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The more I learn, the "confused'r" I get - Zen Kit (Read 1783 times)
Steve
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The more I learn, the "confused'r" I get - Zen Kit
03/08/17 at 00:46:42
 
I have a Decware Taboo for my headphones and LOVE it. I built a set of Betsys and they are sounding great so far. I want a tube amp to power them. I saw Zen Kit #1, and thought two of them bridged would be great. The page made it seem pretty straight-forward, as far as parts and directions.

Then I started digging in deeper, reading threads on this forum. I saw comments like 'some parts are no longer available - what do I use?', 'the list doesn't include all parts,' the possibility of making a change from a ss rectifier to a tube version. (Not to mention the option of doing a point-to-point build.)

I am TOTALLY new to the electronic side of DIY. I have a friend who is good at soldering who is going to help, but I'm wondering if there is some "updated" parts list (with upgrade options), OR if you former builders would consider it a worthwhile 'service to humanity' to compile one...

I do see past builders are very helpful to new people. It just seems a compilation of 'lessons learned' would be valuable.

Just a thought...
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Lon
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Re: The more I learn, the "confused'r" I get - Zen Kit
Reply #1 - 03/08/17 at 01:02:19
 
Have you tried the Taboo with the Betsys?  I have a Taboo and haven't tried them with any efficient speakers (just a pair of bookshelf speakers that are very inefficient, they sounded okay but didn't get loud?)

A bird in the hand. . . .:)
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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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Steve
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Re: The more I learn, the "confused'r" I get - Zen Kit
Reply #2 - 03/08/17 at 01:52:43
 
I am using the Taboo now. Sounds great. I wonder what more watts would do, but it is very nice. But, my headphone system is in another room, and I want my Taboo back there. It that wasn't an issue, I would definitely use it with the Betsy's.
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Lon
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Re: The more I learn, the "confused'r" I get - Zen Kit
Reply #3 - 03/08/17 at 02:21:37
 
Okay, good to know. Best of luck!
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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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Steve Deckert
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Re: The more I learn, the "confused'r" I get - Zen Kit
Reply #4 - 03/08/17 at 02:28:44
 

Some background information is certainly owed to lessen the confusion, and thank you for asking because it will help others with similar observations.

Originally when the ZKITS were created, we sold all the parts, basically a complete kit. Sadly when I came up with the idea to create kits from parts we already used, I had an unexpected result.  Someone would buy a kit, build it, love it, write about it on a forum somewhere and then suddenly we would get 20 orders for kits. Since parts for kits are pulled from the same inventory as parts for amps that we manufacture, we continually found ourselves short on parts to build our production amps due to a run on kits.

To fix this, we had to stop selling complete kits, and start selling the plans with parts list and circuit board. So for example, the ZKIT which used to be made with Decware transformers is now specced to use Edcor transformers of similar specification. The remaining parts, i.e. resistors and capacitors come from Mouser.com, a large parts supplier for the industry. It is regrettably normal in the parts industry to constantly discontinue parts in which case one has to search for acceptable similar parts.

The main parts specified from Edcor, the transformers, are still available as far as I know.  If you find a resistor or capacitor in the Mouser list that is no longer available or being phased out for a "green" substitute just find the same value in another brand and use that.

Hope this helps a little.

Thanks,

Steve
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Steve
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Re: The more I learn, the "confused'r" I get - Zen Kit
Reply #5 - 03/08/17 at 02:34:46
 
Thanks Steve! ... I'll start looking for the parts. I definitely have noticed that people on the forum are very helpful if I run into problems.
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Steve
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Re: The more I learn, the "confused'r" I get - Zen Kit
Reply #6 - 03/09/17 at 18:50:30
 
Ok... I went through the parts list and found all of the 'Suggested Parts for the Circuit Board,' without any real problems. The suggested Output Transformer is no longer available, but I found a replacement (that goes down to 4ohms vs. 6). I compiled all the links. So, I will compile and post my parts list once I'm done. Maybe it can help someone down the road.

I do have some questions about things that I am going to post in a separate thread, about upgrades and other things. I'll compile it all as I go.
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Core32
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Re: The more I learn, the "confused'r" I get - Zen Kit
Reply #7 - 03/09/17 at 21:17:09
 
This Edcor model is the one I used.
Works very nicely wit the design from the kit.
http://edcorusa.com/gxse10-8k

And select 6ohms in the drop down box.
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Steve
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Re: The more I learn, the "confused'r" I get - Zen Kit
Reply #8 - 03/09/17 at 22:30:09
 
Thanks Core32. I read through several posts today on the ZKit and made a note of that (and many other things). BTW... I sent you a PM, but I might be helpful to others, so I'll post it here too...

