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NEW Decware ZTPRE Preamp (Read 40910 times)
Lonely Raven
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Re: New Decware Preamp
Reply #100 - 01/05/16 at 16:36:47
 

Looks like I may have to come by for a visit soon, huh Steve?

Keep a Monday Night open for me (since I can't do Tuesday's anymore - I have to drive 150  miles to let the dog out!)

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lLance
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Re: New Decware Preamp
Reply #101 - 01/05/16 at 22:01:38
 
Lucky for me I already have balanced inputs on my ZMA, so count me in. I want one.
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Lon
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Re: New Decware Preamp
Reply #102 - 01/05/16 at 22:28:21
 
Looks like a great preamp. Would be inconvenient for me too as I am not set up for balanced input and output and as the interconnects that work for me are expensive, I'm not about to get a ZBit and new interconnects, etc.

The CSP2+ works really well for me for my ZP3 and universal player, and running my DirectStream straight into my Torii gives me sound I never dreamed I'd have, so I'm standing pat. But this would be a great link between ZDSD and ZMA so see why it's developed and predict it will be a stunner in the sound quality department.
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stone_of_tone
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Re: New Decware Preamp
Reply #103 - 01/07/16 at 16:14:25
 
I came back to my senses! My P3 Powerplant and Shunyata Alpha digital powercord are back in the System. Nice experiment without...but glad I'm done with that and they are both back in.

No further ventures down the rabbit hole for me. I'm done splitting HARE'S (get it).   Grin Grin  I don't need all the connectivity of the new Pre. Plus, the expense of an Kimber Select XLR IC and sending my ZMA to Steve, for Balanced Input upgrade.

The cost of the new Pre, ZMA Balanced upgrade and IC ($4 to $6000.00), buys a whole lot of NOS Tubes and Music!

I just put my Cryo'ed Pair of NOS Platinum Ediswans back in my CSP3 Outputs (I've been A-B-A'in), running into a Pair of Edi's for Inputs of my ZMA = Magic Heaven!







Listening Room:



Room Treatments from Michael Green & Home Brew

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Illuminati D-60 Digital Coax IC

Shunyata Research Zitron 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)
{also @ kept/-20 Ref Level & -.5db Input volume Level}


WBT-0102Ag RCA Kimber Select KS1030

Decware CSP3 w/Jupiter Caps
(NOS/Platinum/Telefunken 6922/E88CC for Input Tube~6N1P-EV's for Output Tubes & 5U4G-C Rectifier)
****************************************************
10 of 10 for Input tube & 8 of 10 voltage for Output tubes
Volume adjustment usage at 25% to 50% of usable volume
****************************************************

WBT-0102Ag RCA Kimber Select KS1030

Decware Zen Mystery Amplifier
~BIASED at 52 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 25% to 35% of usable volume

***************************************************
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/120 ~ Multiwave off...ZMA on High Current Output)
***************************************************************************

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

*Also: Cryoset 6N23N-EB's, rotated in and out of Inputs/ZMA*

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 out into ZMA Inputs with Ediswan's = revelatory!
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« Last Edit: 01/08/16 at 14:38:38 by stone_of_tone »  

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stone_of_tone
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Re: New Decware Preamp
Reply #104 - 01/08/16 at 16:03:15
 
My macro point above is: The CSP3 with JUP' Caps, Steve's topology, NOS Tubes and great Cables do it so well/I'm set in my Listening Room.

However, we/I know how good this new ZTPRE is going to be. In a couple years, I hope to have it in my downstairs Rig, running from Source, to ZTPRE and Solid State Amplifier.....all BALANCED. My mighty Polk SRS SDA 1.2's deserve it!

Yeah, I'm going down a new rabbit hole in the Spring. It should be fun because I have a Ref Decware System upstairs to compare it to. I will be over-hauling the X-over's in my 1.2's.
http://vr3mods.com/LCSDAUpgrade.php



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« Last Edit: 01/08/16 at 16:38:43 by stone_of_tone »  

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maddog07
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Re: New Decware Preamp
Reply #105 - 01/08/16 at 21:49:05
 
I thought I read in some preliminary notes from Steve on the new pre, that he was considering offering it with balanced and single-ended outputs, but something about they couldn't both be used at the same time.  Anybody else remembering this?  

