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ZMA v Torii MKIV (Read 4245 times)
RW82
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ZMA v Torii MKIV
10/17/15 at 02:40:24
 
A question to the group: Will someone who has heard both the ZMA and the Torii Mk IV  do some comparing and contrasting of the two? I know that the Torii has a more complex signature than the ZMA.   What I am specifically interested in though is how the Zen handles bass.  Is the bass more controlled, less controlled, warmer, cooler, the same?  

Are there any other differences that you've noticed?  Any input would be appreciated. Thanks.
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beowulf
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Re: ZMA v Torii MKIV
Reply #1 - 10/19/15 at 06:24:42
 
Hi RW82, there are some comparisons within the 2015 Decfest thread here:

It's 5 pages to weed through, but there is good feedback and observations for both components individually and in comparison.
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jsm71
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Re: ZMA v Torii MKIV
Reply #2 - 10/21/15 at 15:37:46
 
I started out with the Torii IV and upgraded to the ZMA in order to get that extra oomph my 87 dB speakers needed.  Even though the Torii had controls that supposedly made a difference in the tonal balance, I found any difference almost impossible to detect and my speakers reveal everything.  The ZMA as you may know has no such controls and what you get is what the source provides.

I feel the ZMA's tonal balance is superb.  If your source has heavy bass you get it, if not you don't.  I also haven't strayed from the stock tubes and have no desire to.  The ZMA right out of the box is wonderful sonically.  

I'm about 95% vinyl in my listening and many older records simply don't have that much bass.  CDs on the other hand, seem to provide more bass output across a greater number of recordings.  My vinyl versions of Beck's Morning Phase and David Crosby' s Croz records both have nice doses of synth bass throughout and the ZMA really serves that up.  My speakers are flat to 30 Hz and will dip into the 20s and these bass notes put a smile on my face.

Naturally I have a few CDs that reach way down as well and the ZMA doesn't seem to limit that at all.  I hope that helps.  The ZMA is simply a great amp.  It's power supply no doubt helps this delivery.    
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RW82
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Re: ZMA v Torii MKIV
Reply #3 - 10/21/15 at 15:39:51
 
Did you find that the ZMA was thin compared to the Mk IV?.  I have the IV now.
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jsm71
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Re: ZMA v Torii MKIV
Reply #4 - 10/21/15 at 18:53:14
 
I don't think there is anything is either amp's topology that makes it sound thin or thick.  The Torii does have the minor controls to tailor the frequency balance slightly.  A bigger determinant IMO is the choice of tubes.  I preferred KT66s in the Torii over the EL34s and I run KT66s in the ZMA.  I felt the EL34s sounded ever so muffled and not as balanced across all frequencies.  The KT66s brought balance, better dynamics, and firmer bass in the Torii.  Just my opinion.

I still have the EL34s but I'll admit I've never tried them in the ZMA.  I like the stock sound so much with the KT66s and I'm simply not that curious to try the others.  I know that likely lowers my audiophile status some, but I'm ok with that.  I will give them a go one of these days.

The ZMA really doesn't have a sonic character IMO.  It is amazingly neutral.  It really is up to what the source's recording balance brings.

To be fair in my assessment I need to tell you I run a Cary SLP-98P tube preamp.  I have rolled different tubes in that a fair bit to what I have in place today.  I'm running all quality NOS which has improved the sound quality over the stock tubes quite a bit.  Any preamp will "color" the sound somewhat and I've gone with tubes that seem to give me the best clarity and transparency, while trying to keep the tonal balance neutral.  My measuring stick is my best classical recordings and live bi-amped club vocals.  If they sound real, I've got things right.  IMO all studio recordings are up to the engineer's liking.  He has that control.

I have played with my CD player both going direct into the ZMA as well as through the preamp.  I prefer going through the preamp.  It seems to add some dynamics while taking some of digital edge off the sound.  It doesn't alter the sound as much as it makes it seem higher quality.  Hard to explain.  It reduces listener fatigue.

I'll say again either amp's sound is a function of which tubes you use.  I do prefer the ZMA however.  It's design brings a higher quality sound, better transparency, and better dynamics.  A friend who had a Torii III convinced me to go Decware in the first place.  I have to say I found I liked the Torii IV less than the III.  Hard to really say why.  The ZMA is still on top of both.  My opinions are of course worth what they cost. Grin

Edit:  I'm not sure I answered your question.  No, I in no way feel the ZMA sounds thin.  The sound quality is very high.  Liquid transparency.  So not Solid State.
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« Last Edit: 10/21/15 at 18:59:26 by jsm71 »  

Decware ZMA, Cary SLP-98P preamp, JansZen zA2.1 speakers with JansZen speaker cables, Marantz TT 15S1 turntable, Lyra Delos MC with Bobs Devices SUT, Marantz SA8004 SACD/CD player, Morrow level 4 ICs, Decware and Shunyata PCs.
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RW82
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Re: ZMA v Torii MKIV
Reply #5 - 10/21/15 at 19:16:49
 
That's really helpful.  

