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Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP ! (Read 36570 times)
vyokyong
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Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
08/27/14 at 10:09:49
 
Hi All,

I would like to have all commends or ideas of how to improve sound quality of the Mystery Amp in one place. So that members who are interested can be shared his or her experience with other members in order to benefits to all.

Thanks in advance for all member's value experience to participate in.

I would like to start with :

Improve Signal Path by get rid of brass alloy in RCA female plug and Speaker binding posts.

We have to thanks Steve for great ZMA and most reasonable price. However there are some cost constrains to manage in order to get ZMA cost attractive and reachable price for general audiophiles.

But some components are weak points which we can improve by replace them with high quality or exotic components, particularly the components in signal path.

The RCA female jack and Speaker binding posts are over looked by general audiophiles. They are one critical components in signal path. There are new changing in RCA female jack and Speaker binding posts design by using low mass materials together with pure silver or pure copper at the signal lead path instead of conventional copper alloy or brass material. The reason to change is that copper alloy or brass causes signal distortion and blur or mud sound transparency and 3D image.

I have done on line research and believe this idea. Then I did change RCA female jack in Zen Switching Box which I use together with ZMA to be WBT Next Gen Ag 0210 pure silver. And I change speaker binding posts in ZMA to be WBT Next Gen 0705 pure copper. The sound quality improvement is phenomenal. It is open my eye and worth every penny even though WBT is very expensive. Please read below link. I get same experience as his.

http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?fcabl&1102955411&read&keyw&zzwbt...

http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?fcabl&1109098249  
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photo_2_002.JPG

Audio Note DAC3.1 Custom modded to 4.1, DIY Duelund wire RCA IC, Offramp 5 USB SPDIF converter, Mac Mini, Amarra Symphony player,
Zen Mystery Amp. MIT Oracle speaker wire, Avalon Eidolon Diamond speakers. Coincident Statement preamp, Martin Logan Depth subwoofer
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vyokyong
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #1 - 08/27/14 at 10:14:23
 
Zen Switching Box after upgrade with WBT RCA female jacks. I think that ZMA owner who also uses Zen switching box as in put selector should consider to do this upgrade. It is a must since Zen switching box is a weakest link in audio chain system. You will feel like get new sound level of ZMA when you did upgrade.
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photo_5.JPG

Audio Note DAC3.1 Custom modded to 4.1, DIY Duelund wire RCA IC, Offramp 5 USB SPDIF converter, Mac Mini, Amarra Symphony player,
Zen Mystery Amp. MIT Oracle speaker wire, Avalon Eidolon Diamond speakers. Coincident Statement preamp, Martin Logan Depth subwoofer
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vyokyong
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #2 - 08/27/14 at 10:18:45
 
WBT Next Gen 0705 speaker binding post pure copper signal path. Please check carefully that it is pure copper or pure silver in signal path or not? The old version WBT uses copper alloy or brass even it is coated with gold or silver. It destroys sound transparency, micro-detail and dynamic.
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photo_3.JPG

Audio Note DAC3.1 Custom modded to 4.1, DIY Duelund wire RCA IC, Offramp 5 USB SPDIF converter, Mac Mini, Amarra Symphony player,
Zen Mystery Amp. MIT Oracle speaker wire, Avalon Eidolon Diamond speakers. Coincident Statement preamp, Martin Logan Depth subwoofer
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vyokyong
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #3 - 08/27/14 at 10:21:22
 
ZMA after upgrade with WBT Next Gen 0705 pure copper. I highly recommend to upgrade at first priority. It is one of most worth upgrade I did.
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photo_4_001.JPG

Audio Note DAC3.1 Custom modded to 4.1, DIY Duelund wire RCA IC, Offramp 5 USB SPDIF converter, Mac Mini, Amarra Symphony player,
Zen Mystery Amp. MIT Oracle speaker wire, Avalon Eidolon Diamond speakers. Coincident Statement preamp, Martin Logan Depth subwoofer
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busterfree
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #4 - 09/01/14 at 18:01:17
 
I think it would be great to see these aftermarket parts offered by Decware. Or, maybe they can install if I send them the parts. I am not comfortable doing the work myself.
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vyokyong
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #5 - 09/03/14 at 09:53:10
 
My upgrade plan of ZMA has 3 sections;

1) Upgrade signal path by changing factory's RCA female jacks, Speaker binding posts and signal wire for maximize efficient flow of signal and minimize distort of signal. If we use car racing system to compare. This section is like making high speed road for racing car. If the road is not good, car cannot run as their highest speed. If the signal path is not superb high resolution and superb transparency, your expensive components cannot shine in term of transparency, speed, sound stage, focus image, transient and dynamics. It really affects all key attributes of sound quality. It is first priority.
2) Upgrade power supply section by changing factory IEC inlet and adding super high quality transient load decoupling capacitor for maximize power. It affects to transient, authority, speed, PRAT, dynamic and bass impact. This section is like fuel for racing car.
3) Upgrade key components, for example capacitors and resistors in signal path. This section is like engine, gears and brakes in racing car.

If you prepare signal path well but your section of 2 and 3 are ordinary, not thing special will be happened. It will have ordinary sound. But if you have section 2 and 3 well, but section 1 is poor then all section 2 and 3 cannot be shined. Or the sound quality is poor because of section 1.  If you have section 1 well, all section 2 and 3 are well too. The section 2 and 3 will be shined as their full potential.

This time, I upgrade resistor in signal path of switching box to be 10K Vishay VAR series 'naked" Foil Resistors. (aka. Texas Components TX2575 or Charcroft Electronics CAR Series). The result is impressive and highly recommended because total cost is not high. It is only USD 51.04 (4 resistors @ cost of USD 12.76 each) I confirm same result as Dgarretson got as below;

08-11-08: Dgarretson
What is remarkable about TX2575 in signal path(replacing Caddock MK132 and Caddock TF020/USF340, which had previously replaced Roederstein and generic carbon comp), is how much more detail & nuance of pitch & timbre TX2575 reveals across the entire spectrum, without sounding in any way thin or sterile. That said, these resistors eliminated bass slurring that some might consider warmth. There is also a blackness behind an airy, resolving yet smooth HF, that I want to believe is an attribute of a quieter resistor.

http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?htech&1218474065&openfrom&1&...

http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/parts/119229-vishay-audio-resistors.html

http://www.higas.net/audio-hifi/audio-reviews/vishay-var-z-foil-review/
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« Last Edit: 09/04/14 at 03:15:08 by vyokyong »  

photo_1_002.JPG

Audio Note DAC3.1 Custom modded to 4.1, DIY Duelund wire RCA IC, Offramp 5 USB SPDIF converter, Mac Mini, Amarra Symphony player,
Zen Mystery Amp. MIT Oracle speaker wire, Avalon Eidolon Diamond speakers. Coincident Statement preamp, Martin Logan Depth subwoofer
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vyokyong
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #6 - 09/03/14 at 09:56:15
 
The picture of resistors in signal path of switching box, before changing.
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« Last Edit: 09/03/14 at 09:57:04 by vyokyong »  

photo_4_002.JPG

Audio Note DAC3.1 Custom modded to 4.1, DIY Duelund wire RCA IC, Offramp 5 USB SPDIF converter, Mac Mini, Amarra Symphony player,
Zen Mystery Amp. MIT Oracle speaker wire, Avalon Eidolon Diamond speakers. Coincident Statement preamp, Martin Logan Depth subwoofer
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Lonely Raven
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #7 - 09/04/14 at 06:13:27
 

I've heard of those resistors before - I wish they were 1 watt so I could use them in some of my guitar amps that call for 1 watt resistors, that I want to get a little more detail out of.
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stone_of_tone
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #8 - 09/04/14 at 16:22:56
 
WBT-0102Ag RCA with my Kimber Select KS1030 Interconnects.

I can certainly appreciate how the poster in the first Audiogon thread, ...knows how good the Kimber Select 1030 is. I run a pair from my DAC to CSP3, an then a pair to my ZMA with WBT-0102Ag RCA. My new 2nd pair (.75 meter) from the CableCo, are burning in beautifully.

With the WBT-0102Ag RCA....an the ZMA as good as it is. For me?! If it ain't broke....don't fix it.
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Sony as Transport
Illuminati D-60
Audio Alchemy DTI-Pro
Audio Magic Mystic Reference I2S
Audio Alchemy DDE 3.0
Kimber Select 1030
Zen Select #76
Kimber Select 3033
Polk Audio LS-90
Tri-config/TipToes & Vibropods underneath Speakers
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vyokyong
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #9 - 09/05/14 at 02:37:19
 
Hi Stone of tone.

I agree with you. It is a revolution in sound quality, if the alloy metals in signal path of connectors (Male and Female RCA jack, Speaker binding posts of Amp and Spade of speaker wire and binding posts of speaker) are replaced with pure copper or pure silver metals.

If I have to buy new Zen Mystery Amp again, the first thing I do is that I will change female RCA jacks and speaker binding posts to be WBT Next Gen pure silver. The ZMA's sound quality is not just better but it moves to another level of sound quality. Now I am considering to replace my WBT male RCA (old design version which uses alloy metal in signal path) of my MIT Oracle interconnect cable to be WBT -0102 Ag RCA.
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« Last Edit: 09/05/14 at 02:39:46 by vyokyong »  

Audio Note DAC3.1 Custom modded to 4.1, DIY Duelund wire RCA IC, Offramp 5 USB SPDIF converter, Mac Mini, Amarra Symphony player,
Zen Mystery Amp. MIT Oracle speaker wire, Avalon Eidolon Diamond speakers. Coincident Statement preamp, Martin Logan Depth subwoofer
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vyokyong
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #10 - 09/05/14 at 09:49:17
 
I forgot to provide the solder I use. It is ;

Mundorf Silver/Gold Solder

Silver/Gold is added in the M-SOLDER which itself is a pure tin copper compound. Silver is used for better conductivity and retaining superior sound qualities. Gold is applied to safeguarding the sound properties. Specifications: 95.5%Sn/0.7%Cu/3.8%AgAu (AgAu=99%Silver1%Gold) - 1mm Dia. - 2.5% Flux - Lead and Cadmium Free.
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MUNDORF-70429.jpg

Audio Note DAC3.1 Custom modded to 4.1, DIY Duelund wire RCA IC, Offramp 5 USB SPDIF converter, Mac Mini, Amarra Symphony player,
Zen Mystery Amp. MIT Oracle speaker wire, Avalon Eidolon Diamond speakers. Coincident Statement preamp, Martin Logan Depth subwoofer
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stone_of_tone
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #11 - 09/05/14 at 15:33:59
 
Even though I said: "If it ain't broke don't fix it". I am seriously considering this MOD vyokyong. Both the RCA Inputs on my ZMA an the 8ohm Speaker Binding Posts with the Silver Solder, replaced with WBT's best Ag's. I am going to price it out.

Thanks for posting this vyokyong. I will have my guy at Midwest Speaker (most excellent solder slinger) do the MOD. Sometime between now an the end of November I should be able to get it done. If, I decide to do it.

In for a penny ~ in for a pound. Nice tweaks.

By the way, are/were you in the process of doing both the 8ohm an 4ohm Speaker Taps at the time of the picture posted?
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« Last Edit: 09/05/14 at 15:54:51 by stone_of_tone »  

Sony as Transport
Illuminati D-60
Audio Alchemy DTI-Pro
Audio Magic Mystic Reference I2S
Audio Alchemy DDE 3.0
Kimber Select 1030
Zen Select #76
Kimber Select 3033
Polk Audio LS-90
Tri-config/TipToes & Vibropods underneath Speakers
360 degree Rm Treats
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vyokyong
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Posts: 169
Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #12 - 09/05/14 at 16:30:59
 
Hi Stone of tone,

Glad that you will do mod as I do now. I can assure you that you will feel regret if you don't do mod after you get your mod ZMA back.

However I would like you to follow my step by step of mod in each section. So that you can have over all view of mods and their effects to sound quality. And then you can decide to do your mod of ZMA in one shot. That is the reason that I inform of my total mod plan because I am afraid that someone decides to do mod now and find out later that there are more mods that he wants to do.  And now his ZMA will have second time of mod.

The reason that I don't do one shot of mods because I want to learn the effects to sound quality of each parts of components. Even though I have to disassemble ZMA many many times. If it is not worth to do in any parts, I will report so that you can avoid to spend money in that parts. However until now I am very happy with the results. I will report more, please be waiting. Have a great weekend.
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Audio Note DAC3.1 Custom modded to 4.1, DIY Duelund wire RCA IC, Offramp 5 USB SPDIF converter, Mac Mini, Amarra Symphony player,
Zen Mystery Amp. MIT Oracle speaker wire, Avalon Eidolon Diamond speakers. Coincident Statement preamp, Martin Logan Depth subwoofer
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vyokyong
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #13 - 09/05/14 at 16:55:54
 
Hi Stone of tone,

I did only 4 ohm speaker binding posts because I have no plan to change my Avalon Avatar speakers which is 6 ohms. I feel connect with 4 ohm binding post, sound is better than 8 ohm binding post. And the cost of WBT binding post is expensive. I will change only the one I use now. I am in different situation than you because I do mod by myself. I can do it later if I want. But you have to send out for some one to do for you. And you have many speakers to use then you may need to do both.

I forgot that the holes of current binding posts are too close to each other that two sets of WBT binding posts cannot be installed together. You can see from my posted picture. I have to move location of binding post to both ends to solve the limited space. And I have to use small piece of plastic to insert between binding post of WBT and current one in order to make sure that they are not contacted each other to have short circuit in amp's operation. Then you have to decide to install only one set.
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« Last Edit: 09/05/14 at 17:02:19 by vyokyong »  

Audio Note DAC3.1 Custom modded to 4.1, DIY Duelund wire RCA IC, Offramp 5 USB SPDIF converter, Mac Mini, Amarra Symphony player,
Zen Mystery Amp. MIT Oracle speaker wire, Avalon Eidolon Diamond speakers. Coincident Statement preamp, Martin Logan Depth subwoofer
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vyokyong
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #14 - 09/05/14 at 17:12:28
 
From posted picture,  the outside end of both WBT binding posts are 4 ohms. The inner pair of factory binding posts are 8 ohms. The soldered internal output wires are rearrange to follow new location of binding posts.
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image_019.jpg

Audio Note DAC3.1 Custom modded to 4.1, DIY Duelund wire RCA IC, Offramp 5 USB SPDIF converter, Mac Mini, Amarra Symphony player,
Zen Mystery Amp. MIT Oracle speaker wire, Avalon Eidolon Diamond speakers. Coincident Statement preamp, Martin Logan Depth subwoofer
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glineus
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #15 - 09/05/14 at 19:10:59
 
Hi Vyokyong,

I have been following every step of your mod intently as I believe the Tori 11 MK1V will benefit from this mod as well. Wouldn't it?  But if implemented would these modification void future warranty?

Happy listening
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vyokyong
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #16 - 09/06/14 at 16:05:36
 
Hi Glineus,

Actually these mod information will be benefit to all components from phono preamp, preamp, DAC, CD player, etc. And yes, all mods affect to void factory warranty.

If you don't want to void the warranty, then all mods should be done by factory. Some companies now offer upgrade many level options for customers to select. I think that Steve should consider upgrade package offering to customers also. It would be win-win for both Zen loyalty customers and Decware company.

My upgrade plan is coming from studying of other companies' upgrade package of what they do.
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Audio Note DAC3.1 Custom modded to 4.1, DIY Duelund wire RCA IC, Offramp 5 USB SPDIF converter, Mac Mini, Amarra Symphony player,
Zen Mystery Amp. MIT Oracle speaker wire, Avalon Eidolon Diamond speakers. Coincident Statement preamp, Martin Logan Depth subwoofer
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vyokyong
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #17 - 09/06/14 at 16:23:20
 
Hi Glineus,  

Your total cost of Torii MK IV plus mod cost may be equal to buy Zen Mystery Amp. Then it is a good question to debate that it is worth to mod Torii MK IV or just buy ZMA at the first time, not Torii MK IV.

Then the answer will depend on sound quality of moded Torii MK IV. If its sound quality is better than ZMA (un-mod).  Then it is better to buy Torii and do mod.

I don't hear Torii MK IV before. However I believe that Torii MK IV after mod will have sound quality better than ZMA. Just my believe after I progress mod with ZMA. Now I am listening to Mod ZMA of section 2, power supply unit mod. I will report soon.
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Audio Note DAC3.1 Custom modded to 4.1, DIY Duelund wire RCA IC, Offramp 5 USB SPDIF converter, Mac Mini, Amarra Symphony player,
Zen Mystery Amp. MIT Oracle speaker wire, Avalon Eidolon Diamond speakers. Coincident Statement preamp, Martin Logan Depth subwoofer
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glineus
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #18 - 09/07/14 at 01:29:01
 
Hello Vyokyong,

You have surely introduced a very sensitive point there. Is the Zima a better amplifier than the Tori MK 1V or is each amplifier good in it's own way?  My speakers are the Zu Definitions that are 101db sensitive so I do not necessarily need the extra amplifier power. But the Zima has certainly aroused my curiosity.

 I follow the Zima forum daily as the owners discuss the possessive attributes of this amplifier, one of which is that it is built with oversize caps that makes the use of a power re generator redundant.  Is the Zima a special amp?

Good Listening
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vyokyong
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #19 - 09/07/14 at 06:20:36
 
Hi Stone of tone,

Here is the picture of before mod of speaker binding posts of ZMA. From left hand, it starts with 3 wires, one green and two black, connected with negative binding post of 4 ohm. (Black post). Next is red binding post (positive) of 4 ohm. It is connected with 2 bluish green wires. The rest are 8 ohm binding posts.
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« Last Edit: 09/08/14 at 06:21:31 by vyokyong »  

photo_1_003.JPG

Audio Note DAC3.1 Custom modded to 4.1, DIY Duelund wire RCA IC, Offramp 5 USB SPDIF converter, Mac Mini, Amarra Symphony player,
Zen Mystery Amp. MIT Oracle speaker wire, Avalon Eidolon Diamond speakers. Coincident Statement preamp, Martin Logan Depth subwoofer
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vyokyong
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #20 - 09/07/14 at 06:43:01
 
Here is the picture of same channel speaker binding post of previous picture. But it is after mod. It is placed at the bottom instead of previous picture which is placed at the top. Then it starts from right hand. The first binding post is black post (negative) of 4 ohm as same as before mod. The connected wires 3 wires (one green and two black wires). The second post from right is red binding post (positive) of 8 ohm. The old post of this location is red post of 4 ohm. The red post (positive) of 4 ohm is moved to the forth post from right. The third post from right is the same, no change. Hope this will to clarify more.
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« Last Edit: 09/08/14 at 06:25:20 by vyokyong »  

photo_1_005.JPG

Audio Note DAC3.1 Custom modded to 4.1, DIY Duelund wire RCA IC, Offramp 5 USB SPDIF converter, Mac Mini, Amarra Symphony player,
Zen Mystery Amp. MIT Oracle speaker wire, Avalon Eidolon Diamond speakers. Coincident Statement preamp, Martin Logan Depth subwoofer
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vyokyong
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #21 - 09/08/14 at 05:59:47
 
This time, I replace factory signal wire in Zen switching box with Duelund Hook Up wire 2.0, silver foil & silk/oil, Version 2, USD 50.10 per foot and get 50% discount, net USD 25.10 per foot. This is end of first section of signal path upgrade. Please be noted that I use Zen switching box as inputs selector for my ZMA. Because ZMA allow only 1 input. I need at least 3 inputs for my home theater, CD/DAC player and turntable. I still cannot replace internal signal wire in ZMA because the Duelund wire is not enough.

The result is phenomenal, it transforms my hifi system from very very good hifi sound to be like now the musicians are playing in my room! It provides more low level details and ambien sound to be heard. I believe that I feel like musicians are playing in my room when the system can provides these low level details and ambien sound to be heard.  Before these, I still think that my system provides very high resolution already. But that is misunderstood. The low level details and ambien sound is different from high resolution sound. The low level details and ambien sound means that you can hear all low level of loudness of sound, like whisper, clearly. I am surprise that I play CD record and now I can hear all low level details which I have never heard before. Is it same as DSD playing of PW Direct Stream to claim that you will hear what you don't hear before in CD, I don't know. This is the first time, I feel that musicians are playing in my listening room with me.

Remark : The picture is taken  before I finish all wire replacement with Duelund Hook Up wire 2 Version 2. The small white cable is factory wire (The factory provides 1 wire per channel. But in pictures, there is two wires per channel because I move the replaced factory wire to be used in channel of no Duelund hook up wire), the flat silver wire with silk black cover is Duelund Hook Up wire 2, version 2.
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« Last Edit: 09/08/14 at 08:45:34 by vyokyong »  

photo_2_003.JPG

Audio Note DAC3.1 Custom modded to 4.1, DIY Duelund wire RCA IC, Offramp 5 USB SPDIF converter, Mac Mini, Amarra Symphony player,
Zen Mystery Amp. MIT Oracle speaker wire, Avalon Eidolon Diamond speakers. Coincident Statement preamp, Martin Logan Depth subwoofer
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vyokyong
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #22 - 09/08/14 at 06:11:36
 
Wire comparison between Duelund Hook Up wire 2 version 2 and factory silver wire inside Zen switching box.

More review of Duelund Hook Up wire.

http://www.hificollective.co.uk/kits/pdf/duelund_wbt_interconnect_review.pdf

http://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/a-discussion-about-high-end-hook-up-wire.2...

http://www.audionervosa.com/index.php?topic=4563.0
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« Last Edit: 09/08/14 at 09:08:33 by vyokyong »  

photo_63_001.JPG

Audio Note DAC3.1 Custom modded to 4.1, DIY Duelund wire RCA IC, Offramp 5 USB SPDIF converter, Mac Mini, Amarra Symphony player,
Zen Mystery Amp. MIT Oracle speaker wire, Avalon Eidolon Diamond speakers. Coincident Statement preamp, Martin Logan Depth subwoofer
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #23 - 09/08/14 at 16:05:31
 

All of that looks like some great looking parts!

I'm looking forward to what else you might do.
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vyokyong
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #24 - 09/10/14 at 15:05:32
 
After factory wires are replaced by Duelund hook up wire, the sound quality is huge improved.  It makes me curious to do comparison sound quality between connecting CD player direct to ZMA without zen switching box and connecting thru Zen switching box.