In my current configuration, I use single-ended outputs from my preamp to my Torii and a balanced output from the same preamp to my sub amp.  I need both balanced & single-ended outputs on a preamp, and the ability to use both at the same time.
 
I don't know "how" or "if" (or if it would be recommended by the Zenmaster and/or performance degrading) it will be possible to use the balanced outputs of this preamp to drive the single-ended inputs of an amplifier.  
I have simply shorted pins 3 and 1 together of the XLR on one end of an IC and then connect the wire on pin 2 of the XLR to the center pin of the RCA, and the other conductor in the IC between the joined pin 1/pin 3 pair of the XLR to the ground/barrel of the RCA.  I've done this numerous times over the last few decades - never had an "electrical" problem.  Did it cause a sonic degradation - who knows?  
Cardas and some others, even offer xlr-to-rca adapters.....
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stone_of_tone
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Re: New Decware Preamp
Reply #106 - 01/11/16 at 17:31:21
 
Yes, I modified a pair of XLR connector's, to run balanced out of my Auralic Vega to my unbalanced CSP3. Like you said, you have been doing it for years maddog.

However, with the new ZTPRE, I would want to go purist on this and send my ZMA to Steve for the XLR Inputs. If I needed to run three Sources (one single ended and two balanced) in my Listening Room...I would send my ZMA in for it.

But.....I'm so pleased with my CSP3 unbalanced/NOS Tubes/Kimber Select.....and I want to put some $ in to the X-overs of my Polk 1.2's downstairs. I'm good.

I just bumped my CSP3 up to 9 of 10 Output (27 volts)....P3 Power Plant to 122 Output/Regenerated for the whole front end. Wahooooooooo!

I put my ZMA Biased back up to 60 mA too ~ much better when running my Ediswan's.
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« Last Edit: 01/11/16 at 20:26:53 by stone_of_tone »  

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Steve Deckert
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Re: New Decware Preamp
Reply #107 - 01/21/16 at 06:03:04
 
It is going to kick some serious ass...

I just spent the last hour writing a full length update with pictures. It was great. Then I decided to add one more picture. The computer got an attitude, and I don't take shit from computers. So after trying everything to fix the semi locked up file manager I decided to reboot the machine.  Hah!  Showed it. Sadly I forgot to post the damn post. Dammit. &(#*$^*%^, whoops did that slip out? I know this has happened to more than one of you on this forum so I feel your pain. ()*#&%(*&^%$(#^$(@*& dag namit.
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Steve Deckert
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Re: New Decware Preamp
Reply #108 - 01/21/16 at 06:04:34
 
It's actually completely consistent with the day I've had today.  OK deep breath, lets get a beer and a shot and see what that does.

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Steve Deckert
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Re: New Decware Preamp
Reply #109 - 01/21/16 at 06:20:39
 
OK, Let's see if I can get it back from the hyper-sphere it vanished into.

Another Update!

I have finally completed the second unit and have made it black. The first unit was red. The only difference between these two units is that the black unit has one of it's three inputs converted to a transformer coupled, isolated, RCA input so that the ZTPRE can optionally be used with non-balanced sources.

As you know, a lot rides on the second unit because it tells you if the success of your first unit was a fluke or a repeatable reality. As karma has sometimes a generosity about it, I built this one perfect the first time without having to change or adjust anything. That in and of itself is somewhat rare but nonetheless very nice when it happens. And so far the testing shows the expected result so I would have to say everything is going perfect.




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Steve Deckert
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Re: New Decware Preamp
Reply #110 - 01/21/16 at 07:12:51
 
As you can see, I do learn some things quickly, so I am posting this in multiple parts to cut the father Murphy losses to a minimum. And now that alcohol is involved it only seems wise.

So tonight I am casually testing it here on the bench to get a feel for the success or failure of the unbalanced RCA input options.



From near to far is input 1, the transformer coupled RCA jack, followed by the balanced XLR, followed by the second balanced XLR which is using a shunt RCA to XLR adapter. The last jack is the XLR balanced output. The small knob following that is the output level adjust.

It should be noted that to drive an unbalanced amp, like the SE84UFO that is being used for this test, a ZBIT is used to convert the balanced output from the  ZTPRE to a transformer coupled single ended RCA input for the amp.  If your primary source is an unbalanced RCA input, then you could use the shunt XLR to RCA adapter to drive your unbalanced amp, so there are options.  

