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ZMA + ERRx (Read 11947 times)
pineman
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ZMA + ERRx
03/15/15 at 17:04:50
 
Much has already been written about this amp and these speakers, but my overwhelming initial impression is that the amount of detail in the music is simply fascinating.  A good analogy might be to a high quality lens-- the ability to render greater amounts of detail, color, texture, shadings.  With this system I no longer hear a series of notes, I hear the beginnings and endings of each individual note.  I hear the intake of breath before the note is sung.  And as weird as this sounds, on some passages I feel like I can see the singer’s facial expression.  On pretty much every familiar recording I am hearing things I never knew were there.  Calling this system revealing would be an understatement, but it gets in the right direction.  

Early on I noticed how incredibly good the system sounded at very low volumes.  I had never heard anything like this, the ability to retain this extraordinary amount of detail during the quietest passages.  It literally becomes an edge-of-your-seat experience, where the more you listen the more you hear.  And noise floor? It just isn’t there.  

Detail for its own sake would be impressive enough, but what makes this experience so richly rewarding is the emotions which get triggered by the music. Some music can produce goosebumps, tears, and laugh-out-loud joy. My parents (who are both in their 80s) came over to hear the new Decware system and they were both weeping during Mahler’s 2nd symphony.  Talk about memorable...
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will
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Re: ZMA + ERRx
Reply #1 - 03/15/15 at 18:13:39
 
Great Pineman!
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« Last Edit: 03/15/15 at 18:14:06 by will »  

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Lon
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Re: ZMA + ERRx
Reply #2 - 03/16/15 at 12:57:10
 
Nice review, getting to the heart of the matter: the expressiveness that these components offer, communicating the emotion in the music. That's the key to longterm enjoyment.
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Fireblade
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Re: ZMA + ERRx
Reply #3 - 03/16/15 at 13:22:40
 
Ahhh! Mahler's 2nd ...  one of my favorites. Glorious with my Mini-Torii in a nearfield setting when my AC power supply is behaving decently. I can only imagine how good it must sound with the 'oomph' of a ZMA. Congrats!
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« Last Edit: 03/16/15 at 13:24:27 by Fireblade »  

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stone_of_tone
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Re: ZMA + ERRx
Reply #4 - 03/27/15 at 19:34:08
 
Very nice pineman. I just ordered a pair. I will do the UFO mod on my CKC. It will drive them. Of course, my ZMA. What an Amp, right?! I have various cables to try too, besides placement an I will have to try caps.

Mahler it will be too!
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Lon
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Re: ZMA + ERRx
Reply #5 - 03/27/15 at 20:54:13
 
Congrats gentlemen! These are my second favorite speakers (afther HR-1s!) You'll love them I think.
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stone_of_tone
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Re: ZMA + ERRx
Reply #6 - 03/27/15 at 21:27:44
 
Cool Lon, I spent about 2 hours reading as far back as 2011 in the ERR HR1 forum etc... . I need this antithesis of what I'm running front fire. I will enjoy both. I am a Speaker switcher (6 to 8 week rotations though) in my Listening Room. Amps too of course. However, the ZMA rarely gets the bump anymore for my SE84CS, an only for a day or two. I will do the UFO MOD on my Super Zen CKC! It can run the ERRx as will my SE84CS. ZMA will reign as king though.
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« Last Edit: 03/27/15 at 21:31:45 by stone_of_tone »  

Sony as Transport
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Audio Alchemy DTI-Pro
Audio Magic Mystic Reference I2S
Audio Alchemy DDE 3.0
Kimber Select 1030
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Lon
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Posts: 13014
Re: ZMA + ERRx
Reply #7 - 03/27/15 at 21:40:45
 
