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Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments? (Read 151562 times)
Archie
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #500 - 08/16/18 at 22:50:08
 
Ahh, couldn't resist!   Grin

I'm hoping that Steve finds that he doesn't have to charge all those extra $100s if all mods are done together.   Tongue
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stone_of_tone
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #501 - 08/17/18 at 11:19:01
 
Resistance is futile!  ;D

Good point Archie, I am having all the mods done together too. .....yield some savings?
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Archie
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #502 - 08/17/18 at 15:56:08
 
My ZMA is packed up in it's Pelican case (what a necessary accessory!) and I'll be taking it over to UPS soon!

BTW, Steve does not think a stepped attenuator will give any sonic benefit.
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stone_of_tone
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #503 - 08/17/18 at 21:51:06
 
Cool Arch.....you will be the first in the neighborhood with the Red Ryder BB Gun!   Grin Grin

Yeah, I would never get stepped att. ...I enjoy the subtlety of the infinite vol knob. ....can be feathered.
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Archie
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #504 - 08/18/18 at 00:31:21
 
I put my NAD C352 80 Watt amp in place of the ZMA and to me, it sounds good.  Of course in front and after it is a lot of great Decware gear and a very good TT.  Either that or I'm the wrong person to be evaluating gear!   Tongue
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Archie
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #505 - 08/18/18 at 17:14:35
 
I'm realizing more and more how aesthetics influence me.  This big gray NAD box is hard to tolerate compared to the breathtaking ZMA!  Something else I realized is that I'll really miss those big RED caps after the upgrades.   Cry
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stone_of_tone
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #506 - 08/18/18 at 18:25:31
 
Yes, the big red Mallory's are stunning.

Hey, solid state has its place. I can't get the tone & texture from it....as I can from my ZMA obviously..... But, I have enhanced my Rock concert from a Box XPA-2...some year's back with an Kimber PowerKord, Palladian 10. Full retail $1600 cord....I got it for 575 used....one hell of an upgrade it gave to my XPA-2!

Yup, cables should not matter...but they do. My Shunyata I run into my ZDSD is another....scratch your head and go wholly sh _ _!
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #507 - 08/18/18 at 18:59:14
 
Donnie's Red Professional Spraying can fix those black capacitor's for you at a reasonable price.
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Archie
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #508 - 08/18/18 at 19:23:00
 
Quote:
Donnie's Red Professional Spraying can fix those black capacitor's for you at a reasonable price.


But that'd be like fake hood-scoops on a car.   Tongue

One thing I will say in SS's favor is that it gets loud.  (Unfortunately, not a loud that sounds great.)
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #509 - 08/18/18 at 21:15:25
 
Bob's your Uncle!

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Archie
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #510 - 08/18/18 at 22:32:59
 
Close, but not quite Mallory Red.  
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stone_of_tone
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #511 - 08/19/18 at 03:07:10
 
True.

Speaking of the red Mallory's (keeping them)....I'm thinking about doing only options one and two:
Special screen resistors on the Ultra-linear taps
Beeswax Bypass Caps.

Hear that for 6 months and then return again to Steve, if three & four/I feel I want.
Yes, shipping involved again... . However, I'm banking on options one and two, being all I may want.......... .
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #512 - 08/19/18 at 13:53:06
 
You know, as I write this morning, I'm just 1.5 hours in on my 6 hour till noon Musical bliss journey-I have to scratch my head and say: "for now, I can't change my ZMA."

The evolution of my 5th year journey with this Amp and Tube Rolling, has been nothing short of extremely pleased! So, I am afraid to modify it.

Plus, my evolution of unlocking the ZMA's potential with the right power cable to it and to my ZDSD (shout out to the CableCo Library). Furthermore, my evolution of IC's and Speaker Cable (8TC, as my control and having owned for some time KS3033, 3035 & now KS6063). Having my Acoustic Zen Adagio's modified, completes the picture.

I'm continuing my tube rolling of NOS inputs and new production power Tubes. ....KT77's and 7027A's are next. Enjoying my 7581A's today with Ediswans and Telefunkens for inverter's. No secret that the Tele's let you hear what the input communicates to the output. Or is it still a secret till now?

Look forward to reading the brave souls that take the plunge.