Understand that the ZTPRE is two CSP3 circuits used to create a balanced preamp. Using a shunt RCA to XLR adapter on the inputs or a shunt XLR to RCA adapter on the outputs disables one of the two CSP3 circuits, so you may as well use a CSP3 at less than half the cost.

The comparison then becomes prior mentioned approach against using the transformer coupled RCA inputs in place of a shunt RCA to XLR adapter. Then at the same time if you are using a non-balanced amp such as the SE84UFO, you would use our ZBIT which is a single ended RCA unbalanced to XLR balanced transformer hooked between the balanced outputs of the ZTPRE and the non-balanced inputs on the SE84UFO.

The later is the clear winner sound wise, but if it is worth the additional costs will have to be shaken out in the wash.  

I have been using my tape machine as the source since it has both single ended and balanced outputs. The single ended are the result of the playback heads being directly wired to a modified ZP3 where the RIAA curve is switched out for either NAB or IEC tape curves. As you may know know the ZP3 phono stage has single ended RCA outputs. The balanced XLR outputs of the tape machine are from it's own solid state electronics.  This lets me do ABC comparisons on the three inputs of the ZTPRE.

The results of these comparisons are interesting.  I thought I would hate the shunt adapters on either input or output, but they sound great.  The transformer coupled RCA input sounds better as expected which is a good thing for people wanting to step up their non-balanced sources to true transformer balanced sources.












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Steve Deckert
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Re: New Decware Preamp
Reply #111 - 01/21/16 at 07:30:12
 
I have also been testing the remote volume controls. I apparently got the angle of the hole for sensor correct as both units have a nearly 180 degree angle of operation with the remotes. (I thought the first one may have been a fluke, but apparently not).

My original plan was to have owners of the ZTPRE simply program one of their own universal remotes to control the volume on the ZTPRE.  This way people who hate having too many remotes on the table will not associate the ZTPRE with yet another remote so the control circuits have been designed with that in mind. To make the process painless a functional but cheap remote is supplied that will control the ZTPRE out of the box, and can be used to train your universal remote with little effort.

So see if this is really a good idea, I have ordered several universal learning remotes to see how easy they are to program.  If it becomes a hit and miss situation then I will be upgrading the supplied remote to a unit that would make training an existing remote completely optional. I'll know more about that in a few weeks.



Having built two of these so far I am getting an idea how long it takes (me) to build one. Now I will show my guys how to build it and then see how long it takes them so I can see what the labor costs will be. Once that happens I'll know the price of the ZTPRE and you'll see things kick into high gear.



I have more to add but the beer and the shot have decided it will have to wait Wink

Steve



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« Last Edit: 01/21/16 at 17:59:23 by Steve Deckert »  
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stone_of_tone
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Re: New Decware Preamp
Reply #112 - 01/21/16 at 18:06:03
 
Very nice Steve.

What I want to do:

Run the Balanced Outputs of my ZDSD
(will it equal your great RCA output transformer's I'm running right now?)

to

Balanced Inputs of ZTPRE

Balanced Outputs of ZTPRE

to

Balanced Inputs on/in Zen Triode Integrated (Rachel) UFO

...you can do balanced inputs on the SE84UFO2....why not the Rachel UFO?

While I'm enjoying Pentodes run in Triode once again with the Rachel and ZTPRE all Balanced....I'll send my ZMA to you for XLR/Jansen Inputs.

Having great all Balanced ZMA/UL and all Balanced Rachel UFO/Pentodes run in Triode again....from you would = bliss/rotating my XLR ZMA with my XLR Rachel UFO.

But then, I should have my head examined. I have great cabling and speakers with your Pre and ZMA. I'm going to stick with 6922 NOS Tube Rolling.  .... My System already is Musical  Bliss.
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« Last Edit: 01/22/16 at 04:44:30 by stone_of_tone »  

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Steve Deckert
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Re: New Decware Preamp
Reply #113 - 01/23/16 at 19:45:43
 
Hi Stone,

Rachael doesn't have provisions in the chassis for the XLR jacks or the transformers. We recommend the ZBIT to achieve the exact same result but with greater flexibility.

http://www.decware.com/newsite/ZBIT.html



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Steve Deckert
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Re: New Decware Preamp
Reply #114 - 01/23/16 at 19:48:38
 
A shot of the ZTPRE with lights on...