The result of connecting direct to ZMA without mod zen switching box, the sound quality is close to connect to mod zen switching box. The only different is connect direct has more PRAT, speed and dynamic. It may cause by longer signal path when mod zen switching box is used. The signal path length is 3 meters when using switching box. (Two 1.5 meter IC.). While connect direct to ZMA is only 1.5 meter (one 1.5 meter IC). It means that the zen switching box after mod is very neutral in sound quality. And the mid range sound is more clear and vivid when using mod zen switching box. I think that Duelund hook up wire may have influent in mid range sound which is strong point of Duelund hook up wire.

I had tried before mod of ZMA and zen switching box when I first got ZMA. The sound quality drop very little from direct connect compared to connect thru zen switching box. That is the reason I can accept and use zen switching connect between ZMA and other inputs. But after mod of ZMA, details of sound has huge improve. I feel that zen switching box before mod can be bottle neck or weakest link in my hifi chain. Then I do A/B comparison between original input channel without mod and input channel after mod of zen switching box. The result is huge different. It proves that zen switching box is the weakest link. If you use with mod ZMA, I highly recommend you to do mod of zen switching box also. Or using preamp CPS3, but you have to buy more one good power cable. For me, I am happy with mod zen switching box. I don't want to buy more one power cable. And preamp CPS3 has only two inputs which is not enough for me.
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Audio Note DAC3.1 Custom modded to 4.1, DIY Duelund wire RCA IC, Offramp 5 USB SPDIF converter, Mac Mini, Amarra Symphony player,
Zen Mystery Amp. MIT Oracle speaker wire, Avalon Eidolon Diamond speakers. Coincident Statement preamp, Martin Logan Depth subwoofer
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vyokyong
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #25 - 09/11/14 at 15:13:13
 
Next phase is to mod the power supply unit of ZMA. I start with replacing factory IEC inlet with Furutech IEC inlet FI-03 (R) Rhodium plated. It is exactly same size as factory IEC with 5x20 mm fuse holding.

The effect to sound quality;
Plus side : 1) sound stage is more 3D, particularly the depth dimension. It is more expand to front and back stage with layers of instruments. It is not make singer vocal sound forward to your face. It is still same location. But you feel the music band is not flat 2D.
                2) speed, dynamic and bass control is better, not subtle, you feel different. But it is more lean. Some will prefer gold plated with more warm sound.

Minus side:  the magic of all details gone or disappear. The feel of band playing inside the room is gone. It is just like listen to very good hifi. It is very disappoint. Its sound is congest like new amp, not burn in yet.

I hope that it may be that Furutech IEC inlet is new and burn-in will help to smooth the sound congest out.

http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?ddgtl&1225183019
http://www.drhifi.net.au/Hi-Fi/Furutech%20Power%20Inlet/1.htm
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« Last Edit: 09/11/14 at 15:17:17 by vyokyong »  

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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #26 - 09/11/14 at 15:55:17
 
I mentioned to Steve that I was unhappy with the IEC inlet - mostly because it doesn't seem to grip the power cords very well. He agreed with me and said he's tried many different ones, and the one that's on the ZMA is the best, reasonably priced IEC he could find.

If anyone knows of one that's better, grips the cables well, and isn't so loose, He said he'd like to hear about it.

I wouldn't put it on a ZMA, but I'd probably try it in some of my other gear, but I found this 99% silver bladed IEC inlet doing some searches.



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« Last Edit: 09/11/14 at 15:55:32 by Lonely Raven »  
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #27 - 09/11/14 at 16:18:32
 
Have you guys thought about getting rid of the IEC and just going straight into the amp. I know some like their special power cables, but it would seem you could take the end off your preferred cable and just run that into the amp. This way bypassing the IEC and saving some money. I am a fan of the least amount of connections. You could always create a plate with a grommet to cover the existing hole, running the cable in. I know IEC are used for easy removal if you are moving your components around but how often do you do that. The only time I do that is if I let someone borrow something.  ;)
I have thought about running wires straight in a few times, especially with RCA cables. I hate RCA connections and their prices. This would make it real hard to move stuff around and try different cables, but once you find which cable you like, bypass the weak link RCA or IEC. It would be harder to live with on RCA cables but easy with power cables.
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #28 - 09/11/14 at 17:15:27
 
vyokyong,
I bet in a week or so it will sound awesome. I replaced an IEC inlet on one of my SACD players and it didn't sound great out of the box, but did in a week.
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #29 - 09/11/14 at 17:31:53
 
Quote:
Have you guys thought about getting rid of the IEC and just going straight into the amp. I know some like their special power cables, but it would seem you could take the end off your preferred cable and just run that into the amp. This way bypassing the IEC and saving some money. I am a fan of the least amount of connections. You could always create a plate with a grommet to cover the existing hole, running the cable in. I know IEC are used for easy removal if you are moving your components around but how often do you do that. The only time I do that is if I let someone borrow something.  ;)
I have thought about running wires straight in a few times, especially with RCA cables. I hate RCA connections and their prices. This would make it real hard to move stuff around and try different cables, but once you find which cable you like, bypass the weak link RCA or IEC. It would be harder to live with on RCA cables but easy with power cables.


Oh yeah, I've done that for speakers before. From the amp, directly to the driver, no connectors. Most of my (vintage) guitar amps came with two prong cords going directly to the Power Transformer in the chassis. I've replaced them with decent, server grade computer power cables.

If I was building my own gear, I would absolutely be that nutty and just remove all connectors, even from component to component.

Also, IEC connectors came about as a result of UL certifications. Something in the UL guidelines states that a device needs to be able to support itself by the cable in case it falls off a shelf. You don't want the cable breaking and leaving hot wires flailing about. So the IEC connector was the work around to this. Just a little bit of history.  :)

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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #30 - 09/11/14 at 18:25:29
 
When I get the cables coming in at just the right angle it`s ok but still some play. Out of 4 amps I usually have an elastic band going around the transformer and cord on one to stop it flopping back and losing the connection. The cables always want to pull back on the sockets. I`ve thought about 90 degree male sockets on the cords but they would probably ping up. Just needs a brass torsion clip to keep it tight if done from manufacture. I should have wrapped a piece of tape around them by now.
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #31 - 09/11/14 at 18:58:33
 
"Also, IEC connectors came about as a result of UL certifications. Something in the UL guidelines states that a device needs to be able to support itself by the cable in case it falls off a shelf. You don't want the cable breaking and leaving hot wires flailing about. So the IEC connector was the work around to this. Just a little bit of history.  :)"

I did not know that. Thanks for the history lesson.
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #32 - 09/12/14 at 02:33:37
 
Top view picture of Furutech FI-03 (R) Rhodium Plate.  price @USD 28

I cannot find other brands to have fuse holder and same size as factory IEC inlet. I use Furutech IEC inlet FI-03 because of same size as factory IEC inlet. It is most convenient to do replacement.

According to factory IEC seems does not grip to power cord well, Furutech IEC does not grip the power cord well as same as factory IEC. I think that because of vertical angle fit, the power cord nowadays is so heavy which make little play fit in IEC. (or IEC is to shallow). If it is fitted in horizontal angle, it should not have problem.  

Below is the link of Furutech to describe sound characteristic of each plated materials, Rhodium, Gold, Silver and Copper.
http://www.furutech.com/technology/
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #33 - 09/12/14 at 02:34:49
 
The bottom view of Furutech IEC inlet FI-03 (R) Rhodium plated. The Furutech IEC inlet is at right hand in picture.
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« Last Edit: 09/12/14 at 02:38:50 by vyokyong »  

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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #34 - 09/12/14 at 02:52:46
 
Thanks vyokyong for writing about the interesting explorations you are making. I have been thinking of this Furutech IEC for my MKIV for the same reasons as you. I suspect Lon is right, that it will sound great once burned in. I look forward to hearing how it changes. I suppose you are using a good fuse? I have really liked several audiophile fuses.
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #35 - 09/13/14 at 01:51:29
 
Thanks Lon and Will. I have solved the sound congest problem. I remembered that I uninstall two fuses from fuse holder when I disassemble factory  IEC inlet. I though that I may install two fuses back in Furutech IEC inlet by switching locations of fuses. The fuse in reserved box may be installed in operate fuse location while fuse in operate fuse location was installed in reserved fuse box. Then I switched two fuses location in Furutech IEC inlet and played music again. Yes, the sound sonic improve. It is more smooth, fast, dynamic and no more sound congest. But the magic of sound details is still not here. This means that fuse is needed to be burn in. The problem is caused by new fuse was switched to use instead of old fuse which is already played for 6 months. Every new Hi-Fi players, the sound is congest of first 100 hour playing. It may be caused by new fuse, not burned in yet.

I tried again to reverse poles of fuse. Yes, the magic of sound details come back now. But it is a little less than before changing IEC inlet. This means that fuse after burn in has direction of poles. If you reverse fuse pole direction, sound will change.

At this stage, I am happy with Furitech IEC inlet FI-3 (R) Rhodium plated. Unit price at USD 27, very little investment. It improves sound stage more 3D, depth expand to back and front, can feel layers of instruments. Image is more focus. Sound is faster, more dynamic and much better bass control. It is more dark background. But the sound is thinner, more lean, less warm.
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« Last Edit: 09/13/14 at 02:04:13 by vyokyong »  

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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #36 - 09/13/14 at 22:41:51
 
This seems to be the case with all audiophile fuses I have tried. They sound different turned in the opposite direction. Once played a while, the Synergistic Research Reds show less of this if I recall, but still a difference. I wonder if perhaps the fuse will sound better the other way once the IEC inlet is burned in, detailed, but warmer and fuller.
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #37 - 09/15/14 at 14:31:35
 
Next step after finish install of Furutech IEC inlet is to bypassed Electrolytic caps with film caps!

There are many debates about is it effective to bypassed Electrolytic caps with film caps?

http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/power-supplies/126697-bypassing-psu-capacitors-ef...

http://www.head-fi.org/t/216167/why-are-electrolytic-caps-bypassed-with-film-cap...

I would like to try by using 10 uF/630 Volt Obligatto, Premium Gold capacitor to be parallel connected with current 47uF/ 500 Volts F&T electrolytic caps to see the result effects to sound quality? The caps price is USD 27.  You have to order in matched pair. I pay USD 1 fee per one matched pair.

I believe that electrolytic caps has slow charge and recharge rate (high ESR value) which cannot cope with high frequency range. The film caps has very low ESR value or very fast charge and recharge rate. Then film caps is used to bypassed electrolytic caps helps eliminate high ESR value of electrolytic caps. Even though ZMA has huge 4,400 uF per channel, but it is electrolytic caps. The bigger it is, the slow recharge rate or high ESR value it is.

This is from Jensen catalog of their caps:
The importance of attenuation and high
frequency behaviour.
No matter how fast the amplifiers signal
processing circuits are, you cannot utilize
that speed if your power supply is too slow
to follow rapid signal changes.
The power supply's reservoir capacitor
constitutes a vital element in the amplifier
chain, effecting the signals on the main
signal paths as well, because most power
amplifiers reservoir is conceptually placed
in series with the loudspeaker line.

The main issue is not only that the capacitor can give you enough charge and quickly enough, but the attenuation of the power supply toward the amplifier. In spite of the fact that the audio band is nominally 20 Hz -20 kHz, the stability of the amplifier and the overall sound quality is strongly influenced by reservoir capacitor behaviour at very high frequencies.
The function of the reservoir capacitor is not only to store energy, but also filtering, providing decoupling between the power supply and the amplifiers signal processing circuits. For energy storage a conventionally constructed aluminium electrolytic capacitor with sufficient Capacitance (F) x Voltage (V)/ Volume (cm3) ratio and satisfactory low ESR and inductivity at higher frequencies would be suitable. However the capacitors filtering characteristic plays a very important role in decoupling and suppressing unwanted transients and  i.e. digital high frequency noises.
Extremely low inductance makes excellent high frequency capabilities.
The high inductance value of a capacitor is particularly harmful when they are used for filtering at higher frequencies, as the impedance of a high capacitance capacitor over the resonance frequency - which is typically a few tens of kHz - is strongly dominated of the inductance of the capacitor winding.
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #38 - 09/15/14 at 16:42:16
 
vyokyong, do you happen to have any photos of the underside of your ZMA?

Since mine was the prototype, and yours is one of the final production ones, I'm wondering what slight differences/improvements yours might have.

I would love to see some circuit photos if you don't mind!
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« Last Edit: 09/15/14 at 16:42:41 by Lonely Raven »  
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #39 - 09/15/14 at 16:46:21
 
I'm continuing to follow too vyokyong. Thanks for your clarification in reply #19.

LR, in regards to your reply #29... . I can remember discussing years ago with some about why do premium cables matter when after all, they hit the binding posts of the Speakers an run up different wire to the Xover(s) an then to the Driver's. But, as we know, their is a difference to Speakers an Components....or I would not be putting at least 300 hours on my new Kimber Select 1030 IC RCA downstairs between my Rotel an XPA2. Then it comes back upstairs in the Listening Room for a Listen... . But, it would be cool to hear it all wired direct for fun!

Quite frankly, I do get (by comparison to my lesser cables), all the detail, transparency/musicality I'm accustomed to (when I went without a Pre for 12 years)...with the CSP3w/Jupiter Caps because of my Cabling.

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Chord Chordette QuteHD DAC
Kimber Select KS1030 IC RCA (.75 meter)
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XLO Pro Power Cords to CSP3 & ZMA
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« Last Edit: 09/15/14 at 16:55:43 by stone_of_tone »  

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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #40 - 09/16/14 at 01:14:27
 
Quote:
Quite frankly, I do get (by comparison to my lesser cables), all the detail, transparency/musicality I'm accustomed to (when I went without a Pre for 12 years)...with the CSP3w/Jupiter Caps because of my Cabling.


That's quite an investment for me right now - otherwise I'd be calling Steve up and seeing how quickly I could get one. Especially since I'd have to add cables on top of that. I'm pretty sure my fine, DIY cables are no match for your Kimbers, or any real, built and tested by ear boutique cable geared towards transparency.

Hell, I already wired my walls with Zen Styx wire from the circuit panel to the outlet! If I ever get a dedicated room, you know I'm going to go all the way - wired point to point as many steps as I can!
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #41 - 09/16/14 at 04:03:44
 
Hi Lonely Raven,

Here is picture of circuit of my ZMA. My ZMA's caps in signal path are V-Caps TFTF  (Fluoropolymer Film & Tin Foil) Series Capacitors. Because at that time, the 600V CRYO TREATED FLAT STACKED COPPER FOIL BEES WAX - SIGNAL CAPACITORS was out of stock. I requested Steve to use V-caps instead and I was willing to pay extra cost. He was very kind to installed V-caps TFTF series for me with no extra cost. My ZMA may be only one ZMA with V-caps TFTF in market!
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #42 - 09/17/14 at 03:31:51
 
Here is picture after installing of Obbligato Gold Premium film capacitor 10 uF 630 VDC.

Film capacitor does not have positive/negative pole, it can be used either poles to connect to positive wire, but I believe in different poles affected to different sound quality. I check wire lead out from both sides of caps and select the most center position wire lead out side of caps to be connected with positive wire. (The center wire lead out is the start roll and not in center wire lead out is end of roll).

The caps must be matched pair.

Damping Isolation is very important to caps's sound quality. The caps must be fixed well, no vibration. It is not good just hanging caps by its wire. I use Soundcoat damping (GP-3 Sheet, pressure sensitive adhesive backed) material to be placed between caps and steel chassis.

I select caps value by maximize value of caps which has dimension size that can be fixed in ZMA available space. Different value of caps has affects to different sound quality. You have to try to find best value for your taste.

Obbligato caps review:
http://www.enjoythemusic.com/diy/0411/capacitor1.htm
http://www.humblehomemadehifi.com/Cap.html
http://singaporehifi.blogspot.com/2010/09/capacitor-shoot-out.html
http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/solid-state/181001-mixed-results-using-obbligato-...
http://jimmyauw.com/2008/07/26/time-of-obbligatos/

If the caps value does not exceed 10% of factory spec, it will not harm circuit.  

I try to keep soldered points of wires of Obbligato caps closed to soldered points of wires of Electrolytic caps.

I will report sound improvement after installing Obbligato caps soon. The first listening is very very positive.




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« Last Edit: 09/17/14 at 04:07:31 by vyokyong »  

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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #43 - 09/18/14 at 03:10:57
 
The sound improvement from Obbligato caps by passing electrolytic caps in PSU (power supply unit) of ZMA is ;

1) Upper Mid to high frequency is noticeably much better! It is not subtle. The surprise is note decay. The long note decay is something, every one looking for.  

Attack and decay

Attack is the extent to which the note is hit. Rhythm is communicated through attack. Once hit, how long is the note allowed to sound? Decay is the time within the full duration of the note that the sound is made.

ZMA is already excellent in note attack. But for note decay, I still want more, particularly high frequency notes of cymbals. I feel that the Obbligato caps by passing caps makes note decay double longer than before mode. It is very enjoy, my face has a big smile!

2) It is about control, control, control! in all full frequency spectrum, not just bass. It is very excellent control in timing and rhythm. You feel rhythm is perfect timing, not too early and not too delay. Previously, I feel original ZMA play music like little hurry! It makes you exciting but feel little exhaust. After bypassing caps mod, it is perfect timing. The rhythm is very beautiful of both slow and fast songs. quiet moment and loud moment.    

3) Much more full body and weight.  After I change factory IEC inlet to be Furutech IEC inlet Rhodium plated, the magic details of sound come back. But the sound is thinner (-30%). After adding by passing caps, the sound is full and weighty or rich. It is more full and rich than before IEC inlet changing. It transforms your Hi Fi system to be like singer and music band are playing in your room. It is very natural, liquid smooth and involving. I like to use word "Having music band playing in your room". You feel like you listen to live concert, not Hi Fi system. Because it makes totally different experience from listening to very excellent and expensive Hi Fi system, It is very enjoy but you still know that you listen to Hi Fi system.  

I must say that Bypassing Electrolytic caps with Film caps is a must to do, not just highly recommend. And it is not expensive or high investment.

Next, I will change factory Fuse to be Synergistic Research Quantum Fuse. (Blue).

Please be noted that any mod must be done with your own risk. Please study well before doing mod or hire professional electrician to do for you.
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #44 - 09/18/14 at 10:44:12
 
I forgot to add;

4) Sound stage and Holographic Image is also improve. You feel more real and notes immerse from space in very dark background. I believe that if you want excellent 3D image, sound stage and dark backgound, you have to have the best PSU section of your Amp.
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #45 - 09/18/14 at 14:13:27
 
One observation is that warm up time is longer. Before mod, warm up time is one hour. But after mod, warm up time is two hours. I think that new Obbligato caps may need more time for warm up. I hope that after more burn in, its warm up time will be shorter.
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« Last Edit: 09/19/14 at 02:46:17 by vyokyong »  

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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #46 - 09/19/14 at 03:00:40
 
Replace factory fuse with Synergistic Research Quantum Fuse 5A 250 V fast blow. (5x20mm size)  Price@USD 59.95  20% discount, net price USD 47.96

Result :

One direction of SR fuse : It makes sound extent both high and low, more lean, less warm. But I feel little congest and not liquid smooth. Burn-in may cure this negative sound.

If comparing it with new factory fuse, SR fuse is better, less lean, less congest sound.

However if compare to 6 month used factory fuse, I like 6 month used factory fuse. It provides more organic, full body and liquid smooth sound.

The other direction of SR fuse : It makes sound bloated warm body, dull sound. I don't like.

Conclude : I switch back to use 6 month used factory fuse. I think that audiophile fuse is not worth to spend. If factory fuse has long burn in enough, the sound is already okay.

Note : The Synergistic Research Fuse is not burn in yet and I don't want to waste time to do burn in of it. I am very happy with factory fuse (6 month burn in).
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« Last Edit: 09/19/14 at 05:30:25 by vyokyong »  

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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #47 - 09/19/14 at 14:23:17
 
I have to say sorry to report that Synergistic Reseach Quantum fuse is not worth to spend. I make a wrong report.

The problem is that I test SR fuse when ZMA is not warmed well enough. As my observation is that mod ZMA has longer warm up time. But I use my usual warm up and test SR fuse. The sound congest comes from Amp did not warm up well.

This time, I warm up ZMA more than 2 hours to make sure that it warms up well. The SR fuse provides both extended sound in high and low frequency, particularly in high. It is very sparkling. Sound is more refined and more transparency that make more precise focus image. But it trades off of warm sound (little less warm, little more lean). However I love it.

Conclude : worth to buy SR fuse.
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #48 - 09/20/14 at 06:06:39
 
One observation is that I set meter at 48 mA. But after SR fuse installed and play for 2 hours up. The meter is moved to 52 mA. I have to tune it back to 48 mA. Because I don't want amp running too hot. SR fuse may let current pass more than stock fuse.
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #49 - 09/22/14 at 04:57:30
 
Hi,

My conclusion of modification of PSU section (changing IEC inlet, add film caps by passing electrolytic caps and Audiophile fuse, Synergistic Research Quantum fuse), the sound improvement is;

1) Improvement in 3D sound stage, better image depth, image focus, feel space surround music instruments.
2) Improvement in pace, speed and rhythm control. The timing is precise in all frequency. But the bass is more easy to be captured that bass is better controlled, no bloated boom bass.
3) Improvement in mid to high frequency. The high frequency is more sparkling. The notes decay is longer.
4) Improvement is scale. Sound is fuller, bigger and more dense.

The above improvement is compared to before mod as bench mark and after mod is better. Remark : My listening room does not have any room treatment.

I feel that it may be boring to always report again and again that "Oh, the sound is more transparency after changing this. And after changing those, the transparency is more again, etc" Is there any changing that it is disappointment. Until now I will say "No". I ask myself that what is the ceiling of transparency, 3D image, dynamic, etc. Because every time, new mod improves sound better. It should be at certain point that any mod cannot improve it further. But until now I don't reach its ceiling yet.

I did mod again by double Duelund hook up 2 wires (two wires in one signal path) in Zen switching box. Because I observe that all top signature IC cable of top line (Cost is no object) is just double the quantity of wires in second top line. Then I think that what happened to sound improvement, if the Duelund hook up 2 wire is used 2 cables instead of 1 cable per signal path.

EUREKA! EUREKA! EUREKA!