.....weather report ~ the jaco years .... Now playing, nough said.
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Archie
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #513 - 08/19/18 at 18:00:02
 
I have the "advantage" of poor aural memory so when I do the mod, unless it gets somehow bad -- which I can't imagine, I'll be happy.  Now that I'm listening to my SS amp though, whatever comes back from Steve will be a vast improvement!
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #514 - 08/19/18 at 19:43:23
 
Hi folks,
I myself upgraded all the components that Steve is offering as optional and thought I’ll share my experiences – which were all excellent by the way. I live in Canada and sending the amp to Steve for upgrades is expensive: taking into account shipping and customs duty. Necessity is the mother of invention so did it myself – no regrets though. While the components replaced/added were the same as Steve is offering as options, the manufactures of the capacitors and resistors are different. Jeff of A and I collaborated significantly on this and learned from each other. I mostly from him. The parts used were generally more expensive than Steve is using (more cost may not necessarily mean better but Steve has a business to run so has to consider longitivity (life time warranty) and cost - I was driven far more by performance more than cost). As I was doing it in stages I can say that after each of the options there were gains as follows:
I first changed the large 2000 uF Mallory caps to MUNDORF MLYTIC HV plus 4700 uF – 4 pole caps. I mentioned this improvement in earlier comments. Background improved - primarily being a 4 pole cap and also because of the lower ESR and ESL values improved PRAT. This was not subtle at all.
I followed this by bypassing the 4 47 uF F & T caps on the return rail with 10 uF, 0.47uF and 0.1 uF Obligato Gold Premium Film capacitors. Also bypassed the 47 uF F & T caps at the tube sockets with 0.47uF and 0.1 uF Obligato Gold Premium Film capacitors. This felt like an improvement but was harder to tell. Same improvements as above. At any rate it did not deteriorate matters.
Then I replace the input 330 ohm input 0.5W resistor with 1W 330 ohm Audio Note non- magnetic ones along with about 70% of other resistors connected to the input, inverter and output tubes (Anode and/ or cathode resistors). These were replaced with resistors that were 3 time in size and 10 times or more increase in Wattage but same resistance (ohmic value) so as not to change the respective voltages. I used Mills MRA-12 Series 12W resistors. These are wire wound resistors  well known for exhibiting minimal noise. Being 3 times the size they were very difficult to install in the confined space available. But where there is a will there is a way, I suppose. The resistor upgrade surprised me. Until now I did not think resistor could change matters unlike capacitors. But now I am a believer. The improvement was very obvious and massive on my already improved amp. Simply put made my music more lifelike. All aspects drums, cymbals, voices etc. etc moved further towards realism. True to their function background feels blacker than before and more importantly the far larger wattage removed some imaginary blockage or stifling of signals (my best way of putting it).
Finally I added 180 ohm Mills Resistor MRA-12 Series 12W between the ultra-linear taps of the output transformers and the screen grid pins of the output tubes. This sort of relaxed everything exactly as Steve said. And I am not say this because he said it. This improvement is un- describable since I find the background and speed are the same but all the same it feels better to the ear and I am not going back to no resistors in UL taps.
All of the above was done over 2 months.
Attached is a picture after all changes. You will also notice ESR shielding, shielding the input and output RCA connections from EMF and RF exhibted from the rest of the circuit. The lay out is a little crude on purpose as I wanted to be able to go back if a particular upgraded made matters worse so placed components with that in mind (easy removal and replacing with original components). So far there is absolutely no reason to go back. Having experienced the improvement that would be unpalatable even though the stock ZMA is absolutely fantastic in its own right.

Cheers,
Bonny
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stone_of_tone
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #515 - 08/19/18 at 19:47:34
 
Oh, I think you hear and remember better than you think, Archie. I bet it is going to be very good. In the dead of winter, I might call Sarah and let her know mine is coming and suffer the time without.

I read you on the Solid State. My Rotel Pre & XPA-2, are NO ZMA.
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stone_of_tone
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #516 - 08/19/18 at 19:54:50
 
Thanks for posting that Bonny. If I do part with mine to Steve over the next few months....the full enhancement needs to be done. Not just option one & two. Cool.
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Archie
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #517 - 08/19/18 at 20:21:47
 
Well, I certainly can't articulate what I hear as well as Bonny.  Great write up!  The RF shielding is interesting.
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #518 - 08/19/18 at 20:46:33
 
Stone and Arch my pleasure.