Yeah, I think your little amp will run these newer ERRs better than my little amps ran my older model--not quite enough steam. I'm not a speaker switcher (or amp or girlfriend switcher!), and the HR-1s are THE speakers that I want all the time, but the ERR are nearly there. . . I have and could live with them as my only speaker, and they have a special thing that on other speaker I've ever heard has. And the new ones are probably even more so. You'll have a lot of fun!
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HR-1,ZP3,ZTPRE,Torii MkIII,ZBIT,ZROCK2,Taboo MkIV;PS Audio:Soloist SE,DMP+DSD,P10,PowerBases,AC-12 pcs,Mapleshade:Dbl Helix+,SamsonV2+V3;CambrAudi CXU;Rega RP3,TTPSU,Groovetracer upgrades,Exact2;VooDoo Cremona +Amati,Iso-Pods;MD90-T SE tuner,Oppo PM-1,Audeze LCD-2
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pineman
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Re: ZMA + ERRx
Reply #8 - 03/28/15 at 16:33:28
 
Stone-- Everybody knows this already, but I was still astonished by the way the ERRx waited to develop their low end presence.  It was about three months after purchase and the effect is kind of amazing.  I also swapped out the original resistors for Mundorf M-Resist supremes, which smoothed out the top end nicely, especially on recordings with a lot of sibilance.

Lon-- I also followed your HR1/ERR thread and appreciate the time and thought you put in to your choices.  

I had been traveling for work but was finally able to spend a few hours listening last night, and I just have such a deep appreciation for this gear.  I recently built Steve's WO32 sub and was having a grand time listening to some older rock music (Houses of the Holy) -- the bass guitar lines were wonderfully present through the WO32, without ever getting in the way of the ERRx's crystal clear presentation. My old Rush CDs never sounded this good. But at the end of the night I put on Fischer-Dieskau's 1972 recording of Schubert's Winterreise, and the process of dumbfounded amazement just started all over again.  
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ZMA, ERRx, ZP3, VPI Classic w/ Ortofon 2M Black, ZCD200i, ZSB, WO32, Decware zenstyx & silver ICs
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Al Harcourt
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Re: ZMA + ERRx
Reply #9 - 03/28/15 at 21:56:20
 
Hey thanks a lot pineman!!! I'd appreciate anymore info you can add about your system or maybe answering a few of my questions. Such as how big is your listening room? I would like to buy a set of ERRx's and drive them with a ZMA. You mentioned that you were quite impressed with the sound at low volumes. Low volumes is exactly what I had in mind and in a small listening room. It is in fact a converted bedroom. I was planning to put a loveseat in there and put an area rug on the center portion of a hardwood floor. The room is maybe 14 X 16 feet and will be my listening room. Kind of an above ground man cave. I was going to use that new digital set-up of Steve's as a source first but add a turntable eventually. My Dad has a Thorens TD-160 with an SME tonearm I was going to get rebuilt but a VPI Prime would certainly work too and be much easier in the long run.  I really picture myself using this and a good headphone amp too. That is how I listen now, using tubes to drive a pair of Sennheiser HD-600. Any comments anyone can add, certainly, I'm all ears. I thought your insights were wonderfully helpful so far and thank you for them.      
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stone_of_tone
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Re: ZMA + ERRx
Reply #10 - 03/28/15 at 23:41:04
 
Thanks pineman, I will give the low end the time it needs an get the Mundorfs.
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ZYGI
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Re: ZMA + ERRx
Reply #11 - 03/29/15 at 00:02:05
 
Al

Welcome to the forum...

My listening room is 12 X 16, and all the speakers work well in that size room. The ERRx's can work very well in an even smaller room and still give a good sound stage. Depth beyond the front wall, with the speakers being less than three feet in front of you. Width of sound stage wider than the room with the speakers almost sitting side by side. And near field  listening can give you detail at low listening levels that I know very few speakers can pull off, all while giving you a very nice sound stage.

Hope this helps,
Zygi
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Al Harcourt
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Re: ZMA + ERRx
Reply #12 - 03/29/15 at 03:36:29
 
Thanks ZYGI. That is exactly the sort of info I'm looking for. I just don't see myself cranking the daylights out of the things. I'm hoping they are somewhat forgiving of less then ideal recordings. I can provide them with good components upstream, that part is easy.  I can't do much to fix a poor recording.  Thanks again.
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pineman
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Re: ZMA + ERRx
Reply #13 - 03/29/15 at 07:26:55
 
Al, my listening room is 13 x 21, with the speakers firing in the short direction. This room has wall to wall carpet, 8 foot ceilings and no treatments. I had the ERRx's about 3 feet off the back wall, until I read something about trying to make the reflected signal path at least 11 feet long. So I pulled the speakers forward, and now they are about 5 feet off the back wall and about 8 feet apart. It seems the soundstage opens up as you create more distance between the speaker and the back wall.  