I am wanting a MKIV with more bass punch.  I really enjoy the MKIV now, but I wish it had just a little more slam.  Just a bit more dynamic and tactile I guess.  I do enjoy the slightly warm signature my system has though.  I've measured it, and it definitely does have additional harmonics in there.  Anyway...

Thanks for answering!
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jsm71
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Re: ZMA v Torii MKIV
Reply #6 - 10/21/15 at 21:18:30
 
Which tube type are you running?  If you are using the EL34s putting in a set of Tung Sol KT66s will give you a little more punch and presence.  Otherwise stepping up to the ZMA would be a move you wouldn't regret.
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Decware ZMA, Cary SLP-98P preamp, JansZen zA2.1 speakers with JansZen speaker cables, Marantz TT 15S1 turntable, Lyra Delos MC with Bobs Devices SUT, Marantz SA8004 SACD/CD player, Morrow level 4 ICs, Decware and Shunyata PCs.
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RW82
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Re: ZMA v Torii MKIV
Reply #7 - 10/22/15 at 00:56:51
 
So I am using Amperex 7308's and Gold Lion Reissue KT66's.  I am also using a Brimar rectifier, which may be the single most coloring tube in the amp, though I have no idea why.

Steve's Z-stage was important too.  It puts a lot of definition into the recordings.  I think of it as being similar to the "contrast" slider in your iPhone or Photoshop.  Similar to like what you describe with your pre-amp.  

Sadly, I also use a Klipsch sub through the high-level inputs so it matches the sound of the other speakers.  I keep it turned down quite a lot.  It just gives the needed kick in the 30-40 Hz region.
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jsm71
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Posts: 134
Re: ZMA v Torii MKIV
Reply #8 - 10/22/15 at 12:27:33
 
When I had the Torii IV I also upgraded tubes.  I liked a pair of NOS Telefunfen 6922s and Philips rectifiers.  I hadn't gotten around to trying output tubes.  My ZMA was ready so I stopped the swapping.  It sounds like you have some nice tube selections and I agree the z-stage will be similar to running a tube preamp.  I'm not sure you can do anything more with the Torii at this point.  Enjoy.

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Decware ZMA, Cary SLP-98P preamp, JansZen zA2.1 speakers with JansZen speaker cables, Marantz TT 15S1 turntable, Lyra Delos MC with Bobs Devices SUT, Marantz SA8004 SACD/CD player, Morrow level 4 ICs, Decware and Shunyata PCs.
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stone_of_tone
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Re: ZMA v Torii MKIV
Reply #9 - 10/22/15 at 17:21:37
 
jsm71 wrote:
"To be fair in my assessment I need to tell you I run a Cary SLP-98P tube preamp.  I have rolled different tubes in that a fair bit to what I have in place today.  I'm running all quality NOS which has improved the sound quality over the stock tubes quite a bit.  Any preamp will "color" the sound somewhat and I've gone with tubes that seem to give me the best clarity and transparency, while trying to keep the tonal balance neutral.  My measuring stick is my best classical recordings and live bi-amped club vocals.  If they sound real, I've got things right.  IMO all studio recordings are up to the engineer's liking.  He has that control".

The ZMA is incredible.

So well put jsm! My Tele' and Ediswans in the right places and my System as a whole.....I've faced the facts....I'm done. Just enjoy the MUSIC!






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Decware ZDSD DAC / Recorder (@ -20 Ref Level, 0.0 Input volume and @ 16/192)
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WBT-0102Ag RCA Kimber Select KS1030
Decware CSP3 w/Jupiter Caps (NOS/Platinum/Telefunken 6922/E88CC .....for Input Tube)
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10 of 10 for Input tube & 8 of 10 voltage for Output tubes
Volume adjustment used at 0 to 50%
**********************************************
WBT-0102Ag RCA Kimber Select KS1030

Decware Zen Mystery Amplifier
***NOS/Platinum/Ediswan's CV2492/6922 in my A12 an B12 positions***
ZMA adjusted at 50% to 90% of Volume

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Acoustic Zen Adagio's x-over's Modified/Full Range with Mundorf MCap Supremes-single Cap to each Tweeter/4.5k cross
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« Last Edit: 10/22/15 at 17:22:46 by stone_of_tone »  

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will
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Re: ZMA v Torii MKIV
Reply #10 - 10/22/15 at 19:33:53
 
Quote:
"I really enjoy the MKIV now, but I wish it had just a little more slam.  Just a bit more dynamic and tactile I guess.  I do enjoy the slightly warm signature my system has though.  I've measured it, and it definitely does have additional harmonics in there."