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Steve Deckert
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Re: New Decware Preamp
Reply #115 - 01/23/16 at 19:49:06
 
And a shot of the ZTPRE with lights off..



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Re: New Decware Preamp
Reply #116 - 01/23/16 at 20:47:34
 
I think if I would get one of these I would make myself a new aluminum face plate and polish it out.
Though a red face plate would go with my Torii. Fickle ain't I?
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stone_of_tone
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Re: New Decware Preamp
Reply #117 - 01/24/16 at 15:54:11
 
Steve, yes thanks, the ZBIT is a strong possibility. The ZTPRE is beautiful.

Donnie, yes, I would get the Red Faceplate, to go with my Red Mallory Caps. Your Red Torii is cool, man.
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Re: New Decware Preamp
Reply #118 - 01/26/16 at 02:41:54
 
I have some preliminary pricing on the ZTPRE balanced preamp.

The standard version will start at $1995.00 in either red or black and with either silver or black knobs.  
On the other end and with everything you can possibly do to it, it will come in at $4035.00

Steve Smiley
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maddog07
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Re: New Decware Preamp
Reply #119 - 01/26/16 at 16:58:52
 
OK... I've got to ask, surprised somebody else hasn't already, but what "options" can a person add to the new Pre to more than double it's starting price?

  • I assume an RCA input with a Jensen transformer is an extra cost "option", and
  • a stepped attenuator (which deletes remote control I assume)

what's the rest of the $2040 in option upgrades?
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Lon
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Re: New Decware Preamp
Reply #120 - 01/26/16 at 17:08:10
 
My guess is that "standard" the preamp does not include an expensive remote option. . . and that a large part of "fully loaded" cost is the remote option.
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Re: New Decware Preamp
Reply #121 - 01/26/16 at 17:38:49
 
standard model features 1 pair of inputs with regular volume controls.

stepped attenuators  $200 option
remote volume controls $500 option
input selector with 3 pair of inputs $500 option
jensen transformer coupled RCA inputs (1 pair) $500 option
updating to beeswax copper foil caps  $740 option
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Re: New Decware Preamp
Reply #122 - 01/26/16 at 18:26:21
 
standard model only has one input?

so if I want the following options (which I assume none are mutually exclusive):
 $500 - remote
 $500 - 3 inputs
 $500 - 1 transformer RCA input of the 3 inputs
 $740 - Jupiter Beeswax caps
$2240 - total options

$1995 - base price
$4235 - total price (base + options)

am I correct?



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« Last Edit: 01/26/16 at 18:38:07 by maddog07 »  

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Re: New Decware Preamp
Reply #123 - 01/27/16 at 03:22:14
 
Can you tell us about the power supply for this preamp and why no tube rectifiers in this design? Why not a two chassis design? Is it just as quiet or better than a csp3?
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Re: New Decware Preamp
Reply #124 - 01/30/16 at 01:58:36
 
+1  my CSP3 is very quiet and I would expect as much from a balanced pre
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Re: New Decware Preamp
Reply #125 - 02/02/16 at 03:06:29
 
Hi Maddog07,

Yes, that's right.

Busterfree,

The ZTPRE used separate toroidal power supplies for each channel's high voltage and two more for each channels heater supplies. The reason quick recovery bridge diodes are chosen was to increase the capacitors from 47uf to 250uf for an even lower noise floor.  The combination of toroidal transformers and larger capacitors and superior layout drives the performance well above the CSP3 which is itself nearly flawless.  

Steve
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Re: New Decware Preamp
Reply #126 - 02/02/16 at 03:09:28
 

I should also mention that with the balanced preamp, it is impossible to have a ground loop. So basically it is impossible to make this preamp hum unless you feed it hum from your source.

Steve  :)
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New Decware Preamp model ZTPRE
Reply #127 - 02/10/16 at 03:59:59
 

I have updated the ZTPRE page with a picture of the internal layout.

http://www.decware.com/newsite/comingsoon.html

Steve
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Re: New Decware Preamp
Reply #128 - 02/14/16 at 00:06:58
 
Will you be offering balanced XLR cables to use with ZTPRE or ZBIT? Or recommend an online offering that is not ridiculously priced?
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Re: New Decware Preamp
Reply #129 - 02/15/16 at 00:28:55
 
Both of the cable designs we offer for unbalanced use can not be adapted to balanced, so if we do come out with a balanced cable it will have to be something new.  Time will tell.  Meanwhile, you can find decent sounding balanced XLR cables at bettercables.com for a reasonable price.