On that note, my impression is that my ERRx's are at their absolute best when reproducing music which was either recorded live, or was recorded to sound live, i.e. as a performance, with musicians and instruments located in a performance space.  Symphonic music sounds incredible, as does jazz. Chamber music, small ensemble performances, are utterly sublime.  There is something about the way the reflected sounds make my brain perceive the sources as located in space.  You have to hear it to appreciate it.

Conversely, recordings which consist of electronic sources or signals sent directly into the board do not create quite the same spatial magic through the ERRx's, at least not to my ears.  Perhaps because these recordings were created in a studio, with an engineer listening to a forward-firing pair of monitors, reflected sounds aren't such an integral component of the overall experience.  I think my older rock studio recordings fall into this category.  Don't get me wrong, they sound very alive and detailed; it's just that a wall of electric guitars and keyboards doesn't give me a spatial experience in the same way that a jazz combo or a string quartet does.

As for the speakers being forgiving, I would hesitate to use that term.  The ERRx with ZMA will reveal levels of detail in the music which may have not been heard previously. But a poor recording can sound worse, and a poor performance may be harder to overlook (you can really hear when a musician is pushing or dragging time). Regarding sound quality, I have come across a few older poor quality LPs which sounded so harsh it was hard to listen to them.  To be fair though, this might be more a function of my cartridge (2M Black) than the amp/speaker.  

Lastly, as to listening at low levels, the ERRx's just amaze me, offering the kind of detail I associate with headphone listening.  Here again, I can't say how much of the magic is due to the ERRx's versus the ZMA.  I just know there is a lot of magic.

As I've gotten older my musical tastes have shifted more towards classical and jazz, and I am 100% pleased with the ERRx's; if I was 25 years younger and listening to more rock music, I might want to audition some forward-firing speakers with the ZMA.
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ZMA, ERRx, ZP3, VPI Classic w/ Ortofon 2M Black, ZCD200i, ZSB, WO32, Decware zenstyx & silver ICs
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Al Harcourt
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Re: ZMA + ERRx
Reply #14 - 03/31/15 at 23:55:44
 
Thanks Pineman.  I guess the only way to really know is to take a drive down and hear for myself this coming October. I think the aspect of this that concerns me the most is the thought that I may end up with a system that highlights flaws in music that is commonly available but sounds extraordinary with recordings hard to find.  I think the guys that have those are the ones that are constantly cycling different components through their set-ups looking for that special something that may or may not even exist. I really appreciate you taking the time to relay your experience. You've been most helpful.  
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pineman
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Re: ZMA + ERRx
Reply #15 - 04/01/15 at 04:00:28
 
Al, I have been thinking about the idea of how a poor recording sounds on a great system. Today for Haydn's birthday, I put on some old vinyl recordings of Haydn piano sonatas recorded by Artur Balsam in 1957. The piano sounded thin and brittle, not nearly as rich as, say, Glenn Gould's recordings from the same period. But then I sat down and really listened, and... there was that soundstage, that spacious quality which the ERRx's do so well. And there were all the details and dynamics from the ZMA.  So even though the recording sounded thin and tinny, I found myself enjoying it -- on its own terms, as it were. Perhaps a beautiful performance can transcend the sonic quality of the recording.  
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ZMA, ERRx, ZP3, VPI Classic w/ Ortofon 2M Black, ZCD200i, ZSB, WO32, Decware zenstyx & silver ICs
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Al Harcourt
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Re: ZMA + ERRx
Reply #16 - 04/02/15 at 00:29:33
 
