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Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1 (Read 5630 times)
Core32
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #75 - 03/13/17 at 12:47:58
 
I don't think the Zkit pcb would limit the improvement you get from upgrading some of the signal path components.
"The big yellow ones..." (caps) are definitely a more expensive component than called out in the original Mouser parts list from Steve.
You'll just need to be careful that the new part can be "morphed" to fit in the pcb area designated for it or you'll have to add so much hook up wire to make connections that your improvement will be diminished.
I believe those "audience" caps in the picture come with the red/black wires already attached so I would not consider that install diminished.
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« Last Edit: 03/13/17 at 12:48:58 by Core32 »  
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Lonely Raven
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Re: Taking a shot at building the ZKIT1
Reply #76 - 03/15/17 at 17:07:37
 

Quote:
I've wondered for a while now about doing upgrades in order to get better sound.  It looks like bigger caps are one of the things people do.  As a still relatively new guy to the hobby I'd love to know how to determine which components to upgrade and what to upgrade them to.  Starting with the ZKit seems like a good place to start.  Or would that be like putting high octane gas in a VW?


That's maybe not the best analogy since some VW (anything Turbo) requires high octane gas. It would be more like changing out your rims and expecting a horsepower increase. LOL

I've spoken with several amp designers - both audio and guitar. All of them have said at one time or another that most of the amps sound is in the design and layout. The parts chosen is usually final voicing.

That said, I'd look at the very few components that are actually in the audio path. Which really is a couple caps, few resistors, volume, tube and socket I think. That simplicity is part of what makes the Zen amp special.

If it were me, I'd built it to spec, give it a good listen so you understand it's nature, *then* try swapping caps. Give yourself time to understand how that changed the amp, and either keep trying caps, or move on to resistors. But you need to start with a baseline, so build it to spec to get an idea of what you have to work with.

Being completely serious, you might go ahead and and buy some expensive high end caps, and completely hate the sound.  I took a Fender 5E3 Deluxe layout, and bought nice transformers, and installed audiophile parts instead of the usual recommended parts...and it was so harsh and sterile it just killed what made a Fender Deluxe what it is. I spent double what the amp costs on audiophile caps and resistors and the like, and it wound up being nothing but an expensive lesson.

Just something to think about.
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