It is a huge step improvement. I would like to compare by using LCD TV definition as following.

Before mod, ZMA is very excellent Standard definition TV.
After mod of 1 cable Duelund hook up 2 wire, pure copper and pure gold signal path connectors, Fuurutech IEC inlet, Obbligato caps, SR fuse, mod ZMA transforms to High Definition TV. (HDTV).
But if you add more 1 cable Duelund hook up 2 wire (2 cables per signal path), the mod ZMA becomes 4K Ultra High Definition TV (4K UHDTV).

I think this is my best definition of what sound improvement you get when mod by double wires or cables in signal path. (4 cables are used per channel, 2 cables for positive signal per channel and 2 cables for negative signal per channel)

It is worth every penny to spend double cables of Duelung hook up 2 wire which is very expensive cable. But the result is huge improvement to next level of itself, not just better.

Remark : I just did double Duelund hook up 2 wires in Zen Switching Box, not inside ZMA yet because the wire length is not enough.

I already ordered more of 32 feet of Duelund hook up 2 wire .
Total cost is USD 803, The wire price is USD 50.20 per feet, 50%discount, net price after discount is USD 25.10 per feet.
I plan to connect Zen switching box with ZMA by hard wire, no connectors. (You can save USD 796 from USD 388 WBT Ag 0210 RCA female jack and USD USD 408 from WBT 0110 Ag RCA male plug, if there is no discount. But you trade off of convenient of IC cable changing and convenient transport of Amp and ZSB.) I need 8 cables of 4 feet Duelund hook up 2 wire. I am very curious to the result when ZMA's internal signal cables are changed to double cables of Duelund hook up 2 wires. I will report soon when I got the cables and do changing.
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« Last Edit: 09/22/14 at 10:26:33 by vyokyong »  

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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #50 - 09/23/14 at 03:17:45
 
It is a new world experience of music listening, if your system reach 4K UHD of sound quality. You can hear all low level of sound detail which is normally be covered by noise floor. The ambient sound helps you to feel more reality of  music band existing together in your room.

My assumption of low level of sound detail which I can hear after mod is that (While before mod, I cannot hear) :

1) It should be related with pure silver wire. It is a unique characteristic of pure silver which provides you to hear low level of sound details more than pure copper.

2) When 2 cables Duelund hook up 2 cable are used in one signal path, the friction or resistance to against electron flow in signal cable is highly reduce. It enhance more conductance or electron easily flow in signal cable. Before mod, the signal (electron) of low level of sound detail is blocked or cannot pass resistance or friction in signal cable.

It is a passive method to achieve low level detail of sound quality reproduction. It is pure method, no manipulate the signal. But it cannot enhance more dynamic and contrast.

The other way is active method of Amp, Pre-Amp and Source equipment design to make stronger signal of low level of sound detail to overcome friction or resistance in signal cable. It manipulates in signal which makes sound signal changing from origin, more or less depend on design. But it can enhance more dynamic and contrast of music.

At this point, I would like to summary of mod as MOD PACKAGE No 1

ZMA mod.
1) Change binding post to be WBT 0705 Cu Next Gen Pole terminal.
   USD 328,  get 20% discount, net price is USD 262.40 per set of 4.
2) Changing RCA jack to be WBT 0210 Ag RCA female jack.
   USD 194, get 40% discount, net price is USD 116.40 per pair.
3) Changing IEC inlet to be Furutech FI-03 (R).
   USD 28, get 20% discount, net price is USD 22.40.
4) Add bypassing caps, Obbligato 10 uF 630 VDC Premium Gold.
  USD 27, get 20% discount, net price is USD 21.60 each. Pay USD 43.20 for pair.

Zen Switching Box mod.
1)  Changing RCA jack to be WBT 0210 Ag RCA female jack.
   USD 194, get 40% discount, net price is USD 116.40 per pair. Pay     USD 232.80 for 2 pairs.
2) Changing resistor to be Vishay VAR series "Naked" foil resistor.
   USD 15.95, get 20% discount, net price is USD 12.76. Pay USD 25.52 for pair.
3) Changing internal wire to be Duelund hook up 2 wire (double cable per one signal path).
  USD 50.20 per feet, get 50% discount, net price is USD 25.10. Pay USD 200.8 for 8 feet.

Total cost is USD 904.21. (no internal signal wire changing in ZMA)
If internal signal wire in ZMA is changed to be Duelund hook up wire, total cost is USD 1,506.61

In case of you don't have Zen switching box and mod only ZMA. Your cost will be USD 1,047.8  (You need 24 feet of Duelund hoop up wire).

Someone may think that would it be better to spend this money to get new equipment to improve sound quality. For me, it is worth to do to solve source of problem which is in Amp. And I use ZMA for stereo system and home theater system. I use one bullet to get two birds at the same time!

Next will be mod by capacitor changing to be Duelund CAST PIO copper capacitor.

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« Last Edit: 09/23/14 at 03:41:26 by vyokyong »  

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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #51 - 09/23/14 at 14:42:29
 

Wow, that's a lot of Duelund hook up wire!

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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #52 - 09/24/14 at 03:26:58
 
The package 1 is the extreme case. Here are some alternatives to reduce cost;

1) Using KLEI Harmony®Plug instead of WBT Nex Gent. But I have never try them.
http://kleinnovations.com/kle-innovations-klei-products/harmony-plug/klei-pure-h...

2) In case of Duelund hook up wire replacing internal signal wire in ZMA.
   2.1) You can reduce by using 1 cable of Duelund hook up wire per signal wire. (4 cables of 3 feet cable for positive and negative wire of left and right channel) Total wire length is 12 feet.
   2.2) You can use Duelund hook up wire for positive wire only and using current internal signal wire (both positive and negative cable) for negative wire of left and right channel. Total Duelund hook up wire is 6 feet.

The performance will be compromised but it is better than current non-mod ZMA.

For Stone of Tone, you may consider
Kimber 4-Wire Braid GQ
Stranded Teflon Hook-Up Wire
4 x 20 awg, GQ-AgSS- 4-Wire Braids - Clear "GQ" (GyroQuadratic) Stranded TC, Hyper-pure VariStrand Silver, V-Teflon Insulation, Per Foot
$217.88 USD Price
From partsconnexion.
http://www.partsconnexion.com/wire_hookup_kimber_4wt.html
So that your signal cable from your Pre-amp CSP3+ RCA jack to ZMA and internal signal wire in ZMA will be all Kimber Silver wire.

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« Last Edit: 09/24/14 at 03:44:02 by vyokyong »  

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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #53 - 09/24/14 at 06:44:24
 
I'm using a set of interconnects made from Duelund silver with silk and oil insulation and Furutech FP-101(G) RCA plugs (with a special filament-spring type center pin).  This cable is what I call a tone monster and IMO most people would find quite beautiful.  I'm sure it would sound awesome as hookup and internal wire.
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #54 - 09/24/14 at 07:48:42
 
Thanks Beowulf to confirm Duelund hook up 2 (version 2) wire. It is a magic when two cables of Duelund are used per signal path. (2 cables for positive and 2 cables for negative). Before I buy Duelund hook up wire, I try to calculate to order minimum length in order to save money and get shortest signal path. But after test with double cables per signal path. I have no reluctant any more to order more Duelund hook up wire. It transform your Hi Fi system from High Definition sound to be 4K Ultra High Definition sound. Not only very low level of sound details which you can hear clearly (Clarity and Transparency), timing, pace, speed is precise with ease. All pitch, nuance, sound wavering are heard clearly.    

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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #55 - 09/24/14 at 14:41:27
 
Quote:
I'm using a set of interconnects made from Duelund silver with silk and oil insulation and Furutech FP-101(G) RCA plugs (with a special filament-spring type center pin).  This cable is what I call a tone monster and IMO most people would find quite beautiful.  I'm sure it would sound awesome as hookup and internal wire.


Which version are you using for that? The 1.0 or 2.0? I was already planning on trying this for a short interconnect, especially if I get a CSP3. I just wasn't sure which thickness would be appropriate.

http://www.partsconnexion.com/wire_hookup_duelund.html

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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #56 - 09/24/14 at 23:20:21
 
Lonely Raven wrote on 09/24/14 at 14:41:27:
Which version are you using for that? The 1.0 or 2.0? I was already planning on trying this for a short interconnect, especially if I get a CSP3. I just wasn't sure which thickness would be appropriate.


Mine are the 1.0 (I got them from ZenWave Audio aka Dave's Cables).  I haven't had the chance to listen to the 2.0 as of yet ... I did find a comparison online here and here though.  The second link compares the 0.5 to the 2.0 ... I'm thinking the 1.0 should fall somehwere in between his findings LOL ... Grin

I should also mention that since I only had one pair .. I tried them in a couple places and preferred them running from my DAC to Preamp.  Then from my Preamp to Amp I still use the Decware Silver Reference.  I will most likely get another pair of those or the ZenWave D3's ... I'll have a shootout between those once I get some other stuff paid off. Wink
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« Last Edit: 09/24/14 at 23:27:49 by beowulf »  
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #57 - 09/25/14 at 04:09:19
 
Yesterday, I did a great home run of mod again.

There is no cost of component, just some effort. I rewire of internal signal wire in ZMA to bypass volume pot. Yes, bypassing volume pot so that ZMA's volume cannot be adjusted. To adjust volume, I use volume control in my Accuphase DP77 CD/SACD player instead.

Result : like opening the window and looking straight out without anything in between.
So my Motto still stands: LESS IS MORE or KISS.
It seems as a veil between me and the musicians have been removed.
Attacks on each note are clearer and more distinct. Music sounds fresh and alive.
Some small details that seemed to be smeared together before can now be clearly heard, if the recording allows it. Sense of front to back is more increased.
You may trade off ability of adjustment between two volume pots of Power Amp and Pre-Amp to achieve your prefer dynamic and contrast. But that adjustment ability suck your lifelike and details of your music out. You have to consider your total audio signal path from source to Power Amp, how many units of  volume pot in your audio signal chain. The more volume pots, the more veil between you and music.

Volume pot is one major source of signal distortion in your signal chain. You need only one volume control and the best quality in your signal chain.

I have done research online about kinds of volume control:

-Volume pot or Volume potentiometer. It is most general use in commercial equipment because of little space needed and low cost. But it is lowest quality compared to other kinds of volume control.

-Volume stepped attenuators (consist of resistors). It is much better than volume pot and is used in high end system.
http://www.placetteaudio.com/remote_control.htm

-TVC (Transformer Volume Control) and AVC (Autoformer Volume Control). It is more advance by using transformer instead of resistors.
http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?rprea&1169253394&read&keyw&zzdecware...
http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazine/equipment/0407/promitheus_audio_tvc_se.htm...
http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?aamps&1159194844&openfrom&101&4#...
http://www.enjoythemusic.com/diy/0611/slagle_autoformer_volume_control_modules.h...

- Lightspeed Attenuator (LDR).  There is perfect clarity, a widened soundstage, separation of instruments, and seemingly infinite detail. What makes this passive preamplifier interesting is that there are no contact points in the form of a "wiper" as in the case of a potentiometer or "switches" as may be with a discrete stepped attenuator. The key components in the Lightspeed Attenuator are Silonex NSL-32SR2 Optocouplers (PDF - 34kB). The optocoupler device is a sealed unit which consists of a high performance LED that shines on a light dependent resistor (LDR).

It is believed that any light weight contacts (switches and especially pots and their wipers) have a diode rectification effect on the AC music signal, trying to rectify it which is very bad. The Lightspeed Attenuator (LDR) system totally addresses is diode rectification effect. This is why it is so transparent and totally honest to the source, not adding any colorations or distortions to the source, it is just like being able to plug your cd players fixed output directly into your poweramp yet having control over the volume.

Yes, I am looking for volume pot replacement in ZMA. And now I find Light Speed Passive Preamp and I plan to use it as my pre-amp. When I get and play with it, I will make a review of it.

Below is link for information of Light Speed Attenuator.

http://theartofsound.net/forum/showthread.php?9087-Lighter-Note-LDR-attenuator
http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?aamps&1276356977
http://electra-fidelity.squarespace.com/lightspeed-attenuator/
http://killerdac.com/forum/index.php?topic=10.0
http://forums.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?aamps&1248137240&read&keyw&zzgood+cd+pl...

However Light Speed Attenuator preamp must be matched to your system whose condition is :
If I could just chime in here about the PRAT factor with the Lightspeed Attenuator. If you have a source (cdp or phono stage) that is less than 100ohms output impedance and power amps that are more than 50kohm (100kohm or more input even better) your PRAT factor if anything will be better than anything you've heard, it gives the impression that your listening to something like the old DBX units (Dynamic Range Enhancer) without all the pitfalls of those things.
If it is not matching, it provides less dynamic, less PRAT and thin sound.

However there is other preamp which can solve this problem.
http://www.hifiwigwam.com/showthread.php?64332-Hornshoppe-The-Truth-Pre
http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?aamps&1286153678&read&keyw&zztru...

Go back to Volume pot in ZMA, if your system allow you to adjust volume in PreAmp or Source player. Then I highly recommend to rewire your signal wire of ZMA to bypass Volume pot, not connected to volume pot any more. (It is not the same as you turn volume pot to maximum.)

Or Steve should provide option for customer to select "No Volume Pot" for customer who has PreAmp or Volume control in CD player. The sound quality of ZMA without volume pot is much better than ZMA with volume pot in term of much better ultimate transparency and ultra fine details.
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« Last Edit: 09/25/14 at 09:43:32 by vyokyong »  

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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #58 - 09/25/14 at 05:10:29
 
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #59 - 09/26/14 at 03:40:56
 
LESS IS MORE or KISS.

I did a home run again.
As you know, I use Zen Switching Box before connected to ZMA. There are resistors at out put audio signal path inside zen switching box. I did rewire audio signal path to connect directly to RCA female jack, not pass resistor any more.

It seems as another veil between me and the musicians have been removed again.
Attacks on each note are clearer and more distinct. Music sounds fresh and alive.
Some small details that seemed to be smeared together before can now be clearly heard, if the recording allows it. Sense of front to back is more increased.

Previously, the stock resistors have been replaced by Vishay foil "Nake" resistors. It is much more  transparent. But this time the Vishay resistors have been removed out and connect directly to RCA female jack. No resistor (in audio signal path) is the best. Veil has been removed to be crystal clear status.

Before mod. I cannot imagine that I can achieve to this level of CLARITY, TRANSPARENCY, DYNAMIC (IMMEDIACY) and TRIMBRE.

Quote : from Audiogon;

09-15-11: Marqmike
Hey, hey , hey guys. I personally like the XXXX to anything I have ever heard, which you can see most of that is on my previous posts. I have experience with real musicians in real space and real time. And from that perspective I find on most non-musician friends and others systems there is to much concern with the 3d thing and spacial ques, it is out of proportion to what I find in real space. And I feel it effects the tonal response of the whole recording and the timber of the instruments and voices. I say sure you can hear a fly land on the back wall of the auditorium but that is not what I listen to a recording for. But the truth is we all live on our own worlds when it comes to music and its reproduction. And that is fine and good.

09-15-11: Pubul57

Marqmike, I too find that much of what we look for in recorded music through our systems regarding 3D, imaging, spacial cues, etc. is simply not there in live perfomance, or at least far less than we seek it in our systems. What live music brings that no stereo system I've heard truly replicates is timbre and dynamics - every time I go listen to unamplified live jazz, I go home and remind myself to accept that while I love my system and listening to music on it, it is not the same as live (really, how could it be?) but a facsimile.

I agree with both opinions. My experience is that every time of mod and resulting in better transparency, clarity and trimbre. The scale of vocal voice and music instruments are bigger, less pin point. When the scale is small or pin point, the more exact location of singer and music instruments in 3D space. So that I feel trade off a little bit with 3D image with bigger scale of sources' sound and trimbre. But it is more close to lifelike or real as listen to live concert, particularly  un-amplified live music.

My observation is that it may be nowadays we are in the home theater surround sound era. We like to pin point location of source sound. And all Hi Fi equipments now are trying to win consumer by 3D image or location pin point of source sound. The Hi Fi magazine reviewers are always describe how excellent 3D image is this Hi Fi equipment to make consumer inspire! But there is trade off  and be more far away from lifelike music as real or actual size scale of source ( not pin point), trimbre and immediacy or dynamic ( Music notes sound is happened with  immediately ease). It is like a lot retouch digital picture which look perfect beautiful but does not have soul or feel natural.

Or we have to ask ourselves that what we want to pursue?

Current audiophile : 3D image, pin point location, layers of singer and music instruments, spacial cues, high is very extended and very details, full bass impact, etc.  

Lifelike concert or real music with soul!  I feel like music is played in my room. The source sound is real size scale, immediacy and full of details of trimbre.

I highly recommend whom is using zen switching box to rewire and bypassing resistors, no resistors in out put audio signal path in zen switching box.

I forgot to inform that after removing out of resistors in zen switching box, my ZMA is louder 2-3 dB at the same volume control (of my Accuphase DP77).
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« Last Edit: 09/26/14 at 04:11:49 by vyokyong »  

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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #60 - 09/27/14 at 04:11:51
 
CD (PCM) vs SACD (DSD).

After mod of my ZMA and zen switching box which provides ultra high definition resolution (4K UHD). Then I am eager to test between CD vs DSD. Can DSD provide superb sound quality if the Hi Fi system is on top-notch?

I have Patricia Barber Modern Cool by Mobile Fidelity SACD and CD. And my Accuphase DP77 player can play both CD and SACD. To play both format by Accuphase should be fair comparison. However It should be noted that Accuphase player converts DSD to PCM first and go to DAC. It is not decode DSD directly.

Previous mod, I still like CD rather than SACD even though SACD provides more details and resolution than CD. But CD is more organic and dynamic rhythm is more involving. SACD is like announcer who speaks with trying correct spelling of essence too much. It is not natural or lively speaking.  It is like SACD try to emphasize or raise sound details and trimbre up too much.

After mod, I play SACD first. The sound details and trimbre is heard more clearly. But I still feel not involving. The feeling of synthesis, not natural is more obvious than before. Then I switch to play CD of same song track. It confirms my feeling that I still prefer CD more than SACD or DSD. But this time, CD can provide sound details and trimbre very close to SACD or DSD than before. It is not lack of sound details and trimbre. But it is more organic or involving. I played till mid night and wished want to play more. But I had to stop and went to bed yesterday. Because I have to go to work today.

If Hi Fi system is in top-notch level. In my opinion, CD or PCM format can provides very excellent sound quality. There is no need to search for SACD or DSD format. I am happy with CD or PCM format and willing to ignore DSD or SACD.
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« Last Edit: 09/27/14 at 04:16:40 by vyokyong »  

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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #61 - 09/27/14 at 12:12:20
 
Interesting. I trust this conclusion has come from more than just one SACD hybrid disc. Smiley

I have a different opinion and this after having a half dozen SACD players in my system. Some really did not present SACD in a fashion well enough to really wow in comparison to the best Redbook playback of the same mastering. As I've never had a way to stream the DSD to a great DAC to decode a great DAC such as the PS Audios I've had/have allow Redbook to shine so well that SACD did not seem that big a deal.

(But then again I would have thought that your Accuphase player would be among those allowing SACD to shine in this manner, so prehpas there are other differences that have caused our differing opinions. I"m not a fan of Barber and don't have that disc to compare the different masterings, CD and SACD.)

BUT with a very good SACD player (at the moment I have the 100th Anniversary Denon player, a great bang for buck unit, and an Ayre player) there is something to the hi-res nature of the SACD playback that I find superior by a few hairs to the best Redbook playback I have (from my PS Audio DirectStream DAC). So though I do not run around purchasing SACDs willy nilly, I do buy classical ones often enough, and have been buying SACDs of albums I've treasured for years such as the Mobile Fidelity remasters of Miles Davis and Bob Dylan releases

With the right player I've found SACD especially enjoyable with classical music. Sting texture and tone can be amazing and it handles the dynamics and textures of orchestra pieces with a greater ease.

So I can see why many may choose to ignore SACD, I'm not among them. I've got a slowly growing collection.
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« Last Edit: 09/27/14 at 12:14:26 by Lon »  

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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #62 - 09/28/14 at 05:20:18
 
I have to say I'm 50/50 right now and although I don't have a DS to compare, I do have about 20 or so DSD rips from SACD and IMO about half of them are fairly flat and lack dynamics and not as good as Redbook.  I actually like the 96/192 24 bit hi-res versions I've been getting from HDTracks even better than most of the DSD and Redbook titles I have.  That said, there are some DSD titles that are just stunning, so I'm totally aware of their potential, it has been just hit and miss for me.
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #63 - 09/28/14 at 16:48:51
 

Paul at PS Audio tried to address this (I and others brought this up more than a few times). PCM seems to have a digital edge to it that can enhance the music. DSD being closer to analog doesn't get this edge if it doesn't go through a PCM conversion anywhere in the chain. But then, DSD also doesn't get the compression that's inherent in vinyl due to its inherent lower dynamic range. So while it's more analog, it's still not like vinyl - it's more like tape - which I think is why they keep pushing the sample rate (4XDSD for example)...I think it's to get more density, to be more tape like.

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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #64 - 09/29/14 at 05:17:28
 
Interesting observations, it would seem that is the effect I'm having and I'm not sure I enjoy them as much.  A majority that I have just seem dull and lifeless and my feet aren't tapping the same way they do when I play HDTracks and Vinyl (not all HDTracks are great either though, but I find myself happier overall in comparison).
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #65 - 09/29/14 at 15:53:22
 

Yeah, I absolutely feel the same way. I bought a bunch of Blue Coast recordings, and some from Opus3, all DSD64 or better. I love Cookies recordings at Blue Coast, she goes direct to DSD, and sometimes bounces off tape to warm up the sound. But it does sound a little flat to me. Opus3, I'm not sure what they are doing, but they are hands down the best DSD recordings I've come across. I was just talking to Steve about this, he agrees and has been buying their Reel to Reels.

That said, the latest update from PS Audio on the DirectStream seems to have fixed some of this flatness, plus I'm playing SACD direct from the ISO file, and I swear there is an improvement there as well.

