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Self build ZP3 (Read 4507 times)
AH
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Self build ZP3
01/27/16 at 22:58:55
 
I have just completed a build of a pair of SE84CS amps used as monoblocks to drive my Tannoy speakers and I am so impressed with the result that I am wondering if it is possible to build a ZP3 preamp for my vinyl. I can appreciate that Steve has put a vast amount of work and development into the latest version and would completely understand if the information is not available but wonder if the schematic exists anywhere so that I can investigate a self build? I live in the UK and import duties are around 20% which makes importing an expensive proposition on top of shipping costs.  Hopefully this is not an offensive request, the resulting project would be strictly for personal use only.
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Syd
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Re: Self build ZP3
Reply #1 - 01/29/16 at 13:47:05
 
AH, Even with the 20% import duty ( sometimes less depending on how strict they are on a given day ) and postage, I found/find Decware to offer excellent value. The US sprouts so many hand made independant companys that we here in the UK have almost nothing to compare. There aren`t any comparable audiophile manufacturers here. Old skool tube amps by a top designer, a guru even. They`d go all boutique speak and charge the earth if they made them here.
Building a 1off would cost you a lot of money when you factor in your hourly rate.
My ZP3 with jupitor caps is some phono. I doubt you`ll find a shcematic or get any help in reproducing one. Thats not a put down, just a feeling you get with Decware amps, that their owners (users) are touchy on the subject.
Glad to hear your   SE84`s are impressing you so much. I`ve been looking at Tannoys as a step towards higher efficient speakers and if you can drive them I wont have to wonder if my amps can.
Yes, Tannoys or Lowthers (reflex or folded horn ? )
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« Last Edit: 01/29/16 at 14:08:07 by Syd »  

Decware: Rachaels x 2 bridged, C. SP2+, ZP3, ZMC1, DSC i/c`s, DHC-1 pw/cbl`s Michell Orbe + SME V + M.Benz LP s , Nakamichi LX5, Lowther acoustas DX2`s, WE 16g sp/cbl`s, Isotek mains sub
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AH
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Re: Self build ZP3
Reply #2 - 01/29/16 at 23:04:30
 
Thanks Syd
I agree with your sentiments, I'm sure that the hard won brilliance of this equipment is not something to be easily given over to anyone wishing to try and copy the designs, I was very unsure about posting the request which you may have gathered form my previous wording.

Yes, the comparative cost even with duty etc is very reasonable for what one ends up with. I do really enjoy the challenge of building this kind of kit however and have gathered great satisfaction from building the excellent design of the SE's, particularly when the result has vastly exceeded all of my expectations.

The Tannoys work well, 96dB/W is fairly sensitive and the bridged amps are more than adequate. Mine are 15inch Montor HPD's which I had rebuilt as Westiminster Royal Hard Edge, thereby doing away with the foam edge problem. There is still plenty of well controlled bottom end even after this change. The cabinets are Rectagular GRF horn cabinets (rear loaded horn only), I recently tried adding front horns built from 2mm card and although there was a difference, I preferred the sound without them which I was kind of glad about really as making some attractive wooden additions would have been a lot of work!

Going back to the ZP3's, I would still like to persue the idea of a self build and live in hope.....

All the best

AH
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Syd
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Re: Self build ZP3
Reply #3 - 02/01/16 at 19:39:24
 
Wow, the 15" ers without the foam edge for extra fidelity.
My new audiophile friend Nigel has been urging me to get a pair of Tannoy 609`s. I`m torn as I would like to try them but would like to try many. Even at 89db he thinks they`ll be no prob, though I wanted to go for 94+. They seem a bit of a cheap price for my amps and cart . Dual concentrics.....

All the best for the ZP3 incoming.
Syd
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Decware: Rachaels x 2 bridged, C. SP2+, ZP3, ZMC1, DSC i/c`s, DHC-1 pw/cbl`s Michell Orbe + SME V + M.Benz LP s , Nakamichi LX5, Lowther acoustas DX2`s, WE 16g sp/cbl`s, Isotek mains sub
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AH
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Re: Self build ZP3
Reply #4 - 02/01/16 at 23:01:08
 
Hello again Syd

I have been considering your comments re the purchase of a ZP3, you are right that the cost is reasonable and that is tempting, I still like a challenge though, still hopeful to find a way of working out a way to self build one.

Unfortunately I don't know anything about the 609's. I only knew about the monitor series from when I had a studio back in the late 70's, we had a pair of monitor gold 12" cabs and I was always impressed with those so have tried to recreate some of the magic. Lockwood audio in Nothwood (London) are very helpful if you need an honest opinion of the various Tannoy models and have rebuilt mine.