Stone having read your posts, I know you like your setup as it is and may be reluctant to go the whole hog. I can tell you non of these will degrade your situation at worst it will remain the same. Just looking at what those upgrades are makes sense viz: replacing with faster larger caps will reduce ripple in the power supply, bypassing caps of various values shunts noise at different frequencies to the return circuit purifiying the power supply, improving resistor types reduces noise induction, higher wattage resistors improves dynamic response.

I also was thinking how much better my system can get before each of the upgrades. I am coming to realize that it can always better no matter what.


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stone_of_tone
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #519 - 09/08/18 at 14:28:33
 
Aaaaa, what the hell, I'm in. I was going to wait until January and send mine to the Mother Ship. When Pigs fly! I can't part with her during the abyss, that is the bold north in January. I will call next week and dot my I's & cross my T's.....get in the que and on the bench.

I can't let Archie and Norm have all the fun with their enhanced ZMA's next month!   Grin
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Archie
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #520 - 09/08/18 at 17:29:49
 
Have you seen this from Steve about the ZMA mods?

Quote:
I want to take this opportunity to say we are waiting potentially up to 27 weeks for the large caps which make up one of the options in the mod, so please keep this in mind.


I'm hoping he has a pair for my amp (on his bench) or I'll be reconsidering this mod.
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #521 - 09/08/18 at 17:45:05
 
Archie,
The large caps are literally attached by one squeeze clamp screw and two screw head bolts for the + and - wire connections.  No soldering whatsoever and very easy to access.  Even if the caps are not on hand at Decware, I would suggest getting the other mods done while it is there and order the caps to be sent to your house for an easy install.  Probably 15-20 mins start to finish.  
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #522 - 09/08/18 at 20:17:20
 
Good to know.  My ZMA arrived at the Mother Ship yesterday for the mods.
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Archie
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #523 - 09/08/18 at 22:49:01
 
Jeff, aren't the new caps 4 wire and the old 2 wire?  How would that affect the installation?
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #524 - 09/08/18 at 23:38:48
 
I believe the Nichicon caps Steve are using are still 2-pole - so a direct bolt on modification.  The Mundorf Mlytic caps I installed were 4-pole which required some wire reconfiguration.
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bandrade
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #525 - 09/08/18 at 23:39:23
 
Archie, the Nichicon Caps being used for the ZMA anniversary mods by Steve are 2 pole so they are a just a drop in replacement. Jeff and I used MUNDORF MLYTIC MLSC HP+ 4700µf 500VDC for our ZMA upgrades and these are 4 pole capacitors (fantastic caps but cost about $400 each and difficult to find) which involves a little bit of wire re-configuration.  
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Archie
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #526 - 09/08/18 at 23:50:44
 
Thanks for the replies.  Then I definitely would put them in myself, if necessary.  I haven't heard from Steve but I'm hoping  he'll be done soon.  Now I see that he is working on a ZP3 upgrade.  --  Will it ever end!?   Grin
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #527 - 09/09/18 at 00:15:15
 
Great news J of A and bandrade. Three out of four mods now is just fine with me and listen with the my red Mallory's. Then two pole plug and play in 27 weeks-ouch! I will take it to my benches at work and I have all the tools one could ever conceive at my disposal.
Actually, I will put on my buddy Mel's (EE) bench and he can see what an work of art it is....and he can make the Cap switch.....he he.
He will appreciate it (he wears some tube shirts -resist the resistor and has cool Guitar Amps).

Actually, in 6 or 7 months when Steve can get the Nichicon's, it will be an good excuse for me to go and visit Steve and DeVon + completion of the enhancement.
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #528 - 09/09/18 at 13:54:43
 
Arch, you said in reply #520, about the back order of the Nichicon's/Steve. I looked at his last 15 posts as I often do (15 or 100). I saw no mention of the BO or did he send you a PM? I could have missed it too. I need another cup of joe.
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #529 - 09/09/18 at 14:16:13
 
Steve sent out an email Friday evening and that is a direct quote.
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #530 - 09/09/18 at 15:11:07
 
We have the caps in stock for the two ZMA's that are here for the mods.  