I'll send you one of the sample tracks I have from Opus3 and you see if you see the same thing.
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #66 - 09/30/14 at 14:36:41
 
Here is the interesting article to read about digital audio.
http://killerdac.com/forum/index.php/topic,360.0.html

Conclusion :  Redbook standards or CD (16 bits) format has dynamic range of 96 dB which is enough for any kind of music. The most demand of dynamic is orchestra music. Its dynamic range is only 60 dB. The hi resolution music of 24 bits and 32 bits have no benefits of dynamics for DAC. Their benefits of dynamic are in ADC section of music mixing process.
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« Last Edit: 09/30/14 at 15:37:41 by vyokyong »  

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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #67 - 10/02/14 at 03:38:33
 
Read from below link of ADC/DAC losses topic from KillerDAC forum.

http://killerdac.com/forum/index.php/topic,2820.0.html

"digital just lacks a certain weight and body that isn't there.  "

As my understanding is that

Bit depth (16 bits, 24 bits and 32 bits) is related to dynamics headroom (from quietest note to loudest note).

Frequency (44.1 MHz, 48 MHz, 88 MHz, 96 MHz, 192 MHz and 384 MHz) is related to resolution or details of music.

But there is no other unit or term to relate or measure of sound WEIGHT and BODY of music recording.

I assume that the more high frequency, the more details of music record but it trades off for MUSIC WEIGHT and BODY. Just like some one hit drum. Slow frequency hits of drum, Weight and body of drum sound is hear clearly. The more high frequency hits of drum, weight and body of drum sound is more thinner. (In condition of same energy or power usage). I think that DAC Chip has limit current out put and circuit power supply to DAC Chip has limit current to supply. The result of oversampling 2X,  4X will result in higher definition (resolution) but lesser of body and weight (than analog recording).

(Normally 2X and 4X oversampling is related to digital filter wall to get rid of noise).

Just my two cents! To think out of box to explain that DSD is more lack of sound weight and body than Redbook standard because DSD uses more higher sampling rate to get more accuracy of sound frequency! But not considering of Sound weight and body.

DSD uses pulse-density modulation encoding—a technology to store audio signals on digital storage media that are used for the SACD. The signal is stored as delta-sigma modulated digital audio; a sequence of single-bit values at a sampling rate of 2.8224 MHz (64 times the CD Audio sampling rate of 44.1 kHz, but only at 1⁄32768 of its 16-bit resolution). Noise shaping occurs by use of the 64-times oversampled signal to reduce noise/distortion caused by the inaccuracy of quantization of the audio signal to a single bit.


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« Last Edit: 10/02/14 at 03:49:05 by vyokyong »  

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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #68 - 10/02/14 at 04:00:21
 
DSD technique[edit]

Comparison with PCM.
SACD audio is stored in DSD, which differs from the conventional PCM used by the compact disc or conventional computer audio systems.

A DSD recorder uses sigma-delta modulation. DSD is 1-bit, has a sampling rate of 2.8224 MHz. The output from a DSD recorder is a bitstream. The long-term average of this signal is proportional to the original signal. DSD makes use of noise shaping techniques in order to push quantization noise up to inaudible ultrasonic frequencies. In principle, the retention of the bitstream in DSD allows the SACD player to use a basic (one-bit) DAC design which incorporates a low-order analog filter. The SACD format is capable of delivering a dynamic range of 120 dB from 20 Hz to 20 kHz and an extended frequency response up to 100 kHz, although most currently available players list an upper limit of 80–90 kHz and 20 kHz is the upper limit of human hearing.

The process of creating a DSD signal is conceptually similar to taking a one-bit delta-sigma analog-to-digital (A/D) converter and removing the decimator, which converts the 1-bit bitstream into multibit PCM. Instead, the 1-bit signal is recorded directly and in theory only requires a lowpass filter to reconstruct the original analog waveform. In reality it is a little more complex, and the analogy is incomplete in that 1-bit sigma-delta converters are these days rather unusual, one reason being that a one-bit signal cannot be dithered properly: most modern sigma-delta converters are multibit.

Because of the nature of sigma-delta converters, one cannot make a direct comparison between DSD and PCM. An approximation is possible, though, and would place DSD in some aspects comparable to a PCM format that has a bit depth of 20 bits and a sampling frequency of 96 kHz.[22] PCM sampled at 24 bits provides a (theoretical) additional 24 dB of dynamic range.

Because it has been extremely difficult to carry out DSP operations (for example performing EQ, balance, panning and other changes in the digital domain) in a one-bit environment, and because of the prevalence of studio equipment such as Pro Tools, which is solely PCM-based, the vast majority of SACDs—especially rock and contemporary music which rely on multitrack techniques—are in fact mixed in PCM (or mixed analog and recorded on PCM recorders) and then converted to DSD for SACD mastering.

To address some of these issues, a new studio format has been developed, usually referred to as "DSD-wide", which retains the high sample rate of standard DSD, but uses an 8-bit, rather than single-bit digital word length, yet still relies heavily on the noise shaping principle. It becomes almost the same as PCM—and is sometimes disparagingly referred to as "PCM-narrow"—but has the added benefit of making DSP operations in the studio a great deal more practical. The main difference is that "DSD-wide" still retains 2.8224 MHz (64Fs) sampling frequency while the highest frequency in which PCM is being edited is 352.8 kHz (8Fs). The "DSD-wide" signal is down-converted to regular DSD for SACD mastering. As a result of this technique and other developments there are now a few digital audio workstations (DAWs) that operate, or can operate, in the DSD domain, notably Pyramix and some SADiE systems.

Another format for DSD editing is Digital eXtreme Definition (DXD), a PCM format with 24-bit resolution sampled at 352.8 kHz (or alternatively 384 kHz).

Note that high-resolution PCM (DVD-Audio, HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc) and DSD (SACD) may still technically differ at high frequencies. A reconstruction filter is typically used in PCM decoding systems, much the same way that bandwidth-limiting filters are normally used in PCM encoding systems. Any error or unwanted artifact introduced by such filters will typically affect the end-result. A claimed advantage of DSD is that product designers commonly choose to have no filtering, or modest filtering. Instead DSD leads to constant high levels of noise at these frequencies. The dynamic range of DSD decreases quickly at frequencies over 20 kHz due to the use of strong noise shaping techniques which push the noise out of the audio band resulting in a rising noise floor just above 20 kHz. The dynamic range of PCM, on the other hand, is the same at all frequencies. However, almost all present-day DAC chips employ some kind of sigma-delta conversion of PCM files that results in the same noise spectrum as DSD signals. All SACD players employ an optional low-pass filter set at 50 kHz for compatibility and safety reasons, suitable for situations where amplifiers or loudspeakers cannot deliver an undistorted output if noise above 50 kHz is present in the signal.
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #69 - 10/03/14 at 05:28:45
 
Mod by changing Signal Capacitor coupling from V-caps TFTF to be Duelund Cu CAST PIO.

In my ZMA, there are 2 units of V-caps TFTF 0.1 uF 600 VDC, 1 unit of Jupiter HT 0.1 uF 600 VDC and 1 unit of Jupiter HT 0.022 uF 600 VDC (Aluminum foil). Two units of V-cap at the second row are replaced first by Duelund Cu CAST PIO 0.1 uF 630 VDC (MRSP USD 595.95, 70% discount, net price is USD 184.95)

Duelund Cu CAST PIO caps is expensive but its reputation is one of the best caps in market. Many DIYers praise it very much after installing them.

http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?ymisc&1343440445&openflup&47&...

However if Duelund Cu CAST PIO cap is too expensive, there is alternative cap. That is Jupiter HT Copper foil 0.1 uF 600 VDC @USD 55 which is 70% less than Duelund Cu CAST PIO cap. And the same person Grannyring praises of Jupiter HT copper cap. He replaces Duelund Cu CAST PIO cap (which was installed in year 2012) in his preamp to be Jupiter HT copper foil cap later in year 2014. The Jupiter HT copper foil cap just launch in July 2014.

Quote : 09-12-14: Grannyring
Done that already and the Jupiters are better in the Dude. No kidding. I and several others have done it and love the results.
Grannyring  (System | Reviews | Threads | Answers | This Thread)

http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?vdone&1409683270&openflup&13&4#1...

If I knew in advance, I may change to Jupiter HT copper foil cap instead. But I have already bought Duelund Cu CAST PIO caps in June.


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« Last Edit: 10/03/14 at 05:31:39 by vyokyong »  

IMG_7735.JPG

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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #70 - 10/04/14 at 00:35:23
 
To replace cap in ZMA, the available installed space must be considered carefully and well plan in advance. Duelund Cast PIO cap size is bigger than V-cap. And if Jupiter copper foil cap is same size as Jupiter HT Beewax cap. Then it is easier to replace by Jupiter copper foil cap.

More review of Jupiter copper foil cap.
http://www.dhtrob.com/impressies/jupiter_copperfoil.php

Comparison between Jupiter copper foil cap and Duelund PIO cap.
http://www.enjoythemusic.com/diy/0514/jupiter_copper_foil_paper_wax_capacitor.ht...

http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=124972.20

Lampizator web site confirm that Jupiter copper foil cap share similar same signature sound of Duelund CASt PIO cap. It is a good news since Jupiter copper foil price is 70% percent less than Duelund PIO cap.
http://www.lampizator.eu/newdac/lampizator/Capacitors.html

Steve Deckert from Decware is one in the team who fine tuning the sound of Jupiter copper foil cap.
http://jupitercondenser.com
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« Last Edit: 10/04/14 at 00:49:11 by vyokyong »  

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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #71 - 10/06/14 at 04:44:40
 
Because Duelund CAST PIO cap size is bigger than V-cap. And it is radial type, not axial type as V-cap. Then installing place of Duelund CAST PIO caps are different from V-Caps. And Duelund CAST PIO caps are vertical installed.

The caps are film cap so that there is no pole (positive and negative pole for installing). But there is direction of installing to get better sound. The inner lead out wire from Duelund CAST PIO cap to follow point of installed of red lead out wire of V-Cap. And the outer lead out wire of Duelund CAST PIO cap to follow point of installed of green lead out wire of V-Cap.  

I did first pair of Duelund CAST PIO cap installed (second row) as in the picture.
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #72 - 10/06/14 at 04:50:45
 
The base of Duelund CAST PIO caps are placed with

Soundcoat damping materials 2 layers to have vibration isolation.
Still points ERS sheet to prevent EMI and RMI.


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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #73 - 10/06/14 at 14:25:20
 

I was going to ask if you siliconed in the new caps, but I see you used damping material. That seems clever.

Do you feel the ERS Sheet helps at all?

I'm really enjoying watching all the changes you've made, but I question what actually works, and what is money thrown to good feelings only.

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Reply #74 - 10/06/14 at 15:01:03
 
Hi Lonely Raven,

My goal of ZMA is that Mod ZMA will be my next 10 year Amp. I will do the best mod at one shot. This is my style as I bought MIT Oracle IC and speaker cable and used for 10 years. I have never bought and keep upgrade IC and speaker cables. I think that always upgrading is more expansive in long run. And I am in country that import duty is high and used market price is not good. This is just my goal and style.

For Soundcoat damping materials, I have done place over cone points of Avalon speakers and it has impacted to sonic improvement of Avalon speaker a lot. The material use is few for Duelund caps. And this is part left from speaker usage. And also I did place Soundcoat under my Mac Mini which improves sonic of Mac mini a lot. I highly recommend and I think that it is much cheaper than still points cones.

For ERS sheet, I have used it to cover both Off Ramp 5 USB SPDIF converter and Mac mini. It has a big impact to sound improvement of both equipments. But you have to have some space (1 inch) between ESR sheet and equipment so that the sound is open. If not or no space between ERS and equipment, the sound will not be open and feel congest.

For Duelund cap, I don't know whether ERS will be effective or not. But it is one shot, if I don't do this time, there is no next time. And it use very small piece of ERS.

I highly recommend both materials. It is not expensive to tweak of all your Hi Fi system. But it needs your creative idea to try and see the result.
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« Last Edit: 10/07/14 at 02:21:47 by vyokyong »  

image_021.jpg

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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #75 - 10/06/14 at 17:29:08
 
Soundcoat damping material is used on top of Apex cones.
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #76 - 10/07/14 at 03:07:51
 
Before capacitors replacing, I though that the sonic was very excellent already and I liked very much. I should stop mod and enjoyed it. However Duelund caps are already bought so that the show must go on.

Sonic improvement of Duelund CAST PIO pair caps in the second row caps, replacing pair of V-Caps TFTF.

First 30 minutes of listening, its sonic is slow pace and bloated bass. Someone will be disappointed at this initial 30 minutes. But for me, it is a good sign because I have same experience with XLO Purple Rush power cable cord whose sonic signature excellent in mid, natural vocal sound. The XLO Purple Rush power cord is started of 1-2 hours with same sonic of slow pace, dull and bloated bass. But after 20 hours, its sonic transforms to fast pace, mush more high extended, sweet or lush mid range, very well body and weight with excellent bass control and articulation. It becomes my present best power cord.

After 20 hours, its sonic improvement is very very excellent in any respects of Hi Fi sound description.
The obvious improvement is that there is no trade off between two opposite spectrum properties that you have to choose, for example more warm side or lean, analytic side. Its sonic is excel in both sides and balance very well in both warm side and analytic (high resolution) side. It provides best of both worlds or sides. The tonal balance is extremely neutral, especially audible with good recordings of acoustic instruments and the human voice.

In high-end, there is no any harsh at all and provide extremely in high resolution, crystal clear. V-cap provide very high resolution but in thin-fast sound while Duelund provide same high resolution with body, not thin sound. The cymbal sound is more real from Duelund cap.
In mid, this is Duelund's signature excellent of sweet mid vocal, detail and natural present.
In low end, bass is well control together, articulate with weight and attack. I feel that my speaker woofer is 50% bigger. Plucked acoustic bass, for example, was no longer just a bass sound - it had form and shape with natural decay.
Harmonic and micro-details is excellent.
Trimbre and Airy is excellent while V-cap is average in this area.
Sound stage is wide, depth and layers. This is one of its strong sonic signature which other caps cannot compete with.
Next up is separation. I am not just talking about separation between channels. I am talking about separation between instruments. This allows low-level detail to be heard through other louder parts of the music - allowing you to much more easily follow individual instruments through a complex passage.
But what I like most is that it provides more body and weight, image size is real size together with weight and attack bass. It makes very lifelike concert sound.

I agree with this review between Duelund CAST PIO cap versus V-Cap.
http://www.enjoythemusic.com/diy/0314/duelund_cast_pio_copper_capacitor.htm  

The result of previous mod is like sound tone tuning to be more warm or more analytic, better transparency and clarity, more extend in both top and low end, etc. But your sonic characteristic is not changed, it is only better and more. But the sonic from mod of Caps changing is totally change in its characteristic to a new characteristic or DNA changing. The effect is much much more than tube rolling. For me, I just recommend to use the best caps as your budget allow. At present, there are;
Duelund CAST PIO caps
Jupiter Copper foil cap.

I feel very happy that I replace V-cap TFTF with Duelund CAST PIO caps. Duelund CAST PIO caps has transformed my ZMA in ways that must be heard to be understood. (much much much better than V-Cap TFTF).
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #77 - 10/08/14 at 02:20:47
 
Next is replacing remaining caps of Jupiter HT Beeswax 0.1 uF 600 VDC and Jupiter HT Beeswax 0.022 uF 600 VDC with Duelund CAST PIO 0.1 uF 630 VDC and Jensen Silver Foil 0.022 uF 630 VDC respectively.

It is more difficult than previous caps replacement because Duelund cap size is much bigger than Jupiter cap. And Jensen Silver Foil cap size is bigger than Jupiter Beeswax cap. The space is very limited.

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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #78 - 10/08/14 at 02:21:49
 
More picture
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #79 - 10/08/14 at 12:22:06
 
Vyokyong,

Best of luck on your adventure for the best sound possible, you are certainly making the amp your own. Even though I don't own the same amp it's fun to follow.

JD
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #80 - 10/09/14 at 03:11:37
 
Thanks JD,

Beginning of year 2014, my friend bought Wilson Audio Alexia speakers and VTL Siegfried Series I Reference Monoblock Amp. I went to listen to his new HiFi system. From this listening event, it drives me to improve my Hi Fi system. However I did not have huge budget as him to achieve sonic quality as his Hi Fi system.

I did research and read a lot forum on line. One Amp company made me interested was Decware Zen Amp. And there was new Amp launch Zen Mystery Amp. That was very good timing and I decided to buy Zen Mystery Amp. Now I have an excellent amp in my budget. The only way to improve sonic quality of my Amp is to modify it with boutique or exotic parts or components. My sonic reference now is my friend's Wilson Audio and VTL amp Hi Fi system. The more closer to my friend system, the more happier I am.

I think that if you don't have huge budget to buy top brand amp, there is only one method to achieve same sonic quality with much less budget or one fourth of top brand budget is Amp modification.
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« Last Edit: 10/09/14 at 03:12:32 by vyokyong »  

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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #81 - 10/10/14 at 02:34:55
 
What is sonic improvement from replacing Jupiter caps with Duelund cap and Jensen silver foil cap?

First 5 minutes of listening, the sonic shifts toward high a lot, more analytic sound. It may be caused by Jensen Silver foil cap. But the more long time listening, its sonic is open more and transform to neutral sound, not analytic sound while keeps high frequency in better crystal clarity and sparkling than before.

After 20 hour burn in, the sonic characteristic becomes same as previous replacing of 4 units of Duelund caps to V-cap TFTF. But its sonic is double dense and high end freq is more sparking, crystal clarity which is very satisfy improvement.

The sound stage dept is also obvious more expanding and much better layering. Instruments separation is obvious improve. Transparency and Clarity is better.

Bass weight, attack and transient is much better. I feel that my speakers have more one 8" woofer added!

Mid range, particularly female vocal is  improved from excellent to be top notch excellent. It adds a more realistic and invigorating sense to the mids and more low dynamics. It is a renown of Duelund cap "MID RANGE TO DIE FOR"

Low level details, particularly in lower mid to low end region is another excellent which is improved from excellent to extra excellent.

Summarize:

The 4 new caps of Duelund cap and Jensen silver foil cap are more synergy with previous 4 Duelund cap (better than 4 Jupiter caps). It provides sonic signature of Duelund cap more shine through its full potential, resulting in more dense sound like double. And with help of Jensen Silver foil cap to fine tune more in high end to be crystal clarity and sparkling. It helps a lot to make sonic more life live, fresh and exciting PRAT.

If you want to replace only 4 lower row of caps for budget of 4xUSD 185, total of USD 740. That is excellent sonic improvement already. (or using Jupiter Copper foil cap instead 4x USD 55, total of USD 200 which is much cheaper. And it get praise as same level as Duelund cap).

But if you ask me that it is worth to replace all 8 stock caps or not? I will definitely say "YES". They improves ZMA sonic to next level (double dense sound) of truly sound signature of Duelund caps. (Total budget of USD 1,400) (or Jupiter Copper foil cap, total budget of USD 396 which is much cheaper. But I don't have experience with Jupiter Copper foil cap yet so that I cannot confirm).
It is not that I give psychology reason to satisfy myself for what I pay a lot of money to Duelund caps. If I don't buy Duelund cap before Jupiter copper foil cap launch. I definitely buy Jupiter copper foil cap and use rest of my money to spend in other areas or buy more music files. I confirm that sonic improvement is worth to spend of USD 1,400 caps replacing. I am still exciting to report of my mod ZMA sonic improvement!

MOD PACKAGE 2 cost is USD 1,400. Total cost of MOD is USD 1,400 (package 2) + USD 1,048 (package 1) = USD 2,448 which is 50% of ZMA.

If comparing cap changing to tube changing, IMO cap changing has 2-3 times more impact to sonic improvement than tube rolling. I will do cap changing first priority than tube rolling. Tube rolling should be in final stage to fine tuning sonic tone to your taste.

New mod ZMA with Duelund caps's sonic is totally different from stock ZMA. It transform excellent sonic of ZMA to be superb excellent sonic of ZMA with different sonic characteristic. Its sonic characteristic is moved toward close to Wilson Audio/VTL system which I heard in my friend system. SOUND BIG (sound stage, instrument image scale), BOLD (dense sound, like you sit at first row in front of performance stage), EXCITE (bass attack, transient, slam and low dynamics) and DELICACY (smooth, liquid and details).

Remark : Duelund cap just launch new cap. A world’s first – the Duelund silver/copper hybrid capacitor. USD 312 each for 0.1 uF 630 VDC. This cap will be my next project of Audio Note DAC 3.1 fully Mod because it has only 2 caps in signal path.

Next is replacing internal signal cable wire inside ZMA. My order Duelund hook up 2 wire has just been arrived.
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #82 - 10/11/14 at 14:58:08
 
Since every time after mod, I have to install stock back to ZMA.  In case there is any thing wrong, I will not blow SR quantum fuse. Now I cannot  listen to stock fuse any more. The sound is bloated bass. But when install SR. quantum fuse back. The sound is neutral smooth, extend more top and bottom, no bloated bass. I cannot switch back to use stock fuse any more. It may be that after not using the stock fuse. It become like un-burn in fuse again.
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #83 - 10/12/14 at 13:11:25
 
Replacing stock signal wire cable with Duelund hook up 2 wire (4 cables per channel).

The stock signal wire cable starts from outside bottom corner runs to center and turn up to stepped volume pot and then turn out to outside top corner. One channel cable distance is around 3 feet.

I decided to skip steeped volume pot (no volume pot in signal path). Then I reroute the signal wire start from outside bottom corner and go up to outside top corner. It is the shortage signal path and can be save for Duelund hook up 2 wire significantly. The new path length is only 1 feet per channel.

I plan to has hard wire connected with Light Speed attenuator passive preamp. Because there is no connector is better than any connector. And it saves connector cost of USD 116 WBT 0210 Ag RCA female jack and USD 245 WBT 0110-Ag RCA male plug (total USD 365).    
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« Last Edit: 10/12/14 at 13:43:03 by vyokyong »  

IMG_8177.JPG

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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #84 - 10/12/14 at 13:44:06
 
More picture
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #85 - 10/12/14 at 13:45:59
 
4 wires are fitted to RCA hole exactly.
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #86 - 10/12/14 at 14:50:11
 
Picture shows stock signal wire cable route. (before mod)
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« Last Edit: 10/12/14 at 14:54:01 by vyokyong »  

IMG_7084_-_Copy-2.jpg

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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #87 - 10/12/14 at 19:48:07
 
vyokyong,

Thanks for taking the time to tell us about your adventure. I am really enjoying it.