I see people changing the rectifier from SS to tube. Obviously they (you) see an advantage to that. OTOH, I saw comments about SS being more reliable and giving some additional output voltage. Any thoughts on the differences?

On a similar note, you did a P2P build. This is my first amp build. (I have built 2 sets of speakers - including a sub/sat system with the Betsy speakers - and 3 subs, but nothing electronic) I have a friend who is an electrical engineer who is going to help me, but I am the one who needs to do all the research 'legwork.' In light of that, I was going to go with the PCB approach. My question is, how much does P2P affect the sound quality and the difficulty (including needing to change out any parts)? Also, I like the idea of a standby switch. Is that possible with a PCB build?

I plan on doing 2 amps, as monoblocks, for more power. Are there changes I need to make to the instructions and/or parts list in light of that? Which, I don't really have need of any kind of volume control. I will always use a preamp. Would there be sonic benefits to leaving it off?

Thanks for any input!
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Core32
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Re: The more I learn, the "confused'r" I get - Zen Kit
Reply #9 - 03/10/17 at 01:24:09
 
Steve,
Let me see if I can shed some light on your questions.
First the easiest one: Quote:
how much does P2P affect ............the difficulty (including needing to change out any parts)?

I have a long history in EE and have a ton of experience in soldering my own stuff and on pre-built PCBs.
The difficulty doing these kit boards vs. P2P is orders of magnitude easier. I spent weeks picking and re-picking a set of components that I thought I could get assembled together without using a lot of extra hook-up wire and to also conform to the inside my chassis. Then trial fitting and refitting the parts in place before actually adding any solder. Then I still wound up using a bit of wire in some places.
My hearty recommendation would be to use the kit boards and maybe upgrade a few of the critical signal path components if you want to add your own touch.
As far as: Quote:
how much does P2P affect the sound quality

I really can't tell you. Even the earliest amps I owned were SS with some degree of "printed circuitry" inside. I've never built the Decware kits but I am sure there is a good reason Decware uses P2P, and besides, I wanted the challenge and to get the "look". For all my digital stuff/designs I print my own circuit boards now. Too easy not to and you can't really do the high speed stuff P2P, though I did try some long ago.  :)
I'm giving some thought to your other questions but I'll separate the reply.
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Steve
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Re: The more I learn, the "confused'r" I get - Zen Kit
Reply #10 - 03/10/17 at 03:13:15
 
Thanks for the initial reply... One question to add about doing a monoblock version - how many watts do you end up with?

Thanks again!
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Core32
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Re: The more I learn, the "confused'r" I get - Zen Kit
Reply #11 - 03/10/17 at 13:56:13
 
I'll answer with this Decware Zen ad paragraph:
Quote:
The SE84UFO employs a unique floating output transformer scheme where the negative speaker wire is not tied to chassis ground. That means when the amp is bridged, both channels may either be series or parallel wired. In series, both channels work as one and transparency is preserved.

So with no sonic drawbacks to running the amps in mono, you can expect 6 dB of additional power rather then the expected 3dB. This is thanks to the power increase the amp has when it sees half the speaker load from being series bridged.


So 2W standard with 6dB gain equals 8W.
This kit is based on the same circuit design so I believe this is your answer.

Quote:
I see people changing the rectifier from SS to tube. Obviously they (you) see an advantage to that. OTOH, I saw comments about SS being more reliable and giving some additional output voltage. Any thoughts on the differences?


To be honest, I went with tube rectification because I wanted to simulate the Zen amp sound as much as possible, AND I really like the look.  8-)  Not much of an answer but researching how to design it was a nice teaching moment for me. Sticking with the kit diodes will make the build go much quicker and simpler in the long run.

Quote:
I plan on doing 2 amps, as monoblocks, for more power. Are there changes I need to make to the instructions and/or parts list in light of that?


No. As long as you keep the floating output transformer scheme mentioned, a simple jumper at the speaker connections is the only added part.

Quote:
Which, I don't really have need of any kind of volume control. I will always use a preamp. Would there be sonic benefits to leaving it off?


I would think so. Since Zen Master Decert heavily promotes the simplicity of his designs, especially mentioning the small number of components/solder joints between signal input to output stage, I trust his knowledge. Bypassing the volume control should be easy enough on the kit board.
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Steve
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Re: The more I learn, the "confused'r" I get - Zen Kit
Reply #12 - 03/10/17 at 14:35:18
 
Core32, As I've seen on numerous posts, you have been extremely helpful. Thanks so much! I feel ready now.
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