Steve
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Re: New Decware Preamp
Reply #130 - 03/03/16 at 06:35:27
 
Maddog07, does your sub have high level inputs?  I like that alternative to a coaxial since it voices your sub to your regular amp. If they're voiced the same, it doesn't matter as much, but if your amp is tubed, those two will sound different.

High level inputs allow all of the nice things that your normal amp does transfer to your low frequency as well.  Then you only need to worry about matching the phase of your soundwaves.

Hope that helps.
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Re: New Decware Preamp
Reply #131 - 03/07/16 at 23:55:06
 
Sorry RW82... I'm just now seeing this.  The Decware "notification" hasn't worked for me, for years.  Nor can I send an email to Decware - they're server rejects everything from my ISP's domain as spam apparently.  Had a discussion with Steve about this, just a couple of weeks ago.

Anyway.... to answer your question.  That depends.. I have "subs" with high-level(speaker) and line-level(RCA) inputs.  But... I'm not using them with my modified Hawthorne Trio's, which have Audio Nirvana drivers in place of the Hawthorne coaxial driver.  The Audio Nirvana's are driven by my Torii.  "When" I'm using a preamp(one of four I have at the moment), all my preamps have multiple sets of outputs.  I use a set of outputs from the preamp to drive the Torii, and a set to drive an external xover, which is then connected to a Crown XLS-2500 to drive all 4 Augie's.
I also have a DAC with a volume control, that has RCA and XLR outputs as well, so I can drive the Torii directly and either the external xover or the Crown without a preamp in the chain.  Of course I've tried this to see how it sounds - a bit different for sure - but better?  Who knows - mostly just different.  Ultimately I prefer using my tube preamp between sources and my amps/xover.  Tube rolling there just adds another degree of tune-ability, which I just can't resist.  The tube pre also adds dynamics and drive that I don't get without it.  I think this is due to Steve's explanation of how to tune a system's sound by running gain differently.  I typically run my Torii's stepped attenuator at about 50% or one click lower.  Then I'm running my preamp higher(more voltage) which seems to noticeably liven up the sound.  Phase matching hasn't proven to be a problem with this setup.  All the components "state" they do not invert phase.  But, being a fanatic, I of course had to hook the Augie's and Nirvana's up out of relative phase from each other, just to see what I would hear.  There was no doubt "something" was wrong from the first note played - back to wired in same relative phase.

I have experienced, and always in the past like you mention, drove my powered subs via their speaker-level inputs from the speaker binding posts of the amp driving my mid/high driver/s.  I had always found this to work/sound the best.  Until.........

However... with the OB's I'm listening to these days, I have found that the Augie's blend perfectly with the Audio Nirvana drivers, using the external xover and Crown amp - as good as I've ever heard so far.

I did try a speaker to line-level converter box and drove it with the Torii and then out of the converter to the Crown.  There was a detectable difference between this method and the external xover method.  However, once again, I found I prefer the preamp to external xover to amp connection method by a notable margin.  Not sure why this might be, except that the external xover I use has more "adjustable parameters" that may be allowing me to dial it in better than just running speaker-level inputs off the Torii, thru the step-down converter, to the Crown.  I tried using the Crown's built-in xover too.  And for whatever reason, I did not like the sound this way as good as when using the external xover.  So I run the Crown in full-range stereo mode and do the low-pass ahead of it with the external xover.  I have no real explanation for this - just that at this point, after 35+ years of chasing the audio holy grail - I have finally learned to trust my ears and not worry about "theory".  If it sounds real, to my ears, then it's good...!!!  ;D

If you check in the Pro-sound world a bit, you will find a very common device, called a DI box(direct input box) - sometimes called an active direct box and other various names.  These take high-level signals, like from a guitar amp, and reduce them down to a lower level, usually a microphone input on a mixer.  There are some really nice ones out there.  I even found one that uses Jensen Transformers to create the balanced output signal from the high level input signal.  As you know, transformers are Zenmaster Steve's favorite way to balance or unbalance a signal.......
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Re: New Decware Preamp
Reply #132 - 03/08/16 at 01:00:16
 
Haha.  Yup! Your setup is way more complicated than I am used to!  Sounds  like you've got things tuned just like you want them!