Also, you mention pretty impressive discounts for parts. Can you point to some suppliers you have chosen?

Will
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« Last Edit: 10/12/14 at 19:53:37 by will »  

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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #88 - 10/12/14 at 23:57:02
 
Thanks Will,

All components are ordered from Parts Connexion.
http://www.partsconnexion.com
You can ask for special discount if your order is high value. In my case I got 20%discount of all items. The items which were 40%-50% discounts, were ordered in special promotion of that promotion month. I think that you can try to ask for same discount. The service is very good and very positive response.

Thanks for your enjoy reading.
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« Last Edit: 10/13/14 at 00:04:26 by vyokyong »  

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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #89 - 10/13/14 at 00:06:06
 
vyokyong,

Thank you for the tip. I buy most from partsconnnexion always watching the sales. Some sale items are amazing deals! I have an order in with them now for wire and after reading your recent posts, added some soundcoat to check out.

Best to you!

Will
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« Last Edit: 10/13/14 at 01:58:45 by will »  

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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #90 - 10/13/14 at 03:55:21
 
More information of DSD vs PCM.

DSD vs PCM

Direct-Stream Digital is simply a 1-bit digital audio format that is based on the Sigma-Delta encoding/decoding architecture, and in practice is commonly referred to as a DSD recording/file.



Many are not aware though that whether they are employed in the processing of PCM or DSD signals, all modern DAC chips are actually based on the same basic Sigma-Delta architecture. In short, the only real question is whether we're sending a PCM or DSD signal to be decoded by a Sigma-Delta DAC.



With respect to PCM, a typical DAC applies multi-bit modulation for converting incoming data into a Sigma-Delta signal, and then that signal is processed by a following Low-Pass Filter stage. DSD decoding skips the Sigma-Delta conversion part of the process as the signal is directly decoded by the DAC, after which it is then processed by the Low-Pass Filter stage.



The differences between the two processes are relatively minimal and somewhat akin to comparing 10 dimes with a 1-dollar bill and trying to determine which is better. In one case where you have a coin purse, 10 dimes is better. In the case where you have a wallet though, the dollar bill is preferable. In either case, you still have the exact same amount of currency. Likewise in the case of PCM vs. DSD, you still have the same amount of data being processed. It's simply a matter of how the decoding hardware (DAC) was constructed as to which format is preferable.



Therefore, no matter how you view it DSD and PCM are nothing more than different ways of looking at the exact same thing. While there are differences, where and when the data is converted is of little practical importance with respect to the end result.



In fact, during the recording process virtually all DSD recording are first converted into PCM for mixing, equalization and other "artistic" processing. Upon completion, the data is then converted back to DSD format and manufactured into discs of "so called" DSD recordings (SACD) for distribution to consumers. In addition, the majority of DSD recordings are actually converted from original PCM masters. One should note that most all such back-and-forth conversion is performed via software – not hardware.



In similar fashion, during DSD playback from a PC both the uDAC3 and Icon DAC employ a computer-resident ASIO driver along with a special USB communications chip that is contained within the NuForce product. Together, each of these works in cooperation with the other for achieving real-time DSD to PCM conversion.



One should also note that the interestingly enough, the DSD format was originally developed to facilitate conversion to the 44.1kHz CD standard. Hence, the PCM equivalent of a 2.8Mhz DSD file would be manifest as an 88.2kHz file at 20-bit resolution. Compared to a 24-bit PCM file, DSD delivers a dynamic range that is actually 24dB less. Similarly, a "double" 5.6Mhz DSD file is the equivalent of a PCM file recorded at 176.4kHz and 20-bit resolution.

https://www.nuforce.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=40&Itemid=2...
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #91 - 10/13/14 at 04:15:39
 
DSD vs. PCM Recording

World’s First Valid Comparison of PCM versus DSD

Recently the introduction of computers into home audio playback systems has made possible an unforeseen occurrence — the reintroduction of DSD, the modulation scheme used in Sony’s failed format of SACD from the turn of the millennium.

At the end of the 1990s as the CD patents were expiring, so was a huge revenue stream for Sony and Philips, developers of the Compact Disc format. Anxious to replace the CD with another exclusive format that would also generate licensing income, Sony and Philips tried again with the Super Audio Compact Disc or SACD. In the meantime, none of the other hardware manufacturers were having any of it. They all saw the explosive growth of DVD as the wave of the future and wanted to base any new format on DVD. Thus began one of the most bizarre chapters in the history of audio formats.

They say that the function of time is to prevent everything from happening all at once. For a while it seemed that time had broken. First the lossy compression of MP3 was developed to allow streaming of audio over low-bandwidth internet connections. This soon led to massive piracy (politely referred to as “file sharing”) and also made possible ultra-compact portable music players that could hold thousands of songs.

While Sony and Philips worked on the SACD, almost all of he other major audio manufacturers worked together to make a DVD disc specialized for music. By fudging the numbers to the point of mendacity Sony claimed an implied performance of 100 kHz bandwidth with a dynamic range of 120 dB. The only way to fight these totally misleading numbers was with numbers as big or bigger, which forced the DVD-Audio disc (as it came to be known) to be incompatible with the millions of DVD players that the early adopters had already purchased.

Then a teenaged Norwegian hacker broke the encryption method used in DVD. This put the fear of God into the record companies, who (almost certainly inaccurately) blamed “file sharing” on dwindling record sales. So Sony promised the record companies that SACDs would never be playable on computers, by building special transport mechanisms that modulated the width of the laser pits and bumps.

There was one thing that both camps agreed on completely, and which they were completely wrong about. Since surround sound had been such a hit for DVDs in home theater setups, they were sure that any future music format had to have surround sound to succeed. The iPod disproved that notion completely.

There was some overlap in the need for text for lyrics and or album cover art, which DVD-Audio gave more attention to than did SACD. But for the audiophile, only one question mattered. Which format sounded better?
It was a good question. Sony was doing fantastically well at the time and spent millions of dollars promoting their format, first by hiring top-level engineers Ed Meitner (now with EMM Labs) and Andreas Koch (now with Playback Design) to build the original machines used to make the original SACD recordings for release. This equipment was owned by Sony and loaned at no charge to any major studio that wanted to make a high-quality disc that was, in essence, copy-proof, and not able to be shared.

But the DVD-Audio camp was a committee of over a dozen large companies that could agree on very little. And so like the kitchen with far too many chefs, the product that emerged tried to be all things to all people and didn’t really resonate with any group. It was so complex to operate that it required a video monitor to navigate a confusing menu just to start the disc playing, let alone select a specific song.

Furthermore there was no single entity organizing the roll-out of DVD-Audio. The first releases were made by specialty audiophile labels that only spent a few hundred dollars on their recording hardware. When doing battle head-to-head against the juggernaut led by Sony, it was several years before any serious releases were made by any of the major labels.

But the problem was a classic chicken-and-egg problem. Nobody could sell enough software to realize a profit until a critical mass of hardware was sold. Neither format appealed to any group in large numbers and virtually every title ever made in either format lost money. So it wasn’t long before both formats withered on the vine.

Cut forward a half decade and the introduction of the asynchronous USB DAC by Gordon Rankin o Wavelength Audio suddenly made computer-based audio a real and still-growing market force that continues to gain momentum. Adding higher resolutions, such as 96/24 and 192/24 was trivial with this new hardware model. Many claimed that a $100 hard disk drive gave better playback fidelity than a $50,000 optical disc reader. With the growth of high speed internet lines, downloading large audio files became a reality so that one needn’t even leave the house to purchase new music.

Then in 2006 Sony made an unexpected move. Since SACD was a clear failure, they introduced a format called “DSD-Disc”, which was basically an SACD but playable in a computer by leaving out a layer of content protection. To my knowledge not a single one of these discs has been made or sold, but it did open the door to make and sell DSD downloads.

Ever since Sony’s early (convoluted and self-contradictory) marketing claims about the performance advantage of DSD, backed by the fact that their multi-million dollar budget was generally able to make better sounding products than the disorganized renegades that released DVD-Audio, many, many audiophiles have believed that DSD is inherently superior to PCM.

At the highest levels of audio engineers there has been little consensus as to which format sounds better, but most audiophiles have had first-hand experience with SACDs generally sounding better than DVD-Audio disc. So the prospect of being able to play downloadable DSD files via computer has led to a great deal of excitement, even controversy in the audiophile community. This article aims to sort out some of these claims.

All through 2013 a small infrastructure has been built and is slowly growing to record, distribute, and play downloadable DSD files. Now it is well known from a technical standpoint that there are many, many technical drawbacks of the DSD format when compared to PCM:

1) Standard DSD has low noise levels in the audio band. But at 20 kHz the noise rises sharply, leading to one of Sony’s more obviously amusing marketing contradictions. On the one hand they say that its extended bandwidth leads to a more natural presentation of high frequencies in the music, but on the other hand, they say that the high amounts of high frequency noise doesn’t matter because it is inaudible. I suppose the answer to that question depends on which marketing person you are speaking to on any particular day...

However it does cause serious problems when recording with the techniques that have become commonplace over the last fifty years or more. Any time that the signal is manipulated, more and more noise is added to the signal. These high-frequency noises can lead to damage of downstream equipment including amplifiers and loudspeakers. Therefore the official Sony specification (the “Scarlet Book”) specifies a third-order low-pass filter starting at 50 kHz, and the actual usable frequency response of SACD doesn’t extend much beyond 30 kHz.

To minimize this problem in professional gear, most DSD recordings today are made at double the rate of the DSD used on SACDs. This was modulated at 64x the CD frequency so is often called DSD-64, while the professional equipment running at double this rate is often called DSD-128. While this reduces some problems it introduces others, such as doubling of the file size and of course the download times and storage space required.

2) Since DSD is a one-bit format it is literally impossible to perform any signal manipulation at all — even a fade-out. So to perform recording in the modern methods where signals are mixed, EQ’d faded, reverb added, et cetera, all of the DSD signals must first be transcoded into PCM (or analog) signals, then the signal processing applied, and finally re-modulating the signal back into DSD, adding another layer of high-frequency noise.

3) Except for the microphones, amplifiers, and loudspeakers, all of the equipment in both the recording and playback chain must be replaced with new hardware that can accommodate this new form of modulation.

We can see that DSD has quite a few strikes against from the very start. So the only justification for it whatsoever would be for the hard-core audiophile, and this would only be in the case if DSD could provide audibly superior sound quality over PCM. So to settle this issue once and for all, for the first time available to the general public, Ayre has made available a series of recordings in both DSD and PCM that allow the listener to judge for him or herself if there are any audible advantages to DSD.

We have made three short (to avoid legal problems) “needle drop” recordings with the Ayre QA-9 Analog-to-Digital converter and posted them on our website. If you have the appropriate equipment, you can download them, play them back and judge for yourself which sounds better and by how much.

Please note that the signal path for the recordings were identical. The analog source comprised:

a) A DPS zero-clearance main bearing turntable.

b) A Benz LP-S moving coil cartridge.

c) A DPS unipivot tonearm with integral wiring from headshell to XLR connectors.

d) An Ayre P-5xe phono preamplifier.

e) A pair of balanced Ayre Signature series interconnects.

f) An Ayre QA-9 A/D converter.

g) Cardas Clear USB cable to Mac Book Pro

When switching between recording DSD or PCM, all of the internal hardware is identical. All of the analog circuitry, power supplies, digital circuitry, converter chips, PCB material , et cetera is 100% identical. The only difference in the algorithms used to process the raw data from the Arda AT1201 ADC chip (6 bits at 256 Fs) either into DSD or into PCM.

If you are fortunate enough to own either an Ayre DX-5-DSD or Ayre QB-9-DSD, then the same is true for the playback also. There are no differences in the signal path whatsoever except for the algorithms used in the ESS ES9016 Digital-to-Analog converter chip. There is no way to make a more fair comparison.

I think that those who take the time to compare the sound quality of the playback to be very illuminating, and should put to rest many of the myths that Sony created around DSD when they first were trying to recapture the revenues lost by the expiring CD patents.

http://www.ayre.com/insights_dsdvspcm.htm

Please send comments to:

http://www.ayre.com/contact_email.htm

with the words “Format Comparison” in the subject line. We will publish the more interesting ones and try to answer any questions that come up. Thank you for your interest.

Best regards,
Charles Hansen
Ayre Acoustics, Inc.

Thanks to all of the Ayre team, especially Ariel Brown, who wrote the algorithms, Ryan Berry who built the converters, and Alex Brinkman who made the recordings.

http://www.ayre.com/insights_dsdvspcm.htm
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« Last Edit: 10/13/14 at 08:29:41 by vyokyong »  

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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #92 - 10/13/14 at 09:17:18
 
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #93 - 10/13/14 at 09:35:11
 
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #94 - 10/13/14 at 10:03:02
 
Analog, DSD or PCM

First up was the analog tape. It sounded very good…warm and smooth. Although, we had to check that everything was working properly because it did sound somewhat colored and covered. Wayne’s tracks have a lot of air or open space in them so there was a noticeable noise floor and high frequency dullness (at least compared to the digital HD formats). The next format was the Sonoma system at DSD 64, which all agreed (including myself) sounded really great. The DSD produced a very clear sound and did sound fairly close to vinyl but with none of the surface noise. Peter McGrath of Wilson Audio and one of the best classical engineers on the planet, was very impressed and grinning during the DSD playback.

Brett switched over to the ProTools HD system for the final playback. He has a set of Mytek converters and they were certainly up to the task. The sound of the PCM equaled the DSD and for me, in that space, had the kind of ultrasonic sparkle that I’ve grown used to with my own tracks. The extreme high end opened up making the cymbals and brushes of the drum kit accurate and crisp.

The analog tape was definitely a notch down from the other two…I heard no one express otherwise. And the DSD and PCM were deemed to be pretty much equivalent with some preferring the DSD and others leaning towards the PCM. Of course, we didn’t do a blind test and there were different DACs involved but this was about good as one is likely to get when comparing these formats.

http://www.realhd-audio.com/?p=629
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #95 - 10/13/14 at 15:02:47
 
According to stepped attenuator volume control which I skip or take out from signal path. If you want to keep in put impedance of 100K ohms of ZMA for impedance matching with source and preamp, you need to add metal film resistor value between 47K - 100K ohms connected between positive in put signal path and ground. This is an advice from Steve. But I have not done yet, I need to order resistors first.
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« Last Edit: 10/13/14 at 15:04:34 by vyokyong »  

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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #96 - 10/14/14 at 03:47:06
 
Friday, 11 April 2014
ANALYSIS: A Comparison of DSD Encoders & Decoders (KORG AudioGate, JRiver MC, Weiss Saracon)

From what I see here, I'm quite happy that Saracon is used in most commercial releases I've come across for DSD-to-PCM conversion. Within the 20Hz to 20kHz audible spectrum, it does appear to be the best even though I highly doubt one could go wrong with any of these. Just remember that the steep low-pass filter in Saracon means there's nothing above ~40kHz and therefore no point buying a Saracon DSD converted file above 96kHz (88kHz is all that's needed).

Over the years, I've listen to original DSD and compared to PCM conversions at 24/88 using Saracon and AudioGate output level matched as best I could (using the TEAC UD-501, never tried formal ABX or blinding). IMO, it's tough to assess since you can't instantaneously switch from DSD to PCM. The PCM converted files sound good to me and I would not hesitate to archive the DSD64 library as 24/88. Whatever difference has always been subtle at best (despite claims from the DSD faithful that somehow DSD sounds much better). I suppose it's possible that different DAC devices could also sound different depending on PCM or DSD input.

http://archimago.blogspot.com/2014/04/analysis-comparison-of-dsd-encoders.html
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #97 - 10/15/14 at 03:13:08
 
Sonic improvement after replacing stock signal wire cable with Duelund hook up wire 2 cable (4 cables per channel).

I confirm opinion of Lord Soth:
Silver cables have higher resolution and transparency.
They are not bright but the copper cables are warmer.
The copper cables can't pick up microdetails and have less dynamics.

And as I state previously that using Duelund hook up wire version 2 cable (4 cables per channel) makes your Hi Fi system transformed like 4K UHDTV in term of super microdetails, excellent transparency, great dynamics, sense of timing. great trimbre, full of low level details, hi-resolution of texture, more extended and more natural highs, more integrated and more details highs, wider and especially deeper sense of depth perspective, more nuance, more delicacy and bass is deep with texture and details, attack and slam.  

But the unique sound characteristic is "Immediacy, Ease, real image size, 3D depth sound stage and Neutral". These sonic character makes I feel real present of musicians are playing in front of mine in my room.

When I listen to live concert, I will not think that the live concert sound is analytically sound, lean sound. Or the sound is warm, round body, etc. In real live concert, there is no definition of lean versus warm sound. This is my meaning of neutral. And I respect Duelund product of capacitors and hook up wires. They are synergy together to provide these live life concert sound "Neutral". It is like its own signature sound.
It provides both excellent ends spectrum of sonic with excellent balance, no trade off or which end of spectrum to choose. It ticks in all criteria of excellent Hi Fi system.

Details vs Weight with Body.  It provides super details with weighted body, no thin sound.
Air vs Trimbre. It provides excellent air together with superb trimbre.
Lean vs Warm. There is no warm or lean, just right neutral.
Dynamics vs Forgiving(non aggressive and forward sound). It provides dynamic forgiving sound, no fatigue and no boring.
Transient vs Long note decay. The transients of high note and bass is exciting and beautiful long decay.
Round body and real image size vs 3D Holographic image. It is very live life present in my room. I can feel of each instrument space in 3D sound stage with image scale of real size, full of details with round edge body.

MY ZMA becomes new life of Super Saiyan as in Dragon Ball Z cartoon.

 
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« Last Edit: 10/15/14 at 09:39:33 by vyokyong »  

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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #98 - 10/15/14 at 04:34:16
 
More understanding of DSD. Why DSD is more like analog while PCM is a real digital, not analog.

PDM (DSD) is a BIT STREAM of pulses whose density is modulated by the signal level. There's no quantized value represented. On the other hand, PCM is a series of discrete quantized 2's compliment binary digital VALUES, like frames of a movie film.

PCM is a true quantized digital stand alone word representation of signal level values. Discreet digital level slices in time. It's the definition of digital in it's most rudimentary basic form

1-bit two level PDM (DSD) has no quantized weight. It's a modulation of pulse density in a bit stream, whose fundamental granularity is set by a clock rate, confused by the term "sample Rate". There are no samples, since there's no quantization. It's ANALOG, but because it has only two levels (states), it can be stored in a computer, just as with quantized digital data.

To make the DSD bit stream useful for processing, other than just retrieving it for playing, it needs to be re-modulated into a multi-bit form at the same clock rate (DSD-Wide), or converted into a true quantized value system, like PCM.

There really is no issue over absolute level reference in PDM (DSD). There are none, since there are no quantized values. To make the bit stream useful for D/A conversion, the reference level is simply the mid point between the two level extremes; just as in any capacitor coupled analog circuit. It's originated as part of the D/A conversion. That's why there's always a wandering DC offset, specified as not to exceed -50dBfrom maximum signal level.
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #99 - 10/16/14 at 03:44:31
 
I want to summary again here of my mod;

1) Improvement of signal path by pure silver or pure copper connectors, get rid of alloy connectors and pure silver wire cable.
    1 pair of WBT 0210 Ag RCA female jack  Net USD 116.40.
    1 set of 4 WBT 0705 Cu Next Gen Pole terminal  Net USD 262.40
     8 feet of Duelund hook up wire version 2.  Net USD 200.8
                               Subtotal for signal improvement = USD 579.60.
2) Improvement of Power Supply unit;
    1 unit of Furutech FI-03 (R) IEC outlet.  Net USD 22.40
    1 pair of Obbligato 10 uF 630 V Premium Gold Capacitor.  Net USD 44.2  
                               Subtotal for power supply unit = USD 66.60
3) Improvement by replacing signal coupling capacitor with Duelund Cu CAST PIO capacitors.
    3 pairs of Duelund Cu CAST PIO capacitor. 0.1 uF 630 VDC  Net USD 1,112.7
    1 pair of Jensen Silver Foil capacitor 0.022 uF 630 VDC.  Net USD 232.60
                               Subtotal for coupling caps replacement = USD 1,345.30

Total mod cost is USD 1991.50

Is it worth to spend the above money in mod?  Or Is it better to spend  money in other ways :
1) Keep money for new version of ZMA or Zen OTL amp? New version is always better than current version.
2) Spend money in other components in your Hi Fi chain : DAC, Pre-amp, IC, Power conditioner, PC, speakers, etc.

From The Best Sounding Amplifiers quoted by Dave 1210:
Quoted from Nelson Pass and his F6 Owner's Manual:

http://www.firstwatt.com/pdf/prod_f6_man.pdf

Besides measuring reasonably well, the best sounding amplifiers:
-tend to be simple
-are intrinsically linear
-run deep Class A
-use high quality components

The best sounding amplifiers also pay close attention to:
-the amount and scope of loop feedback
-the use of degeneration (the other feedback) and output loading
-the balance between types of feedback
-the amount and character of distortion harmonics vs level and frequency
-the appropriateness of gain devices for a given topology

I think that Decware Zen Mystery Amp is designed go along with the above concept. Steve has creates a wonderful sound of ZMA with a quality and reasonable price components so that all of us can afford to be owner of ZMA. If Steve starts ZMA with expensive boutique parts, the sound will be much more excellent but we may not affordable to buy it.      

(Below copy are derived from Tino © January 2011. I agree with his opinion and some is modified to suit my mod.)
How much can influence the sound of a amplifier pure silver connectors?
How much of the sound is due to the coupling capacitors?
How much can cost a good cap?

