESKTOP SPEAKERS; TECHNICS SL1200MK5 turntable; Ah! Njoe Tjoeb CD player; MARANTZ 2226B, 2216B receivers; SENNHEISER HD-580 headphones
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mark58
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Re: Signature Monos (ZSM)
Reply #1 - 06/09/14 at 16:21:48
 
Riv,  I don't think many were made and the pair I bought was originally made in 2008. Not sure when they stopped offering them.  More important is how they sound...F---ing Amazing.  The pair Mike sold me had several modifications including Jupiter, Bees wax Caps and Direct and Variable inputs for each of two source choices.  Here is the link to the listing Mike put on audiogon that I saved...it has pictures.

If you can manage to pick up a pair...do it.  I am constantly amazed at the sound I get from these with the two sets of speakers I've used despite the rated 2.3 wpc...the volume can get much louder than any sane human would want or need.  I've been using Zu Audio "Souls" and Omega Alinco 7 XRS speakers with astounding results. Their sensitivities are 99 dB and 95 dB respectively.  Love these Amps,  Mark.

http://app.audiogon.com/listings/tube-decware-se84zsm-monoblocks-with-ckc-mod-ju...

PS...here is the write up that can be seen from the catalog...the prices today would obviously be higher if Steve were to agree to make a pair.
http://www.decware.com/newsite/monos.htm
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« Last Edit: 06/09/14 at 16:27:49 by mark58 »  
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Lon
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Re: Signature Monos (ZSM)
Reply #2 - 06/09/14 at 16:42:28
 
You got a great pair of amps there Mark. And at a great price.
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beowulf
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Re: Signature Monos (ZSM)
Reply #3 - 06/10/14 at 04:22:13
 
@ mark58 ... any preference between the Omega and Zu's? Are they hugely different comparing a concentric to a single driver? I always loved the look of the Souls ... one of the coolest looking speakers for sure.
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mark58
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Re: Signature Monos (ZSM)
Reply #4 - 06/10/14 at 11:48:22
 
Beowulf, at this point I'd have to say, between the two, I'd chose the Zu "Souls" but the Omegas are the newest speakers in the house and need more break in, I think. I've done more listening with the Zu's since it was the only speaker I had while waiting for my HR-1s to be built....these are the ones I'd choose if only allowed 1 pair.

The Omegas on some recordings are still a bit too good with the treble...a little hot but it is getting better with break in.  The Zu's were horrible before the extremely long break in they required.  They were so bad that I would only listen to them about an hour a day and listen with headphones most of the time...for about a month. But after break in and proper placement and adjustment of the space between the floor and the Zu's ports with spikes...the Zu's were wonderful doing that disappearing act in my listening room paired with the Torii MK IV.  Now the Zu's and Omegas are both doing duty in the den with my ZSM Mono Blocks and at this point, I wouldn't want to part with either. I've written about all three pairs of speakers in the "Spinning Now" thread where I live most of the time. Read the reviews for all the Audio jargon but I would recommend either as a relatively affordable speaker to pair with a low  wpc tube Amp...preferably a Decware.  Mark.

PS...I've added pics.  the Omegas have a 7' Alnico Driver and the Zus a 10".  The Omega pic is my actual speaker, the Soul is a stock photo with my finish.




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« Last Edit: 06/10/14 at 12:02:06 by mark58 »  
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Lonely Raven
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Re: Signature Monos (ZSM)
Reply #5 - 06/10/14 at 16:17:13
 

The Zu I heard at Axpona sounded really good. They are on my short list of sub $2500 speakers to try out if I decide to try different speakers.