Steve
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #531 - 09/09/18 at 15:12:33
 
To funny, I get the Zenfest email....but the New stuff available and what's coming email went to my Spam folder..... . Go figure...yeah, computer's.  ;D

All caught up!
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #532 - 09/09/18 at 15:16:08
 
Totally understandable Steve...if you can't get um - you can't get um. I'm fine with getting 3 out of the 4 mods done....and run with my big Reds.

Question: Are you okay with me installing the Nichicon's in 6 or 7 months and NOT void the warranty? I could text picture details for your approval.
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #533 - 09/09/18 at 17:52:28
 
Quote:
We have the caps in stock for the two ZMA's that are here for the mods.  

Steve


Well, that's good news!
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #534 - 09/10/18 at 09:18:42
 
I don't consider that good news--I placed an order for a ZMA with the anniversary mod on the 21st as soon as i got a reply about if it could be ordered yet and now the situation is a half year wait--that's ridiculous. I have an unmodified (obviously) ZMA in house and need to replace a torii mk3 that I'm biamping with that unit with with the new ZMA+anniversary mods and would move on to modify the unit I have if the results of the mod are as good as everyone is talking about-spent alot of time saving money for this and a half year, i could be dead by then!!
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #535 - 09/10/18 at 16:47:56
 
I was being selfish since mine is one of the two Steve has.   Embarrassed
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #536 - 09/11/18 at 01:20:11
 
Christefan -

No worries, we said up to 27 weeks (worse case) but I have already secured another pair for your amplifier.

Steve
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #537 - 09/11/18 at 04:04:25
 
great news for me thanks steve-- now i hope your work on suppliers pays off for the other customers interested in this mod or the amplifier with the mods. if it is a terrific awesome ampllifeir even better than tones 'product of the year' regular model people deserve availability to that genius, take care
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #538 - 09/11/18 at 11:23:32
 
I knew Steve would take care of you c426. He took care of me ASAP back Feb/2017 and my ZMA came back even better/update meter's and resistor's.

I'm cool with the 1, 2 & 3 enhancements......if I need to send it back when the Nichicon's come in/I'm fine with that. Yes c426, this Amp is really something in its original form. Now to get her on the road to the mother ship!
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Steve Deckert
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If the 1st watt
sucks why continue?

Posts: 3466
Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #539 - 09/11/18 at 17:05:09
 

I was able to secure another pair of these caps so I now have one extra pair on hand.

Steve
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christefan426
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #540 - 09/11/18 at 21:14:43
 
well you'll be getting my in house zma back for mods if the modded one arrives and its all its cracked up to be so keep a pair on hand, thanks again for your help in securing a pair so my build can go forward without a long wait--steve
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stone_of_tone
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #541 - 09/11/18 at 21:35:19
 
I just spoke with DeVon....with Decfest coming up so soon....I'm going to wait and send my ZMA mid October. Yes, realizing the extra pair of caps on hand will be gone (most likely). I will still go for the 3 mods, less the Nichicon's for awhile. I don't want to be without my ZMA for to long.

Oh yeah, sure C426, he will keep that pair just for you indefinitely....
Roll Eyes
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bandrade
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #542 - 09/12/18 at 01:12:55
 
Fellow audiobuffs,
Here is something I absolutely must share with you my fellow die-hard music aficionados. I just finished bypassing the attenuators on my ZMA and CSP3 that I use as a pre-amp and decided to control volume via my DAC only. I really really really …..  recommend this mod if you are in a similar situation of having multiple attenuators in the signal path from source to amp. If you listen to music at lower volumes it is absolutely recommended. But it gets even better. When playing at higher volumes it is even more amazing. This is by far the best bang-for-the buck single modification I have done rivalling all other upgrades I have done earlier put together as mentioned in my earlier post (#514) even though those were worth every bit by themselves. Not withstanding that those upgrades  were significantly more expensive and difficult to do. It is as if this mod of  bypassing of the attenuators are pushing the former upgrades I did to perform at their full potential. I am kicking myself for not thinking about this earlier.
It suddenly dawned on me a couple of days ago in a eureka moment that in my signal path from the DAC to the amplifer I have 3 volume controls and that cannot be good at all. I have silver signal wires thoughout the signal path (all interconnects and internal to the amps up to the input tubes in the CSP3 and ZMA) and in between these wires there are these attenuators (upgraded stepped attenuators BTW) with their degraded, worn out and oxidized (over the years) contacts surfaces between the wipers and connectors utterly defeating the good that the silver wires are doing in transporting the original signal finally to the amplification stages within the ZMA.
Having done this mod I can categorically say that those attenuators do reduce the subtleties of the incoming signal to a significant extent.
Steve says "If the 1st watt sucks, why continue?". On a similar tone I'll say "If the input signal sucks, why amplify?".