All the best

AH
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Archie
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Re: Self build ZP3
Reply #5 - 02/02/16 at 00:51:16
 
You can always build a phono stage but unless you team up with some Chinese knock-off artists, I doubt you can build a ZP3.   Wink
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« Last Edit: 02/02/16 at 00:53:17 by Archie »  
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AH
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Re: Self build ZP3
Reply #6 - 02/02/16 at 07:15:57
 
Hello Archie

You may well be right, but I will definitely not be teaming up with anyone to do this, I like a challenge and I would not share the info if I did manage to do so, this is definitely for personal use only Smiley

By the way Syd have you seen this site for Tannoy speaker info?

http://www.hilberink.nl/speaker.htm

All the best

AH
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Syd
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Re: Self build ZP3
Reply #7 - 02/04/16 at 15:31:29
 
Thanks AH, I bookmarked it for perusal later.
I seem to have been all over the AV forums on the net to build up a picture of what I`d like which would be 12" `Golds` or `Reds`in cabs around 3` high. And, as you`ve mentioned, the paper cones without the foam/rubber edges which were used to bring the resonate frequency of the (some?) cabinets down and with it the bottom end. The difference between the monitors and a design change . Apparently the extra bottom is at some expense of the goods higher up.

The ZP3`s do pop up on e-bay etc. The lifetime warranty (transferrable) indicates how sturdy they should be.

Syd

I had a reprieve on the speaker front by moving the system widthways again and removing half of my room treatment.. Wider sounstage, closer to the front of the stage, more immersive. The stats sounding v/g. So the Tannoys can be sought in a more relaxed manner.

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« Last Edit: 02/04/16 at 21:10:18 by Syd »  

Decware: Rachaels x 2 bridged, C. SP2+, ZP3, ZMC1, DSC i/c`s, DHC-1 pw/cbl`s Michell Orbe + SME V + M.Benz LP s , Nakamichi LX5, Lowther acoustas DX2`s, WE 16g sp/cbl`s, Isotek mains sub
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AH
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Re: Self build ZP3
Reply #8 - 02/06/16 at 18:09:27
 
Hello Syd

There are quite a few ideas for helping with cabinet designs to boost the bottom end on the 12" Tannoys, I'm sure that you will find something to help. I don't have the problem with the 15" drivers in the rectangular GRF cabinets even though they were supposed to be used with the HPD's/ Foam edge versions. I find that if very low frequencies are on the recording, then these are reproduced nicely and not overblown. I'm glad that you have space to experiment with speaker placement, that's a luxury that I am kind of short on, but the cabinets are pretty large in the first place I suppose, so not much room around them!

I have now successfully made a PCB for the ZP3, what I really need now is a few good resolution photos of the underside wiring in the chassis to work out the power supply details if anyone out there has such a thing.....

At the end of all this I may still purchase a new genuine ZP3 anyway, just interested in how far I can manage to go! Roll Eyes

All the best

AH
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AH
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Re: Self build ZP3
Reply #9 - 02/19/16 at 08:01:34
 
Hello, I have had a good deal of success with making and testing the main PCB for the ZP3 and it is already sounding surprisingly good even though it is being supplied via a jury rigged power supply, very good image and transparent. Also, there only a small amount of noise considering the nature of the supply and the lack of shielding smoothing and screening/ earth bonding. Stevens design is definitely one of genius and all credit to him.
Here is a Dropbox link for anyone interested in seeing the project so far:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/jw0ajz3ggbmhj9x/AAB3xzPTjMv6nPdxViFX_yXaa?dl=0

The next item to concentrate on is obviously the power supply. If anyone has details of the OA3 part of the circuit or a schematic for the overall supply scheme, in paaticular the smoothing capacitor values and dropping resistor to the OA3, that would be of great assistance although I am pretty confident that this can be resolved in any case.

Just to reiterate, I am only producing a one off for my own personal use and any information supplied to me will be used only for this purpose.

AH

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Syd
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Re: Self build ZP3
Reply #10 - 02/19/16 at 11:27:43
 
Hi AH, glad to see you are building a new phono, you are very resouceful,  the DIY, or self build folk here are a fountain of inquisitive doings. The ZP3, as with all Steves amps is hard wired, short signal paths without PCB boards. There is, if I remember, a very small PCB in the ZP3, something to do with the power supply I think. Anyway it all sounds and looks like you are getting your fix and producing good results.

I had a pair of the small Tannoy 609`s in for several days. Very nice rock`n`roll. Wish my ML`s could get down and dirty with the cutting guitars and rock feel. I`m much more refined and transparent. The Tannoys bode well for a bigger pair in the future.
However, I`m following a pair of Lowther Acoustica`s and may pounce on them.