I am getting amazingly real sound from my system with a MKIV and CSP3. Harmonically rich, not slow, nor lacking slam, but I have been playing around a with all the stuff working together to this end. The big thing to solve here with the Torii MKIII and IV was too much bass equalling a thickish/sluggish and/or slightly boomy bass. With some bass traps, but not enough, EQ was the easiest finishing touch for me, lowering important bass areas with narrow notches while bringing up a few others for more bass articulation. By getting rid of excess that the room does not do well with, the bass sounds bigger and faster.

Depending on how bad the problem is, tubes can help a lot. It sounds like wanting more tactile sound and slam being the wishlist, you may be close??? With words like boom and muddle, it would be harder to solve.

With a computer, different software and settings can definitely articulate bass differently as well as allowing for transparent EQ.

And as you suggested, your MKIV tubes are a lot about warmth. I have not heard the Brimar 5R4GY (guessing this tube type?) but have read it is warmer than the Phillips 5R4 I had which I found too dark and thick in the MKIV in my system/room, though I like 5R4GYs.

The Gold Lion KT66 I have liked a lot, but finally moved to more transparent power tubes (Valve Art KT66) especially after getting some Mazda GZ32 (ST shape) which are warmish and have body without being dark or slow. With more open rectifiers, OB3s (less dense and bassy than OA3s) and PCC88 inputs, the GL KT66 were beautiful here...

But...now, I really like the cryo'd Tungsol 6L6G. They were dark at first, but after burnin, they are nice and warm, but also articulate and open, and with less low mid and down darkness and density ... They are interestingly close to the GL in many ways, but, at least here, they do both things you mention being a bit more spacious and articulate, having more sense of immediacy, and the bass being a bit more articulate, it feels/sounds bigger. Depending on everything else, they could help with a faster bottom end as well as having more inner detail and faster leading edges than the GL...not huge, but notable differences here.

Also the American Amperex 7308s, a beautiful sounding tube, warmish, smooth and deep with a little less on the very top... also great inner detail... but perhaps also contributing to your issues. PCC88/7DJ8s tend to have a sense of power and punch similar to 6922 types, but with a little less low bass, more spaciousness and nice texture. Also ECC88/6DJ8s have these tendencies with generally a little less sense of power than 7DJ8s, but not at all always. In my tests just now, may be the area to try something else if you are inclined. The 7308 and an early sixties Valvo 6922 gold pin I just tried are both darker and denser than the late 60's Brimar/Ediswan ECC88/6DJ8s I have been running. By comparison with these the inner detail/spaciousness/detail came up without coolness, and also more articulate, tighter bass....Again, this setting and so on...Also OB3s are pretty inexpensive and may open things just right???

Then I wonder what you are running in the Z-stage. It sounds like you are getting really good qualities from it as is, but I was able to open things up and tighten bass depending on the tube and an open 12AT7s can provide more punch and power than most 12AU7s. I have a 50s Siemens that is gorgeous in the Zstage.

Also vibration can really muddle the bass.

Not having heard it myself, it sounds from others like the Mystery might get you more speed and slam easier, but I know you can get it from the MKIV too depending on everything else.
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« Last Edit: 10/22/15 at 20:14:11 by will »  

PSA P5/modified Brickwall/Shunyata Defender/more; MacMini/Audirvana>Jitterbug/Regen> modified Gustard x20pro DAC; DIY + Pi Audio PCs; DIY ICs + USB; Decware-Jupiter CSP3, Torii MKIV, HR1-all modified; DIY Speaker Cables; feet-Madscientist, Archie's, isocups, DIY
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stone_of_tone
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Re: ZMA v Torii MKIV
Reply #11 - 10/22/15 at 21:12:22
 
Good points Will. You still need to get a ZMA though!  I kid you! (not really)   Grin

jsm, have you tried a CSP3 with Jupiter Caps? Man, I tell you....I've ABA'd with and without the CSP3, because my ZDSD/by design/Steve, can easily drive my ZMA without the 3. However, I have no loss of detail/musicality/speed/warmth, but gain in slam....with my 3.

So, I agree with the paragraph I quoted for Music (my above post). But, not for loss with Preamp you mentioned. I'm going to a CDapS meeting in the Spring to prove it-with my Rig.

The National's, I was using in my A12 and B12 positions were good. But not what the Ediswans are now doing + my Telefunken in my Input of CSP3. My 3033's were good. Now, the KS6063 Speaker Kables, is a whole other world, in what they preserve and let through.

So I'm outta here'.   ................... (for equipment)
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« Last Edit: 10/22/15 at 21:20:30 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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