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Lon
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Re: Signature Monos (ZSM)
Reply #6 - 06/10/14 at 16:19:45
 
Fuck it. Save up for the HR-1s. Your amp deserves them.
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mark58
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Re: Signature Monos (ZSM)
Reply #7 - 06/10/14 at 16:37:17
 
Lon,  I would agree but some might have to save a long long time. Then there's the 8 month wait after ordering the HR-1s.  So in the meantime both the Omega and Zu speakers that I have could be picked up used for about $1300 plus or minus a $100. And for the performance they provide, as much as I love my HR-1s, both the Omegas and Zu "Souls" are a better value and could be sold for about what you paid when the HR-1s arrive...If you decide you only want one pair of speakers.  But take it from me...Two pair is better and three is best...four?  I may be pushing it but someday I think it will happen. Mark.
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« Last Edit: 06/10/14 at 16:38:33 by mark58 »  
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Lonely Raven
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Re: Signature Monos (ZSM)
Reply #8 - 06/10/14 at 16:48:37
 
Quote:
Fuck it. Save up for the HR-1s. Your amp deserves them


That's pretty much what Steve said.

I honestly think the DirectStream would be in my shopping cart before the HR-1 though. It all depends on how I can figure out to afford all this, and how my room sounds after designing and building diffusers (took a big step towards the diffuser project today - contacted a CNC router shop to help me make the jig I need)

IMHO, I love the accuracy of the MG-944, but I still think the M-T-M design just doesn't jibe with my world view on imaging. I think I need simpler speakers to get where I want to be.
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Lon
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Re: Signature Monos (ZSM)
Reply #9 - 06/10/14 at 18:00:24
 
I wouldn't blame you for going for the DS first. And then the HR-1s. Then you'd be done until you want to go into turntable land.

Mark, you raise good points but. . . I just think it's better to have the HR-1s than almost anything else. The ERRs are a reasonable substitute. I have two systems here and one at my parents, and two pairs of HR-1s and a pair of ERR. I will probably not buy another pair of speakers for decades, I'm that happy.
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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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beowulf
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Re: Signature Monos (ZSM)
Reply #10 - 06/10/14 at 18:59:08
 
Thanks Mark for the impressions.  The finish on your Omegas is beautiful as well.  I have a pair of Omega RS7 ferrite "vintage" drivers in Walnut, but my cabinets are the Super 3 (I believe from the pic you have the deeper 3XRS cabinets).  I thought it a safe bet to go with the ferrite drivers as I have the Taboo MK II at 6 watts and they are more efficient than the alnicos, but not as refined according to Louis ... so if the ferrites sound pretty darn good to me as it is ~ I can't help thinking what the alnicos would sound like Grin  

How do you feel the alnicos are pairing with the low watt mono blocks?  At the time I felt that they may not get loud enough for movies (which my setup does double duty as).  But now that I have a preamp in front of the Taboo it really opened up the sound stage and has enough gain to drive the Taboo's  required 2.5v for max output and right now for music I have the dial set on my preamp to only about 45-60% (rarely above 55%) and for movies from 65% - 85% (rarely above 80% though) whereas before (without the preamp) I was clipping it while watching movies which was a bit frustrating ... but now I have plenty of volume for all my needs with the efficiency of the ferrite drivers combined with a preamp ~ so now I can't help wondering if the Taboo has enough juice to drive the alnicos.

Nothing is off the shelf with Omega and Louis designs his own drivers, etc. and I feel they make a nice speaker for the money.  Nothing's perfect of course (especially at their price range), but I compared a lot of speakers and found them one of the best I'd heard for the money.  

I'm looking forward to learning/hearing more about Omega's upcoming Paramount line which I believe are using a new 8" driver designed by Louis to which I've heard there may be a trade up plan within the works for current Omega owners, so that is also pretty cool as well.

Quote:
LR said,
IMHO, I love the accuracy of the MG-944, but I still think the M-T-M design just doesn't jibe with my world view on imaging. I think I need simpler speakers to get where I want to be.