All the best Syd.
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Decware: Rachaels x 2 bridged, C. SP2+, ZP3, ZMC1, DSC i/c`s, DHC-1 pw/cbl`s Michell Orbe + SME V + M.Benz LP s , Nakamichi LX5, Lowther acoustas DX2`s, WE 16g sp/cbl`s, Isotek mains sub
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AH
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Re: Self build ZP3
Reply #11 - 02/19/16 at 12:18:24
 
Hello Syd and thanks for your reply. My project is a direct copy of Steve's design and the main preamp circuit is built on a PCB for the ZP3. Here is a link to Steve's paper on the subject:

http://www.decware.com/paper85.htm

The power supply is wired point to point but the PCB for the amp was used partly as it has a large ground plane on the back to help with the screening due to the large gain required to boost the cartridge output up to a level suitable for driving power amps. The signal paths are still very short even using this technique. I have chosen all items in the signal path very carefully. Still room to upgrade to beeswax caps at some point in the future though  :).

I'm not familiar with the Tannoy 609's so not sure how they compare to the "Monitor" series, black, red, gold etc. I feel that my modified HPD's are fairly well refined and pretty transparent, if only I had a larger room I feel that they would improve even more!

Finally, if anyone is following this thread and has information for me, please could you PM me anything which may be considered sensitive regarding the design of the ZP3. That way we can guard against publicly publishing Steve's design- Thanks

All the best

AH
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AH
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Re: Self build ZP3
Reply #12 - 03/05/16 at 15:50:03
 
Update 5 March 2016

I have now successfully made a prototype copy the ZP3 power supply section, this works well with the main PCB which is now mounted on its own sub-chassis and connections to the valve bases have been made in the same way as the original using silver plated  Teflon covered wire. I am now proceeding to mount everything into a 4mm thick aluminium chassis. Final tuning of a couple of resistances will be done once the bulk of the real construction is complete so that the voltages for the HT and DC for the heaters is spot on. The OA3 is a most interesting and good looking tube!

More to follow when built...... Smiley

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AH
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Re: Self build ZP3
Reply #13 - 03/28/16 at 08:23:45
 
Good News!

After a fair bit of experimentation with the power supply section the ZP3 is now complete and I must say is sounding great. I can see why everyone is so enthusiastic about this design!

Here is a link to my Dropbox for some photos of the finished unit:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/3duiteeizw9vxrf/AAAgFUSLOIKqhx9SU97QNdg_a?dl=0

The photos show broad details about the construction, but I have been careful not to include anything which can enable others to easily copy Steve's design as I feel this would be unfair.

I have made the chassis a mirror image of the original layout and some other changes which can differentiate my version from an original ZP3, so there can be no confusion that this is a Decware product, although as I have said previously this is definitely a one off project!

I just need to add some sides to the chassis which I an thinking of doing in slate to match my Thorenes TD124 Mkll setup. This has the SME 3012 arm fitted with Denon DL110 MC cartridge and Partridge Transformers although I'm not sure the latter is really required.

Anyway, thanks to those who encouraged me to try this.

All the best

AH
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AH
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Re: Self build ZP3
Reply #14 - 04/07/16 at 18:04:54
 
Hello again

I have been trying a bit of tube rolling, namely the positions normally occupied by the 12AX7's.

Initially I had some used Mullard ECC 83's whilst I was proving that I could make the ZP3. These sounded pretty good but lacked sparkle (it could of course be that they were past their best of course!). In the meantime I had read that some people have had good results with Russian 6n2p-EV valves, so I brought a few to try. The only problem with using these in a ZP3 is that the heater wiring differs from that on 12AX7's and ECC 83's. To solve this I ordered some extension valve bases and I have reworked these to suit. For any one interested in this, it is a case of taking out pin 5 from the bottom of the extension and connecting the position where the valve sits on pin 5 across to pin 9. This needs to be done as the 6n2p-EV does not have an internal centre heater connection to pin 9 (ground on a ZP3) only a screen.

Anyway, the resulting improvement is very good, bigger sound stage and more "sparkle". Worth a try if anyone is feeling brave in my opinion.

All the best

AH
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AH
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Re: Self build ZP3
Reply #15 - 09/22/16 at 08:30:27
 
It's been a wile since I posted anything about the ZP3 build. The unit continues to sound very good and I am pleased that I attempted this project.

I accidentally deleted the Dropbox files from the links in my previous postings, here is a new link with some photos of the project:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/i59wvmlyc7v4cim/AABHd_sBl8GqN6Q3FWElCM9Ba?dl=0

As I said before, a great design and not one which I intend to give a great deal of detail about on this forum. But hopefully this may be of interest to someone.
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