I have been working to simplify my system a little bit at a time.  I finally took the plunge and boxed up my subwoofer after holding onto it like a security blanket for the past couple of years! It gave a better low-end slam for sure, but it bothered me a bit.  I think that was because the phase of my speakers and the sub were just slightly misaligned.  Some subs will allow corrections at any angle between 0º and 180º, mine only did one or the other. It seemed to muddy the bass.  

Now I am down to just the Torii, a ZStage, and Steve's DM947's. No crossovers, no sub. Simple life.   Smiley
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Re: New Decware Preamp
Reply #133 - 03/15/16 at 01:44:21
 
The ZTPRE is now online and we are taking orders.  The page is however not yet public.  People on our customer appreciation list have been notified and now the forum.  The introductory price is only planned to last through the fist 25 units, so we wanted to give the greater Decware family first dibs at it.  So far I think we have 8 units sold.  We'll wait another week for any interested forum visitors to place an order then we'll officially add it to the web site's product menu.

http://www.decware.com/newsite/ZTPRE.html


Steve
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Re: New Decware Preamp
Reply #134 - 03/15/16 at 02:02:16
 
Every time I see this preamp in red, it reminds me of a Ferrari Dino V6 engine.
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Re: New Decware Preamp
Reply #135 - 03/16/16 at 00:17:47
 
That volume control is super cool!  Steve, I think you've really outdid yourself on the design of form vs function and found a perfect balance.  Nothing superfluous, simple clean and understated ~ yet elegant IMO.

Couple more questions Steve when you get a chance:

1. So what's the deal with the unbalanced/RCA inputs ... if I wanted to hook up an external unbalanced phono stage (say the ZP3 or something similar), do I need to use a ZSTAGE with it?

2. What happens if you have more than 2 unbalanced sources?  

In my case, I have (1) balanced DAC (can be used either balanced/unbalanced), (1) unbalanced Turntable and (1) unbalanced DAC (this 2nd DAC is hooked up to my cable box so I can watch TV in 2.1 channel audio system).  FYI, the reason I never bought a CSP3 was the lack of more than 2 inputs and lack of remote.

3. Just out of curiosity ... can it come in any other colored face plates?  A wooden face plate that matches the amp bases (Walnut, Cherry, etc.) would look pretty cool too.  But really digging the anodized aluminum as well.
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« Last Edit: 03/16/16 at 23:56:25 by beowulf »  
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Re: New Decware Preamp
Reply #136 - 03/19/16 at 02:13:34
 
Hi Beowulf,

Quote:
1. So what's the deal with the unbalanced/RCA inputs ... if I wanted to hook up an external unbalanced phono stage (say the ZP3 or something similar), do I need to use a ZSTAGE with it?


Yes, it is recommended to use a ZSTAGE with the ZP3 in this case to get the output level up to match your other balanced inputs.  I have used it without, but you find yourself having to turn the volume up nearly all the way and if that's all it was I probably wouldn't worry about it, but when I stuck in the ZSTAGE my turntable started kicking some real ass.

Quote:
2. What happens if you have more than 2 unbalanced sources?  


If you have more than 1 unbalanced source get a switch box.

Quote:
3. Just out of curiosity ... can it come in any other colored face plates?  A wooden face plate that matches the amp bases (Walnut, Cherry, etc.) would look pretty cool too.  But really digging the anodized aluminum as well.


Nope, just what you see.  Black goes with everything Wink
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Re: NEW Decware ZTPRE Preamp
Reply #137 - 04/04/16 at 04:27:52
 
The ZTPRE is now online at the following link: http://www.decware.com/newsite/ZTPRE.html

So far I think there are 6 or 8 sold so far, so the introductory price is still in effect.  Listening to the ZTPRE driving a ZMA tonight and the sound is pretty amazing.  The ZMA is using N.O.S. 807 tubes with adapters and I'm not sure it's ever sounded better.