I am in the same boat, I was using Vienna Acoustic prior to my single driver foray.  And I have found there's something special to me about crossoverless single/concentric drivers where the sound is emanating from a single point source = very cool!  In fact, maybe too cool as now when I listen to multi-driver speakers I find myself noticing the different frequency ranges within the sound spectrum (between the tweeter and mid range drivers) and they are not as coherent compared to single driver speakers which I find annoying (I've heard from other single driver owners who hear the same phenomena, although this supposedly goes away after a while of listening back to multi-drivers).

I doubt I would have the coin for a pair of HR-1s anytime soon, so I'm always looking for good performing speakers in the $2000 or below range that would work with low watt amps (such as the Super Zen and Taboo) and the Zu Souls were always on my short list, not to mention very cool looking, but the Omegas aren't too far behind in the looks department. Cool
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« Last Edit: 06/10/14 at 19:19:24 by beowulf »  
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mark58
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Re: Signature Monos (ZSM)
Reply #11 - 06/10/14 at 19:25:07
 
Beowulf, I hooked up one of the Omegas to my Taboo MK III which I think is 4.6wpc and was completely underwhelmed.  No volume to speak of.  I immediately moved it to the Listening Cave and placed it next to the HR-1.  I unpacked and did the same with the second speaker. There they were driven by the Torii MK IV with a CSP3 in front.  They stayed there until I hooked up the ZSM Monos rated at 2.3 wpc and oddly enough I get lots of volume with 12-14 clicks on the 20 click attenuator.  The Zu Audio Souls at 99 dB sensitivity get even louder.  I hadn't done enough research to realize that the Alincos are less efficient. The seller I bought these from had the same lack of volume with a 5 wpc Glow Tube Amp.  These omegas are not a production speaker but a custom that Louis made experimenting with a form factor that would be more Wife friendly...Narrower Baffle and deeper.  The original buyer got them as a Demo from Louis at an amazing price...I bought them for about $250 less as it turned out...I got the invoice of the original sale when the speakers were shipped, is how I found out...didn't know before the sale, of course.  I'll have to read up on the Alinco's efficiency...the back of the speaker says it has a 95 dB sensitivity...maybe not?  Mark.
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« Last Edit: 06/10/14 at 19:31:31 by mark58 »  
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beowulf
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Re: Signature Monos (ZSM)
Reply #12 - 06/10/14 at 19:46:46
 
Thanks Mark!  I felt I may have been pushing it, so it's nice to hear real world results from someone.  Sometimes on the Omega/AudioCircle forum owners can get a little excited and lead to some conclusions that there would be no problems for low watt amps to drive the alnicos.

The thing about the Taboo is although it's 6 watts, it needs a higher output source or preamp to really shine.  I have found out through trial and error (while music tends to be loud enough with just the source directly into the Taboo) it just did not have enough juice for movies ... it was especially the quiet dialog scenes where it ran out of steam (which seems odd as explosions and action scenes were fine).  Now with the C220 preamp everything is actually quite awesome, with very little downsides to it so I'm pretty happy.

Your post leads me to believe that I think the ferrite drivers are the right choice for me ~ as me being on a limited budget this is an all around system that does double duty and I'm quite content with the volume and headroom I have/need when neccessary.

On the other hand the Zu Soul's being at 99dB I have no doubts I would have plenty of headroom.  With that being said I think I'm ok with my Omega speaker choice ... for now. Wink
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« Last Edit: 06/10/14 at 19:51:51 by beowulf »  
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mark58
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Re: Signature Monos (ZSM)
Reply #13 - 06/10/14 at 20:05:18
 
I haven't heard the standard Ferrite 7" Omega driver but this Alinco is gorgeous.  I've had them hooked up for about 4 days straight and they get better everyday.  I think I'll hook up the Souls on Sunday to refresh my Audio Memory...which is very short.  I need to get speaker cables with bananas as I have in the Listening Cave...in there I was switching back and forth with ease...half of one album then half of the next LP...switch speakers...repeat.  But after a while I found myself not wanting to listen to anything but the HR-1s in there.    Mark.
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