These and similar are the fundamental questions which motivated the tweaking or mod described in this project.
Was all that worth of?
Well, it is not an easy question. When I started it I didn't know how long and expensive (also in terms of time-consuming and Wife-Irritation Factor) this project would be. Also, usually hi-fi gears are “voiced” to reach a desired equilibrium. When you touch something (as the initially capacitors), you alter that equilibrium and, even if you are actually improving something, you will probably not be completely satisfied until you can reach a new equilibrium point. For example, doubling some polystyrene caps in the power supply were able to improve the mid-bass region and the dynamic as much as the high frequencies and resolution were improved by other mods (like pure silver connectors, Duelund hook up silver wire, Duelund Caps and fuse). In such a way, the final result is not only better than the original in many parameters, but it is still “well equilibrated”. For example, I asked to my friend to listen my system and to tell me which defects he can find. Well, he told me that the music was so pleasing (clear and well resolved, but still sweet) that he was really not able to concentrate on any defects at all...
Many DIY-ers states that their projects are far superior to the commercial products that you can buy at “human” prices, because they can use very good and boutique parts, which companies can't use,  because they are too expensive (consider that a company usually multiply by 6 the original costs of parts to find the commercial price of their products). I don't know how good in absolute terms my ZMA became (I would like to compare it with original ZMA to discover it). but I'm sure that if I estimate sonic quality of ZMA which is 2 times of general market price amp (2XUSD 5,695 = USD 11,390) and what I have spent for all these upgrades (about USD 1,991, without my work, of course) I will obtain a value (6 times of USD 1,991 plus USD 11,390 = USD 23,336) with which I guess that I can't buy something as good as my mod ZMA. Remember that Passion Signature 845 parallel 52W monoblock amplifier ($48,500/pair) and Passion Signature preamplifier ($22,500). They have also been customized with costly Duelund cast capacitors from Denmark, NOS resistors, NOS tubes in the preamplifier, and NOS driver tubes in the amplifier.

Thanks Steve for create a wonderful sound ZMA.
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« Last Edit: 10/16/14 at 04:52:22 by vyokyong »  

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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #100 - 10/16/14 at 06:16:41
 
Good Article on NOS DACs
Submitted by Rob McCance on September 26, 2012 - 6:08pm
Good article.

I'm starting to see a resurgence of the ole vinyl / digital debates with most articles summarily dismissing digital.

I'm not here to change the world or take some huge stance but I can tell you this. People that state how horrible digital is probably have never heard much solid digital.

I have both and I have friends with wildly expensive vinyl setups (anti-digital bigots). I can tell everyone, from first hand experience, that a SOLID digital setup, even playing redbook, can rival Vinyl.

If it didn't I would not state it. I've got no dog in this fight.

You have to take as much care with your digital playback chain as people take with their vinyl chain: turntable, arm, cartridge, phono pre amp, pre amp, amp, etc.

I have a NOS digital playback chain that does not break the bank but without doubt, delivers the goods:

MBP/iTunes/Pure Music >> Audiophilleo >> Metrum Octave >> ARC SP16 >> Prima Luna Monoblocks.

This absolutely competes with Vinyl rigs, even playing Redbook, and absolutely SLAYS vinyl on a LOT of material.

But back to the original topic. This NOS DAC (Metrum) is a game changer for the money.

to make things more comfusing
Submitted by tomasz on September 21, 2012 - 1:09pm


Every DAC employing a delta-sigma DAC chip (e.g. PCM1798 in nu force DAC-9 or ESS9016 in Peachtree iDac) can't be truly called a NOS DAC. Delta-sigma module using 1-bit conversion must up sample the data stream at least 32-times to execute digital to analog conversion. Surely using a delta-sigma DAC without digital filter enables getting rid of the annoying post- or pre- ringing which is a side effect of every digital low-pass filtering, but we still are left with some fiddling with audio data. Delta-sigma converter have to change true PCM data into something like DSD.

Only multi-bit (resistor ladder) DACs (like AD1865, AD1862 in Audio Note DACs or TDA 1543 in Pro-Ject DAC FL) can provide a real NOS experience, although a ladder DAC chip don't necessarily mean a NOS application, because it might be used with an oversampling filter. I personally love AD1865 which I use with a 6N1P-EW tube output stage.

Vertex AQ Aletheia DAC
Submitted by PhilipAC on February 17, 2013 - 2:14pm
Hi everyone

I own the above DAC which is a NOS ladder DAC and only 96/16, despite having lots of DSD files which need to be converted to PCM, and it sounds fantastic!

Philip

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It works extremely well for me.

I like the sound sound of it so much that I bought a DAC that only does DSD (LampizatOr DSD DAC), even though like most people, the vast majority of my collection is PCM.

I use JRiver to send everything to it in DSD128. The sound is fantastic.

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f6-dac-digital-analog-conversion/direct-stream...
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« Last Edit: 10/16/14 at 06:30:04 by vyokyong »  

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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #101 - 10/17/14 at 03:03:50
 
I tried many silver cables, like Nordost cables 10 years ago. I did not like silver cables even though it provides very high details and resolution. But the sound is thin and image size is small. I like pure copper cables because of its warm sound. I feel that it is more close to vinyl sound.

However when I listen to Duelund hook up wire version2, I love its sound. It provides neutral sound with both excellent ends. It gives very high resolution, details in both high and low, fast transients and long note decay, good airy and excellent trimbre. impact bass, slam and bass textures and excellent dynamics.

I make one 5 feet IC from Duelund hook up wire version2 (4 cables per channel) and WBT 0110 Ag RCA Male plugs. I love this cable. It beats my MIT Avalon IC by substantial margin in term of details and dynamics.

This IC does not have RF shield braid, same concept of AntiCables, which provides open sound with excellent transparency. It is completely silent when I use my ear close to speaker. It confirms no RFI problem.

The weakness of IC is that the 4 wires of Duelund hook up wire have to rearrange to separate each wire not to close or contact each other. The more space between them, the more transparency.
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #102 - 10/18/14 at 09:30:07
 
My ZMA has been tweaked by adding DIY Soundcoat damping material and cone spikes under ZMA base. It is one of my best sonic improvement value per dollar. The sonic transparency is huge increase. If you want to optimize your ZMA to its greatest sonic, anti vibration isolation is a much to do. The higher sonic potential of your Hi Fi system, the higher sonic improvemen you get from well anti vibration isolation.

The cheapest and most effective way is DIY using Soundcoat damping material placed on top of cone spikes. USD 25 for 3 cone spikes and USD 2 for Soundcoat damping material. It is only outlook is not nice. But the sonic improvement is huge in term of transparency. If some one wants to sell me of USD 200-300, I will not hesitate to pay when I hear sonic improvement.

However you need to try to find optimal locations to put under your ZMA. Each location affects to different sound quality of ZMA. Guide line is place two cones under center of transformers and one cone is at front center of amp (1 inch from edge).
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #103 - 10/18/14 at 09:32:56
 
DIY cone spikes under ZMA.
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #104 - 10/20/14 at 03:06:36
 
One of other tweaks which is necessary is room treatment.

If you don't invest in room acoustic correction or room treatment, you will not get full sonic quality out of your Hi Fi system. Some room acoustic problem will ruin your sonic sound when you play your Hi Fi system.

I had not invested in room treatment also before this since I am working out of my country and have to stay 2 years and moved to other places again. I just though that I will have room treatment when I am back to my country and has permanent music listening room.

But I was wrong. It is a necessary to have room treatment in order to get your full sonic quality out of your Hi Fi system. I just bought 6 pieces of GIK Acoustic spot panel size 24"x24"x2", price USD 210. The size is the biggest size that USPS allows to be international shipped by air. I just installed only 3 pieces in front only and it has a huge impact to my sound stage. It makes sound more crystal clear, exacting instrument position and precise focus, black black black back ground.

I have flat screen TV at the front center of Hi Fi system since my system are both stereo and home theater. The flat TV affects to center sound image a lot. It must be exactly 90 degree to your view angle so that it will not be affects to unbalance of center vocal and instruments image. And I place GIK spot panel in front of TV, please see in picture, when I play stereo system. It helps a lot to improve center sound image. And GIK panel will be taken out when I play home theater or watch TV.

I highly recommend GIK acoustic products.
http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?ymisc&1332722163
http://www.gikacoustics.com/product/gik-acoustics-spot-panel/

And this is recommend by Steve, Empirical Audio.

06-13-14: Audioengr

BTW, here is what I would recommend for room treatments:

1) to eliminate HF sidewall reflections, put Sonex panels, 3'X5' on the spots where you see the tweeters when putting a small mirror on the wall and looking from the listening position. If these do not pass the WAF, then look to absorbing panels from GIK acoustics with graphics on them. I have some of these as well with a nice Fender guitar printed on it:

2) get two ASC 1/4 round tubetraps, as tall as your tweeters:
www.acousticsciences

Place these just behind your speakers (2" behind) with the inside curved surface faced inward. Start with the flat surface parallel and in line with the speaker inner facing side. Then "tune" by rotating the left one counter-clockwise and the right one clockwise. At some point you will get razor-sharp focus, but too much rotation will compromise the width of the soundstage. Rotate them back until you have just the right mix of width beyond the speakers edges and sharp focus of the vocalist in the center. If you have a reflective surface like a TV screen, these will eliminate the effect of it by scattering the back-wave from the speakers. This is a very effective treatment for both imaging and bass that I have used at shows and at home for years.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
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« Last Edit: 10/20/14 at 03:10:22 by vyokyong »  

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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #105 - 10/29/14 at 06:28:03
 
In evaluate listening section of each mod stage, I did not use Sub-woofer. Because it is time consuming to adjust sub-woofer to seamless integration with main speakers. Now I finish my mod ZMA and doing more burn-in of mod parts installed in ZMA. It transforms ZMA to be much more sublime now.

But by adding sub-woofer Martin Logan Depth to my main speakers Avalon Avatar (Frequency response from 45 Hz to 20 MHz), my system improves to next level top notch. It is quite close to my friend system of Wilson Audio Alexia speakers and VTL Siegfried Series I Reference Monoblock Amp. My friend system is super top notch in both end top and bottom frequency extension and macro and micro dynamics. I think that this is current trend sound quality of new super expensive Hi Fi system. However by adding sub-woofer, my system is close to him now. But my system has better refine and delicate sound quality to him. I am very satisfied.

More tips of sub-woofer set up.
1) Please use interconnect cable quality as same as your main interconnect cable of your main amp. In the past, I tried to save money in sub-woofer interconnect cable. The result was poor integration of sub-woofer to main speakers. I blamed poor sub-woofer and though that sub-woofer sound quality concept did not work as same as full frequency floor standing speaker.  But when I change sub-woofer interconnect cable to synergistic research IC which is quite expensive. Now sub-woofer can integrate to my main speaker seamlessly and produce top notch sound. And it is flexible to tune bass to suite your listening room.
2) I just place small remaining piece of Soundcoat damping materials under sub-woofer spikes. It transforms bass to be very tight, perfect control and details. it is a surprise. Now Soundcoat damping materials is my magic for doing vibration isolation in my system with very low cost.
3) Make sure that your sub-woofer is fast enough to match your main speakers. It is about time alignment. The sound wave from your sub-woofer should arrive at the same time as the sound wave from main speaker. In the past many sub-woofer are fail in speed to match with main speaker so that they can do poor integrating with main speakers for superb musicality sound. But nowadays sub-woofer improve a lot and many owners of Avalon Isis are using sub-woofer to integrated with Avalon Isis successfully.  

Quote:
Hi South - i run old Wilson X1/Grand Slamms. I run a Velodyne DD18 in parallel, from 41hz down (using a 48db rolloff above 41hz.) The Velodyne set directly on the floor used to be at volume 8 (quite low)...and then upon placing it on an Auralex isolation platform, i ended up finetuning the volume to 32 after the distortion from vibrating the floor was largely taken care of...and thus, i could drive much purer, clean bass to even better integrate with the Wilsons.

Some Avalon owners use subwoofers as an option to complement the last octave down



4) The Martin Logan Depth sub-woofer has phase selector of 0, 90, 180 and 270 degree and volume attenuating of freq 25 Hz which is very essential to dial your sub-woofer to be seamless integrated with your main speakers and solve low freq problem from room reflection. My cut off LFP is 30 Hz. It can be selected from 30, 35, 45, 55, 65 and 80 Hz.  

My next trial will be downloading Dirac Live for 15 days trial period of Digital Room Correction program.

http://www.dirac.se/en/solutions/home-audio/dirac-live/overview.aspx
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« Last Edit: 10/29/14 at 10:02:52 by vyokyong »  

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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #106 - 10/31/14 at 02:52:38
 
Tube Rolling in ZMA.

During the mod ZMA process, I went back to use stock tubes in order to have fair opinion about sonic improvement as same as stock ZMA. But before mod ZMA, my tubes are as following;

Siemens E88CC ($370 for quad), RCA 6L6GC ($380 for quad) and RCA JAN OA3 ($18 for pair).

And this is my past review of this set tubes in ZMA.

The sound quality of ZMA with stock tubes is unquestionably superb
. But I need more in lush midrange female vocal, sparkle treble and powerful bass or bass slam.

My first plan is to burn in ZMA with stock tubes for >300 hrs first to know the sound. Then do tube rolling step by step to observe sound quality changing. But ZMA with stock tube's sound is so good that I imagine what if I put Siemens E88CC tubes in, how much is the sound improvement?  
I cannot wait, I change plan to put in Siemens E88CC tubes first 3 days ago. Midrange sound is more lush, both high end and low end extend more, more holograph sound stage. But speed is slower than stock tube.  The fun or PRAT is reduce a little. But overall sound improvement is very satisfy. I replace KT66 with RCA 6L6GC next day. There is more dense sound and more bass. Now speed come back, PRAT is same as stock tube now. But bass is little boated, not well control. Then I put in RCA JAN OA3.
OMG, it is the last jigsaw. RCA JAN OA3 make over all sound dense, coherent and PUNCH SLAM bass!  Boated bass disappear and very well control now.

Now I get all, lush midrange female vocal sound to die for of tube amp reputation, sparkle high and PUNCH SLAM bass!  Playing with heavy rock music, you can feel wavy air movement of bass. It is very very scare realism! If you run at 56 ma, it likes discotheque. If you run at 52 ma, it likes stadium rock live concert. The strange is that you just listen at normal SPL 80-93. It is scale down at any SPL, no need to get loud of 100 SPL to get rock live concert feel.

However after mod ZMA finish and I install this NOS tube set back (Siemens E88CC , RCA 6L6GC and RCA JAN OA3. The sonic different is not much different as before mod. The stock tubes provides very very good sonic quality already. I can live with these stock tubes after mod ZMA. While before mod, I cannot go back to stock tubes after I install NOS tube set as above. But the sonic different may be in the region of last 5% increment to be 100% perfect. The NOS tube set provides more open and more forgiving sound than stock tubes. The increment sonic improvement is in term of much better delicacy and refinement which makes mod ZMA very close to reality best performance  live concert!.

When my NOS GEC KT66 clear glass arrives, I will give more review of it.
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #107 - 11/21/14 at 06:58:59
 

I just posted my impression in audiogon forum of
 Lightspeed Attenuator - Best Preamp Ever?
as below;


11-21-14: Vyokyong
Hi,

I am using Lightspeed Attenuator for 3 weeks already and want to share my impression here.

My system are;

Audio Note DAC 3.1 custom modded TC Reference MBX. by Bill Baker, Response Audio.with two separate mono power supply unit as same as preamp L2, Mac Mini, Offramp 5 USB convertor, DIY Duelund wire RCA IC, XLO Purple Rush power cord
Zen Mystery Amp. MIT Oracle RCA IC. Synergistic Research Tesla Reference power cable.
Avalon Avatar speakers. MIT Oracle speaker cable.
Hydra 8. ZSB. Kubala Sosna Emotion PC.

I have modded my Decware Zen Mystery amp by removing volume pot out of signal path. It improves much substantial transparency and dynamics to my system. I don't use any preamp. The source Audio Note DAC is connected directly to Zen Mystery amp. So that I need to have volume control for my amp. I read a lot forum about active premap, passive preamp and all types of volume control from volume pot, shunt resistor volume pot, Auto Transformer volume control (ATVC) and Lightspeed attenuator. My decision to go with Lightspeed attenuator.

I love my system to have amp connected directly to source, no preamp. The sound is fabulous. I temporarily use digital volume control in Pure Music software while Lightspeed attenuator was not arrived yet. The digital volume control is acceptable but still creates some sound distortion that you can hear.

When Lightspeed attenuator arrives, I connect it between my amp and source as a preamp. I hardly hear any different between having lightspeed attenuator in my system and without it in my system. It is so transparency. I give 99.5% transparency to directly connecting between amp and source. The 0.5% transparency short is for need of extra one interconnect cable which affects on sound quality. I am very happy and highly recommend to use Lightspeed attenuator as your preamp if you love your amp directly connecting with your source. Or your source has a very excellent sound and you don't want preamp to change its sound quality. And your system don't have any impedance mismatch with Lighspeed attenuator.

For active preamp, therea re some benefits because there are two more functions in active preamp which passive preamp does not have;
1) Gain stage function. Its function is to increase voltage of signal to improve loud and dynamics of system.
2) Buffer stage, its function is to prevent impedance system mismatch. If your source sound is harsh, buffer stage may help to reduce harsh sound.
Then active preamp is benefit for some hifi system.

You select the best for your system.
Vyokyong  (Answers | This Thread)
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #108 - 11/30/14 at 07:29:56
 
Hi,

I just changed Siemens E88CC 4 tubes from Europe Ebay seller to Tube Museum seller. The tubes from Tube Museum provide more than 30% sonic improvement.  It is substantial improvement. But the price of tubes from Tube Museum is more expensive than general eBay sellers of 20%.  You pay for what you get. However the tubes from Europe are much better than stock tubes.
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #109 - 12/22/14 at 02:07:03
 
Hi,

I just tweak ZMA by using acrylic box to cover tubes on top of ZMA as in the picture. Its function is to prevent micro-vibration from sound wave attacking on tubes. It is the same function as Herbie tube damping. But acrylic box is prevention device while Herbie tube damping is passive device. I have one pair of Ultrasonic RX tube damping from Herbie. It is effective to make sound more focus and clearer. But its side effect is that it can make sound controlled too much and feel stress. The acrylic box make sound more focus and clearer without sound stress or be controlled too much.

One weakness is that when you want to turn volume or turn on, turn off the amp, you need to lift up the acrylic box.

However I highly recommend to go with Acrylic box rather than Herbie's tube damping for save more money and better damping function.  

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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #110 - 12/22/14 at 03:16:25
 
I would think that the acrylic box would be much more apt to vibrate than the tubes. There must be 100X the surface area.
I'm away from my reference books, but I would like to look up the damping factor on acrylic. I'm thinking that it is just this side of sheet steel.
But if it works, who am I to argue.
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #111 - 12/22/14 at 07:08:33
 

I was going to say the same thing as Donnie - I'm betting that big panel on top resonates at an audible frequency, which is then dumped into the chassis where the acrylic box rests on the ZMA.

I'd also much rather not trap all that heat in there. Those small holes don't make me feel like it's well ventilated, especially when I don't see any place for the cool air to be drawn in (preferably from below).

I just don't see this as a good idea.
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #112 - 12/22/14 at 14:03:44
 
I thought about the Acrylic box a bit more last night.
It would make more sense to me to make a wooden box to envelop the entire amp. Maybe putting a bead of silicone on the bottom.
There would have to be cutouts for the wires and cooling, maybe something on the top to let the heat out.
While I love the obsessive nature of this pursuit, I'll take my time and money to go to a concert and listen to music as it really sounds. No stereo comes even close to a loud sweaty band playing in a dive bar.
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #113 - 12/22/14 at 14:14:56
 
That's a great point Donnie. Though loud sweaty bands in bars are definitely NOT my thing, no stereo really replaces live music. Not even when you're just alone in your living room creating it yourself. But. . . Decware components and their few compadres tempt you to inch closer and closer. . . .

I personally find that leaving the amp open and Herbie's tube dampers and using Mapleshade footers as chassis weights work best for my setup (which includes Herbie's Iso-Cups and PS Audio PowerBase). We all have different tastes and different likes, and also things work differently in concert with other isolation and cabling components, etc.
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #114 - 12/22/14 at 14:26:34
 
Lon, Donnie,  I haven't seen a live band in a sweaty bar...or was it the band that was sweaty?...anyway, I enjoyed such things in my youth but not now.  I won't even attend outdoor concerts and sitting on the ground is out for the rest of my life.  But I do attend concerts with bands and symphonies in acoustically superb Halls at least twice a month.  When I hear the "Lay Family" Organ put through it's paces...I know that although I love Music in my Listening Cave...it will never be the same as Live.  Mark.



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« Last Edit: 12/22/14 at 14:29:02 by mark58 »  

"The man that hath no music in himself, nor is not moved with the concord of sweet sounds, is fit for treasons, deceptions, and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night and his affections dark as Hell. Let no such man be trusted." William Shakespeare
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #115 - 12/22/14 at 14:48:19
 
Hi,

Thanks for all commend. The real problem is caused the reflective sound at big panel of acrylic box which is placed between my front speakers. It ruins sound stage a lot. Even though I feel instrument's image is more focus. But the whole sound stage is flatter, less wide and congest, just between the speakers. The previous sound stage is very depth and wider than both speakers.  I accept mistake and remove the box out.

Thanks again for commend.
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« Last Edit: 12/23/14 at 09:35:09 by vyokyong »  

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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #116 - 12/22/14 at 17:40:23
 
As everyone is aware, vibration interaction is extremely complex.  It occurs to me to wonder if how we present our equipment to our own unique vibration environments with respect to how Steve presents the equipment throughout the design phase makes a difference in the ultimate performance?  Maybe all of our tweaks are just to recreate Steve's (or other designer's) net environment?
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #117 - 12/22/14 at 17:42:58
 
vyokyong,
Your comment brings up an interesting thought.
Why do we put our equipment between the speakers? Is there some unwritten law about it?
Would it sound better if we placed all of these boxes somewhere else?
My amp sits behind my left speaker just because there is a wall outlet  close to it. The bad thing is that I have a 20" computer screen  setting more or less between  my speakers.
Maybe it is time for me to reconsider things around here.
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #118 - 12/22/14 at 18:36:01
 
Donnie,
I've placed my equipment to the left of my speakers and I feel this has really increased the soundstage and allowed my to have a "wall of sound" that comes at me and seems to radiate through the room.  Would never have thought of it till Steve helped me when I asked him about room acoustics.

Happy listening all.