Steve

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Re: NEW Decware ZTPRE Preamp
Reply #138 - 06/04/16 at 03:05:06
 
The owner's manual is now available at the following link:


http://www.decware.com/newsite/ztpreowner.pdf


Steve

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Re: NEW Decware ZTPRE Preamp
Reply #139 - 06/09/16 at 00:06:13
 
Couple things I've been wondering about the ZTPRE:

1. If you get the remote option ~ are the stepped attenuators still available/included?

2. (I've asked something similar, but this is another way I am looking at it).  If you have an unbalanced source such as the ZP3 ~ would it be better to get the unbalanced option on the ZTPRE (since you would still need a ZSTAGE with it) or get a ZBIT and keep the ZTPRE all balanced (or does the ZBIT even work that way/direction)?

Thanks!
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Re: NEW Decware ZTPRE Preamp
Reply #140 - 07/28/16 at 07:01:35
 
Can anyone who's heard one of these report what you think about it?  I'm very interested to find out how it sounds!
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Re: NEW Decware ZTPRE Preamp
Reply #141 - 08/06/16 at 02:42:49
 
Great questions!

If you get the remote option the volume controls are alps carbon composition pots which are infinitely adjustable.  Remote control stepped attenuators are not an option on this model.

If you have a ZP3 and wanted to use it with this preamp, you pretty much have to either use an RCA to XLR adapter or set up the preamp with the transformer coupled RCA input.  That's basically a backwards ZBIT.  Using the RCA input option, the ZTPRE still remains fully balanced.  Using the adapter it does not.

Steve
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Re: NEW Decware ZTPRE Preamp
Reply #142 - 08/20/16 at 18:23:42
 
It's almost time for this year's Decfest, which reminded me of last year when I let everyone see the chassis of a ZTPRE.  I didn't have time to assemble one before the fest, so everyone got to look at it.  

This year everyone attending (and those listening to the feed) will get to actually hear it Smiley

Repeat after me:  "the ZTPRE is for me, the ZTPRE is for me, the ZTPRE is for me..."  [smiley=10.gif]
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Re: NEW Decware ZTPRE Preamp
Reply #143 - 08/22/16 at 01:25:17
 
You know, I'd love to get a ZTPRE but everything I have at the moment is unbalanced.  I'd have to get adapters of some kind for just about everything.  I mean, I could but the ZPTRE and build up everything else around it, right?
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Re: NEW Decware ZTPRE Preamp
Reply #144 - 08/22/16 at 04:10:06
 
If your sources are unbalanced, the ZTPRE is no different than a CSP3 except in looks and price.  If however you have balanced sources with unbalanced amps, then the sonic benefit of using the ZTPRE in conjunction with a ZBIT for your unbalanced amplifier is usually worth the trouble and expense.

Steve
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Re: NEW Decware ZTPRE Preamp
Reply #145 - 08/22/16 at 05:58:41
 
Steve, I am using a system that sounds its best when used in a balanced configuration. It is very neutral but absolutely brutal to mediocre and poor recordings. I keep a ZStage in my audio chain for a splash of warmth.

I would like to use my system in a balanced configuration, but I don't want to lose that ever so important 'second harmonic.' Does the ZTPRE warm things up a little like the ZStage, or is it voiced for a more neutral presentation?
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Re: NEW Decware ZTPRE Preamp
Reply #146 - 10/13/16 at 17:22:05
 
Hi..i am a new user here. As per my knowledge the preamp is going to be a balanced circuit using two CSP3 circuits, one for the push and one for the pull.  So that's 3 dual triode tubes per channel. This way the signature of the preamp maintains the tried and true sonic merits of a CSP3.  Think of it as a CSP3 on steroids.There will likely be an option for wireless remote control of the volume.
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Re: NEW Decware ZTPRE Preamp
Reply #147 - 10/29/17 at 20:52:12
 
Steve says a few posts above, "If however you have balanced sources with unbalanced amps, then the sonic benefit of using the ZTPRE in conjunction with a ZBIT for your unbalanced amplifier is usually worth the trouble and expense."

It's not an inconsiderable expense, but in my case yes, it was really worth it! The ZTPRE is THE preamp for me.
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Re: NEW Decware ZTPRE Preamp
Reply #148 - 10/31/17 at 00:40:48
 
Steve, do you think this thread would be better placed in the ZTPRE forum?
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Re: NEW Decware ZTPRE Preamp
Reply #149 - 10/31/17 at 19:20:44
 
Indeed, thank-you... consider it moved!
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