 
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Dana
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #543 - 09/12/18 at 19:41:15
 
I've just turned my pre amp all the way bypassing the attenuation and control the volume from my DAC.  I notice a sound difference between attenuating with my preamp and DAC all the way up.
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bandrade
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Posts: 17
Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #544 - 09/12/18 at 20:57:40
 
Dana, turning the amp all the way up is not exactly bypassing the attenuator. There is still that contact issue between worn out/oxidized  wipers and the contact associated with the potentiometer output pin within the potentiometer.
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stone_of_tone
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #545 - 09/14/18 at 02:11:14
 
With the advent of Steve's email I received Saturday and I have been reluctant to change my ZMA...I'm not changing it. I love the ZMA as is with my System and Cabling.

As mentioned, in Steve's email, he will be turning his attention to the Torii JR with the Anniversary Mod's. I have always been interested in this Amp and just reread the Copy for the 7th or 8th time. When he finishes it this winter = I'M IN. I look forward to reading about its progress to completion too.

Having my ZMA and the Torii JR/25th Anniversary Edition, will be the two Sphere's of Decware amplification to suit me.

Happy Listening and once again, I hope like me, you look forward to the JR prose and progress, from Steve.






Listening Room:


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Decware ZDSD DAC / Recorder
***************************************************************
W/Steve's Output Transformer's/kicking to the Curb quite a few superb DAC'S
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(@ -20 Ref Level, @ 16/192)
.....0.0, -0.5 or -1.0dB/Input Volume

WBT-0102Ag RCA Kimber Select KS1030 ~.75 meter

Decware Zen Mystery Amplifier
~***********************~
NOS/Platinum/Mullard E188CC/7308's in my A12 an B12 Input positions Cryogenic~NOS/Platinum/Telefunken E88CC for Inverter Tubes~NOS RCA 0A3's & matched Quad/Tung-Sol Cryo'd 7581A's, Reflector Cryo'd 6P's or Gold Lion KT88's Cryo'd

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~Constants:
NOS/Platinum/Telefunken 6922/E88CC for Inverter Tubes (yes/the painfully expensive ones, from Upscale Audio = worth it, yes)
NOS RCA 0A3's.

Rotation/Power Quads:
~Matched Quad's~

Tung-Sol Cryo'd 7581A's
Reflector Cryo'd 6P's
Gold Lion KT88's Cryo'd
PENDING PURCHASE ~ GL KT77'S or T-Sol 7027A's.


Rotation/Input Tubes:
~NOS Platinum Tubes from Upscale Audio~

(Great Britain) Mullard 7308/E188CC ~  2 pair (both pair Cryogenic)
(US/Great Britain) Ediswan CV2492/6922 ~ 2 pair (one pair Cryogenic)
(Hungary) Tungsram 6922/E88CC ~ 1 pair
(Hungary) Tungsram PCC88/7DJ8 ~ 1 pair

~Control/came with ZMA~
(Russia) 6N23P ~ 2 pair.
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NormD
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #546 - 09/14/18 at 03:04:46
 
Why did you decide to no doe the ZMA upgrade?  What in Steve's letter put you off?
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stone_of_tone
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #547 - 09/14/18 at 11:23:08
 
I should make my first sentence more clear. Finding out the Torii JR is next, plus my being on the fence and off the fence (waffling) about changing my ZMA for some time now..... . Norm, I am pleased with my ZMA (very pleased) and will keep as is. I don't want it presented any other way; for me/personally. It will never stop being an incredible Amp in my Room and in my overall System...that simple.

Now the JR! I believe it will be quite something, 25th Style. I love the tube comp's and rectifier again to roll + UFO Tranny's.....too. This is a hell of an Amplifier to 25th. Having my ZMA with the JR too.....nice.
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stone_of_tone
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #548 - 09/14/18 at 21:40:05
 
I was asked: "Why the Torii JR?" ....the ZMA & JR, are similar.
http://www.decware.com/newsite/TORIIJR.html


The whole deal is I want exactly similar (well, not exactly/they won't be-to an extent/it comes from the Torii MK4). The ZMA without 25th and the JR with 25th.