JD
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #119 - 12/22/14 at 23:33:01
 
Hi;
After reading Jim Smith's book "Get Better Sound" my equipment was removed from between my speakers and placed on the right wall of the listening area. Since the rearrangement I have noticed an all  round increase in sound quality as follows;-
(a) Increased sound-stage width and depth.
(b) better 3D imaging and clarity of notes
(c) performers and instruments are more focused.
(d) Increase and clarity in bass response. The sound from the four 15"
    mid bass drivers at the rear of the Zu Definitions is now bouncing  
    off the front wall into an open area and not into a rack full of
    equipment.
The only downside with this setup is that experimenting with various speaker cables is costly. However, having installed a twenty two feet length Clear Day Shotgun silver cables  my speaker cable search ended.

Enjoy the music
   
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #120 - 12/27/14 at 13:13:27
 
One more tweak trick.

Wrap your power cable plug with ERS sheet. It makes your system sound of more transparency, expand sound stage, better dynamic and better PRaT (speed). One of best tweaks. But you need to do one power cable as one step to check sound improvement. Some power cable does not work.
As my observation, the power cable plug with plastic head works.  While power cable plug made of metal does not work.
It makes your tube amp sound's dynamic close to SS amp.
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #121 - 12/27/14 at 13:20:08
 
The bass is dull when power cord plug made with metal is wrapped with ERS sheet.
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #122 - 12/27/14 at 13:28:51
 
I use ERS sheet to cut and pull inside PVC bag. Using this ERS sheet in plastic bag wrap the power cord plug and taped with Scott tape. It is cheaper to order ERS with glue type.


ERS, emi / rfi sheets, 8" x 11", No adhesive backing, Each



$24.95 $24.95 pcX USD Price

 Submit            
     
SPOINTS-70605
QTY      ADD
ERS emi / rfi sheets, 8" x 11", no adhesive backing, Set of 4



$89.95 $89.95 pcX USD Price
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #123 - 12/27/14 at 18:06:59
 
I recently saw a picture where a guy had put copper pipe sleeves over his power cord connector at his amp.  I don't know the theory but is this what the ERS sheet is for?  Some kind of Faraday shielding?

I'm looking at getting some power cords that have twisted main conductors and EMI/RFI shielding in the sheath.  I notice that some cords are not shielded.  I wonder if covering the connector brings the shielding right up to the amp?
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #124 - 12/29/14 at 02:53:51
 
The idea concept to put ERS sheet or copper pipe sleeves over power cord connector of both ends is that normally there is EMI/RFI shielding material on power cable but at the power cord connector point that the cable wires are bare wires to be soldered with power cord connector. Then there is no EMI/RFI shielding material here at plastic made power cord plug. The ERS sheet or copper pipe sleeves over power cord connector acts as a EMI/RFI shielding function at power cord connector of both ends.
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #125 - 12/29/14 at 23:18:43
 
Thanks for the explanation.  That makes sense.  I've been shopping for power cords and I was under the impression that shielding is important and a good thing.  Interestingly, The Decware power cords are not shielded.

If a copper pipe or other shield is used over the connector, does it have to be connected to the ground or anything to work?  Or is it completely passive?
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #126 - 01/05/15 at 02:52:00
 
Some commend on benefits of shielded power cable:

The actual reason is that there is usually a mass of cabling in close confines behind the equipment stacks. Using Hi-Z cabling (RCA) interconnects, the ac lines in close proximity can induce 60hz hum in the unbalanced interconnects. It is the same concept as using shielding on balanced pair cabling.

Unshielded power cords can induce interference onto signal wires particularly when they are in close proximity to each other (like in the tangle of wiring behind an AV rack). Not an opinion, a fact. A properly shielded power cord can/may reduce this interference. Whether or not this specific power cord design does mitigate this interference for any DIYers that want to give it a try was the information I was seeking. That's all.


There are debates between shielded power cord and non-shielded power cord. Then it is no conclusion. It is depended on power cord cable design.

Some information from Empirical Audio,
http://www.empiricalaudio.com/computer-audio/technical-papers/myths-and-snake-oi...

Power Cord Shielding
Shielding a power cable is unadvisable. It will add significant capacitance to the cable with minimal positive benefit. If you really need this, then the shield needs to be spaced well away from the conductors (large diameter) to minimize capacitance and avoid constraining the magnetic field lines that should couple between the conductors.

Empirical testing has shown that standard shielded 14 gauge stranded power cord sounds less dynamic than unshielded 14 gauge stranded cord when used with audio components that benefit from improved cords. The impedance of the AC electrical system is extremely low and susceptibility to magnetic and RF fields is extremely low for power cables so the benefit is questionable at best. Unfortunately, some of the commercially available shielded cords appear to make some systems sound better, but are actually "tone controls" for taming badly matched or designed components. There is some benefit to shielding if you are trying to protect unshielded nearby unshielded interconnects from the fields generated by the cord itself.

http://forums.linn.co.uk/bb/showthread.php?tid=9793

DIY Power Cord :
http://www.venhaus1.com/diymains.html

http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?fcabl&1076545056

http://www.head-fi.org/t/219202/its-done-power-cord-shoot-out-22-power-cords-rev...
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« Last Edit: 01/05/15 at 02:54:57 by vyokyong »  

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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #127 - 01/16/15 at 17:40:52
 
I just ordered the Decware power cord.  I asked Steve about shielding and he sent this reply.  Seems to bear out
what Vyokyong quoted from Empiracal Audio above.

"As for cords, they emit no RF so the only thing to worry about is 60 cycle field which is mostly canceled by the braid.  When we were testing cords during the design process for the DHC-1, we found it to sound better than shielded cords.  Don't know why, just went it."
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #128 - 06/16/15 at 03:34:10
 
THE ZMA ADJUSTABLE BIAS SYSTEM

I have one big observation that ZMA adjustable bias system is one critical key. Don't over look and just set to any level between 40-60 mA.

I have set my ZMA to a sweet spot mA level by delicate fine tuning of touch by touch. It gives a great sound so that I am not believe that it makes a total different. I try to lower or increase to other mA level. The sound is lost of magic that I have to set to this sweet spot level again. Then I want to share this experience for us to be not overlook to find your sweet spot of bias mA level. I think that each system will have their own sweet spot depended on gears.

I love my ZMA. It is a great Amp and may be my final Amp. Even my Avalon Avatar speakers is very old 15 years and used price is only USD 1,800. But it provides sublime sound. It is a amazing speakers that your front ends equipment can push its performance to sublime level. I attend many dealer showrooms with very expensive gears including expensive speakers and still very happy with my system. But I will make a final shot to buy Avalon Eidolon Diamond speakers, my dream speakers. I like its sound better than Avalon Isis which I think that it is too cool side for my taste. I love more warm sound or organic, opposite to cool sound or analytical sound.  
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« Last Edit: 06/16/15 at 15:28:29 by vyokyong »  

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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #129 - 06/16/15 at 15:22:52
 

I agree, Bias is important. I think I might want to look more into where my sweet spot is. I've just been setting it at 50ma and forgetting about it, but maybe I should be paying more attention to the levels.
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #130 - 06/18/15 at 15:26:28
 
Agreed here too. I'm going to do some experimenting with my bias as well. Maybe, see what 45 to 48mA yields?

Having these meter's bodes well for longer tube life too.

vyokyong, your other tweaks have not gone unnoticed either. Right now, I'm excited to get Stoddard's an Moffat's, from Theta.....Yggdrasil DAC. Spending the rest of this year with my ZDSD & Yggy Front-End fun.

Then, next year, going to Decware with my gear, for a planned visit....to check some other Decware out! Draw my personal consensus, for my Listening pleasure...... .

I do see myself visiting some of your tweaks, such as binding post upgrades on the ZMA, to other things you've mentioned. That will be my final frontier mod-out(s) of my ZMA.
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #131 - 06/19/15 at 05:19:08
 
Hi Stone of Tone,

Nice to hear from you. I am very happy with my hifi system now.
I had not changed any thing in my hifi system for 8 years. I was quite happy with them. However my journey started when I read Decware forum about Decware tube gears.

First gear I changed is ZMA to replace Pass Labs X150. I wanted to try tube amp and I worried that ZMA cannot drive my Avalon Avatar speakers which has sensitivity only 85 dB. I wrote e-mail to Steve. He said that ZMA should not have any problem to drive Avalon Avatar speakers. However he insists that if I have chance to change speakers, he would recommend one full range driver speakers with high sensitivity > 90 dB. I told him that I love my Avalon speakers and did not want to change to other brand speakers . ZMA is a masterpiece amp. It turns my hifi system to next 2 -3 steps up to new league level.

Then I wanted to play music computer server instead of CD player. I have Accuphase CD/SACD player which can be accepted SP/DIF signal from computer. I heard that music comp server beat the best transport with much lower cost than expensive transport. And it is true.  I use Offramp 5 USB-SP/DIF converter, Mac Mini, Pure Music software and Mojo Audio LPSU for both Mac mini and Offramp 5 and feed signal to Accuphase DP77. The result is that I get much better sound quality than playing by Accuphase CD player or even SACD player.

However I wanted to upgrade DAC again.  I did research a lot of DAC and there are two main groups of DAC. First DAC group is Sigma Delta DAC chip which is main stream DAC products in market. The second group is minority in market, it is R2R DAC chip or multibit DAC chip. I choose to go with R2R DAC chip because I think that R2R DAC chip is like no-negative feed back amp design concept. It provides raw and keep original record signal. While sigma delta chip is like negative feed back amp concept. Then I read about Audio Note DAC of Non Over Sampling rate (NOS)  against high over sampling rate. I believe in NOS concept then I bough Audio Note DAC 3.1 modified to be DAC 4.1 level to replace my Accuphase DP77. It is a big step jump of my hifi system again. I read and follow your PS Audio Direct stream DAC and Yggdrasil DAC which use R2R DAC chip also. I confirm that you go on the right track of R2R DAC chip, not Sigma Delta DAC chip.

Third, I read about modified amp with boutique components or DIY. Then I went to route of mod ZMA. And this is one big 2-3 steps up to next level of my hifi system again. It is really huge improvement. I would like to suggest to give important to upgrade signal path by pure silver connection and wire in signal path. And I very, very, very  highly recommend to by pass your volume or gain control of ZMA. If the volume control is by pass or no volume control, your hifi system will gain huge transparency, micro dynamics and macro dynamics. It likes you take out blanket out of your hifi system. Now I use Light Speed Attenuator to control volume or gain instead. It is most transparency and cost you few fortune of less than USD 500. I ordered two mono volume control left and right so that it helps to balance your left and right sound level easily.

I think that my system is going to near peak level. But I am not sure that it is only my illusion. So that I visit many hi-end hifi dealers to listen to their expensive gears. But none of them make me impression compared to my current hifi system. I feel more confident in my system and big thank to ZMA. Even though my speakers is Avalon Avatar and now used price is only USD 1,800.

Even in my sub-optimal room, they truly disappear. It never sounds like the music is coming from a box; they have a very stable image that tends to be more deep than wide (in my room). It's easy to identify where each artist / instrument is and I think this contributes to a "live" sound. Others have commented on this characteristic, and it certainly bears out for me. It is as if you are transported to the original venue, recording studio or stage rather than having the venue brought to your room. I'm not sure if that makes sense without hearing them, but you'll understand if / when you audition.

The only drawback I hear in my system is they don't have the impact I have heard from some big-time systems on snare drums, etc. I once heard Take Five via a Walker TT and all burmester gear including their big speakers and I'll never forget the impact it reproduced on the drum solo. My system can't do that but it likely has as much to do with the other gear. I guess it's unfair to compare my $25k rig with a $100k + setup...haha.

Now there are two weakness of my system which I need to address.
1) If music file with low gain record is played, it is not loud enough. I need more gain so that I will add preamp to my hifi system. However I love passive preamp more than active preamp. Now I am looking at Coincident Statement Line Stage preamp (The synthesis of the best passive preamps with all the advantages inherent in an active line stage). There is no any resister and resister stepped attenuator volume control in signal path.

The Coincident Statement Line Stage is the most direct, purest approach in active pre amplification. The input signal travels from the transformer based mono volume pots to the transformer input and then to the 101D tubes for gain and lastly out through the output transformer. The 101D tubes are directly heated triodes that are the most linear amplifying devices ever invented.

2) My lovely small 2 ways Avalon Avatar speakers with martin Logan Depth sub-woofer.  I went to listen to Avalon Transcendent. It is not much improvement compared to my Avalon Avatar. Even I listen to Avalon Indra which is much much better than Avalon Transcendent. I am still happy with my Avalon Avatar and save my money. It is a magic of Avalon Avatar that it can still compete with Avalon Indra model. But I give big credit to mod ZMA that push Avalon Avatar performance to near Avalon Indra with Krell Amp or Boulder Amp.

Last week I went to listen to Avalon Eidolon Diamond speakers. OMG, it is very excellent and make my Avalon Avatar out of league. And I am lucky that dealer have special price clearance sale of Avalon Eidolon Diamond. Because it is discontinued models and will be replace by Avalon Compass Diamond model. This Avalon Eidolon Diamond is my dream speakers, I had never though that I can afford to buy them. But now it has 40% discount from MRSP. I made a deposit booking and be waiting to get them end of this month.

I think that I will be only one person in the world that have ZMA to drive with Avalon Eidolon Diamond Speakers. I will report back when I get them and set up the system well. I hope that I will get the impact sound that I heard from big dollar system.  
   
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« Last Edit: 06/19/15 at 10:02:04 by vyokyong »  

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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #132 - 06/19/15 at 14:21:33
 
Nice System, including the Audio Note DAC 4.1. Congrats, on Avalon Eidolon Diamond Speakers! I hope to hear those locally (or Compass Diamond).....just to know...... .

If Steve decides to do the UFO MOD with large/tall densely wound UFO Transformers for the ZMA.....I will have the Volume Pot eliminated/period and Silver Wire Up-grades in key positions. Have Steve, put Balanced Inputs too. I will probably end up with his new Preamp...run that Balanced out.

Nice how the ZMA can drive Speakers like your Avalon's, Martin Logan's and JanZen's, just to name a few. However though, since I gutted the x-over's out of my Acoustic Zen Adagio's....run them Full Range, with a single Mundorf MCap Supreme to the Tweeter's, crossed at 4.5kHz.....I will never look back. The clarity, the imaging, the SLAM!....without being detrimental to the Tonal Balance at low or higher volumes is just incredible! Of course, first and foremost, Tone & Timbre are everything for me with imaging/detail, detail an detail-then Soundstage depth. All of this is shining through at the utmost. I was told these were great Driver's in the Adagio's. At 89db SPL at 1 watt/1 meter with the original x-over they were not bad Speaker's. However, with the MOD aforementioned, these Adagio's are now Giant Killer's.

Do report back about your awesome Avalon's coming soon!




Listening Room:
Room Treatments from Michael Green & Home Brew
Sony as Transport (DVP-NS57P)/Sandwich weighted for Isolation
Illuminati D-60 Digital Coax IC

*************************************************
Decware DSD DAC / Recorder (@ -20 Ref Level @ 16/176.4)
Yggy coming! (Schiit Yggdrasil)
*************************************************

Kimber Select KS1030 IC RCA
Decware CSP3 w/Jupiter Caps (NOS/Platinum/Telefunken 6922/E88CC .....for Input Tube)
Kimber Select KS1030 IC RCA
Decware Zen Mystery Amplifier (NOS/Platinum/Matsushita/National PCC88/7DJ8.....in A12 an B12 Input Tube positions)
Kimber Select KS3033 Speaker Cable

Acoustic Zen Adagio - Black Pearl (Modified)

Acoustic Zen Adagio's x-over's Modified/Full Range with Mundorf MCap Supremes-single Cap to each Tweeter/4.5k cross
(Gutted: 3rd order Linkwitz/Riley's....with all crappy parts = gone)


XLO Pro Power Cords to CSP3 an ZMA
PS Audio P3 Power Plant / Pangea AC-9SE from wall to P3
(Transport, ZDSD an CSP3, Regenerated/118, 119 an 120v are used/Multiwave off...ZMA on HC Output)


Decware SE84CS (NOS Svetlana SV83's from 1980's-not the New Sensor knock-offs) ...when SE Pentodes run in Triode/Decware Style...needs to be in the System!

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« Last Edit: 06/19/15 at 15:21:58 by stone_of_tone »  

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Audio Magic Mystic Reference I2S
Audio Alchemy DDE 3.0
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #133 - 08/04/15 at 05:52:24
 
Hi,

I just want to update that I have changed my main speakers to be Avalon Eidolon Diamond replacing Avalon Avatar. Now the Martin Logan Depth sub-woofer is not used any more. There is enough bass and it is very high quality bass with pitch, texture, clean and control bass, no any bloated bass. What you get more than Avalon Avatar is that music has much more weight and body. Now I already understand that you cannot expect to get well body weight and impact sound if your speakers don't have more than 10" woofers. The book shelf speakers or floor standing speakers with lowest frequency to 35 - 45 Hz spec used with sub-woofer cannot provide real body weight and impact, it is just imitate in my experience of Avalon Avatar with Martin Logan Depth sub-woofer.

The Avalon Eidolon Diamond is one of the most sound coherent speakers. It is seamless integration from top to bottom frequency. First listening, you feel no dominant in any frequency of high, mid and low. But overall presentation is that it is so real LIVE music.      

It is like music band is playing LIVE in your room, you listen to music band, not HIFI sound reproduction system. The dynamics is effortless, no any compression or stress sound. The music can play loud with very clear note from each instruments, no blur, no congest at all. There is palpable singer and superb holographic image of all instruments. It is champion in 3D holographic sound imaging. The speaker boxes are disappeared.
Live, unamplified music has unmistakable presence and clarity. Yet, at the same time it also sounds relaxed and no fatigue at all. The very breath of music flows as dynamic nuances and minute details are reproduced with the gentle touch of a master's brush. Thunderous low frequencies are delivered with authoritative and articulate control as you are transported into an environment of music that is effortless, natural, alive and whole.
Every music notes and singer words have their own bouncing sprung with energy, they are dancing together! I love this sound characteristic.

When I compare Avalon Eidolon Diamond with 2150 monoblock Boulder AMP and Esoteric DAC in dealer showroom with my Audio Note DAC mod to 4.1 level and ZMA. I feel that it is not so different while dealers system is much higher price than my system. The sound dynamics may be less than dealer system but my system is more liquid and organic sound with more nuance and textures. I must give credit to ZMA. It is a great AMP. (However the dealer set up may be not in good set up and Avalon speakers are very sensitive of toe in degree and speakers location placing in room to get best sound out of them).
   
The Avalon Eidolon Diamond is very accurate and neutral speakers. It will show any fault in previous system chain, if there is. And it is very sensitive of speakers location placing in room and toe in set up of speakers. If anything wrong, its excellent sound will be collapsed and becomes just ordinary sound speakers. If toe in is not enough, no focus image and no soul sound or you will feel not involve in music, lifeless music. If toe in angle is too much, the bass sound dull. But if you set up correct, its sound will be superb excellent sound which you cannot imagine that it reaches to this excellent level. My Avalon Eidolon Diamond has just been playing for 200 hours and its burn in is 400 hours to get full open blossom. It can be better.

I am very happy



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« Last Edit: 08/04/15 at 10:31:01 by vyokyong »  

Audio Note DAC3.1 Custom modded to 4.1, DIY Duelund wire RCA IC, Offramp 5 USB SPDIF converter, Mac Mini, Amarra Symphony player,
Zen Mystery Amp. MIT Oracle speaker wire, Avalon Eidolon Diamond speakers. Coincident Statement preamp, Martin Logan Depth subwoofer
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #134 - 08/04/15 at 23:03:29
 
Great to read! I wish I could hear them with your Audio Note and ZMA.
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #135 - 08/05/15 at 03:43:30
 
Hi,

I want to add more about loudness level I get from ZMA.

For well high gain record music album.

The max SPL is 95 dB measured at 230 cm from speakers when ZMA is connected with Avalon Avatar (84 dB sensitivity and 6 Ohm load, minimum 4 Ohm)

The max SPL is 99 dB  measured at 230 cm from speakers when ZMA is connected with Avalon Eidolon Diamond (87 dB sensitivity and 4 Ohm load, minimum 3.5 Ohm).

ZMA can dirive Avalon Eidolon Diamond without any power constrain, no stress. Bass is very articulate and well controlled.

However some low gain music record album, the maximum SPL is only 84 dB SPL while I normally listen at 87-92 dB SPL. Then I plan to switch my passive preamp (Light Speed Attenuator pre-amp) to be active pre-amp (Coincident Line Statement pre-amp) in order to get more gain of 13 dB variable volume control. Or I will use both pre-amps together by LSA acts as volume control of ZMA and Coincident Line Statement acts as pre-amp. So that I can play both volume control to fine tune to get optimal dynamic body and weight level.

HOW CAN A PREAMP MAKE THINGS BETTER?

A good preamp becomes an extension of the source enhancing it's dynamics and overall voltage swing as well as enhancing it's output impedance to more effortlessly drive difficult power amps.  A good preamp can extract detail and timbre that is otherwise hidden by these conditions.  A good preamp can add body and weight and size to a stereo image and improve the depth and palpability of the sound stage. A good preamp can make tiny speakers and or tiny amplifiers sound and perform as though they were bigger then they really are.  A good preamp can organize the presence in a recording to create several more layers to the music.  It can pull things apart and make recordings sound less like recordings and more like real music.  FROM PRE AMPLIFIERS - do they help or hurt the sound?
inspired by our new SE84CSP

April 2004 by Steve Deckert

I will report back when I get Coincident Line Statement pre-amp. It is variable transformer volume control (TVC) with active gain by D101 DHT tubed circuit pre-amp.
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Audio Note DAC3.1 Custom modded to 4.1, DIY Duelund wire RCA IC, Offramp 5 USB SPDIF converter, Mac Mini, Amarra Symphony player,
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #136 - 08/05/15 at 18:26:20
 
Yes, the ZMA can drive them well. Logan's & JanZens too.

I gained 2 or 3db in efficiency when I put Mundorf Mcap Supremes in my Acoustic Zen Adagio's. I could not be happier with them now.

Oh a big yes about the Preamp. I look forward to the balance I will find with my Auralic Vega attenuation ~ CSP3 gain ~ ZMA gain....... .
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #137 - 09/08/15 at 03:19:55
 
Hi,

I would like to report of adding Coincident Statement Line stage preamp (CSL) to replace Light Attenuator passive preamp (LSA).