A silver lining to be sure. Thank you for adding that. I find it wild the amount of music I have that sounds fine in the car and just like nails on a chalkboard on a decent stereo. Just bright beyond belief. Thankfully tubes go a long way toward fixing digital. In 2005 I bought an outboard DAC and cables in an effort to fix loads of my CD's. The great ones got a tiny bit better but the rest no change. So I look forward to hearing ERRx's driven be tubes with digital signal as a source. It's odd I think that I've heard so little about omni speakers in the past. I've loved reading your review and thoughts on this forum though.
Thanks again Al
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stone_of_tone
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Re: ZMA + ERRx
Reply #17 - 04/02/15 at 18:30:17
 
The addition of the ZDSD has solved this issue for me. With recordings you guys just mentioned from CD, I turn the Reference Output Volume down to -18db from -20 and turn the Input Volume down -.5 to as much as -4db. You can turn the Master Volume up and bright an brittle is gone! More density and tonal balance is provided. Furthermore, with Steve's Tranny Custom Output on the ZDSD.....nails it.

PS-my ERRx are coming by the end of April!  





Listening Room:
Room Treatments from Michael Green & Home Brew
Sony as Transport
Illuminati D-60
Decware DSD DAC / Recorder (@ -20 Ref Level @ 16/176.4)
Kimber Select KS1030 IC RCA
Decware CSP3 w/Jupiter Caps (NOS/Platinum/Telefunken 6922/CCa/7308 for input tube)
Kimber Select KS1030 IC RCA
Decware Zen Mystery Amplifier (NOS/Platinum/Matsushita / National PCC88 / 7DJ8 in A12 an B12 inputs)
Kimber Select KS3033 Speaker Cable
Vintage Polk SDA1 Speakers in Stereo (91db)
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!



*****Decware ERRx Speaker's coming in 3 to 4 weeks!********

**Acoustic Zen Adagio's x-over's Modded/Full Range with Mundorf MCap Supremes-on Tweets/5 or 10k cross**....should have in a week-finished

*****Pending: UFO MOD to my Decware Super Zen CKC

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« Last Edit: 04/02/15 at 19:15:14 by stone_of_tone »  

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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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Al Harcourt
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Re: ZMA + ERRx
Reply #18 - 04/03/15 at 03:20:49
 
Thank you stone of tone. That was actually going to be my first Decware purchase. Like I mentioned, I'm certainly not head over heals in love with my digital source anyway and I wanted to try this as I knew you could play Hi-Rez formats on it. I have only a foggy idea of what it's all about. But I'm glad to hear that older digital is somewhat improvable.  I don't want to say fixable as I doubt you can fix a bad recording. I am pumped about the prospect of hearing Decware stuff though. Thanks for chiming in, I'm reading it all even though I didn't start this tread. Happy Easter everyone.
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stone_of_tone
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Re: ZMA + ERRx
Reply #19 - 04/03/15 at 15:23:25
 
Oh yeah, don't get me wrong, their is so much retchet' compressed stuff. Especially, 1983 through 1995 recordings. However, with the adjustments above as I mentioned.....you can get closer to the Artists because you're loving the Music....then move on. Just like when, I go out to Live Performances....I leave my Audiophile hat at home an enjoy the Music/Performance.  I also bring my Etymotic Research ear Plugs too!

It is interesting, some nights when I play some reference recordings, from Reference Recordings....Prof Johnson. They so ruin me for the night through my Decware, I can't play anything else that evening.....it can't measure up.

Happy Easter.
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« Last Edit: 04/03/15 at 15:31:52 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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Al Harcourt
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Re: ZMA + ERRx
Reply #20 - 04/03/15 at 20:50:03
 
I have a Nat King Cole recording from I think the 50's and it is just unbelievable how real sounding it is. To say he sounds like he is in the room with you doesn't go near far enough. I have other stuff that is so bad, it is difficult to believe someone would actually sell it. I remember some vinyl sounding better then other vinyl but not to this extent. So certainly if this DAC is adjustable, for lack of a better word, I'm interested. I wanted to try some hi-rez recordings anyway, so this is perfect.  
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