No second System either....the Amps will be rotated.

Plus, the JR can run my Speaker's too. Actually, Rachel could drive mine...but I want the JR's headroom, etc... .

Furthermore, it runs all current tube compliments I run. I also get to roll rectifier's. We don't need UF O-utput transformer's in are ZMA's-they have their own awesome animal's. Nice, for the JR to have them though.
(I'm being purposefully redundant of my previous post to drive my point(s).)

My rationale. Once again, similar is the whole idea! 25th with/JR and without/my ZMA.

~S

PS~plus, nice Steve will make the 25th mod's available in the JR/package for those where the freight is to high to obtain the ZMA/25th.
{ZMA/25th/6825.00.....hoping the JR/25th comes in at 3225.00 to 3425.00}.
(Note: the ZMA, has twice the power. The per watt price is not cheap for Steve's Class A genius to A1 cross ~ and rightfully so).

I was fortunate to get my ZMA, Adagio's, when I did and Cabling.

I knew the ZMA was going to be one hell of an Amplifier. I ALREADY knew what Tone Mag found out long after me. (I took delivery of mine, Jan 22nd/2014...Serial#: 001 ~ subsequently had her in to the Mothership in Feb/2017 for a check-up and robust new Meter's and Resistor's). I know the Torii JR 25th, is going to be one hell of an Amplifier too.
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bandrade
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Re: Steve/Decware & Company.....Developments?
Reply #549 - 09/16/18 at 00:42:47
 
For those who may not believe that bypassing the attenuator (if your situation allows for it) will make matters better try this simple experiment to decide for yourself:
Do a resistance check with your multimeter (you will need a sensitive high quality multimeter) across any resistor you might have that is lying around in your spare bin or even just with the two leads of the multimeter touching each other. First lightly press the multimeter leads against the resistor leads and get the reading. Next increase the pressure and take another reading. Chances are you need to press a bit  to get the actual value of the resistor as noted by its color bands. As you increase/decrease the pressure the reading will change. Also if you have an older resistor that is few years old check the resistance on the multimeter. Now clean the leads with 220 grit sandpaper and again check.

Attenuator internals: One lead in the attenuator is connector to a moving wiper (the wiper is fixed to the shaft but insulated from it so rotates with the knob). This wiper itself may be a leaf spring that presses against the other gold contact or there might be an additional axial spring. The fact that you are able to turn the knob very easily on the attenuator means the spring force is not much. If they made the spring strong it would be difficult to turn with ones’ thumb and finger. Also too much spring force will quickly wear out the 24 carat gold (soft) plating in attenuator hence for longevity manufactures ensure the spring is force is limited. Manufactures may alloy the gold to increase its wearability however the electrical conductivity then decreases. Needless to say for a light spring like this with time the spring force decreases due to aging and/or temperature induced metallurgical changes and the contact surface wear due to friction.

BTW turning the volume knob to full volume is not bypassing the attenuator. The only thing that changes with knob rotation is the resistance in the signal path v/s resistance to ground hence volume control. At full volume the signal resistance is minimal but nowhere as as good as a continuous wire. My measurement show it is 0.013 ohm versus 0.000 ohm. With multiple attenuators this resistance being in series has an additive effect.

Note also for impedance matching purposes a resistor (50K to 100 K based input impedance of source equipment) to ground is needed.

Since my last post a couple of days ago, having experienced noteworthy improvements, I now went even further with the CSP3. The CSP3 has as many as 4 attenuators (main volume attenuator - stepped/gold type, input tube attenuator- non-stepped, non gold and one each for left/ right balance attenuators - not stepped, non gold at the output tubes) and input selector toggle switch like the ones on the ZROCK2. I now bypassed the toggle switch and the 4 attenuators and it keeps getting better. Avoiding all cliched expressions I would say music is more effortless across the full bandwidth but especially the bass.
I have read in these forums over the years that some found it better without the CSP3 in the chain i.e. connecting source to ZMA directly. I am convinced that bypassing these items will do the opposite for them i.e. it will be way better with the CSP3 than without it. So if you do not use the CSP3 for headphones, use only one input, you do not need to balance left/right channels and have a volume control on the source consider bypassing. Most likely you will be blown away at this cheap modification.
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