Pro:
1) Excellent Authority and Dynamics. It is like you change car from 1,600 cc to 3,000 cc turbo charge. Absolutely dynamics and in different world to LSA. It means that ZMA + CSL provides dynamic authority as same level or better than SS amp. It makes you feel excite and PRaT. It can play loud as 101 dB of any album record (high or low gain).

Con:
1) All nuances and micro details gone or disappear or high definition sound is gone. LSA or dierct connect between source and ZMA provides or keep all nuances and micro details (high definition sound) which makes you feel realism of LIVE music band playing in your room, very emotional music.

Now it is dilemma for me to choose between Excellent Authority Dynamics or Nuance and high definition sound.
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Coincident-Line-HEADER.jpg

Audio Note DAC3.1 Custom modded to 4.1, DIY Duelund wire RCA IC, Offramp 5 USB SPDIF converter, Mac Mini, Amarra Symphony player,
Zen Mystery Amp. MIT Oracle speaker wire, Avalon Eidolon Diamond speakers. Coincident Statement preamp, Martin Logan Depth subwoofer
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #138 - 09/08/15 at 03:35:06
 
As I open to see circuit inside Coincident Statement Line stage. I found out that :

1) The signal wire used in CSL is normal small cable wire which may cause all nuances and micro detail sound gone.

2) There are two switches in front of CSL.
    2.1) In Put selector between CD and AUX which causes signal wire to run from back of CSL (RCA plug) to front of CSL (Toggle switch) and back to back of CSL again. The distance is nearly 100 cm for signal to pass on small normal cable.
    2.2) MUTE on and off selector which causes out put signal wire  to run from back of CSL (Transformer wire) to front of CSL (On and Off Mute Toggle switch) and back to back of CSL again (OUT PUT plug). The distance is nearly 100 cm for signal to pass on small normal cable.

I suspect that all nuances and micro details sound disappeared is causes by above two factors. Then I plan to mod CSL by replacing its signal cable wire both IN PUT signal cable wire and OUT PUT signal cable wire by Deulund Hook up pure ribbon silver wire 2 version 2. I hope that modded CSL will provides me both Authority Dynamics and High Definition Sound. Then my system of ZMA will be up to next level superb sound quality again.

And I want to confirm that ZMA can drive Avalon Eidolon Diamond speakers in full authority with its specification of 40 WATTS.    
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« Last Edit: 09/08/15 at 06:08:15 by vyokyong »  

P1070859_1.jpg

Audio Note DAC3.1 Custom modded to 4.1, DIY Duelund wire RCA IC, Offramp 5 USB SPDIF converter, Mac Mini, Amarra Symphony player,
Zen Mystery Amp. MIT Oracle speaker wire, Avalon Eidolon Diamond speakers. Coincident Statement preamp, Martin Logan Depth subwoofer
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #139 - 09/08/15 at 03:36:58
 
Power Supply Unit of CSL.
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csls086_zps6aa6a327_1.jpg

Audio Note DAC3.1 Custom modded to 4.1, DIY Duelund wire RCA IC, Offramp 5 USB SPDIF converter, Mac Mini, Amarra Symphony player,
Zen Mystery Amp. MIT Oracle speaker wire, Avalon Eidolon Diamond speakers. Coincident Statement preamp, Martin Logan Depth subwoofer
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #140 - 09/11/15 at 06:27:17
 
Very interesting and looking forward to your findings.  vyokyong, is there any reason you chose the Coincident over the new Decware Preamp that Steve is currently working on?
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #141 - 09/11/15 at 07:38:11
 
Hello Beowulf,

My pre-amp project started one year ago before new Decware Preamp news. If I know that Decware will launch new Preamp with XLR in put and out put. I will be waiting for new Decware preamp. Because I love Decware ZMA and I trust Steve. I did not buy CSP3 preamp as I read mix results working with ZMA. Or I think that CSP3 preamp is not good enough for ZMA.

As I read a lot forum about pre-amp. My interest go to passive pre-amp. Then I bought Lightspeed Attenuator passive pre-amp to try first. It provides best transparency pre-amp which is totally better than any active pre-amp. You hear transparency in different world from active pre-amp. It likes direct connecting between source DAC with ZMA.  However its weakness is authority bass and dynamics, if your source DAC cannot provide enough drive or voltage to feed ZMA. Even ZMA in put needs only 2 volts and my Audio Note DAC3.1 provides 2 volts out put. In general it is okay but there are some low gain record album that it cannot be played loud enough. (may be 20% of all my collections). Then I have to try active pre-amp or get pre-amp with 13 dB gain.

I choose CSLS pre-amp because of its concept to use Transformer Volume control instead of general stepped (resistors) attenuator volume control and provide 13 dB gain by 101D DHT tube circuit.  The main lost in transparency of active preamp is caused by stepped attenuator volume control which is resistors in signal path. So that if TVC is used then there is no any single resistor in signal path.
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« Last Edit: 09/11/15 at 07:39:44 by vyokyong »  

Audio Note DAC3.1 Custom modded to 4.1, DIY Duelund wire RCA IC, Offramp 5 USB SPDIF converter, Mac Mini, Amarra Symphony player,
Zen Mystery Amp. MIT Oracle speaker wire, Avalon Eidolon Diamond speakers. Coincident Statement preamp, Martin Logan Depth subwoofer
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #142 - 09/14/15 at 06:18:06
 
Good thing of Coincident Statement Line stage pre-amp is that it provides 2 RCA out put for sub-woofer or Bi-amp. I already have Martin Logan Depth sub-woofer 1 unit. When I got Avalon Eidolon Diamond spealers, I have not played it with subwoofer. I want to familiar with Avalon Eidolon Diamond sound signature first of two month playing. And I think that sub-woofer should not be necessary.  Because it states in Avalon Eidolon speaker manual that any sub-woofer is added to Avalon Eidolon speakers will give negative effects more than any positive gain. So that it is not advised to add sub-woofer.

Yesterday I tried new set up by adding Martin Logan Depth sub-woofer to my Hi Fi system.  the result is OMG! It provides body and weight which is essential for orchestra music. The dynamic is incredible! Micro-contrast and macro-contrast is superb. All types of music songs is much more real Live show and involving. It is strange that it provides more black background and more focus in 3D imaging. All music instruments and singer have more space around them, separately from each others. It is contrast of my old believe that adding subwoofer will have negative in transparency and clarity. Now it is not true.

From my set up, Avalon Eidolon Diamond speakers needs subwoofer to perform that lower 24 Hz to 20 Hz in order to be perfect 20Hz - 20Mhz. The adding of little frequency 20 Hz to 24 Hz makes huge improvement in sound quality. (Avalon Eidolon Diamond speaker spec is 24 Hz to 20 MHz.)
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Audio Note DAC3.1 Custom modded to 4.1, DIY Duelund wire RCA IC, Offramp 5 USB SPDIF converter, Mac Mini, Amarra Symphony player,
Zen Mystery Amp. MIT Oracle speaker wire, Avalon Eidolon Diamond speakers. Coincident Statement preamp, Martin Logan Depth subwoofer
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #143 - 09/16/15 at 19:03:32
 
The CSP3 is good enough to use with the ZMA. I would not use it, if it could not provide the transparent musical fidelity I require. The problem with your CS Lines Stage is....it's getting in the way of your music, with to much RUBE GOLDBERG in its Topology. Tough truth on that....for you... . But, don't feel bad, so many so called high-end Preamps can't get out of the way like the CSP3 can....when properly administered.

Using the proper voltage output from the CSP3 makes it ideal. Plus, the Input Tube I'm using matters too. Those using shitty cables and not knowing what their doing with the CSP3 will report on what they deserve=poor results.

I have my KS6063's in!
Talk about even further involvement in my Music! Without getting into all the superlative adjectives.....they are an incredible addition and immediately apparent. The even further clarity and decay with further differentiation of instrumentation, is Whoa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You just want to keep turning the System up and up! It continues to maintain tonal balance at higher SPL's and weight ~ like a properly done Live Performance WITH ALL THE JE NE SAIS QUOI of detail/clarity/decay aforementioned! Truly incredible. Especially, when you consider my System already and some serious underhung clarity from the Driver's in the Adagio's.
The fact that I got these for 52% off with the premium WBT-0681-Ag Spades...makes this deal so much Sweeter!

Stone, has left the building!!!

Cheers, and happy Oktoberfest to all!





Listening Room:
Room Treatments from Michael Green & Home Brew

Sony as Transport (DVP-NS57P)/Sandwich weighted for Isolation
Illuminati D-60 Digital Coax IC

Shunyata Ztron Alpha Digital power cord....coming for ZDSD!
Decware ZDSD DAC / Recorder (@ -20 Ref Level, 0.0 Input volume and @ 16/176.4)
{also @ kept/-20 Ref Level & -.5db or -1.0 Input volume Level}
{ also @ -18 Ref Level & -1.0 Input volume Level}
{ also @ -16 Ref Level & -1.0 Input Volume Level}

WBT-0102Ag RCA Kimber Select KS1030
Decware CSP3 w/Jupiter Caps (NOS/Platinum/Telefunken 6922/E88CC .....for Input Tube)
**********************************************
10 of 10 for Input tube & 8 of 10 voltage for Output tubes
Volume adjustment used at 0 to 40%
**********************************************
WBT-0102Ag RCA Kimber Select KS1030

Decware Zen Mystery Amplifier
***NOS/Platinum/Ediswan's CV2492/6922 in my A12 an B12 positions***
ZMA used as straight Power Amp, at 90% of Volume

***************************************************
Kimber Select KS6063 Speaker Cable 8ft WBT-0681-Ag Spades
***************************************************
Acoustic Zen Adagio - Black Pearl (Modified)

REL T5 SUB, Neutrik connection from ZMA
{30Hz @ 35% of volume~0 Phase}
Auralex Subdude II

Acoustic Zen Adagio's x-over's Modified/Full Range with Mundorf MCap Supremes-single Cap to each Tweeter/4.5k cross
(Gutted: 3kHz/18dB/Octave, Linkwitz/Riley Crossovers....with all crappy parts = gone)

XLO Pro Power Cords to CSP3 an ZMA
PS Audio P3 Power Plant / Pangea AC-9SE from wall to P3
(Transport, ZDSD an CSP3, Regenerated/120 ~ Multiwave off...ZMA on High Current Output)
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« Last Edit: 09/16/15 at 19:37:14 by stone_of_tone »  

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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #144 - 09/18/15 at 04:56:03
 
The sound quality of CS line stage pre-amp is excellent, particularly its strong point of leading edge and decay of transients, dynamics and bass articulation which is excel as same level as Boulder SS amp. (I have heard Avalon Eidolon Diamond speakers played with all Boulder pre-amp and power amp). The details solution and all subtle nuances is same level as those top brand pre-amp as I heard in Audio show in Hong Kong.

However when I modded ZMA by replacing signal path cable wire by pure silver wire Duelund Hook Up wire 2 and replacing RCA out put female jack with WBT pure silver Next Gen female jack. It gives ultra high definition sound which I refer like changing HDTV to 4K HDTV. I have not heard any Hi Fi system in Hong Kong Audio show which can provide this ultra high definition sound also.

I addict to this ultra high definition sound. My assumption is that signal from source to speakers must be kept as original as possible by passing through pure silver wire Duelund hook up wire 2 from source to speakers. My interconnect cables now are DIY Duelund hook up wire 2. Then the weakest link of chain is internal signal wire in CS line stage pre-amp.

CS line stage pre-amp will be modded by  by replacing signal path cable wire by pure silver wire Duelund Hook Up wire 2 and replacing RCA out put female jack with WBT pure silver Next Gen female jack (as same as I mod ZMA). I hope that ultra high definition sound will come back to my system. I will report back the result of mod.
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« Last Edit: 09/18/15 at 07:55:37 by vyokyong »  

Audio Note DAC3.1 Custom modded to 4.1, DIY Duelund wire RCA IC, Offramp 5 USB SPDIF converter, Mac Mini, Amarra Symphony player,
Zen Mystery Amp. MIT Oracle speaker wire, Avalon Eidolon Diamond speakers. Coincident Statement preamp, Martin Logan Depth subwoofer
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #145 - 09/18/15 at 21:08:45
 
Law of diminishing returns. Good luck in these endeavors.
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #146 - 09/22/15 at 14:34:53
 
Seventh day in on my Kimber KS6063 Speaker Cables. I have no reservations about selling my 3033's. With some hours on the 6063's now.......they are keepers! Unlike, the 3035's/to bright, these are an upgrade of biblical proportions.

Now that I have my System locked in with all Decware and Kimber Select.......bring on my Torii Jr.  

Shunyata Ztron Alpha Digital power cord....coming for ZDSD!
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« Last Edit: 09/22/15 at 14:59:34 by stone_of_tone »  

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Audio Alchemy DDE 3.0
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #147 - 09/23/15 at 02:56:34
 
Great news! Great Upgrade!.

Please provide review of Torii Jr and Shunyata Ztron Alpha Digital power cord.
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Audio Note DAC3.1 Custom modded to 4.1, DIY Duelund wire RCA IC, Offramp 5 USB SPDIF converter, Mac Mini, Amarra Symphony player,
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #148 - 09/23/15 at 14:00:26
 
You bet, I will. Sarah gave me a lead time of approx. 7 weeks. So, end of the first week of November delivery. I'll put 75 to 100 hours on the Jr. by the end of November............... .

My Shunyata Ztron Alpha Digital Power Cord....should be here and in my System by early next week.

YES! What the Kimber Select KS6063's are bringing to my Music-is spectacular. As special as Decware is at getting the emotion of the Music to you....so is the Select and 6063's making the further effortless flowing connection!
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« Last Edit: 09/23/15 at 14:39:19 by stone_of_tone »  

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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #149 - 09/28/15 at 03:03:30
 
Update picture of CS line stage pre-amp which is modded  by replacing RCA out put female jack with WBT pure silver Next Gen female jack (as same as I modded my ZMA).
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IMG_2182.JPG

Audio Note DAC3.1 Custom modded to 4.1, DIY Duelund wire RCA IC, Offramp 5 USB SPDIF converter, Mac Mini, Amarra Symphony player,
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Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #150 - 09/29/15 at 03:27:18
 
Update picture of CS line stage pre-amp which is modded  by replacing stock internal signal cable wire with Duelund pure silver hook up wire 2 version 2 (as same as I modded my ZMA).
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« Last Edit: 09/29/15 at 03:29:12 by vyokyong »  

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Audio Note DAC3.1 Custom modded to 4.1, DIY Duelund wire RCA IC, Offramp 5 USB SPDIF converter, Mac Mini, Amarra Symphony player,
Zen Mystery Amp. MIT Oracle speaker wire, Avalon Eidolon Diamond speakers. Coincident Statement preamp, Martin Logan Depth subwoofer
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vyokyong
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Posts: 169
Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #151 - 09/29/15 at 03:30:35
 
Duelund hook up wire 2 version 2 versus stock cable wire.
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Audio Note DAC3.1 Custom modded to 4.1, DIY Duelund wire RCA IC, Offramp 5 USB SPDIF converter, Mac Mini, Amarra Symphony player,
Zen Mystery Amp. MIT Oracle speaker wire, Avalon Eidolon Diamond speakers. Coincident Statement preamp, Martin Logan Depth subwoofer
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vyokyong
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Posts: 169
Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #152 - 01/25/16 at 10:10:52
 
Hi,

I want to add my latest jigsaw added to my Hi Fi system. It is Stealth Audio Indra V8 XLR cable. They are used between Audio Note DAC to preamplifier CSLS. Thanks to Stone of Tone who recommended.

This cable excels in presenting an unparalled finely detailed, open and relaxed upper mid /treble range without ever becomming agressive or fatiguing.
it´s very liquid and fast with very good bass too  and does it´s magic in an very natural way, never calling attention to itself.

Now I am near Nirvana system.

Thanks to Zen Mystery Amp, Honest Liquidity!
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Audio Note DAC3.1 Custom modded to 4.1, DIY Duelund wire RCA IC, Offramp 5 USB SPDIF converter, Mac Mini, Amarra Symphony player,
Zen Mystery Amp. MIT Oracle speaker wire, Avalon Eidolon Diamond speakers. Coincident Statement preamp, Martin Logan Depth subwoofer
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stone_of_tone
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Listen Often/Listen
Deep

Posts: 2625
Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #153 - 01/25/16 at 15:50:05
 
Hi vyokyong, glad to read. I remember you were traveling to Hong Kong to get them.

The Indra are pretty special IC's. I enjoyed every minute of having them. For me, just a little to much so. I ended up staying with my Kimber 1030 to 1030 IC's (RCA).

Serendipitous, to having the Indra in my System (used), I traded back to Joe at the Cable Co., for the Kimber Select KS6063 Speaker Cable 8ft WBT-0681-Ag Spades ~and~ Shunyata Research Ztron Alpha Digital Power Cord (used for the KS6063 and new for the Alpha Digital).

What these Kimber 6063's and Shunyata Digital power have brought to my System.....are not replaceable!

{Thanks Joe, at the CableCO, for helping catapult my System to Liquidity with Dynamics........and subtlety}.



Further sonic pleasure improvements have been Tube Rolling:

NOS/Platinum/Ediswan's CV2492/6922 /Inputs = ZMA are breathtaking.............. .

*Also: Cryoset 6H23N-EB's, rotated in and out of Inputs/ZMA*
(Way different internal guts/halo/getter...they are NOT 6N23P-EV's)

NOS/Platinum/Telefunken 6922/E88CC for Input Tube/CSP3 ~ not taken for granted neither......... .

NOS/Platinum/Ediswan's CV2492/6922 /PRE Outputs of CSP3, running  into ZMA Inputs with Ediswan's = revelatory!  



Furthermore, customizing my Acoustic Zen Adagio's:

Acoustic Zen Adagio's x-over's Modified/Full Range with Mundorf MCap Supremes-single Cap to each Tweeter/4.5k cross
(Gutted: 3kHz/18dB/Octave, Linkwitz/Riley Crossovers....with all crappy parts = gone)
...........................Revelatory!

Especially when the Adagio Drivers are equipped with underhung voice coils and Neodymium magnets – a short voice coil in a long magnetic gap allows to eliminates most of the distortions and coloration.

......then with the Transmission Lines.....magnificent overacheivers!


Enjoy the Indra's! Your System I bet, is glorious with them!



PS: Goals in 2016/for my System:

1) Three more choice/select/NOS/Platinum pairs of 6922's from Upscale Audio.

2) I'm bringing in a PASS LABS XA 30.8 (used/demo/seasoned in), to challenge my Zen Mystery Amp. Yes, the XA 30.8.....not the XA 30.5.
(I'll probably end up keeping the 30.8 & the ZMA will be going nowhere~it stays/period).

3) Kimber Internal Silver wire or Duelund, inside Adagio's...and Upgrade Caps to Mundorf Silver Oils.








Listening Room:


Room Treatments from Michael Green & Home Brew

Sony as Transport (DVP-NS57P)/Sandwich weighted for Isolation

Illuminati D-60 Digital Coax IC

Shunyata Research Ztron Alpha Digital Power Cord to ZDSD!

Decware ZDSD DAC / Recorder
***************************************************************
W/Steve's Output Transformer's/kicking to the curb quite a few superb DAC'S!
***************************************************************
(@ -20 Ref Level, 0.0 Input volume and @ 16/192)

WBT-0102Ag RCA Kimber Select KS1030

Decware CSP3 w/Jupiter Caps
(NOS/Platinum/Telefunken 6922/E88CC for Input Tube~NOS Platinum Ediswan Cryogenic 6922's for Output Tubes & 5U4G-C Rectifier)
****************************************************
10 of 10 for Input tube & *9* of 10 voltage for Output tubes
Volume adjustment usage at 25% to 55% from 0
****************************************************

WBT-0102Ag RCA Kimber Select KS1030

Decware Zen Mystery Amplifier
~BIASED at *60* mA~
(NOS/Platinum/Ediswan's CV2492/6922 in my A12 an B12 positions~6N23P-EV's for Inverter Tubes~JAN Sylvania 0A3's & Tung-Sol KT66's)
ZMA adjusted at 20% to 30% from 0

***************************************************
Kimber Select KS6063 Speaker Cable 8ft WBT-0681-Ag Spades
***************************************************

Acoustic Zen Adagio - Black Pearl (Modified)




Acoustic Zen Adagio's x-over's Modified/Full Range with Mundorf MCap Supremes-single Cap to each Tweeter/4.5k cross
(Gutted: 3kHz/18dB/Octave, Linkwitz/Riley Crossovers....with all crappy parts = gone)


XLO Pro Power Cords to CSP3 an ZMA
PS Audio P3 Power Plant / Pangea AC-9SE from wall to P3
(Transport, ZDSD an CSP3, Regenerated/*122*~ Multiwave off...ZMA on High Current Output)
***************************************************************************

PS: NOS/Platinum/Ediswan's CV2492/6922 /Inputs = ZMA are breathtaking.............. .

*Also: Cryoset 6H23N-EB's, rotated in and out of Inputs/ZMA*
(Way different internal guts/halo/getter...they are NOT 6N23P-EV's)

NOS/Platinum/Telefunken 6922/E88CC for Input Tube/CSP3 ~ not taken for granted neither......... .

NOS/Platinum/Ediswan's CV2492/6922 /PRE Outputs of CSP3, running  into ZMA Inputs with Ediswan's = revelatory!  
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« Last Edit: 01/25/16 at 17:06:23 by stone_of_tone »  

Sony as Transport
Illuminati D-60
Audio Alchemy DTI-Pro
Audio Magic Mystic Reference I2S
Audio Alchemy DDE 3.0
Kimber Select 1030
Zen Select #76
Kimber Select 3033
Polk Audio LS-90
Tri-config/TipToes & Vibropods underneath Speakers
360 degree Rm Treats
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vyokyong
Seasoned Member
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Posts: 169
Re: Ways to improve sound quality of The MYSTERY AMP !
Reply #154 - 01/26/16 at 05:01:54
 
Hi Stone of Tone,

Thanks for all your information.
For me, I have no any improving plan yet for year 2016! All is done, very happy, happy and happy!

Wish you all enjoy listening.
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Audio Note DAC3.1 Custom modded to 4.1, DIY Duelund wire RCA IC, Offramp 5 USB SPDIF converter, Mac Mini, Amarra Symphony player,
Zen Mystery Amp. MIT Oracle speaker wire, Avalon Eidolon Diamond speakers. Coincident Statement preamp, Martin Logan Depth subwoofer
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